18 July, 2010

"Rape-aXe" - Anti-rape condom

A South African doctor [Dr Sonnet Ehlers] has developed a new anti-rape female condom... The latex condom is inserted by the woman like a tampon, and features jagged rows of teeth-like hooks that latch onto an attacker's penis upon penetration. Once attached, only a doctor can remove the Rape-aXe...

"It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on. If he tries to remove it, it will clasp tighter. However, it doesn't break the skin and there's no danger of fluid exposure."

Dr Ehlers said she consulted engineers, gynaecologists and psychologists during the device's development, and sold her house and car to help fund the project. It is expected to retail for around $2...

Critics have labelled it a "medieval device", something that Dr Ehlers agrees with.
Read more

Dr Ehlers rocks! Especially the bit about her selling her house and car.

12 July, 2010

Friday's filter announcement - full steam ahead

Regarding Minister Stephen Conroy's net filter:
... To our great surprise, the Minister appears to have endorsed several of the best ideas received in their review of filter transparency, by agreeing to several measures (including some suggested by us that attempt to lessen the corrosive effects of a secret blacklist. Conroy announced that:
  • Australian site owners will be notified when their content is added to the blacklist;
  • A standard block notification will be shown, making it clear the page was deliberately blocked by the government;
  • The Classification Board, rather than ACMA, will decide on the RC status of submitted URLs;
  • An annual review of the list will be conducted.
It's good that the issues have finally got some attention, but it is important to note that nothing has really changed here as far as the value of this policy is concerned. Firstly, the filter still has no clear policy goal; it will still neither help parents nor prevent the spread of illegal material. Secondly, a secret blacklist, the scope of which could easily increase over time, is always going to be a big worry...
Read more

11 July, 2010

Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

From kalzumeus.com:
... I have never seen a computer system which handles names properly and doubt one exists, anywhere. So, as a public service, I'm going to list assumptions your systems probably make about names. All of these assumptions are wrong. Try to make less of them next time you write a system which touches names.
  • People have exactly one canonical full name.
  • People's names fit within a certain defined amount of space.
  • People's names change, but only at a certain enumerated set of events.
  • People's names are written in ASCII.
  • People's names do not contain numbers.
  • My system will never have to deal with names from China.
  • Or Japan.
  • Or Korea.
  • Or Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Russia, Sweden, Botswana, South Africa, Trinidad, Haiti, France, or the Klingon Empire, all of which have "weird" naming schemes in common use.
  • That Klingon Empire thing was a joke, right?
  • I can safely assume that this dictionary of bad words contains no people's names in it.
  • People's names are assigned at birth.
  • OK, maybe not at birth, but at least pretty close to birth.
  • Alright, alright, within a year or so of birth.
  • Five years?
  • You're kidding me, right?
  • People whose names break my system are weird outliers. They should have had solid, acceptable names, like 田中太郎.
  • People have names.
Read more

02 July, 2010

Terraced rice fields

"These terraced mountains in China, Benguet, Philippines and Bali are used to grow rice, the primary staple in the diet of much of the world's population. These landscapes have been altered to hold pools of water where none should exist and have created surreal and beautiful places."

Found at slightlywarped.com