January 7th, 2011
|10:19 am - 'Apparent mollification of major botnets'|
You may have seen the news that the global level of spam dropped precipitously lately. Nobody knows if this is permanent or temporary.
Here's the BBC report: 'The vast majority of spam is sent by networks of infected computers known as botnets.'
I love this comment from Symantec:
The main cause of this drop is a from a huge reduction in output from the Rustock botnet, by far the most dominant spam botnet of 2010. Since 25th December, Rustock seems to have all but shut down, with the amount of spam coming from it consistently accounting for below 0.5% of all spam worldwide. Further contributing to the massive reduction in spam levels is the apparent mollification of two other major botnets, Lethic and Xarvester. MessageLabs Intelligence has seen virtually nothing from Lethic since the 28th December, and Xarvester since the 31st December.
As someone on metafilter says, this reads like a quote from A Fire Upon the Deep.
I was going to leave this up because I think it's pleasantly ironic. This is the first spam I have had for ages: I suppose attracted by the terms used in my post. However, probably best to delete it.
And now you seem to be a victim of some sort of bot yourself, judging by the anonymous comment above.
Yes, it seemed so ironic that I was going to leave it up, but I think if you don't delete it that attracts more of 'em.
One of my favorite recent comments
on MeFi is slightly related, from a thread on whether language influences perception:
"The wine-dark sea."
"The deep blue sea."
Color influences perception. It's ludicrous to think of the ocean as purple - less ludicrous if the linguistic barrier between blue, black and purple was not as strong as it is in English. The sea itself is changeable... in Daytona Beach, it's clearly green. In Palm Beach, it's clearly blue. These are constructs of our language - someone from medieval Japan would only see shades of ao.
"The sky was the color of television tuned to a dead channel..."
In 1984, this meant grey. In 2010, this means bright blue.
At the moment it seems to be mainstream to say that language does not influence perception, but I think that is clearly untrue. On the other hand I think there is a great wash of experience which is pre-linguistic, and we are in some way also supposed to ignore that. Both ignore the non-linguistic, and yet ignore the influence of language, I suppose the thrust of all this ignoring is to enshrine the way we think now in the words we use now as the only possible way of thinking. Which it clearly isn't.
I think it's like the arguments about Nature Versus Nurture: it's both, and yet the arguments appear to be that it must be all one or all the other. IMHO of course language influences perception, and yet, that isn't the whole story either.