Mid-February, catch-up edition with (mostly) restaurants:
Heard about this via the io9 book club and so purchased the hardback of it and his short story collection Pump Six. TWG has been praised by Time Magazine as one of the top ten books of fiction for 2009 and by the American Library Association as the best SciFi of 2009. Halfway into the story thus far and it feels very of-a-time with Naomi Klein's and Michael Pollan's ideas, along with (in a more minor fashion) Fukuyama's somewhat older book Our Posthuman Future.
Articles on or related to cyber attacks/security:
The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn.
I had read about Barrett Lyon a few years back when his CSO story was linked around on Slashdot etc. At the time--and this is five years ago--a big enough bot net could take anyone down. Lyon built one of the first (*the* first?) DDoS firewalls to protect gambling sites from, what turned out to be Russian, extortionists. The CSO article ends wryly, noting that companies now pay around $50,000 to protect themselves from having to pay protection. Insert joke here about virus scanners slowing down your machine so that viruses can't.
The fact that Google can be attacked, and that they'd partner with the NSA, illustrates the gravity of the current threat. This time, it's not just thugs but government sanctioned thugs. I've read in Slashdot threads that Russia has the same tactics: leverage their hackers to disrupt Western corporations and governments. It's nice to know that the US doesn't stoop to such measures (insert joke that when *we* do it, it's not torture).
Lyon's company started protecting Scientology sites after Anonymous started their Project Chanology raids in January 2008. Since Anonymous employs multi-honed attacks (DDoS, black faxes, picketing, information) a firewall offers only partial protection. And, as had been shown with the Marblecake hack, sites can be subverted without being taken down. The True/Slant article references a Neuromancer quote as prediction of the decentralized, directed mob that is Anonymous. They're doing what any activists do: bring attention to an injustice. Reading the inevitable panic-stricken comments denouncing Anonymous, it's interesting to note the difference between "activist" and "terrorist".
The internet is at that awkward age of being both fragile and essential. Small groups like Anonymous are leveraging that fragility as much as are governments. Grab some popcorn; watch the show.
[ updated 25 Feb 2010 ]
US unable to win a cyber war [ via Slashdot ] reaffirmed that the US's extra-connectiveness increases its weaknesses. One proffered solution is to give the Pres access to the on/off switch of the internet (Reminding me of a two-panel cartoon I saw on the internet years back showing the difference between defending a cyber attack in the movies and IRL. The movie scene has the hero spewing 24-style techno-babel that barely makes sense in the fictional world. The real scene has the pimply tech grab the router and pull out the network cable. The Slashdot thread has an oddly compelling comment on what will happen when shit gets real.
[ updated 6 Mar 2010 ]
Slashdot posts a rebuttal and declares the concept meaningless.
With my new home machine, I moved from Outlook and its 10+ year archive of email to Thunderbird. Emails and contacts were first imported to an install of Thunderbird on the old machine, then the files were copied to the Thunderbird install on the new machine. Articles in the Mozilla Wiki "Profiles" category were useful, but I forget which ones I used specifically.
My primary email account has web access that I infrequently use to send from. It goes back around seven years, so even infrequent use multiplied over that much time equates to a considerable number of emails. For the sake of consolidation and control, I wanted to get them downloaded into a folder in Thunderbird. To the best of my knowledge, this is not possible without some hackery, and may not be possible at all with some accounts.
First, in Thunderbird, I created an inbox filter to move messages (1) from the Inbox and (2) sent by me into a separate folder (created and called "Sent from the web"). Then, in my web-based email account, I went to the Sent folder and moved the contained messages to the web interface's inbox. 60 pages of messages at 20 messages per page is a lot more than I'd anticipated. Protip: disable or filter notifications on your Blackberry so those hundreds of messages don't ¡ping! your phone to death.
No spoilers, just some links to discussion pages on Fiasco:
There's a wealth of Lem criticism out there that I hadn't suspected existed.
Finally watched The Hurt Locker [ 4/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] a week or so ago and after seeing Avatar while we were in Vegas for Xmas. It's tough to compare the two films and no one would ever try if they hadn't been fated to go up against each other for awards--with Avatar winning the first round at the Golden Globes. Not having seen Hurt Locker at the time, I was angrier that the virtuosic Inglourious Basterds [ 5/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ] lost to Avatar.
What to say? With Avatar cf. The Hurt Locker, I was looking for any simple manifestation of masculine and feminine themes. What we first get is a reversal: with Mr. Cameron's Gaia-heavy world contrasting Ms. Bigelow's bomb-laden Iraq; and then a deeper alignment: Avatar is actually not a movie but a high-tech gadget fetishized by geeks and Hurt Locker an elegy to the debasement of the human spirit when confronted by an endless war. Yet ultimately it's simple-minded to play gender games with these flicks, as comparisons become forced when so simplified.
I continue to be shocked at the celluloidoclasm that Avatar is wreaking on cinema history, and it continues to be difficult not to hate it for others' overblown praise. The best comparison is to look at Avatar like the iPhone (or iPad) or Lady Gaga: the fanatics tend to create anti-fanatics, when all that's needed is simple criticism.
Rhys Paul Hovey rant about mind control:
The Wikipedia entry for Hillary Rodham Clinton is on my watch list (from edits made years back) and this little 5k rollback on the talk page showed up today. A beautiful, schizophrenic rant that starts with:
Hillary Clinton may be in danger over ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER,. this is RELATED to Rhys Paul Hovey, and the high tech organized crime. Her name is MIND READER BAIT,. please see the RADIO CONTROLLED MEGA PIRATE story and FOREST HILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, district 18, and MR CASE. This involves "mind control" technology, which is computer controlled psychological abuse AI and wireless long range subvocal speech recognition (see charles jourgensen NASA), and satalite sound "weapons" which are also used for ADVERTISING (see joseph Pompeii and AUDIO SPOTLIGHT).
The author may be the referenced Rhys Paul Hovey [ Google Sites | Blogspot ] who has another entry on Wikipedia for his as-yet-unrealeased, surrealist video game Synth. Similar rants found elsewhere in comments at Stay Free! Daily:
I was a big Hillary Clinton fan at one time, until this fiasco started on me with the ultrasound weapons, being used on me, at my home. Not only do I have recordings for you to download at (Yahoo video) and youtube. But now people in my building are starting to talk about the "advertising mind control computer" that they can hear in the streets (Hastings street in Vancouver) they recognize that the actual sounds of the cars and such can be used as a carrier signal as well.
Resemblance to Robby Todino's time travel obsession. Both evocative and unsettling.
Completely worn out (and will probably regret missing) or I'd go. Postminimalist composer from Bang on a Can fame and of the group Kyle Gann often proselytizes on his PostClassic blog. Pieces I'll be missing (along with links to their MP3s on Amazon where available):
Profiling by Schneier from July 22, 2005:
This is relevant to your interests. In the article, he argues that the wide net of ethnic profiling is so wide as to be useless in catching anyone, and so unwarranted as to be harmful w/r/t ethnic relations. Imagine noting that most terrorists are male and deciding to profile males, only to realize that you can only randomly search an insignificant percentage. Then imagine the resentment you've instilled in the 99.999% of innocent males. You've irritated a large chunk of citizens with arguably no increase in safety. Profiling is pattern recognition and is useful. Wasting time on imprecise patterns is not.