Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

the end of the US TV season

So with this week comes the closing courtain of the US TV Season. Yesterday night was the season finale of 24, which, while reasonably good, still didn't nearly match the first season. Salon has an excellent review (warning, spoilers abound). According to the rumors, Jack Bauer's daughter, Kim, will not be a regular character in the next season. To which I can only say: Finally! If all that's been achieved this year is to get that character off our TV screens, then it's been worth it, virus or no virus. (Oh, and somebody please talk to the CTU people, they've been having trouble lately with keeping a secure environment, what with all the babies and distraught wives... sometimes 24 seemed like an episode of Friends with codeword clearance).

And speaking of Friends... it ended as well, this time for good. Now do we want to guess on the number of people that didn't know how it would end?

The West Wing season finale was last week, with two excellent episodes that reminded me of the quality of the first two seasons. While TWW clearly struggled to regain its footing this year after creator Aaron Sorkin left presumably seeking greener pastures (or something), the last two episodes (and some in between) are an almost complete redemption. The West Wing is possibly one of the best shows in the history of TV and I'd hate to see it butchered. Here's hoping they keep it up starting next September.

Posted by diego on May 26, 2004 at 10:00 PM

not aliens--just some wireless sensors

[via Slashdot] Area 51 'hackers' dig up trouble. Quote:

[...] it turns out the truth really was out there, and the government didn't appreciate Clark digging it up.

Clark didn't find the Roswell craft or an alien autopsy room -- in fact, while officially shrouded in secrecy, the 50-year-old base is generally believed to be dedicated to the terrestrial mission of testing classified aircraft. "The U2 spy plane, the SR-71, the F-117A stealth fighter, all were flight-tested out of the Groom Lake facility," says Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. The myth of Area 51 memorialized in films, T.V. shows and novels is a function of the secrecy that surrounds it. "It is a concrete manifestation of official secrecy at its most intense, and that invites a mixture of paranoia and speculative fantasy that has become ingrained in popular culture," says Aftergood.

Even without aliens, the facility has its secrets, and last year while roaming the desert outside the Groom Lake base Clark stumbled upon one of them: an electronic device packed in a rugged case and buried in the dirt. Marked "U.S. Government Property," the device turned out to be a wireless transmitter, connected by an underground cable to a sensor buried nearby next to one of the unpaved roads that vein the public land surrounding the base. Together, the units act as a surveillance system, warning someone -- somewhere -- whenever a vehicle drives down that stretch of road.

Makes sense of course. I think similar technology is used around other high-security facilities, like Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD's Operation Center). Speaking of NORAD, recently I read that NORAD is a binational military organization, and its commander is appointed by (and responsible to) both the US President and the Canadian Prime Minister. Although it's the North American Aerospace Defense Command, that surprised me for some reason...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on May 26, 2004 at 4:25 PM

on spam

Lately I've been more irate than usual at the increasing volumes of spam my server (and inbox) has to deal with. A couple of interesting articles on recently on this topic: Who owns your email address? and Attack of Comcast's Internet Zombies, which give their take on different parts of the problem.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on May 26, 2004 at 11:46 AM

strange news of the day


[...] The peace agreement, reached over the weekend, involved members from several factions and laid out a 10-point plan including an immediate cease-fire.


Under the truce, gang members also vowed to designate places like schools, churches and parks as neutral zones and to avoid encroaching on each other's territory without notice.

Where did this happen? Lebanon? Somalia?

Try Newark, New Jersey.

Here's the CNN/Reuters article.

Categories: geopolitics
Posted by diego on May 26, 2004 at 11:40 AM

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