Friday, October 31, 2003

kiss my bitter ass: "Howard Dean came into the restaurant where I wait tables in Burlington, Vermont. He was very laid-back, not high maintenence at all. He tipped well, 20%+, not too high, but that's okay because I don't think he is personally very rich and the fact he was so nice made up for it. Anyway, he acted like just a regular guy in Burlington, Vermont, very easy to wait on, no fuss. He definately didn' t expect to be treated any differently because he's running for President. I thought he was pretty cool. "

Should I be impressed because a bitter waitress speaks well of him, or cynical that the post is a plant by a hip PR flack poser?
The Goretti girls take 'flasher': "Call it 'Girls Gone Wild,' South Philly-style.

"Three former victims recognized the suspect - who had been preying on the girls since Sept. 14 - and chased him down. About 20 Goretti students soon followed and they managed to wrestle him to the ground until Philly cops arrived, police spokesman William Colarulo said last night."

Despite their behavior, the article insists on referring to them as victims. To my eye, they pretty much refused to be victims. You go girls.
Get PLAY: NU gets good vibrations: "I don't own a vibrator. But I think I might be the only girl who doesn't. "

She blames "Sex and the City" and feigns surprise, but I think we should take up a collection.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Cajun Turducken: "What's a turducken? It's a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. Plus lots of Cajun dressings and seasonings."

I discovered Turducken when I was looking for an antidote to Tofurkey.
Funkins - Carvable Pumpkins!: "Fun-Kins® are made of a low density, flame resistant, polyurethane foam. The consistency of the foam is similar to a real pumpkin shell.

"The foam is tinted orange inside and out to give your Fun-Kin® a real glow when lit."

Fake foam pumpkins. Whatever happened to "grows on trees"?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Copyright officials rule against Lexmark: "Lexmark International, the world's second-largest printer maker, had charged that SCC violated the act by making components for use in remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges. Among the components is a chip that mimics the behaviour of one made by Lexmark.

The ruling says that section 1201 of the DMCA allows aftermarket companies to develop software for the purpose of remanufacturing toner cartridges and printers."

Good. One problem fixed, many others remain. Toner cartridges down -- garage doors, the MPAA and the RIAA to go.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Hernando: Food robber takes all but the bread: "The gunman may have thought he was stealing Arby's night deposit when he made off with an employee's dinner."

Ahhh... the old "dine and dash", or is that dash and dine...?

Monday, October 27, 2003

Twenty-twenty-twenty-four hours to go: "Kiefer Sutherland must be exhausted. Over the course of two days, his character on Fox’s “24,” counter-terrorism expert Jack Bauer, has experienced more heartbreak, death, loss and explosions than all the other people in Los Angeles combined. And he’s done it all without stopping to use the bathroom."

Well, not really. Jack was seen at a urinal in S2 while Mason struggled with radiation sickness. Time will tell whether S3 suffers from the same flaws as S1 or S2. Mandy and the cougar top my wish list for recurring characters...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Hollywood takes anti-piracy message to school: "But some copyright law experts aren't pleased that the MPAA is the only sponsor for such classroom discussions. They worry that the lesson plans don't address "fair use'' constitutional protections for digital copying for personal or educational use.

"This is really sounding like Soviet-style education. First they're indoctrinating the students and then having students indoctrinate their peers,'' said Wendy Seltzer, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The takeaway message has got to be more nuanced. Copyright is a complicated subject.''"

I do not like the idea of corporate interests getting access to students for one-sided propaganda campaigns. However, at $1 to reach 9 students, it's a real bargain for the MPAA. From the article, though, it appears the students are largely not buying it. Good.
Afghan beauty trades burka for bikini: "THE FIRST AFGHAN entrant in an international beauty contest for 30 years, and the first since the fall of the hard-line Islamic Taliban government in 2001, joined more than 50 other women at a posh hotel in the Philippine capital this week to fight it out for the Miss Earth title."

The only other Miss Afghanistan was Zohra Daoud, who joined the Miss Universe contest in 1972. That was 7 years before Vida Samadzai was born. Another vote for Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy.
White faces charges for asking minor for sex: "Reverend Stephen White, infamous for preaching against homosexuality and sexual promiscuity at Yale and other college campuses, now faces charges that he solicited sex from a teenage boy in a Philadelphia suburb."

Today's lesson in hyprocrisy. Fred Phelps, are you listening?

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Judge rejects U.S. request to search for, delete classified records: "The Justice Department says it may renew an extraordinary request to let the FBI conduct a search-and-destroy mission on any computers harboring classified information about a 1980s case that temporarily became public in a lawsuit. A federal judge previously rejected the idea.

"The initial request from federal prosecutors in Sacramento, Calif., was considered highly unusual by legal experts because it did not specify which computers the government believed might contain the classified information or how agents would retrieve and destroy information already made public."

"U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. agreed with the government's request to remove the classified documents from the court file and substitute sanitized versions. But in his decision last week, Burrell rejected as "unsupported by authority" the government's broader request to seek out and delete any electronic copies that might have been downloaded onto others' computers before they were effectively sealed."

We won't say what, we won't say who, and we won't say where -- can we go now?

Thankfully, at least for now, you can see what all the fuss is over. The California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) has made the sealed documents available on their web site. Makes you wonder why no specifics were given, unless asking for a warrant against the California First Amendment Coalition was something they didn't want publicized. The two documents are available (for now) here and here.
Georgia runs from the MATRIX: "'The State of Georgia will not transfer any additional information to the company responsible for the MATRIX project,' said Governor Perdue. 'I have held serious concerns about the privacy issues involved with this project all along, and have decided it is in the best interest of the people of Georgia that our state have no further participation in the MATRIX pilot project.

'The criminal, prison, and sexual predator information previously submitted will remain part of the database. This information is relevant to the crime fighting purpose of the pilot project, but personal information of law-abiding citizens is not. I feel today's decision reflects a proper balance between fighting crime and respecting the right to privacy.' "

Cost was also cited as a reason for pulling out. At least they're doing the right thing, if partially for the wrong reason. The new strategy appears to be to shift the interdicted DARPA projects down to the state level under the auspices of a private contractor, Florida-based Seisint. Yes, you've heard that name before...

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Rumsfeld memo on Iraq, Afghanistan: "It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere -- one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem."

Not to harp on the Rumsfeld thing, but here is the complete text of the memo referenced below. Fuel for the "shadow government" fire...
Election boils down to a culture war: "The culture war between the Red and Blue Nations has erupted again — big time — and will last until Election Day next year. Front lines are all over, from the Senate to the Pentagon to Florida to the Virginia suburbs where, at the Bush-Cheney ’04 headquarters, they are blunt about the shape of the battle. “The country’s split 50-50 again,” a top aide told me, “just as it was in 2000.” Translation: They can’t win re-election by wooing the (mostly coastal) Blue states, but only by firing up (mostly non-coastal) Reds."

To my eye, Howard Fineman presents some of the most lucid and insightful political reporting, and he does it in an extremely accessible way. Yes, we're still fighting the "culture wars", and we will be for years. Remember, there are no winners in war, except those making the weapons. Until we have a leader who insists on doing the right thing, not the politically expedient thing, we're screwed.

There's hope. Take Howard Dean (please). In Vermont, he signed civil unions legislation despite popular opinion running 70% against. When he ran for re-election, he ran on the issue, doing what many considered politically suicidal. He was able to convince a substantial majority to vote for him, saying that it was the right thing to do, and explaining that any other strategy would eventually legitimize gay marriage. If the state doesn't offer equal rights outside of marriage, the courts will inevitably sanction gay marriage. His approach allowed the religious issues to remain religious issues, while addressing the underlying civil rights issues. This is how you avoid the culture wars.

The price of liberty is tolerance. We are made stronger by our differences, by our tolerance of those different than we are, and by our acceptance that those with opposing views must be equally protected. We are made weaker by favoring special interests, yielding to partisan self-interest over what's good for the country, and by attempts to legislate morality.
Rumsfeld questions war on terrorism: "'Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror,' Rumsfeld wrote. 'Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?'

'It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror,' Rumsfeld wrote. 'An alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere -- one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.'

'The U.S. is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists,' Rumsfeld wrote. 'The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.' "

Let's review. We are fighting an open-ended war against an invisible enemy with no clearly defined way to tell if we are winning. Rumsfeld now openly admits that. His solution? To create a new "institution" that integrates several agencies to accomplish this. We've already pulled elements of too many agencies into Homeland Security, now Rumsfeld is suggesting that we set up a military equivalent.

When the "solution" is to cannibalize civilian agencies to create the Department of Homeland Security, then to cannibalize military agencies to create an equivalent -- people should be asking for a better definition of the problem. The "solution" resembles a coup as much as a rational response to terrorism. Few administrations have ever gone so far in establishing their own security apparatus, and if pursued, I believe the military agency Rumsfeld advocates would be unprecedented. With extremely limited legislative oversight, and secrecy laws that exclude most judicial oversight, it is appropriate to ask what other uses these agencies might have, beyond their stated purposes. bin Laden said that his true victory would be in America turning itself into a police state in reaction to terrorist attack -- is this not what we are witnessing?
Jeremiah Akin's observations about Riverside County's Logic & Accuracy testing: "I recently took part in the Riverside County Logic and Accuracy Testing Board that met on 9 September 2003. This board was put together to observe testing of the touchscreen voting system that Riverside County uses.

There were several problems I saw with the running of the test. Among them were:

-- People signed a form stating that they had witnessed the test and had verified the results, before the test was completed.

-- The test was run in a pre-election mode of the vote counting software. No test was run on the software while it was in the configuration that it would be in on election day.

-- The observation board was given a seriously misleading description of the make up of the voting system that Riverside County uses. Sequoia Voting Systems, the manufacturer of the touchscreen systems, also gives a very misleading description of their products on their website and in their brochures. "

Kudos to Peace and Freedom Party for getting someone who is technically qualified onto the Logic and Accuracy Testing Board. Boos to the board for rubber-stamping the system before a flawed testing procedure was even completed.

Links to the Salon interview and the full report (.pdf) fill in many additional details.
Man Stabs Lectern at Riverside Meeting: "Police arrested a man who pulled out a pocketknife when he appeared before the Riverside City Council on Tuesday night and stabbed the speaker's lectern to illustrate what he considered lax security at City Hall.

The incident appeared to unnerve council members, some of whom were wounded five years ago this month when a gunman walked into City Hall and opened fire. Seven people were injured in that shooting."

You'd think that after a shooting, they'd have improved security. Instead, they'll punish the citizen who points out that they're still vulnerable.

How do you handle people who are outraged at lax security, and demonstrate its shortcomings? There's a college student in court this week for sneaking prohibited items onto planes after warning the airlines and TSA that their security was ineffective and that he would demonstrate this. Sadly, he'll probably go to jail. Rather than improve the system, punish those who illustrate its weaknesses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Hardware Analysis - How NOT to install computer hardware -: "Well, for the sake of these retailers as well as those having to buy these opened boxes, this article covers the basics of how NOT to install newly purchased hardware. Please give it a good read and take the advice to heart. And keep in mind that it is only fair to keep the hardware you break, don't return it because of your own mistake to not properly install it. Furthermore, use these instructions at your own risk, we take NO responsibility whatsoever and do take the above with a grain of salt, we consider ourselves among the above mentioned enthusiasts too."

Anyone who has worked in computer service should recognize most of these, especially if they've dealt with personal systems. They omit the common tricks of using liquids (including the convenient "cup holder" features", foreign objects, and debris. I like reversing all the fans, coating all the internals with spray adhesive, and setting it right behind my table saw -- produces a nice coating of sawdust on everything inside...
Caucasian Club founder decides to leave school: "'On one level, it is understandable that when white students see other students celebrating their cultures and participating in activities that recognize their backgrounds, like Cinco de Mayo or the Chinese New Year's Parade, those students might feel some degree of resentment. They wonder if they, too, have an ethnicity,' Noguera said. 'But almost everything else, though it's not named as a celebration of white people and white culture, is just that. Most of U.S. history glorifies the experience of individuals and groups of people who are white. That is the norm.' "

I've always wondered why it's acceptable to have minority clubs but not majority clubs. I've also wondered who'd show up for the "white" club -- enough to make me think it might not be such a good idea. But if you can found a Latino club without being a racist, why can't you found a caucasian club? The lesson is that overt advocacy of culture related to race is only acceptable if your race is in the minority, otherwise, you'll be perceived as a racist.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

RIAA Sequentially Repeating Edison's Mistakes: "After watching the RIAA's public Dance of Death closely for only about a year, everything they do is so predictable that I'm beginning to wonder if they even have any control over their own destiny. For some inexplicable reason, they seem compelled to follow through until the final scene, perhaps unaware that there's been a rewrite in the ending over the last 90 years.

While suggested reading is the series I did earlier on Thomas Edison, here is a synopsis of how Edison's approach to running an entertainment industry so closely parallels what the RIAA is trying to do. After all, the goal is the same -- to maintain a monopoly."

Another historical analogy to the current RIAA fiasco. Slightly different than Ford, but with equal precedent for eventual sanity.
Cold War encryption laws stand, but not as firmly : "Bernstein's case, and two other similar attempts, have been credited with forcing the federal government to drastically scale back its attempts to regulate the kind of privacy-protecting encryption technology used in every Web browser and many e-mail readers. At one point such encryption was regulated by the State Department and treated as a 'munition' like tanks and fighter jets, but the Clinton administration responded to the lawsuits by relaxing the rules and transferring responsibility to the Commerce Department.

At a hearing in October 2002, Justice Department attorney Tony Coppolino effectively placed even the latest rules on hold, saying the government would not use them to prosecute cryptographers engaged in legitimate research. "

Another victory for selective prosecution. Not only should every law come with an expiration date, but if it isn't enforced, it should become invalid. They want to keep the law on the books, but they don't want to enforce it. Somewhere between Dumb and Devious.
Man steals ID of sex offender: "A good rule of thumb for an identity thief is not to steal the name of someone whose reputation is worse than yours -- such as a sex offender. "

Of course, if a sex offender has a better reputation than yours...
Scientists say female promiscuity has benefits for blue tits?: "The next big question the researchers hope to answer is whether promiscuity in females has some sort of genetic basis or whether it is related to personality."

All I can say is that it's a good thing, whyever it happens.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Did E-Vote Firm Patch Election?: "Now a former worker in Diebold's Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machines before the state's 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials.

If the charges are true, Diebold could be in violation of federal and state election-certification rules. The charges also raise questions about the integrity of the Georgia election results and any other election that uses patched Diebold systems that have not been re-certified."

There are assertions and denials on both sides, but the contractor's back-pedaling would tend to support the claims. If the wildest speculation is to be believed, we've already seen an election thrown by Diebold. There is no evidence to support that, however -- electronic voting, at least with this system, leaves no paper trail.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Threat of lawsuit passes for student: "SunnComm Technologies, Inc. announced yesterday morning it would sue first-year graduate student John Halderman over his recent critique of the company's new CD copy-protection method, but by the end of the day SunnComm president and CEO Peter Jacobs said he changed his mind."

They're starting to get it. If it won't put the genie back in the bottle, and will only make people hate you, what's the point? They also point out that it was a native Windows feature (disabling autorun by one of several methods, like holding the SHIFT key) that allowed circumvention. When a protection scheme relies on an optional feature like autorun, it's doomed.
Marijuana and Sex: "First of all, we believe that sex and marijuana use exist completely in the private realm of consenting and responsible adults. We realize, unfortunately, that many politicians see the bedroom and other private, individual activities as important areas for government legislation. "

I like it. More, please.
Social ills keep '70s-haters in retro hell: "In the whiplash cycle of pop nostalgia, the era of Day-Glo smiley faces and grimy misery has come back around at least three times already, less than a quarter century after it choked on its last bong hit. We've seen endless retreads of the flared pants leg and the platform shoe, the natural and the Fu Manchu. Punk is well into its third incarnation; hell froze over and the Eagles reunited. Subtlety and grace have been cowering in the corners of commercial culture for years now; garishness clearly grabs all the attention, and sells. "

They may be playing a bit loose with what defined the 70's -- day-glo and smiley faces definitely showed up earlier -- but they're missing the point in other ways, too. In the 70's, the same people who freaked us out in the 60's became the establishment and everything went over the top. Can we expect less of the techno revolutionaries who cashed out before the bubble burst? I hope not.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Suing Your Customers: A Winning Business Strategy?: "But it’s hardly the first time an industry has tried to solve strategic problems using litigation against its customers. And the strategy is no more likely to work today for the recording industry than it did 100 years ago, when the leading automobile manufacturers in 1903 tried to put down the threat of cheap, mass-produced cars by suing consumers who bought Henry Ford’s automobiles. Napster founder Shawn Fanning may have little else in common with Henry Ford, but both men sparked a wave of innovation that transformed their worlds. And both brought down the wrath of incumbent industry associations which tried to stop their new technologies with litigation. The story of Henry Ford’s eight-year legal battle with the “Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers” is a cautionary tale for today’s Recording Industry Association of America."

Yep, Henry Ford won, for many of the same reasons the RIAA will eventually lose. Many valid parallels are drawn in this excellent article.
The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae): "On 5 June 1995 an adult male mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) collided with the glass fa├žade of the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam and died. An other drake mallard raped the corpse almost continuously for 75 minutes. Then the author disturbed the scene and secured the dead duck. Dissection showed that the rape-victim indeed was of the male sex. It is concluded that the mallards were engaged in an ‘Attempted Rape Flight’ that resulted in the first described case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard."

There are pictures. Click through for the full document in pdf form. Aside from the documentation, I'm most surprised that he watched for 75 minutes.
Tower Records vs. IBM: The Death (and Rebirth) of Online Distribution: "Previously, we covered the reasons the music industry is in such dire straits. The music distributors used the contracts with big-name stars to exercise control over the distribution channels. This all changed when Wal-Mart and other big box retailers showed up and turned the tables. They only carry the biggest hits, but not many new acts. So much music is sold through Wal-Mart and its brethren that they are weakening the industry's ability to create new artists.

The most logical answer to this problem is online distribution. This solves both problems Wal-Mart created. The labels would again have the ability to create bottoms-up buzz by having new artists available at the same place you get your top hits. The labels could also take advantage of media buzz by having the record available for sale as soon as you want to buy it - online, there's no chance of your local store not carrying the title.

On top of that, the economics are very good for the labels. One study I did for a major music distributor concluded that when you purchased a CD for $17.99 at Tower Records, the record label only got $3 - $5. Out of that, they paid the artist and their own expenses and profit. Count the additional sales you could get for a lower price, and the label makes more money from an online price of $3.99 than a store price of $17.99. "

This is a different spin on the discussion. The inference is that the record labels are being held hostage by their narrow-minded, high-volume brick-and-mortar resellers. It also hints that there will be a "tipping point" where the labels see online distribution as a bigger piece of the pie than traditional distribution. If the majority of your product is distributed through channels that only stock the hits, you would be less inclined to invest in artist development. Does this account for the decreases in the number of titles released annually?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Police probe alteration to vice-narcotics Web page: "The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws thought police were turning over a new leaf when it saw the page’s background filled with rows of pot leaves with the letters NORML under each leaf."

Would it be such a bad thing to put NORML in charge of vice and narcotics enforcement? I don't think so.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

His dress makes some cross: "Dwight was dressed up to aid a challenge fund-raiser for Pride Zone, a drop-in center for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight-allied youth. For a $5 donation, people "bought votes" for their favorite of six different outfits. Dwight's challenge raised $15,000, and he wore the "Femme Fatale Wilma" outfit for the day, starting at noon. As part of the agreement, Dwight paraded down Main Street greeting people. He made such an imposing "femme fatale" that Lyda Lewis, Dwight's wife, was speechless when she first spied him.

"The fact that people are upset about his dressing up speaks to the very issue of intolerance of differences that Pride Zone, and the teen-agers who are part of it, have to deal with, he said. In addition, 'I'd argue that that's the best dressed I've ever been in council chambers,' he said."

They're upset at how he was dressed, not how he conducted himself. "After hearing that 14 signed the petition, Dwight said, 'It's a groundswell.'"

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Lesbian fete ordered to admit 'men': "Organisers of an Australian lesbian festival have run into a politically correct storm after being accused of discriminating against transsexuals."

The exemption would have also allowed the group to ban boys over eight and non-lesbian girls over 15.
Obese Americans feed on diet of death: "'Looking at some of the recommendations from the department of agriculture gives the idea that they've forgotten that we're feeding people, not horses,' said Walter Willet, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The obesity epidemic afflicts nearly two out of every three people and has been related to illnesses resulting in the death of one in eight Americans each year, according to the Surgeon General's office. "

Why, yes, I'd like fries with that.
Bond's chief spokesman leaves after Web site flap: "The office of U.S. Sen. Christopher 'Kit' Bond, R-Mo., said Thursday that Bond's chief spokesman, Ernie Blazar, was responsible for setting up the anti-Democrat website named N8354N, the number on the tail of the plane that crashed killing former Gov. Mel Carnahan, his son, Randy, and campaign aid Chris Sifford."

For those who don't get it, Mel Carnahan was the corpse who defeated John Ashcroft in his final Senate bid. Thanks to Google Cache you can still see the N8354N web site, at least until someone wises up and harasses Google to remove it. Check out the linkage on the right. Not just strange -- mean, too...
Man ticketed for warning other drivers of officer: "``It's one thing to warn people of impending danger like an accident or broken-down car ahead. It's another thing to warn people there's a police office ahead who's trying to do his job and catch speeding cars,'' Barnes said. ``I understand the argument that he was helping slow people down. All I can say is, the officer interpreted the gentleman's action as interference with his duties, and the judge agreed.''"

The problem here is that they are misinterpreting the officer's purpose. His purpose is not to catch people speeding, it is to enforce the speed limit. Anything that increases compliance should be looked on as positive, not prosecuted. Whatever gets them to slow down... Unless it was a speed trap set up to enhance revenue, rather than to enforce the law.
Oscar Screeners Scratched: "The screen ban was announced Tuesday, just in time for MPAA President and CEO Jack Valenti to announce it before a Senate committee in Washington, D.C. He cited the move as 'a determined commitment to combat digital piracy and to save movie jobs in the future.' Valenti added that '400,000 to 600,000 films are being illegally abducted every day...and the MPAA intends to deploy every weapon at its command' to stop this theft. "

First, it's nice to see them react with fear to something that's already been shown to be responsible for about 80% of online movie piracy. Second, the quip about '400,000 to 600,000 films' every day is silly. The IMDB, for example, lists only about 200,000 titles. Jack is apparently suggesting that every movie (and TV show) ever made is being pirated 2-3 times daily. Put differently, even if you are conservative, that's 1,200,000 GIGABYTES daily. Unlikely.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

JETBLUE PASSENGERS are unhappy about it sharing their personal data: "Wesley Clark is on the board of Acxiom, the company involved, according to this story in the Post. Clark didn't have a specific role with JetBlue, it says, but he was behind the development of the passenger-information database involved.

Does this tell us anything about the privacy policies of a Clark Administration? I don't know. Somebody should probably ask him. "

Of course there will be political fallout. From "Bear in mind that General Wesley Clark, US presidential contender, is/was a member of the board of Acxiom, giant database producer, which sold far more information to Torch Concepts on citizens of the world than JetBlue provided apparently for no cost. As the Torch study proclaims, it was the Axciom data that was much more useful to spy on citizens than that of JetBlue."
No CAPPS II for JetBlue: "In violation of their own privacy policy, JetBlue gave the travel records of everyone who had flown their airline between 2000 and September of 2002 to defense subcontractor Torch Concepts. Torch then matched the JetBlue records against other databases Social Security numbers, DMV records, property records and other sensitive information in an un-American, CAPPS II-like attempt to predict who was potentially a terrorist.

The results were then presented by Torch at a Homeland Security conference and then posted to the Internet.

JetBlue is now under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Homeland Security; and rumors of a class action lawsuit abound."

Maybe their use of the phrase 'data rape' is a bit strong. Maybe not. What's not made clear is that only one screen of customer data, not all of it, was included in the presentation that was posted on the Internet. It was the presentation, not the database, that was posted. However, data on all 5 million customers was provided to the Transportation Security Administration. I feel safer now.

Ironically, JetBlue has withdrawn from CAPPS II testing over privacy concerns.
The Surprising Benefits of Being Unemployed: "We actually have two refrigerators in our kitchen, a big one and a small one. (The reasons are historical and trivial.) Now we've reached the point where we could easily get by with just the big one. Soon, we'll be able to manage with just the small one. When we reach that point, perhaps we'll sell the big one, assuming anyone would be so foolish as to buy it. (It wasn't a great refrigerator even when it was new.) That will give us extra space in the kitchen, but more to the point, it will make it easier to move to smaller quarters, if it comes to that. Such as under a highway viaduct. Do they have power outlets there? I suppose not. It's not something I used to think about all that often. "

At least he's not bitter...
These men want their foreskins back: "Medically popularized in the early 20th century, circumcision has become a routine option for newborn American boys. But a backlash has surfaced in recent years, often bolstered by conflicting medical data about the procedure’s benefits. Out of that debate has emerged a tiny but growing movement of men who not only oppose circumcision, but want back what they consider taken from them. They want to regrow their foreskin."

Without foreskin, you can't get smegma. Mensa, at least my local chapter, once offered a workshop on "The Restoration and Maintenance of Your Virginity." This seems even sillier. The one hidden gem here appears to be that several of the oft-marketed techniques for penis enlargement (which don't work) DO actually work for other purposes...