Saturday, August 13, 2005 via Making Light: Crooked Timbre
The Beatles Random Acoustic [bootleg] Album
If the rain comesposted by Gary Williams at 12:56 AM | link |
Friday, August 12, 2005 via Charlie's Diary
On foreign travel
Next week, I'm flying out to Austin, TX to be guest of honour at ArmadilloCon 27. It's a privilege to be a guest of honour, and I'm looking forward to it. But. But. There's a fly in the ointment (and it's nothing to do with my hosts).
Over the past few years, my wife and I have visited the USA pretty regularly -- twice a year, typically -- and we have a lot of American friends. However, we're unlikely to be going back there anything like as much in future. She isn't accompanying me to ArmadilloCon, and I'm not planning any more visits to the USA without a pressing reason. Next year's worldcon can survive without me. The reason is quite simple: the US is becoming an increasingly frightening, intimidating destination for the foreign holidaymaker.
The first sign started about a year ago, when those of us who travel on the Visa Waiver scheme (residents of officially friendly EU states) were required to submit to being fingerprinted and photographed as a condition of entry. This procedure is one more normally associated with arrest and criminal prosecution; it's not something you do to your friends. While I understand the motivation behind it, which is not so much to be arbitrarily unfair to visitors as to do something -- anything -- about the huge, porous borders the USA shares with the rest of the world, it's a worrying sign of the times. Visitors are no longer welcomed, they're made to feel like suspects in a criminal investigation. Fortress America is raising its drawbridge.
Now, according to the New York times, the office of the Attorney General is contending in court that foreigners have no rights: 'Foreign citizens who change planes at airports in the United States can legally be seized, detained without charges, deprived of access to a lawyer or the courts, and even denied basic necessities like food, lawyers for the government said in Brooklyn federal court yesterday.'
This legal theory is being advanced in the context of the Arar case, of a Canadian citizen who, changing planes in New York, was arrested on suspicion of involvement in terrorism (for which he was later exonerated), held in solitary confinement without access to legal advice or any charges, and subsequently bundled off to Syria for interrogation under torture.
Thursday, August 11, 2005 via Einsein Quotes From Stanford.edu
Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein'Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.' (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)
Mars mission postponed11/08/2005 15:5
Cape Canaveral - Nasa on Thursday delayed the launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) for 24 hours, citing an 'anomaly.'
'We have scrubbed for at least 24 hours,' a Nasa official said on Nasa television.
The MRO was slated to blast off on Thursday atop an Atlas V rocket for a 25-month mission to survey Mars.
Nasa had earlier given the go-ahead for the launch on Thursday, a day later than scheduled after problems with the 55-metre-tall, 335.6-tonne rocket arose on Wednesday.
But it had to postpone the mission again due to an 'anomaly,' a Nasa official said on Nasa television.
By using enhanced lenses and flying at a low orbit, the Mars probe is expected to help scientists understand how water has moved on the planet's surface and to pick out possible landing sites for future missions to Mars.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005 via The Register
Flies swarm around MS HoneymonkeyBy Robert Lemos, SecurityFocus
Published Tuesday 9th August 2005 10:01 GMT
Microsoft 's experimental Honeymonkey project has found almost 750 web pages that attempt to load malicious code onto visitors' computers and detected an attack using a vulnerability that had not been publicly disclosed, the software giant said in a paper released this month.
Known more formally as the Strider Honeymonkey Exploit Detection System, the project uses automated Windows XP clients to surf questionable parts of the Web looking for sites that compromise the systems without any user interaction. In the latest experiments, Microsoft has identified 752 specific addresses owned by 287 websites that contain programs able to install themselves on a completely unpatched Windows XP system.
Honeymonkeys, a name coined by Microsoft, modify the concept of honeypots - computers that are placed online and monitored to detect attacks.
'The honeymonkey client goes [to malicious websites] and gets exploited rather than waiting to get attacked,' said Yi-Min Wang, manager of Microsoft's Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group. 'This technique is useful for basically any company that wants to find out whether their software is being exploited this way by websites on the internet.'
The experimental system, which SecurityFocus first reported on in May, is one of the software giant's many initiatives to make the web safer for users of the Windows operating system. Online fraudsters have become more savvy about fooling users, from more convincing phishing attacks to targeting individuals who likely have access to high-value data. Some statistical evidence has suggested that financial markets are holding software makers such as Microsoft responsible for such problems.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
via The New York Times (registration required)
Lt. Vyacheslav Milashevsky, commander of the small Russian submarine, with members of his crew.
All 7 Men Alive as Russian Submarine Is RaisedBy C. J. CHIVERS and CHRISTOPHER DREW
Published: August 7, 2005
MOSCOW, Sunday, Aug. 7 - A small Russian submarine was freed on Sunday from its undersea entanglement off the Far East coast by an unmanned British rescue vehicle that cut away the nets that had ensnared it.
All seven crew members were alive and rushed aboard a Russian surface vessel, where they were being reviewed by a medical team, Russian news agencies and the United States Navy said.
The vessel rose to the surface before 4:30 p.m. local time, ending the crew's ordeal in the cold and darkness more than 600 feet below the surface off the Kamchatka Peninsula. There remained uncertainties about how the submersible, a 44-foot rescue vessel, became disabled, and what exactly immobilized it.
Throughout the rescue operation, Russian officers spoke of cables and hoses that had held the craft fast, while Western naval officials said fishing nets had trapped it. The disentanglement and ascent of the small submarine, trapped since Thursday, was an utterly different outcome from Russia's last prominent submarine crisis, in 2000, when the nuclear submarine Kursk sank after onboard explosions in shallow water in the Barents Sea.