Sunday, October 17, 2010


Those word verifications we use here on Blogger and many other sights to keep out spammers are under attack. What a surprise. Those word arrangements are called CAPTCHAs, and they were effective because only humans have the ability to copy them. Right. Exactly. So, spammers are beginning to hire humans to do their typing for them, and it doesn't matter what language these humans speak--if they can copy and type quickly, that's all that matters. Of course, these jobs pay very low wages in places like Russia and Southeast Asia, and by "low wage," I mean $2 or $3 a day. And yes, copying these CAPTCHAs is enough of a bother that spammers will only go after the really really big fish. Bothering bloggers isn't worth the time and money, but in a time of increased concern over identity theft, it really is a scary development.

(NPR story)

Does that tree look like a mushroom to you?

Has anyone else read Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban? It is unique, and Hoban did manage to put the reader in a very different and sad place. It's haunting, yet--I did not enjoy reading it. The language is intentionally different and garbled, since this story takes place a couple thousand years after a nuclear holocaust. And the message, in part, seems to be that we humans just can't be trusted; the climax of this book is the reinvention of gunpowder. Oh, and it takes place in Canterbury, which I thought was clever. Hoban's story was inspired by a painting of the legend of Saint Eustace at Canterbury Cathedral and is easier to read than The Canterbury Tales. That is very reassuring, I know. Heh.

Anyway, this is our scary bookgroup selection, and it is MY FAULT. I can explain. I knew that this other member really really loved this book and really really wanted us to discuss it some time, and I wasn't expecting people to look my way for this decision, so I blindly said, 'let's go with the one CC's been wanting to read.' I knew not what I was doing, and perhaps I will be banned from ever picking another one. That would be okay.

That said, Riddley Walker won lots of awards and is highly thought of, and it is a talented work, but it's not all that much fun to read. So. If you've read Riddley Walker, give me the business:


Doug said...

I haven't read and have no business to give you except to say that book clubs are for narcissists and I think you went wrong by considering the feelings of others. Shame.

actonbell said...

Bookclubs are for narcissists? Oh, no, it's all in fun, really. I've heard the same about blogging, but again, it's all in fun. Really.

Doug said...

Right, right, of course you're right.

actonbell said...

I'm confused because that's my line.

TLP said...

LOL! Doug stole Acton's line: Right, right, you're right.

I would love to be in a good book group. I don't want to be in any book group that I know about 'cause which and every one has at least one annoying person in it. I want to be in a group where I get to be the annoying one. All by myself. Just me, alone, being the annoying one.

And yes, I think that tree is very much like a mushroom. Is it supposed to look like one?

On the word verifiers, wouldn't it be easier to just write a program that quickly copies and then pastes the images in the word verifier block?

actonbell said...

Mom, I just hafta think that the computer geeks just can't do that with the verifiers. Dunno why.

And I don't know if the tree is supposed to be suggestive of the mushroom cloud that put humanity in such awful shape, but trees are mentioned quite a lot.

I think you should invite a friend to be annoying with you, since there is no way one person can be everyone's annoyance. The two of you could divide, conquer, and rule!!