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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

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay - New York Times
Topic: Movies 8:21 pm EST, Feb 20, 2008

This spring, the stoner screwball movie of 2004, “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” will get a sequel. This time, because of some unfortunate confusion on an airplane between a “bong” and a “bomb,” our slacker antiheroes are shipped off to the moviemakers’ idea of the worst prison imaginable.

On April 25, on a screen near you: “Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay.”


Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantánamo Bay - New York Times

The Associated Press: Domestic Access to Spy Imagery Expands
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:10 pm EST, Feb 13, 2008

The charter and legal framework for an office within the Homeland Security Department that would use overhead and mapping imagery from existing satellites is in the final stage of completion, according to a department official who requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The department currently is waiting for federal executive agencies to sign off on the program — called the National Applications Office — and will share the details with lawmakers soon.

From DHS's fact sheet on the National Applications Office:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Applications Office (NAO) is the executive agent to facilitate the use of intelligence community technological assets for civil, homeland security and law enforcement purposes within the United States. The office will begin initial operation by fall 2007 and will build on the long-standing work of the Civil Applications Committee, which was created in 1974 to facilitate the use of the capabilities of the intelligence community for civil, non-defense uses in the United States.

The National Applications Office will be led on a day-to-day basis by the Department of Homeland Security. A National Applications Executive Committee will be established to provide senior interagency oversight and guidance. The National Applications Office will work with its customers to meet their requirements with the advice and support of three customer domain working groups:

* Civil Applications Domain Working Group: This working group will continue the efforts of the Civil Application Committee that have been ongoing for more than 30 years, including scientific, geographic and environmental research.

* Homeland Security Domain Working Group: The “Homeland Security Domain” includes those government agencies and activities involved in the prevention and mitigation of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from natural or man-made disasters, including terrorism, and other threats to the homeland. This domain can encompass the many operational and administrative components of DHS, as well as other federal, state, local, and tribal elements who partner with the department. Its work will complement the Civil Applications Working Group in areas like natural disaster response.

* Law Enforcement Domain Working Group: This working group includes federal, state, local, and tribal entities, and those activities which support both the enforcement of criminal and civil laws, and the other operational responsibilities and authorities of these entities.

The Associated Press: Domestic Access to Spy Imagery Expands

Writers Guild asks members to ratify contract, end strike -
Topic: Arts 8:19 am EST, Feb 11, 2008

Show runners -- industry lingo for the executive producers in charge of a TV series -- are expected to be back at work Monday, preparing for the return of writers as soon as Wednesday, industry members said.


Writers Guild asks members to ratify contract, end strike -

Georgia Legislators Want State Line Moved North To The Tennessee River -
Topic: Local Information 12:18 pm EST, Feb  9, 2008

Two Georgia legislators introduced a bill to adjust the Georgia-Tennessee state line to bring it within a portion of the Tennessee River in Marion County.

The legislation is planned by Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) and Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

There has long been a contention that the surveyor who drew the line between the two states made an error. It is contended the line should have been a mile to the north, which would allow parched Georgia access to the river.

Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party, said, "Gov. Bredesen needs to stand up to this latest attempt by Georgia to take our resources. Tennessee's southern border was established in 1818. Tennessee residents living at the southern edge of Marion County should not wake up one day to find themselves declared to be Georgia residents, and Tennessee's water is being diverted to Atlanta."

No way. Georgia will have to take it by force! I'll come down to help defend the border if necessary...

Georgia Legislators Want State Line Moved North To The Tennessee River -

ScreenOS 6.1.0r1 blows
Topic: Computer Networking 12:19 pm EST, Feb  8, 2008

So much for my five nines...

If you manage any Juniper SSG's, don't go anywhere near 6.1.0r1.

Picture: Israeli Robot Crushes Suicide Bomber (Updated) | Danger Room from
Topic: Society 11:11 am EST, Feb  6, 2008

A pair of suicide bombers struck in the Israeli town of Dimona yesterday -- the first strike of its kind in more than a year. Once it was all over, a bomb disposal robot removed one of the attacker's jacket, to make sure there were no more explosives on him. (His bomb failed to go off, and police shot and killed him.) Then the machine rolled over him, to double-check. The likely NSFW picture is after the jump.


Picture: Israeli Robot Crushes Suicide Bomber (Updated) | Danger Room from

Bush legacy: Setting a standard in fear-mongering
Topic: War on Terrorism 4:37 pm EST, Feb  4, 2008

Richard A. Clarke:

When I left the Bush administration in 2003, it was clear to me that its strategy for defeating terrorism was leaving our nation more vulnerable and our people in a perilous place. Not only did its policies misappropriate resources, weaken the moral standing of America, and threaten long-standing legal and constitutional provisions, but the president also employed misleading and reckless rhetoric to perpetuate his agenda.

This week's State of the Union proved nothing has changed.

Bush legacy: Setting a standard in fear-mongering

FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping -
Topic: Surveillance 4:31 pm EST, Feb  4, 2008

FBI officials this week are expected to announce a $1 billion contract for the creation of a massive database of people's characteristics -- from eye patterns to palm prints. The agency says it's needed to track terrorists and other criminals. One privacy advocate says it's the start of "surveillance society."

This "security and privacy are a zero-sum game" shit has got to stop.

Putting aside those concerns for a moment, I expect this to become a fiscal spending nightmare. If FBI's attempt to modernize it's records system is any indication, this will wind up costing $5 billion before it's used in a single case.

These people need to be reigned in.

FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping -

MemeStreams: Its just like having real friends!
Topic: Humor 11:39 am EST, Feb  4, 2008

MemeStreams: Its just like having real friends!

Topic: Military Technology 11:25 am EST, Feb  4, 2008

SIPRI data on arms transfers refer to actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. Data on arms transfers are presented in the form of SIPRI Trend Indicator Values (TIVs). TIVs are expressed in US$ m. at constant (1990) prices. However, although figures are expressed in US$, TIVs do not represent the financial value of goods transferred. Instead, TIVs are an indication of the volume of arms transferred. Hence, TIVs can be used to measure trends in international arms transfers, such as changes in the total flow of weapons and the geographic pattern of arms exports or imports. The data can also be used to measure a particular country's share of the overall import or export market or the rate of increase or decline in its imports or exports. However, since TIVs do not represent the financial value of the goods transferred, they are not comparable to official economic data such as gross domestic product or export/import figures.

In order to calculate the financial value of the arms trade, the Arms Transfers Project collects official government and industry data on the value of countries arms exports. This information is available here.

"There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11?"


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