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bjkeefe
11-19-2010, 07:11 AM
Here is a thread for tech news and whatever else might appeal to our inner coneheads, that you might feel don't quite belong in the Fun Science (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=3276) thread.

bjkeefe
11-19-2010, 07:37 AM
You might recall mention (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/31182?in=48:25&out=54:40) made back in a September 2010 Drezner/McArdle diavlog of a piece of malware called Stuxnet that was found to have infected, among others, computers used in the Iranian uranium enrichment program.

This provoked a bit of media hysteria (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2010/09/stuxnet-finger-wagging.html), unsurprisingly. And then kind of went away, at least from the front page.

Anyway, there's some fresh news (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/middleeast/19stuxnet.html?pagewanted=all) in yesterday's NYT, if you're interested. Excerpts:

Worm Was Perfect for Sabotaging Centrifuges

Experts dissecting the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran’s nuclear program have determined that it was precisely calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control.

Their conclusion, while not definitive, begins to clear some of the fog around the Stuxnet worm, a malicious program detected earlier this year on computers, primarily in Iran but also India, Indonesia and other countries.

[...]

The new forensic work narrows the range of targets and deciphers the worm’s plan of attack. Computer analysts say Stuxnet does its damage by making quick changes in the rotational speed of motors, shifting them rapidly up and down.

Changing the speed “sabotages the normal operation of the industrial control process,” Eric Chien, a researcher at the computer security company Symantec, wrote in a blog post.

Those fluctuations, nuclear analysts said in response to the report, are a recipe for disaster among the thousands of centrifuges spinning in Iran to enrich uranium, which can fuel reactors or bombs. Rapid changes can cause them to blow apart. Reports issued by international inspectors reveal that Iran has experienced many problems keeping its centrifuges running, with hundreds removed from active service since summer 2009.

“We don’t see direct confirmation” that the attack was meant to slow Iran’s nuclear work, David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that tracks nuclear proliferation, said in an interview Thursday. “But it sure is a plausible interpretation of the available facts.”

Here is Eric Chien's blog post (http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/stuxnet-breakthrough).

Here's the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet) for Stuxnet, and here's a good "what we know so far" post from last month from Bruce Schneier (http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/10/stuxnet.html).

bjkeefe
11-19-2010, 08:11 AM
Seymour Hersch has a longish article in the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/01/101101fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all) that I recommend, especially in light of the recent reappearance (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=189012#post189012) in the news of the Stuxnet worm. Looks like (http://www.google.com/search?q=stuxnet&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbo=u&tbs=nws:1&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wn) not a few outlets have taken this news peg as an excuse to talk about how we're all going to die, because Chinese hackers, etc.

And it's not just media hype. Hersch makes a good case that we should be aware of three things: why "cyberwar" is often the wrong term to use; how making it a "war" has been a conscious choice by people hoping to gain prestige and clout, not to mention sweet government contracts; and most worrisomely, how this supposed looming "war" risks letting the military intrude further into domestic civilian affairs. (The NSA is part of the military, and the guy in charge sounds at times as though he'd be right at home on the set of Dr. Strangelove.)

In May, after years of planning, the U.S. Cyber Command was officially activated, and took operational control of disparate cyber-security and attack units that had been scattered among the four military services. Its commander, Army General Keith Alexander, a career intelligence officer, has made it clear that he wants more access to e-mail, social networks, and the Internet to protect America and fight in what he sees as a new warfare domain—cyberspace. In the next few months, President Obama, who has publicly pledged that his Administration will protect openness and privacy on the Internet, will have to make choices that will have enormous consequences for the future of an ever-growing maze of new communication techniques: Will America’s networks be entrusted to civilians or to the military? Will cyber security be treated as a kind of war?

[...]

The bureaucratic battle between the military and civilian agencies over cyber security—and the budget that comes with it—has made threat assessments more problematic. General Alexander, the head of Cyber Command, is also the director of the N.S.A., a double role that has caused some apprehension, particularly on the part of privacy advocates and civil libertarians. (The N.S.A. is formally part of the Department of Defense.) One of Alexander’s first goals was to make sure that the military would take the lead role in cyber security and in determining the future shape of computer networks. [...]

The Department of Homeland Security has nominal responsibility for the safety of America’s civilian and private infrastructure, but the military leadership believes that the D.H.S. does not have the resources to protect the electrical grids and other networks. (The department intends to hire a thousand more cyber-security staff members over the next three years.) This dispute became public when, in March, 2009, Rodney Beckstrom, the director of the D.H.S.’s National Cybersecurity Center, abruptly resigned. In a letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Beckstrom warned that the N.S.A. was effectively controlling her department’s cyber operations: “While acknowledging the critical importance of N.S.A. to our intelligence efforts . . . the threats to our democratic processes are significant if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization.” Beckstrom added that he had argued for civilian control of cyber security, “which interfaces with, but is not controlled by, the N.S.A.”

General Alexander has done little to reassure critics about the N.S.A.’s growing role. In the public portion of his confirmation hearing, in April, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he complained of a “mismatch between our technical capabilities to conduct operations and the governing laws and policies.”

Alexander later addressed a controversial area: when to use conventional armed forces to respond to, or even preëmpt, a network attack. He told the senators that one problem for Cyber Command would be to formulate a response based on nothing more than a rough judgment about a hacker’s intent. “What’s his game plan? Does he have one?” he said. “These are tough issues, especially when attribution and neutrality are brought in, and when trying to figure out what’s come in.” At this point, he said, he did not have “the authority . . . to reach out into a neutral country and do an attack. And therein lies the complication. . . . What do you do to take that second step?"

I don't mean to make it all about this guy. (The article certainly doesn't.) But later on, there's a discussion of the "Maginot Line" mindset that is widespread among the boys downtown that to me indicates how and why this could be a real problem. To wit:

One solution is mandated encryption: the government would compel both corporations and individuals to install the most up-to-date protection tools. This option, in some form, has broad support in the technology community and among privacy advocates. In contrast, military and intelligence eavesdroppers have resisted nationwide encryption since 1976, when the Diffie-Hellman key exchange (an encryption tool co-developed by Whitfield Diffie) was invented, for the most obvious of reasons: it would hinder their ability to intercept signals. In this sense, the N.S.A.’s interests align with those of the hackers.

John Arquilla, who has taught since 1993 at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, writes in his book “Worst Enemies,” “We would all be far better off if virtually all civil, commercial, governmental, and military internet and web traffic were strongly encrypted.” Instead, many of those charged with security have adopted the view that “cyberspace can be defended with virtual fortifications—basically the ‘firewalls’ that everyone knows about. . . . A kind of Maginot Line mentality prevails.”

Arquilla added that America’s intelligence agencies and law-enforcement officials have consistently resisted encryption because of fears that a serious, widespread effort to secure data would interfere with their ability to electronically monitor and track would-be criminals or international terrorists. This hasn’t stopped sophisticated wrongdoers from, say, hiring hackers or encrypting files; it just leaves the public exposed, Arquilla writes. “Today drug lords still enjoy secure internet and web communications, as do many in terror networks, while most Americans don’t.”

Ever since The Devil's Code came out (a fun read in lots of ways), I've been suspicious of the NSA (http://books.google.com/books?id=hCtVqgtfA0kC&lpg=PP1&ots=w6WPV6FBh1&dq=%22The%20Devil's%20Code%22&pg=PA132#v=onepage&q=going%20deaf&f=false). Yeah, it's "just a thriller" but Sandford makes a very compelling case. With just a few lines in a couple of places, he makes you wonder how much of what the NSA says Must Be Done is really nothing more than turf protection.

Remember the Clipper Chip? Yeah, that was them, too. In real life. Not to mention the missed signals of the 9/11 attack. Just sayin'.

So, whatever you may think of Hersch, I recommend giving his article a good long look (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/01/101101fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=all). Do we know for sure about any of this stuff? Of course not. But there are lots of good questions to be asked, not least of which concerns the competence of the NSA, and Hersch does a good job raising them.

bjkeefe
11-30-2010, 01:45 AM
[...]

Further development of some interest: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted for the first time that the Stuxnet worm did affect some of Iran's centrifuges.

Wired (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/stuxnet-sabotage-centrifuges/) and Computerworld (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9198441/Report_Iran_confirms_Stuxnet_hit_centrifuges) have about as much detail as any of the stories I looked at. Hat tip to TPM (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/11/iran_computer_worm_affected_centrifuges.php) for the first hint.

cragger
11-30-2010, 08:32 PM
Some of this stuff seems driven more by the government's insatiable lust for power and the beaurocracy's eternal desire to expand their empires than by real threats. After all, if you are doing particularly secret work a fairly simple, and one would think standard worldwide, technique is to simply not connect the related computers and networks to the internet. Transfers of data to or from the secure network are then done in a tightly controlled fashion. I can't help but wonder why the hell Iran would have computers controlling centerfuges spinning uranium connected to the worldwide web in the first place. Easier for the operators to watch porn maybe.

To use the net for secure transfers, a standard setup would be the strong encryption scenario suggested in the material you quote:

secure internal net -> encryptor -> internet connection -> encryptor -> second secure net

should also be pretty damn secure against worm attacks, etc. If somebody intercepts an encrypted message, and spends a lot of time, money and resources cracking it brute force they could conceivably deduce the encryption key if they know the details of the algorithm used. By the time they do this however, any reasonable security protocol would have changed the key multiple times, leaving them back at square one in attempting to get beyond breaking one individual message toward the ability to hack into the network.

What you gonna do though? the folks who get their shorts in a twist screaming about the government taking away freedom if someone tries to restrict a corporation dumping toxic waste in the river love this Big Brother stuff.

bjkeefe
12-01-2010, 01:55 AM
Some of this stuff seems driven more by the government's insatiable lust for power and the beaurocracy's eternal desire to expand their empires than by real threats.

I think you should not ignore the far more powerful driver: the wish to cash in by providing "solutions" to "problems." I'd say "the government's insatiable lust for power" is a bit hyperbolic, and I'd say that aspect and the other thing about the bureaucracy are more ooze-like than active or aggressive (a few individual exceptions aside, in the former case). But the contractors and consultants? They smell blood, and they move fast, and once they get their beaks wet a little bit, they next look to get their claws into members of Congress. And then we hear next time around about how many Jobs Jobs Jobs are at stake. There is no opposition party to try to make hay out of these guys, and there is precious little press attention paid to them. Think Halliburton, think Blackwater, think the usual military hardware suppliers, and think of Accenture, Fluor, SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, and a bunch of other names that are at best only vaguely familiar. There are very many real welfare queens in this country.

After all, if you are doing particularly secret work a fairly simple, and one would think standard worldwide, technique is to simply not connect the related computers and networks to the internet. Transfers of data to or from the secure network are then done in a tightly controlled fashion. I can't help but wonder why the hell Iran would have computers controlling centerfuges spinning uranium connected to the worldwide web in the first place. Easier for the operators to watch porn maybe.

The impression I have from various things I've read is that the best guess is these computers were not infected due to being connected to the Internet, but because someone got an infected USB stick or other similar portable storage device inside the secure facility. (Whether knowingly or not remains unclear, at least to me.)

To use the net for secure transfers, a standard setup would be ...

You're basically right in how you outline things, but you're forgetting a key problem: there are powerful interests opposing use of good encryption. Many of these powerful interests say they are doing this for your own protection. See Hersch's article for details, if this sounds hard to believe.

Ocean
12-01-2010, 08:30 AM
Did you mean "There are very many real warfare queens in this country"?

bjkeefe
12-01-2010, 08:56 AM
Did you mean "There are very many real warfare queens in this country"?

Heh. No, but I wish I had.

cragger
12-01-2010, 11:58 AM
Your point that the problem isn't just the government, but involves various contractors as well is a good one. There is a malignant symbiosis between the government and many of these firms, which in some ways are virtually branches of the government. They are privately owned and run, but are some cases funded entirely by the government and have it as their only customer. Their management is often well salted with ex-government and military officials in an incestuous relationship.

---

Your scenario regarding the worm and the centerfuges may be correct. It would represent a breach in the "carefully controlled transfer" protocol, which just goes to show that no technology or security setup is proof against human carelessness or stupidity.

bjkeefe
01-16-2011, 06:47 PM
[...]

There's a longish article in today's NYT that's definitely worth reading (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?pagewanted=all) if you're at all interested in this case.

Key takeaways: confirmation that it was an Israeli-led operation, confirmation that it was a joint Israeli-American effort with cooperation from Siemens, increased confidence that the attack was quite successful. Some excerpts:

Though American and Israeli officials refuse to talk publicly about what goes on at Dimona ["complex in the Negev desert is famous as the heavily guarded heart of Israel’s never-acknowledged nuclear arms program"], the operations there, as well as related efforts in the United States, are among the newest and strongest clues suggesting that the virus was designed as an American-Israeli project to sabotage the Iranian program.

In recent days, the retiring chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately announced that they believed Iran’s efforts had been set back by several years. Mrs. Clinton cited American-led sanctions, which have hurt Iran’s ability to buy components and do business around the world.

The gruff Mr. Dagan, whose organization has been accused by Iran of being behind the deaths of several Iranian scientists, told the Israeli Knesset in recent days that Iran had run into technological difficulties that could delay a bomb until 2015. That represented a sharp reversal from Israel’s long-held argument that Iran was on the cusp of success.

The biggest single factor in putting time on the nuclear clock appears to be Stuxnet, the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever deployed.

In interviews over the past three months in the United States and Europe, experts who have picked apart the computer worm describe it as far more complex — and ingenious — than anything they had imagined when it began circulating around the world, unexplained, in mid-2009.

[...]

In early 2008 the German company Siemens cooperated with one of the United States’ premier national laboratories, in Idaho, to identify the vulnerabilities of computer controllers that the company sells to operate industrial machinery around the world — and that American intelligence agencies have identified as key equipment in Iran’s enrichment facilities.

[...]

Officially, neither American nor Israeli officials will even utter the name of the malicious computer program, much less describe any role in designing it.

But Israeli officials grin widely when asked about its effects. Mr. Obama’s chief strategist for combating weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, sidestepped a Stuxnet question at a recent conference about Iran, but added with a smile: “I’m glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines, and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated.”

In recent days, American officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity have said in interviews that they believe Iran’s setbacks have been underreported. That may explain why Mrs. Clinton provided her public assessment while traveling in the Middle East last week.

[...]

By the accounts of a number of computer scientists, nuclear enrichment experts and former officials, the covert race to create Stuxnet was a joint project between the Americans and the Israelis, with some help, knowing or unknowing, from the Germans and the British.

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/washington/11iran.html?scp=1&sq=january%202009%20sanger%20bush%20natanz&st=cse) that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said.

There's lots more (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/world/middleeast/16stuxnet.html?pagewanted=all). How the Americans and Israelis developed the Stuxnet worm and made it so good reads like an espionage thriller.

Further reading: follow link (repeated here (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/NSTB.pdf) (PDF)) within the article for a copy of a DHS briefing put together by a US national lab and Siemens regarding the vulnerability of the control systems that were attacked by Stuxnet.

See Ralph Langner's blog (http://www.langner.com/en/blog/) for more good geekery. Langner is identified in the NYT article as one of the people who reverse engineered the Stuxnet worm, shortly after it was detected in the wild.

bjkeefe
01-18-2011, 06:04 PM
Yes, scare quotes intentional.

In case you haven't already heard, Facebook is planning to allow app developers to access your address and telephone number. This great new plan has been suspended while Facebook reconsiders how it wants to go about doing this, but the suspension likely won't last more than a few weeks.

More details here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/01/facebook-privacy-advisory.html), if you want them.

graz
01-18-2011, 06:20 PM
Yes, scare quotes intentional.

In case you haven't already heard, Facebook is planning to allow app developers to access your address and telephone number. This great new plan has been suspended while Facebook reconsiders how it wants to go about doing this, but the suspension likely won't last more than a few weeks.

More details here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/01/facebook-privacy-advisory.html), if you want them.

Are you going to exit the facebook, or do you have protective measures in mind?

bjkeefe
01-18-2011, 06:26 PM
Are you going to exit the facebook, or do you have protective measures in mind?

This isn't going to make me leave. I was pretty sure that I had never told FB this information, and I confirmed it when I heard the news -- those fields are blank on my FB profile. I may put in some misinformation, though -- an address in Minnesota, say.

I do sometimes think about leaving FB just because they keep doing obnoxious things like this, but for the moment, it's worth it to me to stay on, due to "everybody else" being on it. It's hard to stay in touch with my younger relatives except through FB, for example, email in their eyes being viewed as suitable only for those drinking Geritol and wearing Depends.

bjkeefe
01-24-2011, 04:14 AM
Two segments on this week's episode of On The Media (http://onthemedia.org/episodes/2011/01/21) that are worth your attention. Here are the blurbs.

There are two kinds of subpoenas that federal law enforcement can serve on internet service providers and online communications companies if they want to spy on a users' email or Twitter account. Both kinds frequently have gag-orders attached - which means, users are none the wiser that their account has been breached. And both types of subpoenas are being served to ISPs at an unprecedented rate. The ACLU's Jameel Jaffer explains why what you don't know can hurt you.


The most serious kind of subpoena - called a 'National Security Letter (http://www.aclu.org/national-security-technology-and-liberty/national-security-letters)' - used to have a lifetime gag-order automatically attached. That is until Nicholas Merrill (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/business/media/10link.html) appealed his and won the right to talk about it. Despite 50,000 national security letters a year there are only three organizations who have ever won the right to say they got one. Nick Merrill explains why he's the exception and the rule.

Stream, download MP3, read transcript: First segment (http://onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/01/21/03) | Second segment (http://onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/01/21/04)

Visit Nicholas Merrill's website, The Calyx Institute (http://www.calyxinstitute.org/).

bjkeefe
02-01-2011, 06:59 PM
Facebook is rolling out the option to use secure (https) connections full-time. It's easy to enable and does not slow things down, as far as I can tell.

You should take advantage of this, especially if you frequently use public WiFi hotspots. You should also be aware that this hole is not at all unique to Facebook.

Details here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/02/close-this-facebook-security-hole-in.html), if you want them.

bjkeefe
02-13-2011, 02:10 AM
Have you heard about Aaron Barr, HBGary, the US Chamber of Commerce, et al?

I'm just starting to get a handle on the story at the moment. Some starting links here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/02/somehow-i-dont-think-wingnuts-will-be.html).

bjkeefe
02-13-2011, 05:24 AM
Have you heard about Aaron Barr, HBGary, the US Chamber of Commerce, et al?

I'm just starting to get a handle on the story at the moment. Some starting links here (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/02/somehow-i-dont-think-wingnuts-will-be.html).

Coming soon: Anonleaks (http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/02/anonleaks-is-coming.html).

bjkeefe
02-20-2011, 04:13 PM
Yep, believe it or not.

This is a smart piece on Twitter, written right after tweeps overthrew the government of Iran by turning their avatars green: "The Cost of Hashtag Revolution (http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_cost_of_hashtag_revolution)."

bjkeefe
03-04-2011, 08:51 PM
Post with links here (http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/04/libya/).

(h/t: @on_the_media (http://twitter.com/on_the_media/status/43781980919308288))

bjkeefe
03-06-2011, 07:24 PM
Longish analysis post from Nate Silver that you should not read (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/the-economics-of-blogging-and-the-huffington-post/) if you're determined to remain on the side of the angry unpaid HuffPo bloggers.

(h/t: Felix Salmon (http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/03/04/frank-rich-vs-the-nyt-paywall/))

bjkeefe
03-09-2011, 09:22 PM
Interesting article in the NYT about a new rare earths refining plant (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rare.html?pagewanted=all) being built in Malaysia. Lede:

A colossal construction project here could help determine whether the world can break China’s chokehold on the strategic metals crucial to products as diverse as Apple’s iPhone, Toyota’s Prius and Boeing’s smart bombs.

As many as 2,500 construction workers will soon be racing to finish the world’s largest refinery for so-called rare earth metals — the first rare earth ore processing plant to be built outside China in nearly three decades.

The risks have to do with environmental hazards, mostly low level radioactivity -- ores for rare earth metals are almost always mixed with thorium.

Here's a picture (http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rare-graphic.html?ref=energy-environment) that explains why the risks are worth taking:

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rare-graphic/09rare-graphic-popup-v2.jpg

bjkeefe
03-18-2011, 01:46 AM
You've probably heard talk about how we're about to run out of so-called IPv4 addresses -- the numeric designators (like 209.197.71.234) underlying URLs that actually tell packets of information where to go on the Internet. This problem of increasing scarcity could easily be resolved by switching to IPv6 addresses, which span an enormously larger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6) range, and no doubt, that will eventually be what happens. But in the meantime, inertia means opportunity!

There's an interesting article on this wheeling and dealing from Maria Farrell over on Crooked Timber: "IPv4 endgame; following the money (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/03/17/ipv4-endgame-following-the-money/)."

bjkeefe
03-20-2011, 01:43 AM
You've probably heard talk about how we're about to run out of so-called IPv4 addresses -- the numeric designators (like 209.197.71.234) underlying URLs that actually tell packets of information where to go on the Internet. This problem of increasing scarcity could easily be resolved by switching to IPv6 addresses, which span an enormously larger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6) range, and no doubt, that will eventually be what happens. But in the meantime, inertia means opportunity!

There's an interesting article on this wheeling and dealing from Maria Farrell over on Crooked Timber: "IPv4 endgame; following the money (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/03/17/ipv4-endgame-following-the-money/)."

On a related note, more from Maria:

The hollowing out of ICANN must stop

Last week, I did something I never expected to do. At the ICANN meeting in San Francisco, I stood up in front of several hundred people and the ICANN Board of Directors and delivered a full and frank criticism of the management of ICANN’s current CEO, Rod Beckstrom.

The response to this speech was overwhelmingly strong and supportive, both in the immediate and lengthy applause and, since then, in a constant stream of handshakes, twitter and facebook shout-outs, and emails – many of which were privately sent by current members of the ICANN staff. I am re-producing my comments here so that they may be more widely available and spark further public debate.

I know the Internet community well enough to say that this is not a popularity contest, and the support I’ve received for my comments isn’t personal. There is a widely shared and profound disquiet at how this organization has been managed, horror at the near-vandalism of the damage done, and a growing sense that it must stop.

The rest (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/03/19/the-hollowing-out-of-icann-must-be-stopped/).

bjkeefe
03-22-2011, 08:11 PM
... and so far as I can tell, nothing looks broken on Bhtv while using it. (The pop-up window to insert a URL into a comment looks a little different, but works the same way.)

If you're using Firefox 3-point-something, just do Help -> Check for Updates and you should be offered the new version. Otherwise, visit firefox.com (http://firefox.com/).

NB: Installing the new version will overwrite the old version. This may not be what you want, especially if you're heavily dependent on add-ons which haven't yet been updated.

bjkeefe
03-31-2011, 10:44 PM
Via the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/us/01code.html): the FBI wants your help (http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/march/cryptanalysis_032911/image) cracking a coded message found in a dead man's pocket.

operative
03-31-2011, 10:46 PM
... and so far as I can tell, nothing looks broken on Bhtv while using it. (The pop-up window to insert a URL into a comment looks a little different, but works the same way.)

If you're using Firefox 3-point-something, just do Help -> Check for Updates and you should be offered the new version. Otherwise, visit firefox.com (http://firefox.com/).

NB: Installing the new version will overwrite the old version. This may not be what you want, especially if you're heavily dependent on add-ons which haven't yet been updated.

Several days in and I really can't notice any changes. Except maybe it doesn't do the lame temporary freeze upon opening like it used to. If it wasn't for the fact that youtube doesn't load on my Google Chrome, I'd probably not be using FF.

bjkeefe
03-31-2011, 11:47 PM
... youtube doesn't load on my Google Chrome ...

?!

bjkeefe
04-14-2011, 09:37 AM
A short note from John Markoff in the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/13/technology/13compute.html):

U.S. Lagging in Using Technology, Study Shows

The United States continues to lag other nations in its use of computing and communications technology, according to an annual study (http://reports.weforum.org/global-information-technology-report/) issued Tuesday by the World Economic Forum.

For the second consecutive year, the United States finished fifth in the study’s comparison of 138 countries that make up 98.8 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product. Sweden was first, followed by Singapore, Finland and Switzerland.

These rankings, for 2010, are based on an index of 71 economic and social indicators, as diverse as new patents, mobile phone subscriptions and availability of venture capital.

I was surprised about Japan's spot:

Besides Singapore, Taiwan was ranked 6th, South Korea 10th and Hong Kong 12th. Japan was 19th.

China ranked 36th and India 48th, falling five places from 2009. Rounding out the large developing BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — Brazil was 56th and Russia 77th.

The country making the most progress in 2010 was Indonesia, which jumped 14 places to 53rd — in part because of high educational standards and in part because of the importance the government has placed on information and communications technology.

Among Western nations, Canada was 8th, Norway 9th, Germany 13th, Britain 15th and France 20th. The two lowest countries were Burundi and Chad.

Kind of a fun online tool (http://www.weforum.org/issues/the-great-transformation/network-readiness-index) to play with on the WEForum's site (http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-information-technology/the-great-transformation). It's a little sluggish, especially at initial loading, but not too bad. Here are a couple of screen shots.

http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/4021/weforumnrichart1.png

http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/4559/weforumnrichart2.png

bjkeefe
05-10-2011, 11:21 AM
1. Microsoft is planning to buy Skype, for $8.5 billion. Both companies' boards have approved the deal. There is no mention in the two stories I saw (CNN (http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/10/technology/microsoft_skype/), NYT (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/microsoft-to-buy-skype-for-8-5-billion/)) about the deal needing approval from any regulatory body, so I guess we can conclude that Skype will be thoroughly broken, or expensive, or both, within two years.

2. Willard S. Boyle (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/science/space/10boyle.html) has died. (Who? Let's just say that without him, this site would be audio-only.)

bjkeefe
05-17-2011, 12:51 PM
Just received the following.

http://www.alfranken.com/page/-/email/logo_email.jpg

The sky is red. The world is flat. And two plus two equals pancakes.

These statements aren't just false -- they're downright ridiculous. And so is the claim that net neutrality amounts to a government takeover of the Internet.

Let's get this straight: Net neutrality isn't a change -- it's the status quo. It's the way the Internet operates right now: free and open. And it isn't the government that's attempting an Internet "takeover" -- it's the big corporations who want to undermine net neutrality and the Republicans who want to let them.

It's important that everyone we can talk to DOES know the truth -- because this anti-Internet-freedom, pro-corporate-takeover legislation is coming to the Senate.

I'm asking you to make a commitment to standing up for truth, logic, and the free and open Internet by clicking here (http://www.alfranken.com/page/m/6cf77a8/715223c0/32016387/78164407/1105843119/VEsC/) and taking action to help us get the truth out.

• Forward this email to five friends
• Share what we're doing in this fight on Facebook (http://www.alfranken.com/page/m/6cf77a8/715223c0/32016387/78164406/1105843119/VEsE/) or Twitter (http://www.alfranken.com/page/m/6cf77a8/715223c0/32016387/78164409/1105843119/VEsF/)
• Add our campaign as your instant messenger status
• Tell at least three other friends the real story of net neutrality -- no clicking required!

http://www.alfranken.com/page/-/email/commitbutton.png (http://www.alfranken.com/page/m/6cf77a8/715223c0/32016387/78164407/1105843119/VEsC/)

The sky is blue. The world is round. Two plus two equals four. These are truths. Here's another one: Net neutrality isn't a government takeover of anything -- in fact, it protects the Internet from a corporate takeover.

And here's one more truth: It'll only stay that way if we stand together and fight back against misinformation. Will you take a few minutes today and help save the Internet?

http://www.alfranken.com/page/-/email/sig_al.gif

Al

operative
05-17-2011, 04:38 PM
Just received the following.

Orwellian nonsense from a failed comedian. Government regulation isn't government regulation. Telling companies how they can operate isn't regulation.

handle
05-17-2011, 06:30 PM
Orwellian nonsense from a failed comedian. Government regulation isn't government regulation. Telling companies how they can operate isn't regulation.

Tell it to the troops (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/03/military_uso_franken_032608w/) Mr. assassinate any character you disagree with.

His comments came at the USO of Metropolitan Washington’s annual black-tie dinner, where he was recognized for a decade of volunteer service with the organization.

operative
05-17-2011, 06:33 PM
Tell it to the troops (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/03/military_uso_franken_032608w/) Mr. assassinate any character you disagree with.

He should stick to volunteer work.

handle
05-17-2011, 07:44 PM
He should stick to volunteer work.

And you should stick to the facts. No writer for SNL qualifies for the label of "failed comedian". You are engaging in character assassination out of disagreement with his political leanings, and the fact that he's been successful at making a mockery of yours.

operative
05-17-2011, 08:21 PM
And you should stick to the facts. No writer for SNL qualifies for the label of "failed comedian".

I can think of more than a few. They once offered a job to Dane Cook. Enough said.


You are engaging in character assassination out of disagreement with his political leanings,

Actually I'm engaging in mockery of his accomplishments (such as one of the worst movies ever made) out of recognition of his dishonest, Orwellian rhetoric.

bjkeefe
05-19-2011, 04:22 PM
https://si3.twimg.com/profile_images/1359633060/70445_100001708911882_6320569_n.jpg

The Taliban has a Twitter feed. (http://gawker.com/5801252/) However, they do not follow back, so we will continue to bomb them, until they learn some Netiquette.

bjkeefe
05-20-2011, 07:23 PM
Emph. added:

Just received the following. [...]

http://www.alfranken.com/page/-/email/commitbutton.png (http://www.alfranken.com/page/m/6cf77a8/715223c0/32016387/78164407/1105843119/VEsC/)

The sky is blue. The world is round. Two plus two equals four. These are truths. Here's another one: Net neutrality isn't a government takeover of anything -- in fact, it protects the Internet from a corporate takeover.

And here's one more truth: It'll only stay that way if we stand together and fight back against misinformation. Will you take a few minutes today and help save the Internet?

http://www.alfranken.com/page/-/email/sig_al.gif

Al

And what do we learn in today's news?

Why, that it's perfectly fine if the government takes over the Internet, provided by "the government" we mean "the GOP and their corporate donors!" (Especially when they're afraid of competition!)

IOKIYAR. IOKIYAR. Always and forevermore, IOKIYAR (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/republican_party/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/05/20/north_carolina_broadband).

operative
05-20-2011, 09:19 PM
Emph. added:



And what do we learn in today's news?

Why, that it's perfectly fine if the government takes over the Internet, provided by "the government" we mean "the GOP and their corporate donors!" (Especially when they're afraid of competition!)

IOKIYAR. IOKIYAR. Always and forevermore, IOKIYAR (http://www.salon.com/news/politics/republican_party/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2011/05/20/north_carolina_broadband).


It's ok for the government to take over the internet...by keeping the government out of providing internet service.

Yup, totally makes sense.

handle
05-20-2011, 10:38 PM
I can think of more than a few. They once offered a job to Dane Cook. Enough said.

Yeah, guys who get a chance to work in big time show business are real losers. You ever had a job yet? You don't act like it.

Actually I'm engaging in mockery of his accomplishments (such as one of the worst movies ever made) out of recognition of his dishonest, Orwellian rhetoric.

How is this bullshit not character assassination? Are we supposed to take you seriously?

bjkeefe
05-20-2011, 11:54 PM
Actually I'm engaging in mockery of his accomplishments (such as one of the worst movies ever made) ...

How is this bullshit not character assassination? Are we supposed to take you seriously?

No. Because, if for no other reason, the operative's "such as" is one data point (and anyone who knows him is inclined to think that's that's the only one), and in his usual dishonesty, he doesn't give the full set of accomplishments. Which would include, among others, being a top writer on a ground-breaking, highly successful TV show, authoring (http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2299/4/) five best-sellers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Franken#Post-SNL) (including THE definitive look (http://books.google.com/books?id=cWm4VfqaADkC&dq=Lies%20and%20the%20Lying%20Liars%20Who%20Tell%2 0Them&source=gbs_similarbooks) at the operative's heroes), and, oh yeah, getting elected to the United States Senate.

[Added] Where, among his early accomplishments, he exposed the Republican caucus as objectively pro-rape (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/10/07/todays-gop-objectively-pro-rape).

operative
05-21-2011, 10:10 AM
No. Because, if for no other reason, the operative's "such as" is one data point (and anyone who knows him is inclined to think that's that's the only one), and in his usual dishonesty, he doesn't give the full set of accomplishments. Which would include, among others, being a top writer on a ground-breaking, highly successful TV show, authoring (http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2299/4/) five best-sellers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Franken#Post-SNL) (including THE definitive look (http://books.google.com/books?id=cWm4VfqaADkC&dq=Lies%20and%20the%20Lying%20Liars%20Who%20Tell%2 0Them&source=gbs_similarbooks) at the operative's heroes), and, oh yeah, getting elected to the United States Senate.

[Added] Where, among his early accomplishments, he exposed the Republican caucus as objectively pro-rape (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/10/07/todays-gop-objectively-pro-rape).

Writing terrible books bought by partisans. Yeah, such 'luminaries' as Michael Savage have managed that trick too, buddy.

Catching a gig where his comparative lack of talent was covered up by a set of talented performers, check. That makes him the SNL version of Mark Madsen.

Oh, and "winning" a highly dubious election. Check.

Then making a fool out of himself by catering to the extremist nutroots crowd, trying to make himself the Senate's Alan Grayson. Check.

bjkeefe
05-21-2011, 01:06 PM
[...]

The thrashing is entertaining. Please continue. Because now you get to blame it all on me!