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Jef Raskin .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Jef Raskin. The DigiBarn Com­put­er Muse­um reports that Jef Raskin, the man who orig­i­nat­ed and inspired the Mac­in­tosh rev­o­lu­tion, passed away peace­ful­ly yes­ter­day. [Mac­In­Touch]

Ramadi residents flee city after latest US-led attacks .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Ramadi residents flee city after latest US-led attacks. Residents of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province some 100 km east of Baghdad, have started to flee the city following the latest offensive launched by US Marines and the Iraqi army.

The military have carried out raids in the province over the past few days in an attempt to crack down on insurgents, with the main focus of operations being Ramadi, a rebel stronghold.

Worried that the offensive could proceed as it did in nearby Fallujah, where the majority of the city's population was forced to flee during a near three-month long campaign, many Ramadi families are taking personal effects and food supplies and heading to relatives' houses in the capital, or to the same camps where residents from Fallujah fled.

A number of checkpoints have been set up around the city of 400,000 and a curfew has been established. It runs from 20:00 to 06:00. Vehicles are being inspecting carefully and any suspect is being taken for further interrogation, Marines' spokesman Lt-Col Paul Brathen told IRIN.

"Many insurgents have escaped Fallujah to this area but they won't have time to take the city and our early operation will prevent that. People have started to flee the city but it's too early for that," Brathen added.

But citizens, exhausted by ongoing violence, are afraid and are choosing to leave before the situation worsens. "They want to destroy the whole area and build a New York City there, and for that they are tearing down everything. We want to live in peace. We are tired of fighting and bombs. God, please protect us," Muhammad Farhan, a father of five, who was fleeing the city with his family, told IRIN.

Government offices and shops have closed and people are having difficulties getting food supplies as the offensive came quickly and without warning, giving them no time to prepare.

A government official from the city, who wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN that he expected the situation to get much worse, especially in some areas of Ramadi where insurgents were putting up a strong fight. He added that most government officials had already left the city.

Firdous al-Abadi, a spokeswoman for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), told IRIN that many people had been trapped in the university and inside mosques for over 48 hours as fighting raged outside. (link)

What's going on in Ramadi that the news isn't covering. [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

I expect that in the coming months the Feds will destroy the city, killing hundreds or thousands of innocent people in the process, and then proclaim a great victory over the "terrorists." Meanwhile, the rebels will have moved on to some other city, strengthened by hundreds of previously neutral Iraqis who will want revenge for their murdered friends and relatives, and their destroyed homes and businesses.

DOES ANYBODY ELSE FIND THIS DEPRESSING AND DISCOURAGING? .
Feb 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

DOES ANYBODY ELSE FIND THIS DEPRESSING AND DISCOURAGING?. But about halfway down the linked page is a boxed poll ques­tion with this result report­ed:

bq. It IS nec­es­sary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good val­ues.
Yes: 51%

[…]

The sheer igno­rance dis­played by that 51% isn’t the only prob­lem. If that poll result reflects real­i­ty, then 51 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are open­ly, bla­tant­ly big­ot­ed against non-believers. They’re say­ing we’re inher­ent­ly not good, decent human beings, every last one of us.

If you said that all blacks, Jews, gays, name-minority-of-your-choice were inher­ent­ly not good, decent human beings, you’d be right­ly nail­ing your­self as the igno­rant, ugly big­ot you are. But say it about peo­ple who live their lives clean­ly because of their own inter­nal ethics … and appar­ent­ly that’s just dandy. [Wolfes­blog]

I cer­tain­ly find it depress­ing and dis­gust­ing, but not at all surprising–I’ve encoun­tered big­ots like that myself. Also, I strong­ly sus­pect that a not-insignificant part of that 51% actu­al­ly are also big­ot­ed towards some or all of those minorites.

Gunman kills ex-wife, bystander in Texas shooting spree; four wounded .
Feb 26th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Gun­man kills ex-wife, bystander in Texas shoot­ing spree; four wound­ed. A man angry about being sued for unpaid child sup­port opened fire with an AK-47 assault rifle out­side a cour­t­house, killing his ex-wife and a bystander who inter­vened to pro­tect the couple’s 23-year-old son.

[…]

Author­i­ties cred­it­ed the bystander who died, Mark Alan Wil­son, 52, with sav­ing the son’s life.

Wil­son, a gun enthu­si­ast who had a con­cealed weapons per­mit, inter­vened after Arroyo start­ed shoot­ing, wit­ness­es said. Swin­dle said Wil­son shot at Arroyo sev­er­al times but his rounds didn’t pen­e­trate the body armour. [CBC News]

Nat­u­ral­ly the US media cov­er­age I’ve seen only men­tions that a “bystander who tried to inter­vene” was killed. The fact that the bystander was armed and (as a result of being armed) suc­ceed­ed in sav­ing the son’s life have been con­spicous­ly absent.

pop-up advertisers have finally defeated the pop-up blocking functionality found in many browsers .
Feb 21st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

pop-up advertisers have finally defeated the pop-up blocking functionality found in many browsers. The Return Of The Pop-Up Ad.
SYFer writes "Shortly after upgrading my Macs to OS X 10.3.8, I noticed
that I was getting pop-up ads on Safari. It had been so long since I'd
seen a pop-up, I completely forgotten how annoying they can be. I went
over to Apple's Support site to see if there was a relationship, but
learned that the timing is just a coincidence (even though there's a
lot of the usual FUD and flailing of arms in the discussion forums). In
fact, it turns out that the pop-up advertisers (what's the proper
denigrating term here?) have finally defeated the pop-up blocking
functionality found in many browsers. MacFixIt is running a front page
article on the topic and says 'Contrary to initial reports, this
problem isn't limited to Safari; subsequent reports have noted
pop-under ads victimizing a number of browsers that provide
pop-up-blocking features, including the latest versions of Safari,
FireFox, Mozilla, OmniWeb, and Camino.'" [Slashdot] [Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)]

I've just started to see popups making it through from certain sites in Firefox, although the AdBlock extension has thus far removed the ads, leaving just empty popups. The Slashdot discussion includes various tips on how to deal with these ever more insidious ads.

Cabir mobile virus found in U.S.. .
Feb 21st, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Cabir mobile virus found in U.S... Cabir mobile virus found in U.S.. Virus appeared in two phones in a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia shop win­dow, pos­si­bly infect­ed via Blue­tooth wire­less. [CNET News.com] [Pri­va­cy Digest: Pri­va­cy News (Civ­il Rights, Encryp­tion, Free Speech, Cryp­tog­ra­phy)]

Part of my job at Syman­tec is pro­vid­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion man­age­ment sup­port for our wire­less prod­ucts group, which devel­ops soft­ware for (among oth­er things) virus pro­tec­tion on Symbian-based phones from Nokia.

First Grader Punished for Bag of Dirt .
Feb 20th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

First Grad­er Pun­ished for Bag of Dirt. Her mom, Michele, says after Michaela put the mix­ture into the bag, she tied the top with a pur­ple pony­tail hold­er and gave it to her friend saying,“here’s a bag of dirt.”

After recess was over the stu­dent gave the bag of dirt to their teacher.

Michele says after meet­ing with the teacher and prin­ci­pal, she was told that the bag of dirt, “looked like a bag of weed.”

[…]

Michele says she doesn’t deny what her daugh­ter did. But she does dis­agree with the two-day in-school deten­tion. “They said it would be on her school record as far as dis­ci­pli­nary that she made a look alike drug but I don’t feel like that’s right. Because she didn’t do any­thing wrong.”

Michele says her daugh­ter served her two day, in-school deten­tion last Thurs­day and Fri­day. And while she’s still upset with the schools actions, Michele is not con­sid­er­ing mov­ing her daugh­ter to anoth­er school. [KFVS 12]

Anoth­er exam­ple of why it’s a ter­ri­ble mis­take to sub­ject chil­dren to gov­ern­ment schools. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it seems this poor girl’s moth­er is to stu­pid to learn that les­son even after hav­ing it shoved down her throat. Well, we can only hope that the girl grows up to have a healthy con­tempt for author­i­ty because of this.

Reuters .  Of course, if Bush lied about this as part of a basic security clearance process, he would lose his clearance.
Feb 20th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Reuters.  Of course, if Bush lied about this as part of a basic secu­ri­ty clear­ance process, he would lose his clear­ance. [John Robb’s Weblog]

Sure he would. And if you believe that, I have a bridge for sale.

PGP Algorithm Migration .
Feb 19th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

PGP Algo­rithm Migra­tion. Accord­ing to Callas, “We’ve been plan­ning for just this sort of event for some time.” All PGP prod­ucts are archi­tect­ed to allow for rapid and non-disruptive migra­tion of all encryp­tion, hash, com­pres­sion, and sig­na­ture algo­rithms. PGP Cor­po­ra­tion began plan­ning the migra­tion to more secure hash algo­rithms after MD5 was com­pro­mised last year. Callas addressed the company’s design phi­los­o­phy in a Sep­tem­ber 2004 CTO Cor­ner arti­cle enti­tled “Much ado about hash func­tions.” At the same time, PGP engi­neers began imple­ment­ing a shift from SHA-1 to the stronger algo­rithms (SHA-256 and SHA-512) while pre­serv­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with exist­ing soft­ware. [PGP Cor­po­ra­tion]

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that sim­ply increas­ing the num­ber of bits in an algo­rithm that’s already been proven vul­ner­a­ble isn’t the best idea. Are there no strong algo­rithms avail­able that aren’t derived from MD4?

Arabs: ‘it’s the foreign policy, stupid’ .
Feb 18th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Arabs: 'it's the foreign policy, stupid'. This has been said many times before, but it bears repeating. Arabs and Muslims don't "hate our freedoms". They hate our foreign policy:

A new regional study identifies Arab reactions to Western, and most specifically US, foreign policy in the region as being the single most important factor influencing Arab attitudes about ties with the West.
The study also shows that contrary to what some observers, particularly in the US, have suggested, Arabs do not see "the West" in entirely negative terms.

Conducted by the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan in collaboration with research centres in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the survey shows that respondents do not perceive "the West" as a unified whole. Rather, they differentiate substantially between countries, particularly on politics.

The Arab public views France much more positively than it does the United States and United Kingdom, primarily because there is a more positive perception of French political policies in the Middle East, the study shows.

Entitled "Revisiting the Arab Street: Research From Within," the study also reveals that the Arabs value many of the attitudes of Western states and societies.

"Significantly, and again in contrast to some popularly held Western views, Arab public opinion does not perceive the tension between the Arab world and the West in either religious or cultural terms. Despite views often expressed on Western talk shows or in popular books... there is little evidence that Arabs perceive the West as a Crusader force, intent on destroying the Islamic world in a battle over religious beliefs. Indeed, the Arab world sees the vast majority of Westerners, and those in the US in particular, as not strongly influenced by religious motives," an executive summary of the research states...

...According to the researchers, the evidence consistently emphasises that the Arab public disagrees with the foreign policies of the US and UK, and that it is these policies which are at the root of anti-American, and subsequently anti-Western, sentiments.

The survey targeted attitudes regarding the US, UK and France, as well as attitudes regarding the place of Islam in politics, the definition of terrorism, and the importance of Arab satellite TV in the formation of regional opinions.

"Findings indicate that viewing the Arab world as uniformly hostile towards the West, locked into an inevitable cultural clash, will lead policy makers in both East and West to miss important opportunities for improving relations. At the same time, such a simplification may also lead to underestimating the magnitude of the problem," according to the summary.

The study warns that positive attitudes towards the US and UK will continue to plummet unless major changes in their foreign policies are implemented. It points specifically to attitudinal data from youth, university students and national sample populations that suggests that a process of radicalisation is taking place in those sectors, fuelled by widespread economic and political frustration, both domestically and regionally.

[Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

I'm not surprised. All the talk about a "clash of civilizations" comes from Crusaders, who are comitting the common mistake of believing that everyone else thinks the way they do.

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