Oh say can you see?

Have fun with this eye chart maker. A friend did, and here’s what he came up with.

And the verdict is …

A Harvard-based website that tracks online censorship, Herdict (for verdict of the herd), has been buzzed about for months in China and has become more popular since Google.com was blocked for hours and Twitter.com was blocked twice recently.

Website inaccessibility can also result from network or server errors, firewalls at schools or offices or a new phenomenon called reverse filtering, in which companies block access to copyright-protected material outside a specific country. Or, of course, it can result from government intervention.

Big hack attack

A hack attack last Thursday caused Twitter to crash and affected Facebook as well. Why? Here’s one possibility.

Making hash of it

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. Added inline to your post, a hashtag is created by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.

The top five most popular Twitter hashtags last week were #followfriday, #iranelection, #tcot, #fb, #jobs.

Hashtags are a good indicator of what the trending topics are and who’s twittering about certain topics. Hashtags were developed as a means to create “groupings” on Twitter, without having to change the basic service. Twitter Fan Wiki has more about hashtags.

It’s a hoax!

That email that just dropped into your inbox seems a bit suspicious. How to find out if it is? Head to Hoax-Slayer, a site that debunks email hoaxes, thwarts Internet scammers, combats spam and educates you about email and Internet security issues.

Hoax-Slayer also includes anti-spam tips, computer and email security information, articles about true email forwards and much more. New articles are added to the Hoax-Slayer website every week. A good one to bookmark as a favorite. You’ll be using it often.

Careful what you put in that email

Internet law: Threats sent via email constitute a federal crime.

Emails are an indispensable means of communication. Unfortunately, email can be used to transmit hateful messages, which is a federal crime and carries a penalty of imprisonment of up to five years or a fine, or both. Here’s information on the federal statute that criminalizes threatening emails and a recent case of a man accused of sending racially hateful emails.

Curses! Cursive!

Here’s a question for you: “When you receive your daily snail mail, do you jump to open the handwritten envelopes first?

Handwritten correspondence, a dying art, is more personal and interesting. Writing by hand is something we should do to connect as human beings, so if you’re trying to establish intimacy, go beyond a computer screen and pick up that fountain pen.

When I was a child I was taught to write cursive with the Palmer Method. As a result, my handwriting is attractive, neat and legible. But these days, the art and discipline of writing in longhand is disappearing.

Are the days of handwriting dead and gone? Molly O’Shaughnessy thinks so, and could write a book about why it’s more important than ever to retain the intimacy that a personally written note conveys. In fact, she did!

Exposing the weasels

As we do each week, here are the best of the Weasel Watchers, bloggers who post thoughtful commentary on current events and the weasels involved in them. Check out the Watchers of Weasels Council’s website for a complete list of this week’s best. Here are a few to get you started:

Reflections in this week’s rearview mirror

With all the news that’s being reported about the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus, we took a stroll down memory lane to bring you this shocking 1976 “60 Minutes” TV report on the swine flu vaccine. It will make you ask questions about that needle the government wants you to take.

Attention weather watchers!

Hey all you weather freaks! This site gives you gorgeous satellite views of the world and the weather systems enveloping it.

Browse hurricane tracks from 1851 to the present. See what’s happening in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Storm tracks and forecasted paths are derived from data provided by the National Hurricane Center. Cloud cover imagery is provided by NERC Satellite Station, University of Dundee via the European Meteosat satellite system operated by EUMETSAT. Base imagery courtesy of NASA. Weather watchers will bookmark this as a favorite. I have!

Rock my world!

The Island of Krakatoa erupted and sank in 1883, forming another island known as Anak Krakatau, the child of Krakatoa. It too is getting ready to blow. You can see some fabulous photos of the red hot volcano at this site.

“Towering 1,200 feet above the tropical stillness of the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, one of the most terrifying volcanoes the world has ever known has begun to stir once more. Almost 126 years to the day since Krakatoa first showed signs of an imminent eruption, stunning pictures released this week prove that the remnant of this once-enormous volcano is bubbling, boiling and brimming over. The eruption was so violent and catastrophic that no active volcano in modern times has come close to rivaling it, not even the spectacular eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. in 1980. Now, almost a century-and-a-half on, are we about to experience the horrors of Krakatoa once again?”

Birther-approved birth certificate generator

Be the first one on your block to “prove” where Obama was born. You decide the place, date and time. Fun for the entire family. See who can come up with the zaniest information on this fake birth certificate. See who can come to closest to guessing where our 44th president was born. It’s easy! Just fill in the blanks and the generator does the rest. So simple, even a U.S. president can do it! Recommended for ages 5 thru 44.

Movie trivia

In which movie was the following line said?

“It seems sometimes things get so thick around a man that he comes to feel that everything is closing in on him and that’s when he wants to be left alone.”

Extra points if you can name the actor who said it. Send your answer to me via email (address below). We’ll announce the first person to guess the correct answer in next week’s Surfin’ Safari.

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