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

Saturday, November 12, 2005  

via fiveq

Sith or Jedi

Take the ultimate quiz to see if you walk the path of the light or are shadowed in darkness.

posted by Gary Williams at 11:49 AM | link |

Friday, November 11, 2005  


The Moonlit Leonids: Modest Meteor Shower Expected

By Joe Rao Skywatching Columnist
posted: 11 November 2005
06:19 am ET

When most people hear through the news media of an impending meteor shower, likely their first impression is of a sky filled with shooting stars pouring down through the sky like rain. Such meteor storms have indeed occurred with the November Leonids, such as in 1833 and 1966 when meteor rates of tens of thousands per hour were observed.

In more recent years, most notably 1999, 2001 and 2002, lesser Leonid displays of up to a few thousand meteors per hour took place.

Those recent Leonid showers – and their accompanying hype – are still fresh in the minds of many. So it is important to stress here at the outset that any suggestion of a spectacular meteor display in 2005 is, to put it mildly, overly optimistic.

In fact, this year's Leonids, scheduled to peak on the morning of Nov. 17, are likely to be a big disappointment, partly because of the expected lack of any significant activity, but mainly because of the Moon which will be just past full, flooding the sky with its bright light.

It is for this very reason that Robert Lunsford, a well-known meteor watcher in southern California, says he is downplaying this year's Leonid display. Posting an E-mail message on the Meteorobs Internet Mailing List (, he recently wrote:

'While the Leonids are important I certainly would not advertise them as a major shower this year, especially to a newcomer to meteor observing, since the display will be weak and badly affected by the intense moonlight.'

The Leonids are so named because the shower's radiant point, from where the meteors seem to fan out, is located within the constellation of Leo, the Lion. The meteors are caused by the Tempel-Tuttle comet, which sweeps through the inner solar system every 33 years. Each time the comet passes closest to the Sun it leaves a 'river of rubble' in its wake; a dense trail of dusty debris. A meteor storm becomes possible if the Earth were to score a direct hit on a fresh dust trail ejected by the comet over the past couple of centuries.

posted by Gary Williams at 3:03 PM | link |


Pamela Anderson Official Calendar 2005

Click image to go to page

posted by Gary Williams at 12:42 PM | link |

Thursday, November 10, 2005  


Brain cancer claims the life of Robert Moog

by Paul Clark, STAFF WRITER
updated August 22, 2005 11:26 am

ASHEVILLE - Robert Moog, whose Moog synthesizers are as influential in modern music as they have been to jazz and rock since the late 1960s, died Sunday. He was 71.

Moog, an Asheville resident, died at his home in Asheville. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in late April and had received radiation treatment and chemotherapy. He is survived by his wife, Ileana Grams, and his five children, Laura Moog Lanier, Matthew Moog, Michelle Moog-Koussa, Renee Moog and Miranda Richmond, as well as the mother of his children, Shirleigh Moog.

“We’re going to miss him,” Michael Adams, president of Moog Music, said in Asheville. “This guy has affected the lives of literally tens of thousands of people.

“He was the kind of person who never let his public persona overtake the person he was. He was always humble about what he did and what he contributed. People sensed that immediately when they met him. It was never ‘Dr. Moog.’ It was always ‘Bob.’”

posted by Gary Williams at 8:26 PM | link |


Hubble Sees Stars as They're Born

By Staff

posted: 10 November 2005
01:03 pm ET

A new Hubble Space Telescope image reveals stars just in the process of being born amid a fantastic scene of wispy space structures and intense radiation.

The stars have yet to condense into small enough packages to trigger thermonuclear fusion, which is what powers stars, but they appear to be on the verge, astronomers said today.

The setting is 210,000 light-years away in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. At the center of the region is a brilliant star cluster called NGC 346. Arched and ragged filaments with a distinct ridge surround the cluster.

Radiation from the cluster's hot stars eats into denser areas, creating the features. The tdark, intricately beaded edge of the ridge, seen in silhouette, contains several small dust globules that point back towards the central cluster, like windsocks caught in a gale.

Energetic outflows and radiation from hot young stars erode the dense outer portions of the star-forming region, formally known as N66, exposing new stellar nurseries. The diffuse fringes of the nebula prevent the energetic outflows from streaming directly away from the cluster, leaving instead a trail of filaments marking the swirling path of the outflows, astronomers said.

The NGC 346 cluster, at the center of the new picture, is resolved into at least three sub-clusters and collectively contains dozens of hot, blue, high-mass stars, more than half of the known high-mass stars in the entire SMC galaxy. A myriad of smaller, compact clusters is also visible throughout the region."

posted by Gary Williams at 3:03 PM | link |

Tuesday, November 08, 2005  


Thanks to the Air Force, you can put your Star Trek phasers on “dazzle”.

A laser technology being developed by Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) employees at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico will be the first man-portable, non-lethal deterrent weapon intended for protecting troops and controlling hostile crowds.

The weapon, developed by the laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate, employs a two-wavelength laser system and is the first of its kind as a hand-held, single-operator system for troop and perimeter defense.

The laser light used in the weapon temporarily impairs aggressors by illuminating or “dazzling” individuals, removing their ability to see the laser source, according to a November 7 press release from AFRL noting the work.

Dubbed the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response -- or PHaSR – two prototypes of the unit were built at Kirtland last month. The hardware has been delivered to the laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate at Brooks City Base, Texas, and the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Quantico, Virginia for testing.

posted by Gary Williams at 6:41 PM | link |

XML-RPC PHP Worm In Wild

"Virus writers have created a Linux worm which uses a recently discovered vulnerability in XML-RPC
for PHP, a popular open source component used in many applications, to attack vulnerable systems.

XML-RPC for PHP features in many web application including PostNuke, Drupal, b2evolution, Xoops,
WordPress, PHPGroupWare and TikiWiki. Most of these applications have been updated to address
the security flaw." - The Register




XML-RPC is only one of the attack vectors for this worm.

Spread of this worm appears to be very slow, as I am sure you
will be able to determine from your web logs. Here are the more
informative references:




XML-RPC for PHP Remote Code Injection
Awstats Remote Command Execution


Further update:


Another reason why I support using AntiVirus, Firewall and Intrusion Detection programs on Linux systems. No OS is immune from viruses or worms and its better to be safe then having to spend monies and time fixing a mess. I used AntiVir which I updated last night with this worm definition and already have detected intrusion attempts.

Looking over my incoming packet logs surely shows evidence of malicious packets being thrown at Linux systems now, ie, an increase of approx 23% from this time last month which represents a substantial increase of attacks against Linux.

Everyone should realize with Linux going mainstream the distros will come under more attacks and "batten down the hatches" is the word I am reading on blogs and security sites.


posted by Gary Williams at 4:12 PM | link |

Monday, November 07, 2005  


Behind the Recent Spate of Vampire Bat Attacks

By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 04 November 2005
12:34 pm ET

Bites from rabid vampire bats were blamed for 23 deaths in northern Brazil over the past two months, according to local newspaper reports.

Many scientists fear such encounters will become more common as the bats' forests homes are destroyed and they are lured towards cattle ranches and farms where livestock and humans make easy prey.

But much of what people perceive about vampire bats is myth, and experts say protecting against them is fairly easy.

Food is food

Vampire bats live in subtropical and tropical regions in northern Mexico and throughout parts of South America. There are three species. The one that feeds on farm animals and humans is called the common vampire bat.

Common vampire bats are small. Their bodies are only about as long as a human thumb and they have average wingspans of about 8 inches. Common vampire bats have strong legs and can crawl, hop, jump and even run.

The bats typically feed on domesticated animals such as hors>

How They Eat

The common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, hunts at night, when other animals are sleeping. It doesn't suck blood. It uses heat sensors to find a victim's veins. Sharp teeth cut the animal -- about like a shaving nick -- and the bat simply laps up what oozes out.

A chemical in the bat's saliva keep the blood from clotting, so it keeps flowing (a blood-thinning drug developed from vampire bat saliva helps prevent strokes and heart attacks). Another chemical numbs the victim's skin so it won't wake up.

'They sit there licking the wound for up to a half hour,' says Daniel Riskin of Cornell University. A bat will drink about a tablespoon of blood in a sitting.

Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience
SOURCE: Daniel Riskin, Cornell U.; Wildlife Trust; Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle; Cincinnati Zoo

To the bats, a sleeping human is just another large, warm and unconscious animal.

'The people are likely to be bitten by vampire bats are those that sleep outdoors or sleeping in huts that don't have any windows on them,' said Barbara French, a bat expert at Bat Conservation International, a Texas based non-profit organization.

posted by Gary Williams at 2:17 PM | link |

[Doctorow] Themepunks part nine is live!

By Cory Doctorow

Part nine -- the next-to-last part -- of Salon's serialization of my
novel-in-progress, Themepunks, went up today. In today's installment,
Andrea hits the road to see how the rest of the New Work folks live,
and runs into her arch-nemesis, Rat-Toothed Freddy:

> She was in the middle of receiving her key when someone grabbed her
> shoulder and squeezed it. "Andrea bloody Fleeks! What are you doing
> here, love?"
> The smell of his breath was like a dead thing, left to fester. She
> turned around slowly, not wanting to believe that of all the hotels
> in rural Rhode Island, she ended up checking into the same one as
> Rat-Toothed Freddy.
> "Hey, Freddy," she said. Seeing him gave her an atavistic urge to
> stab him repeatedly in the throat with the hotel stick-pen. He was
> unshaven, his gawky Adam's apple bobbing up and down and he
> swallowed and smiled wetly. "Nice to see you."
> "Fantastic to see you, too! I'm here covering a shareholder meeting
> for Westinghouse, is that what you're here for, too?"
> "No," she said. She knew the meeting was on that week, but hadn't
> planned on attending it. She was done with press conferences,
> preferring on-the-ground reporting. "Well, nice to see you."
> "Oh, do stay for a drink," he said, grinning more widely, exposing
> those grey teeth in a shark's smile. "Come on -- they have a free
> cocktail hour in this place. I'll have to report you to the
> journalist's union if you turn down a free drink."
> "I don't think 'bloggers' have to worry about the journalist's
> union," she said, making sarcastic finger-quotes in case he didn't
> get the message. He still didn't. He laughed instead.
> "Oh, love, I'm sure they'll still have you even if you have lapsed
> away from the one true faith."
> "Good night, Freddy," was all she could manage to get out without
> actually hissing through her teeth.
> "OK, good night," he said, moving in to give her a hug. As he
> loomed toward her, she snapped.
> "Freeze, mister. You are not my friend. I do not want to touch you.
> You have poor personal hygiene and your breath smells like an
> overflowing camp-toilet. You write vicious personal attacks on me
> and on the people I care about. You are unfair, mean-spirited, and
> you write badly. The only day I wouldn't piss on you, Freddy, is
> the day you were on fire. Now get the fuck out of my way before I
> kick your tiny little testicles up through the roof of your reeking
> mouth."

Part nine:

Previous installments:


Cory Doctorow

posted by Gary Williams at 9:29 AM | link |

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