A Wednesday Triplet of Treats: All the News; Your PIN Number; a Wide Wide World

Every so often I feel free to post about things that have no direct connection to law but that are likely to interest our readers because they’re tech- or research-related. Herewith three such things (the last of which, I confess, is merely delightful):

1. All the News

Incredibly, Brewster Kahle, that rare person with a vision large enough to run around in, has negotiated arrangements that let him, in the words of the New York Times story, put online at his Internet Archive:

every morsel of news produced in the last three years by 20 different [TV] channels, encompassing more than 1,000 news series that have generated more than 350,000 separate programs devoted to news.

The TV News site contains US material principally, but not exclusively: you’ll also find old broadcasts from the BBC, Deutche Welle, Al Jazeera, France 24 and others I haven’t yet found — though no Canadian sources (what’s the problem CBC?) other than CSPAN’s “Canadian House of Commons.” (A search in that last database for “law” brings up a video of Mexico’s Vincente Fox talking, presumably, to the House.)

Astonishingly — and delightfully — a search produces not simply videos but transcripts as well, with search terms highlighted. This is a rich, daunting archive that will take some considerable time to learn.

2. Your PIN Number

Nick Berry on Datagenetics has an interesting and long post on those four-number codes you use to access your bank account (and other data). There are only 10,000 possible four-number codes, which makes it relatively easy to analyse our use of them. Clearly, Berry can’t have access to our PINs, so he turns to a proxy for his analysis, “data condensed from released/exposed/discovered password tables and security breaches”, in order to calculate such things as the most common (i.e. most predictable) and the least common codes.

The site’s format is perhaps not the most conducive to easy reading, but the content is worth getting at. So check out his findings and make certain that you’re not in the 10%, for example, who use the most likely PIN.

3. A Wide Wide World

The Datagenetics entry begins and ends with a cartoon from xkcd, whose virtues I’ve sung elsewhere and more than once. So I feel it’s appropriate to refer you to today’s xkcd cartoon, Click and Drag. To appreciate the comic you must do as instructed: when you get to the large frame, click and drag. And enjoy.


  1. In re: #1, it would be great to see something similar surrounding the SCC’s archived webcasts (i.e., a database of searchable transcripts).

    In re: #3, my computer-geek husband pointed me to this link, which stitches the masterpiece together.