Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Telegraph | News | Schoolgirl 'stabbed in eye for love of AC/DC'

Telegraph | News | Schoolgirl 'stabbed for love of AC/DC':

"A teenager who was stabbed in the eye during her school lunch break said a 'gang mentality' singled out pupils for their music and fashion tastes.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, narrowly escaped losing her sight in the attack last November."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Plamegate's ridiculous conclusion. By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

Plamegate's ridiculous conclusion. By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine:

"I had a feeling that I might slightly regret the title ('Case Closed') of my July 25 column on the Niger uranium story. I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention. But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.

In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has—like Robert Novak's—long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists—Michael Isikoff and David Corn—who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.

As most of us have long suspected, the man who told Novak about Valerie Plame was Richard Armitage, Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department and, with his boss, an assiduous underminer of the president's war policy. (His and Powell's—and George Tenet's—fingerprints are all over Bob Woodward's 'insider' accounts of post-9/11 policy planning, which helps clear up another nonmystery: Woodward's revelation several months ago that he had known all along about the Wilson-Plame connection and considered it to be no big deal.)"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Saddam's cartoon capers - Yahoo! News UK

Saddam's cartoon capers - Yahoo! News UK

Saddam's cartoon capers
The Press Association Monday August 28, 08:11 AM

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Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is being made to watch his appearance in cult cartoon South Park while he is behind bars.

The deposed leader on trial in Iraq was featured in the movie spin-off as the lover of the devil. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut featured Hussein and Satan attempting to take over the world together.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said US Marines guarding the former dictator during his trial for genocide were making him watch the movie "repeatedly".

"I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie last year. That's really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy," Stone said.

BREITBART.COM - Doctor shortage to increase by 2015 without foreign-trained physicians: study

BREITBART.COM - Doctor shortage to increase by 2015 without foreign-trained physicians: study:

"Doctor shortage to increase by 2015 without foreign-trained physicians: study

CALGARY (CP) - A new study by the Fraser Institute says the number of doctors per capita will drop over the next decade unless Canada relies on foreign-trained physicians.

The study released in Calgary says government restrictions on education and training have caused the problem, which will only get worse between now and 2015.

The study urges governments to allow more qualified Canadian students access to medical training to ease the reliance on foreign doctors.

The doctor shortage has grown in recent years after provincial governments in the 1980s cut back the number of people allowed into medical school.

The Fraser Institute concludes that Canada's reliance on foreign- trained doctors is forcing poorer countries, such as South Africa and India, to make do with fewer physicians. "

LiveScience.com - Love More Powerful than Sex, Study Claims

LiveScience.com - Love More Powerful than Sex, Study Claims:


Sex and romance may seem inextricably linked, but the human brain clearly distinguishes between the two, according to a new study. The upshot: Love is the more powerful emotion.

The results of brain scans speak to longstanding questions of whether the pursuit of love and sex are different emotional endeavors or whether romance is just warmed over sexual arousal.

'Our findings show that the brain areas activated when someone looks at a photo of their beloved only partially overlap with the brain regions associated with sexual arousal,' said Arthur Aron of the State University of New York-Stony Brook. 'Sex and romantic love involve quite different brain systems.'

The study, announced today, will be detailed in the July issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Left side, right side

The study was small, however, involving 17 young men and women, all of whom had recently fallen madly in love. They filled out questionnaires while their brains were hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) system.

Romance seems to steep in parts of the brain that are rich in dopamine, a chemical known to affect emotions. These brain regions are also linked by other studies to the motivation for rewards.

'To our surprise, the activation regions associated with intense romantic love were mostly on the right side of the brain, while the activation regions associated with facial attractiveness were mostly on the left,' said Lucy Brown of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine."

CNN.com - Aztecs butchered, ate Spanish invaders - Aug 23, 2006

CNN.com - Aztecs butchered, ate Spanish invaders - Aug 23, 2006

[...]

Experts say the discovery proves some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors led by explorer Hernan Cortes, even though history books say most welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning Aztec gods.

"This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest," said archeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.

"It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight."

The caravan was apparently captured because it was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519, and so was moving slowly.

The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests from what is now Mexico City selected a few each day at dawn, held them down on a sacrificial slab, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods.

Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen.
Teeth marks

"It was a continuous sacrifice over six months. While the prisoners were listening to their companions being sacrificed, the next ones were being selected," Martinez said, standing in his lab amid boxes of bones, some of young children.

"You can only imagine what it was like for the last ones, who were left six months before being chosen, their anguish."

The priests and town elders, who performed the rituals on the steps of temples cut off by a perimeter wall, sometimes ate their victims' raw and bloody hearts or cooked flesh from their arms and legs once it dropped off the boiling bones.

Knife cuts and even teeth marks on the bones show which ones had meat stripped off to be eaten, Martinez said.

Some pregnant women in the group had their unborn babies stabbed inside their bellies as part of the ritual.

In Aztec times the site was called Zultepec, a town of white-stucco temples and homes where some 5,000 people grew maize and beans and produced pulque to sell to traders.

Priests had to be brought in for the ritual killings because human sacrifices had never before taken place there, Martinez said.

On hearing of the months-long massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque -- meaning "where people were eaten" in the indigenous Nahuatl language -- and sent an army to wipe out its people.

When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims' possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for the archeologists.

ThothWeb - Archaeologists Challenge Link Between Dead Sea Scrolls and Ancient Sect

ThothWeb - Archaeologists Challenge Link Between Dead Sea Scrolls and Ancient Sect

New archaeological evidence is raising more questions about the conventional interpretation linking the desolate ruins of an ancient settlement known as Qumran with the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in nearby caves in one of the sensational discoveries of the last century.

After early excavations at the site, on a promontory above the western shore of the Dead Sea, scholars concluded that members of a strict Jewish sect, the Essenes, had lived there in a monastery and presumably wrote the scrolls in the first centuries B.C. and A.D.

Many of the texts describe religious practices and doctrine in ancient Israel. But two Israeli archaeologists who have excavated the site on and off for more than 10 years now assert that Qumran had nothing to do with the Essenes or a monastery or the scrolls. It had been a pottery factory.


The archaeologists, Yizhak Magen and Yuval Peleg of the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported in a book and a related magazine article that their extensive excavations turned up pottery kilns, whole vessels, production rejects and thousands of clay fragments. Derelict water reservoirs held thick deposits of fine potters’ clay.

Dr. Magen and Dr. Peleg said that, indeed, the elaborate water system at Qumran appeared to be designed to bring the clay-laced water into the site for the purposes of the pottery industry. No other site in the region has been found to have such a water system.

By the time the Romans destroyed Qumran in A.D. 68 in the Jewish revolt, the archaeologists concluded, the settlement had been a center of the pottery industry for at least a century. Before that, the site apparently was an outpost in a chain of fortresses along the Israelites’ eastern frontier.

“The association between Qumran, the caves and the scrolls is, thus, a hypothesis lacking any factual archaeological basis,” Dr. Magen said in an article in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?

What did you do in the war, UNIFIL?:

"DURING THE RECENT month-long war between Hezbollah and Israel, U.N. 'peacekeeping' forces made a startling contribution: They openly published daily real-time intelligence, of obvious usefulness to Hezbollah, on the location, equipment, and force structure of Israeli troops in Lebanon.

UNIFIL--the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a nearly 2,000-man blue-helmet contingent that has been present on the Lebanon-Israel border since 1978--is officially neutral. Yet, throughout the recent war, it posted on its website for all to see precise information about the movements of Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and the nature of their weaponry and materiel, even specifying the placement of IDF safety structures within hours of their construction. New information was sometimes only 30 minutes old when it was posted, and never more than 24 hours old.

Meanwhile, UNIFIL posted not a single item of specific intelligence regarding Hezbollah forces. Statements on the order of Hezbollah 'fired rockets in large numbers from various locations' and Hezbollah's rockets 'were fired in significantly larger numbers from various locations' are as precise as its coverage of the other side ever got."

Friday, August 25, 2006

BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia denies Hezbollah arms link

BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia denies Hezbollah arms link:

"The Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, has denied Israeli claims that Hezbollah has modern Russian weapons.

Israel says that Russian anti-tank weapons delivered to the Syrian army have been passed on to Hezbollah.

Mr Ivanov said this was complete nonsense, adding that the weapons being used by Hezbollah were not up to date.

He also repeated Russia's position on Iran, saying that any talks of imposing sanctions over its nuclear programme were premature and unhelpful.

'Laughable'

The minister's comments during a visit to Russia's far east were in response to Israeli allegations that Hezbollah had used Russian state-of-the-art Kornet anti-tank system in the recent fighting in Lebanon.

Last week Israeli officials said they had provided Moscow with proof that Hezbollah had been supplied with Russian weapons delivered to the Syrian Army.

Mr Ivanov said that it was 'laughable' to call the anti-tank weapons he understood to have been used by Hezbollah modern."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Parents of rabbit flu death son taunted by animal rights extremists | the Daily Mail

Parents of rabbit flu death son taunted by animal rights extremists | the Daily Mail

Animal rights activists have targeted the parents of Britain's first known human victim of "rabbit flu", with telephone callers telling them his death was a "rabbit's revenge".

John Freeman, 29, died after becoming infected with the bacteria pasteurella multocida after picking up a rabbit on his farm.

He fell ill the next day with a fever and died three days later.

His parents Joan and Peter Freeman, who farm at Aspall, near Stowmarket in Suffolk, spoke out following their son's death to appeal for greater awareness of the bacterium that caused his death.

But the couple were horrified when anti-hunting extremists telephoned them within days of their son's funeral and implied their son deserved to die.

Mrs Freeman told The Daily Telegraph that on the day they spoke out, extremists had telephoned to tell her that the couple's only child had been "popping off rabbits for fun".

In a separate call, Mr Freeman was told that the death might be "rabbit's revenge".

The couple went to a relative's house to escape the ringing telephone.

"They were implying that my son deserved to die," Mrs Freeman said. "I just can't understand how people can be so callous. To ring someone up who is devastated with grief - it is disgusting."

Da Vinci code fans wreck church window in Holy Grail hunt | the Daily Mail

Da Vinci code fans wreck church window in Holy Grail hunt | the Daily Mail:

"Until recently, the 14th century church was a place to enjoy some peace and contemplation.

But now things have radically changed for St Luke's Church in the village of Hodnet, Shropshire, with visitors lured by claims that it is linked to the Holy Grail mystery.

And some, it seems, will go to any lengths to discover the beautiful church's secrets - even if it means taking a hammer and chisel to the walls.

The Reverend Charmian Beech blamed a pair of 'Da Vinci Code-style' treasure hunters for causing thousands of pounds worth of damage as they searched for clues to help them find the Grail.

Stonework was chipped off in four areas inside her church as the offenders tried to remove blocks from the walls to see what is behind them, she said.

The chief suspects are two shadowy Italian men who visited the church that day.

Mrs Beech said: 'They have taken a hammer and chisel and gouged great big bits of the stone wall.

'Any deliberate damage to a holy place is a serious offence so we are really upset."

Cookie Monster Learns To Eat Fruit, World has gone mad!- CBS News

Cookie Monster Learns To Eat Fruit, Sesame Street Encouraging Exercise And Healthy Eating - CBS News:

"(AP) Something must be wrong in the land of Muppets.

First PBS announced that 'Sesame Street' would kick off its 36th season this week with a multiyear story arc about healthy habits. No problem there; childhood obesity rates are soaring. Then I learned of changes that turned my 'Sesame Street' world upside-down.

My beloved blue, furry monster — who sang 'C is for cookie, that's good enough for me' — is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song — 'A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food,' where Cookie Monster learns there are 'anytime' foods and 'sometimes' foods. "

Get ready for the tax on junk food. Sesame street is engaged in what's known in the military as "battlefield preparation".

Cookie Monster Learns To Eat Fruit, World has gone mad!- CBS News

Cookie Monster Learns To Eat Fruit, Sesame Street Encouraging Exercise And Healthy Eating - CBS News:

"(AP) Something must be wrong in the land of Muppets.

First PBS announced that 'Sesame Street' would kick off its 36th season this week with a multiyear story arc about healthy habits. No problem there; childhood obesity rates are soaring. Then I learned of changes that turned my 'Sesame Street' world upside-down.

My beloved blue, furry monster — who sang 'C is for cookie, that's good enough for me' — is now advocating eating healthy. There's even a new song — 'A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food,' where Cookie Monster learns there are 'anytime' foods and 'sometimes' foods. "

Get ready for the tax on junk food. Sesame street is engaged in what's known in the military as "battlefield preparation".

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tonight - Smoking cuts for classic cartoons

Tonight - Smoking cuts for classic cartoons:

"Turner Broadcasting is scouring more than 1 500 classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including old favourites Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, to edit out scenes that glamourise smoking.

The review was triggered by a complaint to British media regulator Ofcom by one viewer who took offence to two episodes of Tom and Jerry shown on the Boomerang channel, a corporate sibling of Time Warner Inc.-owned Turner Broadcasting.

'We are going through the entire catalogue,' Yinka Akindele, spokeswoman for Turner in Europe, said on Monday.

'This is a voluntary step we've taken in light of the changing times,' she said, adding that the painstaking review had been prompted by the Ofcom complaint.

The regulator's latest news bulletin stated that a viewer, who was not identified, had complained about two smoking scenes on Tom and Jerry, saying they 'were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children.'

In the first, Texas Tom, the hapless cat Tom tries to impress a feline female by rolling a cigarette, lighting it and smoking it with one hand. In the second, Tennis Chumps, Tom's opponent in a match smokes a large cigar.

'The licensee has proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might encourage imitation,' Ofcom said, adding that Texas Tom was one such example.

Akindele said cartoons would only be modified 'where smoking could be deemed to be cool or glamorised,' and that scenes where a villain was featured with a cigarette or cigar would not necessarily be cut
Click here!
.

'These are historic cartoons, they were made well over 50 years ago in a different time and different place,' she added. 'Our audience is children and we don't want to be irresponsible.' "

Wired News: Euro Scheme Makes Money Talk

Wired News: Euro Scheme Makes Money Talk:

"Another leading privacy advocate is also concerned about the information being collected in databases and used for marketing purposes -- or even lawsuits, health insurance applications and law enforcement.

'This private data can be used against you,' said Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering. Albrecht said she shares EFF's concerns. 'It will essentially eliminate the anonymity of cash.' She outlined a nightmare scenario in which 'it would be possible to track all the cash issued to an individual and invalidate it with a couple of keystrokes' -- a literal case of 'your cash is trash.'"

Wired News: Claim: RFID Will Stop Terrorists

Wired News: Claim: RFID Will Stop Terrorists:

"Facing increasing resistance and concerns about privacy, the United States' largest food companies and retailers will try to win consumer approval for radio identification devices by portraying the technology as an essential tool for keeping the nation's food supply safe from terrorists.

The companies are banding together and through an industry association are lobbying to have the Department of Homeland Security designate radio frequency identification, or RFID, as an antiterrorism technology.

In addition, they are asking members of Congress and other influential figures to portray RFID in a favorable light."

EETimes.com - Euro currency now has embedded RFID chips

EETimes.com - Euro bank notes to embed RFID chips by 2005:

"SAN MATEO, Calif. — The European Central Bank is working with technology partners on a hush-hush project to embed radio frequency identification tags into the very fibers of euro bank notes by 2005, EE Times has learned. Intended to foil counterfeiters, the project is developing as Europe prepares for a massive changeover to the euro, and would create an instant mass market for RFID chips, which have long sought profitable application.

The banking community and chip suppliers say the integration of an RFID antenna and chip on a bank note is technically possible, but no bank notes in the world today employ such a technology. Critics say it's unclear if the technology can be implemented at a cost that can justify the effort, and question whether it is robust enough to survive the rough-and-tumble life span of paper money.

A spokesman for the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany confirmed the existence of a project, but was careful not to comment on its technologies. At least two European semiconductor makers contacted by EE Times, Philips Semiconductors and Infineon Technologies, acknowledged their awareness of the ECB project but said they are under strict nondisclosure agreements."

[...]

In theory, an RFID tag's ability to read and write information to a bank note could make it very difficult, for example, for kidnappers to ask for "unmarked" bills. Further, a tag would give governments and law enforcement agencies a means to literally "follow the money" in illegal transactions.

"The RFID allows money to carry its own history," by recording information about where it has been, said Paul Saffo, director of Institute for the Future (Menlo Park, Calif.).

The embedding of an RFID tag on a bank note is "a fundamental departure" from the conventional security measures applied to currency, Saffo said. "Most currency security today is based on a false premise that people would look at the money to see if it is counterfeit," he said. But "nobody does that. The RFID chip is an important advance because it no longer depends on humans" to spot funny money.

RFID basics

The basic technology building blocks for RFID on bank notes are similar to those required for today's smart labels or contactless cards. They require a contactless data link that can automatically collect information about a product, place, time or transaction. Smart labels produced by companies such as Philips Semiconductors, Infineon, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments are already used in such applications as smart airline luggage tags, library books and for supply chain management of various products.

"Two minimum elements you need for RFID are a chip and an antenna," according to Gordon Kenneth Andrew Oswald, associate director at Arthur D. Little Inc., a technology consulting firm based in Cambridge, Mass. When a bank note passes through reader equipment, the antenna on the note collects energy and converts it to electric energy to activates the chip, he said.

The antenna then "provides a communication path between a chip on the bank note and the rest of the world," said Tres Wiley, emerging markets strategy manager for RFID Systems at TI. For its part, the chip "is a dedicated processor to handle protocols, to carry out data encoding to send and receive data and address memory" embedded on the chip.

I was a little worried by this but then I remembered that my friend Andy assured me that the US will never, ever put RFID chips in OUR money, and that even if they did it would be too complex to track all our money. I wonder why the EU is wasting so much money with these RFID chips in their currency if they won't be able to track all that data? I mean, that would be like a search engine trying to search every single word of every single website on the interent and give you a result in less than a second! Simply impossible using today's technology!

Working on my sleep problems

I stay up very late and sleep very late every day, and I get thrown off course by this. The scientific term for this is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. It's caused by the Pineal gland and the circadian rhythm being out of sync with the sun. This happens to me especially in the summer, and so I want to work on this a little before school starts, so I'm already on a good schedule.

One suggestion that I've heard before is to get light first thing in the day. I have gotten away from that, but I have a special blue light I can use for that, and I've started to use it again when I first wake. It helps me wake up, as does looking at the computer screen. Getting out and into the sun is great of course, but especially in the fall and winter if you wake up early and go outside there's no sun to greet you, so the light comes in handy. So light helps cause wakefulness, especially blue, white and green light. The navy has found that very dim green lights in submarines increase wakefulness among submariners. After I read this I realized I have a glowing green alarm clock and wondered if this had any effect.

The sun, TV, Computer screen are all blue light and trigger wakefulness, so I may make it worse by surfing the net all night. It seems as if light at night, especially blue, white or green light make it harder for the body to produce melatonin, which causes sleepiness. Artificial light is unnatural and may disrupt sleep patterns in susceptible people.

One of the suggestions I read was to make your bedroom as dark as possible when you sleep. So I got curtains for my bedroom door and window, and put the AC in my bedroom instead so it would be cooler in the bedroom at night, and also since I'm blocking my bedroom off from the dining room at night with the curtain.

I also read a blog entry by a lady who had an interesting idea. She decided to use only candlelight for a few hours before bed. This is because red light may cause sleepiness. Red light apparently has the opposite effect of blue/green/white light. I know that red light doesn't affect night vision, so I wonder if it actually makes you sleepy or just doesn't have the bad effects that blue/green/white light does. I'm going to try this, and sit in my bedroom with candlelight an hour before I go to bed.

Train bombing plot surprises Germany - Yahoo! News

Train bombing plot surprises Germany - Yahoo! News:

"BERLIN - A Lebanese student suspected of planting a train bomb that failed to explode had contacts in Hamburg, authorities said Tuesday, the latest link to the northern port city where three of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots prepared for their attacks.

The planned attack here stunned Germans who thought the country's vehement opposition to the
Iraq war would insulate it from becoming a terror target almost five years after the attacks on Washington and New York."

Do you mean to say that surrendering to the Islamic radicals demands doesn't make them more friendly, but actually more aggressive, since they smell fear? Just like appeasing Hitler didn't work? And the Germans of all people haven't learned this lesson yet, over 50 years after Hitler?

Defying Law, a Foie Gras Feast in Chicago - New York Times

Defying Law, a Foie Gras Feast in Chicago - New York Times

The illicit substance could be spotted in places it was rarely seen when it was legal: buried in Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza, in soul food on the South Side, beside beef downtown.

In one of the more unlikely (and opulent) demonstrations of civil disobedience, a handful of restaurants here that never carry foie gras, the fattened livers of ducks and geese, featured it on the very day that Chicago became the first city in the nation to outlaw sale of the delicacy.

“This ban is embarrassing Chicago,” said Grant DePorter of Harry Caray’s Restaurant, which dreamed up an appetizer of pan-seared foie gras and scallops ($14.95) and a Vesuvio-style entree pairing foie gras and tenderloin ($33.95) just to buck the new ordinance. “We really don’t think the City Council should decide what Chicagoans eat. What’s next? Some other city outlaws brussels sprouts? Another outlaws chicken? Another, green beans?”

While Illinois restaurant officials, who say 46,000 pounds of foie gras was sold here last year, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday over the city’s ban, those serving foie gras on Tuesday afternoon said they were unsure, and mostly indifferent, about how law enforcement might punish them for their one-day protest.

As it turned out, the city did nothing — even in one South Side restaurant where the owner reported seeing a table of Chicago police officers at lunch. Tim Hadac, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health, which, unlike the Police Department, is responsible for enforcing the ban, said that although the ordinance went into effect on Tuesday, the city would begin enforcement on Wednesday.

“The city gave them a day of fun, but tomorrow we’ll see what happens,” said Joe Moore, the alderman who proposed the ban, adding that the method by which foie gras is produced — force feeding ducks and geese through a pipe inserted into their throats — is clearly animal cruelty.

Even after Tuesday, though, the possibility of foie gras raids appears remote. City officials will respond to citizen complaints, Mr. Hadac said, first sending a warning letter to restaurants, then demanding a fine — from $250 to $500 — for second offenses.

But Jerry Stout, a lunchtime diner at Connie’s Pizza, said city leaders should have more pressing matters to worry about than fattened duck liver. Hardly a foie gras connoisseur — he could not remember whether he had ever tasted it before — Mr. Stout, 54, tried it on his pizza and said he would recommend it because of its mild flavor. “I guess we were rebels today,” he said.

Cheating Is an Awful Thing for Other People to Do

Cheating Is an Awful Thing for Other People to Do

Batson does not know what happened in the Tour de France, but he does understand how athletes in general can rationalize a decision to cheat. All they need to do is think of a drug or a steroid as a relatively small offense that is evened out by other factors.

"We're very good at explaining to ourselves why we are doing something," he said. "Maybe I have a cold and I know I am going to underperform. Well, I have trained all this time, and in order to compensate for this misrepresentation in my performance . . ."

When Batson asked volunteers to divide up an interesting task and a boring task with another person, most people chose the interesting task and assigned the boring task to the other person. The interesting task carried a bonus of $30.

Batson then handed volunteers a coin, to suggest a more equitable way to divide the tasks. Half the volunteers agreed to flip the coin. But something strange happened when the volunteers were left alone in a room. Whichever way the coin landed, people ended up choosing the better task. Batson tried to label the coin, so there would be no ambiguity about what heads and tails stood for. Mysteriously, when people were left alone, the coins still invariably pointed toward giving the boring task to the other person.

Batson wondered what people would do if the unpleasant task was not boring but something painful, like receiving an electric shock. It made absolutely no difference.

Volunteers later told Batson that they would normally have agreed to take on the painful task themselves and spare the other person, but electric shocks were the only kind of pain they just could not handle.

"When you are talking about a moral issue, it is something we feel we ought to do. But the fact we label it as 'moral' means it is probably not something we want to do," Batson said. "So we are in a bind of wanting to do what we don't want to do."

"Moral language is really the language of victims," he added. "We use it more to condemn other people's behavior than we do to motivate our own."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Compulsive Eating, Trigger Foods and Opioids

Compulsive Eating, Trigger Foods and Opioids

We notice similar patterns of addictive behavior with food, alcohol and drugs. Alcoholics and drug abusers frequently have atrocious dietary habits. So many of them grew up dysphoric with bad chemicals in their food and environment.

Addicts often report they first felt well when they had their first drink or injected the initial dose of heroin. Opiates, like other molecules, are effective but temporary remedies for dysfunctional body-mind states. The drive to maintain an opiate level is less to "get high" and more to feel "normal" and mostly to avoid the terrible experience of withdrawal.

The digestion of food proteins may produce substances having opiate or narcotic properties. There are also a number of regulatory peptides feeding back to brain control centers to form the brain-gut axis. A stop signal to the brain when enough food is eaten is important for appetite control and may be defective in compulsive eaters.

Exorphins

Pieces of milk and wheat proteins (peptides) can act like the body's own narcotics, the endorphins, and were described by Zioudro, Streaty and Klee as "exorphins" in 1979. Other food proteins, such as gluten, results in the production of substances having opiate- (narcotic) like activity. These substances have been termed "exorphins." Hydrolyzed wheat gluten, for example, was found to prolong intestinal transit time and this effect was reversed by concomitant administration of naloxone, a narcotic-blocking drug. Digests of milk proteins also are opioid peptides. The brain effects of exorphins may contribute to the mental disturbances and appetite disorders which routinely accompany food-related illness. The possibility that exorphins are addictive in some people is a fascinating lead which needs further exploration.

Hezbollah night-vision gear was from Britain, Israel says / It's believed to be an export to Iran in drug-fighting effort

Hezbollah night-vision gear was from Britain, Israel says / It's believed to be an export to Iran in drug-fighting effort

08-20) 04:00 PDT Kiryat Shemona, Israel — Israeli intelligence officials have complained to Britain and the United States that sensitive night-vision equipment recovered from Hezbollah fighters during the war in Lebanon had been exported by Britain to Iran. British officials said the equipment had been intended for use in a U.N. anti-narcotics campaign.

Israeli officials say they believe the state-of-the-art equipment, found in Hezbollah command-and-control headquarters in southern Lebanon during the just-concluded war, was part of a British government-approved shipment of 250 pieces of night-vision equipment sent to Iran in 2003.

Israeli military intelligence confirmed that one of the pieces of equipment is a Thermo-vision 1000 LR tactical night-vision system, serial No. 155010, part No. 193960, manufactured by Agema, a high-tech equipment company with branches in Bedfordshire, England, and San Diego. A spokesman for Agema in San Diego denied all knowledge of the system.

The equipment, which needed special export-license approval from the British government, was passed to the Iranians through a program run and administered by the U.N. Drug Control Program. The equipment uses infrared imaging to provide nighttime surveillance that allows the user to detect people and vehicles moving in the dark at a range of several miles.

Use of such equipment would have enabled Hezbollah to detect and record the movements of Israeli forces inside Israel, as well as its military advance into Lebanon.

Telegraph | News | Hizbollah pushes past guards in show of force

Telegraph | News | Hizbollah pushes past guards in show of force

Hizbollah mourners on a funeral parade shoved aside anti-tank barriers at a United Nations base in Lebanon yesterday in a demonstration of their new political strength.

The party had been told it would be allowed to bury three “martyrs” at the Naqoura town cemetery inside the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) compound, but only if there was no flag-waving or political sloganising.

When the chanting procession, several hundred strong, reached the gates, it found the way barred by cruci-form steel tank traps. Mourners argued with the French guards, but failed to gain entry.

A mob of young men then dragged the barriers away and the UN opened the gates. “They will eat us alive,” said a middle-aged official as the throng surged in.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Wired News: Algae: Power Plant of the Future?

Wired News: Algae: Power Plant of the Future?:

"Researchers seeking another energy source to ease the world's dependency on fossil fuels may have found a small answer to a big problem.

A microscopic green algae -- known to scientists as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and to regular folk as pond scum -- was discovered more than 60 years ago to split water into hydrogen and oxygen under controlled conditions. A recent breakthrough in controlling the algae's hydrogen yield has prompted a Berkeley, California, company to try to be first to commercialize production.

Energy experts -- who disagree on the when, but not the if, of the eventual depletion of fossil fuels -- are predicting that within decades the world will switch to a utopian hydrogen economy, where energy will be abundant, inexpensive and nonpolluting.

Hydrogen is used by fuel cells to generate electricity without generating those nasty greenhouse gases.

Hydrogen can be extracted from fossil fuels, but currently it's more expensive than directly using oil or natural gas, so this method is only a temporary fix. Water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis, but that requires electricity generated from fossil fuels, or from renewable sources such as wind or solar that are even more costly.

The potential of algae to be used as microscopic power plants was first discovered by Hans Gaffron, a German researcher who fled the Nazi party and came to the University of Chicago in the 1930s. Gaffron observed in 1939 that the algae would for a then-unknown reason sometimes switch from producing oxygen to instead creating hydrogen, but only for a short period of time.

For 60 years, researchers tried to harness the power potential of algae, without success.

A breakthrough came in 1999 when University of California at Berkeley professor Tasios Melis, along with researchers from the National Renewable Energy Lab, discovered that depriving the algae of sulfur and oxygen would enable it to produce hydrogen for sustained periods of time."

BREITBART.COM - Hezbollah Reportedly Had British Goggles

BREITBART.COM - Hezbollah Reportedly Had British Goggles

Britain said Monday that it is investigating a report that Israeli soldiers found British-made night-vision goggles in a Hezbollah hideout.

"The Israeli Defense Forces have told us that they have found some night-vision equipment in southern Lebanon that they believe to have been manufactured in Britain," a British Foreign Office spokesman said Monday on condition of anonymity because agency rules do not allow him to speak for attribution.

"We are seeking further details of the equipment to investigate whether it is British and, if so, by whom it was made and to whom it was sold," the spokesman said.

The Times newspaper reported Monday that Israeli officials believe the goggles may be from a consignment sold to Iran by Britain in 2003.

The sale was intended to bolster Iranian efforts to combat heroin smuggling across the Afghan border as part of the United Nations Drugs Control Program, the newspaper claimed.

The Foreign Office spokesman said it was not yet clear if the items were part of the batch sent to Iran in 2003.

Israeli officials said Friday that they had sent a senior delegation to Moscow to complain that Russian-made anti-tank missiles were used by Hezbollah guerrillas in their 34-day conflict with Israeli forces in Lebanon.

Israeli officials say that Iran and Syria passed the arms to Hezbollah after buying them from Russia.

Russia denied the claim.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dolphins 'are stupid'

Dolphins 'are stupid':

"Manger said observed behaviour supports his iconoclastic take on dolphins as dim-wits.

'You put an animal in a box, even a lab rat or gerbil, and the first thing it wants to do is climb out of it. If you don't put a lid on top of the bowl of a goldfish it will eventually jump out to enlarge the environment it is living in,' he said.

'But a dolphin will never do that. In the marine parks the dividers to keep the dolphins apart are only a foot or two above the water between the different pools,' he said.

Why not? Because, Manger says, the thought would simply not cross their unsophisticated minds.

They jump through hoops at marine parks only because they have been conditioned to for a food reward - which may suggest the brain of a single-minded predator rather than a reasoned thinker.

'Dolphins can actually chain up to 16 stimulus response events, but this is indicative of good trainers and not intelligent animals. Stimulus-response conditioning is thought to be a low level of intelligent behaviour,' Manger said.

Manger also points to the tuna industry, which under consumer pressure has gone to great lengths to prevent dolphins from being caught and killed by accident in nets.

'If they were really intelligent they would just jump over the net because it doesn't come out of the water,' he said."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Analysis: French diplomacy-minus-military irks UN

Analysis:�French diplomacy-minus-military irks UN:

"New York - France's strong show of diplomacy that won a ceasefire in Lebanon has not been backed by military might, prompting a chorus of criticism from US President George W Bush to other government leaders and the UN.

French President Jacques Chirac and his senior diplomats were directly involved in lengthy negotiations that resulted in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, silencing Israeli and Hezbollah guns after 33 days of fighting.

But Chirac rejected UN calls to send a vanguard force of 3,500 troops to begin monitoring the ceasefire with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon, which now has 2,000 troops, including 200 French.

Chirac has agreed only to double the French contingent by adding another 200 French troops. The 15-nation council is scheduled to review implementation of Resolution 1701 on Monday, seven days after the ceasefire began.

The vanguard force demanded by the UN was nowhere ready to roll into southern Lebanon to join UNIFIL and Lebanese troops, who were quickly deployed to the south and reached the border with Israel for the first time in 28 years on Friday.

Bush chided Chirac to complement his strong interest in creating a stable and democratic Lebanon with French military troops.

'France said they'd send some troops,' Bush told reporters Friday from his presidential retreat at Camp David outside of Washington. 'We hope they send more.'

The United States has pledged to assist logistically with the expanded UN force, but will not deploy troops to the country.

While Chirac declined to provide the advance force of 3,500 troops, he said France would be ready to assume leadership of UNIFIL, which is currently being led by French General Alain Pelligrini."

The French are Cowards.

Naked performance with dead pig branded "sick"�|�Entertainment�|�Entertainment News�|�Reuters.com

Naked performance with dead pig branded "sick"�|�Entertainment�|�Entertainment News�|�Reuters.com:

"LONDON (Reuters) - Animal rights activists have described as 'sick' a live art performance involving a naked woman cradling a dead pig for four hours.

Kira O'Reilly's show, called 'Inthewrongplaceness' will be performed at the Newlyn Art Gallery in Penzance, southwest England, later on Friday.

James Green, the gallery's director, defended the show, saying that the audience would be controlled, with one person at a time watching the performance for up to 10 minutes each.

'In terms of the gallery's view, we feel very strongly that we should provide audiences in the region with opportunities to see the kind of works that they have to go to London to experience,' he told Reuters

He added that the gallery 'had not received a single direct complaint' about the planned show, one of several live performances making up the Tract live art program.

But a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called the performance 'sick'."

I think this is art.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The 'USS Liberty': Case Closed

The 'USS Liberty': Case Closed

The claim that Israel's attack on the Liberty was premeditated has also appeared persistently in the press. In 1992, nationally syndicated columnists Roland Evans and Robert Novak dedicated a column, "Twenty-Five Years of Cover-Up,"8 to this charge. Similar accusations have been aired on television programs such as ABC's 20/20 and Geraldo Rivera's Now It Can Be Told.9 The claim is particularly widespread on the Internet, where a search for the "USS Liberty" yields dozens of sites, from those of Arab propagandists (Birzeit.edu, Salam.org, Palestine Forever) and anti-Semitic hate mongers (The Tangled Web, Jew Watch) to the award-winning USS Liberty Homepage, posted by Ennes and other veterans. But while the tenor of these pages may differ - the veterans abjure any anti-Semitism, stressing that several of their crewmates were Jewish - their conclusions are indistinguishable: Israel wantonly attacked the Liberty with the intention of killing every man on board, and then thwarted attempts to investigate the crime.10

Refuting this accusation was difficult if not impossible in the past, when the official records on the Liberty were designated top-secret and closed to the general public. With the recent declassification of these documents in the United States and Israel, however, researchers have gained access to a wealth of primary sources - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and U.S. military records, Israeli diplomatic correspondence, and memoranda from both the State Department and the White House. With the aid of these materials, the attack on the Liberty can now be reconstructed virtually minute-by-minute and with remarkable detail. The picture that emerges is not one of crime at all, nor even of criminal negligence, but of a string of failed communications, human errors, unfortunate coincidences and equipment failures on both the American and Israeli sides - the kind of tragic, senseless mistake that is all too common in the thick of war.

This is a fascinating analysis of the mistakes made that led to this attack. Refutes claims that Israel purposely attacked this American ship.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Northwest advised workers to see treasure in trash�|�US News�|�Reuters.com

Northwest advised workers to see treasure in trash�|�US News�|�Reuters.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bankrupt Northwest Airlines advised workers to fish in the trash for things they like or take their dates for a walk in the woods in a move to help workers facing the ax to save money.

The No. 5 U.S. carrier, which has slashed most employees' pay and is looking to cut jobs as it prepares to exit bankruptcy, put the tips in a booklet handed out to about 50 workers and posted for a time on its employee Web site.

The section, entitled "101 ways to save money", does not feature in new versions of the booklet or the Web site.

Northwest spokesman Roman Blahoski said some employees who received the handbook had taken issue with a couple of the items. "We agree that some of these suggestions and tips ... were a bit insensitive," Blahoski told Reuters.

The four-page booklet, "Preparing for a Financial Setback" contained suggestions such as shopping in thrift stores, taking "a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods" and not being "shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

The booklet was part of a 150-page packet to ground workers, such as baggage handlers, whose jobs will likely be cut after their union agreed to allow the airline to outsource some of their work, Blahoski said.

Monday, August 14, 2006

CNN Int'l snubs Israeli civilians - News from Israel, Ynetnews

CNN Int'l snubs Israeli civilians - News from Israel, Ynetnews

CNN Int'l snubs Israeli civilians

Highly unbalanced report mostly ignores plight of Israeli civilians, portrays Israelis as soldiers and politicians in suits, while coverage from Lebanon features in-depth interviews with Lebanese civilians and images of children and ruins; no mention of large number of Israelis displaced from their homes in north

The anatomy of bias: A CNN International in-depth report from Israel and Lebanon unveiled the full extent of bias at work behind the global news network's coverage of the Israel – Hizbullah war.

Scant attention is paid to Israeli civilians, while a long report featuring images and interviews of Lebanese civilians followed. The report's startling lack of representation of the suffering experienced by so many Israeli civilians stood in stark contrast to the interviews and video footage taken of Lebanese children and scenes of wreckage shown from across Lebanon.

The report began with an account of Haifa by a CNN female correspondent. During the report, there is a single, brief image of Israeli civilians, sitting at a café in Haifa. The picture remains on the screen for a number of seconds, before the journalist is seen being interviewed by the CNN anchor.

"Well some Arab Israelis were very upset when rockets struck their homes and three people died, and all of them were Arab Israelis, and they were complaining that they have hadn't been built bunkers like Israeli Jews in this city," said the journalist, answering a question about relations between Jews and Arabs in Haifa. She later said the answer depended on "who you asked."

The report did not mention any Israeli casualties, and no interviews with Israeli civilians were conducted.

Other than a momentary statistic appearing on the screen, there is no mention of the large number of Israelis who have become displaced from their homes in the north, and the journey home which awaits them to homes possible destroyed by Hizbullah rockets – although on the Lebanese side of the border, the report takes a long look at the return of Lebanese refugees to their homes in southern Lebanon.

There were no interviews from Israeli hospitals, and no mention made of the million Israelis who had been living in bomb shelters for almost a month. Also glaringly absent were images of destroyed homes and buildings across northern Israel.

A report then followed by CNN's Paul Hancocks, focusing exclusively on Israeli domestic politics. "The military battle for Israel's prime minister is over for the time being. The political battle has just begun. Critics claimed Olmert has gone to war hastily and ill prepared," said Hancocks, before film of Olmert's Knesset speech was shown. The report showed internal Knesset wrangling and the ejection of two Knesset members.

By the time CNN's correspondents had completed their coverage from Israel, it became clear that CNN had little interest in placing individual faces and names to the suffering on the Israeli side, let alone mentioning the extent and scope of the war damage.

Second half very different

The second half of the report, by CNN's Ben Wiederman, was dramatically different.

The report was saturated with images of Lebanese children playing in ruins, blood stains, destroyed buildings, and personal accounts of Lebanese families attempting to head back to south Lebanon.

It was introduced by CNN's anchor, who said: "Nasrallah also acknowledged the deaths and the destruction of the Lebanese homes, but he said Hizbullah would be ready to help rebuild."

"It was a morning like so many other recent mornings in Tyre. And then there was silence. The ceasefire went into effect at 8 AM local time. And with the prospect of calm, it didn't take long for many of Lebanon's refugees, estimated at more than a million, to pack their belongings, and head south towards home," Wiederman said.

"Beirut's Sinara park has become a temporary refuge. But Monday morning some decided it was to go back. To what, they weren't sure," he added.

Beginning one of a number of interviews with Lebanese civilians, the report continued: "'We're returning to our village but we're not sure if we'll be able to get there,' said this man from a village outside Tyre."

Suggesting that Israel would target Lebanese civilians heading back to Lebanon, Wiederman said: "Last week Israel warned that it would target any car south of the Litani river. The warning remains in effect. But few seem to heed it. Rather they chose to savor the thought that Hizbullah has emerged from this war in their opinion victorious."

"The 33 day conflict has left the Lebanese economy in ruins. Thousands of homes have been destroyed by Israeli land air and sea bombardment, and over a thousand Lebanese, mostly civilians, have been killed during the fighting," Wiederman continued, as images of Lebanese children and wrecked debris flashed across the screen.

Wiederman's report was then followed by an item on the struggle aid workers to get into southern Lebanon.

During earlier coverage on Sunday, CNN chose the word "resistance" to describe Hizbullah's actions in Lebanon – a term used by Hizbullah - as well as Hamas - to describe their own attacks - implicitly presuming that armed jihad organizations are 'resisting' and defending against aggression, rather than initiating it.

Muslims face extra checks in new travel crackdown - Britain - Times Online

Muslims face extra checks in new travel crackdown - Britain - Times Online:

"Muslims face extra checks in new travel crackdown
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent
THE Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk.

The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background.

The system would be much more sophisticated than simply picking out young men of Asian appearance. But it would cause outrage in the Muslim community because its members would be far more likely to be selected for extra checks.

Officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) have discussed the practicalities of introducing such a system with airport operators, including BAA. They believe that it would be more effective at identifying potential terrorists than the existing random searches."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Star Is Descended From Kings. Of Course, Most People Are

Star Is Descended From Kings. Of Course, Most People Are:

Famous Ancestors Adorn Almost All Family Trees

By Matt Crenson
Associated Press


Actress Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree -- hanging from her family tree are Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror and King Harold II, vanquished by William at the Battle of Hastings.

Shields also descends from five popes, a whole mess of early New England settlers, and the royal houses of virtually every European country. She counts Renaissance pundit Niccolo Machiavelli and conquistador Hernando Cortes as ancestors.

What is it about Brooke Shields? Well, nothing special -- at least genealogically.

Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, experts say, the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or another.

'Millions of people have provable descents from medieval monarchs,' said Mark Humphrys, a genealogy enthusiast and professor of computer science at Dublin City University in Ireland. 'The number of people with unprovable descents must be massive.'

By the same token, for every king in a person's family tree there are thousands and thousands of people whose births, lives and deaths went completely unrecorded by history. We'll never know about them, because until recently vital records were rare for all but the noble classes.

It works the other way, too. Anybody who had children more than a few hundred years ago is likely to have millions of descendants today, quite a few of them famous."

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Sun Online - News: '1,000 Brits ready to die'

The Sun Online - News: '1,000 Brits ready to die': "1,000 Brits ready to die'

By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
Political Editor
and JOHN KAY
Chief Reporter

EXCLUSIVE

ONE thousand British Muslim fanatics have been radicalised and could be turned into suicide bombers, intelligence chiefs believe.

MI5 and anti-terrorist groups have already identified the young men.

The size of the group under suspicion is far larger than previously disclosed.

PM Tony Blair and Home Secretary John Reid have been briefed about the scale of the problem.

One intelligence figure said: “We know there are 1,000.

“They could be persuaded very easily to turn themselves into suicide bombers — or martyrs, as they would see it.

“The problem we have is that we don’t understand what makes a radical into an extremist.”"

Iranians among Hizbollah combat dead: TV :: My Way News

My Way News :: Iranians among Hizbollah combat dead: TV

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard have been found among Hizbollah guerrillas slain by Israeli forces in southern Lebanon, Israel's Channel 10 television reported on Wednesday citing diplomatic sources.

It said the Iranians were identified by documents found on their bodies, but gave no further details on how many were discovered or when. Neither the Israeli military nor Hizbollah representatives in Beirut had immediate comment on the report.

Iran, like fellow Hizbollah patron Syria, insists its support for the Shi'ite guerrilla group is purely moral.

Israel says many of the rockets being fired against its civilian and military targets are Iranian made, and that Hizbollah fighters taking on its forces trained in Iran. Washington also accuses Tehran of actively funding Hizbollah.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards are traditionally very close to fellow Shi'ite Muslims in Hizbollah and were deployed in south Lebanon in the 1980s.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Computer hackers get lesson on cloning passport, cash card tags - Yahoo! News

Computer hackers get lesson on cloning passport, cash card tags - Yahoo! News

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - High-tech passports touted as advances in national security can be spied on remotely and their identifying radio signals cloned, computers hackers were shown at a conference.
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Radio frequency identification technology, referred to as RFID, used in cash cards and passports, can be copied, blocked or imitated, said Melanie Rieback, a privacy researcher at Vrije University in the Netherlands.

Rieback demonstrated a device she and colleagues at Vrije built to hijack the RFID signals that manufacturers have touted as unreadable by anything other than proprietary scanners.

"I spend most of my time making the RFID industry's life miserable," the doctorate student told AFP. "I am not anti-RFID. It has the potential to make people's lives easier, but it needs to be used responsibly."

Rieback and university compatriots expected to have a reliable portable version of their device, RFID Guardian, finished in six months and "had no plans to immediately mass-produce these things."

A cheer rose from the legion of hackers in the conference room when Rieback announced that the schematics and the computer codes for the device would be made public.

"The industry and government needs to not be scared of us," Rieback said. "They need to talk with us and to work with us. Hopefully, together we can come up with some kind of reasonable compromise."

RFID tags consist of a computer chips wrapped with tiny radio antennae. The chips store financial, identity, or other data that can then be sent to scanners by radio signals.

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart about two years ago embarked on a campaign to use RFID to track inventories and shipments from suppliers, and the devices are used on cargo shipped overseas in containers.

RFID tags have been used for decades to track cattle or wild animals.

It has become common in the United States for pet owners to have chips encased in glass, about the size of grains of rice, implanted under the skin of their dogs or cats so they can be identified and returned if they run away.

The European Central Bank has talked of putting RFID technology in euro currency, and such tags were used in World Cup Soccer tickets, according to the researcher.

Smart chips have been crafted into German passports and are being put into US passports. Stores have experimented with using the tags not only to track inventory, but to bill shoppers for purchases invisibly as they leave.

"It has been getting new life, and creating quite a stir," Rieback said of RFID use.

RFID equipment makers would be wise to ramp up encryption and other security while technology is catching on, according to Rieback. Rieback was not the only speaker at the gathering who claimed to have found RFID vulnerabilities.

"If you are using RFID on cows, who cares?" Rieback asked rhetorically. "But, with a passport, it only takes one breach at the wrong time and it could wreck it for the RFID industry."

The potential exists for unauthorized reading of cards, cloning, and tracking people who carry them, Rieback said....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

TheStar.com - Hezbollah equipped like the `Syrian or Iranian army'

TheStar.com - Hezbollah equipped like the `Syrian or Iranian army'

JERUSALEM—Hezbollah's sophisticated anti-tank missiles are perhaps its deadliest weapon in the fighting in Lebanon, with their ability to pierce Israel's most advanced tanks.

Experts say this is further evidence that Israel is facing a well-equipped army in this war, not a ragtag militia.

Hezbollah has fired Russian-made Metis-M anti-tank missiles and owns European-made Milan missiles, the army confirmed yesterday.

In the last two days alone, these missiles have killed seven soldiers and damaged three Israeli-made Merkava tanks, vaunted as symbols of Israel's might, the army said. Israeli media say most of the 44 soldiers killed in four weeks of fighting were hit by anti-tank missiles.

"They (Hezbollah guerrillas) have some of the most advanced anti-tank missiles in the world," said Yossi Kuperwasser, a senior military intelligence officer who retired earlier this summer.

"This is not a militia, it's an infantry brigade with all the support units," Kuperwasser said.

Israel contends Hezbollah gets almost all of its weaponry from Syria and by extension Iran, including its anti-tank missiles.

That's why cutting off the supply chain is essential and why fighting Hezbollah after it has spent six years building up its arsenal is proving so painful to Israel, officials say.

Iran: We supplied Zelzal-2 to Hizbullah | Jerusalem Post

Iran: We supplied Zelzal-2 to Hizbullah | Jerusalem Post: "Iran admitted for the first time on Friday that it did indeed supply long-range Zelzal-2 missiles to Hizbullah.

Secretary-general of the 'Intifada conference' Mohtashami Pur told an Iranian newspaper that Iran transferred the missiles so that they could be used to defend Lebanon, Channel 1 reported.

The extent of Iran's intimate involvement in Hizbullah attacks is starting to emerge.

According to the defense establishment, the reason Hizbullah has not fired long-range Iranian-made Fajr missiles at Israel is due to Teheran's opposition. Israel now understands that without direct orders from the ayatollahs, Hizbullah is not allowed to use Iranian missiles in attacks against Israel. "

Friday, August 04, 2006

BREITBART.COM - Music Industry Sues LimeWire

BREITBART.COM - Music Industry Sues LimeWire: "Music Industry Sues LimeWire
Aug 04 2:53 PM US/Eastern
Email this story

By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer

LOS ANGELES

A coalition of major recording companies sued the operators of the file-sharing program LimeWire for copyright infringement Friday, claiming the firm encourages users to trade music without permission."

Angler speared by a giant Blue Marlin fish | the Daily Mail

Angler speared by a giant fish | the Daily Mail

Angler speared by a giant fish

When he saw a companion on his boat hook a giant fish during a sea angling contest, Ian Card was delighted.

Next second, the scene of triumph turned to horror - as the 14ft blue marlin leapt out of the water across the vessel and speared Mr Card through the chest with its spiked bill.

The impact of the 800lb fish knocked him overboard into the Atlantic off Bermuda.

Then, with a thrash of its tail and with the 32-year-old still impaled and bleeding profusely, it dragged him underwater.

Terribly injured, he somehow stayed conscious as he struggled to pull himself free of the marlin's 3ft razor-sharp spike before he drowned.

Finally, he wrenched himself away and was rescued by his companions on the boat - who included his 58-year-old father Alan.

Yesterday, he told how his son surfaced with blood pumping from his wound. 'He put his hand up to his chest and his fingers disappeared,' he said. 'He had a wound about as big as your fist.' Mr Card was rushed to hospital, where sur- geons carried out an emergency operation and yesterday he was in a stable condition.

But doctors told him that if the marlin's spike had struck a fraction of an inch higher, it would have severed an artery and killed him.

The bizarre accident happened as he and his father took part in an international fishing tournament 15 miles south of Bermuda.

Iran frees bin Laden son: newspaper - Yahoo! News

Iran frees bin Laden son: newspaper - Yahoo! News

Another Saad Story

For years we’ve heard reports that Osama bin Laden’s son was being held under house arrest in Iran. Today Die Welt reports that Iran has freed Saad bin Laden—to help recruit Sunni Muslims to fight together with the Shi’ite Hizballah: Iran frees bin Laden son: newspaper. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iran has freed a son of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from house arrest, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Die Welt said the Iranian Revolutionary Guard released Saad bin Laden on July 28 with the aim of sending him to the Syria-Lebanon border. It linked the reported move to the outbreak of war between Israel and Lebanese-based Hizbollah.

“From the Lebanese border, he has the task of building Islamist terror cells and preparing them to fight together with Hizbollah,” Die Welt said, quoting intelligence information.

“Apparently Tehran is counting on recruiting Lebanese refugees in Syria for the fight against Israel, using bin Laden’s help,” it added in a preview of a report to appear in its Thursday edition.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

ABC News: New 9/11 Audiotapes Reveal U.S. Military's Information Breakdown

ABC News: New 9/11 Audiotapes Reveal U.S. Military's Information Breakdown

But the tapes' biggest revelation may revolve around United Flight 93, which passengers forced down near Shanksville, Pa.

Tech Sgt. Shelley Watson first received a call about United 93 at 10:07 from the Cleveland Air Traffic Control Center, which claimed that the plane was hijacked and carrying a bomb. By that time, the flight had already been burning on the ground for three minutes. The timing of the call, which is beyond dispute, as the tapes are stamped with time codes, means it was impossible for the military to have had any chance of shooting down United 93.

This new timeline contradicts certain statements given by administration and military officials in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, made both publicly and before the 9/11 Commission.

"I was extremely troubled, and so were the other members of the commission," Thomas Kean., chairman of the 9/11 Commission. "This was one of the most troubling facts in the whole 9/11 investigation — how our military failed to get the information and then, in testifying before us, didn't really give the truth.

"What's strange to me about these statements to the press on the ABC News special [which aired on September 11, 2002] and many other places is, you know, a year later and beyond, you have Cheney, Rove, Andrew Card, and you have military people continuing to talk about the fact that they were watching United 93 — they were deliberating," Bronner said.

"The reality is, even though the military tried its best to get going and tried its best to intercept these plans, they had information late every time and there was no real play on any of the hijacked planes."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Theme park calls off "Muslim Fun Day"�|�Oddly Enough�|�Reuters.com

Theme park calls off "Muslim Fun Day"�|�Oddly Enough�|�Reuters.com

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's biggest theme park has called off the country's first "National Muslim Fun Day" because of lack of interest, the park said Wednesday.

Alton Towers in central England was to open on September 17 for Muslims -- with halal food, a strict dress code and prayer areas.

Music, gambling and alcohol were to be banned for the day and theme park rides such as "Ripsaw," "Corkscrew" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" all segregated by sex.

But the park said the event's organizers, Islamic Leisure, who rented the park for the day and were marketing the event, had called it off due to "insufficient ticket sales."