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Victim of its own success…

Commuter train to Amsterdam, in Haarlem station (Photo: kris)

An article in Dutch News about crowded trains around Amsterdam.

So Amsterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem and even Hoofdorp are technically different municipalities. In reality, this is not the case: People are living in de Randstand. And especially for Amsterdam, people are commuting between the city of Amsterdam and the cities around it. Trains are running at a very high frequency, basically so often that people have stopped caring about the schedule and just show up at the platform, using the trains like one would use a tram or subway or anything else that runs more frequently that every 10 minutes.

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Finished Reading: Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade“, Robert Cialdini, (english language, EUR 12.99)

Robert Cialdini is a professor emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at the Arizona State University, a visiting professor of marketing, business and psychology at Stanford University, and is the author of several books on the psychology of Influencing and Persuasion.

This book is about getting someones attention, and using it.

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Bielefeld Conspiracy hits Facebook

Westfalenblatt knows: Yesterday all references to the place name “Bielefeld” have been replaced with “Bielefeldverschwörung” (Bielefeld Conspiracy):

Facebook showing “Bielefeldverschwörung” (Bielefeld Conspiracy) instead of the proper city name.

Bielefeld is a typical while label city in Germany. In fact, it is conspiciously inconspicious, and that is, so the conspiracy theory fabricated by Achim Held in 1993, because the city does not actually exist. It’s a fake location that protects something else on the map, probably an entrance to the Hollow Earth or something else, but we don’t actually know.

The story of the Bielefeld Conspiracy has been made up as a satire, but has since picked up a life of it’s own. The cities bureau of tourism uses it for marketing purposes, and there is even a feature film, which in turn features Achim Held.

Facebook claims that the change was unintentional and that the root cause is being researched. There totally is no conspiracy at all.

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Command line access to the Mac keychain

I am getting my payslips in electronic form, as an encrypted, password protected PDF. It’s not a super secret password, and the encryption is more against accidentally opening the file than it is to keep the content of the file actually secret.

After shipping the PDF home, I am archiving it for tax purposes, but in order to make the archival safe, I am storing the original file as well as the decrypted cleartext version of it. To do that, I wrote a shell script, which contained the password in a variable in clear.

Discussing that at work had a few people rejecting the storage of keys in a script in clear as a matter of principle, and the suggestion was to use the operating system key management service to hold this kind of data.

Here is how to interact with the key management of MacOS.

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Chinese New Year, and birthrate anomalies

Coming up: Chinese New Year @ 28. Januar.

The coming year is a year of the Fire Rooster, and apparently these things mean a lot to a lot of people.

So what influence does the Chinese Zodiac have?

Well, one sign that is supposed to be very unlucky is the Fire Horse. An article from 2012 explains:

People born during the year of the Fire Horse are notorious for being bad luck. People born during a Fire Horse years are said to be irresponsible, rebellious, and overall bad news.

And for some reason, women are said to be especially dangerous Fire Horses. They supposedly sap their family’s finances, neglect their children, and drive their father and husband to an early grave.

Solution? Don’t make babies in a Fire Horse year, and especially no female babies.

So 1966 was a Fire Horse, and that’s what 1966 stats look like:

 

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