Who’s Spying On You? Nearly Everyone!

Hey Verizon and Yahoo!, saying you’ll be ridiculed and publicly shamed isn’t going to make me less interested. It’s not something I want my government hiding behind either.

Here’s another one of those stories that’s smoldering in the geekosphere but ready to light up like a Roman candle. A Freedom of Information request was sent to the US Justice Department by an Indiana University grad student looking for some insight into what info our government gets from our Internet service providers.

Before the DOJ could answer the ISPs chimed in. They were not happy.

From Wired: “Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.”

Hey Verizon and Yahoo!, saying you’ll be ridiculed and publicly shamed isn’t going to make me less interested. It’s not something I want my government hiding behind either.

I am very uncomfortable if the people I entrust with my email or to provide my Internet access give away my secrets, often without a warrant. This is just plain wrong on a variety of levels.

And don’t think these are isolated incidents. You will be shocked by how often this happens!

From “slight paranoia“: “Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers’ (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009.”

Like I said, this is smoldering now, but not for long.

The Other Geoff Foxes

I grew up thinking I had this name to myself. Another childhood fantasy gone bust.

I suppose I’m lucky to have GeoffFox.com as my own. As obscure as my name might seem, there are lots of us Geoff Foxes around. More than I ever realized!

There’s Geoff Fox who’s a newspaper reporter in Florida. Tampa Geoff, you’ll be glad to know, I specifically exclude your byline from my “Geoff Fox” Google search. Otherwise, you’d overwhelm me.

There’s an author named Geoff Fox who lives (or lived) in Brooklyn, NY. He owns GeoffreyFox.com. Damn! I could have had that too. To say he is a prolific author is an understatement!

Also up there in the impressivosity (not a word, but it should be) Dr. Geoffrey Fox from Indiana University. Dr. Fox is a professor (whereas I am closer to Gilligan) in the Department of Computer Science, School of Informatics. What exactly is informatics?

The most famous Geoff Fox is probably the guy who owns Fox Racing–well known in motocross circles. He could probably buy and sell us all.

This all comes up because my forward searching brought me news of Geoff Fox who did quite well at the Worcestershire UK Golf Club’s Captain’s Day. Good at golf? He’s no relative of mine.

I grew up thinking I had this name to myself. Another childhood fantasy gone bust.

The Paper Cut

I have been in a bad mood today. I’m not sure why. I can’t really put my finger on it. I have my suspicions. Sometimes a bad mood will trump reality and manifest itself even when there’s no reason for it to exist.

Bad moods are part of life – they pass with time.

When you’re in a funk… having that bad day, it can seem like fate is transpiring against you. Here’s my example.

I was at my desk at work, sorting through stacks of weather data when a piece of paper caught me in that valley between my right thumb and forefinger. The sting of a paper cut was there immediately. I tried to disregard it as best I could, but a few minutes later I looked down to see a lump of clotted blood over the streaks of red on my hand.

This is not earth shattering, just nagging. Within a few minutes it had clotted over and the bleeding was finished.

What I want to know is, how does this work? How can a piece of paper slice through flesh? I can’t imagine cutting a steak with a piece of paper, but it must be possible.

Indiana University though enough of this common ailment to post some background on its website

A paper cut is similar to a cut with a razor blade, with one major difference. A razor blade makes a smooth, clean incision in the skin, leaving behind few if any foreign particles that might cause the wound to become infected. Although it might hurt initially, the pain brought on by a small razor cut usually fades after a few minutes.

Like a superficial cut by a razor blade, a paper cut smoothly parts the skin. But while a clean razor leaves little behind to irritate the wound, a paper cut deposits material that really stings. Paper is made of pressed wood mulch and a variety of chemicals. When paper cuts into the skin, chemical-coated fibers as well as bacteria and tiny particles remain in the wound and stimulate pain receptors in the skin.

Because the cut is usually small and shallow, the skin on either side of the wound closes quickly, trapping the fibers and other particles inside. The result is a good deal of pain, and since the closed wound doesn’t allow for much bleeding, the pain seems entirely out of proportion to a cut that you can barely detect.

So the next time you get a paper cut, remember this Moment of Science. It won’t help dull the pain, but at least you’ll know what’s causing it.

Still, that doesn’t answer how and why paper becomes knife-like. In fact, after a less than exhaustive survey of the Internet, I still don’t know how it happens. I just know it still stings.