Bora Z. leaves Scienceblogs

Bora Zivkovic, a.k.a. Coturnix, has an gracious and well-reasoned article on why he’s moving his blog away from Scienceblogs: A Farewell to Scienceblogs.

He’s back at Coturnix.

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White Coat Underground leaves Scienceblogs

PalMD of White Coat Underground on Scienceblogs has decided to return to his old blog, White Coat Underground on WordPress, after concluding that Seed Magazine doesn’t consider their own science blogs to be legitimate journalistic media.

With the mishandling of the launch of a commercial ad-blog, Seed Media Group showed incompetence and mismanagement.  They also showed that they do not consider themselves (or we bloggers) to be “media” or journalists.  Whether we like it or not, we are the media, and while we may enjoy a great deal more freedom in style and content than most mainstream media, we cannot claim immunity from their ethics.It is for these reasons (and others, most of which have been eloquently and completely laid out by Bora Zivkovic) that I’m leaving ScienceBlogs, something I do with great regret.  I have gained immeasurably from my association with Sb and with the people here.  It has given me incredible opportunities.  But despite the advantages in exposure, the fit just isn’t good anymore.

This is a personal decision, not one that can be generalized to include anyone writing here.  The bloggers here are some of my favorite science writers, and always will be, whether they remain at Sb or go elsewhere.  I have nothing but respect and admiration for them.

… I will continue to write White Coat Underground at my old wordpress site for now, and will announce further plans there.   And I will continue my occasional pieces at Forbes.com and Science-Based Medicine.

What to do if your Gmail account is hacked

This happened to someone I know: their Gmail account was hacked and used to send spam to everyone in the Gmail address book. The Gmail Help gave useful option settings for preventing the problem. So the rest of us should use the settings before our accounts get hacked.

If your account has been compromised/hacked/stolen you will need to check at least all of the following things:

Account Security:
Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Google Account Settings -> Change Password [pick a new secure password]
Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Google Account Settings -> Change Password Recovery Options [verify secret question, SMS and secondary e-mail address]

Potential Spam:
Settings -> General -> Signature [make sure nothing as been added]
Settings -> General -> Vacation Responder [make sure it’s disabled and empty]

E-mail Theft

Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Send Mail As [make sure it is using your correct e-mail address]
Settings -> Filters [no filters that forward or delete e-mail]
Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> Forwarding [disabled or correct address]
Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> POP Download [disabled]
Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP -> IMAP Access [disabled]

The purpose of the above is to undo any changes a hacker may have done THIS time.  They often make a number of changes to accounts which create problems if you don’t undo them.

Scan your computer for malware.

Switched to using https by default.

Additional InformationKeeping account secure:  https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=46526
Protecting your account:  https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=29407
If your account is compromised:  http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=50270

How does it happen?

* Accounts left open in public places (even at work).
* Browser login/password auto-fill enabled on a computer others have access to.
* Hacks from other less secure sites (like Facebook).
* Keyloggers and malware.
* Network (especially wireless) breaches.
* A lucky password guess.

Someone else said:

Gmail should block IP addresses from accessing the accounts that are not within the account owner’s own geographical area. They could add a setting wherein international travelers could bypass that. It should be obvious that when a Chinese IP address (or Russian or Korean IP) gets into an account, it is up to no good.

“Laptops are weird”

The latest from xkcd:

Posted in humor, Web. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

How dangerous is that cult?

Isaac Bonewits has a series of questions that gives cults a rating for how dangerous they are: “Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame.”

From the introduction:

“Brainwashing,” beatings, child abuse, rapes, murders, mass suicides, military drilling and gunrunning, meddling in civil governments, international terrorism, and other crimes have been charged against leaders and members of many groups, and in far too many cases those accusations have been correct. None of this has been very surprising to historians of religion or to other scholars of what are usually labelled “new” religions…

…members of the Religious Reich and their fellow theocrats will find that their own organizations (and quite a few large mainstream churches) are far more “cult-like” than many of the minority belief systems they so bitterly oppose.

Fun with geography: Waymarking.com

The Waymarking site lets you pinpoint where you’ve been and what you found there. There’s even a category for Town Clocks, such as this one in the small town of Stayner. You can use it to find the nearest geocaches or even the nearest hotels. The reason I’m focusing on Stayner is because the town clock is near some 19th-Century buildings that I photographed there.

town-of-Stayner-Aug-2009-pic3

Is the Google Chrome browser doomed?

Farhad Manjoo thinks so. “Google Chrome is doomed!” sounds a bit apocalyptic to me. Everyone whom I’ve talked to who actually tries Google Chrome likes it very much.

CORRECTION: This is about the Chrome operating system, which is based on Ubuntu, not the browser. Thanks, bPer!

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