Weapons of Mass Deception, redux
Steven Aftergood is the greatest. I can't recommend his Secrecy News highly enough. Two days ago, I posted his proposed questions for the WMD Commission. Today their report came out and Mr Aftergood reported on it. I must say that I have not read the report, but Mr Aftergood's comments sure have the ring of truth and fairness:
The Silberman-Robb Commission on WMD Intelligence released its massive report today, which featured blunt criticism of U.S. intelligence agencies and of nearly every aspect of the intelligence production cycle. A copy is posted here:
And that, my friends, is by far the most important fact, IMHO. And that fact's consequences have done nothing if not decrease the security of the United State and all its citizens, not to mention that of the so-called Western World and its inhabitants.
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 16:22:43 -0500
For the last few days, I've heard more about Macintosh computers than I've heard in many years. It's a resurrected or reborn meme. It all started Sunday, when my daughter mentioned that she had gotten a Powerbook. "Why didn't you tell me they were so much easier to use?" she asked chidingly. (Here's a picture of her minutes before — or was it after? — our brief discussion. Can you tell I've acquired a new digital camera? LOL!)
Then Tuesday, a colleague at work and I were discussing the relative merits of PCs and Macs, the only one we knew of favoring the former being cost. He mentioned in passing that OS X was nothing more than FreeBSD, which I had not known (I can't believe I'm admitting this publicly).
In another conversation that same day, this same colleague suggested that I might enjoying reading some of Paul Graham, of whom I don't remember knowing anything previously. That night he sent me a link to Graham's web site. The next morning I pointed my web browser there, and the first thing I read was his latest essay: Return of the Mac. It was quite an intriguing read. Why am I going to all this trouble to replace various versions of Windows with various versions of Linux on my PCs, when Apple has already put FreeBSD on the Mac? Good question!
Then, the Mac exposure came late in the day, when I read Michael Geist's Internet Law News, which had two items about Macs. The first announced the halt of a virus writing competition for the Mac:
Plans to hold a $25,000 competition to write a virus designed to infect the Apple OS X have been scrapped after the company behind the scheme backed down over "legal problems" and complaints from Mac customers. Apple accessories company DVForge announced the competition after security company Symantec claimed OS X was likely to come under increasing attack as Apple's market share in the computer market grew [linked to the original article].
The second told of the Gartner Group warning about the Mac becoming a target for spyware and viruses:
Just a week after Symantec caused an uproar in the Mac community by warning that the OS X operating system was quickly becoming a target for hackers and viruses, Gartner has warned businesses reliant on the Mac to guard against "spyware infestations." Martin Reynolds, vice president of the research firm's Dataquest organization, said last week that although the number of Apple Computer systems used in businesses is relatively small, just one vulnerability exploit could cause trouble [again, linked to the original article].
I don't know what it all adds up to. Hell, I don't even know if I'm done hearing about Macs again for a while or if this is just a momentarily pause in a new blitz of information.
Alma Mater As Agent of Big Brother
The title of this article from the Washington Post is "Alma Mater As Big Brother" but I think the title above is more accurate, where Big Brother is the Usual Suspect (US). It's yet another good example of the inevitable mission creep whenever such information is gathered by government [via Dave Farber's IP list].
A proposal by the Education Department would force every college and university in America to report all their students' Social Security numbers and other information about each individual — including credits earned, degree plan, race and ethnicity, and grants and loans received — to a national databank. The government will record every student, regardless of whether he or she receives federal aid, in the databank.
I was wrong
I recently worked closely with a fine woman who advised me never to be afraid to say, "I don't know," "I need help" or "I was wrong." It was good advice, applicable far beyond our common arena.
In January, shortly before the Iraqi elections, under the title "Making Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004 look really good", I made this post, mocking the possibility of these elections being anything but a farce. This admission of having been wrong is almost exactly two months overdue.
Today is sunny and the temperature is predicted to go up to 62ºF. It finally feels like spring has arrived. A mere three weekends ago it snowed. I wasn't sure it was going to be the last snow of the winter, but now it appears to be so. I took a bunch of photos the next morning. This one's my favorite; click on the thumbnail to see a larger version. As you can see, the sun was warm enough to melt the little bit of snow that fell while the air was cold enough to prevent it from melting.
Weapons of Mass Deception
Impudent questions? I don't think so. On the whole, they are questions that deserve answers. The only one that doesn't, perhaps, is the last.
Violation of public trust
This story, from The Guardian, is an egregious example of such violations from the UK. Not because the "attorney general still believed invasion [of Iraq] was illegal less than two weeks before the troops went in." That's an opinion that changed, for whatever reason, good or ill. But because the British government deleted this allegation from a document being released under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The government yesterday tried to suppress evidence that the attorney general believed war against Iraq was illegal less than two weeks before British troops joined the US-led invasion of the country.
Cold fusion poised for a comeback?
If this list doesn't fire your imagination or if you don't immediately click on the link to read the article, you're nothing like me. I was familiar with only 3½ of these, not counting cold fusion, which I thought was ancient debunked history.
Federal court orders Bush Administration to charge Padilla with a crime or let him go
[via Capitol Hill Blue]