Friday, January 28, 2005

Dung Mountain Burns

A 4 million pound mound of cow manure has been burning for 3 months. Nobody is sure how the pile of crap ignited, but attempts to extinguish the fire have so far been unsuccessful. Be sure to stand upwind.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Goodbye Mr. Johnson

Philip Johnson died yesterday at the age of 98. By far and away my favorite living architect, he personified the rebellious, cantankerous brilliance which is required by any great architect. A great loss. His legacy will be long remembered.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Thanks for the Goo

Leroy Chiao and Salizhan Sharipov successfully completed their spacewalk today outside the ISS. In addition to installing a robotic arm, they discovered an odd honeycombed substance outside, along with dark oily "Goo" which may have been responsible for the oxygen generator’s continuing problems. Additionally, flight controllers noticed a repeat of "mysterious forces" which tilted the station during previous spacewalks. Thrusters needed to compensate for these forces several times during the spacewalk.

Felony Stick Figures

Two boys, aged 9 and 10, have been arrested and charged with making written threats to kill or harm another person, a felony. This because of stick-figure drawings the boys made. One figure appears to show one stick-figure being stabbed by others. Another drawing shows a figure being hung, with tears flowing. The two boys were led away from their school in handcuffs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

F--- Free Speech

Shasta Bates disagrees with President Bush. She's so upset she reportedly has a bumper sticker her truck which says Fuck Bush. When a man flagged down a local policeman, Sgt. Michael Karasek, and showed him the bumper sticker, the officer demanded the anti-Bush bumper sticker be removed or he would throw Ms. Bates into jail. He repeatedly made the threats even though City Attorney Cole Finnegan, when contacted later, said he didn't believe there were any city ordinances against such a sticker. The U.S. Supreme Court decided decades ago that such language was permissable, particularly when expressing a political viewpoint. Denver police have initiated an investigation into the threats against Ms. Bates.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Lawyer Joke Lands Pair in Jail

Harvey Kash and Carl Lanzisera founded Americans for Legal Reform, which has a long history of complaining vociferously about the judicial system. But a joke made Tuesday while standing in line outside a courthouse in New York got them arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

The joke?
Q: "How do you tell when a lawyer is lying?"
A: "His lips are moving"

The pair are due in court next month to face the charges. Not surprisingly, they are expected to plead protection under the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

Cheating at America's Army is a Cybercrime

A person, claiming to be a developer for the military recruitment game America's Army has made a posting in their forum that the government is cracking down on the game's cheaters.

"Our bans last week came without notice and took the bad guys by surprise. They don’t know the extend of what we know, and moreover how we know it. For example, we have the means to detect bad guy activities that I know the bad guys do not know we can detect. That’s the way we want it, too – while we haven’t banned them yet, we’re using them to collect more data, track down their friends, and their friends, and learn more as we discover new behavior."

Get that? So if you're an America's Army player and have a friend who's a player, and that person knows someone who cheats at America's Army, you might be justified in expecting government monitoring of your actions.

"Some of you (and clearly the bad guys are among them) don’t always remember that this game, and all accounts and derivative products, are the property of the United States Army. When you tamper with the game, not only are you breaking the EULA you’re misusing Army property – and, worse, you’re misusing US Army computer programs and equipment.

"Tampering with software and servers owned or used by the Army is cyber crime."

So now cheating at an online game is a cybercrime and presumably related to terrorism in some way. Cheating in online games is indeed a real problem. But I'm not sure that the kids who cheat at America's Army are in the same league as real terrorists who commit cybercrime.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Bush Buying Off Opinion Makers

The Bush Administration reportedly paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to Armstrong Williams, a prominent black commentator, to promote the government's so-called "No Child Left Behind" law. At least three Senators are asking for the money back. Mr. Williams says, now that he has the money, that he wouldn't do it again. In 2003, the Administration had reportedly spent $700,000 to produce fake news stories to promote the legislation.