Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yes, the government is spying on everyone's Internet traffic

Welp, looks like, yes, the NSA has an untargeted, mass surveillance program snooping on domestic Internet traffic. I like how the White House granted this extraordinary, likely unconstitutional, legal immunity just for a "pilot project." So basically, that's the level of justification they require (jack).

Soooo I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about HTTPS Everywhere. This Firefox/Chrome extension checks whether each site you're visiting has an encrypted connection option, and if it does, it makes sure to use it. That means no one listening in-between will be able to see anything you do on the site, except you and the site owner. Not even the NSA, in all likelihood.

This little extension has come a long way in the past few years. It started out with a list of only a few dozen sites whose secure connection option it knew how to use. Now there are thousands in the list, including most big-name destinations like Google and Facebook. Think about it. You enable this, and no one except you and Google will see anything you do on any of their sites. No one at the NSA, Comcast, the airport WiFi service, or the dude sitting next to you at Starbucks.

Now, I only wish there was a mobile version. I've been thinking it'd be nice, since you're using your phone all the time on insecure WiFi networks run by random parties. But now that AT&T is a specific company they mention participating in this spying, it'd be pretty great to black out my phone traffic to them too. Well, luckily both Android and the iPhone support VPN connections, so all you gotta do is run OpenVPN at home (or, if you're a human, sign up for a VPN service) and do your part in saying "screw you, AT&T."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Evolution, in a sentence

Most teachers and biologists like to gum up the theory of evolution with lots of preconditions and caveats. Instead, I see it as something so simple, it's basically built in to the logic of the universe.

Maybe I'll expand on this in another post, but right now I just wanted to note the best, simplest way of explaining it I've stumbled upon so far:

If a thing makes more things, then there will be more of that thing.

It really boils down to that. There aren't really any more complicated "rules" or mystical workings to evolution. Instead, it's beautifully simple and automatic.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


All you web developers, you know what I'm talking about.

I've never seen it summed up so well.