Monday, November 29, 2004

Keeping Spam in the Can: Which is better, attack or shame?

We've all fantazied about this, haven't we?  Blasting the spammers that torment with Nigerian fortunes, mortage offers and promises to "enhance" our personal lives.  Lyco's European unit is now hoping users will download a screen saver to allow for a DoS attack on spammers.  See below:

Lycos Using Distributed Denial Of Service Attacks On Spammers ISPs have a variety of methods that they use to combat spam, but Lycos Europe is going to quite an extreme with their plan to offer up a screen saver to users that constantly pings servers suspected to be used by spammers. In other words, it's a distributed denial of service attack against spammers by Lycos. [via Techdirt

Lyco's offering brings up some interesting issues:  1) will people who download the screen saver be cooperating with the intention of making the internet a better place to be, or 2) do we just want to make the spammers feel the pain.

In an interesting study a while back, Sam Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute did a study of "Prosocial Emotions".  In the paper Bowles explores key emotions that impact cooperation.  One bit I like is that guilt may do little to stop anti-social behavior, but SHAME is a powerful social force that can moderate behavior. (www.santafe.edu/research/ publications/wpabstract/200207028)

What if we decided to punish spammers by making them wear where a T-shirt with big block letters that say "SPAMMER" on both sides?.  Then make them walk in highly populated places, go to work, pick their kids up from school, go to the grocery store, etc.  Instead of ping their server, wouldn't you really rather give them a piece of your mind, especially if they were on a first date?



Sunday, November 21, 2004

Stop the Madness - Free the Habanero!!!

This is a case of science going awry....Genetically tampering with the world's hottest chile to "tame" it. The New York Times > National > Some Like It Hot, but a New Pepper Is Bred for the Rest.
FOR SHAME! The world is filled with bell peppers that bear not a single Scoville Unit of heat, we don't need a "mild habanero". When I eat a habanero, I want the whole chile pepper baby....all 250k SU's of capsaicin coursing my veins, causing me to reel in delightful, fiery agony. We chilero's have earned our heat with extensive training, we don't need watered down versions for lightweights. If you can't stand the heat, stick with the damn peppercini's.

Geez, what a waste of a PhD! Whats next, taking the choc out of chocolate, the espresso out of cappuchino, the foul language out of George Carlin...STOP THE MADNESS! Nature knows best in this case!!

Not all innovations are welcome....some will be heavily resisted...prepare for a fight!

(If you need to ask what a Scoville Unit is DO NOT try to eat a habanero.....better to begin your training with a to visit my source of the Happy Hot Stuff - www.mohotta.com)


Thursday, November 18, 2004

The New World's First Technology

The Clovis point, a finely crafted, very disruptive technology. So critical is it in the pre-history of the Americas, an entire culture was named after it. The new NOVA special "America's Stone Age Explorers (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/stoneage/fenn.html) discusses this "primitive" technology and raises interesting questions: Did a single group of people with this technology spread quickly across two continents, or was a disruptive, powerful technology adopted across several groups of people? Was the technology so disruptive that it led to the rapid extinction of North American mega fauna? How successful is an innovation if it kills off a critical food source?

Run Forrest Run

Did the human ability to run long distances give us an advantage on the savannah as we left our primate cousins in the trees as this research suggests MercuryNews.com | 11/18/2004 | What made us human? Running, study says? I tend to agree with Owen Lovejoy's criticism of the theory presented.....endurance running takes a lot out of person. Meanwhile, ask the australopithece's who a big cat's dinner a few million years ago how running help them out.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

3.5 Billion Years of Product Development Experience

There really is nothing new......evolution (except in those states that favor "intelligent design), is natures innovation dynamo.  Here's a great read from Wired:

Ideas Stolen Right From Nature Nature is pretty good at solving engineering problems, so designers are increasingly turning to biomimetics to improve their products and ideas. By Rowan Hooper.



Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Consumers as Roaches....we've been sprayed by marketers so many times that we are becoming immune.....

Great bit demonstrating the Red Queen effect in action.  As we get hammered daily by ads of all sorts, we set up screens.  To get around the screens, marketers turn of the volume.  Read the article then go to the Axciom site and see if you can figure out who you are.....they have.

Stop Trying to Persuade Us A PBS documentary makes the case that Americans have tuned out marketers pitching everything from cars to candidates. The result: even more crass attempts to get through, and a fragmentation of American society. By Jason Silverman.

[via Wired News]


No Foolin'??

If you are an executive who likes to paint a rosy picture of your company's future in your 10-K, be forewarned......you may be driving the price of your stock DOWN. Talk about issues in the present tense and be straight forward (hmmm....honesty - interesting concept). Read further in the following....

You Can Fool Some People Sometimes We develop an empirical procedure to qunatify future company performance based on top management promises. We find that the number of future tense sentence occurrences in 10-K reports is significantly negatively correlated with the return as well as with the excess return on the company stock price....

[via Complexity digest 2004.45]


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