More Junkmail from Bob!
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Whistle Blowers Raided
A few weeks ago some people at ForensicTec
ran across a government computer network, some military and government installations on the internet. Out of curiosity, they say, they did some scanning to see how secure it was. This is what they do for a living, after all.
It wasn't very secure. They found 34 military sites that were easily accessible, such as Army computers at Fort Hood, the NASA Ames Research Center, and Navy facilities in Maryland and Virginia.
They reported this to the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago, in order to get some free publicity for their business and, they say, to help the government. ForensicTec did no damage to the government systems.
The U.S. Government wasn't very happy about it at all. But instead of fixing their computer security (or maybe in addition to), people from the FBI, the Army, and NASA raided ForensicTec.
The FBI said the raid had nothing to do with retribution.
SatireWire -- Reruns Only
The Satirewire web site is shutting down... sorta. The sole employee had a staff meeting and decided to call it quits.
He'll still put old content up on his web site.
Computer hacking can be punishable by life in prison, under the Cyber Security Enhancement Act passed by the U.S. House or Representatives in a 385 to 3 vote.
The Senate hasn't voted on this yet, but Dubbya wants it passed. I think it's crazy, but they haven't asked me yet. But there are even some level-headed, knowledgable people consider the cyber-terrorisms threat vastly overblown.
The government is planning to make an exception for punishing hackers. You might guess that this exception would apply to hacks against foreign terrorists, but you would be wrong. A new law will make it legal for corporations to hack into U.S. individuals' computers, if it passes.
This law would "immunize groups such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from all state and federal laws if they disable, block or otherwise impair a publicly accessible peer-to-peer file-trading network."
In other words, after this law passes if the recording industry "has a reasonable basis" to believe I've downloaded a song on Morpheus, they can hack into my computer and impair it. They won't have to worry about fines, let alone life imprisonment -- it will all be legal. They won't even need proof to wipe out my computer, just a "reasonable basis to believe" that I've copied a copyrighted song. I could hack their system in retaliation, but I might go to jail for a long time.
Isn't something wrong here?
If I didn't know any better, I might say the guys pushing this law, Howard
, were paid by the Movie and Recording Industry. Hey, wait a minute... they were!
Howard Berman amazingly got more of the Movie and Recording Industry's money than any other politician so far in the 2001-2002 election cycle. What a coincidence! His top five contributors are Walt Disney, AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal, Viacom, and News Corp. He got a total of from $191,891 from TV/Movies/Music companies so far in 2001/2002.
Howard Coble got $34,483 from TV/Movies/Music companies, still nothing to sneeze at. Three of his top 6 contributors were the Recording Industry Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, and ASCAP.
It's nice to know the U.S. House of Representatives is a well-greased political machine.
In unrelated (or maybe related) news, the RIAA web site has been hacked a couple of times recently, a DoS attack and some web grafitti.
And in more unrelated (or maybe related) news, the RIAA blames poor record sales on new technology, their company line since 1979.
What happens when the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice gets stopped for speeding? He pleads guilty and pays the ticket. It would be nice if other politicians would follow William Rehnquist's example.
Russian Entrance Exams
College classes have started across the U.S. Entrance requirements in the U.S. are pretty easy. In some countries such as Japan and Taiwan, high school students take rigorous entrance exams that determine which college they can get into, and as a result how good a job they can get after graduation.
In Russia, things are a little different. According to the Moscow Times, students in Russia pay a total of about $450,000,000 in bribes to get into colleges and universities.
"Satarov said the hidden costs of supposedly free higher education have grown rapidly in recent years because of the ongoing conflict in Chechnya. School provides a way out of compulsory military service for young men."
Here's the link, but you have to pay to see it now. It was free when I looked at it earlier.
Stupid Patent of Today
Do you like JPEG digital photos? A Forgent thinks you should pay them royalties in order to use them. They acquired a 1986 patent they think applies to JPEG files and they say anybody with software that reads or writes .jpg files in infringing on their intellectual property.
Quote of the Month
"The best of America was also represented in the technology and know-how of our mine safety folks -- those who, on a moments notice, used their skill to devise a way to save life. Took a look at the situation, reacted to the environment, predicted what might happen miles below the earth, and responded." -- Dubbya, Aug. 5, 2002
The miners were only 240 feet down.
Cheaters Never Win
Ashcroft and the Justice Department are in trouble. They cheated on so many wiretaps in the past, the court in charge (the FISA court) won't let them have their "broad new powers."
A lady flew from Atlanta to Philadelphia on Sunday. She said she forgot about the gun in her carry-on bag. But nobody noticed until she tried to make her next connecting flight. She managed to get to Philadelphia with the gun.
Then on Monday, again at Philadelphia, a guy named David was sitting in a plane awaiting departure, talking to the passenger next to him. David mentioned that he was a sky marshal. He was lying, trying to impress his fellow passenger. But the person next to him really was a sky marshal, and he threw David off the plane and had him arrested.
I guess I shouldn't talk when I'm on an airliner. I might say something illegal.
In a recent Junkmail, I mentioned some people who chained an ATM to a truck and hauled it off down the road. I guess some people in Chicago had a similar idea. They stole an entire ATM machine. However, the machine was empty. It hadn't been working for two years, and the company that installed it was out of business. And they got caught.
Pictures of Today -- Alaska by Aircam
Last month I took off to Alaska, by Aircam. After wandering around in the sky (or close to the ground) for more than 10,000 miles, I made it back home. I made it north of the Arctic Circle and west to Kotzebue and Cold Bay.
Here's the route:
Here are some pictures:
A couple of rocks near Norman Wells, Canada
A tributary to the McKenzie River, near Norman Wells
An Eagle on a Perch
One way in, one way out.
The Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier
The Great Gorge. I think that's Mt. McKinley in the background.
The Alaska Pipeline
A Gravel Bar on the Kobuk River, North of the Arctic Circle
The Bering Sea
Tidal Flats, South of Anchorage
On the Alaskan Peninsula
One the beach...
...where bears live.
... and Birds, near Nelson Lagoon
A Couple of Brown Bear Cubs on the Beach
A Good Kayaking River
This is over 1000 feet tall
St. Augustine Volcano erupted in 1986.
A supertanker being escorted from Prince William Sound
This shows how big the glacier really is.
It also shows an interesting way to repair a broken bridge. I think I40 could have been fixed like this.
Bering Glacier Camp, where people come to study the largest glacier in North America for the summer. This was move-out day, when some people were leaving for the winter.
Mount St. Helens, Washington
... and this waterfall are both in the picture before these two. It's a big mountain.
Mount Adams, Washington.
This is Green River Intergalactic Airport, Wyoming.
Naturally I had to land there.
There is a whole bunch (hundreds) of pictures here if you're interested:
Feel free to copy any of these.
(Note: If you have trouble with this page using Netscape, you can try this page
or upgrade to Netscape 6.2 here
(<>) 1932, All rites preserved.
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