December 2003

Kevin O’Hanlon, Associated Press, reports:

LINCOLN, Neb. It may be legal to appear naked in cyberspace, but police ticketed a Lincoln woman Monday for posting nude pictures of herself on the Web that were taken in downtown bar.
“It’s unlawful to be naked in public in Lincoln,” said police chief Tom Casady.

Melissa J. Harrington, 21, was ticketed for violating Lincoln’s public nudity ordinance by posting pictures on her Web site “showing her naked at one of our downtown bars and in several other locations around the city,” Casady said.

As the media focus on international terror, a Texan pleads guilty to possessing a weapon of mass destruction.

Kris Axtman, The Christian Science Monitor, writes:

HOUSTON It began as a misdelivered envelope and developed into the most extensive domestic terrorism investigation since the Oklahoma City bombing.
Last month, an east Texas man pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Inside the home and storage facilities of William Krar, investigators found a sodium-cyanide bomb capable of killing thousands, more than a hundred explosives, half a million rounds of ammunition, dozens of illegal weapons, and a mound of white-supremacist and antigovernment literature.

“Without question, it ranks at the very top of all domestic terrorist arrests in the past 20 years in terms of the lethality of the arsenal,” says Daniel Levitas, author of “The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right.”

But outside Tyler, Texas, the case is almost unknown. In the past nine months, there have been two government press releases and a handful of local stories, but no press conference and no coverage in the national newspapers.

Brian Fonseca, eWeek, reports:

MySQL AB on Monday released Version 4.0.17 of its MySQL open-source database software. The update features a number of cleaned up code defects that were recently sniffed out by an independent inspection company.

[..] Despite the uncovered bugs, Reasoning concluded that Uppsala, Sweden-based MySQL AB’s code quality was in fact six times better than that of comparable commercial, proprietary code. [..]

DAVID LEONHARDT, The New York Times, writes:

MAYBE you have had the fantasy while sitting at home for an entire afternoon and waiting for a 10-minute visit from the phone company to install a new telephone line. Or maybe the dream has come to you while were you on hold, once again, hoping to resolve the latest billing mix-up caused by Verizon, SBC or whichever local phone company dominates your market.


SHANGHAIOn sections of Beijing Road, you can barely see the sky. On Tibet Road, they dangle in garden-hose rolls and knots intricate enough to confound a Boy Scout. Over on Hefei Street, one enterprising apartment dweller even used them to hang-dry selected cuts of meat.

Tech-happy Shanghai, the most wired city in China, has a problem: wires. Telephone wires. Fiber-optic wires. Electrical wires. Wires no one can seem to identify. Black wires. Blue wires. Magenta wires. They’re everywhere, and they’re gumming up the works.

David Rennie in Washington for the (UK) Telegraph writes:

An army of 35,000 aviation buffs, President George W Bush among them, will descend on the sand dunes of North Carolina today to mark the centenary of the first controlled flight by a heavier-than-air craft - the Wright brothers’ 12-second hop.

By Robert Plotkin,
The Miami Herald, writes

Digital technology attracts many photographers, but a small segment is repelled and takes refuge with Leica, a German maker of exquisite manual cameras.

Around the world, photojournalists with pretensions of art, those who dream of being accepted into the Magnum Photo Agency, carry a Leica in addition to their digital SLRs. These battered Leicas, loaded with black-and-white film, are for their personal work–work that will never appear in the publications for which they take pictures, but work that satisfies an artistic need.

Pentagon-AP — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is hailing the capture of Saddam Hussein as momentous for the Iraqi people.

In a written statement, Rumsfeld says the Iraqi people now have been liberated in spirit as well as fact. Rumsfeld says many Iraqis now can dare to believe that the era of Saddam’s brutal dictatorship is over.

KATE STOHR, The New York Times, reports:

PAUL WEERTZ lives less than 10 minutes from downtown, but the view from his window is anything but urban. On a warm day this fall, the air was ripe with the smell of fresh-cut hay and manure. In the alley behind his house, bales of hay teetered and listed where garbage cans once stood. Chickens scratched in the yard, near a garage that had been turned into a barn. Mr. Weertz drives a Ford not a sleek sedan but a rebuilt 1960 tractor.

“My sisters and brothers gave me a pig for my birthday,” Mr. Weertz said, referring to his newest barnyard resident. “I am not sure what I am going to do with it.”

After decades of blight, large swathes of Detroit are being reclaimed by nature. Roughly a third of this 139-square-mile city consists of weed-choked lots and dilapidated buildings. Satellite images show an urban core giving way to an urban prairie.

Rather than fight this return to nature, Mr. Weertz and other urban farmers have embraced it, gradually converting 15 acres of idle land into more than 40 community gardens and microfarms some consuming entire blocks.


Heartstart FR2 Automated External Defibrillator

Jason Roosa, National Registry Emergency Medical Technician-Basic &
Mountain Rescue Association Member, writes:

Early defibrillation is the best thing for somebody having a heart attack. The quicker you can get a defibrillator onto somebody, the better the outcome. Standard non-automated defibrillators, like the ones with the paddles you see doctors using on TV, require costly and time consuming training to use, and anybody who doesn’t do it all the time is likely to get rusty pretty quickly. However the particular condition (ventricular fibrillation) that a defibrillator remedies can reliably be detected by a computer. New automated defibrillators decide themselves if the patient needs to be defibrillated, or “shocked.” The machine will not apply a shock under any other situation…i.e. people can’t use them to shock each other for kicks. All the responder needs to do is attach the sticky-pads to the right place on the body (there is a picture on each pad), turn on the machine, and do what the machine tells him to do. One could argue that somebody with no training could do it pretty well; it’s definitely easier to do correctly than the Heimlich Maneuver, and everybody seems to have a pretty good grasp on how to do that. However, the AHA and manufacturers currently require training to qualify to use one. Almost any Red Cross or Emergency Medical course with Basic Life Support training will teach students how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) as well.

The bottom line is that if I were having a heart attack, I’d be OK with somebody with no medical training having access to an AED and just following the instructions that the machine gives. It’s better than being dead. These are rather expensive at the moment — $2000 $3000 — but they are state-of-the art and their price will likely come down as the market expands. My guess: they will soon be as common in public buildings as fire extinguishers are now.

[emphasis added]
(via Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools)

Jeff Pulver (), in The Pulver Report - December 8, 2003 Issue, writes:

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and VoIP leaders forged
an agreement to provide access to emergency service for VoIP users

NENA and the companies have agreed upon the following action items:

* For service to customers using phones that have the functionality
and appearance of conventional telephones, 911 emergency services
access will be provided (at least routing to a Public Safety Access Point
(PSAP) 10-digit number) within a reasonable time (three to six months),
and prior to that time inform customers of the lack of such access.

Automated teller machines at two banks running Microsoft’s popular Windows software were infected by a computer virus in August, the maker of the machines said Monday.

The ATM infections, first reported by, are believed to be the first of a computer virus wiggling directly onto cash machines.


This is [The OpteProject’s] first full Internet map with color and other graphing logic. RFC1918 addresses have been hashed into a unique checksum so they do not incorrectly overlap with other routers or hosts. The checksums resolve to the same host each time to be sure that all routes connect correctly. Another bit of code also removed the routing loops that made a rather large mess out of previous maps. The colors were based on Class A allocation of IP space too different registrars in the world. The color system is very basic now and rather ugly, I would like to spend some more time in the next week making a better color system.

Stephen King’s editorial in the new Entertainment Weekly (not online, but the best part is below) opines that the real crisis in the entertainment industry isn’t piracy, it’s mental fatigue among moneyed baby boomers.

“So what happened in the ’90s? I think we’re seeing an entire generation — my generation, the baby-boom generation — turning off the lights upstairs and putting a sign on the door: SORRY, BUT I’M TAKING A NAP. MIND CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Pretty much the same deal is going on with music sales. Piracy and illegal downloads, although covered to a fare-thee-well in the press, account for only a fraction of the drop in $$. I think what’s happening is all too clear: We baby boomers are just too pooped to party. Oh, we do buy some records — you may have heard that we love the Beatles, Rod Stewart, and those funksters the Rolling Stones. Just don’t try to get us to listen to anyone who isn’t registered with AARP! Bob Seger was probably correct when he told us rock & roll never forgets, but it sure gets tired.”

“Movie-ticket sales have remained strong, but only because the studios are selling a product aimed almost solely at Gen-X and Gen-Y. Most R-rated movies go in the tank. PG-13 rules. A film like ‘’The Fast and the Furious'’ strikes box office gold, while Clint Eastwood’s ‘’Mystic River'’ muddles along at the box office. I’d argue that 20 years ago, ‘’Mystic River'’ would have done ‘’Chinatown'’ box office numbers. Now the baby boomers look at the previews on TV and think, Nah, that looks too serious. Too hard. Guess I’ll stay home and watch ‘’Jeopardy!'’ And the ‘’Jeopardy!'’ answer is ‘’Just about the saddest thing Steve King can think of.'’ The question is ‘’What do you call a whole generation going to sleep?'’

(via BoingBoing)

The Anti-Terror Line is the reverse of a Fed snitch line — it’s a number you can call when The Man is giving you a hard time in the name of defending the homeland from terrorists — your call (and anything you can get your attacker to utter into the handset) is recorded and published on a webserver where you can annotate it. Natalie Jermijenko, the project’s originator, has used it to record herself being put off an airline for using the first class toilet.

(via BoingBoing)


Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., casts a shadow on the flag as he is introduced to speak at a rally Monday, Dec. 1, 2003, at the police station in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Gephardt, faulting President Bush for “gambling with our safety,'’ on Monday called for spending $100 billion over five years on homeland security.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Courtland Milloy, Washington Post Metro Columnist, writes:

Well before Nathaniel Jones had his violent and ultimately fatal confrontation with Cincinnati police Sunday, something happened that pretty much sealed his fate.

He used PCP.

And what we saw on that police video was a predictable result from a drug with its own special ways of killing and getting people killed.


Barry M. Horstman, Cincinnati Post staff reporter, writes:

Cincinnati police officers ordered Nathaniel Jones to stop resisting arrest and place his hands behind his back at least 16 times before, while and after they repeatedly struck him with their nightsticks in an effort to subdue him, videotape of the fatal confrontation shows.

The videotape, from cameras in multiple police cruisers that responded to the deadly encounter, is the critical piece of evidence in various investigations into yet another controversy that threatens to unravel the halting progress made in police-community relations in the 2 years since riots erupted on Cincinnati’s streets, and that has once again placed the city in an unflattering national and international spotlight.