June 2003


Says Alan Cohen, a V.P. of Airespace, a new Wi-Fi provider: “If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too.”

Sydney Morning Herald reports:

An Indian man, who claims to have survived only on liquids and sunlight for eight years, has been invited by NASA to show them how he does it.

Hira Ratan Manek - also known as Hirachand - a 64-year-old mechanical engineer who lives in the southern state of Kerala, apparently started disliking food in 1992, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

In 1995, he went on a pilgrimage to the Himalayas and stopped eating completely on his return.

His wife, Vimla, said: “Every evening he looks at the sun for one hour without batting an eyelid. It is his main food. Occasionally he takes coffee, tea or some other liquid.”


Hektor is an inkjet printer made out of a can of spraypaint and a series of clever, machine-controlled pulleys. The site features a making-of guide in PDF and a really sexy movie of Hektor in action.

(via BoingBoing)

1944010.jpgCHICAGO, June 30 For Simon Rasin and other partygoers crammed onto a third-floor porch on Chicagos North Side, there was no warning when the floor caved in, sending dozens of people hurtling down in an avalanche of wooden planks.I fell through both the second and the first floor decks into the basement area in just a pile of bodies, said Rasin, a University of Chicago law student whose friend, Henry Wischerath, was one of the 12 killed. At least 57 others were injured, some critically.

Left: Inspectors survey the damage of a collapsed third floor balcony in Chicago that killed 12 people and injured dozens. (AP via MSNBC)


Human Rights Watch reports:

(New York, June 23, 2003) The Bush Administrations designation of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national living in the United States, as an “enemy combatant” threatens basic rights safeguards, Human Rights Watch said today. The Justice Department announced today that it was dropping criminal charges against al-Marri and that he would instead be held without charge by the U.S. military.

The Bush Administration has once again done an end run around the criminal justice system, said Wendy Patten, U.S. advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. It is invoking the laws of war in the United States to justify locking people up without charge and without access to a lawyer. This kind of military detention has no place in a country committed to the rule of law.

Michael Fumento, National Post, writes:

SARS was supposed to be the worst disease outbreak since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. But as it flickers out, it has killed fewer people in six months than died every 10 minutes during that great pandemic.

SARS didn’t merit mentions in more than 500 stories in The New York Times, nor 350 in The Washington Post. It had no business occupying the cover of all three major U.S. news magazines in the same week.

As a worldwide threat, SARS never amounted to more than a mite on a mammoth. As I write this, in the past half year there have been 8,460 SARS cases reported and 808 deaths. By comparison, malaria kills more people every 2.5 hours and tuberculosis more every three hours.

David Rennie, UK Telegraph, writes:

In a landmark decision likely to revolutionise the legal standing of American homosexuals, the United States Supreme Court yesterday struck down laws banning sodomy, which are still found in 13 states.

“When Milarepa was first taught the Great Perfection, he thought he could attain Buddhahood without meditation. He remained relaxed without meditating, and thus attained no mental development. Therefore, when his lama tested him and found that he had made no progress, he said, “I have made a mistake. Though the Great Perfection is indeed inconceivable, you are too lax and not fitted for this difficulty on the gradual path. Therefore, you should go to the south, consult the translator Marpa, and take the difficult path of the gradualist. You have failed at the easy way to Buddhahood.’ Thus the lama had to send him away, whereupon Milarepa underwent untold difficulties but through the power of devoted effort was able to achieve Buddhahood”

– from ‘Tantric Practice in Nying-ma’ by Khetsun Sangpo, published by Snow Lion Publications.

Blommberg reports:

June 25 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve policy makers reduced the benchmark U.S. interest rate to 1 percent, the lowest since Dwight Eisenhower was president 45 years ago, in an effort to boost the economy and ward off deflation.

Snow Lion Publications reports:

The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), a not-for-profit organization in New York, has just announced the release of a digital version of the Tibetan Kangyur. This great collection comprises 100+ volumes of scriptures believed by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to be the direct word of Lord Buddha in has manifold manifestations. The Kangyur is kept on the shrines of most monasteries, retreat centers, and Buddhist laymen throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world. The Kangyur scanned by TBRC is from the Derge Parpu edition reprinted in India by H. H. the Sixteenth Karmapa.

Peter Sayer, IDG News Service (June 24, 2003), writes:

As the Internet grows, it is becoming harder to change and easier to break, according to the researchers from the PlanetLab consortium. New, distributed technologies could be used to identify denial-of-service (DoS) attacks before they cause damage, or to enable the Internet to heal itself quicker after a cable break, they say.

One of the biggest problems they face is how to develop and test such services, given that building a prototype requires a testbed on the same scale as the Internet itself, with a volume of traffic to match.

One group of researchers has been quietly building just such a testbed for a little over a year now, and is about to transform its project, PlanetLab, into an academic-industrial consortium with support from Intel and HP.

According to Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

Former General Wesley Clark told anchor Tim Russert [of NBC’s Meet the Press on June 15th] that Bush administration officials had engaged in a campaign to implicate Saddam Hussein in the September 11 attacks– starting that very day. Clark said that he’d been called on September 11 and urged to link Baghdad to the terror attacks, but declined to do so because of a lack of evidence.

Kari L. Dean, WIRED news, reports:

Twenty years ago [today], two computer scientists at the University of Southern California created a key component essential to the modern Internet.

Jon Postel and Paul Mockapetris ran the first successful test of the automated domain name system, or DNS, which allows computers to find each other on the network and send information back and forth to each other without having humans manually look up the addresses of each machine.

According to a Press Release:

On May 19th in San Francisco, actresses Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley and her daughter protested against the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) recent opposition to two federal legislative initiatives. The legislation is designed to protect parents from being coerced by schools into drugging their children with potentially addictive psychiatric drugs. The march included parents whose children have tragically died from prescribed psychiatric drugs.

The APA opposes federal bill, H.R. 1170, The Child Medication Safety Act of 2003, and an amendment to the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), that would prohibit school personnel from forcing parents to drug their children as a prerequisite for educational services. However, on May 21st, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1170 by a vote of 425 to 1services..

Ms. Preston said, “This is a tremendous step in the right direction for children, their parents and teachers. However, we must ensure that both bills are enacted to protect children against these abusive psychiatric drugs. Certainly, parents should never be forced to drug their child.”

According to 97.1 FM - The Drive:

Today is the 55th Anniversary of the Vinyl LP Record Album.

Robin McKie, Guardian Science Editor, writes:

Scientists have created the ultimate pet: genetically modified fish that glow in the dark. In future, there will be no need for aquarium lights - fluorescent fish will provide their own illumination.

And that is just the start. Scientists believe Night Pearl bio-fish represent the shape of pets to come. Our household animals will come with extra genes that will stop them shedding fur or triggering allergic reactions. And when one dies, its owner will simply clone it.

(via BoingBoing)

“When a private individual mediates an undertaking, however directly connected it may be to the welfare of society, he never thinks of soliciting the cooperation of the government, but he publishes his plan, offers to execute it himself, courts the assistance of other individuals, and struggles manfully against all obstacles. Undoubtedly he is often less successful than the state might have been in his position, but in the end, the sum of these private undertakings far exceeds what the government could have done.”

– Alexis de Tocqueville (1835)


List: linux-kernel
Subject: Linux v2.5.72 and a move to OSDL
From: Linus Torvalds
Date: 2003-06-17 4:35:09


The other big news - well, for me personally, anyway - is that I’ve
decided to take a leave-of-absense after 6+ years at Transmeta to
actually work full-time on the kernel.

Transmeta has always been very good at letting me spend even an
inordinate amount of time on Linux, but as a result I’ve been feeling a
little guilty at just how little “real work” I got done lately. To fix
that, I’ll instead be working at OSDL, finally actually doing Linux as
my main job.

[ I do not expect a huge amount of change as a result, testament to just
/how/ freely Transmeta has let me do Linux work. My email address will
change to “” effective July 1st, but everybody is
trying to make the transfer as smooth as possible, so we’ll make sure
that there will be sufficient address overlap etc to not cause any
problems ]

OSDL and Transmeta will have a joint official (read: “boring”. You
should have seen the bio - that didn’t make it - that I suggested for
myself for it ;) press-release about this tomorrow morning, but I just
wanted to say thanks to Transmeta. It has been a special place to work
for, and hello to OSDL that I hope will be the same.

Snif. I’m actually all teary-eyed.



Bill Sepmeier (), NSN Network Services,Avon, CO, writes in theTechnology Interface/Winter97:

A few weeks ago, a friend posed what seemed like a couple of simple questions in one of my technical mailing lists: What’s up with subcarrier audio over satellite these days? What exactly does SCPC mean? How did we get to this state of the art? I was in Korea, sitting in a hotel room checking my mail after finishing up some work there, and figured I would take afew minutes to reply. The answers turned into a writing project that filled up the rest of my afternoon in Seoul. After a bit more thought, the answers turned into this brief history of satellite audio networking. I hope youfind it enjoyable.

Hannibal, Ars Technica Newsdesk relays from Reuters via CNET:

A new software program sends a clear message to corporate America: Cut the bull.

New York-based Deloitte Consulting admits it helped foster confusing, indecipherable words like “synergy,'’ “paradigm'’ and “extensible repository.'’ But now it has decided enough is enough. On Tuesday, it released Bullfighter to help writers of business documents avoid jargon and use clear language.

First, there was that English-to-Swedish-chef thing (at least it’s the first one I remember), and then the jive server, and then the pornolizer, and a whole host of other dialectizers. But until now, nobody had bothered to invent what we all needed the most: a de-jargonizer.

“We’ve had it with repurposeable, value-added knowledge capital and robust, leverageable mind share,'’ Deloitte Consulting partner Brian Fugere said.

Bullfighter, as the software is called, could potentially help investors spot troubled companies. Used to test language used by now-bankrupt energy trader Enron from 1999 through 2001, Fugere said the program found that “it got progressively more obscure as they got deeper and deeper into trouble.”

Many people often talk about this exclusive club, but do you know what it is and who belongs to it?

It isn’t a very complicated theory. It doesn’t have lots of rules to join. It is very simple. Club 27 is a group of musicians and artists who succeeded in their careers to great levels gaining respect, wealth and power at young ages but it wouldn’t last, as fate would have them die at the age of 27. Below you will find some the members of this much-discussed club.

(link via zanwat)

Stuart Jeffries of The Guardian writes:

‘Our response to being bored and rich is not to discard our possessions and live more simply, but to buy more stuff to reduce the space in which we might contemplate our shame.’

(via /.)

border="0" alt="You are OS2-Warp. You're plagued by feelings of abandonment and disgust for your backstabbing step-brother. Oh, what might have been.">
Which OS are You?

Four years ago, Bhutan, the fabled Himalayan Shangri-la, became the last nation on earth to introduce television. Suddenly a culture, barely changed in centuries, was bombarded by 46 cable channels. And all too soon came Bhutan’s first crime wave - murder, fraud, drug offences. Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy (The Guardian) report from a country crash-landing in the 21st century.


A high-speed solar wind stream blasted our planet last week, triggering a geomagnetic storm. High above earth, astronauts on the International Space Station science captured the Southern Lights — aurora australis — in a digital movie.

(via BoingBoing)

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