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Current Topic: Current Events

Outerz0ne 4 Call for Papers!
Topic: Current Events 11:52 am EST, Jan 28, 2008

If you have a talk you'd like to do at Outerz0ne 4, feel free to email us at:
skydog (at)

Outerz0ne is now trying to stand up on its own two feet. Last year was the first year that there was an Outerz0ne without an Interz0ne to be protesting, and it was a pretty good success. This year there's a much better hotel in a much better location. SkyDog has a lot of passion in what he's doing with this and it shows. It would be great for as many people as possible to submit papers, reserve rooms and show up for the convention. It will be nice to once again have an regular Atlanta convention in the early part of the year.

Outerz0ne 4 Call for Papers!

RE: - Hoax Devices Creating Gridlock In Boston
Topic: Current Events 11:41 am EST, Feb  1, 2007

Decius wrote:
You simply cannot send people to prison because you didn't get a joke. Yelling %22fire%22 in a crowded theater involves an intent as well as an act. If you yell %22I want that man fired%22 and a bunch of people mishear you and freak out should you go to jail? These were not intended to be viewed as a threat, and they have been up all over the country for weeks without anyone thinking twice about it. The police need to be able to %22take every precaution%22 without simultaneously demanding heads in exchange for it.

Intent is not always required, which is why we have terms like 'criminal negligence,' or in plain speak, 'you were too stupid to think about the possible consequences of your actions.' Many of the arguments I've heard have been, 'It was a cartoon character!' Well, kind of. It was a bunch of LEDs with the wires visibly exposed and again, it was an inside joke limited to a small subset of the population. Sadly, if the 'artist' had done a better job of tidying up his cables so that it was just a lit box, this probably wouldn't have happened. Next time replace the WALK/DO NOT WALK masks in crossing lights with these things and there won't be as much of a stink.

Again, I only find fault with the guy placing them underneath interstate bridges in an effort to hide them, which is what brought the well deserved suspicion to the devices.


RE: - Hoax Devices Creating Gridlock In Boston

RE: - Hoax Devices Creating Gridlock In Boston
Topic: Current Events 8:56 am EST, Feb  1, 2007

Rattle wrote:
Heh.. It was a marketing campaign. Adult Swim paralyzed Boston. I don't care what anyone says, this is funny as hell. I mean, everyone know that having LEDs in the shape of a cartoon character is the perfect way to disguise an IED...

Actually, no, it's not that funny. Like it or not we do live in a time when people blow shit up for the purpose of garnering attention. I've seen one ATHF episode (which was one more than I ever care to) and couldn't tell you any of the characters beyond the fact that there's a box of fries with a beard. It's an inside joke that maybe 5% of the US population would get, but it's not really a joke because of how they were placed. It's one thing to put them on a wall or an awning, like some were done, but the ones on the bridges... I have no sympathy for the guy that got arrested for this. I'm all about freedom of expression and freedom of speech, but you have to understand the possible impact, like yelling %22fire!%22 in a crowded theater.


RE: - Hoax Devices Creating Gridlock In Boston

Fallen Soldier Gets a Bronze Star but No Pagan Star
Topic: Current Events 9:20 am EDT, Jul  5, 2006

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That's because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion -- a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle -- to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

Wicca is recognized federally as a religion. As the article mentions, last year the requirement for a religion to have a centrally located authority has been lifted. So why can't the pentacle be inscribed on the grave of a soldier who gave his life for his country, and even had "Wiccan" on his dogtags. But gods forbid we offend the Christians with a symbol that they don't like in the graveyard.

Getting pretty sick of this.

Fallen Soldier Gets a Bronze Star but No Pagan Star

NPR : A Former President Warns of 'Endangered Values'
Topic: Current Events 9:19 am EST, Nov  4, 2005

Blurring the line between church and state threatens civil liberties and privacy, says former President Jimmy Carter. That's the case he makes in his new book, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, which draws on Carter's experiences as a president and a Christian.

Carter was the 39th president of the United States. In addition to his work to help ensure the fairness of elections around the world, he founded the Carter Center, a conflict resolution organization. In 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end violence and spread human rights.

Jimmy Carter is giving plenty of interviews this week as a means of promoting his new book. I've already seen the meme on here about the USA Today article, but I thought I'd post this as well. In my often-not-so-humble opinion, I think that Terry Gross is one of the best interviewers in the business. This could easily be because she has one of the best forums for such - an adequate amount of airtime. There are two audio clips from this site - both Terry Gross' interview and Steve Inskeep's (from Morning Edition). Both are NPR shows.

NPR : A Former President Warns of 'Endangered Values'

Acidus, like a woman, changes his mind
Topic: Current Events 10:54 am EDT, Oct 13, 2005

Acidus - Layer 7 Fun : Extending Web Apps in Interesting Ways Modern Web applications offer an amazing array of services. Complex systems like Gmail, Google Maps, Flickr, and Outlook Web Access are accessible by anyone with just a browser. While these services offer a range of capabilities, people are extending these applications by writing web apps that run on top of other web apps. GMail File System, Housing maps, and are excellent examples of increasing the utility of a web app without having access to its code or the consent of the original creator.
We will discuss some technologies used in complex web apps (AJAX, RSS, backend databases) and discuss how to directly interface with them. We will discuss the legality of extending existing web apps. I will be referencing an application I wrote that runs on top of TinyURL as a case study and release the code.

Yes, yes, I just put that title up there to bring more attention to the meme. Yes, I'm a shameless whore when it comes to garnering more publicity for the convention.

Acidus wrote to me asking to change the content of his presentation to what you see here. Looks very interesting, so if you want to hear more, come to PhreakNIC!

Oh, and you might also notice that I "fixed" Dementia's code so that we can now reference specific pages.

Acidus, like a woman, changes his mind

Unveiling Iraq's teenage prostitutes
Topic: Current Events 1:08 pm EDT, Jun 24, 2005

The story of a Sunni girl from Fallujah selling herself in a Damascus nightclub represents startling new fallout from the Iraq war, one human rights organizations and experts are only beginning to address. An increasing number of young Iraqi women and girls who fled Iraq during the turmoil are turning to prostitution in Syria, although there are no reliable statistics on how many girls are involved. That might partly explain why so little reporting has been done on the topic. For journalists and human rights workers, securing contact with Iraqi sex workers in Syria is difficult and dangerous because the topic is taboo.

This is an interesting article around the desparation that many Iraqi refugees are feeling, but it's not really just because of the war. One person quoted in the article said it pretty clearly - prostitution isn't new, there's just a lot more of it. Many of the economically pillaged countries with high populations and few jobs face this kind of problem every day. Go to Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai or Beijing and see how prevalent prostitution is there, and not just locals - the bars and clubs are full of women from the Phillipines, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, you name it. The war is certainly the biggest factor in the economic depression that Iraq is experiencing, but ending the fighting won't solve the problem, either.

Unveiling Iraq's teenage prostitutes

Everything you wanted to know about the Nuclear Option
Topic: Current Events 11:20 am EDT, May 12, 2005

] But there must be something different in the way that the
] Democrats are blocking Bush's nominees, right? The
] Republicans say that Democrats are doing is
] "unprecedented."

] Oh, yes they do. Just the other day on Fox News, Utah
] Sen. Orrin Hatch, the former chairman of the Senate
] Judiciary Committee, proclaimed: "We've never had a
] filibuster of judges in the history of this country." In
] a myth vs. fact sheet, the Republican National Committee
] says that "having to overcome a filibuster (or obtaining
] 60 votes) on judicial nominees is unprecedented."
] But that's not a fact. In 1968, Republicans led a
] filibuster against Lyndon Johnson's nomination of Abe
] Fortas as chief justice. And that isn't the only
] Republican attempt to filibuster a judicial nominee in
] recent history. During the Clinton years, the
] Congressional Research Service says, Democrats were
] forced to bring cloture motions on six judicial nominees.
] While the existence of a cloture motion doesn't always
] mean that a filibuster is in effect, in at least some
] instances it has meant just that: In 2000, Frist himself
] voted to support a filibuster against Richard Paez,
] Clinton's nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
] Ninth Circuit.

This article presents a very good assessment of just what can and can't happen along the lines of the "Nuclear Option." It's not as cut and dry as many would think.

Everything you wanted to know about the Nuclear Option

Lego Abu Ghraib
Topic: Current Events 8:48 am EST, Feb  9, 2005

] He's just beginning his teens, but I've been house
] sitting long enough to watch him go from Harry Potter
] toys to Lego Mindstorms and Playstation 2. So on Saturday
] night when I arrived to the empty house, I got a beer and
] went into his bedroom to check out his toys. There were
] immediate telltale signs of "young man" everywhere... but
] there were some Legos left around on his toy chest. I
] looked once and was on my way out, but then noticed the
] configuration of the Lego assembly. It was a compound.
] And in the back, was a child's version of Abu Ghraib.
] Stunned, I took photos.

You have to wonder what made the kid decide to recreate this area. What kids (early teens) watch enough news for this to be ingrained in his mind as something to admire? Maybe it's a way of understanding what happened? I can only hope that it's not because a mentor has idolized what has happened there.


Lego Abu Ghraib

New (sub)Urbanism: The Copyrighting of Public Space
Topic: Current Events 10:18 am EST, Feb  7, 2005

] The Reader recounts the experience of photojournalist
] Warren Wimmer's attempts to photograph Anish Kapoor's
] sculpture, Cloud Gate (more commonly known as "the
] Bean"). When Wimmer set up his tripod and camera to shoot
] the sculpture, security guards stopped him, demanding
] that they show him a permit. Wimmer protested, replying
] that it's absurd that one needs to pay for a permit to
] photograph public art in a city-owned park.

WTF? I found this linked on BoingBoing this morning and still can't quite understand how something like this ever happened. Public funds paid for a sculpture to go in a public park that the public can't take photographs of. The procurement officer definitely needs to have his or her pink slip on the way.


New (sub)Urbanism: The Copyrighting of Public Space

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