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"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." -- Marshall McLuhan, 1969

And he's not even dead!!!
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:49 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2009

It never ends!

ORIGINAL (1:03 p.m.): A person is stuck undeneath the first car of a Red Line train, Metro says. A train at the Van Ness-UDC station on Connecticut Ave. struck a passenger at 12:33 p.m., according to Taryn McNeil, Metro spokeswoman. She said the condition of the person, and details about how they might have ended up on the track, are unknown at this time.

UPDATE (1:41 p.m.): Witnesses told Metro investigators that the man struck by the train at Van Ness "intentionally placed himself on the tracks," Metro says.

And he's not even dead!!!

The End of Times for Tony Alamo
Topic: Current Events 2:39 pm EDT, Jul 24, 2009

All the Nashville based folks on MemeStreams surely remember this guy... At one point or another, everyone wound up with a flier containing this nut-case's writings on their car windshield.

Jurors have found Tony Alamo guilty on all 10 counts of child-sex charges. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing will take place in six to eight weeks. Former church members are overjoyed. No current church members or anyone who testified on his behalf, including Sharon Alamo, have commented.

Prosecutors said Alamo took five underage girls across state lines for sex as far back as 1994. They said one was as young as 9 and was "married" to the evangelist.

And now for a quick snip from one of Tony's writings, Flying Saucers are End-Time Prophecy:

Alone with her in the dark desert with no other cars around, I heard her say, "Come on Tony, let’s hold hands and pray that God will show us flying saucers." I said, "All right." She was driving and I took her hand. She prayed, "Oh Lord, God Almighty, if there are such things as flying saucers, show them to us, Father, in the name of Jesus." I said, "Amen, Lord."

No sooner had she said this prayer, and I said Amen, Lord then a squadron of flying saucers began approaching us very quickly from far in the distance. They descended from way up high down within a fraction of an inch of the windshield of the car with a speed as fast as lightning.

Will he be able to summon a squadron of flying saucers to air-lift his pedo ass out of prison...

The End of Times for Tony Alamo

Ohhh... The DC Metro Red Line
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:28 pm EDT, Jul 23, 2009

I long for the days before the accident...

Company Denies its Robots Feed on the Dead | Danger Room |
Topic: Technology 1:09 pm EDT, Jul 20, 2009

Robots that kill people and generate power from eating their flesh are still a threat...

POMPANO BEACH, Fla.– In response to rumors circulating the internet on sites such as, and CNET News about a “flesh eating” robot project, Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. (Pink Sheets:CYPW) and Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) would like to set the record straight: This robot is strictly vegetarian.

On July 7, Cyclone announced that it had completed the first stage of development for a beta biomass engine system used to power RTI’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR™), a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Defense Sciences Office. RTI’s EATR is an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.

RTI’s patent pending robotic system will be able to find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment. Despite the far-reaching reports that this includes “human bodies,” the public can be assured that the engine Cyclone has developed to power the EATR runs on fuel no scarier than twigs, grass clippings and wood chips – small, plant-based items for which RTI’s robotic technology is designed to forage. Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI.

“We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO. “We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.” (emphasis in the original)

Company Denies its Robots Feed on the Dead | Danger Room |

RE: Lawmaker Wants ‘Show of Force’ Against North Korea for Website Attacks | Threat Level |
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:02 pm EDT, Jul 12, 2009

Decius wrote:

skullaria wrote:
I read....86 IPs from 18 countries?

Its more, but...

What about propaganda for the Rockefeller cybersecurity legislation?

I didn't think about it, but you're exactly right. They are certainly leveraging it that way, even if they didn't create it.

Its a strange attack - NK wouldn't have done something this silly. It looks like something a teenager would have done - but I also don't think there are a lot of fan boy hackers who think NK is cool and want to support their interests. You see islamist stuff like that, but generally speaking people in NK don't have Internet access.

Its possible that there are people in SK who think NK is cool. I've never run into that but I guess such a subculture wouldn't be completely surprising.

However, on many levels your theory makes more sense. In particular, I don't think an NK fanboy would have been savvy enough to do it on the 4th of July at the same time as an NK missile launch - it was too well timed.

The implications of this are disturbing.

Be wary of seeing conspiracy within actions that can be explained by idiocy, especially with it comes to Congress.

Of course there are members of congress trying to leverage this to reinforce their points. Does anything ever happen that isn't used by some member of Congress to use to "prove" they are right about something?

Hoekstra seems to have used it to "prove" he is a hawk on the DPRK. I didn't review everything from the news conference, but I didn't hear anything said about the Rockefeller bill or any other piece of legislation. Just the obligatory "we've got to do something!"

And either way, the whole situation appears to have hit the news cycle with a thud. There is no active media attention. In the long-term, it's going to be hard to use this in an alarmist way, because when reviewing past events the actual analysis stands out, as opposed to the one news conference where a lawmaker declared "this couldn’t be some amateurs".

As far as the actual attack goes..

In your thoughts above, you only seem to be addressing ideology as a motivator. Money is the more common driver when a state sponsors actions. I don't see anything that rules out DPRK sponsorship. However, I don't see anything that indicates it either.

The pedigree of the malware used doesn't rule out a skilled/experienced actor either. If you are going to launch a offensive information operation, you wouldn't use your newest most rad tool first. Going straight for your best tools devalues the asset by exposing it to analysis and detection. You'd use the oldest most exposed tool that can still be effective to achieving your goal.

I still haven't seen enough information to make a determination about anything. Idiot teenage hacker? Idiot teenage hacker getting pumped money from somewhere? Skilled attacker getting pumped money and using old tools to appear like an idiot teenage hacker? Who knows...

I'd be interested in knowing how long the majority of the machines in the botnet had been infected. Was this an old botnet? Fairly new infections? Was there anything about the command hosts that connected the incident to others? Answers to some of these questions could move the indicator one way or the other..

RE: Lawmaker Wants ‘Show of Force’ Against North Korea for Website Attacks | Threat Level |

Shadowserver Foundation - Calendar - 2009-07-10
Topic: Computer Security 4:03 pm EDT, Jul 10, 2009

The ShadowServer crew has released some of their findings on the malware from the DDoS this weekend. First, a snip from their conclusion:

First we have seen no evidence to point a finger at North Korea. How could we tell anyway without an extensive investigation and access to all kinds of logs and other data? Unless someone has a lot of extra information, this has to be pure wild speculation as well. Cyberwar? NO way! The term Cyberwar gets thrown around all the time. It's hard to define and everyone has differing views. However, I would venture to say this is far from what most people would call a Cyberwar. It is a bit closer to Cyber Terrorism but definitely not Cyberwar.

This also includes a list of the targeted sites:

Shadowserver Foundation - Calendar - 2009-07-10

DPRK 4th of July Weekend DoS?
Topic: Computer Security 1:29 pm EDT, Jul  8, 2009 and Security Fix readers may have noticed that our site was a bit slow and occasionally unreachable today. Turns out, the site has been under attack by about 60,000 compromised PCs around the globe for several hours now.

We weren't the only site reportedly picked on, though. According to several security researchers who asked to remain anonymous because they are still helping to investigate the assault, the same attackers targeted Web sites for the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration, with varying success.

The hit list is hard coded into the malicious software, but it appears the list can be updated. The Federal Trade Commission, which was targeted by this malware yesterday and was offline for at least part of the day, is not on the current list of targets.

Other targets on the current list include the Web sites for the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, the U.S. Treasury and State Department.

This caused me headaches over the weekend. Layer3 had some pretty significant packet loss through all it's DC and Atlanta POPs causing indirect problems for every transit provider I deal with.

The word is that this was either done by or on behalf of North Korea, because only US and South Korean sites were targeted. Not sure what I make of it. I'd be interested in knowing what the malware pedigree is.

DPRK 4th of July Weekend DoS?

The blue and the green | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
Topic: Arts 11:37 pm EDT, Jul  6, 2009

You see embedded spirals, right, of green, pinkish-orange, and blue? Incredibly, the green and the blue spirals are the same color. At first I thought Richard was pulling our collective legs, being a trickster of high magnitude. So I loaded the image in Photoshop and examined the two spirals. In the two squares displayed below, the one on the left is colored using the same color from the blue spiral, and on the right using the green spiral.

This is actually really cool!

You have to focus really hard on the lines of the "blue" spiral to see it's actually the same color as the green one. Unlike many optical illusions, it gets no easier to see it correctly after seeing it correctly the first time.

The zoomed in image from the article helps:

Political metaphor as the Waxman-Markey bill moves into the Senate?

The blue and the green | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

The Manga Guide to Databases
Topic: Computers 1:33 pm EDT, Jul  2, 2009

Want to learn about databases without the tedium? With its unique combination of Japanese-style comics and serious educational content, The Manga Guide to Databases is just the book for you.

Princess Ruruna is stressed out. With the king and queen away, she has to manage the Kingdom of Kod's humongous fruit-selling empire. Overseas departments, scads of inventory, conflicting prices, and so many customers! It's all such a confusing mess. But a mysterious book and a helpful fairy promise to solve her organizational problems-with the practical magic of databases.

In The Manga Guide to Databases, Tico the fairy teaches the Princess how to simplify her data management. We follow along as they design a relational database, understand the entity-relationship model, perform basic database operations, and delve into more advanced topics. Once the Princess is familiar with transactions and basic SQL statements, she can keep her data timely and accurate for the entire kingdom. Finally, Tico explains ways to make the database more efficient and secure, and they discuss methods for concurrency and replication.

If Billy wrote a script for The Hentai Guide to Web Security, I'm sure we could find someone to illustrate it. Just imagine having SQL injection explained by a school girl and a tentacle monster....

The Manga Guide to Databases

Michael Jackson is Dead
Topic: Music 7:57 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2009

Entertainer Michael Jackson has died after being taken to a hospital on Thursday after suffering cardiac arrest, according to multiple reports including the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press.

The confirmation is in, and it's bad. Michael Jackson beat it. He had enough, so he stopped. As the details of his death emerge, they are sure to be a thriller. His fans world has been rocked and they will all surely cry until the break of dawn.

Michael Jackson is Dead

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