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

Saturday, April 09, 2005  

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Shotgun of Moderation.

Get yours.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:48 AM | link |

Friday, April 08, 2005  

Spell Anything With Flickr Pictures

30 cutler / / yoga\Letter Ar

Try out the Spell it with Flickr: click here.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:25 PM | link |

via The Register

Cracked insulation delays shuttle roll-out

By Lucy Sherriff
Published Thursday 7th April 2005 12:35 GMT

The Space Shuttle Discovery was set to begin its journey to the launch pad yesterday, but its departure was delayed when hairline crack was found in the foam insulation on the external fuel tanks. After a two hour delay, during which engineers examined the crack and judged it safe, the craft finally rolled out of the assembly building.

NASA said the crack was a 'minor imperfection' that was no reason for concern. Engineers examined the fault and determined that no repairs were necessary, the BBC reports. A spokeswoman for the space agency, taking the art of understatement right to its limits, told reporters that 'because the foam is a sensitive issue we want to make sure we're in a safe and right configuration.'

In February 2003 the Shuttle Columbia disintegrated and burned up in the atmosphere on its return to Earth, a disaster that was caused by a chunk of foam falling off during take off.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:16 AM | link |

Thursday, April 07, 2005  


Bad Spidergoat

Spidergoat, Spidergoat, does anything a… ah… Spidergoat can…

About a hundred and fifty of them are housed on a former USAF base in Plattsburgh, New York. Eventually, Nexia Biotechnologies will corral around one thousand five hundred of the things there. Spidergoat City.

Can it swing? Listen, bud, it’s got radioactive blood!

Well, not quite. The spidergoats have had spidery genes webbed into their goaty genetic structure that allows their uddery bits to spin a spider-unique protein into their milk. The protein is then extracted from the milk to produce the patented BioSteel, which is essentially spider-silk fibre. BioSteel, which possesses “a unique combination of strength and elasticity with an ultra-lightweight fiber,” has applications in bulletproof apparel, and aerospace and medical supplies.

Nexia will be using the base’s bunkers to house the spidergoats, and will breed them in a facility above ground.

“We feel the site … is a real adequate site and is in a very secure setting,” Isabelle Trombley-Summers, Nexia site director of agricultural affairs, told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican. She has evidently assured Plattsburgh that they will maintain excellent environmental standards at Spidergoat City. “There’s no problem with that,” Codes Enforcement Officer Donald Lee said of environmental and health standards. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican added: “He said there’s enough room to spread goat manure, and the goats won’t be near the Saranac River or any streams.”

Why are they afraid of Spidergoats pissing in the water?

What would happen to the people of Plattsburgh if one thousand five hundred Spidergoats contaminated local fresh water supplies?

You know, it’s almost worth cutting big holes in the fence to find out.

Warren Ellis
November 5, 2000

posted by Gary Williams at 1:46 AM | link |

Tuesday, April 05, 2005  

via EarthTimes

Video blogging announced by Google co-founder

Posted on : 2005-04-06| Author : Anne Roberts
News Category : Internet

Google Inc, the search engine specialist, is testing a ‘video blogging’ application, the company’s co-founder Larry Page revealed on Monday in a conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. In a few days’ time, users would be able to archive their video clips.

“In the next few days, we’re actually going to start taking video submissions from people, and we’re not quite sure what we’re going to get, but we decided we’d try this experiment,” Page said.

The move follows the January launch of Google Video, a search service that allows users to find not only transcripts of television programs but also links to downloadable video clips from vendors like Fox News, PBS, ABC, C-SPAN, and NBA among several others.

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

via The New York Times (registration required)

Editorial: Attacking a Free Judiciary

Published: April 5, 2005

The low point in the politicking over Terri Schiavo came last week when the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, threatened the judges who ruled in her case. Saying they had 'thumbed their nose at Congress and the president,' Mr. DeLay announced that 'the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.' Coming so close to the fatal shooting of one judge in his courtroom and the killing of two family members of another, those words were at best an appalling example of irresponsibility in pursuit of political gain. But they were not an angry, off-the-cuff reaction. Mr. DeLay's ominous statements were a calculated part of a growing assault on the judiciary.

Through public attacks, proposed legislation and even the threat of impeachment, ideologues are trying to bully judges into following their political line. Mr. DeLay and his allies have moved beyond ordinary criticism to undermining the separation of powers, not to mention the rule of law. The Schiavo case was the starkest example of their determination to have things their own way, regardless of the constitutional cost. Conservative elected officials and advocates repeatedly attacked the judiciary's right to decide the legal issues. When they were unhappy with the decisions of the Florida state courts, they rushed a bill through Congress that authorized the federal courts to rule on her case, but not on other cases like it. The bill also told the federal courts not to apply the time-honored legal doctrines that might have led them to stay out.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:50 PM | link |

via E-Commerce News: Security: Firefox Vulnerability Puts Sensitive Information at Risk

Firefox Vulnerability Puts Sensitive Information at Risk

By Jennifer LeClaire
Part of the ECT News Network
04/05/05 8:34 AM PT

Secunia has released an online test to allow Firefox and Mozilla users to determine if they are affected by the bug. The advisory said the immediate solution is to disable JavaScript support.

A vulnerability has been discovered in the Firefox Web browser that could be exploited by malicious people to gain knowledge of potentially sensitive information, according to an advisory from Verisign research firm Secunia.

The vulnerability comes less than six weeks after the Mozilla Foundation Latest News about Mozilla Foundation released a security update to the Firefox browser that included several fixes to guard against spoofing and arbitrary code execution.

'The vulnerability is caused due to an error in the JavaScript engine, as a 'lambda' replace exposes arbitrary amounts of heap memory after the end of a JavaScript string,' said the Secunia advisory.

The vulnerability has been confirmed in versions 1.0.1 and 1.0.2. Other versions may also be affected.

Secunia has released an online test to allow Firefox and Mozilla users to determine if they are affected by the bug. The advisory said the immediate solution is to disable JavaScript support.
Firefox Versus Internet Exlporer

Web vulnerabilities are not at all unusual, evidenced by Secunia's deep online library of security advisories about Firefox, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Latest News about Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) Latest News about Apple Safari and others.

In fact, Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox told TechNewsWorld that vulnerabilities are just 'part of the ballgame.'

'Flaws will be found because flaws exist and that's going to be true for any Web browser,' Wilcox said. 'The real question over time is whether the Mozilla folks can keep up with finding problems and then deploying patches in the most efficient manner.'
Microsoft's Advantage

That, said Wilcox, is where Microsoft has an advantage in the marketplace. Microsoft has a team dedicated to looking for vulnerabilities, developing patches and distributing them while Firefox has limited resources.

Test is available online here. (They said.)

posted by Gary Williams at 12:37 PM | link |

via WebPro News

Mabir Virus Aggressively Targeting Mobile Phones

A variant of the Cabir mobile virus, called Mabir, has been targeting mobile phones using the Symbian Series 60 operating system. Mabir is capable of spreading via Bluetooth or by a phone's messaging service.

While the Cabir virus proved mobile attacks can be quite effective, Mabir takes mobile viruses to next step by being more aggressive than its predecessor. Security experts at F-Secure indicate once a phone is infected with Mabir, it actively looks for methods with which to infect other phones.

According to their summary, Mabir will use a phone's Bluetooth capabilities to find other phones it can infect. Once it has located such a device, Mabir sends infected files to it. F-Secure also reveals, 'The SIS files that Mabir.A sends have always the same file name: caribe.sis.'

Not content to stop there, Mabir also waits for an infected phone to receive a MMS (multimedia) or SMS message. Once received, Mabir responds with an infected MMS message containing an info.sis file. Mabir's MMS does not feature any text, just the virus installation file. If the tainted file is installed, the virus continues its attempts to propagate itself by infecting other phones.

posted by Gary Williams at 12:29 PM | link |

Monday, April 04, 2005  

via WorkingForChange-Tomgram

U.S. Military Weaponry of the Near Future

By Nick Turse

Lets face it, making war is fast superceding sports as the American national pastime. Since 1980, overtly or covertly, the United States has been involved in military actions in Grenada, Libya, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Haiti, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Liberia, Sudan, the Philippines, Colombia, Haiti (again), Afghanistan (again) and Iraq (again) and that's not even the full list. It stands to reason when the voracious appetites of the military-corporate complex are in constant need of feeding.

As representatives of a superpower devoted to (and enamored with) war, it's hardly surprising that the Pentagon and allied corporations are forever planning more effective ways to kill, maim, and inflict pain -- or that they plan to keep it that way. Whatever the wars of the present, elaborate weapons systems for future wars are already on the drawing boards. Planning for the projected fighter-bombers and laser weapons of the decades from 2030 to 2050 is underway. Meanwhile, at the Department of Defense's (DoD's) blue-skies research outfit, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), even wilder projects -- from futuristic exoskeletons to Brain/Machine Interface initiatives -- are being explored.

posted by Gary Williams at 8:05 PM | link |

Sunday, April 03, 2005  

via The Citizen, Auburn NY

An enormous threat to white-tail deer in New York

By Alan Kozlowski

There is some serious news in New York State on white-tail deer. Considering the gravity of the situation, I have restated much of this from the Department of Environmental Conservation press release.

The first positive case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) was found in Central New York. Mandatory testing protocols found a CWD-positive doe at a deer farm. CWD is a transmissible disease that affects the brain and central nervous system of deer and elk. There is no evidence that CWD is linked to disease in humans or domestic livestock, other than deer and elk. However it spreads relentlessly in deer.

The animal that tested positive for CWD was a six-year old white-tailed doe that was slaughtered from a captive herd in Oneida County as part of the state's mandatory CWD surveillance and testing protocols.

Preliminary tests performed at the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University determined the presumptive positive, which was confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has officially quarantined the index herd in which the positive deer was found, and will depopulate and test all deer on the premises. Other herds associated with the index herd have also been quarantined and an investigation has been initiated to find and test any susceptible deer that came into contact with the index herd, and to assess the health and environmental risks associated with such establishments.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:03 AM | link |

via The New York Times (registration required)

Moralists at the Pharmacy

Published: April 3, 2005

Scattered reports suggest that a growing number of pharmacists around the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives or morning-after birth control pills because of moral or religious objections. Although the refusals are cast as important matters of conscience for self-described 'pro-life' pharmacists, they have the pernicious effect of delaying, and sometimes even denying, a woman's access to medications that may be urgently needed. This is an intolerable abuse of power by pharmacists who have no business forcing their own moral or ethical views onto customers who may not share them. Any pharmacist who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed by a doctor should find another line of work.

Incidents in which pharmacists have refused to dispense contraceptives or morning-after pills have been reported for well over a decade, but the number may be rising. By one count there were some 180 reports of refusals in a six-month period last year, some describing earlier incidents, and the number is likely to grow now that religious conservatives are flexing their muscles in many spheres of life.

An organization of antiabortion pharmacists is pushing for professional associations and state legislatures to adopt 'conscience clauses' recognizing the pharmacist's right to refuse to dispense a drug or even refer the customer to a pharmacist who will; many pharmacy associations have already adopted such clauses. Several states have laws granting pharmacists the right to refuse, and legislators in at least 10 states are pushing similar legislation.

Meanwhile, legislators in other states are trying to force pharmacists to fill valid prescriptions, and Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, responding to a Chicago pharmacist's recent refusal to provide contraceptives to two women, issued a rule on Friday that pharmacies must fill contraceptive prescriptions without delay. The nationwide struggle was described in a Washington Post article last Monday.

posted by Gary Williams at 10:35 AM | link |

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