August 10th, 2003

(no subject)

Couple interesting articles today.

The Press Herald had a piece about the island of Frenchboro and its attempts to attract families to keep the community alive. Without kids, the island's school will close, and if other islands are any example, the population will dwindle and die off. In the 1980s, a similar attempt resulted in a brief flood of interest:

One family from Oklahoma, without bothering to write or call, arrived one day on the island with all their household belongings. They planned to open up the island's first-ever petting zoo. [...] They left the island after a week.

The island's population at the time was under 50.

Also, Paul Graham has a new article about spam filters that react with hostility to incoming junk mail. The method? Load every URL mentioned in a potential spam message, perhaps multiple times, to overwhelm the spammer's website. With his ability to state the obvious, he suggests "We should try to ensure that this is only done to suspected spams." Then, in a footnote, the idea devolves to a global whitelist maintained by a central authority. Since blacklists maintained by a central authority are such a bad idea in his eyes, I wonder why he thinks a similar whitelist scheme would be any better, or less prone to abuses of power.

Update Slashdot picked it up. Also, It looks like the "central authority" bit has been edited away.