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Current Topic: Miscellaneous

New Zealand town is in the dark — and proud of it - Yahoo! News
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:37 am EST, Feb  9, 2009

This little town is in the dark and proud of it.

Where other places greet the night by lighting up their streets and tourist attractions, this one goes the other way — low-energy sodium lamps are shielded from above, and household lights must face down, not up.

The purpose: to bring out the stars.

The town of 830 people on New Zealand's South Island is on a mission to protect the sight of the night sky, even as it disappears behind light and haze in many parts of the world.

I really wish more places would do this. For us city dwellers, it's really hard to see a good night sky. And it's not like you can drive out of any given city and see a good sky either, because every little satellite town has a huge supermarket, gas station, or something that is casting out oodles of light. It's also wasted energy..

Is it too late to get this kinda pork in the stimulus bill?

ps-- Ok, really.. I'm going to try to start memeing regularly again.

New Zealand town is in the dark — and proud of it - Yahoo! News

Errata Security: Versign's Bad Response to the MD5-SSL Crisis
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:20 pm EST, Jan  9, 2009

This whole situation is quite interesting to me. Several years ago I gave a talk at PhreakNIC about how security researchers can make themselves a hard target to silence. Ironically, the video recorder malfunctioned about an hour before my talk, so there isn't a record of it.

From the looks of it, these guys planned this out well.. Verisign is just spinning this so they don't look like idiots. Don't see a valid argument that the security researchers were in any way unethical. I think concerns about Verisign attempting to obtain some kind of prior restraint on the researchers was completely warranted. Beyond that, given that the problem could be fixed long before their research could be replicated, no actual vulnerability was created by their disclosure.

Here is more information and commentary from Decius:

I previously commented on Verisign's incredulity at the fact that the researchers who produced a phoney SSL certificate didn't put them in the loop prior to public disclosure of their research.

It appears this incredulity has produced a bit of a debate. I'm linking Rob Graham who weighed in the subject:

The researchers behaved perfectly and responsibly. Their worry about being suppressed was justified, and their secrecy was an appropriate response. The very fact that Versign could quickly fix the problem in a day, but malicious hackers would need at least a month to replicate the feat, means that notifying Verisign ahead of time wasn't needed.

He links to a post from Alexander Sotirov who also took issue with Verisign's position:

In a recent post on his company blog, Verisign's vice president of marketing Tim Callan commented on the disclosure of our MD5 collision attack:

VeriSign did not receive any of [the] information ahead of the actual presentation, rendering it impossible for us to begin work on mitigating this issue prior to this morning.

I feel that this statement is inaccurate. Not only did we contact Verisign before our presentation to let them know about our research, we also strongly advised them to stop using MD5 as soon as possible and were given a chance to review their mitigation plans.

Callan responded in the thread on his blog.

Here are the facts as I understand them.

- The "trusted intermediary" was under a strict NDA with you and didn't feel it could reveal anything that was actually actionable or useful. Your NDA prevented the intermediary from telling us what would be announced, by whom, or when.

- You... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

Errata Security: Versign's Bad Response to the MD5-SSL Crisis

The State and Your Garbage
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:09 am EST, Jan  8, 2009

one must assume that all garbage is monitored by the state. Anything less would be a pre-911 mentality. - Decius

I just wanted to make sure this quote was taken out of context and forever remembered...

The State and Your Garbage

The year 2008 in photographs (part 1 of 3) - The Big Picture -
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:08 pm EST, Dec 19, 2008

This collection is very interesting. Don't miss part 2 and part 3.

The year 2008 in photographs (part 1 of 3) - The Big Picture -

Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:13 am EST, Nov 24, 2008

Girls hang on Virgil Griffith. This is no exaggeration. At parties, they cling to the arms of the 25-year-old hacker whose reason for being, he says, is to “make the Internet a better and more interesting place.” The founder of a data-mining tool called WikiScanner, Griffith is also a visiting researcher at the mysterious Santa Fe Institute, where “complex systems” are studied. He was once charged, wide-eyed rumor has it, with sedition. No wonder girls whisper secrets in his ear and laugh merrily at his arcane jokes. null

Virgil is, without a doubt, a hacker rock star.

Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery

The Win
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:28 am EST, Nov  5, 2008

I was sitting on a park bench in front of the White House, wondering what the right thing was to focus on now.

Nagios fired. The caches were down.

I ran... It was about as far as I could without stopping. I bounced the caches.

Tomorrow, log analysis. One application server too.

I can still hear the horns honking on the streets below my office...

EFF sues Cheney, Bush, and the NSA to stop illegal wiretapping - Boing Boing
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:34 am EDT, Sep 19, 2008

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the NSA, President Bush and Vice President Cheney on behalf of AT&T's customers to fight illegal wiretapping.

I know this is totally beside the point, but don't you wish that this actually was the NSA logo?

EFF sues Cheney, Bush, and the NSA to stop illegal wiretapping - Boing Boing

MTSU student knifed over parking space
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:30 am EDT, Sep  5, 2008

The parking situation at my alma mater has gotten so bad knife fights are breaking out.

Campus Police arrested an MTSU student at 10:14 a.m. Wednesday following a confrontation over a parking spot with another student that led to a bloody assault involving a bladed instrument.

The incident took place after two MTSU students tried to pull into the same parking place in the Bell Street parking lot.

One of the drivers, Starlett Custer, then allegedly assailed the other driver by pulling a sharp instrument out of her purse and repeatedly cutting her.

"There was blood all over. Blood on her hair, blood on the car, blood on the pavement," said parking authority employee Howard Rhodes, who was working in the parking lot when the assault happened. "It was ugly. It seemed like [Custer] came at her 20 times."

The 17-year-old victim, whose name is being withheld, was taken by ambulance to Middle Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of her lacerations. She was then transferred to Vanderbilt Medical Center a few hours later for specialized attention. According to police, the victim was cut on her face, left shoulder, fingers and hands, though it is possible she may have sustained further injuries.

"The wounds that the victim received are consistent with defensive wounds," said Peaster. "There was some difficulty getting the ambulance to the scene of the crime within the Bell Street lot, and at least three or four illegally parked cars had to be towed in order for the ambulance to reach the victim."

Apparently one of those cars was Becky's.

"It was a very unfortunate incident," said MTSU President Sidney McPhee. "I hope that this will teach students to make better decisions when it comes to the parking situation. [MTSU] has more than enough parking, and students need to learn to plan ahead and come to campus earlier so that they can make it to class on time. We are very sorry for what happened to this young girl, and we hope that she will get well and make a quick recovery."

It's tough out in those parking lots...

MTSU student knifed over parking space

Money for me, databases for you.
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:15 am EDT, Aug 13, 2008

This is a perfect example of why we force Decius to drink and rant at conventions. He's been the regular closing speaker at PhreakNIC several times.

That's way more relevant than Jello at HOPE.

Money for me, databases for you.

The Volokh Conspiracy - Temporary Restraining Order Against Crime-Facilitating Speech About Security Vulnerabilities:
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:27 pm EDT, Aug 12, 2008

Unprotected speech generally can only be restricted after a finding on the merits that the speech is indeed unprotected. It generally can't be restricted via a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction that's just based on a preliminary, quick-and-dirty estimate of whether a crime was violated and whether the speech is therefore constitutionally unprotected.

A discussion of the legal issues involved in the MBTA suit, which are familiar.

The Volokh Conspiracy - Temporary Restraining Order Against Crime-Facilitating Speech About Security Vulnerabilities:

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