August 2nd, 2005


De-planetizing Pluto?

Apparently, the discovery of another small "planet" has stirred up a controversy about what should be classified as a planet or not. Again. Once again, there is that debate about whether Pluto, with its variantly-tipped orbit, should ever have been called the 9th planet.

They're now debating an official definition of what is a planet. If they accept Pluto and the latest object, it opens the door for a lot of planetoid objects they've been discovering. But there is a movement the other way, too. Pluto might become a "dwarf planet" and we go back to 8 planets, not 9. Personally, I like the idea. It's always seemed anomalous, kind of an afterthought. Which of these objects doesn't fit?

Of course, they also acknowledge that in layman's thoughts, there will probably always be 9 planets. But I still like the idea.
  • Current Mood
    curious scientific

Reordering checks...

I went to reorder my checks online today, and couldn't find my check style anywhere on the site. I have very classically elegant and neutral checks, with a pale blue marblized background and a blue foil stripe running across the top. I've had these checks for 20 years, and I like them, even though they actually cost MORE than the stuff with cartoon characters or landscapes.

And I started wondering if they'd discontinued them. I paged through all the checks on the online site, and there were a few neutral checks, but not MY neutral checks. So I reviewed alternatives, finding I found most of them annoyingly busy. Even "executive gray" had some sort of stonelike background that I disliked. I decided on an alternative I could live with, if they were no longer available, and I had to settle. Then I phoned the online order number. The woman on the phone told me that they were available. Oh good. But then she tried to sell me a "credit protection package" including weekly credit monitoring (no thanks) and then tried to convince me I should get my checks printed with the optional script style printing because "it's harder to read, so it's harder for people to get your information." Oh please. That sort of argument borders on paranoia. Just send me the checks. Finally, we got down to the nitty-gritty, and I reordered four boxes of my nice classic-style checks.

I am now wondering if I really will get them, or if there will be some sort of substitution pulled. I remember waaay back (back when I banked with Bank of America, before I learned better in so many ways) when I reordered checks in a "classic, neutral" pattern, and ended up with some sort of scenic dross because they'd dropped my style. Ditto some years back with Wells Fargo. I had my "antique style" substituted with some sort of garish stagecoach printed across the whole check. It was just awful. When I complained, they said they'd dropped my style and I should just live with the new selection. What's with the urge to get rid of neutral and semi-elegant checks in favor of something new and trendy? Some of us LIKE our checks in a nice, boring simple design.
  • Current Mood
    aggravated aggravated
Dancing Thru

Hacking passwords via wi-fi

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, as the saying goes. One of the interesting demos from
Defcon, the tech security conference, was that wireless internet can have the same problems as cel phones: you don't know who may be listening (or hacking). This was demonstrated by broadcasting the partial password login info of the conference attendees who used the hotel's unsecured wireless network to log on. Oops.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused