633 Articles


21 years Ago

Chomsky and ZMag reactions

Published by marco on

This interview with Noam Chomsky on ZMag is a question and answer session from September 19, 2001. It covers a range of topics involving terrorism, imperialism and, of course, the attack on September 11.

… we should recognize that in much of the world the US is regarded as a leading terrorist state, and with good reason. We might bear in mind, for example, that the US was condemned by the World Court for “unlawful use of force” (international terrorism) and then vetoed a Security... [More]

Is it really just right and wrong?

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On the same day that the mayor of New York addressed the UN, Stuart Diamond writes in the Newsday:

“Here is how much of the world sees us: We consume 35 percent of the world’s resources with 5 percent of the people. Our AIDS victims get excellent medicines; theirs don’t. “Globalization” means our multinationals crowd out their local firms, creating jobless hardship. Health care, sanitation, education, transportation, heat and food are poor or nonexistent while we clean the plate. … We feel... [More]”

Bruce Schneier speaks

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Bruce Schneier, an extremely well known security and cryptography expert, examines ways of preventing future attacks and debunks several proposals by the U.S. government as placatives without real merit.

Computer security experts have a lot of expertise that can be applied to the real world. First and foremost, we have well-developed senses of what security looks like. We can tell the difference between real security and snake oil. And the new airport security rules, put in place after... [More]

Taliban Oppression

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An article at has an extensive interview with a former Taliban enforcer. This man, with many others, formed the police force of the Taliban, charged with enforcing their ever-stricter and more oppressive rules. Their instructions were to:

You must become so notorious for bad things that when you come into an area people will tremble in their sandals. Anyone can do beatings and starve people. I want your unit to find new ways of torture so terrible that the screams will... [More]

Eradication is the only way

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That’s the consensus opinion of today’s Newsday letters section. It’s full of cogent discourse like:

If we fail to respond, make no mistake it will be perceived as empathy. The next time − and there will be a next time − will 20,000 American lives be lost? … I would like to ask the family and friends of those murdered by the hijackings if they want to “turn the other cheek.” … I’d feel terrible if I did less for my children than the previous generations have done for us.
Does our... [More]

Why not go after Boeing?

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They’re the ones who made the planes which were turned into weapons of mass destruction. Sure, that sounds stupid. It’s because it is. That’s the same argument that has lulled most of the government and 94% (or whatever the current poll shows) of the people of America. This article on CNET discusses the holes in the argument against cryptography. There’s so many, it’s hard to know where to begin. I think most of the people for the anti-crypto measures know their argument doesn’t hold water, but... [More]

The only answer is a military one.

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In a recent New York Newsday, an editor, Howard Gardner, statemed in an article:

If we can carve away that arrogance, replacing it with a tad of humility, we will gain the respect of the civilized world. And, in the process, we will so isolate the fanatics and terrorists that the rest of the world will shrink away from them.

Andrew Targovnik of Syosset responds:

…This is typical liberal utopian garbage. So let’s be humble and this will reduce terrorist attacks? Please. There’s... [More]

Guilty until proven innocent

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Apparently, we aren’t going to take the careful approach to not angering any more of the rest of the world. (Newsday: Buck Stops Here):

The executive order is extremely broad in scope, allowing the government to freeze the assets not only of those who have committed terrorist acts but also of those who, in the government’s view, pose a significant risk of committing such acts. It further allows the government to move against those who aid terrorists, serve as fronts for them or are ... [More]

Quick, before they come to their senses!

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This is all happening quite quickly as well. A lot of measures are being pushed through. Attorney General John Ashcroft is imparting a sense of urgency to his own agenda for increased domestic surveillance powers (Newsday: Act Fast on Terrorism):

[He] urged Congress to act expeditiously to broaden laws aimed at curbing terrorist activity in the United States, including allowing more detentions of legal immigrants, allowing expanded wiretaps on suspected terrorists and gaining greater access... [More]

Comprehension != Justification

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One response I’ve seen to these examinations of U.S. foreign policy is this letter in the Newsday:

Sheryl McCarthy and Jerry Falwell both agree that the United States brought disaster on itself. While Falwell says this is a punishment from God for our having become so secular, thus making the murderers agaents of God’s will, McCarthy sees this as the inevitable retribution for our national hubris and for having a foreign policy that is in our own best interests. This type of fuzzy... [More]

Is privacy such a big deal?

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There’s been a bit of a back and forth on the privacy issue in the last few days. JonKatz of Slashdot published an article that’s a complete turnaround from any of his past positions. It’s an interesting read in that it advocates avoiding ‘kneejerk’ reactions to protect privacy. I think that’s good. Kneejerk reactions are never good, it does everyone good to think about their positions and come up with cogent arguments.

However, I still think that this immediate jump to abrogating privacy in... [More]


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Looks like things are unfolding pretty much as they can be expected to. Troops are massing, reserves are called up. Osama Bin Laden goes from someone with a history of terrorism, to a possible suspect to the prime suspect to wanted dead or alive, all in a matter of days.

The President has pledged to rid the world of evil-doers and rout out terrorists and countries that harbor terrorists. The U.S. and its foreign policy is arguably the biggest evil-doer around and also happens to harbor the... [More]

Why was the WTC attacked?

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Those are the questions we have to ask. It’s not seditious to wonder whether the U.S. courted danger. Sedition is a word hopefully left buried in the past for this country. In order to prevent such things from happening again, we must try to understand why they happened.

The New York Newsday has a good overview of Afghanistan’s history and current situation.

For those at all curious on what could incite the attack on the WTC, go here for an interview with Osama Bin Laden.

Israelis and... [More]

U.S. Government wants encryption keys (again)

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It’s times like these that make ‘cynic’ seem to be synonymous with ‘realist’. No sooner can you start to worry about civil rights infringement than you find more cases of it being proposed than you can count.

How is it that the notion of preventing honest citizens from using encryption somehow increases our freedom from attack? Does Congress truly believe that terrorists who will stop at nothing will make sure to use only legal, government-sanctioned software with backdoors neatly in place? I... [More]

WTC Collapse was well-designed

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Why did the tower collapse? How did it manage to collapse so neatly? Was it a lucky hit?

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The New Scientist also weighs in.

Civil Rights the next casualty?

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In the wake of the WTC attack, it is unfortunate to see the stirrings of government agencies that see this as an opportunity to legalize infringements of basic rights on Americans too shellshocked and/or frightened to resist.

Already, on Tuesday afternoon, the FBI was shopping their home-grown packet-sniffer, dubbed ‘Carnivore’, around to all the major ISPs again. This is a blatant, crude move that will likely work for many ISPs who don’t want to be seen as uncooperative or harboring terrorist... [More]

The FISA Court

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Domestic Spying and other wonderful stuff.

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Some see it as an opportunity

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The FBI has already started to push its Carnivore strategy again. Now that the nation is properly ‘terrified’, they figure we’re a much easier target for intruding on our rights of privacy. For most ISPs, the FBI was right.

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FBI search methods matter of national security

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The FBI has been granted protection under the Classified Information Procedures Act. They don’t have to explain how a key-logging program was placed onto a private machine.

Check the Register for more information.

Jean Louis Gassèe

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“I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense — I deserve it.”

Jean Louis Gassèe

See also an article on Byte on boot loaders.

Fact-checking at CNN

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From their article titled “AMD allies with Transmeta”

“Most of today’s microprocessors are “32-bit,” which means they process data 32 bits at a time. It also refers to the size of the “pointer,” which determines how much data the processor can address directly. Current 32-bit processors can address 4 gigabytes of data.“

“The industry has been gradually moving toward a 64-bit architecture, which multiplies the amount of data the... [More]

Suck takes on the music industry

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A look at what ‘big media’ is trying to get away with these days…

China/U.S. Standoff

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More kids kill themselves than other kids

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This is an interesting article focussing child suicide rates and why they are ignored in favor of reporting child murder rates.

Another pick-me-up article:½018208&mode=nocomment

Frustrated by the Electoral College?

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Want to get rid of it? Not so fast…

Usability testing for voting apparatus

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Dan Bricklin has weighed in on the usability of the Palm Beach voting ballot. He’s one of the inventors of Visicalc (the first spreadsheet program) and a proponent of usable interfaces for software.