July 2004

Kabbalah Red String Photo

Target’s Web Site via BoingBoing:

A centuries-old spiritual tool used by Kabbalists, this red string is believed to protect against the evil eye, a negative energy source. What makes this particular piece of string so special is, in part, the fact that it has traveled to Israel, to the ancient tomb of Rachel the Matriarch, and returned, imbued with the essence of protection. The string is tied to the left wrist—the left being the body and soul’s receiving side—and worn to essentially deflect the negative energy brought forth by unfriendly and envious stares, unkind glances and looks of ill will. A feeling we’ve all experienced, the evil eye is considered by Kabbalah to be a powerful force and an influential factor in regards to achieving goals and everyday well-being. The string draws upon the connection to and awareness of Rachel and must be tied on by a loved one and sealed with Rachel’s protective energy by reciting the Ben Porat prayer (included on a card). From The Kabbalah Centre. 72L”.

BONNY SCHOONAKKER, South Africa’s Sunday Times, reports:

SOUTHERN Africa is experiencing weird vibes, according to scientists studying one of the more profound upheavals awaiting planet Earth.

This forthcoming revolution is a reversal in the Earth’s magnetic field, an event that occurs every 500 000 years or so.

HurricaneMB writes:

Federal charges were filed against Adam McGaughey, creator of the popular SG1Archive.com website - a fan website devoted to the MGM-owned television show Stargate SG-1. The charges allege that the website engaged in Criminal Copyright Infringement and Trafficking in Counterfeit Services. The charges were the culmination of a three-year FBI investigation, set in motion by a complaint from the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) regarding the content of the SG1Archive.com website.

SG1Archive.com is one of the most popular fan-run websites among the Stargate community. In addition to providing very active fan discussion forums, broadcast schedules, production news, and episode guides, the site heavily promotes the sale of the show on DVD. As of this writing, direct links from SG1Archive.com to Amazon.com have resulted in the sale of over $100,000 worth of DVDs. Many more DVDs have been sold to international fans of the show through sites like Blackstar.co.uk. Upon hearing this news, Stargate executive producer Brad Wright called the site “cool” - which Adam took as an endorsement of his work.

Iggy Pop Photo
Iggy at it : US pop icon Iggy Pop performs at the three-day music ‘New Milenium festival’ in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain.
(AFP/Miguel Riopa ))

DEA News Relesase

WASHINGTON, DC – DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy today announced the culmination of “Operation Web Tryp” that resulted in ten arrests and targeted five websites. Operation Web Tryp investigated Internet websites distributing highly dangerous designer drug analogues under the guise of “research chemicals” primarily shipped to the U.S. from China and India. These websites are known to have thousands of customers worldwide. One website operator is known to conduct estimated sales of $20,000 per week, while another is known to have been in business for more than five years. These websites sold substances that led to the fatal overdose of at least two individuals and 14 non-fatal overdoses.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

(AP) — Emergency phone calls in Chicago had to be rerouted Thursday after a power outage at the city’s 911 call center, authorities said.

The Toronto Star reports:

Young Brit vacationers are bringing home unwanted souvenirs — sexually transmitted infections and risk of death and serious health problems — from risky sexual behaviour abroad, according to the British Medical Journal. Today’s edition calls for more pre-holiday warnings and post-holiday screening.

DAVID JOHNSTON and DOUGLAS JEHL, The New York Times, report:

WASHINGTON, July 22 - The Clinton and Bush administrations failed to grasp the gravity of the threat from Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and left counterterrorism efforts to a disparate collection of uncoordinated, underfinanced and dysfunctional government agencies, the commission on the attacks said in its final report published on Thursday.

James P. Miller and Leon Lazaroff, (Sun-Sentinel) Tribune staff reporters, reports:

The Chicago Tribune, which hasn’t missed an edition since the Great Fire of 1871, came perilously close to doing just that Monday.

Because of a computer breakdown, about 40 percent of subscribers received no paper Monday. And those that did got a truncated version with strange page numbering and unusual placement of some features.

The problems occurred after a flaw in software installed over the weekend crashed the newspaper’s production system. After struggling through the night, the newspaper managed at daybreak to begin printing an abbreviated Monday paper.

Charles Arthur, Technology Editor, The Independent (UK) reports:

Young male prisoners were filmed being sodomised by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to the journalist who first revealed the abuses there.

Seymour Hersh, who reported on the torture of the prisoners in New Yorker magazine in May, told an audience in San Francisco that “it’s worse”. But he added that he would reveal the extent of the abuses: “I’m not done reporting on all this,” he told a meeting of the American Civil Liberties Union.

He said: “The boys were sodomised with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking. And this is your government at war.”

He accused the US administration, and all but accused President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney of complicity in covering up what he called “war crimes”.

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd [7-16-4]

Sean Kelly, George Merritt and Howard Pankratz, Denver Post Staff Writers, report via Rense.com:

A Denver police officer likely mistook a soda can for a weapon before shooting and killing a 63-year-old man in his bed, Police Chief Gerry Whitman said Monday.

Frank Lobato was shot once in the chest Sunday night during a police search for a domestic-violence suspect. Lobato, a career criminal and formerly homeless man whom neighbors said was disabled, was not involved in the domestic dispute.

Dan Bricklin via Slashdot writes:

The structure and culture of a typical prepackaged software company is not attuned to the long-term needs of society for software that is part of its infrastructure. This essay discusses the ecosystem needed for development that better meets those needs.

I’ve been following some of the writings and actions of the Massachusetts State Executive Office for Administration and Finance as it deals with its Information Technology needs. It was through listening to Secretary Kriss and reading the writings he and other Massachusetts government officials have produced that I’ve come to look at software development from a whole new perspective. This essay tries to present that perspective and examine some of its implications.

Reuters via Rense.com:

BEIJING (Reuters) - A storm is brewing in China as drought-plagued regions accuse each other of stealing clouds for rain-seeding.

With the help of modern technology, scientists can fire rockets filled with various substances into light, fluffy clouds to make them rain.

“But the practice has caused considerable controversy in recent days, with some saying that one area’s success with rain has meant taking moisture meant for one place and giving it to another,” the China Daily said on Wednesday.

Stacy St. Clair, Daily Herald Staff Writer via reports:

Four hours after an electrical explosion knocked out power at O’Hare Monday, Joe Balleres stood in a long security line fanning himself with his boarding pass.

WorldNetDaily via Rense:

A mysterious power failure at Logan Airport that delayed dozens of flights for more than five hours has still not been explained - six days later.

Airport officials insist airline security was not compromised during the blackout Monday at Logan International’s Terminal E, but backup electrical systems failed to kick in as they are programmed under such circumstances.

Logan is the airport from which two of the Sept. 11 hijacked planes originated. Officials promised a full report on the blackout Wednesday. It has still not been issued. “We’re trying to figure out exactly what happened and why it happened,” said Phil Orlandella, Massport spokesman, last week.

The power outage was caused by an explosion at Massport’s Porter Street electric substation in East Boston around 2:15 p.m. Monday, officials said. The blast shut down the terminal’s security screening systems and other equipment. Power was restored around 7:10 p.m.

The Internet Archive reports:

The Live music archive just received its 10,000th concert recording! Congratulations and thanks to the etree community and the artists and bands that have a made this a fantastic repository of creative works.

ICT Video Still
A still from the ICT video ‘Devotion and Defiance’: nuns searching through the rubble of their demolished homes following the arrival of work teams to the Serthar religious institute, Larung Gar

International Campaign for Tibet via Snow Lion Publications:

A major new report released by the International Campaign for Tibet reveals the increasing threat to the survival of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. ‘When the Sky Fell to Earth: the New Crackdown on Buddhism in Tibet’ documents the rise in repression of religion in Tibet that is a direct result of China’s economic policies and strategic objectives.

EricEldred, Internet Bookmobile, via BoingBoing:

Yesterday (July 8, 2004) I took the Internet Bookmobile to Walden Pond in
Concord, Mass. It was the 150th anniversary of H. D. Thoreau’s book
“Walden.” The Thoreau Society had a dawn to dusk reading.

After an hour of having readers print and take away free copies of “Walden,”
I was asked by the Walden Pond Reservation police to pack up and leave
and threatened with arrest. I left.

The park supervisor (Denise Morrissey, ) told me I could
not pass out free literature without a permit. And she would not give me
a permit because, as she explained, the state park gets money from a
concession by the Thoreau Society, which operates a store that sells
“Walden”–and I was competing with them by giving away free copies.

Freshbot via BoingBoing:

Did you know that “pornography is more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes or illicit drugs?” Or that “one in five children ages 10 to 17 has received sexual solicitations while on the Internet” - and that, by extension, pornography per se is equivalent to pedophilia? Or that “over 80% of Americans are in favor of clamping down on Internet Pornography?” Neither did we. Nor can we find any sources to back up most of the claims made by an alliance of “several U.S. and Canadian organizations” that announced a “War on Pornography” campaign in Utah yesterday.

Raul654 writes on Slashdot:

Today Wikipedia reached the 300,000 article mark. Wikipedia is a 3-year-old non-profit project to build an encyclopedia using WikiWiki software. All text is licensed under the GFDL. It has everything that a traditional encyclopedia would, but also many things that would never get written about, such as Crushing by elephant and the GNU/Linux naming controversy. For size comparisons, the English Wikipedia has 90.1 million words across 300,000 articles, compared to Britannica’s 55 million words across 85,000 articles. (All the languages combined together reach 790,000 articles.) For much of the first half of 2004, Wikipedia’s growth has outstripped server capacity - however, the shortage of PHP/MySQL developers is probably the biggest long term problem facing the project. Slashdot had previously reported when Wikipedia reached the 200,000 mark.”

linuxwrangler writes on slashdot.org:the customer is not always right. Best Buy consultant Larry Selden has identified “demon customers” like those who file for a rebate then return the item. OK, I get that one (hey Best Buy: dump those customer-despised rebates and you won’t have that problem…). Other categories like customers who only buy during sales are more interesting. Best Buy declined comment on how they are dealing with those customers. Some stores have actually “fired” customers. Welcome to the end result of all that customer information data mining.”

David Pescovitz, BoingBoing writes:

Audio engineers at UC Davis have developed a new technology that delivers motion-tracked binaural sound (MTB). It’s an update on conventional binaural recording which uses microphones embedded in a dummy head to capture the “location” of sound in a room. One problem with conventional binaural recording is that the sound doesn’t change when you move your head. For example, if you hear a recording of someone behind you and turn your head to face them, it still sounds like they’re behind you.

“The new method records through multiple microphones (eight for voice, 16 for music) spaced around a head-sized ball or cylinder. The sound is played back through headphones with a small tracking device attached to the top to follow head movements. As you turn your head while listening, the system mixes sound from different microphones, reproducing what you would hear if you were in the room.”