Internet Leash Can Monitor Sex Offenders: Sangamon County in Illinois is installing Security Software Systems' Cyber Sentinel on the computers belonging to four sexual predators on probation in order to monitor what they do online. Peacefire looked at how Cyber Sentinel works and the effectiveness of its blocking last year.
Pakistan: flavour of the year - Optimism to hostility - the story of Indo-Pak relations in the year 2001
The immediate danger, perhaps similar in character to the danger that existed in July 1914 after Serbian terrorists had murdered the Austrian Archduke, is that no one will succeed in preventing the war which both Indian and Pakistani public opinion seems to support. The further danger is that the bin Laden strategy will succeed, with or without bin Laden. His strategy was to use terror to create a general state of war between Islam and the major powers by undermining the West and radicalising the Muslims.
Hordes head for border with cash hoards: more on Europeans rushing to get rid of undeclared cash.
U.S. officials are warning that the E.U.'s proposed navigation system, Galileo, could be used by an enemy and could interfere with GPS. In the midst of funding disputes, Chirac is using the project as an example of what Europe must do to keep from becoming "vassals" of the U.S. [via Interesting People]
The terrorists who attacked India's parliament Dec. 13 killed 12 people, including themselves. They achieved their probable goal, to drive India and Pakistan to war or its brink.
If the purpose was to change the subject in Pakistan, to create tension with India greater than the alliance with the United States, to divert troops from Afghanistan's border, it has worked.
Missed signals: a history of the U.S.'s unimplemented plans against terrorism.
Floridians gave $1.9 million to alleged terror front groups: tax records of Benevolence International Foundation, Global Relief Foundation, and Holy Land Foundation show donations of $62 million nationwide.
Saturday night at the Paradiso is usually a time strictly of bands, DJs and dance music. But on this December night, it was nothing short of a midnight mass for guilder. Klaas Vos played the preacher. A former real-life priest, Mr Vos came up with the idea to hold a mass for the guilder to pay homage to the currency that for so long has been part of the Dutch national identity.
Europe Dumps Old Money Before Ringing in the New: on how Europeans with undeclared cash try to spend it without gaining notice from tax authorities.
Fox News had a recently four part series on Israeli spies in the U.S. The transcripts have apparently been pulled from their site but are available, along with some background material, from cryptome.
How to Try a Terrorist: on why we should try captured terrorists in civil court. "No other type of judicial proceeding could offer Americans and the rest of the world as satisfying a verdict, or a more resounding vindication of American justice and freedoms."
The gasoline truck driver walked away with a $90 careless driving ticket. He left behind him a spectacular rush-hour mess Friday evening:
Traffic was snarled at one of Tampa's busiest highway intersections for hours as the 8,700 gallons of gasoline in John Hopkins' truck burned. Thousands of homebound commuters were caught in a gridlock that soon spilled over the Howard Frankland Bridge and Courtney Campbell Parkway into Pinellas.
Two major highways near Tampa International Airport, Independence Parkway and Veterans Expressway, will be closed until damage to an overpass, parts of which melted, can be repaired.
India prepares to camouflage Taj Mahal. Isn't that just a bit large to hide?
Mosque leader is living in fear: the leader of the Brixton Mosque, linked to the SneakerBomber, is worried about the backlash on himself and his family after speaking out about the extremists recruiting from his mosque.
[via wood s lot]
Former Taliban officials have revived Khudamul Furqan Jamiat, or Society of Servants of the Holy Koran, in an attempt to get back into the Afghanistan political scene.
If words carry weight, perhaps it is not the case that we should have philosophers govern, as Plato had it (the results he inspired were disastrous), but at least we ought to fill our governments with people who are better versed in history and geography.
[via Red Rock Eater]
Textiles and Terrorism: on how U.S. trade policy to protect our textile industry helps keep poor countries poor and contributes to instability.
The European Union is considering whether to go ahead with Galileo: a satellite based navigation system similar to the U.S.'s GPS and Russia's GLONASS. The system could be operational in 2008 with 30 satellites in orbit.
The cleric who runs the Brixton Mosque where Reid is thought to have been recruited says he warned police about militant activity there but was ignored. Since the connection to a British mosque was first reported I thought "Brixton Mosque" was a description: a mosque in Brixton. But it's actually the name of the mosque.
'Two Towers' title concerns movie maker, but he won't change it.
Last month I mentioned a paper that had been retroactively pulled from Human Immunology because of the controversy over the findings. Here's that paper: The Origin of Palestinians and Their Genetic Relatedness with Other Mediterranean Populations". [via also not found in nature]
This late in history,' what shall we choose to read? On the stress of knowing there will never have enough time to finish the books left to read. [via dangerousmeta]
A new bin Laden tape has shown up on Al Jazeera, this one apparently made within the last two weeks.
Bushfires which have been burning for 10 days in New South Wales, particularly near Sydney, have destroyed more than 110 homes so far and are expected to continue to burn for days.
Japan heats up Asian space race: on Japan's contribution, the Kibo experiment module, to the ISS and its challenges in keeping up with its neighbors in exploiting space. Kibo is scheduled to be launched in 2004.
I'm fiddling around with style sheets for the first time. Trying to keep it simple, but if I've totally messed up your display, please let me know.
Who will cry for Saddam? "Is ousting Saddam Hussein from power an act that would anger Arab States and provoke the masses in the region? If such a question is serious, the answer in fact is that nothing of the kind would happen." [via Rantburg]
Cross-border fighting in India and Pakistan is leading to both sides reinforcing their troops there.
2002: The Carpetbaggers Go Home: Cory Doctorow takes on the idea that it's possible to have a reliable business model, at least on the level that business is used to, on the Internet because, by definition, the Internet is not that reliable. [via Voidstar]
In Sacramento, a Publisher's Questions Draw the Wrath of the Crowd: Janis Besler Heaphy, publisher of The Sacramento Bee, was booed off the stage while giving a commencement speech at California State University, Sacramento because of her comments urging citizens to safeguard their rights. [via Follow Me Here]
Brace Yourself for the Segmented Internet: on the possibility that local censorship policies will increasingly pressure countries into implementing gateways that control access to foreign content. [via Interesting People]
Evil Unleashed: on how the Israeli response to the escalation of violence from Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been planned since before the start of the second Intifada. Here is one document she references but doesn't link to: Peace and War: Israel versus the Palestinians - A second Intifada?. [via Unknown News]
From 'Zoomcopters' to a month in jail: the story of Israeli citizens who were brought to the U.S. to work in malls but wound up caught in the post-9/11 roundup.
Mugabe has recalled Zimbabwe's troops from Congo because they are needed to "help him fight the election" but top army generals are encouraging him to withdraw from the election in order to give ZANU PF a better chance at winning. The leader of the opposition party MDC is accusing Mugabe of state terrorism. The Commonwealth has threatened Mugabe with suspension if Mugabe doesn't stop state violence by January.
Fair Wear's campaign, called "Support Breasts, Not Dictators", to force Triumph International to shut down it's bra making operations in Burma has gained some ground, with the Norwegian women's ski team pulling out of a sponsorship deal with the company.
Are extraterrestials using antimatter in their starships? If so, they're not within 10AU of us, according to Michael Harris' study using data gained from the EGRET instrument on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
A team using the Chandra has detected evidence that an elliptical galaxy, NGC 4636, is in an endless cycle of gas falling into the central black hole and causing explosions on the scale of several hundred thousand supernovas.
Museum staff defends Secret Wars exhibit: on an FBI visit to a Houston art museum, following up on a tip that there was art there that threatened Bush.
Interim government promising, but presents challenges: a report on a talk by Ahmed Rashid on the new Afghanistan government.
Pakistan and the Taliban revisited: will Pakistan revert to supporting the Taliban when it starts a guerrilla war from its terrority?
Bush sends clear warning signals to Pakistan: "With the US president denouncing the attack on the Indian Parliament and freezing the Lashkar-e-Toiba's assets, terrorism as a political tactic is in danger of dieing out". The article is referring to terrorism as a political tactic of the U.S. as well as Pakistan.
India and Pakistan on the brink of war: India pulls its diplomats from Pakistan, which has historically been the start of tit-for-tat actions leading to war. But this time, Pakistan says is doesn't intend to pull its High Commissioner out of India. The two countries have ruled out a meeting between their leaders at an upcoming summit.
Our Friends the Terrorists: "Just to puncture our hypocrisy for a moment: We've been battling terrorism by bolstering backers of terrorism in Pakistan."
Somalia has made more terrorism arrests, hoping to preempt a U.S. led attack.
Windows XP has serious flaw: are we surprised?
The hundreds of thousands of British computer users who have installed Microsoft's new Windows XP, billed as the most secure ever, have left their machines open to hackers, the company admitted yesterday.
The NASA Advisory Council has released its report on the space station's management and spending. The cover letter lists their main findings, which recommend that NASA focus on the core U.S. section, which would continue to limit crew size to three and restrict the amount of work that can be done up there, while they work on getting their spending under control and restore their credibility. And what about our nation's credibility when we back out of commitments to the other countries who've spent considerable chunks of money on the station as well? The ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Science has rejected the report.
A practical topic of this message is making programming of pattern-based rewriting systems more intuitive. It is far from trivial to build complex re-writing rules from simpler ones, in head-first pattern-based rewriting systems. The familiar idioms of a 'function call' and a functional composition -- let alone higher-level combinators such as fold -- do not easily apply.
This article proposes a solution: continuation-passing-style (CPS) coupled with a macro-lambda. The solution makes it trivial to compose re-writing rules and to use higher-order rule combinators. We can code re-writing rules using traditional, well-understood applicative programming idioms. The solution relies on a first-class denotation for a future re-writing.
Oh, baby. [via Lambda the Ultimate]
Initial reports from witnesses were that the U.S. had invaded Moheli, the island capital of Comoros, as part of the WoT. Apparently the soldiers claimed to be U.S. Army and handed flyers linking the government to terrorism. It now appears that it's a coup. The text of the flyer that was handed out is at the bottom of this message from the Prime Minister. [via Metafilter]
University of South Florida has fired Sami Al-Arian, a tenured computer science professor, largely because of the disruption caused his appearance on the O'Reilly Factor, which he says was a setup, and the subsequent death threats he received and bomb threats the University received. He was placed on paid leave two days after the show aired and was sent a letter of intent to terminate yesterday. In addition to the recent trouble, he has spoken out against the detention of his brother-in-law on secret evidence, been a vocal critic of Israel and has been accused of running a front organization for Islamic Jihad, though the charges have not been proven.
Two more groups have been named by Bush as organizations that fund terrorists: Umma Tameer-e-nau (UTN) and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET). UTN is said to be founded by a former Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission official. UTN's leader was questioned and released by Pakistan in October regarding his contacts with bin Ladin. Bush accused UTN today of supplying information on nuclear weapons to al-Qaeda. LET has been named as the group that attacked the Indian parliament last week and has taken responsibility for other attacks on India.
The first arrests under Britain's new anti-terror law have been made. One suspect disappeared shortly after the new law was passed Friday. Liberty, a British civil liberties group, may mount a campaign to free them.
Three hundred and forty-two pages. Three hundred and fifty subject areas. Forty federal agencies. Twenty-one legal amendments.
Sweeping anti-terrorism legislation that was proposed, debated and signed into law in less than six weeks now has federal prosecutors, defenders, regulators and administrators around the country scrambling to decipher what Congress and the Bush administration intended and immediately put it into effect.
[via Red Rock Eater]
The bin Laden tape that got some much attention last week is available from the State Department now. Mozilla doesn't like the links, so here are the RealPlayer versions of the links for easy cutting and pasting into RealPlayer.
Text of the U.S. report to the UN Security Council Counterterrorism Committee on what the U.S. has done to cut off terrorist financing and their activities, as required by U.N. resolution 1373. Reports from other countries are also available.
Yemen takes on an al-Qaeda base before the U.S. does.
Mugabe outlaws opposition and bans free speech. That's one way to win a fair election.
Unholy Alliance -- Sharon, Hamas Work in Concert Against Peace: Is it possible Israel and Hamas are working toward the same goal, but with different motivations? Rabbi Michael Lerner thinks so. He says they both want the elimination of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. [via Unknown News]
Arafat is looking more and more like he is irrelevant, as Israel and Palestinians continued to attack each other after Arafat's speech Sunday, calling on all parties to stop the violence, a request that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have rejected.
Bulgaria's M SAT TV has joined the top ranks of newscasting, right up there with Naked News, with its new show "The Naked Truth", which features women stripping in time to the teleprompter. They plan to launch a similar political analysis show next year.
As the universe continues to expand, one astrophysicist has calculated that in billions of years astronomers will have nothing new to look at. Objects will become so distant that new light from them will never reach us. [via Honeyguide]
Office XP is configured by default to send debugging information, including a memory dump which could include all or part of the document being worked on, to Microsoft in the event of a crash. [via Risks]
The USA Patriot Act and the US Department of Justice: losing our balances? "Partly because of the most recent spate of anti-terrorism legislation, two out of three branches of the federal government are also being left out of the loop in a growing number of circumstances."
Capitol Hill Anthrax Matches Army's Stocks: the strains are genetically identical to those maintained at an Army facility at Fort Detrick. Matching samples at labs in the U.S. and Britain trace their origin to Fort Detrick. [via Interesting People]
Quantum Evolution: applying quantum mechanics to molecular biology and genetics.
Loophole lets terror suspect remain free: on Abu Hamza, who is wanted in connection to a terrorist incident in Yemen that left three British tourists dead but cannot be held under the new British terrorism law because he is a British citizen.
Afghan Drought Inflicts Its Own Misery: on the other Afghan crisis - a drought in southwest Asia that has last three years.
Anti-Globalization Group Says It Knows Exactly How to End World Terrorism: on the Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC), which says that the way to end terror is to address the causes, poverty and injustice, by introducing a Tobin Tax on international financial transactions and using the proceeds for third world development.
The author of The Perils of Totalitarian "Patriotism" makes a good point, though I don't agree with he takes it:
Some conservative defenders of the Bush administration would insist that the President and Attorney General Ashcroft are honorable men of character who can be entrusted with extraordinary powers. But they should remember English philosopher John Locke's warning that liberty is most imperiled during the reign of "good rulers." This is because their evil successors "draw the actions of those good rulers into precedent and make them the standard of their prerogative -- as if what had been done only for the good of the people was a right in them to do for the harm of the people, if they so pleased...."
For the second time, the U.S. has vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have put international monitors in the West Bank and Gaza, this time on the grounds that the resolution did not mention recent suicide attacks or name the groups responsible for them. Other than the veto, the vote was 12 for and two abstentions.
John D. Negroponte (United States) said the question before the Council was whether the draft resolution could make a meaningful contribution to improving the situation in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it failed to address the dynamic at work in the region. Instead, its purpose was to isolate politically one of the parties to the conflict, through an attempt to throw the weight of the Council behind the other party. A fundamental flaw of the resolution was that it never mentioned the recent acts of terrorism against Israelis or those responsible for them. Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were deliberately seeking to sabotage any potential there might be for Israelis and Palestinians to conclude a negotiated peace.
He said it was Chairman Arafat's responsibility to take a strategic stand against terrorism. There could be no coexistence with terrorist organizations or acquiescence in their activities. The Palestinian Authority must arrest those responsible for planning and carrying out terrorist attacks, and destroy the formal and informal structures that perpetuated terrorism. Israel, for its part, must very carefully focus on the repercussion of any actions it took. Neither party should lose sight of the need to resume progress towards a lasting end to the violence and resumption of a dialogue.
The Council should not take any action that would turn the focus of the parties away from the efforts needed to improve an already tense situation. The United States had decided to make use of its veto to block the draft resolution.
Bush has claimed executive privilege and refused to turn over documents related to FBI use of mob informants and the investigation of Clinton fund raising activities to the House Committee on Government Reform, which had subpoenaed them under their oversight of the Justice Department function for a hearing originally scheduled for 9/11. In a memo released Wednesday, Bush claims the release of these documents would be "contrary to the national interest." The action met an angry reaction at the rescheduled hearing on Thursday.
The Real Roots of Terror: Jack Beatty argues that its not Iraq and the like we should be going after, it's Egypt and Saudi Arabia - "The autocratic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt distract their citizens from repression at home by directing their anger toward the U.S." [via Bushwacker]
Bush ties the wars on drugs and terror together in his speech yesterday while signing the Drug-Free Communities Act:
Drug use threatens everything, everything that is best about our country. It breaks the bonds between parents and children. It turns productive citizens into addicts. It transforms schools into places of violence and chaos. It makes playgrounds into crime scenes. It supports gangs here at home. And abroad, it's so important for Americans to know that the traffic in drugs finances the work of terror, sustaining terrorists -- that terrorists use drug profits to fund their cells to commit acts of murder.
If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America.
So remember kids, if you buy drugs then you're funding terrorists, and that makes you a terrorist too.
At least Bush is trying to do something about the demand side in the WoD. The demand side of terror, the things we do to generate such hatred, must also be addressed if the WoT is going to get anywhere in the long run. [via blackholebrain]
Kenya has agreed to let the U.S. and Britain set up bases in its territory for use against Somalia.
In a debate Friday with Paul Billings of GeneSage at the Associate of Reproductive Health Professionals Reproductive Health conference, Panos Zavos of the Andrology Institute of America said he plans to find a country where he can legally perform reproductive cloning.
NASA has moved up the undocking of Endeavour from the space station to 11:37 Eastern this morning. The shuttle will first boost the station by about three-quarters of a mile to avoid a Russian booster rocket that is expected to pass too close for comfort.
Two Islamic charities, the Benevolence International Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, have been raided under provisions of the Patriot Act by the FBI, apparently on direction of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control.
The European Union is debating punitive measures against Zimbabwe's President Mugabe, a move spurred on by the news that Mugabe travelled to Spain for eye treatment when his country has little viable medical facilities. [via OneWorld]
Michael Moore is rewriting up to half of his book on Bush, Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation, which was to be published by ReganBooks on September 11th. There are 100,000 copies of the original version reported to be in a Pennsylvania warehouse. [via Cursor]
Israel's cabinet declares Arafat irrelevant and will no longer deal with him.
Goodbye, Mr. Irrelevant: on what the Israeli cabinet declaration really means.
The quiet war is likely to start after Afghanistan. Tim Hames predicts that the next phase will not be as spectacular as Afghanistan and goes through the likely candidates: Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Iraq.
What's the world like?
A flock of sheep.
One falls into the ditch,
the rest jump in.
- Kabir (Sakhi: 240, The Bijak of Kabir, trans. Linda Hess and Shukdev Singh)
"On TV screens across the globe, for more than two months now, the sheep have been jumping into the ditch without a bleat of protest."
In a pair of papers using different methods, astronomers working with data from the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey have determined that dark matter in the universe is distributed the same way as visible galaxies are.
- The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: The bias of galaxies and the density of the Universe
- The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: The amplitudes of fluctuations in the 2dFGRS and the CMB, and implications for galaxy biasing
Future Warfare and the Decline of Human Decisionmaking: as autonomous battle systems are improved, "humans may retain symbolic authority, but automated systems move too fast and the factors involved are too complex for real human comprehension." [via abuddhas memes]
Two leaders of the Jewish Defense League have been arrested for allegedly plotting to blow up a mosque and a congressman's office. The Anti-Defamation League has some background information on the JDL.
The Peruvian city of Arequipa has built up at the base and up the lower slopes of El Misti. In a paper appearing in the December 2001 issue of The Geological Society of America Bulletin, a group of scientists led by Jean-Claude Thouret is predicting a major eruption, the first since the 1400s. His prediction is based in part on layers of ash dated every 500-1500 years. the most recent reports of activity are from the 80s. There are no evacuation plans, according to the local civil defense. Some of the data behind their work is here.
Polls make it very clear Bush can do no wrong: "Much of the global village must await its turn, preparing to meet the inspectors, to prepare for attack, face the ultimate character examination for an American military court." [via Unknown News]
Stories from some of the terrorism detainees:
Germany also is having some trouble getting it's second anti-terror law passed. It seems the Social Democratic Party actually wants time to discuss late breaking amendments before voting on them. What a novel concept. [via Unknown News]
On the continuing contention over an anti-terrorism bill in the U.K. The current stumbling block is a clause that would criminalize incitement of racial hatred.
On the debate on whether or not to try Moussaoui in open court or a military tribunal.
Innocent are caught in the cross hairs of the hunt for suspected terrorists: a 26 year citizen has his credit card blocked without notice by Citibank because he has the same name as someone on a list of "specially designated global terrorist individuals".
Tasia Scolinos, spokeswoman for the US Treasury Department, said Citibank appears to have followed proper procedure. She said banks are supposed to block accounts first and then investigate to see whether the person is actually the terrorist. If the bank becomes satisfied that the targeted person is not the terrorist, the account can be unblocked.
[via Interesting People]
The attacks on our nation made it even more clear that we need to build limited and effective defenses against a missile attack. Our enemies seek every chance and every means to do harm to our country, our forces, and our friends. And we will not permit it.
Suppose the Taliban and the terrorists had been able to strike America or important allies with a ballistic missile. Our coalition would have become fragile, the stakes in our war much, much higher. We must protect Americans and our friends against all forms of terror, including the terror that could arrive on a missile.
Last week we conducted another promising test of our missile defense
technology. For the good of peace, we're moving forward with an active
program to determine what works and what does not work. In order to do
so, we must move beyond the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a
treaty that was written in a different era, for a different enemy.
- (Bush, December 11, Citadel)
The treaty allows either side to withdraw on six months notice under Article XV:
- This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
- Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party six months prior to withdrawal from the Treaty. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
I truly have to wonder about the wisdom of spending billions of dollars to build an effective defense (if such a thing is possible) against what is, in my opinion, the miniscule chance that a leader will choose to have his country turned into glass by launching a ballistic missile, or allowing one to be launched from his country's soil, at the U.S.
A French official is calling for an international court to try bioethics cases as a way of dealing with cloning issues at a global level. [via somewhereIforget]
US turns sights on Somalia terror groups: the military has met with leaders of the opposition faction Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) and gained permission to use its bases.
Saddam Hussein is about to release his second novel, The Impregnable Fortress. The first, a romance novel called Zabibah and the King, which was reportedly studied by the CIA for insights into Saddam's thinking, is being turned in to a musical by the Iraqi National Theatre. Zabibah's cover features a fantasy painting whose artist says was used without his permission.
Mark at wood s lot tied this article describing The Invasion of the Body Snatchers' basis as a statement on McCarthyism to The New McCarthyism article I linked to yesterday (no, not the Donald Sutherland version).
Transforming Transdniestria: on the history and future of a tiny strip of land located between Moldova and Ukraine which is called both Trandniestria and the Dniester Moldovan Republic (DMR). It declared independence from Moldova more than ten years ago, has it's own currency and held its third presidential election yesterday. Igor Smirnov was elected for a third term. It has yet to be recognized by any country: almost an imagined state. Being completely landlocked and extremely poor, it's existence is probably largely due to free shipments of natural gas from Russia and the presence of around 15,000 Russian peacekeepers. The latter are due to leave in 2002, although past agreements on the reduction of those forces have not been honored. A long term resolution, either recognized statehood for Trandniestria or reunification with Moldova, seems unlikely to be reached anytime soon as no one seems to be in a hurry to push things one way or the other. Moldova though, has recently started playing the terrorism card.
In this new century, we must start from the understanding that peace belongs not only to states or peoples, but to each and every member of those communities. The sovereignty of States must no longer be used as a shield for gross violations of human rights. Peace must be made real and tangible in the daily existence of every individual in need. Peace must be sought, above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.
BattleSwarm: recent Rand reports look at how to transform the U.S. military so it is more effective "across the spectrum: from open warfare, to terrorism, crime, and even radical social activism." John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt's In Athena's Camp and Swarming and the Future of Conflict describe BattleSwarm doctrine, which relies on small groups of highly mobile soldiers directing air and missile strikes. Swarming on the Battlefield, by Sean J. A. Edwards, looks at how the tactic has been used throughout history.
Martin Creed's work Lights Going On and Off, which features two flashing lights in an empty room, won England's Turner Prize. The prize, which awards £20,000 is for British artists under 50, was presented by Madonna. The choice has resulted in some controversy, as has Madonna's choice of words during the presentation. Courtesy of Metafilter, here's an interview with Creed along with photos of the work in both it's on and off state.
Linda Godwin and Dan Tani start the only spacewalk of this flight at 12:24 Eastern today, which is scheduled to last 4 hours. Their main goal is to install insulation around some of the solar panel components.
A Compilation of Evidence and Comments on the Source of the Mailed Anthrax: "All the available evidence indicates that the source of the mailed anthrax, or the information and materials to make it, is a US government program." [via also not found in nature]
Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive on The New McCarthyism: Secret Service visits, booksellers being required to disclose purchase records while under a gag order, columnists fired and professors harrassed for unpopular statements.
Yvonne Ridley: Intelligence services wanted me killed. The journalist who had been held by the Taliban claims her rooms in Pakistan and Soho had been searched while she was in captivity and that material from them had been given to the Taliban. She has a book, In the Hands of the Taliban, due out tomorrow.
Air pollution, specifically carbon particles, may be interfering with the Earth's hydrological cycle and suppressing rainfall over affected areas. This is the conclusion of a report by Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists using data from the Terra satellite and the Indian Ocean Experiment. [via dangerousmeta]
Islam is not the Source of Terrorism, But its Solution: instead, according to the author of Islam Denounces Terrorism, the cause lies in atheism, Darwinism, and materialism. [via NoParking]
Scientists say palm-reading is true guide to intelligence: research on dermatoglyphics at Barcelona University shows that "abnormal" creases on the palm point to lower intelligence.
The Times has started to require free registration to get at their articles. It's also painfully slow today.
Also found in wandering through some of these Somalian sites: a collection of music in RealAudio from the region.
Xawaala: A Challenge to the Western Media: In an attempt to balance reports in Western media, M. M. Afrah discusses the benign uses that the trust-based money transfer system Hawaala is put to, in particular for transferring small amounts from Somalian workers abroad back home where there is no formal banking system.
The Somali Republic is a terrorist haven: an article on Hiiraan Online describes how 10 years of warlord rule has opened the country to terrorism and illegal trade. Others in the area believe this isn't the case and blame U.S. interest in Somalian terrorist links on Ethiopian propaganda.
Pat Robertson steps down from Christian Colation to enjoy private life of intolerance.
What he does not think is helpful to the country is misstatements and
the spread of misinformation about the actions of the Justice
Department. Anyone who reported this morning that he
criticized anyone who opposed him was absolutely wrong and in doing so
became a part of the exact problem he was describing.
- Mindy Tucker, Justice Department spokeswoman
It is early, but I've had a pot of coffee and I think I understand this. Anyone who criticized his statements by claiming that he said his critics were aiding the enemy is part of the problem he was describing? This was supposed to be a helpful clarification?
In a deal with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Space Adventures has arranged for Mark Shuttleworth from South Africa to be the second space tourist on the ISS, going up in April 2002. The next two tourists may be game show winners. Image World Media and MirCorp are planning to send up the winners from Ancient Astronaut, which seems to be a Survivor-clone where participants visit the site of ancient astronaut relics and do things with tools the ancient astronauts used to use. You think I make this stuff up?
A new Federal lab, The National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center, was created by the Critical Infrastructures Protection Act. One of it's first acts will be to draw a map of the Internet to identify places needing protection. I certainly hope they're going to use pencil. [via Interesting People]
Lawrence Falwell has offered his brain fingerprinting technique to federal authorities as a means of telling if a person remembers a specific event. According to this report from the GAO, the government doesn't think it has much applicability. [via also not found in nature]
Santa orders Elf Tribunal to determine if Osama is Naughty or Nice.
OK, maybe I'm not done. I normally hate Crossfire. But I had it on last night while reading the paper, and this comment by Bob Beckel made the whole barrage of people talking over each other worthwhile:
Well, I tell you what we are going get a chance to talk about that and talk about John Ashcroft's rather irregular interpretation of the constitution -- how it deals with the over one thousand people that have detained in this country and we will talk about that when we get back. Is it legal or is it Ashcroft?
Since lives and liberties depend upon clarity, not obfuscation, and reason, not hyperbole, let me take this opportunity today to be clear: Each action taken by the Department of Justice, as well as the war crimes commissions considered by the President and the Department of Defense, is carefully drawn to target a narrow class of individuals -- terrorists. Our legal powers are targeted at terrorists. Our investigation is focused on terrorists. Our prevention strategy targets the terrorist threat.
Since 1983, the United States government has defined terrorists as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets. My message to America this morning, then, is this: If you fit this definition of a terrorist, fear the United States, for you will lose your liberty.
We need honest, reasoned debate; not fearmongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
Now, in a perfect world with perfect people who have perfect judgment, I wouldn't have so much of a problem with this. But if we were in that kind of fantasy world Ashcroft wouldn't have been giving that statement anyway. I fully believe the intention is to go after what reasonable people (or at least people I'd think are reasonable) would consider a terrorist. But let's play connect the dots for a minute.
Part of Ashcroft's statement just isn't true: "Since 1983, the United States government has defined terrorists as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets." On multiple occasions since 9/11 Bush has stated an expanded definition of a terrorist:
And not only will we find the terrorists, we will enforce the doctrine
that says if you harbor a terrorist, you're a terrorist; if you feed a
terrorist, you're a terrorist; if you fund a terrorist, you're a
terrorist; and this great, proud nation of free men and women will
hold you just as responsible for the actions that take place on
(October 17, Travis Air Force Base, California)
I also want to make it clear that the doctrine I laid out to the
United States Congress is a doctrine this nation will enforce. It says
clearly that if you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if
you provide sanctuary to a terrorist, if you fund a terrorist, you are
just as guilty as the terrorist that inflicted the harm on the
(October 30, Wootten High School, Maryland)
Again, I don't have much of a problem with this definition in theory. But this isn't theory.
The Holy Land Foundation was shut down the other day under that doctrine. Maybe they are as closely tied to Hamas as the FBI investigation apparently determined, maybe their only tie was support for the families of suicide bombers as CAIR claims is the only explicit charge in this statement, or maybe they gave no knowing support at all. I don't know. But if we can follow Bush's doctrine to, rightly or wrongly, label a charity that allegedly provided funds to Hamas "as guilty as the terrorist", is it that much of a stretch to label those who donated to that charity potential supporters of a terrorist organization and thus potentially terrorists themselves?
It could be argued, and has been many times, that we don't have to worry about these laws and Administration policies infringing on our civil liberties because they apply only to non-citizens. But think about this: If you've lived in the U.S. all your life - a citizen by birth, how exactly do you go about proving that? Think about every document you could produce, and think about all the reports of people with forged copies of that same document, or copies obtained based on falsified information. Think about having to prove that those documents are valid and belong to you. And think about doing it from a jail cell while being held on suspicion of having a terrorist link.
That is why we have to question the effect of the (very worthwhile and completely justified) fight against terrorism on our civil liberties, even if that effect turns out in the long run to be a "phantom". These laws and policies are not intended to apply to normal peaceful citizens. But they easily can. And it's entirely possible they already have.
I'm done now.
The Bonn talks have resulted in an agreement, signed by four factions, with six milestones on the way to democracy in Afghanistan. They start with the appointment of a 30-member interim government led by Hamid Karzai. One faction is already saying they won't support the government.
The shuttle got off the ground today. Docking is Friday afternoon. about 3p Eastern.
Objects in microscope may be smoother than they appear: Werner Hofer and a team has shown that the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, which is used to produce extremely high resolution images of objects, may actually pull atoms away from the object's surface, making them look rougher than they really are. Their paper appears in Physics Review Letters' December 3rd issue.
Bush has frozen the assets of three organizations he says are linked to Hamas, including a charity based in Texas: Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The group says it is not involved with Hamas.
Reaction to the last two days of bombings in Israel: Sharon declares war on terror and the Israeli army goes after Arafat's headquarters and helicopters. They attack the headquarters again while Arafat is inside. The Israeli Cabinet declares the Palestinian Authority a terrorist organization. Arafat arrests 110 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members and calls on Palestinians to stop attacks. Bush supports Israel's response.
Space station crew members went outside today and successfully removed some debris from the hatch where Progress was docked, allowing the hatch to seal.
The Wall Street Journal has a front
page column today (subscription required) on the National Research Center for College and
University Admissions, which collects annual in-class surveys of
high school students. The stated goal is for "colleges, universities,
and other organizations" to help the kids transition to college. What
is apparently a surprise to many, including students and officials at participating
high schools, is that, according to the article, among the "other organizations" is American Student List, which
resells the list to businesses which use the data for direct
marketing: magazines, newspapers, credit card companies, etc.
Update: Politech has excerpts from the article.
Yukiko Goda, Michael Colicos, Boyce Collins, and Michael Sailor have been able to get images of neurons forming new connections as memories are stored. Their work is published in this week's Cell. [via wood s lot]
The Weekly Compliation of Presidential Documents [via lakeeffect]
Along the lines of the biopunk article I linked to yesterday, Charles Yesalis is warning at the Genes in Sport conference that athletes will be using undetectable gene doping in place of drugs as early as the 2008 Olympics. [via jrobb]
Oceanographers on the AMORE 2001 expedition involving the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Healy and the German icebreaker Polarstern have found more evidence of volcanoes under the Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic Ocean. [via Ghost in the Machine]
I don't know who these people are, but they get around. [via http://www.kottke.org/">kottke.org]
Tracking down references on the previous item led me to Quintessence of the Loon: devoted to weirdness and madness on the World Wide Web.
Tom Chalko is trying to warn us that the Earth, which he says can be considered as a giant nuclear reactor, could explode as a result of global warming. His paper, which has been published in the NU Journal of Discovery, will be presented at the 2002 World Congress on Survival of the Species. [via CommUnity of Minds]
A look at whether the Internet affects the community standards doctrine - is the whole country the community now?
Uzbekistan: Stalinism without State Benefits - a warning on picking our allies for convenience's sake.
The fort of hell: an account of the battle for the Qala-i-Janghi fort after the Taliban prisoner rebellion.
Another analysis of the battle. [via lakeeffect]
Justice Deformed: War and the Constitution - "The inconvenient thing about the American system of justice is that we are usually challenged to protect it at the most inopportune moments."
Space station crew members will go out Monday to remove this piece of wire blocking the Progress' docking hatch.
Zimbabwe's war on "terrorist journalists" escalates: new law requires journalists to be citizens and to be registered if working for a foreign paper.