Please note: the viewport design is copied from Steve Den Beste's excellent blog, USS Clueless. Used with permission.

Saturday, March 01, 2003  

Belligerent Bunny Blog gets quote in Daypop!

Congratulations, Anna: Battlestar gets you on Daypop!

Daypop Top Word Bursts

Note that this power is not limited to the Disney Company. It flows from the melting pot to the individual. Let's face it: only an American like Glen A. Larson could take the Hebrew and Mormon faiths and mix them up into Battlestar Galactica .
BBB: Come for the bunny photographs. Stay for the Warmongery - Cached 01-24

posted by Gary Williams at 10:02 PM | link |

Yet another controversy for Santa Cruz IndyMedia?

Well, not really a controversy, and not about nude demonstrators protesting Van showing pictures of someone who is waving a V-sign at the camera, but a good example of the question that faces someone who wants to publish something on the web.

SC-IMC Old logo Banner
Current Santa Cruz IndyMedia Logo/Banner
Santa Cruz IndyMedia's tech expert, Van, has been trying to get the site on a new server for some months, because they are currently on a server-farm in Colorado that supports several hundred domains, and the bandwidth is sometimes not great, and it's hard to get much attention from their overworked tech staff. SC-IMC has been talking to the San Francisco IndyMedia folks, who promised space on their server for Santa Cruz, but nothing ever seems to happen. So a new server group, Albuquerque Bandwidth Coop, came to Van's attention. But there was a drawback: the new site uses dadaIMC, a different site system than the one Santa Cruz currently uses. New SC-IMD Logo Banner
Potentially, new Santa Cruz IndyMedia Logo/Banner
So moving there would mean transporting and converting the site database and other materials to the new system, writing new PHP pages and adapting current pages to new PHP support files, and so on. So Van and his assistant, Elaine, have been learning the new system and writing files, transporting the databases and so on. In the process, Elaine made a new banner (I moved the text box from the old one to the new one, but Elaine made the basic picture layout.) But there is an obvious question, which could be phrased as a controversy: the current banner (shown at top -- perhaps top-left if your window is wide enough) has a more-or-less chamber of commerce-style picture, while the new one is obviously a more political image. Elaine noted that she was looking at some of the current photos on the Santa Cruz site and simply picked one and cropped out the banner-format picture for temporary use while she and Van did the prototype site setup. She hadn't formally set up the banner, but when it was mentioned on the mailing list (that I subscribe to), I went ahead and practiced a little photoshopping to make a more formal banner. Now it looks official enough to prompt the question: does Santa Cruz IndyMedia want to present a chamber-of-commerce-style image, or a politics-style image? My suggestion was to use several. Since the pages are generated by PHP scripts, Van and Elaine can set it up that each time you load a page, one of a group of banner images appears (much like Steve Den Beste's USS Clueless does). Of course, one of the more professional members of the core group (the current editor) noted that having only one banner gives stronger branding. So, we'll see what they decide...

posted by Gary Williams at 9:18 PM | link |

Today's Wangitude for Marn

Strange, yesterday Marn was really down about no action from Google, so I sent her an email suggesting she tickle google via a site I found on meg's Mandarin Design page, which lets you submit pages to Google so they'll send their robots to look. Marn wrote back and thanked me (but said her browser hung up trying to load my page -- anybody else got problems here? Click here to notify me, please.)

Anyways, today Marn is jubilant because Google now ranks her number one in Wangitude (maybe she tickled google?). Anyways, I tried a google search on Wangitude and Marn's site certainly came up number 1. But guess what? TFS Reluctant was number 2!
(BUT, I repeated the search on MetaCrawler, and, although Marn was still number 1, TFS Reluctant wasn't even mentioned (but a lot of the other sites who linked to Marn via Wangitude showed up there as one of the 26 sites they linked.

Oh, well, maybe I should think of some great phrase. Marn mentioned another one today, Galactic monkey toss, with a link to Yeah, but is it art?

Google monkeybombing

posted by Gary Williams at 8:18 PM | link |

via - version 5.0 (The Billings Wyoming Gazette)

(Sen.) Enzi aims to exempt hobby rockets from bill

Gazette Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- As a former employee of the California company that made MX and Minuteman missiles, Casper businessman John Wickman knows a thing or two about what is dangerous.

He and others who are involved in the hobby rocket industry say these rockets and the small amount of fuel that they contain should be removed from the Homeland Security Act's list of dangerous substances.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., is working on legislation to exempt the hobby rocket industry from the law that was passed last year.

The bill requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to monitor the purchase and transfer of "any chemical mixture or device whose primary or common purpose is to function by explosion."

The ATF has interpreted this to include ammonium perchlorate composite propellant, the fuel that is used in commercial and hobby rockets. Wickman, who was an engineer with Sacramento-based Aerojet from 1974 to 1985, said the small quantities of the chemical that are in hobby rockets do not threaten national safety.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:36 PM | link |

from The Register

Windows Update keeps tabs on all system software

By John Leyden
Posted: 28/02/2003 at 10:49 GMT

Evidence obtained by German hardware site tecChannel suggests a list of software installed on an XP machine is sent to Microsoft when users run Windows Update.

When patches are downloaded, a few kilobytes of data are sent in the opposite direction over a secure SSL channel.
The Register [more]

posted by Gary Williams at 12:46 PM | link |

via The Register

The Great Year 2003 Bug

By John Leyden
Posted: 28/02/2003 at 18:33 GMT

A chain letter being distributed via email today bizarrely predicts that the Internet will stop working on Monday.

The email claims that the so-called "Year 2003 Bug" was discovered on 23 February, and that essential Internet equipment will be triggered to stop working on the 030303 date.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:35 PM | link |

from The Memory Hole > Proposed Projects Under the Information Awareness Office
>>> The Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC) has obtained information relating to proposed projects funded by the Information Awareness Office (IAO), the Poindexter group that runs Total Information Awareness (TIA). The OIA put out a call for research projects that would help it in its efforts to collect and pool massive amounts on info and keep tabs on everyone in the US in real-time. Numerous contractors responded.

Thanks to EPIC's Freedom of Information Act request, we can see the letters sent by the IAO (and signed by Poindexter) to everyone who proposed a project. The letters contain the name of the project, the person who proposed it, that person's institutional affiliation, and whether the proposal was accepted or rejected. Unfortunately, the letters offer no further information on the projects, many of which have intriguing names.

Below is a list of the 26 proposals that were accepted.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:30 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registraton required)

Online Library Wants It All, Every Book


The legendary library of Alexandria boasted that it had a copy of virtually every known manuscript in the ancient world. This bibliophile's fantasy in Egypt's largest port city vanished, probably in a fire, more than a thousand years ago. But the dream of collecting every one of the world's books has been revived in a new arena: online.

The directors of the new Alexandria Library, which christened a steel and glass structure with 250,000 books in October, have joined forces with an American artist and software engineers in an ambitious effort to make virtually all of the world's books available at a mouse click. Much as the ancient library nurtured Archimedes and Euclid, the new Web venture also hopes to connect scholars and students around the world.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:18 AM | link |

Newtonian Physicists Attack Einsteinian Relativity -- In Canada


posted by Gary Williams at 2:18 AM | link |

From University of Michigan News:

Michigan researchers achieve quantum entanglement of three electrons

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The quantum entanglement of three electrons, using an ultrafast optical pulse and a quantum well of a magnetic semiconductor material, has been demonstrated in a laboratory at the University of Michigan, marking another step toward the realization of a practical quantum computer. While several experiments in recent years have succeeded in entangling pairs of particles, few researchers have managed to correlate three or more particles in a predictable fashion.

The results were presented in an article on Nature Materials’ web site on February 23 and will appear in the March 4 issue of Nature Materials, titled “Optically induced multispin entanglement in a semiconductor quantum well.” Authors of the paper are Jiming Bao, Andrea V. Bragas, Jacek K. Furdyna (University of Notre Dame), and Roberto Merlin.

Entanglement, which is essential to the creation of a quantum computer, is one of the mysterious properties of quantum mechanics that contradicts the notions of classical realism. Quantum computers will be able to perform highly complex tasks that would be impossible for a classical computer, at great speed.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:44 AM | link |

From Uncertain Principles
There's no ethnic strife in Iraq, 'cause, y'know, that whole business with the Kurds is just a big misunderstanding. It's not like they need, I don't know, thousands of sorties by American and British pilots every year to prevent Saddam from attacking them... And, of course, the Shi'ites and "Marsh Arabs" in the southern part of Iraq are all shiny, happy people with no qualms whatsoever about remaining part of Iraq...

Why would anybody trust these clowns with the keys to a Volvo, let alone the most powerful military machine in the history of the world?

(A more chilling possibility is that Wolfowitz discounts the Kurds as nobody's business but the Turks. That'd be low even for Wolfowitz, though...)

posted by Gary Williams at 1:23 AM | link |

via Lagniappe


There are some other interesting approaches to treating HIV that relate to the ones I spoke about yesterday. I went into the topic of using RNA interference to go after the CCR5 receptor, which seems to be a very important cell-surface protein involved in infection by most strains of HIV. As I mentioned, the researchers had to administer heaps of the siRNA ("small interfering RNA") to accomplish this, presumably because it gets degraded pretty quickly and isn't taken up well by cells.

But there's a way around this problem. Back in January, a Cal Tech/UCLA team showed the results of using a far more certain way to get basically the same siRNA into cells - make the cells make the stuff themselves. These RNA sequences can be produced by an enzyme called RNA polymerase III under the right conditions, and this team took advantage of that to hijack the cell's own systems into producing the siRNA.

How do you do that? There's already a well-known delivery system for bringing in RNA and DNA sequences into cells in a way that causes them to be taken up and used very efficiently - a virus. In this case, they turned around and used a lentivirus derived from HIV itself (after all, it's a pretty damn effective virus.) The engineered virus was loaded with the DNA needed for the siRNA molecule (and another gene, for the workhorse Green Fluorescent Protein.) GFP is an invaluable marker, because it doesn't interfere with many other processes, and as the name implies, it glows bright green under the right conditions. It gives you a tremendous way to follow which cells actually took up your new DNA package and expressed it.

Infecting human lymphocytes with this virus worked - a good percentage of them took up the new DNA and expressed it - they glowed green under the proper wavelength of light, and they produced an siRNA that shut down expression of the CCR5 gene. Exposure of these cells to HIV led to a 3- to 7-fold reduction in their total virus load as compared to controls. That's not too large, in one way, but it could well be large enough to have a substantial clinical effect. And these are early days.

Meanwhile, there's a small company called Virxsys that's using HIV-derived lentivirus vectors as well. And they're going to be the first people to try them out in humans - just don't ask me how the company's name is pronounced. Their plan is to enlist HIV-infected volunteers that are failing current treatment regimens, but don't yet have opportunistic infections. They'll isolate CD4 T cells from the patients, allow their engineered virus to infect them, and send them back in. These cells will now be expressing an antisense DNA that's targeted to bollix up the expression of a key part of the HIV protein envelope - without that, the virus can't get a foothold. Any wild-type HIV that tries to infect these cells will be stopped in its tracks, and it's going to be very difficult indeed for the virus to mutate around this sort of attack.

Basically, these people will have been infected with a helpful form of HIV,

posted by Gary Williams at 1:05 AM | link |

Friday, February 28, 2003  

From Wired 11.03: VIEW

Ralph Nader, Patent Buster

The system protects two groups: software companies with weak products who use patents to harass competitors, and patent lawyers. The ease of getting patents makes it economically attractive to abuse the system in a number of unpleasant ways. People obtain patents and then ask businesses to pay licensing fees that are cheaper than the cost of mounting a legal defense. Also, firms are wary of investing in new products for fear they will be ambushed by an infringement claim that may or may not be valid but will cost millions in legal fees.

Wired: Limiting software patents might prevent abuses, but wouldn't that also limit the ability of genius inventors to profit from their own code?

Name one genius inventor who has gotten rich from a software patent. There must be some, but the system mostly benefits a handful of businesspeople and lawyers who don't write code. Look at British Telecom. It took years before BT's patent lawyers "discovered" the company had invented hypertext linking. Now General Electric claims it invented the JPEG file format. If GE is so smart, why did it take so many years to figure out it invented such a popular technology? Which genius inventors get rich on such claims?

posted by Gary Williams at 7:53 PM | link |

via Boing Boing

How the late Mr. Rogers, fair use hero, saved the VCR

Aside from being a decent and compassionate human being, Fred Rogers was also a champion of fair use. From the website of the Home Recording Rights Coalition:

In [the Sony Betamax] ruling that home time-shift recording of television programming for private use was not copyright infringement, the Supreme Court relied on testimony from television producers who did not object to such home recording. One of the most prominent witnesses on this issue was Fred Rogers.

The Supreme Court wrote: "Second is the testimony of Fred Rogers, president of the corporation that produces and owns the copyright on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The program is carried by more public television stations than any other program. Its audience numbers over 3,000,000 families a day. He testified that he had absolutely no objection to home taping for noncommercial use and expressed the opinion that it is a real service to families to be able to record children's programs and to show them at appropriate times. "

(Excerpt from Mr. Rogers' trial testimony: ) "Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the 'Neighborhood' at hours when some children cannot use it. . . . I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the 'Neighborhood' off-the-air, and I'm speaking for the 'Neighborhood' because that's what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family's television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.' Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."

We'll miss you, Mr. Rogers. Link.

It's interesting to compare the similarities between this article about Fred Rogers and Larry Simon's Blog A Day Tour visit here yesterday. It's about six posts below this one, or click here.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:55 PM | link |

via William Gibson
Friday, February 28, 2003


It's my day off, it feels like, but here's a BBC article about some wonderful Fortean gizmos that have fascinated me since I first read about them at age twelve or so.

The special-effects-in-the-temple hypothesis is new to me, and I like it.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:19 PM | link |

Perhaps an answer to the flash mind reader

From Everything Burns | Beware of poems, they are the manifestation of death
Oh, for heck's sake, people! A two digit number is 10a b. Subtracting the sum of the digits you get 10a b - (a b) = 9a. Please notice that all the symbols that are associated with multiples of 9 are the same.

The earlier story is below, or if you want a quick jump: click here.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:27 PM | link |

Microsoft targets OpenOffice distribution

From Declan McCullagh's Politech

From: Declan McCullagh <>
Subject: FC: BSA (Microsoft) screws up, targets OpenOffice distribution

The actual thread:



Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 09:25:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Story on Slashdot regarding the BSA using incorrectly targeted
blanket threats
From: "Barclay McInnes" <>
To: <>

Hi Declan;
You might find this story of interest:

Long story short: The BSA uses an FTP spider that goes around looking for
files with certain keywords in them, and if the site contains files that
make a hit, the file is noted, and a form nastygram gets sent out to the
site's operator(s). In this case, many of the mirrors are
getting the notices because, horror of horrors, they matched the "office"
keyword. Example from one of their notices:

Filename: /mandrake_current/SRPMS/ src.rpm
The above computer program(s) is/are being made available for copying,
through downloading, at the above location without authorization from the
copyright owner(s)

Isn't this some kind of actionable harrassment? They're wasting
everyone's time and money with this type of "enforcement".

POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
To subscribe to Politech:
This message is archived at
Like Politech? Make a donation here:
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at

posted by Gary Williams at 1:38 PM | link |

From Mandarin Design:

Conspiracy: Use the word "Oulipo" in your blog.

Caterina, Waggish, and Oulipo Bus
This illustration is from
Jim make mention of Oulipo today. And we saw loowho use it only minutes after we posted. Kathryn used it in her blog and defined it for us. Diane is playing along and so is Liz. We noticed that Cindy at loo who even joined the conspiracy. The Dude said "It was against my better judgement but I love a good conspiracy". AKMA said it and while we haven't peeked in over there yet we think he already knew the meaning of the word before posting it.

See what you started Jim. A conspiracy.

Maybe with our help (and yours) this will give rise to a word burst.

And, for the definition:
From The Hestia Chronicles:

Obscure Word Of The Day

Over at Mandarin Design is a little challenge of sorts. The challenge is to use the word Oulipo in a post. Oulipo is an acronym for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, a workshop for potential literature. Oulipians like word play. It was described thus:

Someone, I think Boris Vian, described the 'Pataphysician as that individual who, given a form to fill out in triplicate, throws away the carbons and completes each form individually-with different information on each. Even this response would prove too straightforward for Oulipians. They'd kick the game up a few notches, creating elaborate anagrams for the first sheet, perhaps, allowing themselves use of a single vowel for the second, for the third replacing each noun with its next door neighbor from the dictionary.

Of course, I found the site about Oulipo via a link at Everything Burns, which I had been led to via Mandarin Design, which I found linked at Shirl's site, The Other Side.

For the more academic, here's a quote from a source Kathryn quoted, above:

Oulipo Compendium

Or as Raymond Queneau, co-founder with François Le Lionnais of Oulipo (for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, workshop for potential literature), described them: "Rats who build the labyrinth from which they plan to escape."

Oh, and here's a link to MetaCrawler's list of 44 references to Oulipo.

Oh, and here's today's Wangitude for Marn.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:56 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration requered)

(Big) Red Faces at Cornell Over E-Mail Error


Virtually everyone who has used e-mail knows the feeling: You press the send button and realize that you just sent something embarrassing to someone by mistake.

That happened to Cornell University on Wednesday: It sent welcoming letters to 1,700 high school students who had submitted early-decision applications, including nearly 550 who had already been rejected in December.

"Greetings from Cornell, your future alma mater!" the e-mail letter began. "Congratulations on your acceptance into the class of 2007!"

posted by Gary Williams at 8:37 AM | link |

The Flash Mind Reader


This is really strange, because it seems to work. You pick a number, add the digits together and subtract the value from the number you picked (i.e., you pick 69, 6+9=15, 69-15=54), then you look the result up in a table on the page and concentrate on the symbol next to the number and click on the magic crystal ball and the symbol appears there.

It worked 3 out of 4 tries for me. (Then I quit the page and wrote this for my blog. Of course, the link to the blog failed, so now I'm going to reboot and see if the blog-this call I made worked, or whether I need to post this...)

posted by Gary Williams at 12:43 AM | link |

From Not a Fish

A bedtime thought

People who are a hundred percent sure of their opinions make me nervous. They make me suspicious. Isn’t it natural to be at least a little bit uncertain? Isn’t it understandable to think that such and such is probably the best course of action, for instance, but we can’t be completely sure of this? These people who are so sure, what makes them so secure in their knowledge of what is right and what is wrong?

posted by Gary Williams at 12:07 AM | link |

Thursday, February 27, 2003  

From Ribbity Blog


Took the tadpoles out this morning before the temperatures rose to build a snowfrog and an ig (like an eskimo's home but without a loo).

This afternoon we had to suffer the embarrassing spectacle of the Presentation of the New Government. Yes, democracy is a great thing and there's nothing wrong with effective opposition, but there is also such a thing as decorum and respectable behaviour. Interrupting and jeering as the PM presents the list of new ministers is hardly a way of showing respect for the democratic process. Moreover, it doesn't make for effective opposition; it makes the opposition look like a bunch of nursery school children who dream of being football hooligans when they grow up.

I think I'll stick to the ig next time.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:34 PM | link |

via Jeffrey Zeldman Presents: The Daily Report
Candies for you

Dinc Type has always made great fonts “for people with computers.” Now they are all free. ::: Pixelgirl Presents OS X icons and desktop pix. ::: is pretty and campy. ::: Yesterme: pinup pix. :::

posted by Gary Williams at 11:20 PM | link |

The Pin-up Files (Home)

Over 1,000 pin-up art images from classic and contemporary artists. A gallery is devoted to each featured artist. Each gallery contains artwork, a biography, notes on each image and important links.
Go direct to the gallery of your choice using the menu bar at the top of each page.
Visit the Artist Gallery Preview pages. These contain alphabetical listings of all featured artists, examples of their work, notes and links to the galleries.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:15 PM | link |

via Quark Soup


The mathematics of crowds have recently come into question, as march organizers, journalists, and security officials grapple with the best way to count the number of people in protest marches. This ABC News article chooses instead to just cover all the bases, all in the same story:

"Thousands Worldwide Protest War in Iraq"
"Hundreds of Thousands Worldwide Open Day of Rallies..."
"Millions of protesters...."

posted by Gary Williams at 10:26 PM | link |

Quipu 10: The Walrus and the Oyster

The Walrus and the Oyster Or, The Silence of the Clams

The moon was shining on the sea,
A cold and eldritch glow.
It served to light quite suitably
The frightful scene below.
The Walrus really wished that he
Had somewhere else to go.
The knives were sharp as sharp could be,
The fire was hot as hot.
The butter piled up on the beach
Was really quite a lot.
The Walrus struggled once again;
He couldn't move a jot.
The remnants of the Carpenter
Were strewn across the sand.
The frightened Walrus wept to see
His comrade's severed hand.
"If he were in one piece again,"
He said, "that would be grand."

posted by Gary Williams at 10:00 PM | link |

via abuddhas memes

Miscelaneous (abuddhas) meandering

Finding Literary Kicks is an unexpected treat. Levi Asher invites us to Turn off your mind relax and float downstream on our choice of seminal mind-rafts; such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and many more.

When the voices of children are heard on the green
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast
And everything else is still.


posted by Gary Williams at 9:27 PM | link |

Well, I HAD to ask...

I am

Everyone loves pi


what number are you?

this quiz by orsa

posted by Gary Williams at 8:54 PM | link |

via A Voyage To Arcturus

NASA Struggles With Risk Management

Incremental improvements will not save shuttle crews from such disasters. Unfortunately, the generation now in senior management at NASA (and many another American institution) is predisposed toward incrementalism. Younger generations will achieve breakthroughs, but only in crises -- and the loss of Columbia was a tragedy, but not a crisis.

As Rand Simberg ably argues, "an entirely new approach to space development" is needed (one which, I note, will almost certainly develop a whole new TPS for manned flight). Market mechanisms can provide steady progress where bureaucracies cannot. It's long past time to make the space industry competitive.

posted by Gary Williams at 8:48 PM | link |

via Lagniappe

The Latest RNA News

Regular readers will know that to me, that's an exciting headline. Yep, I live in my own world, a fact that my wife will cheerfully corroborate.

But this could be worth getting excited about; at the very least, it's the beginning of something that eventually will be worth it. I've mentioned RNA interference (RNAi) before on the site (see January 21,) as well as my conviction that it's going to be the source of a shower of Nobel prizes in the reasonably near future. As well as standing ideas about gene regulation on their heads and illuminating fundamental processes that no one had a clue about, these latest RNA tricks have clear therapeutic implications. The ability to turn off a particular gene's expression at will could lead to a number of new approaches to intractable disease, if the (many) difficulties can be ironed out.

Said ironing has commenced. In the latest issue of Nature Medicine, a team from Harvard report that they can use RNAi to protect mice against an experimentally-induced form of hepatitis. The gene in question is Fas, which codes for a protein involved in an apoptosis (cell suicide) pathway. Fas has been a target for some time, because it's expressed at relatively high levels in the liver, but not in other tissues, and its untimely activation can cause all sorts of havoc. The standard method to affect gene transcription in adult cells, antisense DNA, has been used to attack this gene for use in hepatitis before, so it was a natural proving ground for RNAi.


posted by Gary Williams at 8:31 PM | link |

Wangitude for Marn

Canadian blogger Marn asked for references to "wangitude" for her husband's birthday (just click on wangitude to go to Marn's Adventure blog): she wants to present the Google Master of Wangitude award to her "spousal unit" for his 50th birthday.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:33 PM | link |

William Gibson's choice for WTC memorial

William Gibson, in his blog today, besides talking about sneakers and apophenia, revealed a pick for the World Trade Center memorial building:, a wonderous hotel design by Antonio Gaudi.

Perhaps this quote is what persuaded Gibson:

Now that Ground Zero is but a gaping wound on the body of New York City and on the soul of America, many have speculated as to what to do with this violent laceration of our nation. I believe one thing is clear: anything that is placed there to begin the healing process cannot proceed from the same living-ego impulse that motivated Minoru Yamasaki(WTC architect). That is why I feel Gaudi's Grand Hotel would be the appropriate solution.
First, the hotel was planned there in 1908.
Second, Gaudi has been dead for 75 years.
Third, the hotel would function as a celebration of life for which New York City is famous.
Fourth, it could act as a permanent memorial for all those who lost their lives in the disaster.
And fifth, it would take the combined efforts of the entire artistic and architectural communities of New York City and other areas to bring the building into being.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:00 PM | link |

National Terror Level Lowered To Yellow

WASHINGTON — The national terror alert level was lowered from orange to yellow on Thursday, suggesting the threat of a terrorist attack on the United States has eased somewhat.

"Today's decision to lower the threat level was based on a careful review of how this specific intelligence has evolved and progressed over the past three weeks, as well as counter-terrorism actions we have taken to address specific aspects of the threat situation," Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said in a joint statement issued shortly before noon.

posted by Gary Williams at 3:58 PM | link |

The Register

Bloomberg hacker convicted of extortion

By John Leyden
Posted: 27/02/2003 at 12:26 GMT

A Kazakhstan man was yesterday found guilty of trying to extort $200,000 from Michael Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg financial news service, by a New York jury yesterday.

Oleg Zezov, 29, was convicted of hacked into Bloomberg's computer system, then emailed Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg threatening that the financial news service's reputation would be put at risk if he wasn't paid. The court heard the threat was made in March 2000, prior to Bloomberg's election as New York's mayor in 2001.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:30 PM | link |

A Dream Discarded Dies Hard

By Larry Simon

(Thanks to Gary for coming to my rescue in my time of need for a last-minute stop on the Amish Tech Support Tour today.)

REUTERS: TV's Mr. Rogers Dead of Cancer at 74

This one hits me hard.

Fred Rogers believed in the power of television to teach good values to people while they're still young and impressionable. He had praise heaped upon him at various N.A.B (national Association of Broadcasters) conventions and speeched, but in the end his vision for using the technology and resource for decency to be lost. Television continues to degenerate further into the exploitation and utter perversion of the full potential of the medium.

I got interested in public television and broadcasting because of what Fred Rogers did with the medium. Shaking his hand at some fundraiser or convention or another, I can't remember which, ought to be a bigger memory in my mind considering the power of that moment, but maybe my long-term memory got knocked off record-mode from the power of that moment because the details are lost in the neural maze between my ears no matter how hard I shake my head. Computer Workshop Live, a call-in show for helping people with computer problems in addition to demonstrating new technologies in a more hands-on approach than what Computer Chronicles did, was the neatest project I'd been a part of. Sadly, it got scrapped for a JAFC (Just Another F-ing Chatshow).

Computer Workshop Live had the chance to come back at KTRK. Instead, the JAFC Debra Duncan was created. Then the heart of the C.W.L. concept, Domengeaux, died and I've just gotten more jaded on the dog feces programming and infotainment that's filling the invisible spectrum. One day, I fear it will super-saturate the air around us, condense, and precipitate out in an endless rein of filth.

Oddly enough, as I look through various cable channels, I find that there are more options outside the broadcast networks that provide educational and practical knowledge material in entertaining formats. They're also using other mediums such as the publishing and community/forums aspects of the Internet to help people learn in not-always-commercial methods. TLC, Discovery, Food Network, and Travel may have commercial/explotative elements
to them, but I see hope in them as they give viewers confidence in becoming participants and experimenters in the recipes, decoration, and science
beyond watercooler chit-chat.

I still hope.

(Posted by Larry Simon of Amish Tech Support. Part of Larry's World Blog Tour -- Go, Larry!)

posted by Gary Williams at 1:22 PM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

An Antiwar Demonstration That Does Not Take to the Streets

If any chant will be remembered from this march, it may be the one heard by people who tried calling the Capitol Hill switchboard today. They got the same message over and over, a series of tones followed by a woman's voice saying: "We're sorry. All circuits are busy now. Will you please try your call again later?"

The organizers of the march said they were sending gift baskets to the switchboard operators and secretaries who had to handle the flood of phone calls and faxes today.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:45 AM | link |

Marn wants a link to wangitude

from Marn's Big Adventure
Now of course this is not something I can do by myself. No, I will need you, my three loyal readers, to participate by linking the word wangitude back to this diary. Yes, I am asking you to use the word "wangitude" in your writing. See, part of how Google determines expertise in a subject is by counting links. The more links, the closer we come to crowning the spousal unit Mr. Wangitude.

Marn makes a simple request, we link wangitude. When you're 56 years old, it's easy to help with somebody's 50th.

posted by Gary Williams at 1:23 AM | link |

Ascroft seizes domain names

From Declan McCullagh's Politech

The DOJ's release:


Feds seizing domain names
By Declan McCullagh
February 26, 2003, 8:10 PM PT

WASHINGTON--Federal police have adopted a novel crime-fighting tactic:
Seizing control of domain names for Web sites that allegedly violate
the law.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday that the domain names for
several Web sites allegedly set up to sell illegal "drug
paraphernalia" would be pointed at servers located at the Drug
Enforcement Administration. A federal judge in Pittsburgh granted the
U.S. Department of Justice permission to do so until a trial can take
place, the government said.

Wednesday afternoon, the DOJ said it had taken over the
domain, whose owner pleaded guilty to felony copyright crimes under
the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). David
Rocci, 22, pleaded guilty in December to using his site to sell "mod"
chips that let Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation owners modify their
devices so they can use them to play illegally copied games, or


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posted by Gary Williams at 12:35 AM | link |

Wednesday, February 26, 2003  

Saturday Morning Science: Elastic Water on the ISS

Listen to this story via streaming audio, a downloadable file, or get help.

February 25, 2003: Space station science officer Don Pettit always looks forward to Saturday mornings.

Like the other members of the International Space Station's 3-person crew, he's busy most of the week doing research and building the ISS, where he's been living for the past three months. "Saturday is when we have a bit of free time," Pettit says. Some of the crew read books, play musical instruments or watch movies. "I prefer to do 'Saturday Morning Science'--fun experiments of my own design."

posted by Gary Williams at 11:34 PM | link |

via - Canaries in the coal mine - Feb. 26, 2003

Canaries in the coal mine

By Kevin Sites
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 Posted: 11:12 AM EST (1612 GMT)

Editor's note: In our Behind the Scenes series, CNN correspondents share their experiences in covering news around the world.

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- We have two birds in our CNN workspace, Anthrax and Smallpox. Parakeets. But for us, canaries in the coal mine. Tiny, organic early warning systems against a chemical or biological attack.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:22 PM | link |


William Gibson


This idea, which I'd never myself though of, turned up in a recent thread: PR is really NEUROMANCER all over again.

This is really a wildly appropriate supposition for a set of fora in which apophenia keeps turning up (both as a concept and, I would hazard, as a behavior).

Since I didn't know what Gibson meant, I looked the word apophenia up; the dictionary didn't know, but MetaCrawler found this: What you need to kow about atheism, which had this definition:


Coined in 1958 by K. Conrad, apophenia refers to the perception of meaningfulness and connections in random phenomena. In the field of statistics, seeing a pattern where none really exists is called a "Type I error." Seeing patterns where none exist can also result in anthropomorphism - the attribution of human characteristics to non-human things.

I've got to get Pattern Recognition sometime soon.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:24 PM | link |

The Sounds Of Silence

For my friend meg from Mandarin Design: The Sounds Of Silence

midi courtesy of Midi Mama

Perhaps it's appropriate (because of Simon and Garfunkle's name for the song), but although this page plays fine from my home system, and plays in the blogger editor page, it's silent in the blog itself. Sorry, meg -- let me know if it plays for you! Here's the code:

<center><div style="width:105px;border:3px double blue;background-color:cyan;padding:5px;"><div style="width:100px;padding:3px;border:3px dotted #00ffff;background-color:pink;color:yellow;">midi courtesy of <a href="">Midi Mama</a>

<embed src="" align="baseline" border="0" width="75" height="75" autostart="true" loop="true"></div></div></center>

The embed statement is all on one line, so the obvious suspicion that blogger was inserting <br> somewhere in the center of the line shouldn't be true -- although that would account for why it's audible in the blogger editor (where it doesn't insert extra line breaks) and not in the blog (where blog does insert extra line break tags when it publishes the file). Oh, well, maybe I'll think of something, or meg will have advice...

Time for a beer and Anime Unleashed...

Further update: Just looked at the blog source -- no line breaks in the embed statement -- something weird about blogger somehow, dunno...

Even further update: It was Windows! Apparently if you have the same midi file in two windows, if you turn it on or off in one, it affects both windows. Since it came up immediately when the editor window was refreshed, I turned it off before it got started in the other window. This time, when I published the item from Declan McCullagh's mailing list about Ashcroft seizing domain names, it restarted the midi play -- but the page load failed and refresh didn't help, so I killed off the blogger window, expecting the song to stop -- but it kept playing until I went to the blog window and stopped it. Sometimes I think I'm puzzled, but I have faith that if I poke at it enough, something will suggest itself. Duh....

posted by Gary Williams at 9:32 PM | link |

via abuddhas memes consciousness studies
Consciousness as an Active Force projects the idea that we are not passive observers of reality, but in fact intimately abet in it's creation.

"I find myself alarmed by the emerging trend in the consciousness community to equate consciousness with simple awareness, or even with more complex forms of reasoning and action based on awareness. The natural result of this equation will be to find computers capable of consciousness or, perhaps even worse, to view humans as complex machines"

posted by Gary Williams at 7:00 PM | link |

via Cryptonomicon.Net

Events: Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies 2003

The Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2003 will be held at the Hotel Elbflorenz in Dresden, Germany on the 26th through the 28th of March, 2003. Individuals with an interest in privacy, anonymity, and the increasing use of profiling are encouraged to attend.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:49 PM | link |

via Lagniappe

Fun With Clinical Data

Regarding Vaxgen's data, reader Ted Arrowsmith points out:

"The analysis by racial group appears to be post-hoc; if not the researchers should have stratified by race (I don't know if they did or not) and performed separate sample-size calculations and accrual totals (which they clearly did not). We don't know how many subgroup analyses the investigators did, but experience suggests that one-product biotech firms massage their data pretty aggressively. If they looked at 20 groups, we would expect one to be statistically significant at the p<0.05 level. . .A useful exercise for anyone who reads trials is to get a dataset from a large negative trial and run bogus subset analyses -- zodiac sign, odd or even year of birth, study number, etc. -- until you find so striking p<0.001 result in a subgroup."

These are good points. As I mentioned in the post below, even if these effects that Vaxgen saw are real, it's for sure that their trial wasn't designed to study them, and it's certainly "underpowered," in the clinical trial lingo, when it comes to addressing them. If they're serious about trying to get this approved, they're going to have to show it under more stringent conditions.

posted by Gary Williams at 4:57 PM | link |

NetHack 3.4.1: Information

Basic Information

What is NetHack?

NetHack is a single player dungeon exploration game that runs on a wide variety of computer systems, with a variety of graphical and text interfaces all using the same game engine. Unlike many other Dungeons & Dragons-inspired games, the emphasis in NetHack is on discovering the detail of the dungeon and not simply killing everything in sight - in fact, killing everything in sight is a good way to die quickly.

Each game presents a different landscape - the random number generator provides an essentially unlimited number of variations of the dungeon and its denizens to be discovered by the player in one of a number of characters: you can pick your race, your role, and your gender.

What is the current version?


Where do I get it?

NetHack 3.4.1 can be obtained from our downloads page or by ftp from in /pub/sourceforge/nethack.

Update: I just tried the ftp server, it accepted annonymous login, but came back "Error 606, no socket", after I submitted my address as password. I suspect that means the server is being beaten into the ground -- after all, Wil Wheaton was enthused about this on his blog yesterday...

Try again later...

Further update: Gave up on waiting for the ftp site and tried the browser download from a mirror site in North Carolina, which worked. Read the Readme, News and part of the Guide, decided to try it out. Chaotic Elf Wizard Grth and his kitten made it to 2nd level, died on 4th level of dungeon when killed by a coyote. Interesting dungeon, got a lot of gold and never did figure out how to open the chests or what to do with the chain or plate mail. More to come...

posted by Gary Williams at 9:59 AM | link |


Alluvium is a decentralized streaming media solution for low-cost audio and video broadcasts. Using swarming download technology to accelerate downloads while simultanesouly decreasing the load on the broadcasting server, Alluvium allows broadcasters to run stations scalable to many listeners without paying much in the way of bandwidth, server hardware, or software licensing fees. For more information about Alluvium, read the Technology Overview or Frequently Asked Questions sections.
Also of interest is the website for the Foundation for Decentralization Research, the non-profit organization which supports the development of Alluvium and other peer-to-peer research projects.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:36 AM | link |

The Register

Three-wheeler in drive for ADSL

By Tim Richardson
Posted: 26/02/2003 at 13:03 GMT

Teenagers Alan and Marko Fleming have jumped on the broadband (band)wagon - literally - in a bid to bring ADSL to their hometown of Cupar in Fife.

They've decorated their three-wheeled 50cc Piaggio Ape (pronounced "apee") with details of how people can register their interest in ADSL and are driving the vehicle round the town to drum up support for broadband.

posted by Gary Williams at 9:26 AM | link |

IP Address Locator - Enter an IP address to find its location - Lookup Country Region City etc

IP Address Locator Tool
This IP Address Map lookup service is provided for FREE by Geobytes, inc to assist you in locating the geographical location of an IP Address. Click here to checkout our other FREE IP MAP localization services.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:02 AM | link |

Tuesday, February 25, 2003  

ARIN: WHOIS Database Search

ARIN's WHOIS service provides a mechanism for finding contact and registration information for resources registered with ARIN. ARIN's database contains IP addresses, autonomous system (AS) numbers, organizations or customers that are associated with these resources, and related Points of Contact (POC).

ARIN's WHOIS will NOT locate any domain-related information, or any information relating to military networks. Please use to locate domain information, and for military network information.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:57 PM | link |

The WeatherPixie

The Weatherpixie Comes To Binghamton

I was looking at Mandarin Designs and wandered off to a site meg was commenting on, dwitchy, so I wandered off to there and read some funny stuff. And the weather pixie caught my eye (apparently it's snowing there, and the snow made a nice tweed pattern), so I clicked on the pixie and went to the weatherpixie site. With a little bit of fiddle, I found that you have a bunch of choices of which pixie you can use (I chose the male goth as more-or-less closest to me -- he has a beard and a cat, what can I say). Perhaps because the author of the service is a woman, there are a lot more choices if you're a girl, bu'hey!

Anyhoo, Binghamton has an airport, and therefore a weather station that reports to NOAA, so you'll be able to see how cold it is around here (very, this time of year). Unless I get discouraged about bandwidth again and rip some of the JavaScript stuff (like the calendar and the clock) and the rest of the link-side graphics out, but I like automatic weather junk, so bu'hey!

posted by Gary Williams at 10:52 PM | link |

PANIC! Get the tools you need to PANIC!

Concerned about how much terror you should be panicking over? Make sure you're anxiety stricken by the most up-to-date terror alert software and hardware.

Please note the user comments about the usefulness of the software. (Other links included in the original post: click here.)

posted by Gary Williams at 2:34 PM | link |

Got your anti-polygraph ebook yet?

From Declan McCullagh's Politech:


Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 09:56:27 -0800
To: Dave Farber <>, Declan McCullagh <>
From: Jim Warren <>
Subject: fwd: Federal Polygrapher Calls for Outlawing Countermeasure Info
Cc: "George W. Maschke" <maschke@ANTIPOLYGRAPH.ORG>

Back in the chaos of the [previous, '60's] anti-war movement, I had a
neighbor/friend/activist who had to take a polygraph test (don't remember
from whom nor why). He studied carefully; took the test ... and passed
with flying colors -- even though he was "guilty" as hell (of
whatever). He was just an average college dropout; not an experienced or
trained professional liar.

Ever since then, I've looked at claims and uses (abuses?!) of polygraph
testing with GREAT -- well EARNED! -- distrust ... and certainly understand
why their use is (always???) banned in criminal court prosecutions.

Now, a Dept of Defense polygraph expert -- who TEACHES how to mislead a
polygraph (thus proving it can be learned and done) -- wants to limit such
knowledge only to the elite few. One more step in our dangerously
malignant police state ("Patriot" Act, DoD/Poindexter's TIA, "Patriot" II,

However, thanks to this effort to censor what he teaches to The Chosen
Ones, I've heard for the first time (below), of a free e-book that appears
to disclose for freedom-lovers (whether we deserve freedom, or not)
some/many of the secrets that the DoD ex-spurt seeks to censor.

I just downloaded my copy -- before the thought police prohibit it. Should you?

Jim Warren;, technology-related public-policy advocate

[Soc.of Prof.Journalists-Nor.Cal.James Madison Freedom-of-Information Award;
Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (1992, its first year);
Playboy Foundation Hugh Hefner First-Amendment Award (1994);
founded the Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conferences; blah blah blah]

At 4:51 PM +0100 2/25/03, "George W. Maschke" <maschke@ANTIPOLYGRAPH.ORG>
posted in FOI-L:
>Paul M. Menges, the federal polygraph examiner who teaches the
>countermeasure course at the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute has
>published an article in which he calls for the criminalization of public
>speech about polygraph countermeasures. His proposal would ban books like
>'s popular free e-book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.
>I have written a formal response to Mr. Menges' commentary:
>George W. Maschke

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Update: Here's the link to (at least one of) the ebook:

posted by Gary Williams at 1:52 PM | link |

How Noah Shachtman snuck into Los Alamos

From Declan McCullagh's Politech:


Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 07:48:51 -0800 (PST)
From: Noah Shachtman <>
Subject: FC: How I Snuck Into Los Alamos


I snuck into Los Alamos, the world's top nuclear
research center, over the weekend. I thought
Politech readers might want to see my story on how I
did it.

I think the article raises serious questions about the
safety of our country's nuclear secrets. So if group
members could spread the word about this to friends
and colleagues, I'd very much appreciate it.


"There are no armed guards to knock out. No sensors to
deactivate. No surveillance cameras to cripple. To
sneak into Los Alamos National Laboratory, the world's
most important nuclear research facility, all you do
is step over a few strands of rusted, calf-high barbed

"I should know. On Saturday morning, I slipped into
and out of a top-secret area of the lab while guards
sat, unaware, less than a hundred yards away.

"Despite the nation's heightened terror alert status,
despite looming congressional hearings into the lab's
mismanagement and slack-jawed security, an untrained
person -- armed with only the vaguest sense of the
facility's layout and slowed by a torn Achilles tendon
-- was able to repeatedly gain access to the
birthplace of the atom bomb..."

For details -- and pictures -- click on over to my
Wired News story here:,2100,57792,00.html

Or go to

Additional items on this story can be found at Defense
Tech ( OR, my website devoted to
technology and national security issues.



Noah Shachtman

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posted by Gary Williams at 11:55 AM | link |

Feds sieze 'paraphernalia' web sites, redirect to DEA

From Declan McCullagh's Politech:

[As I noted in my article, the privacy policy allows information
like IP addressses collected from visitors to be used in criminal
investigations and prosecutions. --Declan]


Feds weed out drug paraphernalia sites
By Declan McCullagh
February 24, 2003, 4:32 PM PT

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday said it indicted 11 Web site
operators for allegedly selling illegal devices including bongs and
holders for marijuana cigarettes.

Attorney General John Ashcroft told reporters that the government
would ask a U.S. district court in Pittsburgh to point the sites to a
Web page at the Drug Enforcement Administration explaining why they
were taken offline, a new twist in crime-fighting.



Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 08:11:56 -0600
Subject: FW: ALERT: DEA to Redirect Seized Websites!!
From: Jules Siegel <>
To: <>

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Bennett [mailto:discuss@WYOMISSING.COM]
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 9:08 PM
Subject: ALERT: DEA to Redirect Seized Websites!!

State and federal authorities recently conducted raids of various
companies/individuals that sell "drug paraphernalia", such as pipes and
related materials. Pipes, etc were seized along with their websites.

According to a Voice of America article, Mr. Ashcroft says they plan to
redirect the seized websites to to the DEA website.

A frightening quote from the a Voice of America article:

"Mr. Ashcroft says customers who want to visit some of their favorite drug
paraphernalia websites are in for a big surprise in the days ahead. They
will be automatically redirected to the website for the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration."

In essence the DEA is going to usurp the freedom of speech and expression of
the people who run those seized websites. This would be akin to the U.S.
Dept of Justice redirecting the "" website to the ""

And then there are the serious privacy issues involved if the DEA redirects
the seized websites, since they'll be logging all visitors, obtaining their
IP address and other highly personal information.

I encourage everyone here who values the freedom of speech and expression to
contact their local ACLU chapter (list can be found at
and/or other organizations that works with such issues.

Bottom line is this is a serious issue and if the DEA is able to do this,
they could potentially redirect *ANY* website - remember that the owners of
the websites seized have *NOT* been convicted of any crime.

Ron Bennett

JULES SIEGEL Apdo. 1764, 77501 Cancun Q. Roo Mexico

For free and ample discussion of issues in the news subscribe to Newsroom-L

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posted by Gary Williams at 9:52 AM | link |

smartMeme I: Direct Action at the Points of Assumption

from Earth First Journal
As organizers within a transformative subculture, we cannot accept the terms of struggle that have defined protest movements in the past. We must escape the self-marginalization of our protests and strive for some synthesis of possibility beyond the current limited options. Let’s pay attention; let’s communicate, and while we strive to save the wild places we have left, let’s act on a number of different planes—with the consistent goal of shifting the assumptions of global society itself.

Step 1: Devoke the Apocalypse

Current consumer culture is seeding the ground for a familiarity of an impending ecological apocalypse. We see this mass event played out on television, in print and at the movies. No longer do people even question the inevitability of the apocalypse in their mind; rather they seem to be sifting through the possible characters that they might play: “Will I be the hero who escapes death or the whiny person who gets it in the end?” So embedded in our minds are the scenarios, so many times have they been played out on screen for us, that it takes more than rational thought to reprogram these “future memories.” It takes what we have come to call the “psychic break.”

The psychic break is the answer to the common activist campfire question: “How did you get radicalized?” It is what happens when the reality we are spoon-fed no longer feels good. It has been likened to blinders being lifted. At different times, mass segments of society can experience a psychic break simultaneously.

When this happens, a “tipping point” has been reached. Originating in epidemiology, the tipping point describes the exact moment when a disease becomes an epidemic. A broader definition explains that small changes will have little or no effect on a system until a critical mass is reached. Then, one more small change will “tip” the system and a large effect is observed.

Strange -- when I lived in Laytonville, a lot of cars had bumper stickers:
Earth First! Log the other planets later.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:59 AM | link |

Knock and die

From Quantum Tea: The Weblog
I need total peace and quiet. I'm in touch with a creative love vibe from the center of the earth, tapped into my own special personal meditative wavelength, tuned in to all the earth's positive energy. I think you know what I'm driving at: Disturb me, and I'll crack your skull like a walnut.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:33 AM | link |

Monday, February 24, 2003  

Diane notes a pair of anniversaries

via Letter from Gotham

NOTA BENE: Speaking of anniversaries, February 26 is the date that Gulf I ended, and the date of the first World Trade Center attack.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:03 PM | link |

A cute, online kitty!

via daGoddess:

Pet this kitty!

posted by Gary Williams at 9:16 PM | link |

Warren Ellis has new online comic

via Boing Boing and Die Puny Humans:

Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran have an online illustrated story, Superidol, here:

Thirteen pages about an infectious meme having physical and cultural effects. Interesting, scary stuff.

posted by Gary Williams at 8:14 PM | link |

ACLU exposes members of email list

From Declan McCullagh's Politech:


From: "Jim Harper -"
To: "'Declan McCullagh'"
Subject: ACLU reveals 850 plus e-mail addresses in "Protect Your Civil
Liberties/Civil Rights: ACLU's Safe and Free Campaign"
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 14:45:57 -0500


The e-mail below was sent to over 850 individuals and organizations (mailed
at 12:37 pm; received here 12:53 pm) with addresses in the To: line rather
than the bc: line. A recall request to the same list followed at 1:03
(received here 1:27 pm) Along with learning names and e-mail addresses,
recipients can infer that others on the list are activists, sympathizers,
or lurkers with the ACLU or allied organizations. (I am proud to say
publicly that I fit into more than one of those categories.)

In 2001, the Eli Lilly company did the same thing to a smaller number of
subscribers (699) to its Prozac Reminder Service. The ACLU filed a
complaint against the company with the Federal Trade
Commission. Early last
year, the FTC found that the gaffe had rendered Lilly's claim of privacy
and confidentiality deceptive because Lilly failed to maintain or implement
internal measures appropriate under the circumstances to protect sensitive
consumer information. See

Here is the ACLU s information / privacy policy: and relevant excerpts:

Individual information about website visitors, including e-mail addresses,
is never shared with third parties (except as provided for in the section
on email list subscriptions below).

The ACLU uses your email address to update you on news that you have
requested. To deliver this information to you, we use ClickAction Email
Relationship Management (ERM), an email marketing service that helps us to
conduct targeted permission-based email campaigns. When registering for our
email newsletter(s), ClickAction may collect and store the personal
information that you provide on our behalf, but the contract between the
ACLU and ClickAction prohibits it from sharing, renting, selling or trading
any of this information to parties other than ACLU. In addition to its own
strict privacy policy, ClickAction is a member of several industry privacy
associations including: the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
and TRUSTe. ClickAction also adheres to all Federal and State privacy laws
such as the FTC's privacy guidelines and other industry standards. To learn
more about ClickAction's privacy policy, go to

It appears that this error renders the ACLU s privacy policy as deceptive
as Eli Lilly s was. The risk of having one s affiliation with the ACLU
revealed can chill the free speech that the ACLU argues for so often and so
well. But I suspect strongly that just as in the Lilly case the
embarrassment of revealing subscriber information is more than enough
incentive to get the ACLU to adopt better privacy/security measures in the
future. Any kind of investigation or enforcement by regulators would be
overkill (even if they did have jurisdiction). List members who have been
harmed by the ACLU s error have common law rights that they can pursue to
make themselves whole.

Everyone who e-mails large groups is at risk for this kind of error. It s
unfortunate when it happens. But the folks who make a federal privacy case
out of it may end up with egg on their faces, which seems to have happened

Jim Harper

-----Original Message-----
From: safeandfreenews []
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2003 12:37 PM
To: [deleted to avoid further exposure of ACLU list members]

Subject: Protect Your Civil Liberties/Civil Rights: ACLU's Safe and Free

In a true grassroots movement that harkens back to the founders and their
refusal to accept repressive policies, dozens of communities around the
country have passed municipal resolutions opposing actions taken by the
Bush Administration since the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

More than 5 million Americans live in communities that have taken action to
protect civil liberties. Among the 43 communities, in 19 states, that have
taken action against the Bush Administration policies are cities as diverse
as Detroit, Michigan, Fairbanks, Alaska, San Francisco, California and
Carrboro, North Carolina.

The ACLU continues to work -- as part of its ongoing "Safe and Free"
campaign -- with dozens of other communities around the country to help
them go on the record against repressive legislation. The resolutions
specifically single out provisions in the USA Patriot Act, the
controversial anti-terrorism law passed in October 2001.

If you want to organize a similar effort in your community, the ACLU can
help. Sign up here to receive organizing advice and materials on How to
Pass a Resolution in Your Community and a Draft Resolution.

February 2003


"Keep America Safe and Free: The ACLU's Campaign to Defend the
Constitution," was launched last fall, nearly one year to the day after
Congress hastily passed the USA Patriot Act.

"Those who ask the American people to choose whether they want to be safe
or free are presenting a false choice," ACLU Executive Director Anthony
Romero said at that time. "The difficult task ahead is to create a new and
more powerful balance between two fundamental values -- liberty and
security. In this way America can be both safe and free."

To kick off the campaign, the ACLU unveiled a 30-second television spot
that graphically illustrates how essential freedoms have been curtailed in
the name of security since Sept. 11. Now, starting this month, a
hard-hitting print ad campaign, featuring John Ashcroft as the "editor" of
the Bill of Rights will run in national magazines. (See story, right panel.)

Another crucial feature of the Safe and Free Campaign is the grassroots
organizing and legislative lobbying. That includes working to pass local
and state ordinances prohibiting local law enforcement participation in
repressive Administration initiatives, such as those involving immigration
laws. (See story, left panel.)

Help us safeguard democracy, especially in a time of crisis. Use the links
on this page to take action now, and to help spread the word about what we
all can do to fight this unprecedented assault on the Constitution and the
Bill of Rights.

ACLU's Inaugural Membership Conference
June 11, 2003, to June 15, 2003

American Civil Liberties Union
To unsubscribe, send a request to

For more than 200 years, the Bill of Rights has stood as a wall between
government abuse and the rights of a free people--and that wall is being

Both English and Spanish (Español) versions of the ad are available for

That is the message of a blunt new ACLU print ad, "The Authors/The Editor,"
which began appearing in national publications this month.

Superimposed over shredded fragments from the Bill of Rights, the ad
juxtaposes a historic portrait of "The Authors" (the Founding Fathers) with
a scowling photo of "The Editor" (U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft),
making a scissors-like gesture with his fingers. It lists some of the
liberties Ashcroft has slashed in his response to 9/11, and urges Americans
to act before their remaining freedoms are no more.

Over the next few months, the ad is scheduled to appear in such
publications as Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Harper's, Foreign Affairs,
New York Review of Books, Ms. Magazine, Mother Jones, The Nation and The

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Update: ACLU says it wasn't members exposed, it was a spam mailing

Previous Politech message:

"Whoops! ACLU exposes email addresses -- just like Eli Lilly?"

What, no double opt-in? :)



From: Emily Whitfield <>
Subject: aclu newsletter
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 18:04:32 -0500


I wanted to respond to Jim Harper's note about the mistake that happened
with the ACLU e-newsletter mailing.

We are truly sorry that the recipients of our debut Safe and Free Newsletter
received a communication that revealed the emails of other recipients. But
contrary to Jim Harper's note, the recipient list was not compiled from
lists of ACLU members or people who sought to affiliate themselves with the
ACLU. We created the database from scratch, and we got the emails by calling
around to these organizations and asking for them, as anyone could do.

To our knowledge, the recipients on this list -- which include social
justice, legal and civil right organizations, national and community leaders
and other public figures -- were sent this email based on their public
advocacy of the issues the newsletter addresses. As the newsletter notes,
those who do not want to receive the newsletter can unsubscribe.

While we are truly sorry about the mistake, we are proud of the newsletter
and the work it represents. We hope that those who share our concerns about
the government's assault on our liberties will continue to subscribe to Safe
and Free News and will continue their own advocacy on these important

Emily Whitfield
Media Relations Director
American Civil Liberties Union
(212) 549-2566 (office)
(917) 686-4542 (cell)

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To subscribe to Politech:
This message is archived at
Like Politech? Make a donation here:
Declan McCullagh's photographs are at

posted by Gary Williams at 5:11 PM | link |

More fun from Mandarin Design

via Mandarin Design

Current national threat level:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Other possible colors:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The actual code:

Current national threat level:
< b style="color:#FF9922; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>

Other possible colors:
< b style="color:green; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>
< b style="color:yellow; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>
< b style="color:blue; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>
< b style="color:purple; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>
< b style="color:indigo; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>
< b style="color:red; "> &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; &#149; < /b>

posted by Gary Williams at 4:46 PM | link |

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