In a galaxy far, far away, I purchased the Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube tray from Think Geek. I knew that I wanted to use it to mold chocolate. But I wanted more than a chocolate bar. And by harnessing the power of the dark side, I added a sugar cookie layer. Yes, Dark Sith Lord, I have cookies. Da da da, dun da-daaa, dun da-daaaa. Now step aside Darth Vader, no using the force to raid the cookie jar!
TIL that Thin Mints are not the most popular Girl Scout cookie. Yesterday, in Cincinnati, President Obama was booed when he mentioned that he preferred Thin Mints to all other Girl Scout cookies.
This surprised me. For several reasons. First, I didn't realized they took cookies that seriously in Cincinnati. Maybe it's time to visit Ohio. Second, as someone who has long preferred Samoas (aka Caramel deLites), I always felt as though I was in a serious minority. Like my family grudgingly ordered one box, mostly for me, out of an order that was primarily made up of Thin Mints.
And, on the one hand, this is a realistic perception. Thin Mints are the Girl Scouts' best selling cookie—accounting for 25% of all cookie sales. And yet.
And yet ... that does not tell the whole story. After all, if we Samoa and Peanut Butter Patty (Tagalongs) fans were to join forces (and we should), we would account for 32% of cookie sales. And if you look at the Girl Scouts' online poll, you find that 33% of respondents preferred Samoas—compared to 28% who preferred Thin Mints.(Not a very scientific poll, but this doesn't seem to be the sort of thing Gallup covers, so the Girl Scouts were my best shot at providing nationally relevant results here.)
So, basically, people who are only kind of okay with Thin Mints—you can feel justified. People who absolutely hate them—that's cool, too. You aren't alone. There's more of us then there are of them, we just aren't a cohesive voting block.
Perma-cookie wars continue: KISSMetrics sneaks cookies back onto your computer even if you turn off every cookie vector
A group of respected security researchers have published a paper documenting the tactics used by KISSmetrics -- a company that counts Hulu and many other Internet giants among its customers -- to install and read back cookies on your computer even if you don't want them. Using a kind of kitchen-sink approach, KISSmetrics is able to track your computer even if you've got cookies, Flash cookies and other common cookie-setting vectors turned off. It's one thing for companies to say that they only gather information about users who allow such tracking; it's another thing for a company to go to endless lengths to circumvent their users' best attempts to shield themselves from tracking.
“Both the Hulu and KISSmetrics code is pretty enlightening,” Soltani told Wired.com in an e-mail. “These services are using practically every known method to circumvent user attempts to protect their privacy (Cookies, Flash Cookies, HTML5, CSS, Cache Cookies/Etags…) creating a perpetual game of privacy ‘whack-a-mole’.”Flash Cookies and Privacy II: Now with HTML5 and ETag Respawning (paper)
“This is yet another example of the continued arms-race that consumers are engaged in when trying to protect their privacy online since advertisers are incentivized to come up with more pervasive tracking mechanisms unless there’s policy restrictions to prevent it.”
They point to their research that found that when a user visited Hulu.com, they would get a “third-party” cookie set by KISSmetrics with a tracking ID number. KISSmetrics would pass that number to Hulu, allowing Hulu to use it for its own cookie. Then if a user visited another site that was using KISSmetrics, that site’s cookie would get the exact same number as well.
So that makes it possible, the researchers say, for any two sites using KISSmetrics to compare their databases, and ask things like “Hey, what do you know about user 345627?” and the other site could say “his name is John Smith and his email address is email@example.com and he likes these kinds of things.”