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Monday, 2016 November 21, 14:49 — spam

a little effort, eh?

My busiest comment-spammer is not even trying: stuff like “syycvugmerscztigiejbuzgshfmb”. Come on now!

Thursday, 2016 November 17, 16:25 — psychology, spam

uncanny tedium

A month or two ago, the load of junkmail intercepted for me by Pobox suddenly jumped from about one hundred pieces a day to well over two hundred. (The difference, to judge by titles, consists of repeated pleadings from alleged horny women.)

I have long been in the habit of carefully searching the spam reports for false positives, typically finding one every 3–4 days. (Each of these is a mass-mailing to which I subscribed; I don’t recall if Pobox has ever held up genuine personal mail, though Gmail did, back when that was may primary mailbox.) Now that the burden of this chore has suddenly doubled, I find myself wishing Pobox would make more errors, to reward me.

I see an analogy with the uncanny valley phenomenon, and wonder whether anyone has tried to find a psychological optimum in error rates for problems like this.

I once read somewhere that a “teaser” toy for cats should let the cat catch the “prey” one time in six.

Saturday, 2016 August 20, 19:45 — futures

To Your Scattered Memories Go

Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series (which I’ve mentioned before, upon rereading the first volume) begins with every human who ever died waking up on an artificial planet, resurrected as young adults (unless they died younger). Fashions in scientifictional resurrection have changed since 1971, so here’s how I might do it, given a boundless supply of handwavium. ( . . more . . )

Sunday, 2016 July 24, 12:57 — mathematics

points problems pointers problems

Two-fifths of the links in my sphere arrangements page were broken. Ouch! I found new addresses for a few of them, and used the Wayback Machine for the rest.

Sunday, 2016 June 19, 10:40 — history, religion

next time you hear someone blame Hitler on Darwin or atheism

Nazi racial ideology was religious, creationist and opposed to Darwinism — long and thoroughly documented

Thursday, 2016 June 16, 00:20 — eye-candy, neep-neep

fun with colors

Here, have a couple of Python scripts. Each creates an image file, 2^12 pixels square, each pixel of a different color.

colorshuffle.py puts the coordinates of each pixel in Gray code, assigns each bit to one of the color channels, and converts each channel back from Gray code to choose a color. The assignment is chosen at random from 141926400 possibilities.

colorfold.py is my attempt to re-create and extend this: it folds the square eight times to make a cube fitting the color space. The interesting part was maintaining continuity through multiple folds. This one has only 107520 possible outcomes; again they’re chosen at random. I don’t like the result nearly as much as the other, but you might!

You’ll need Python Imaging Library.

On my machine each takes less than two minutes, so with a simple shell script you can whip up hundreds overnight.

( . . more . . )

Tuesday, 2016 May 31, 20:51 — spam

SEOperstition

I get this comment a lot:

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. . . .

I probably also don’t sprinkle enough chicken’s blood.

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