Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, May 17, 2021

China is quickly catching on to this whole capitalism thing. Especially the most important part: Taking vacations. Pent-up desire to see the world via charter tours resulted in 31 million overseas tourists from the Middle Kingdom, a growing trend that is expected to transform the global tourism and leisure industry.

Of course, the Chinese are following in the footsteps of by-now familiar en masse Asian globetrotters:

The last nation to burst on the world travel scene with similar speed and force was Japan, which was enjoying an explosion of prosperity in the 1980’s. Suddenly Japanese could be seen everywhere, especially groups of middle-aged tourists wearing caps and brandishing the latest camera gear, and led, inevitably, by a Japanese tour guide hoisting a flag so that people would not get lost.

The industry responded by placing Japanese-style slippers and bathrobes in hotel rooms, along with Japanese-language television channels. Japanese-speaking staff members also became de rigueur at hotels and fashionable shops. All that for roughly 17 million overseas visits.

The adaptation to Sino sensibilities is already well underway, in some unexpected spots. Karl Marx’s hometown of Trier, Germany is a magnet for Chinese tourism, and the locals have responded to the influx with Chinese language signage.

I can’t wait to see Disneyworld’s Mandarin version of the “It’s a Small World” ride…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/17/2006 10:49:48 PM
Category: Political, Society | Permalink | Feedback

no longer valid?
When I started using Rice University’s Trackback Validator plugin for WordPress back in October, I knew it wouldn’t work forever:

I’m not fooling myself that this is a permanent solution. At some point, spammers are going to figure out how to beat this; I can’t imagine it’d be that hard to scrape permalinks, post them to a site, and then send forth the trackback. But until that happens, this’ll do.

Well, it took them half a year to figure it out, but tonight it happened: I received a spam pingback (spingback?) from a spam blog, and the Validator let it through clean. Which it should have, because indeed, the splog sent its pingback the way any pingback is sent: Via a post that contained a valid permalink to my targeted blog posting, obviously obtained via an automated scraping program.

In short, this is exactly the way to beat the fundamental method that Validator and similar spam filters use to identify spams. Which means that this level of protection is dead, or will be soon enough.

So, I’m going to have to go with something else, unless I want to login to a few hundred spingbacks every day. The obvious choice is Akismet and/or Bad Behavior. Of course, it may be tough to get up-to-date version of those plugins for the version of WordPress I’m running, which means I might have to bite the bullet and upgrade to WP 2.x. Which I’d like to avoid, because upgrades tend to cause headaches for this ol’ blog (and I have even less time to deal with that sort of mess these days than I used to).

I guess this new strain of pinging attack is related to the general rise in malicious comment/ping spam that’s been affecting blogs far and wide. Just this past week, Gary Said, Dustbury, and MemeMachineGo! have written about the uptick of digital sludge heading their way. Looks like the spammers are working overtime. Maybe they’ll eventually overwhelm every legitimate website in existence, and put us all out of our misery.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/17/2006 10:16:38 PM
Category: Bloggin' | Permalink | Feedback (8)