I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

IDF finds explosive chemicals in EU aid bags


The army said 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate were in bags marked as sugar from the European Union for Palestinians.

The cargo in a Palestinian truck was traveling in the occupied West Bank and seized several weeks ago at an Israeli checkpoint, the army said.
For the record, 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate is almost three times as powerful as the bomb that McVeigh used in Oklahoma City - 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg).

So here is the peace plan: Give the Palestinians $7.5B in aid and force Israel to remove the checkpoints. Yeah, that will surely do the trick!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Adding feed to a blog

Apparently, you can get a feed from any blog on blogger.com

Just add /atom.xml to the blog url thusly:


You can also get rss feed thusly:



However, feedburner.com makes it even easier! That's no fun. Whatever happened to good old CLI?!

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Priests Brawl At Bethlehem Birthplace Of Jesus

Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Anyone have the video? :)

I have been there and things can get very heated up over, what seems to us like the smallest of transgressions.I am reminded of Sayre's Law: The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low..."

read more | digg story

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Academic: IDF dehumanizes Palestinians by not raping them

A normal person cannot understand the mind of a person so damaged by self-hatred, so infused with the viewpoint of her enemies, that she would conclude that the reason her country’s soldiers are not guilty of rape is…that they are racists!
This is very disturbing. What will the IDF think of next?

Can we discount the awful possibility that shaking Arab's hands, smiling and, G-d forbid, engaging them in conversation is completely out of the question? What will all the Israel- haters do?

Quick, let's alert Security Consul and issue a resolution. Or wait a few months till Libya gets to chair that fine institution.

read more | digg story

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The Economist: Ubuntu is the source of Linux's rise

There seems to be a bit of a feud between the Ubuntu and the Redhat camps. There is no question that Redhat has done most of the heavy lifting to contribute to the cause. Fedora 8 absolutely rocks.

It’s also true that Ubuntu is getting a lot of publicity and attention both from the media and the lay users. There is no denying that Ubuntu hardware support is great (many other distribution improved a lot as well!). It’s simpler to manage and a great looker.

I have been a Netscape partner in my past life. I have gone up against Microsoft, selling Netscape browser to businesses at $75 a seat (discounted from $150) with Microsoft browser costing my clients nothing. So, I’d like nothing better than to pay back Microsoft in the same currency.

What both camps miss, however, is this: As far as a regular Joe is concerned, swapping Microsoft for Linux is not going to happen unless there is a very compelling reason to switch. The Linux community should look for the proverbial killer App. Just doing what Microsoft has already done, but free, is just not enough. The developers should ask themselves: what can we do that Microsoft can’t or won’t?

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Slate on Secret Surfing

A great article on Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2180881?nav=wp by Paul Boutin on Internet security.

I am posting my reply here: I have a dream...

The dream is to one day go off the grid altogether. No web, no mobile, no credit cards, no social networking.

I am reminded of Ben Kingsley announcing to Robert Redford in 1992 movie Sneakers - "No more secrets, Marty."

With that in mind, the article is very timely. Thank you Paul.

The truth is that there is no way to protect one's privacy in today's world. You would have to become a brilliant sysadmin and spend most of your time worrying about sweeping up your breadcrumbs and even then, you will ultimately fail.

Recently I happened to read a job avert posted by a manager of a search company that was obviously uncensored:

"Our mission is to convert the massive amount of data from web activity generated by a half-billion users world wide, into valuable insights, relevant content and services, and becoming the partner of choice in our ecosystem. We collect over 10 terabytes of click stream behavioral data each day (the equivalent of all the information stored in the Library of Congress). Our user data warehouse is the largest in the world--in the order of petabytes."

You can no longer rely on security by obscurity. And you can do something. Everyone should take an active interest in safe computing.

It would take a good size book to really address the issue and there are many good ones already. Paul’s article is a good start. I’d add:

  • get Firefox and install extensions like CustomizeGoogle, Adblock Plus and NoScript.
  • Learn how to block information collection sites through your hosts file. Here is a start: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm
  • Use multiple search engines! Spread your information out. Competitors do not share data.
  • Using an out of country proxy server as Paul suggests is a good adea, but how do you know that the company that owns this proxy does not keep and market information about you?
  • Remember that information about you remains in a thousand places long after you have deleted this email or posting. I have run very large databases and the rule of thumb is – you never delete an item, just mark it deleted, plus keep the backups forever.
  • Avoid social network sites to the extent you can. Go for a walk with a real friend!
  • Checkout Mailinator site for one time email use.
  • Consider switching from Windows to a free Linux distribution like Ubuntu. Well, this has nothing to do with anonymity. Just a personal preference. :)

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Fun with Google Page Creator

Well, this n00b has signed up on the Google Page Creator.

It has been a while since I tried my hand at html. Overall, it seems to be such a throwback to the early days. It's really very basic. There are no site management tools that I got accustomed to. I guess it's all right for posting a CV. This is all that I intend to use it for right now. The hosting price is right - it's free.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Po8 says

Here I lay me down to sleep,
To wait the coming morrow;
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
And everlasting sorrow,

I've labored long and hard for bread
For honor and for riches,
But on my corns too long you've tred
You fine-haired sons of bitches.

Let come what may I'll try it on,
My condition can't be worse --
And if there's money in that box
'Tis money in my purse.

--Black Bart, Po8

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Silicone Valley, United States
I am a cantankerous man living and working in the Silicon Valley where reading books is an abomination that is virtually unheard of, frowned upon and may be detrimental to one's career. I avoid censure by never conceding that I ever read or owned a book in my life. If anyone accidentally glimpses my scant proficiency in any subject matter, I immediately accredit it to having glanced at DrudgeReport that day.

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