Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MacVirus?

Interesting article by Larry Seltzer, writing in eWeek on the potential for problems when viruses et al come to the Apple platform. For years my friends using Macs bragged to me about how they were safe from computer viruses. I always thought it was the same kind of safety that the Amish have from carjackers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

Quote of the week

The Truro Daily News, in a Harry Sullivan reported story dated 2/11/2006, covers the ire being raised over the opening of a sex shop in the sleepy town of Bible Hill. My favourite quote is from a shop opponent:
"The sole purpose of an adult store is for sexual arousal."
.

Alas, they have no permalinks. To see the story you have to click "News" on the left side, then choose the story "Adult Themes" from the dropdown. From what I can tell, it will eventually drop off into pay-only archives.

On the Cheney shooting thing

Rob Corddy says it best
Corddry: Jon, in a post-9/11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Brown felt abandoned

Former FEMA chief Michael "Brownie" Brown "felt somewhat abandoned" by the White House. His proverbial house got washed away and waited in vain the proverbial Superdome for help. He may feel betrayed by a White House that is known for it's loyalty to those who are, well, loyal. He may be so angry that to cool down we should pack him in an eighteen wheeler and send him to Maine to cool off for a bit. I know when I saw the devastation in New Orleans after the hurricane my thoughts and prayers were with any middle management types who might lose their cushy government jobs just for being utter failures at them.

Jeerwatch

The PeeDee's Cheer and Jeers column has some of the usual stuff this week, including a jeer at some racist dimwits who vandalized car. Because it's widely known that vandals number two activity, after spray painting slurs on cars and homes, is browsing the Ed/Op pages of the local daily paper.

The also single out the County Auditor who likes to see his face on a stamp on every gas pump in the state of Ohio
Jeers...to Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo. Not content with having his visage smiling from every gas pump in the county, he has mounted three wide-screen, flat-panel TVs on three floors of the County Administration Building to show a 15-minute video loop of himself doing nothing terribly interesting. If he's going to such expense and trouble, why not give the public Extreme Frank: skydiving, snowboarding, spelunking, maybe a little street luge?
One annoying thing I've noticed is the way each city has a tiny sign under the Welcome with the present mayor's name. And each state like to feature the Guv's name on state signage where it's not needed. The purpose to appeal to the lowest rung of voters and just make sure they remember the pol's name come the next election cycle. I wonder how much paint and material is wasted updating these signs after they lose at the polls? How about a law banning the placing of living politician's name on muni or state signs, with the exceptions only being the sign for their office and their parking space?

Today's News

A must-read each day should be the Today's Papers column by Eric Umansky of Slate.com. From today's column
In a NYT op-ed, CIA Director Porter Goss inveighs against leaks. 'The terrorists gain an edge when they keep their secrets and we don't keep ours.' He might want to e-mail the piece to his bosses ...

... because as the LAT fronts, and everybody else reports, former vice presidential aide Scooter Libby has testified he was 'authorized by his superiors' to leak a classified intel report about Iraq.
I would assume classified reports are ok to leak if said leak is approved by whatever party happens to be in the White House.

Photos at Airports

Excellent article in Salon today by pilot Patrick Smith, on the problem with unwritten rules
'How can you prohibit people from photographing things, but not tell them what those things are?'

To this he only shakes his head, relaying my vitals into his shoulder mike and scribbling onto his notepad. Is he being evasive, or does he not know for sure that he's right?

Finally I'm asked to open my camera and scroll through each of its stored photographs, presumably to ensure I haven't snapped any shots of those shadowy forbidden items. When that checks out, and the news comes crackling back that I'm not a wanted fugitive, the officer thanks me for cooperating and lets me go. He makes sure to remind me, just as his colleague in New Hampshire had done, that next time I'd benefit from advance permission, and that 'we live in a different world now.'

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

You heard it here first

Thor versus Muhammad could really sell a lot of issues for Marvel. But then we'd have to deal with the Norse burning down our embassies, right?

Remind me again about our Saudi allies

From Daily Kos contributer Soj is an interesting backstory on the Danish cartoon conflagration
The most recent Hajj occurred during the first half of January 2006, precisely when the 'outrage' over the Danish cartoons began in earnest. There were a number of stampedes, called 'tragedies' in the press, during the Hajj which killed several hundred pilgrims. I say 'tragedies' in quotation marks because there have been similar 'tragedies' during the Hajj and each time, the Saudi government promises to improve security and facilitation of movement to avoid these. Over 251 pilgrims were killed during the 2004 Hajj alone in the same area as the one that killed 350 pilgrims in 2006. These were not unavoidable accidents, they were the results of poor planning by the Saudi government.

And while the deaths of these pilgrims was a mere blip on the traditional western media's radar, it was a huge story in the Muslim world. Most of the pilgrims who were killed came from poorer countries such as Pakistan, where the Hajj is a very big story. Even the most objective news stories were suddenly casting Saudi Arabia in a very bad light and they decided to do something about it.

Their plan was to go on a major offensive against the Danish cartoons. The 350 pilgrims were killed on January 12 and soon after, Saudi newspapers (which are all controlled by the state) began running up to 4 articles per day condemning the Danish cartoons. The Saudi government asked for a formal apology from Denmark. When that was not forthcoming, they began calling for world-wide protests. After two weeks of this, the Libyans decided to close their embassy in Denmark. Then there was an attack on the Danish embassy in Indonesia. And that was followed by attacks on the embassies in Syria and then Lebanon.
Trying to appease the "protestors" is basically useless in nations where the government controls the press.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Danish cartoons

So this set of cartoons published last year in Denmark has the Muslim world in an uproar.
Palestinian militants surrounded European Union headquarters in Gaza, and gunmen burst into several hotels and apartments in the West Bank in search of foreigners to take hostage.
(link). To date, depsite the Prez of Iran denying the Holocaust, I haven't noticed any groups of Jewish shoppers at local malls threatening to take hostages. Personally, I don't quite get why we should care what the non-democracies think, as their news if fed to them through government filters. Obviously they don't understand one great thing about democracies is the government can't truly muzzle the press. Not to mention the cartoons are a bit mediocre. It's like protesting B.C.

Perhaps it is a sign of our times that denying things that actually happened, like say, evolution, is more accepted by some than denying magical stories. Maybe people are more desperate to defend stories they know are made up, lacking any rational arguments. Just try bashing Harry Potter, my friend - those fans make terrorists seem like baby koalas.