Vastari’s Tech Rants

The insane recommendations of a maniac.

Could We Live Forever?

Well, it looks like we could be heading towards having extremely long lives. Good news for me, as I fear death so much I’d rather live inside a computer….

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December 1, 2007 Posted by | Technology, World News | Leave a comment

New way to make embryonic stem cells from skin

Well, this is great news. And somewhat technologically related. Anyway:

Scientists have found a way to turn skin cells into embryonic stem cells without the need to use an egg or destroy an embryo in the process.

If the breakthrough, achieved in mice, can be repeated using human tissue, it could make somatic cell nuclear transfer, or therapeutic cloning, unnecessary.

Embryonic stem cells that were perfectly matched to a patient could be created from a simple skin biopsy, avoiding any obvious ethical concerns. Like whether or not you are killing a human being.

Most impressive though: “In the most stringent test, the cells were used to create live mice.” Cloning!!!

Well, let’s hope we can figure out how to do it with human skin cells too. Think of the medical applications….Plus those guys are going to be disgustingly rich….Well I guess it does pay to work hard and be smart…

November 21, 2007 Posted by | Technology, World News | 1 Comment

Wikipedia Scandals!

One American student sent major corporations, governments and even the Vatican on the defensive after coming up with Wikipedia Scanner, a software program that reveals who changed Wikipedia entries. is an online encyclopedia edited by general users, who write articles on every imaginable subject. Since it is written by users, anyone can edit, delete and arrange the articles on Wikipedia.

What Virgil Griffith did was come up with a program that reveals who edits these articles, via a system where it scans the I.P address and cross-references it with the I.P. directory.

As soon as the software was launched on the internet, chaos erupted.

Among many revelations, Wikipedia Scanner reported that:

Microsoft tried to cover up the XBOX 360 failure rate

Apple edit Microsoft entries, adding more negative comments about its rival

Bill Gates revenge? Microsoft edits Apple entries, adding more negative comments about its rival

The Vatican edits Irish Catholic politician Gerry Adams page

In the 9/11 Wikipedia article, the NRA added that “Iraq was involved in 9/11”

Exxon Mobil edits spillages and eco-system destruction from oil spillages article

FBI edits Guantanamo Bay, removing numerous pictures

Oil company ChevronTexaco removes informative biodiesel article and deletes a paragraph regarding fines against the company

Scientology removes criticism and negatives article from Scientology page

Al Jazeera TV station adds that the foundation of Iraq was just as bad as the Holocaust

Amnesty International removes negative comments

Dell Computers deletes negative comments on customer services and removes a passage how the company outsources work to third world countries

MySpace removes paragraph when their website was hacked

EA Games deletes whole paragraphs of criticism about employment practices and business methods

Dog breeding association deletes whole paragraphs about fatal attacks by dogs on humans

US Republican Party changes the “Post-Saddam” section of the Baath Party article to a different account of the war, changing the language from “US-led occupation” to “US-led liberation”

Fox News removes all controversial topics against the network from the Fox News page

News of the World deletes a number of criticism against the paper

Nestle removes negative comments on its business practices from its page

UN address calls journalist Oriana Fallaci a racist ‘prostitute’

Portuguese government removes entries about Prime Minister’s scandals

DieBold, the company that controversially supplied computerised polling stations in the US elections, removes numerous paragraphs with negative comments

Walmart removes criticism of outsourcing work. The retailer also changes negative paragraphs of underpaid workforce

Sony removes harmful paragraphs against blu-ray systems

Someone at Reuters calls Bush “a mass murderer”

Coca Cola removes negative content about its effects

British Conservative Party removes negative references of its MPs and deletes paragraph of the party’s old policies

US University adds the “prestigious” adjective to its page

Boeing edits from “Boeing is a leading American aircraft and aerospace manufacturer” to “Boeing is the leading American aircraft and aerospace manufacturer”

MSN Search is “a major competitor to Google”. That’s what MSN added to their page

BBC changes Blair’s drink from coffee to vodka and his workout from the gym to the bedroom. Someone from the BBC also changes Bush’s page, changing the name from ”George Walker Bush” to “George Wan*** Bush”

Someone from The Guardian edits the Wikipedia page of rival newspaper The Times. Originally in the article it is said that The Times sells more than The Guardian. After the edit, The Guardian sells more.

Griffith created the tool to “create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike,” he said on his web site. He admitted that it’s impossible to be sure if the edits were made by someone working at one of the organizations, although the I.P. address reveals that they were made by someone with access to their network, he says.

Griffith came up with the idea when he “heard about Congressmen being caught for white-washing their Wikipedia pages,” he said.

“If the edit occurred during working hours, then we can reasonably assume that the person is either an agent of that company or a guest that was allowed access to their network,” he wrote.He said he believes that anonymous speech is important for open projects like Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia works fine today for “noncontroversial topics,” he said, but tools like Wikipedia Scanner can help make the site more reliable for controversial topics, he said.

September 10, 2007 Posted by | World News | Leave a comment

John Hurt’s not Irish!

Gasp! Actually, I saw this one coming. But when I read the news article, I kinda felt bad for the guy. He so fervently believed he was Irish and loved Ireland so much (can’t say I blame him. We kick ass). Ah well. He’s a great actor (I especially loved him in Alien, though he did die quite soon into it), and I used to be friends with his son. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

The one time I met him, he did seem a genuinely nice guy, and my friend was a great laugh too. Don’t worry John, you’ll always have me as a fan!

September 9, 2007 Posted by | World News | Leave a comment