Cowlix Wearing my mind on my sleeve

Tuesday, February 19, 2002 Permanent link to this day
He's back

John Poindexter has been named to head up DARPA's new Information Awareness Office that is aimed at developing technologies to give the government easy access to data from new surveillance systems. The group will apparently work alongside the Information Exploitation Office.

Poindexter? Mr. "I Don't Recall" heading up the Office of Information Awareness? Come on, George. Close your eyes, open the phone book, pick a name. You'll get someone who's more honest. Guaranteed. If you have to give this guy a job, give him the Office of Strategic Influence. At least he would be expected to lie there.

See also:

Even if the war on terrorism justifies the creation of this creepy new surveillance entity, it's hard to imagine that the Pentagon couldn't have entrusted its management to someone with a record of honesty. It hardly inspires confidence that the man now in charge of "information awareness" is best known for his cover-ups.

Last Wednesday something strange happened. The American population was instructed to panic. Place themselves, that is, on a state of highest vigilance. Some cataclysmic act of terrorism would happen - within hours. But nothing terrible happened. Something creepy did. On Thursday there was an inconspicuous news item. John M Poindexter had been appointed to head a new agency "to counter attacks on the US", such as Wednesday's no-show. It is equivalent, in British terms, to Jeffrey Archer being made chancellor of the exchequer.

Pentagon Network News

Pentagon Readies Efforts to Sway Sentiment Abroad: the military's Office of Strategic Influence is going into the news business, though it sounds more like the tabloid business.

The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries, military officials said.

I hope the targeted organizations do a bit of effort in screening press releases so these get dropped on the floor. But I guess reporting these stories won't be much different than CNN reporting Rumsfeld's briefings as gospel. [via zem]

Two words

Resistance: two words to remember - empires fall

For the past few years, the global justice movement has been like the child at the back of the crowd as the parade of history wheels by. As the pundits applaud and the marketeers cheer, we stand and shout that the Empire has no clothes, that its cloaks of finery are woven from financial fictions and economic voodoo.

Yet despite the present system's transparent contradictions and unsustainability, we also tend to imagine that its power is total, and to underestimate our own power to change it. The UN Development Program describes the current gaps between the world's richest and poorest as "grotesque" and "historically unprecedented," and the challenge of this new Empire seems overwhelming. But resistance is inequality's corollary.

[via wood s lot]


The DMCA and What's Worse

Now, if you like technology, as I do, a System Folder crash of this sort is not an insuperable problem. If you want to reinstall software to recover from a computer disaster at home, and if you have the installers at home, you can reinstall. And if you have the serial numbers recorded at home, you can type them in at the appropriate places when you reinstall, so the reinstallation will work. Unfortunately, I wasn't quite that well prepared, but fortunately I had alternatives at hand -- I powered up another laptop I already had at home, and connected the two laptops together over the tiny wireless LAN I run in my apartment. I pulled software and other installation files over the network from one machine to the other, and in doing so I may be said to have violated the installation process that (to invoke the language of the Digital Milllennium Copyright Act) "controls my access" to the technology, to the copyrighted work. Technically, perhaps, I had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright. Please let's not let the news of my transgression leave this room.

HMS Tireless and Gibraltar's status

Shaking Up the Rock: on how the damage to a British nuclear submarine rekindled the debate of Gibraltar's status, from the April, 2001 Atlantic:

The debate over the Tireless has revived another, larger debate--over the political status of Gibraltar. To Britain, Gibraltar is officially an "overseas territory." The United Nations considers it a "non-self-governing territory." The Spanish consider it a colony, and they want it back. Despite years of Gibraltar-related bickering between Britain and Spain, over issues ranging from fishing rights to drug smuggling and money laundering, there have been few high-level talks about Gibraltar's status. The last round occurred in 1999. The controversy over the Tireless could well jump-start another.

Britain invades Spain

Muddled Marines invade Spain by mistake

The Marines from 45 Commando had planned to sweep on to the beaches of Gibraltar in two landing craft as part of a training exercise. They were armed with SA80 rifles and mortars, although without live ammunition.

However, whether through faulty map-reading or poor visibility, they arrived in the Spanish fishing village of La Atunara. It took two local policemen to point out that Gibraltar was actually a little further down the coast.

In 1713 Gibraltar has ceded by Spain to Great Britain. It's ongoing status as a British colony has been a sticking point between the two countries recently, with possible resolutions including transfer back to Spain or self determination.

Zimbabwe sanctions

Mugabe left reviled and alone: after Mugabe expelled the European Union's lead election monitor, the remaining monitors are pulling out and the EU has imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his associates. The U.S. is expected to follow suit. The sanctions include travel restrictions to participating countries and a freeze on assets held in those countries.

See also: Zimbabwe on the brink

It was never going to be an easy decision. When European Union (EU) foreign ministers decided on Monday February 18th to withdraw the EU's election monitors from Zimbabwe and impose sanctions on the country, it was with a heavy heart. All attempts to restrain Robert Mugabe seem to have failed. The country's 77-year-old president is determined to rig presidential elections next month in order to cling on to power after 22 years in office, and has brushed aside foreign criticisms of his bullying and intimidation of the main opposition party and his increasingly repressive policies, which have brought his country to the brink of economic ruin. And yet the EU decision, coming after months of warnings and threats, though understandable, may on balance still prove to be the wrong one.


The Subtleties of Entanglement and its Role in Quantum Information Theory: Rob Clifton discusses some of the implications of entanglement.

My aim in this paper is a modest one. I do not have any particular thesis to advance about the nature of entanglement, nor can I claim novelty for any of the material I shall discuss. My aim is simply to raise some questions about entanglement that spring naturally from certain developments in quantum information theory and are, I believe, worthy of serious consideration by philosophers of science. The main topics I discuss are different manifestations of quantum nonlocality, entanglement-assisted communication, and entanglement thermodynamics.

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Copyright © 2001-2002 by Wes Cowley