September 2003

(AFP) — The Chinese government has ordered Japan to teach its citizens how to behave following an “extremely odious” mass orgy between hundreds of Japanese tourists and Chinese prostitutes.

Responding to mounting fury over the three-day orgy in a hotel in the southern city of Zhuhai on the anniversary of Japan’s occupation of China, the Chinese foreign ministry said it had launched a formal investigation

The Chinese media and Internet chatrooms have been crackling with anger over reports of the September 16-18 sex marathon which reportedly involved 380 male Japanese tourists and 500 prostitutes at a five-star hotel.

“This case is of an extremely odious nature,” foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in a statement late Sunday.

CNETAsia staff reports from Singapore:

The Chinese government has set up a lab to study Microsoft Windows source code.

The Source Code Browsing Lab–set up in Beijing last week–is part of an existing government-run software site, the China Testing and Certification Center for Information Security Products, according a report in the People’s Daily newspaper.
(more…) reports:

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The government has announced a recall of all Segway scooters.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, riders can fall off the futuristic scooter if its batteries are low. Segway LLC is voluntarily recalling the scooters so the software can be upgraded.

The CPSC said that it received three reports of people falling from the scooters, including one person who received a head injury that required stitches.

Sean Byrne, CD Freaks, writes:

Japanese engineers have been testing out a prototype of ultra high definition video (UHDV) which has 16 times greater image resolution than today’s best standard HDTV. UHDV uses 4,000 horizontal scanning lines, which is 4 times that of HDTV and over 6 times that of regular TV PAL broadcasts.

As no existing equipment could handle such as resolution, they had to make a custom built camera, storage and projection system using arrays of existing components in order test a prototype. To even store just 18 minutes of UHDV footage, they had used 16 HDTV recorders (likely a 4 x 4 array) with a capacity of 3.5 terabytes 3 minutes of footage was recorded from the custom made camera mounted to a vehicle and then driven about the streets.

The footage was later projected on a 4 x 7 metre screen for public demonstration and the public were astonished. As the visual effect of the footage travelling down a road was so realistic, some viewers even experienced nausea as a side effect of seeing ultra realistic motion, but not physically feeling the motion. It’s like the opposite of seasickness where you can feel movement, but cannot see it while in an enclosed section.


This next toy is an example of the simplest steam engine you will ever see. It has no valves, no moving parts (in the traditional sense of the phrase), and yet it can propel it’s little boat easily across the largest swimming pool or quiet duck pond.

Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids” via Kevin Kelly.

AP via, reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department’s electronic system for checking every visa applicant for terrorist or criminal history failed worldwide late Tuesday because of a computer virus, leaving the U.S. government unable to issue visas.

The virus crippled the department’s Consular Lookout and Support System, known as CLASS, which contains more than 12.8 million records from the FBI, State Department and U.S. immigration, drug-enforcement and intelligence agencies. Among the names are those of at least 78,000 suspected terrorists.

In an internal message sent late Tuesday to embassies and consular offices worldwide, officials cautioned that “CLASS is down due to a virus found in the system.'’ There was no backup system immediately available, and officials could not predict how long the outage might last.

SAUL HANSELL, The New York Times, reports:

California is trying a deceptively simple approach to the problem of junk e-mail: It is about to ban spam.

Gov. Gray Davis of California signed a bill today that outlaws sending most commercial e-mail to or from the state that the recipient did not explicitly request. That is a far more wide-reaching law than any of the 35 other state laws meant to regulate spam or any of the proposed bills in Congress.

“We are saying that unsolicited e-mail cannot be sent and there are no loopholes,'’ said Kevin Murray, the Democratic state senator from Los Angeles who sponsored the bill.

The law would fine spammers $1,000 for each unsolicited message sent up to $1 million for each campaign.

KATIE HAFNER, The New York Times, reports:

Perhaps because of its geographic remoteness, Dartmouth College in the small town of Hanover, N.H., has long been willing to try novel means of communication.

The college introduced e-mail messaging to campus in the 1980’s, well ahead of most other higher educational institutions. And in 2001, it was one of the first colleges to install a campuswide wireless data network.

Now, the college is venturing into the world of “voice over Internet protocol,” also known as VoIP, which essentially turns a computer into a telephone.

This week, as classes begin, the 1,000 students entering the class of 2007 will be given the option of downloading software, generically known as softphones, onto Windows-based computers.

Using the software together with a headset, which can be plugged into a computer’s U.S.B. port, the students can make local or long-distance telephone calls free. Each student is assigned a traditional seven-digit phone number.


Farhad Manjoo, Salon, writes:

As if the public image of punch-card voting machines had not already been bruised and battered enough, on Sept. 15 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals went for the K.O. Punch-card voting, a three-judge panel of the court said in its ruling halting the California gubernatorial recall election, is an embarrassment to our high-tech times: “Just as the black and white fava bean voting system of revolutionary times was replaced by paper balloting, and the paper ballot replaced by mechanical lever machine, newer technologies have emerged to replace the punch-card, including optical scanning and touch screen voting.”

But according to Bev Harris, a writer who has spent more than a year investigating the shadowy world of the elections equipment industry, the replacement technologies the court cited may be worse — much worse — than the zany punch-card systems it finds so abhorrent. Specifically, Harris’ research into Diebold, one of the largest providers of the new touch-screen systems, ought to give elections officials pause about mandating an all-electronic vote.

Harris has discovered that Diebold’s voting software is so flawed that anyone with access to the system’s computer can change the votes without leaving any record. On top of that, she’s uncovered internal Diebold memos in which employees seem to suggest that the vulnerabilities are no big deal. The memos appear to be authentic — Diebold even sent Harris a notice warning her that by posting the documents on the Web, she was infringing upon the company’s intellectual property. Diebold did not return several calls for comment.


Reuters via Washington Post reports:

WASHINGTON - NASA’s Galileo space probe ended its eight-year mission to Jupiter Sunday as expected in a fiery collision with the largest planet as the space scientists celebrated back on Earth.

The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., lost contact with the spacecraft slightly after 3:40 p.m. EDT, 2 minutes and 36 seconds before expected, laboratory spokesman D.C. Agle said.

More than 1,000 people who worked on the Galileo program gathered at the Laboratory to celebrate the end of the mission, Agle said.

Galileo was low on propellant and six years past its original end date. Launched from space shuttle Atlantis in 1989, Galileo traveled about 2.8 billion miles .

Galileo orbited Jupiter 34 times and obtained the first direct measurements of its atmosphere by sending a descent probe parachuting down toward the planet in 1995.

It detected evidence of underground salt water oceans on Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, and examined the lively, intensely hot, volcanoes on the moon Io.

Slashdot Reports:

An anonymous reader writes “Sometime this morning (Sept. 19) Telstar 4 had a major onboard failure. I just checked a few minutes ago and there are CW carriers up on 11700 MHz V & 12200 MHz H, so the spacecraft would appear to still be in its orbital slot - just no traffic. The Loral Skynet site has no mention of this yet, but supposedly Telstar 8 was already scheduled to replace T4, so they may just speed the process up. This turn of events will no doubt be of some small concern to Intelsat, who recently agreed to purchase most of Loral’s US domestic fleet, including T4.”


Conceptual Guerilla writes:

Have you got three minutes? Because that’s all you need to learn how to
defeat the Republican Right. Just read through this handy guide and you’ll
have everything you need to successfully debunk right-wing propaganda.

It’s really that simple. First, you have to beat their ideology, which
really isn’t that difficult. At bottom, conservatives believe in a social
hierarchy of “haves” and “have nots” that I call “corporate
“‘. They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed
it up with a “respectable” sounding ideology. That ideology is pure
hogwash, and you can prove it.

But you have to do more than defeat the ideology. You have to defeat
the “drum beat”. You have to defeat the “propaganda machine”, that
brainwashes people with their slogans and catch-phrases. You’ve heard
those slogans.”Less government“, “personal
” and lots of flag waving. They are “shorthand” for an
entire worldview, and the right has been pounding their slogans out into
the public domain for getting on forty years.

So you need a really good slogan – a “counter-slogan” really, to
“deprogram” the brainwashed. You need a “magic bullet” that quickly and
efficiently destroys the effectiveness of their “drum beat”. You need your
own “drum beat” that sums up the right’s position. Only your “drum beat”
exposes the ugly reality of right-wing philosophy – the reality their
slogans are meant to hide. Our slogan contains the governing concept that
explains the entire right-wing agenda. That’s why it works. You can see it
in every policy, and virtually all of Republican rhetoric. And it’s so
easy to remember, and captures the essence of the Republican Right so
well, we can pin it on them like a “scarlet letter”.

Is there really a catch phrase – a “magic bullet” – that sums up the
Republican Right in such a nice easy-to-grasp package. You better believe
it, and it’s downright elegant in its simplicity.

You want to know what that “magic bullet” is, don’t you. Read on.
You’ve still got two minutes.


Harry Browne writes:

You see, today is supposed to be “Constitution Day”.
And no one really cares about the “Constitution”

The Constitution was supposed to spell out what
government can do and what it can’t do. The
government’s few legal functions are listed in
Article 1, Section 8. It was a revolutionary
document, in that no government in history had
ever had its duties and restrictions so
carefully defined.



President Bush waves at a fundraiser for the Republican candidate for the Mississippi governorship, Haley Barbour, at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Sept. 12, 2003. With Bush’s poll numbers dropping, many fellow Republicans are uneasy about the state of the U.S. economy, rising budget deficits, and the U.S. military operation in Iraq. (Larry Downing/Reuters) ( via Mind is Moving)

From Joi Ito’s Web:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

(via BoingBoing)


NASHVILLE, Sept. 12 (UPI) — Johnny Cash, the country music legend who conquered poverty and drug addiction to become an enduring superstar, died [today]. He was 71.

The “Man in Black,” as he was known, died of complications from diabetes at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Nicole Bates told CNN.


The Hexayurt is a prototype for a family of refugee shelters.
At the moment, most refugees wind up in poly tarp structures
held up by PVC pipe. These structures rot rapidly, offer little
protection from the elements, and in the long run feel like tents.


International Campaign for Tibet Press Release:

Following the May 31 forced deportation of 18 Tibetan refugees from Kathmandu by Nepalese authorities working in collusion with the Chinese Embassy, an international campaign of governmental and non-governmental approaches targeting the government of Nepal has resulted in Nepal’s official adoption of a new policy of protection for Tibetan refugees.

“Nepal will uphold the principle of non-refoulement of the refugees. Nepal will not forcibly return any asylum seekers from its soil.”

Vernon Loeb, Washington Post Staff Writer, reports:

U.S. battlefield casualties in Iraq are increasing dramatically in the face of continued attacks by remnants of Saddam Hussein’s military and other forces, with almost 10 American troops a day now being officially declared “wounded in action.”

[..]With no fanfare and almost no public notice, giant C-17 transport jets arrive virtually every night at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, on medical evacuation missions. Since the war began, more than 6,000 service members have been flown back to the United States. The number includes the 1,124 wounded in action, 301 who received non-hostile injuries in vehicle accidents and other mishaps, and thousands who became physically or mentally ill. [..]


aheath, Slashdot, writes:

“According to the US Naval Historical Center the first computer bug was logged on September 9, 1945 at 15:45: “Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University, 9 September 1945. The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the entry: “First actual case of bug being found”. They put out the word that they had “debugged” the machine, thus introducing the term “debugging a computer program.”

John Boudreau, Mercury News, reports:

Today, Cisco Systems is announcing a $2.5 million grant to a Seattle non-profit agency that gives the homeless, poor and jobless — here and around the country — something most Silicon Valley residents take for granted: a voice-mail box.

“It is virtually impossible to get a job without a phone,'’ said Jennifer Brandon, executive director of Community Voice Mail, the grant recipient that works with organizations around the nation to provide free voice mail. “This isn’t a phone. But it is a cost-effective alternative. It’s a reliable and consistent phone number. It removes the stigma of being homeless or in transition.'’

(via Techdirt.)

Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post Staff Writer, reports:

The vast majority of the 2.7 million job losses since the 2001 recession began were the result of permanent changes in the U.S. economy and are not coming back, which means the labor market will not regain strength until new positions are created in novel and dynamic economic sectors, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York study has concluded.

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