Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday News Roundup (12/02/05)

Most of the news items posted today were found Via BoingBoing, John C. Dvorak's Blog, and John Schneier's security Blog page.
If you know of a blog or RSS feed that has interesting, odd or downright weird news. In the interests of the commonweal, you should send it to me. - Tampa police bust mobile strip club at Bucs game — Strip Club on wheels? This is just too funny. It could become a trend. It has to be more interesting than the game.
TAMPA (AP) — A 40-foot motor home was converted into a strip club on wheels, offering alcohol and lap dances to football fans outside the stadium before kickoff of Sunday’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, police said.
Six women performed lap dances inside the motor home, charging $20 to $40 depending on whether they danced topless or totally nude, police said Tuesday. The vehicle, adorned with a sign for strip club Deja Vu, was parked across the street from Raymond James Stadium.
Patrons paid a $20 cover charge and were served alcohol, said Tampa police Sgt. Bill Todd. Officers also caught a male patron smoking marijuana in the back of the vehicle.

Now, This is the kind of Entrepenurial Spirit that made this country great. Talk about your interesting random encounters.

FBI to Approve All Software?
Sounds implausible, I know. But how else do you explain this FCC ruling (from September -- I missed it until now):

The Federal Communications Commission thinks you have the right to use software on your computer only if the FBI approves. No, really. In an obscure "policy" document released around 9 p.m. ET last Friday, the FCC announced this remarkable decision.

According to the three-page document, to preserve the openness that characterizes today's Internet, "consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement." Read the last seven words again.

The FCC didn't offer much in the way of clarification. But the clearest reading of the pronouncement is that some unelected bureaucrats at the commission have decreeed that Americans don't have the right to use software such as Skype or PGPfone if it doesn't support mandatory backdoors for wiretapping. (That interpretation was confirmed by an FCC spokesman on Monday, who asked not to be identified by name. Also, the announcement came at the same time as the FCC posted its wiretapping rules for Internet telephony.)

Here's the actual URL for the PDF.

Does this scare anybody as much as it scares me? It's these tiny bits and pieces of our basic freedoms that are chipping away. It's stuff like this that makes me wonder how prescient the fascist america of Trinity is.

Scientists found evidence in Scotland of a water scorpion that was 5.2 feet long and about 3.2 feet wide. The monster lived about 350 million years ago. Dr. Martin Whyte of Sheffield University discovered tracks of the monster, known as Hibbertopterus, found the tracks in sandstone on a former beach. From the BBC News:
The length of track preserved, 6m (20ft), is remarkable. The stride pattern, too, is huge - 27cm (11in).

Fragmentary fossils of Hibbertopterus are well known from Scottish Lower Carboniferous rocks and were first described from West Lothian in 1831.

The creature did not have the big pincers or carry its tail in the air like the land scorpions we know today, and it did not have a sting, either; but these animal groups are nonetheless distantly related, scientists believe.

What is interesting about this trackway is that is shows Hibbertopterus could move out of its usual water habitat.

"There has been debate about whether it was restricted to water or could come out on land. I believe this trackway shows it could come out for short periods," explained Dr Whyte.

Giant water scorpions. Let repeat that. This planet. the one we think we KNOW everything about, sports not only stealthy Ceolocanths, but now GIANT WATER SCORPIONS!
How fucking cool is that? THIS is the best arguement for intelligent design i've seen so far. God is a nerd just like us. And he loves his legos.

A man who called himself “Dr. Chaos” online was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in federal prison for hacking into computers and causing power failures in northeastern Wisconsin.
Joseph D. Konopka, 29, already is serving a 13-year federal prison sentence for pleading guilty in 2002 to chemical weapons possession for storing cyanide near a Chicago subway.
Prosecutors said Konopka, formerly of Hobart, and an “anarchist group of boys” called Realm of Chaos were responsible for 28 power outages affecting 30,000 customers and 20 other service interruptions in 1999. Damage was estimated at $800,000.

Am I understanding this correctly? This dude was dumb enough to get caught hacking, and then keep doing it in jail and get caught again? But yet smart enough to actually hack whole entire power system from the state pen?

Mosquito ultrasound gadget drives off loitering teens
Though he did not know it at the time, the idea came to Howard Stapleton when he was 12 and visiting a factory with his father, a manufacturing executive in London. Opening the door to a room where workers were using high-frequency welding equipment, he found he could not bear to go inside.
“The noise!” he complained.
“What noise?” the grownups asked.
Now 39, Stapleton has taken the lesson he learned that day - that children can hear sounds at higher frequencies than adults can - to fashion a novel device that he hopes will provide a solution to the eternal problem of obstreperous teenagers who hang around outside stores and cause trouble.

A trip to Spar here in Barry confirmed the strange truth of the phenomenon…..The Mosquito is positioned just outside the door. Although this reporter could not hear anything, being too old, several young people attested to the fact that yes, there wasThe Mosquito is positioned just outside the door. Although this reporter could not hear anything, being too old, several young people attested to the fact that yes, there was a noise, and yes, it was extremely annoying.
“It’s loud and squeaky and it just goes through you,” said Jodie Evans, 15. “It gets inside you.”

So, I've been reading about Infrasound frequencies and how they can affect behavior, They can do bad things to you. They can make you suggestable. They can make you freak out and/or hallucinate. Now, there is this new thing to come down the pike. Course, if you want to make those kids get off your damn yard, Hit them with this gun. Want to make the old amusement park seem haunted AND keep away those pesky teen investigators away. This is the thing you need.

Federal wiretaps can be defeated by playing a beep-tone into the phone

The automated wiretapping system built into voice-switches under the US federal CALEA law can be trivially defeated by bad guys who simply play a beep-tone into their receivers, according to a research paper published in October and revised yesterday.
To defeat wiretapping systems, the target need only send the same "idle signal" that the tapping equipment sends to the recorder when the telephone is not in use. The target could continue to have a conversation while sending the forged signal.
The tone, also known as a C-tone, sounds like a low buzzing and is "slightly annoying but would not affect the voice quality" of the call, Mr. Blaze said, adding, "It turns the recorder right off."
What this means is that when the cops want to wiretap a moderately skilled crook, he can defeat their efforts. But when an honest person is being caught up in the kind of indiscriminate wiretapping enabled under post-911 laws like PATRIOT and the Homeland Security Act, they can expect to have their conversations recorded. Likewise when a criminal hijacks the legally mandated CALEA wiretapping back-doors at the local phone-company. This is a wiretapping system that really only works on law-abiding citizens. The FBI claims that this only effects older equipment, but some experts report that modern equipment was designed for backwards compatibility with the vulnerable stuff, leaving it, too, vulnerable to this attack.

You can't tell me that someone isn't scrambling to fix this problem. The more I find out about government computer systems the more I wonder how this country runs at all. Did you know that the IRS has seven seperate computer systems and none of them work together? SHOCKING! Next thing you know they'll discover that you can whistle your way through the entire telephony system with a plastic whistle from a box of Captain Crunch.
Oh Wait...

Nation’s spending out of line —
Free spending big government Republicans are breaking the country. After all the talk about fiscal responsibility and small government from these guys, this is what they give us.
Last month, the national debt reached yet another miserable milestone, passing the $8 trillion mark for the first time. As of last week, the United States was $8,084,858,891,735.31 in the hole, according to the Treasury Department.

Here is the depressing stuff you should now consider before the 2006 elections:
In fact, Bush has borrowed more money — $1.05 trillion — from foreign governments and banks since taking office than all other presidents combined.
From 1776 to 2000, the nation’s first 42 presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign interests, official statistics show. In just five years, Bush has out-borrowed them all.

So, I think I'll dig out all the games and supplements about post apocalyptic America and all the same stuff that deals with America as an economic sinkhole and start looking for survival tips. This is the fall of the roman empire all over again. Was it the lead pipes? Was it the corruption? or was it the leaders who were crazy or stupid? I guess we're going to find out.

Giving the U.S. Military the Power to Conduct Domestic Surveillance
More nonsense in the name of defending ourselves from terrorism:
The Defense Department has expanded its programs aimed at gathering and analyzing intelligence within the United States, creating new agencies, adding personnel and seeking additional legal authority for domestic security activities in the post-9/11 world.
The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts -- including protecting military facilities from attack -- to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.
The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence. Backers say the measure is needed to strengthen investigations into terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.
The police and the military have fundamentally different missions. The police protect citizens. The military attacks the enemy. When you start giving police powers to the military, citizens start looking like the enemy.
We gain a lot of security because we separate the functions of the police and the military, and we will all be much less safer if we allow those functions to blur. This kind of thing worries me far more than terrorist threats.

What did I just say? How on earth is this a good thing? It's only a good thing if you're on the inside of the cabal that's taking over the country. Also, isn't this a violation of the Posse Comitatus act?

A 15-year-old girl with a peanut allergy died after kissing her boyfriend, who had just eaten a peanut butter snack, hospital officials said Monday.
Christina Desforges died in a Quebec hospital Wednesday after doctors were unable to treat her allergic reaction to the kiss the previous weekend.
Desforges, who lived in Saguenay, about 155 miles north of Quebec City, was almost immediately given a shot of Adrenaline, a standard tool for treating the anaphylactic shock brought on by a peanut allergy, officials said.
About 1.5 million Americans are severely allergic to even the smallest trace of peanuts and peanut allergies account for 50 to 100 deaths in the United States each year. Canadian figures were not immediately available.

Ok. This is pretty horrific. Sadly, i can totally see using this as an event in a character background. I can also see using Hyperhistamines as an assasins tool. Could they weaponize this? Could they cover a battlefield with it and then unleash the bees? This is some freaky shit. Especially when allergic reactions are ostensibly a means of protecting the body from things that it deems toxic. Yes that's right. Allergies are safety mechanism that can kill you, just like airbags.

Bubble Gum Said to Increase Breast Size Hits the U.S.
After a year on the Japanese market, a natural breast enhancing dietary supplement, is now available for American women….
Good One Ltd. claims that when chewed three or four times a day, B2UP bubble gum can increase breast size, improve circulation, reduce stress and fight aging. The powerful ingredient is the Pueraria Mirifica root extract also known as Gwao Krua, and is indigenous to Thailand and Burma. The plant’s underground tubers contain a number of chemicals called Phytoestrogens, natural compounds which apparently mimic the effects of the female sex hormone Oestrogen.
The company said tests carried out by Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size up to 80%.
Data provided by the manufacturer of B2UP said, a group of 50 women took Pueraria Mirifica over 90 days, the results:
* 28%show no change in bust size
* 54% show measurable increase in bust size
* 18% show major increase in bust size

I love science. I really really do. I can't relly relate this to some kind of game thing. and I don't really care.

Possible "love molecule" identified
Psychiatrists from Pavia University have associated early romantic love with a biochemical known as nerve growth factor (NGF). Apparently, levels of NGF in the bloodstream were significantly higher in subjects who were in the early stages of romance than individuals not in a relationship. Interestingly, "subjects in love who—after 12–24 months—maintained the same relationship but were no longer in the same mental state to which they had referred during the initial evaluation" did not have elevated NGF levels. Link to the paper summary in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology,

Another thing I hope they are never able to weaponize.
Unless i can have one.
All of a sudden, i feel the need to go listen to the KISS album "Love Gun".
Actually, this might not be a bad thing at all. You could conceivably build a successful marriage counceling practice around this. Of course this could lead to having to take "Love my wife" pills.

Interdicting Terrorist Funding
Want to make the country safer from terrorism? Take the money now being wasted on national ID cards, massive data mining projects, fingerprinting foreigners, airline passenger profiling, etc., and use it to fund worldwide efforts to interdict terrorist funding:
The government's efforts to help foreign nations cut off the supply of money to terrorists, a critical goal for the Bush administration, have been stymied by infighting among American agencies, leadership problems and insufficient financing, a new Congressional report says.
More than four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, "the U.S. government lacks an integrated strategy" to train foreign countries and provide them with technical assistance to shore up their financial and law enforcement systems against terrorist financing, according to the report prepared by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.
One unidentified Treasury official quoted anonymously in the report said that the intergovernmental process for deterring terrorist financing abroad is "broken" and that the State Department "creates obstacles rather than coordinates effort." A State Department official countered that the real problem lies in the Treasury Department's reluctance to accept the State Department's leadership in the process.
In another problem area, private contractors used by the Treasury Department and other agencies have been allowed to draft proposed laws in foreign countries for curbing terrorist financing, even though Justice Department officials voiced strong concerns that contractors should not be allowed to play such an active role in the legislative process.
The contractors' work at times produced legislative proposals that had "substantial deficiencies," the report said.
The administration has made cutting off money to terrorists one of the main prongs in its attack against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. It has seized tens of millions of dollars in American accounts and assets linked to terrorist groups, prodded other countries to do the same, and is now developing a program to gain access to and track potentially hundreds of millions of international bank transfers into the United States.
But experts in the field say the results have been spotty, with few clear dents in Al Qaeda's ability to move money and finance terrorist attacks. The Congressional report- a follow-up to a 2003 report that offered a similarly bleak assessment - buttresses those concerns.

Proof positive that anytime you ask the question, "WHY DON'T THEY..."
The answer to that question is always money.

Sono Finito.


At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....Wheeee! That's a pretty good roundup of interesting news! Florida's laws on stripping are positively enlightened, when compared to those around these parts! In Alabama, it's illegal to use human anatomy for entertainment. I kid you not. Check out:

.....That ultrasound thing is nasty. I figure, though, that speakers that can reproduce that high frequency sound are pretty expensive. Heck, a spiffy pair of 22000hz speakers will set one back four figures at Tweeter. If those kids are worth their pesky salt, any speakers messing with their ears are soon to be toast!

.....As to the money-terrorist question, the fact is that there are still way too many powerful players in Western Society that want discrete, cash-only options for some tasks. And places like Switzerland and the Caymans will keep servicing that need as long as it exists. How many Islamic terrorist bombs have you seen going off in Zurich?


At 11:39 PM, Blogger kinesys said...

Hey! I never thought about it. If you guys want to volunteer news on friday. FEEL FREE!

I'm not actually surprised by the Alabama thing. It's actually illegal to do anything but hetero missionary sex in that place. Even sex toys are illegal.

If this country splits. We got to make sure that the other side gets Alabama. No Offense AR. I know you live there.(Right? Am I recalling correctly?)

We'll trade for you, if it comes to that.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....Yes, sex toys are illegal in Alabama. Yet, there is a shop about 5 miles from here. They've got little "for Novelty purposes only" stickers on everything, and evidently, that makes it all legal! Oh, and you can get all sorts of guns here. And fireworks are legal, even then nasty class C ones! Did I mention that we're the meth capital of the South?

.....I do have one thing to say about moving. It's still above freezing here. With a charcoaley marinated roast on the grill. Mmmm. And I'd miss out on Auburn Football coverage if I moved...

War Eag;e


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