Friday, August 28, 2009

Madonna booed in Bucharest for defending Gypsies

Madonna booed in Bucharest for defending Gypsies | Associated Press - August 27, 2009 1:13 PM PDT | BUCHAREST, Romania - "At first, fans politely applauded the Roma performers sharing a stage with Madonna. Then the pop star condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, or Gypsies — and the cheers gave way to jeers.

The sharp mood change that swept the crowd of 60,000, who had packed a park for Wednesday night's concert, underscores how prejudice against Gypsies remains deeply entrenched across Eastern Europe.
"

The plight of the Gypsies in Europe is centuries old. In Western Europe it's not quite as bad but the discrimination is still harsh and prevalent. Most people on this side of the pond know next to nothing about this issue. The Gypsies have had it bad for so long because the cultural and moral acceptance of the discrimination against them.

One large example of this was the Holocaust. The fact that 6 million Jews were killed is, at this point, common knowledge. The the Nazi regime murdered over 12 million people. In raw numbers the Jews were the single biggest percentage of deaths. But if you look at the percentage of those killed compared to the total number of their "group," the Gypsies were nearly wiped off the face of the Earth. Very few people know this.

Today, the news of a small group of Hispanics, Jews, African Americans, Asians, etc. being killed just because they were there would raise a media firestorm. None of us would stand for that no matter what race or religion we are. Should it be any different for the Gypsies?
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Texting While Driving PSA


Texting While Driving PSA @ Yahoo! Video
Source: uk.video.yahoo.com
Now this is an effective PSA and it certainly went on for a long time. But will people actually get the message? Pun intended. http://www.ns-knt.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bruntlett turns game-ending unassisted triple play

Bruntlett turns game-ending unassisted triple play | Sun Aug 23, 10:30 pm ET | NEW YORK (Reuters) – "Eric Bruntlett completed just the second game-ending unassisted triple play in Major League Baseball on Sunday, which helped the Philadelphia Phillies to a 9-7 victory over the New York Mets.

It was the 15th unassisted triple play recorded in the majors. The last was achieved by Cleveland Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera in May, 2008.
"

While I am not a huge Baseball fan, unlike Alyssa Milano, I still have a love for the game, despite my MLB Boycott. And this is an unbelievably fantastic play. To get a feeling for how tremendous this is, read the article and see when the first game-ending unassisted triple play was turned.

What a great play.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mind-blowing Bolt lights up worlds

Mind-blowing Bolt lights up worlds | By Mitch Phillips Mitch Phillips – Mon Aug 17, 1:58 pm ET | BERLIN (Reuters) – "Usain Bolt delivered one of the most astonishing performances ever seen in athletics when he scorched to world championship 100 meters gold in a mind-blowing 9.58 seconds on Sunday.

The flying Jamaican took a massive 0.11 seconds off the previous record mark he ran to win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing one year ago to the day.
"

You have GOT to be kidding me! This is beyond incredible. These are the kind of speeds that rival anything done at White Sands or Bonneville Salt Flats (in perspective, of course). Way back when I was in high school I ran track. My best 100 meters was a 12.6, which would have made me the second fastest on the girls team.
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Too Few Medals of Honor?

Too Few Medals of Honor? | August 02, 2009 | Associated Press - "Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 4,000 members of the U.S. military killed in action. More than 34,000 wounded. Just six considered worthy of America's highest military award for battlefield valor.

For some veterans and members of Congress, that last number doesn't add up.

They question how so few Medals of Honor - all awarded posthumously - could be bestowed for wars of such magnitude and duration.
"

When I read this I was seriously taken aback. The idea of lowering the requirements for awarding the MOH is, in my opinion, a disservice to all prior recipients. The fact is that with the new technology and tactics of modern warfare, much of the dangerous, and thus potential opportunities for valor, have been lessened. Not that actions worthy of the medal don't happen. The case of Sgt. Peralta is an example.

But the idea of tarnishing the MOH by making it stand for less than what it truly is does not make any rational sense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hacker-Tool Law Still Does Little

Hacker-Tool Law Still Does Little
By Mark Rasch

On August 10, 2007, a new section of the German Penal code went into effect. The statute, intended to implement certain provisions of the Council of Europe Treaty on Cybercrime, could be interpreted to make the creation or distribution of computer security software a criminal offense.

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/502

The Scale of Security

The Scale of Security
By Adam O'Donnell

Human beings do not naturally understand scale. While we speak of financial transactions in the hundreds of billions of dollars as being something as routine as brushing our teeth, we question the value of programs that cost in the single-digit millions and quibble with friends over dollars. Similarly, there are many problems in our industry that, when explained to an outsider, sound like they should have been solved decades ago. It is only when we relate the number of systems that need to be considered in the repair that we truly communicate the difficulty of the problem.

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/503
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Why I'm not depressed

As I type this I find myself in a difficult position. Right now I'm in my 5th term at Westwood College Online working on a BS in Game Software Development. I got a student loan for the first four terms but was refused this time. So I'm paying out-of-pocket for a portion of the tuition. This is not easy as I am behind the gun, so to speak. A quick synopsis of my situation is -
  • I haven't worked since Nov '04
  • I'm trying to survive on $16,800 a year; to much for government assistance and not enough to live on
  • I have been, according to the state of VA, homeless since Spring of '05
  • I have trouble trying to sit, stand or walk and need a wheelchair to go out and about
  • Due to the above I have become a virtual recluse
  • I'm trying to keep my son from getting into trouble; he thinks he's Tupac or Biggie Smalls
  • and lastly, I'm trying to handle all of this while in constant pain
The pain is 24/7 and it's bad enough to be the primary thought in my consciousness. It also pervades my subconscious as most of my dreams are about being in pain. So why am I not depressed?

Two reasons; one, the meds that I'm on include three anti-depressants and two, I'm really in to much pain to be depressed. In fact, it's a major undertaking to just get a bit of my schoolwork done each day. Having some kind of social life would help but it's hard to meet people if you don't leave the house. I'm living with my brother and mother in his house. She's, well, let's say past retirement age. And he's on disability do to something being wrong with his lungs. He's on oxygen all day and night. They spend their time downstairs in the family room (it has a 56" TV) while I'm up in the living room or my bedroom. My days have very little human interaction.

I just looked at the time. It's 01:45 and I really need to hit the hay. Hell, I'm already 65% asleep as it is. If I weren't I wouldn't be here all whining and feeling sorry for myself. Things will be better in the morning, though. Everyday that I wake up is a good day.
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Monday, August 03, 2009

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts

Black Hat: Mac OS X Rootkit Debuts | By Thomas Claburn | InformationWeek | July 30, 2009 04:59 PM - "The development of a proof-of-concept rootkit for Mac OS X reinforces the fact that security concerns aren't just for Windows users.

At the Black Hat security conference on Wednesday, security researcher Dino Dai Zovi revealed a proof-of-concept rootkit that runs on Apple's Mac OS X operating system, underscoring the fact that all software has flaws.

Rootkit software is designed to covertly run code, typically malicious, on affected systems. It can be used to steal information or control a compromised system. Rootkits are typically installed by other malware.
"

This isn't a surprise, really. The fact is that there are rootkits and other tools to break into any OS. And if you make a new OS it will be cracked eventually. That's a garuntee. But it's the accessability and construction of the OS's innards that determin whether it's easy to crack or not.

First, if it's connected to a network, especially the Internet, it's already an open target for anyone. If you can't access the system you can't break into it. But it's not just network access you have to guard against. It's physical access that is the method behind most of the major breakins.

Another important feature is the way the OS works with it's environment. If the system doesn't easily let you have access to the internal workings of the OS you have allot more work to do before you can crack into it. Given time and resources any system can be breached. But why put forth a lot of effort when there are easier targets out there?

So if you are running Mac OS X you don't need to panic right away. Just keep an eye on the Apple/Mac security threads and follow standard network and system security practices and you should be fairly good.

If you are running a Microsoft OS, well, that's a different story.
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