Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
Eventually I’ll get around to posting pictures of the Lucia Festival at UBC, which was a super success! Neil helped with the sound system that was generously donated from Audio Image. Nice people… nice company, and they hire really good techs ;-). We’ll be needing to get a bigger venue for next year’s Lucia. We estimated that there were probably around 100-120 people in the room, and it was just too small. We ran out of coffee this year, last year it was Lussekatter (saffron buns) and cream. The students who were in the procession did an amazing job and worked so hard with pronunciation and I’m so impressed with their commitment and dedication to make Lucia an elegant and respectful tradition. They are great! Vicky and I agree that we really need to have more singers next year. Right now our problem is that we don’t have enough gowns, but we might be able to remedy that throughout the year, and slowly build up our stock to 20 gowns, from the 12 that we have right now. Then there’s the matter of getting a bigger venue, which we’ll probably have to rent, so we’ll be needing to fundraise as well. If there’s anyone reading this who has some money burning a hole in their pockets and wants to help us raise some funds for next year’s Lucia, email Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org and make arrangements to help us out. Also, if you have some good ideas for fundraising, I’d love to hear about them.
So, in the meantime, while I’m working on getting some pictures online (that Vicky took this year for me), gentle reader, you get to read a rant I posted on Facebook. Lucky you. Rants are good, especially ones that might make you think a little, and I hope this one does. There’s a lot to think about in the world!
This is about the Amy Bruce chain letter, copied and pasted with slight modifications from the one written on my Facebook page. Please read on:
I’ve received a few messages with the Amy Bruce chain-mail attached, and this is what I have to say about it: To begin with, tracking email is virtually impossible. It’s like when someone says that if you send a particular email from Micro$oft to all your friends, Bill Gates will pay you a pile of money for every person you send the email to. That’s outright nonsense. Microsoft, even with its large population of developers and oodles of money to spend, would most likely not waste their time and money developing the technology to track a chain mail so YOU can get paid for clicking a button. And I doubt the Make-A-Wish foundation would have the money to pay for technology that would somehow track this Amy Bruce email. I’m not an IT expert, not even close, but with my limited knowledge, I can safely say I doubt it’s possible to track the message. At least not through Make-A-Wish’s servers.
My guess would be that if it were possible for Make-A-Wish to keep track of the Amy Bruce email, it would have to have a server that could intercept all Internet data being streamed around the world, and be able to identify the correct Amy Bruce email in order to donate money to this cause. I doubt Make-A-Wish would invest in this kind of technology. This is the stuff of Internet security experts and maybe even international spy networks.
As I write this, I’m reminded of an article I read for a class at university. It was entitled, Inside Echelon, and it talked about what was then already old technology concerning surveillance, and how all sorts of communications are intercepted, filtered and surveilled. It was interesting, and written through the acquisition of publicly available sources of info. Here are some links to that article and to the author’s own page: http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/6/6929/1.html and http://duncan.gn.apc.org/.
Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked. The point I’m making by bringing up Echelon is that if a conglomeration of governments need to get together to create an efficient system for intercepting data, probably for a number of reasons, like cost sharing and technical know-how, why on Earth would anyone think that the Make-A-Wish foundation would have the resources to do something similar, just to track chain-mail? It seems unlikely to me.
So, if I were to make a wish, it would be to wish that people would just stop sending around that damned letter and do a bit of thinking and even check online to see if this letter is legitimate. I did, and here’s what I came up with: http://www.wish.org/about/.
Finally, hoaxes have their consequences, and their target. Read the following link for more info: http://hoaxbusters.ciac.org
Tossing chain-mail in the Puddle, where it will hopefully rust and disappear.