Sunday, January 15, 2012

when the paralytic dreams that we all seem to keep, drive on engines 'til they weep

Things are definitely heating up in the battle against SOpA--the latest volley seems to be directly targeted against GoDaddy as a domain registrar. They've lost thousands of domains, and seem to be facing as many complaints against their service for blocking legitimate domain name transfers to a competitor.

But alongside the GoDaddy information comes far more relevant information for every resident of the net--it's no longer just Reddit considering a national day of protest by going dark. Now Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are talking again about censoring themselves on that day of protest, as a way of drawing focus from the American public as to what SOPA (and PIPA) would actually do.

In other (somewhat) relevant news, one of the biggest "piracy" sites on the net, the Pirate Bay, is switching from direct feed of torrent files to magnet links. What's the difference? Not a lot, save for one important point: magnet links cannot be traced, because all torrent information is generated internally, at the moment of use. Torrent files are stored in one central server, and can be (fairly) easily externally accessed.

Now, in the wake of discussion of SOPA and PIPA, basically, this will make tracking downloaded files much more difficult, which means anyone using the files is (somewhat) better protected. But on the other hand, this is entirely the kind of thing that Senator Reid would seize to show how "underhanded" the "evil pirates" are.

Coincidentally, with a switch to serving only magnet links, and hosting no torrent files themselves, they handily sidestep piracy accusations. Interesting.

In other news entirely, let me introduce you to braille burgers (or at least, braille buns), and for the other side of the argument, people who fail to understand braille at all.

There's now a PhotoShop simulator on the web! (Though personally, I think it works slightly less effectively than PhotoShop itself.)

Also of note: magnetic soap holders. This is more amusing to me after reading through the comments; you can pretty much ignore the article.

Not sure how many readers are also avid crafters or artists (in whatever medium), but in case there's interest, I found a breakdown of different types of glue, what they're good for, typical curing times, and how to properly use them. Fun.

Want to know where every tree in America is? Now you can. I'm wondering if there are plans to map tree counts in other countries.

From io9 comes an interesting theory on why cats purr, with a side jaunt into wondering if the technology could be adapted to space suits. To be sure, if the theory is accurate (namely, if cats purr as a way to keep muscles pliable and bones strong), I'd think it would have wider applications than just space travel.

Finally, a tip from Lifehacker that is one of those My gods, why did I never think of that? moments: namely, faucet extension for filling buckets. Of course, you'd have to make sure that dustpan was (reasonably) clean, but it's a marvelous (and marvelously inexpensive) solution.

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