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Webcomic: The Devil's Panties

Devil's Panties - Monday, August 11, 2008

"Adorable fun," is what I wrote originally but I'd like to revise my opinion here. This comic is more than just a slice-of-life bio-comic, but it's that as well. It's more than just another geek humor comic, though it is also that. It's more than the rampaging libido of a geek girl writ large and in all caps across the internet, though you'd better believe it's that. It's honest is what it is. It's true. This is what separates the really, really good comics (and all art, really) from the rest: a measure of truth stirred in with the humor and passion.

Penny Arcade has that measure of truth. Gabe and Tycho are fundamentally honest in their opinions and in their self-image. They know who they are and they know who they are talking to. They don't front, is what it is. They are genuine. When the Penny Arcade boys step forward and tell you a game is great you *know* they aren't shilling because they were paid off. They have integrity. The Devil's Panties is the same.

The Devil's Panties looks hard at the life of a geeky woman (bless her heart) and lays it out for you with every squeal of joy or growl of frustration. It's fantastic and I feel like an ass for not finding it until now. If you like webcomics you owe it yourself--seriously--to check it out.

Also check out her "Geebas On Parade," the true chronicle of her live action role-playing adventures. Which is honestly just as fun and sweet and sexy as the main strip.

Everything will be hacked

When In Doubt, Choose "C" - The Daily WTF

In 1993 a clever startup sold several schools on state-of-the-art testing software. It was supposed to be faster and more secure than ordinary pencil and paper testing technology. It took students only minutes to begin circumventing the system.

Taking the “digital” tests was even easier. A student would simply select the appropriate test from the “test library”, run through the randomly selected questions, and then instantly see her results. She’d then raise her hand, and the teacher could then write down the test results as seen on the screen.

At least, that was the theory. It took all of one test for the students to find a flaw in the system: if one received an unsatisfactory score, he could simply retake the test. Classroom Assistant didn’t bother recording how many times each test was taken. Sure, retaking the test several times was time-consuming, but generally worth the effort.

On the second test, students found a slightly easier workaround: they could simply run a different test. Since the results screen did not indicate which test was taken, all one needed to do was open up the “Test Taking Tutorial” test and pass it with flying colors.

When the third test rolled around, yet another workaround was uncovered: the results screen displayed only the percentage of questions answered correctly and a list of incorrectly answered questions. So long as they were able to answer the first question correctly, they’d get an easy 100%.

Iran bans nuclear tests

Iraq bans nuclear tests - tech - 28 August 2008 - New Scientist Tech

THE world just got a tiny bit safer. Iraq has agreed to an international ban on nuclear explosions, reducing the risk of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East.

Iraq is the 179th country to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. "It is a strong political signal for nuclear disarmament," says Tibor Toth, the head of the treaty's preparatory commission. "My hope is that it will encourage other countries to follow suit."

Among the countries that have yet to sign the treaty are Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and India.

San Francisco closing the Embarcadero to cars, offering free yoga lessons this Sunday

Sunday Streets event to close route in S.F.

I LOVE my city.

The city's first Sunday Streets event has gained support from community groups and athletic organizations that are planning activities along the 4.5-mile route, but merchants at Fisherman's Wharf are still wary of the impact on their businesses.

The street closures will start at 9 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. During that time, the groups and organizations will host an array of activities, including cultural events and athletic and aerobic exercises. AT&T Park also will open for people to run the bases for part of the day.

Burning Man hit by massive 12-Hour Sandstorm

Bumming, Man: Whiteout in Black Rock City | The Underwire from Wired.com

PS One of the pics on the linked page is NSFW.

Bill Clinton's Convention speech

Talking Points Memo | Bill's Speech

Video: Peaceful Code Pink Protestor Beaten By Cops in Denver

Code Pink Protester Ass Beaten by Cops in Denver

It looks like he smacks her right in the throat with his service baton, and then comes back to arrest her when she starts talking about it.

All-Star Superman in 11 Panels

I Love Rob Liefeld | A Comic Book Blog: All Star Superman in Eleven Panels

Sandy Bilus here is trying to retell Grant Morrison's spectacular All-Star Superman with 11 carefully chosen panels from the run.

KBR (allegedly) kidnapped Nepali men to work on bases in Iraq

KBR, Partner in Iraq Contract Sued in Human Trafficking Case - washingtonpost.com

Agnieszka Fryszman, a partner at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, said 13 Nepali men, between the ages of 18 and 27, were recruited in Nepal to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan. But once the men arrived in Jordan, their passports were seized and they were told they were being sent to a military facility in Iraq, Fryszman said.

As the men were driven in cars to Iraq, they were stopped by insurgents. Twelve were kidnapped and later executed, Fryszman said. The thirteenth man survived and worked in a warehouse in Iraq for 15 months before returning to Nepal.

The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on behalf of the workers' families and the survivor, claims that the trafficking scheme was engineered by KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners, according to Fryszman.

John Kerry's Convention Speech is surprisingly good

Talking Points Memo | The Golden Speech

Hillary's, Bill's and Biden's speeches were great, each in their own way. Democrats had the night they'd been waiting for tonight. But you probably didn't see John Kerry's speech because most of the networks cut away to feature their yakkers. As I said earlier, in its own way, I think it was the best speech of the convention, certainly the best speech I've ever seen John Kerry give. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor, set aside 13:13 and watch ...

McCain's Health Care Architect wants to outlaw the word "uninsured" as a solution to lack of health care

Think Progress -- McCain’s Health Care Architect: There Are No Uninsured Americans

Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care. “So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

Terrifying, eh? His knowledge of ER care is pathetic. For example, ERs do not offer most basic preventative care, like check-ups or eye exams. Relying on ERs is the most inefficient and dangerous way to approach health care possible.

Christian Right pushing "abstinence chic"

The Christian Right's Slick Campaign to Make Abstinence Seem Trendy | Reproductive Justice and Gender | AlterNet

Study after study has shown that those schooled in abstinence rhetoric are just as sexually active as those who aren't, leaving the right wing with virtually no credibility on the subject. Now, conservatives have to be a little savvier if they want to lie about condoms' effectiveness against sexually transmitted infections, make bogus claims about a link between abortion and breast cancer, or manipulate teens into thinking that premarital sex is damaging to one's self-worth. That's why conservative ideologues have taken abstinence-only discourse outside of the classroom and are trying to woo students through a different strategy: by making abstinence the teen trend of the year.

To boost the no-sex-'til-marriage cool factor, conservatives are co-opting everything from teen magazines to fashion to comedy routines. But behind the trendy talk are the same shame-inducing tactics and medical misinformation that could potentially put teens' self-esteem, health and lives in danger.

Debunking Creationists with class -- The Golden Crocoduck

Creationist Junk Debunked - Introduction

A well-spoken Brit starts a thoughtful new series looking into frequent lies and misconceptions spread by fervent Creationists like Kirk Cameron and Ben Stein.

The gay-hunting militias of Iraq

Don't Ask, Do Kill: Gays Persecuted in Iraq | Newsweek Iraq War | Newsweek.com

When militiamen from the Mahdi Army came by the compact, two-story stone home in the Doura neighborhood of Baghdad, they weren't looking for Sunnis to harass. They were hunting gays. "Bring us your son's cell phone," one ordered the middle-aged man who came to the gate. They wanted to check if his son, Nadir, had been calling foreigners--and in fact he had only hours earlier called this reporter to set up a meeting, and he had repeatedly called a gay nongovernmental organization (NGO) in London. Fortunately, Nadir was ready for them and produced a "clean" phone he keeps for just such a threat. This time they left, but vowed to come back if they found any evidence he was gay--or was talking to undesirable foreigners. Now that Iraq's sectarian war has cooled off, it's open season on homosexuals and others who infuriate religious hardliners.

Sometimes the act of reporting a story is revealing in itself--especially when it proves particularly difficult. This was the case when NEWSWEEK began looking into the problems of Iraq's homosexuals after hearing reports of secret safe houses around Baghdad where many of them were taking refuge from the militias' self-appointed morality police. After weeks of inquiries, NEWSWEEK managed to find Nadir and persuade him to arrange a visit to one of the safe houses he helps run. Instead, the Mahdi militia rousted him the night before. Established in 2004, the militia is the armed wing of the organization led by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has been an implacable foe of the Maliki government. Terrified, Nadir contacted people at the London-based gay NGO that finances the safe house, and they instructed him to break off the visit.