Fiat Lux

It's Latin for 'Let there be Light'

Learning From "GhostBusters"

Winston Zeddemore: Ray. If someone asks if you are a god, you say, “YES!”

ZDNet’s new Social Media blogger Jennifer Leggio posted an interview with Twitter‘s Biz Stone this weekend.

What does that have to do with GhostBusters? This:

Q. Finally, the big question seems to be… is Twitter considering a paid model?

A. No. Not for the usage we are talking about now. It is very important that Twitter remains free for people to remain connected. Some people are suggesting a paid model so that we can improve the service but money is not our issue; we have plenty of money. It’s about getting the right architecture in place and boosting reliability. We want to keep it free.

Biz. Please. Right now, Twitter is a God. Do you realize how lucky you are that people are BEGGING you to take their money? Shut up and take it.

You don’t have to roll out a SLA and a full suite of fee-only tools for the paying customers. Start small. Let people pay $25 a year to have a little icon next to their photos (al la Flickr Pro). They will do it gladly and it won’t eat a lot of development cycles.

You’re not going to be in this spot forever. Take advantage of it while you can.

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Possible Massive Blog Hacking Scheme Unearthed?

Tony Hung of Deep Jive Interests has made some very interesting discoveries this Sunday night.

Here’s the high-level issue:

Some enterprising hackers have put together a scheme whereby they hack a number of blogs, so that they can create their own network pages and links back to a few select blogs, to pages that are not easily visible. It takes advantage of the organic and real page rank of all of the sites in question, and probably makes some bucks for the hacker involved.

Why is this bad for *you*?

Other than the knowledge that someone is profiting off of your back, what can happen is that if you’re running Adsense, Google might notice all the hidden text and penalize you and pull you right out of the Index.

It’s unclear right now what exactly is going on — for example, whether this is a possible WordPress exploit, or something at the webhost level — but if you have a WordPress blog, please click through to Tony’s article and do a little checking to make sure your blog is not one of the affected.

UPDATE April 8: More on this. Upgrade now!

…if you are running any version of WordPress older than 2.3.3, you need to upgrade now. Seriously. WordPress 2.3.2 and older have security holes that are being actively exploited by hackers to inject spam links into blogs which are not maintained.

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Did Huckabee Really Say The Constitution Is Wrong?

I’m a bit hesitant to link to The Raw Story but if this is for real … it’s a little disconcerting, to say the least:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee’s opinion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn’t immediately find much to say beyond calling it “interesting”

Someone needs to ask Huckabee exactly what he means by that comment.

If he means we should add stuff about loving your neighbor as yourself, or about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick … well, maybe he’s got a point. But if it’s the parts about killing homosexuals and making women into chattel, well, that’s another story.

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Whose Holiday Is It?

Penelope Trunk is catching some flack today for her post on things that drive her nuts about Christmas.

I think she’s a lot more right than wrong. And particularly this bit:

“Christmas is not a religious holiday.”
The only people who think Christmas is not religious are the Christians. Everyone else thinks, “This is not my holiday.”

Oh so true.

Xmas is such a dominant part of American society, it’s impossible to avoid without being completely antisocial or rude, and that’s not who I am. And frankly, I’d be lying if I said there was nothing I liked about the Xmas season. I like the lights and the excitement, and even some of the music. I like any excuse to cook (and eat) lots of tasty foods and get together with my friends. But still, none of that makes it “my” holiday.

Chanukah starts at sundown Tuesday. That’s my holiday.

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Ann Coulter on the “imperfect” Jews

I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that Ann Coulter can go on national TV and say that Jews all need to be perfected or that the world would be better off it it were all Christian, or that she doesn’t think that there’s anything wrong with saying so.

Appearing on Donny Deutsch’s CNBC show, “The Big Idea,” on Monday night, columnist/author Ann Coulter suggested that the U.S. would be a better place if there weren’t any Jewish people and that they needed to “perfect” themselves into — Christians.

It’s really hard for me to talk about Coulter without wanting to break into a string of profanity. She seems to enjoy waving red flags in front of bulls and then laughing at the chaos. Generally, I figure that ignoring her is better than stooping to her level or buying into her brand of craziness. But some things are over the line and need to be called as such.

To be clear: Coulter is entitled to believe whatever she wants. If she thinks that Jews are imperfect and that Christians are better than Jews, that’s her right. But there’s another name for that belief, and it’s called bigotry.

It’s wrong, and so is she.

Small wonder that with bigots like her out there as the face of Christianity, the overall perception of Christianity in the US is rapidly plummeting.

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With Friends Like These

by way of Tapped, here’s an NPR piece on the influx of Evangelical tourism to, and financial support of, Israel. With supporters like this, though, you have to wonder if they’re a blessing or a curse:

Leon Ferguson, an African-American from New York, wears a white skullcap and Jewish prayer shawl to the march, describing himself as a gentile with a Jewish heart. He is close to tears as he contemplates the possibility of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

“The true and living God wants his people to be in an undivided Israel, undivided Jerusalem,” he says. “There should be no more give-backs. Every time we give back the land of Israel, something happens in the United States. Katrina followed the give-back of the Gaza.”

Oy.

Not to mention the crux of the issue, which Gershom Gorenberg points out towards the end of the piece: support for Israel isn’t necessarily support for the Jewish religion or the Jewish people. After all,

many evangelical Christians want Jews to convert to Christianity.

“That vision is one in which the Jews eventually disappear,” [Gorenberg] says. “If you say that at the end of days, in a perfect world there aren’t going to be any Jews, what you’re saying, right now, is that you don’t accept the legitimacy of Judaism.”

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