Shallow Thoughts : : Mar

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Tue, 30 Mar 2021

Fetching Browser Cookies Programmatically

In my eternal quest for a decent RSS feed for top World/National news, I decided to try subscribing to the New York Times online. But when I went to try to add them to my RSS reader, I discovered it wasn't that easy: their login page sometimes gives a captcha, so you can't just set a username and password in the RSS reader.

A common technique for sites like this is to log in with a browser, then copy the browser's cookies into your news reading program. At least, I thought it was a common technique -- but when I tried a web search, examples were surprisingly hard to find.

None of the techniques to examine or save browser cookies were all that simple, so I ended up writing a Python script to extract cookies from chromium and firefox browsers.

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[ 11:19 Mar 30, 2021    More programming | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 23 Mar 2021

Writing a Bill

I've been super busy this month. The New Mexico Legislature was in session, and in addition to other projects, I've had a chance to be involved in the process of writing a new bill and helping it move through the legislature. It's been interesting, educational, and sometimes frustrating.

The bill is SB304: Voting District Geographic Data. It's an "open data" bill: it mandates that election district boundary data for all voting districts, down to the county and municipal level, be publicly available at no charge on the Secretary of State's website.

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[ 13:28 Mar 23, 2021    More politics | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 16 Mar 2021

A Junco Goes "Umbrella Fishing"

One memorable sequence from Sir David Attenborough's stellar Life of Birds documentary is that of a black egret (or black heron -- I've seen both, but aside from color it looks remarkably like the North American snowy and reddish egrets), "umbrella fishing".

[grey-headed junco, 'umbrella fishing'] I never thought I'd have a chance to see that in person. But it turns out black herons aren't the only birds to do that. This winter, we saw a grey-headed junco doing essentially the same thing in our back yard!

This little junco performed its umbrella trick almost like the black heron from Life of Birds, though it didn't hide its head underneath. Still, it might some day: it was still perfecting its technique as we watched over the course of a couple of weeks.

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[ 14:38 Mar 16, 2021    More nature/birds | permalink to this entry | ]