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Opening Sun's Pandora's Box

Fangs for the memory

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Staffed with so many clever people, Sun Microsystems always has research wonders that can enthrall and amaze. In the most unexpected ways. This is why it's fun to hang out with Sun people. And look: the two even rhyme. Sun and fun.

But perhaps the most terrifying secret weapon in Sun's R&D arsenal - take note, competitors - lies in this project, which is being prototyped in public. Only you have to know where to look. So click at your peril:

[DISCLAIMER: This links to small JPEG image. Please ensure children are not in the vicinity. We take no responsibility for consequences caused by clicking on this URL, and you do so entirely at your own risk: here]

Now, what have we here?

Well, for a start: this is no ordinary set of teeth.

It's as if the CEO is demoing some strange kind of substance - possibly of alien origin - but one so powerful and dazzling that no human has ever witnessed the like before.

This material - whatever it is - could floodlight a ballpark for an evening! Or perhaps it could have military uses: for illuminating emergency runways in times of invasion?

Fans of the fifties noir movie Kiss My Deadly will know how the blinding light of "The Thing" reduces those Who Look Upon It to a smoking pair of shoes. Teeth like this are a weapon of mass destruction.

Now, I've met Scott, and I didn't see this anything like this. It looked to me like Scott had a pretty OK, not too-ostentatious set of teeth. Just a fine, working set of fang that that could do the job. But certainly not the Shock and Awe that's inspired by this picture.

(Not that I can talk - I've got the worst teeth in the world. They're so bad that my nick for years has been "badivory" - for when you've got teeth so hideous they make beautiful lady Italian traffic cops faint, you know that the best contribution to World Peace that you can possibly, ever, make is issue, wherever possible, a tight lipped grimace).

There is a serious point here, however: a lesson to be drawn from our cheerful nonsense:

Business in the USA is extremely, and depressingly tooth-led. When you peruse the "Meet the company" sections of corporate websites, you're not so much being invited to admire the intellectual calibre of the leading personnel, as much as you're being invited to admire the quality of their dentistry.

Uh, hello? Look, we no longer live in the bush, or in caves. We do not need such primitive signals of affirmation, when we meet, as a display of gleaming white tombstones. We've moved onto slightly more sophisticated signals of communication, such as er, language: saying things like "How do you do?"

So please, corporate Amerika, can you stop smiling like chimps, for these photoshoots? ®

Bootnote Obviously, Occam's Razor points to the conclusion that this picture has been hugely enhanced in Photoshop, and isn't an example of Scott beta-testing some incredible new synthetic material. But, on the off chance that Sun Microsystems has encountered some alien substance, and found a way of producing it in commercial quantities, can you please swing by Taylor Street in downtown San Francisco, and leave us a sample?

My bathroom bulb has just blown, and I need a light.

Reducing security risks from open source software

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