Skepchick Quickies 8.8

On August 8th, 1576, the cornerstone for the Danish astronomical observatory Uraniborg was laid on Hven (now a small Swedish island). The research institute was operated by Tycho Brahe, an astronomer known for his remarkably accurate work (and epic mustache). Kepler was Brahe’s assistant and used his data to develop his own astronomical theories.


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. While I feel for Mr. Honan I have to wonder about someone who’s life was virtually destroyed turning around and saying whatevs, guess that was my bad.

    Why is it that holding people who do criminally irresponsible thing criminally responsible is seen as a dick move, especially if they apologize?

    These guys didn’t just draw a dick on their passed out friend’s forehead, they deleted his shit. “I was just trying to show you how someone could do that” isn’t an acceptable excuse unless you didn’t actually do it, all it becomes at this point is “I did it to prove a point, I’m a criminal asshole.” Criminal assholes like that should go to jail.

    Fucking ethics, how do they work?

    1. In this case, I think it was one of those journalism things where prosecution wouldn’t have gotten him the story. And he can’t go back on his promise not to prosecute if he wants people to give him stories in the future. I sure appreciated knowing how the criminals did it, and it was a good reminder to back up my data and add extra security where I can.

      If it were me, though, I’d be doing everything within my power to have the hackers caught. But I’m not a journalist.

    2. While I agree there should be prosecutions in cases like this, if for no other reason than to discourage similar crimes, it doesn’t seem like the cracker here actually revealed enough information to proceed. It appears the only contact Honan had with Phobia was through the internet, and it doesn’t look like he ever identified his real name, address, or similarly useful information. Proceeding with prosecution would therefore require a lot of detective work with clear cooperation from the police and the ISPs involved. Some people just won’t want to go through the trouble of paying a lawyer to take all the necessary steps, especially in a case that didn’t cause substantial financial harm.

      Feats of Cats pointed out the other plausible reason; would Honan ever have identified the actual attack vectors if he hadn’t waited for the culprit to reveal them on his own?

      In my view, the key story here is to determine what the most effective way to cut down on these identity theft crimes is. Since most of the actual damage was done through weaknesses in Amazon and Apple’s information management policies, I think that’s the best place to start fixing it. People can obviously take more precautions where possible, including maximizing the use of two-factor authentication and avoiding remote access services, but it comes way too close to victim blaming for my tastes to say that they should have to do that to avoid this threat.

  2. I’ve always wondered about this whole wrap/tortilla business. It’s especially troubling when you find a “wrap” with burrito-like contents. I never know whether the word “wrap” is just supposed to sound healthier, or some marketing guru somewhere really decided that “taco” or “burrito” sounded too “ethnic”.

    Also bizarre to me: wraps seem to be in the class of things strongly marketed to middle-class women watching their weight. This apparently means advertising that emphasizes a woman who does not look like she needs to lose weight, at least not for health reasons, within a decade of 35, probably on the younger side, wearing middle class casual(/business casual) clothing, in a clean, usually very bright place, smiling and eating in a way that causes an often improbable lack of mess. Preferred races are white, black (maybe with stricter standards for clothes/hair), or East Asian (prefer half Asian or Pacific Islander, half white, maybe to seem more relatable to white people, or actual pool of ad actors?). Latinas and women from other parts of Asia, not so much.

    Men in food ads targetting men are allowed to wear more informal clothing, especially if watching a sporting event, or if in clothes for a “manly” (read: involving physical labor, therefore working-class) profession. Latinos are slightly more common, though mostly to lend a note of “authenticity” to Tex-Mex. Seemingly gay men also make an appearance, generally as the butt of a joke about unmanliness.

    What I’m saying is, I look too closely at food ads, but they are filled with these odd conventions regarding race, gender, class… even leaving out the more obvious sexual objectification of women.

    1. Thinking about it, it seems to me that gender roles in food ads maybe also mirror attitudes toward gender roles in sex. Women get words and phrases like “indulge”, “guilty pleasure”, and “vacation” (common message: women are in charge of children all the time, so need to get away from them to “escape”/”refresh”). The sensual nature of the experience is either highly sanitized (bright clean place, alone or set apart, eat slowly with no mess), or a source of guilt, or both.

      Men’s ads don’t seem to be the same way as often. Enjoyment involves excess and a lack of restraint. It’s worked into daily life, often in public places without shame. Regarding parenting, kids either don’t show up in these ads or they show up to be bonded with, not a perpetual inconvenience. Sophistication and taking one’s time are less important than intensity of experience and getting enough (rather, too much).

    2. This is funny because several of my friends just ate wraps for lunch, since there is a new “hot wrap bar” in our cafeteria. I think wraps became more popular during the low-carb fad, and they’re sold as an alternative to bread so they use the same fillings that sandwiches would normally have.

  3. The NYT article boils my blood. This company, HCA, is exactly the same one that defrauded Medicare of over a billion dollars while Rick Scott was CEO. It was later bought out by a group of investors including Bain Capital, owned and managed for many years by Mitt Romney.

    Now one of those people is governor of Florida and the other one thinks he’s qualified to be president.

    Wake up, America. The inmates are running the asylum!

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