Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Monday, December 31, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Dark matter

To explore: A Year of Dark Cosmology from APOD.

Internet Leash Laws

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.

Indo-Pak relations

Pakistan: flavour of the year - Optimism to hostility - the story of Indo-Pak relations in the year 2001

bin Laden's strategy

This war would be bin Laden's victory

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.

Undeclared cash

Hordes head for border with cash hoards: more on Europeans rushing to get rid of undeclared cash.

Sunday, December 30, 2001 Permanent link to this day
AOL spam filters

AOL's spam filters have been rejecting mail sent from Harvard to its early applicants. [via Red Rock Eater]


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]


India and Pakistan face war

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.

Best laid plans

Missed signals: a history of the U.S.'s unimplemented plans against terrorism.

Alternative views on finance

Wizards of Money: audio programs and transcripts on money and finance, from an alternative view. Some of the MP3 show links are broken, but can be found here on The Radio Project.

Mass for the guilder

Requiem for the Guilder

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.

Undeclared cash

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.

Argentine peg

Lessons of Argentina: pegging the Argentine peso to the dollar worked to stem inflation until the dollar rose on the international markets.

The euro as a second currency

Even though Britain is not converting to the Euro on the 1st, it is expected to be a second currency there.

Saturday, December 29, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Israeli spies

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.

Quantum Finance

Quantum Finance: It's not just satire anymore.

Terrorist trials

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."

Destroyed an Interstate? $90, please

Crash creates an inferno

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.

That's a pretty big tarp

India prepares to camouflage Taj Mahal. Isn't that just a bit large to hide?

But will they keep them?

Promises, Promises: New Year's resolutions Arianna Huffington wants to hear. [via Cursor]

Brixton Mosque fear

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.

LOTR Radio Play

BBC Radio 4 is rebroadcasting the Lord of the Rings radioplay over thirteen weeks, starting January 5th. [thanks Matt]

Rabid fans

Never ever mess with a hobbit: Mark Larson on the heated response he got for airing negative comments about Fellowship of the Ring.

Friday, December 28, 2001 Permanent link to this day

Religious Right Finds Its Center in Oval Office

Pat Robertson's resignation this month as president of the Christian Coalition confirmed the ascendance of a new leader of the religious right in America: George W. Bush.

[via wood s lot]


Wishing you hadn't upgraded? Try They don't have a lot of programs yet but it's a neat idea. [via linkfilter]

Beautiful physics

Why is Quantum Physics so Beautiful? Transcript and video from the public television show Closer to the Truth.

Chess variants

Chess variants galore. [via Plep]

Taliban and Afghan politics

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.

Thursday, December 27, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Language of war

Language of war claims its own victims: Umberto Eco on the care needed by our leaders when choosing words.

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.

Crackdown on karaoke

Cambodia will be using tanks to shut down karaoke bars. I'm not a karaoke fan either, but isn't that just a little harsh? [via Unknown News]

Trade policy

Textiles and Terrorism: on how U.S. trade policy to protect our textile industry helps keep poor countries poor and contributes to instability.

Giuliani farewell

Giuliani gave his farewell address today.


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.

Terror groups

Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LET) and Jaish e-Mohammed (JEM), two Pakistan-based groups, have been added to the U.S. terrorist organization list. LET has already had its assets frozen.

Brixton warnings

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.

Buildup on the border

Map of military buildup on India/Pakistan border, from The Times.

Fires in Australia

Where are the fires in Australia?

It would be blasphemy

'Two Towers' title concerns movie maker, but he won't change it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Atlantis in Gibralter?

Geologist's Melting Story of a Lost Civilization: on Jacques Collina-Girard, who thinks Atlantis is in the Straits of Gibralter (originally noted here in September). [via The Daily Grail]

Palestinian research paper

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]

Reading deficit

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]

bin Ladin dead?

One Pakistani newspaper is quoting a "Taliban leader" in saying that bin Ladin died a natural death earlier this month. [via also not found in nature]

New bin Laden tape

A new bin Laden tape has shown up on Al Jazeera, this one apparently made within the last two weeks.

Closer to war

Pakistan and India both say they want peace, but they're moving closer to war.


The Times has some background on Richard Reid, the SneakerBomber, and the mosque that he may have been recruited at.

Australian fires

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.

Asian space race

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.

Dark address space, revisited

Arbor Networks has a slide show and tech report available on their research into the Internet's dark address space, which I linked to last month. [via BBC News (story)]

Tuesday, December 25, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Merry Christmas

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.

Monday, December 24, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Shoe bomber

Interview with one of the passengers that subdued the SneakerBomber. Why does this make me thing of Get Smart? [via little green footballs]

Touch typing

The Senseboard brings a whole new meaning to touch typing. [via Boing Boing]

Moscow traffic

Moscow has a 16 hour traffic jam last week. [via Boing Boing]

Profiting from the war

Homeland Security, Homeland Profits: on who stands to profit as Homeland Security ramps up. [via also not found in nature]

Next up?

Horn of Africa: al-Qaida regroups? Discusses two possibilities for the next target that I hadn't heard mentioned before: Ethopia and Eritrea. [via Red Rock Eater]

Crying for Saddam

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]

Bye-bye Mark

A Currency of Destiny: on the history of the German mark.

National IDs

William Safire on The Threat of National ID.

India and Pakistan heating up

Cross-border fighting in India and Pakistan is leading to both sides reinforcing their troops there.

Zimbabwe political violence

In Zimbabwe, three opposition party leaders have been killed over the last few days.

Nigeria assassination

The Nigerian Justice Minister, Bola Ige, has been assassinated. He was an opponent of the Sharia laws being implemented in parts of that country.

NORAD tracks Santa

NORAD is tracking Santa again this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Media control

How ten companies control the majority of the world's media. [via Boing Boing]

Reliability on the net?

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]

MPAA wars

Coming Soon: Hollywood Versus the Internet: On the conflict between the "Content Faction" and the "Tech Faction" over what we can do with our computers. [via the null device]

It was just a question

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]

Segmented net

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]

Implantable chips

An interview with the head of Applied Digital Solutions, who's wanting to implant chips into humans for various applications including tracking foreign visitors.

Argentine crisis

The Argentine Financial Crisis: Causes and Cures

The IMF and Argentina's Spiraling Crisis: on how Argentina's currency board and the free flow of debt from the IMF contributed to Argentina's problems. [via wood s lot]

Israeli response planning

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]

Israeli's in jail

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.


On the myth that lemmings commit mass suicide.

Afghan snub?

Strange snub to US at inaugural ceremony: on how speeches at the Afghan government transition thanked just about everyone except the U.S. I wonder if they mentioned Canada?

Mugabe election help

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 campaign

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.

What, just one round?

Someone's identified the man who walked into a nightclub in London last month and bought the house a round, running up a tab for over $60,000.

Saturday, December 22, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Extraterrestial stardrive techniques>

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.

Book list

The Economist's finest books of 2001.

Technology awards

The World Technology Network award winners for 2001. [via bottomquark]

Smart Euro

The European Central Bank plans to embed chips in Euro currency by 2005 to foil counterfeiting.

Star of Bethlehem

Michael Molnar claims to have found the first mention of the Star of Bethlehem outside of the Bible. He says the star was actually a double eclipse of Jupiter.

Endless loop

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.

FBI checks up on museum

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.

Implantable chips

Applied Digital Solutions is pushing to use implantable microchips, called VeriChip, similar to those used in animals for tracking to track visitors to the U.S. [via Unknown News]

Nanotech's downside

Eric Drexler talks bout the downsides of nanotech in a speech at an AAAS symposium on terrorism. [via also not found in nature]

Convoy bombing mistake?

Was the convoy the U.S. bombed in Afghanistan yesterday carrying al-Qaeda leaders on the run or tribal leaders enroute to Karzai's inauguration?

Rashid on Afghan government

Interim government promising, but presents challenges: a report on a talk by Ahmed Rashid on the new Afghanistan government.

Hamas ceasefire

Hamas has announced that it is suspending attacks on Israel until further notice, but Islamic Jihad is refusing to follow suit.

Pakistan relapse?

Pakistan and the Taliban revisited: will Pakistan revert to supporting the Taliban when it starts a guerrilla war from its terrority?

Terror as a political tactic

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.

Indian/Pakistani war?

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.

Well, they did mumble a lot

Independent translations of the bin Laden tape show the original one released by the Defense Department was not complete.

Friday, December 21, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Name that terrorist

Our Friends the Terrorists: "Just to puncture our hypocrisy for a moment: We've been battling terrorism by bolstering backers of terrorism in Pakistan."

Iranian tanker interception

A day after Iran protested U.S. interception of a tanker in the Persian Gulf, Condoleezza Rice is epeaking out about Iranian support of terrorism.

Somalia terror crackdown

Somalia has made more terrorism arrests, hoping to preempt a U.S. led attack.

XP hole

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.

It's not just us

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.

Thursday, December 20, 2001 Permanent link to this day

Re-writing abstractions, or Lambda: the ultimate pattern macro:

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]

One ring...

One Ring to Rule the Dome: a MIT hack. [via Fozbaca]

Comoros coup

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]

Sami Al-Arian fired

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.

Terrorist funding

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.

British terror arrests

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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Quantum computer

IBM's Almaden Research Center have built a 7 qubit quantum computer, the most complex yet, and used it to solve Shor's Algorithm to factor a num

Words of the Year

The words of 2001.

Anti-terror law worries

New Anti-Terror Law Brings Consternation:

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]

Billboard threat

Chashama, a New York City theater and art gallery that had rented space to Adbusters for an ad got a visit from the Defense Department questioning the content of the billboard. [via email]

Pipeline politics

Pipeline Politics: Oil, the Taliban, and the Political Balance of Central Asia - A report from World Press Review.

bin Laden tape

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.

U.N. terrorist funding reports

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 preemptive strikes

Yemen takes on an al-Qaeda base before the U.S. does.

Israel/Palestine talks

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are talking again and Hamas is considering stopping suicide attacks.

Interstellar medium

The Gas between the Stars: Ronald J. Reynolds of the University of Wisconsin describes why the interstellar medium is "far more interesting than scientists once thought".

Out of gas

DS-1, which was intended to test several novel technologies including an ion drive, has run out of fuel and radio links have been shut down.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Australian anti-terror laws

Civil liberties groups in Australia are protesting new anti-terrorism legislation, which gives the intelligence organization ASIO expanded powers. [via zem]

Writing systems

Omniglot: A guide to writing systems. [via Plep]

AdCritic.gone is going to that Great Website in the Sky. [via Flutterby]

How would one tell?

An Indian newspaper has reported that an al-Qaeda suspect is claiming that al-Qaeda members infiltrated Microsoft and sabotaged XP. [via BookNotes]

Canadian anti-terror laws

An Anti-Terror Bill Primer: A guide to the new Canadian anti-terrorism law, C-36. [via Blowback]

Mugabe campaigns the easy way

Mugabe outlaws opposition and bans free speech. That's one way to win a fair election.

Shh... it's a secret

Bush Administration Documents on Secrecy Policy: a FAS archive. span class="blogvia">[via rc3]

Really grand theft auto

The unique prototype of the Delfino Feroce, which will sell for about $80,000 in Britain when it becomes available, has been stolen. Nothing like taking something inconspicuous.

Deep roots

The earliest ancestor of humans has been found, according to Sean Carroll in a paper published in PNAS: the collar flagellate (choanoflagellate).

Monday, December 17, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Euro available

Euro bills and coins are being made available across Europe now.

Unholy Alliance

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's relevance

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.

Gotta get the ratings

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.


The third space station crew returned to Earth on Endeavour today, landing in Florida.

Sunday, December 16, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Bird alert

The Tempest Over a Teaspoon of a Bird: on two calliope hummingbirds, which should be a lot farther south this time of year, which have been in north Manhattan for the past month.

India targets Pakistan

India braced for terror response: and it looks like their target is our ally of convenience, Pakistan.

Terrorists in LA

Golden State terrorists: Southeast Asia's most wanted are living large in the LA area. [via Alternet]

Boring universe to come?

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]

XP phones home

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]

Checks and balances

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."

Anthrax match?

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 biology

Quantum Evolution: applying quantum mechanics to molecular biology and genetics.

Creative voting

West Palm woman registers poodle to vote. [via Unknown News]

National ID risks

Bruce Schneier on the risks of National ID Cards. [via End the War on Freedom]


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.


There's a new Spidey trailer out. [via Blogdex]

Afghan drought

Afghan Drought Inflicts Its Own Misery: on the other Afghan crisis - a drought in southwest Asia that has last three years.

Economic solution to terror

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.

Patriotic peril

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...."

Did I really just link to the John Birch Society? [via BookNotes]

Google catalog search

Google has a new mail order catalog search. [via Blogdex]

Saturday, December 15, 2001 Permanent link to this day
U.S. vetos West Bank monitors

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.

Executive privilege

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.

Roots of Terror

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]

Drugs and Terror

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]

Not just the war

While you were watching the war: Molly Ivins on what else Bush has been up to. [via BookNotes]

Bases in Kenya

Kenya has agreed to let the U.S. and Britain set up bases in its territory for use against Somalia.

Global Relief Foundation raids

The Global Relief Foundation, whose U.S. offices were raided yesterday, was also a target of NATO and UN raids in Kosovo, and the U.S. assets of that group were frozen.


Someone is doing a remake of Rollerball? Why?

Reproductive cloning planes

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.

Drunken Santas

NPR reports on this year's Santarchy, one of the many Santa Pub Crawls happening around the world.

Station evasion

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.

Friday, December 14, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Charity raid

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.

Internet for Dummies

Partnership for an Idiot-Free Internet: dedicated to educating the new Internet user. [via wood s lot]

Zimbabwe sanctions debate

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]

Fairness in reporting

Paula Zahn interviews Hafez Al-Mirazi, from Al Jazeera on the fairness of their coverage and winds up defending CNN's fairness. [via Cursor]

Moore rewrite

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]

U.S. in Somalia

Blackhawks have been spotted in Mogadishu. [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.

Quiet war

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.


The Nonsense Mantras of Our Times

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."

U.S. in the Philippines

U.S. special forces have landed in the Philippines where they are expected to help track the Abu Sayyaf and assist with a Philippine military operation to free two American hostages.

Nebula photo

Beautiful nebula on APOD today.

Single photon emitter

The Toshiba Research and a Cambridge team have announced the first LED which can emit a single photon at a time, a technology that is important for a real implementation of quantum cryptography.


A partial solar eclipse may be visible over parts of the U.S. today, just before twilight on the east coast.

Moving the moving van

Endeavour is going to be placing the Raffaello cargo carrier back in its bay starting at 4:09 Eastern this afternoon and will undock tomorrow about 12:55 pm.

Thursday, December 13, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Dark matter distribution

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.

[via bottomquark]


Alexei A. Sharov analyzes Sergei Meyen's Typological Concept of Time [via abuddhas memes]

No parking

No parking on the beach, please. [via evacuate & flush]

Blogspace deep field map

I'm not sure how useful this is, but it's kind of neat: the Hubble's deep field shot of the universe used as map of the blogspace. [via abuddhas memes]

Get a bigger drive

Click here to download the Internet. [via Bifurcated Rivets]

Open editing

The NY Times looks at open editing on Wiki's, in particular the Wikipedia. [via Voidstar]

Tolkien archives

I think I've linked to this before, but the NY Times Tolkien Archives is growing, with lots more book reviews having been added. [via Researchbuzz]


now Surreal: Surrealistic art, articles, and stories. [via Plep]

Losing control

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]

Magic Lantern

The FBI has confirmed that it is working on Magic Lantern, a tool to plant trojans on a suspect's PC over the net. [via jrobb]

JDL arrests

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.

Protests predicted

More globalization protests are expected in the next few days at the European Union summit meeting in Brussels.

bin Laden tape

The Defense Department released a bin Laden tape and transcript where he discusses foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

Records purge

Orders to purge records have librarians worried: libraries which hold copies of a public water supply database have been order to destroy them. [via Red Rock Eater]

Moussaoui indictment

U.S.A. v. Zacarias Moussaoui: the indictment. [via Red Rock Eater]

bin Laden's death foretold

Scripting bin Laden's Last Act: on how bin Ladin will die, or at least, the story that will be told. [via wood s lot]

Wednesday, December 12, 2001 Permanent link to this day
No escape

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.

Awaiting trial

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]

German anti-terror law

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]

Is racial hatred terrorism?

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.

Moussaoui debate

On the debate on whether or not to try Moussaoui in open court or a military tribunal.

Innocent until proven guilty

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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001 Permanent link to this day

So, why is it illegal to link to DeCSS, but it's legal to post instructions on how to make a Pink Hello Kitty Laptop? [via linkfilter]

ABM Withdrawal

Bush has announced his intention to give notice to Russia that the United States is withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty:

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:

  1. This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
  2. 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.

Security in Africa

Horn of Africa: Building Sustainable Security - an analysis of the political situation in the region, including Somalia. [via Ethel The Blog]

Global bioethics court

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]

Lightning map

With the help of the Lightning Imaging Sensor and the Optical Transient Detector, another group of NASA researchers have produced a lightning map of the world. [via jrobb]

Methane explosion

NASA researchers point to a giant underwater methane explosion as the reason behind a 13°F rise in the Earth's temperature 55 million years ago and say it could happen again.

Bases in Somalia

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.

Looking for something to read?

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.

Monday, December 10, 2001 Permanent link to this day

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.

Peace prize

Kofi Annan's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech today stressed the rights of the individual over those of the state:

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.

Turner Prize

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.

Spacewalk today

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.

Anthrax evidence

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]

Sunday, December 09, 2001 Permanent link to this day

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.

Plot against reporter?

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.


How do you define 24/7 support? [via Truer Words]

Rainfall suppression

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]

Gates gets the blue screen too

Bill Gates: "My computer crashes too" [via Weblog Wannabe]


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.

Registration at The Times

The Times has started to require free registration to get at their articles. It's also painfully slow today.

Somalian music

Also found in wandering through some of these Somalian sites: a collection of music in RealAudio from the region.

Hawaala not all bad

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.

Looking ahead to Somalia

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.

Robertson retirement

Pat Robertson steps down from Christian Colation to enjoy private life of intolerance.

Saturday, December 08, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Of course I'll take the flag stamps

The Progressive's McCarthyism Watch: Activists try to buy stamps without flags on them for mail and are questioned by police and postal authorities.

Gettysburg preso

The Gettysburg Address: the Powerpoint version. [via Metafilter]

Terror groups named

39 groups have been listed on the first Terrorist Exclusion List, which gives the government the authority to deport members or deny them visas.

Ashcroft transcript

The full text of Ashcroft's session is available now. [via rc3]

Ashcroft and Gun Control

Even conservatives found something to criticize in Ashcroft's testimony: his inability to defend his decision to prevent the FBI from accessing a gun background check database.

Ashcroft clarification

The Justice Department issued a statement clarifying Ashcroft's testimony Thursday:

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?

Survivor in Space

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?

Friday, December 07, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Shoring up the net

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]

PATRIOT analysis

The EFF offers an analysis of the PATRIOT Act as it relates to online activites. [via dangerousmeta]

Support this

The Authority Finder: Type in a statement and it finds quotes to support it. [via jerrykindall]

Brain fingerprinting

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]

Elf tribunal

Santa orders Elf Tribunal to determine if Osama is Naughty or Nice.

Mistaken identities

Whose sacrifice?: A letter to the Washington Post from a man saying his bank accounts have been repeatedly frozen because his name is similar to a terrorist's. [via zem]

End of the line for Win95

Win95 is now officially unsupported. [via /.]

Shuttle docking

The shuttle docked with ISS today, delivering supplies and a fresh crew.

Learning from literature

I don't remember where I found this, it was in my browser when I got home from work: Tolkien on Homeland Defense. Chris Mooney parallels the The Lord of the Rings with today's situations.


Emergency workers responding to anthrax scare at a storage locker in a suburb of Atlanta find more than $1 million in counterfeit cash instead. [via The Obscure Store]

Atlantis off Cuba?

Another candidate for Atlantis? Submerged structures have been found off the coast of Cuba. Back in September I noted a find in the Straits of Gibralter.

Thursday, December 06, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Is it legal?

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?

Dissent as terrorism

Ashcroft testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee today on the Administration's tactics in the terrorism investigations. In his opening statement, he said in part:

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 American soil.
(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 American people.
(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.

Bonn agreement

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.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Al Jazeera translations

WBUR, a Boston public radio station, has daily translations of coverage from the Arabic satellite TV station Al Jazeera.

Holy Land Foundation

A FBI memo offers details on why the Holy Land Foundation was shut down. [via rc3]

Mersenne found

This is slightly old news, but Gimps has found its 5th Mersenne prime: 2^13,466,917-1.

Shuttle launch

The shuttle got off the ground today. Docking is Friday afternoon. about 3p Eastern.

Telescope enhancement

The Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal location just got better with the addition of the NAOS-CONICA adaptive optics system. [via BBC News (story)]

Get a grip

A famous French conductor, Pierre Boulez, was held for three hours in Switzerland for terrorism links. The link was apparently based on a comment made in the 60s that opera houses should be blown up.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Whooping crane migration

The Whooping Cranes have landed in Florida. [via Robot Wisdom]

Microscopic distortion

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.

Charity freeze

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.

P3P debate

P3P Viewpoints: attempting to make the W3C's Platform for Privacy Preferences and the debate around it understandable. [via Politech]

Post-9/11 laws

Statewatch, which focuses on European civil liberties, has a special section on the impact of post-9/11 laws. [via nettime]

Biking on the net

Brazilian architect Argus Caruso Saturnino is planning on riding his bike through 29 countries, posting photos and journals to the web as he goes, with translations to English and French.

Palestinian bombings

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.

Trying again

With the Progress finally firmly docked, NASA is trying again to launch Endeavour this evening at 5:45 Eastern. Update: It's scrubbed due to weather. Next try is tomorrow night at 5:19 Eastern.

Monday, December 03, 2001 Permanent link to this day

Orwell Today: Ties today's news articles to Orwell's works. [via Virulent Memes]

Linus on Linux

Linus on the design, or rather lack thereof, of Linux. [via Hack the Planet]

Geeks and Spooks

Bruce Sterling on Geeks and Spooks - "The big story about crypto is a power struggle between two American tribes: geeks and spooks." [via genehack]


Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy [via wood s lot]

Janitors in space

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.

Sunday, December 02, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Kodak moment

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]

Cell phone music

Dialtones: Golan Levin, Scott Gibbons, and Gregory Shakar perform symphonies using the audience's cell phones. [via gammatron]

Gene doping

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]

Oceanic volcanoes

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]

Repeating history

Cointelpro: why the restrictions Ashcroft wants to remove from the FBI were put in place. [via rc3]


I don't know who these people are, but they get around. [via">]


Tracking down references on the previous item led me to Quintessence of the Loon: devoted to weirdness and madness on the World Wide Web.

Exploding Earth

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]

Copy-protected CDs

A list of unmarked copy-protected CDs. [via Metafilter]

Community standards

A look at whether the Internet affects the community standards doctrine - is the whole country the community now?

Bye Bye Excite@Home

Excite@Home has started dropping parts of its network: 850,000 AT&T customers were cut yesterday after AT&T refused to make a $100 million payment in order to continue service.

Picking our friends

Uzbekistan: Stalinism without State Benefits - a warning on picking our allies for convenience's sake.

Qali-i-Janghi battle

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]

Canadian anti-terror laws

The Canadian version of the PATRIOT Act, C-36 and C-35, could be grouping protesters in with terrorists.

Bush and the Constitution

This dangerous patriot's game - Patricia Williams looks at the Constitutional questions brought on by Bush's expansion of powers.

Are tribunals legal?

A summary of Kenneth Anderson's discussion of whether Bush's military tribunals are legal under international law.


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."

Saturday, December 01, 2001 Permanent link to this day
Net radio

Today's net radio: BBC Radio 1

Information violence

Paul Taylor's Fleshing Out the Maelstrom: Biopunk and the Violence of Information, from M/C, and some related slides.


On the biopunk revolution, from Annalee Newitz's Techsploitation column. [via Bifurcated Rivets]

Collective recollection

Random access memory: an experiment in collective recollection [via Bifurcated Rivets]

Station space walk

Space station crew members will go out Monday to remove this piece of wire blocking the Progress' docking hatch.

Zero-point energy stardrive

Propellantless space travel? Scientists from EarthTech International propose using zero-point energy to drive the interstellar ships.

Oil supplies

How much oil is left? Morning Edition talks about the debate in the context of dropping prices today and rising U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern supplies.

COPA hearing

NPR's Nina Totenberg gives background on COPA and then reports on the Supreme Court hearing on the law.

Journalism as terrorism

Zimbabwe's war on "terrorist journalists" escalates: new law requires journalists to be citizens and to be registered if working for a foreign paper.

Relaxing restrictions

Ashcroft is considering relaxing the restrictions preventing the FBI from spying on religious and political organizations.

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley