Archive for August 23rd, 2003

Spam Filters Compared

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It is increasingly obvious that in this day and age, if
you don’t have an effective spam filter. email is essentially useless.

Sam Holden, on Freshmeat.net, writes a comprehensive and methodologically
sound comparison of six popular filters relying on alternate techniques
such as Bayesian and heuristic filtering.

Includes Bogfilter, Span Assassin, Quick Span Fileter, Span Probe, SPASTIC
and dbacl

from
Freshmeat.

Why My Garbageman Was Always Smiling

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Two garbagemen in my hometown (Rochester, NY) have been
fired for having sex with a prostitute in their garage truck, on August
5 while they were on duty.

Vincent Grecco, was walking with his 4-year-old niece to a neighborhood
store when he said they witnessed the sexual act at the corner of Maryland
Street and Glendale Park at 2:05 p.m. .

from the
Democrat and Chronicle
.

Invasion of the Disnigoths

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Disneyland has Gay Day. Disneyland has Raver Day. Disneyland
had Yippie Day once, in 1970 – it was fun, at least till the cops showed
up in riot gear.

This Sunday, it’s the Goths’ turn.

For the fifth year in a row, Disneyland will be creeping with mobs of
black-clad death-rocker types for what organizers officially bill as
Bats Day in the Fun Park, but what most people just call Goth Day.

from the
Orange County Weekly

for more info, go to www.batsday.net.

Scuzz then ‘Doon, then Shoot for the Moon

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Finally, a sport story you can feel good about. Opening
disclosure, I live in Malden, Mass, which is only about 3 miles down
Route 1 from Saugus, whose all-star little league team plays for the
United States Championship at the Little League World Series tonight
at 7 on ESPN.

But it is not only that they hail from just down the road, or that I
am so desperately jaded by the moral bankrupcy of the local professional
sports scene, this team is authentically terrific in its own right.

Their pitching rotation is your basic two-man little league staff (rules
prohibit pichers from going more than one inning in two successive games,
so most teams have two primary aces who switch off starts). First there
is big Matt Muldoon, who at 6 feet and 185 pounds could probably walk
into half the bars in Boston and order a beer without getting carded.  He
brings the heavy heat, and bats cleanup to boot. At the other end of
the short starting rotation is Mike Scuzzarella (see photo), all 4 foot 8 inches
and 85 pounds of him, standing on tiptoes and sopping wet. Mike brings
a wicked curveball that he’s been throwing since he was 7.

But it gets even better. In tonight’s US Final, neither Scuzz nor ‘Doon
can pitch, since they were both needed to finally beat Richmond, Texas
13-14 in extra innings in their epic semi-final matchup.  That
Thursday night game was definitely the most exciting and competitive
baseball I have seen in years, in any league, at any level.

Saugus led, 10-2, after three innings, and by 10-4 entering the sixth
inning. The top of the sixth was the start of an incredible 30 minutes.
Richmond inched closer on a two-run homer by Randal Grichuk, his second
home run
of the game. Saugus then replaced starter Scuzzarella with
Muldoon, wholoaded the bases, but then got the first two outs. Then,
one out away  from the win, it all came undone, a hit, an error,
another hit, and suddenly it was tied and the game went to extra innings
(six is regulation).

In the top of the 7th Texas, still on fire, notched three more. Things
looked dim for the New England nine. "Everybody was crying when
they came into the dugout, and I felt like crying, too," Saugus
coach Rochenski said. "I just told them to stay focused out there.
We’ll cry afterward if we have to, but not now."

As Tom Hanks says in "A League of Their Own", there’s no crying in baseball.  And
indeed, in an ending worthy of cinematic treatment (are the options already
out? I’ll do it!), Saugus loaded the bases on three walks among two outs,
and then hits by Pizzano, Muldoon and.Ferreira brought it home.

So anyway, since Muldoon and Scuzzarella can’t take the mound tonight,
coach Rochenski will hand the horsehide to third starter Jason Kasabuski,
who gave up only three hits in beating tonight’s other finalist, Boynton
Beach, in round-robin play earlier in the tournament.

Catch the action tonight at 7 on ESPN

The winner will play the winner of today’s International Final between
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles and Tokyo on Monday.


Read a preview of the tournament finals from AP

Read a report on the incredible 14-13 semi from the New York Times

Robot Runs Wild, Slaps Child

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Honda Motor Co’s humanoid robot,
ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), disciplines a young fan
who “dissed” him
by a comparison to the Jetson’s robot maid “Rosie”.
No, actually Asimo is dancing with a group of kids in
Manila August
23, 2003. ASIMO, who is programmed to speak Tagalog and other languages,
is in the country for a series of events being hosted by Honda.

from Reuters

How the White Wizards Stopped Sobig.F

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It looks like computer security experts were able to circumvent the first major programmed spawning of the Sobig.F virus by isolating the name servers it needed to propagate and taking them offline at the pre-programmed time (3pm ET).

On a more personal and practical level last night I saw Dave Winer whip up an instant filter for his email program by telling it to trash any messages with the words “See the attached file for details”. We had noticed that although the sender and subject lines on the Sobig-infected messages were ingeniously variable, each of the message texts was the same.

My university system administrators must have done something similar because after getting inundated with hundreds of See the attached file for details messages on Tuesday and Wednesday, there were only a few yesterday and none today, Woe to anyone who tries to use those six evil words to legitimate ends.

Anyway, here is an interesting article from the New York Times Technology about how the White Wizards who keep the net humming stopped the thing from spawing this afternoon.