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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

Contents

2392 Articles
94 Comments

19 years Ago

U.S Space Command (Noam Chomsky Redux)

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

ZMag has another radio interview with Noam Chomsky by John Campbell. It discusses the 1992 Pentagon draft of the <u>Defense Planning Guide</u> (excerpts of which were published in the NY Times of March 8, 1992 and which I am hard-pressed to find any trace of myself):

<q>The US must hold global power and a monopoly of force. It will then protect the new order while allowing others to pursue their legitimate interests as Washington defines them. The US must account sufficiently for the interests... [More]

Subscriptions for forums

Published on in earthli.com

New subscription service available for earthli Forums. Get the latest posts emailed to you.

Swissair succumbs

Published on in Miscellaneous

Swissair has been in trouble for a while now, but on September 30, they went into intense discussions with the Swiss government in attempt to deal with impending bankruptcy brought on by the worldwide passenger slump following the WTC attack. However, the final solution will involve Switzerland’s major banks, notably UBS and Credit Suisse:

<q>‘We think that it wouldn’t be right for the government to participate in a solution, and we don’t think that it would be necessary,‘ UBS Chairman Marcel... [More]

U.S chooses new U.N. Ambassador

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

John Negroponte got a September 14th approval from the Senate to be the new U.S ambassador to the United Nations. Unfortunately, he may not last long if the call to “root out all terrorists” is to be carried out in full. This article in the Newsday discusses his history, particularly his involvement in Honduras in the early ‘80s.

<q>There, he was paymaster for an unsavory covert army known as the Contras, who, under the tutelage of the United States, waged a dirty little war against the... [More]

Offer aid to increase national security

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

In the Newsday today, another pair of authors try to point out that all of this “tough talk” from the U.S. is not helping our actual national security.

<q>…what we really mean by “national security.” Do we choose the meaning it has had for 56 years − essentially domination and protection of the U.S. right to have its finger in every pie? Or do we mean the physical safety of the American people in their own country?</q>

What if we tried to change the basic feeling towards America in those... [More]

Did the U.S. sow what it reaped?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

The Economist argues in an opinion piece that regardless of the many ways in which the U.S. may have angered other countries, factions, religions and peoples, nothing it did could possibly explain an attack of such viciousness.

<q>America defends its interests, sometimes skilfully, sometimes clumsily, just as other countries do. Since power, like nature, abhors a vacuum, it steps into places where disorder reigns. On the whole, it should do so more, not less, often. Of all the great powers in... [More]

U.S. Finally Shares Evidence

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

CNN reports that the U.S. has shared its evidence of links to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden to the September 11 attack.

<q>A senior Bush administration source said the United States provided phone records and bank records involving al Qaeda members. This source said the records also spelled out a bin Laden link between the September 11 attacks and last year’s attack on the USS Cole at the port of Aden, Yemen, as well as the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.</q>

Upon reviewing... [More]

Chomsky and ZMag reactions

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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.

<q>… 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]

SeanBaby and OMM are back

Published on in Fun

Seanbaby returns from more than a month off with a 3-page discussion of homosexuality (and a little bit of Kevin Smith) and, as usual, ends up taking some potshots at everybody. Again, as usual, there’s some really good stuff here.

<q>People who cry about stereotypes are usually upset because they fall into them. We don’t have time to get to know every single person we see. We have to stereotype people in certain ways to know which one of them wants to kill us for our wallet, which ones can’t... [More]

Is it really just right and wrong?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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]”

First stable forum version

Published on in earthli.com

Initial earthli forums overhaul is completed. New posts piling up daily.

Rebuttal to MS rebuttal to Gartner

Published on in Technology

When Gartner issued their recommendation that companies stop using IIS (see forum posting), Microsoft responded that other vendors, notably Apache, also had security problems. To whit:

<q>It doesn’t matter what system you are running, if you don’t keep up to date you will be hit. </q>

The Register published replies to Microsoft’s response.

<q>…That’s not very smart. It’s like saying that it doesn’t matter whether you buy a Toyota Camry or a Russian Lada, because you will eventually have to... [More]

Bruce Schneier speaks

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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.

<q>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]

FTC shuts down pop-ad king

Published on in Technology

An article on Slashdot reports that the FTC is shutting down a number of sites that trap you into an endless cycle of pop-up windows. Many of these cycles involve porn and gambling site advertisements. One stumbles into them by mistyping popular web addresses.

Once again, the government shouldn’t be getting involved here. This guy is just using ingenuity to manipulate the functions of popular browsers. It’s not a virus. It doesn’t do any damage. The problem lies in the browsers. Here’s a... [More]

Think DMCA was bad? Here comes SSSCA!

Published on in Technology

An article at EE Times details a bill coming to Congress soon. This new bill pushed onto the floor of Congress by big players (MPAA with Disney and Fox in the lead), will force any company making a digital device to install hardware-level copyright protection. Let me clarify. That means any American company. In an already struggling economy, this is not a good idea. Who’s going to buy these devices? Probably a lot of people. Will they know that they’ve been crippled? Not until it’s too late.... [More]

W3C looks to promote patented standards

Published on in Technology

Ars Technica reports on a new proposal by the W3C which would allow them to promote standards which are not open. That is, standards that are copyrighted and/or patented by companies. This opens up future problems like the GIF one, in which Unisys laid in wait until the format was accepted as an open standard, then came forward with its patent. The article points out that the W3C seems to be in a remarkable hurry to pass this recommendation:

<q>As we[W3C] have begun to use portions of the... [More]

Taliban Oppression

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

An article at news.telegraph.co.uk 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:

<q>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]

New Oz pictures

Published on in earthli.com

2 new Oz pictures.

Eradication is the only way

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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

<q>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.</q>
Does our... [More]

Why not go after Boeing?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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]

New Forums opened

Published on in earthli.com

Work proceeds in the forums. Many new posts added. Existing posts separated into Current Events, Humor and Technology.

A Look at XP Licensing Policy

Published on in Technology

Believe it or not, ZDNet (albeit the British version) has weighed in with a scathing critique of Microsoft(There’s a great little analogy comparing Microsoft to a blue whale and its users to krill.), its licensing policies and its treatment of customers.

<q>…XP Home Edition says that your computing experience will be made less pleasant because the operating system will turn itself off if you change your computer too much, at which point you’ll have to go begging to Microsoft to be allowed to... [More]

DoCoMo, Telecom the Japanese way

Published on in Technology

There’s a good article on Wired about the largest telecom company in Japan. It covers a lot of how the Japanese are using cell phones and the approach a successful (as so many in Europe and the States are not) telecom company should take.

The only answer is a military one.

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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

<q>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.</q>

Andrew Targovnik of Syosset responds:

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

Stop Using IIS

Published on in Technology

Slashdot writes that the Gartner Group has come out with a statement recommending that businesses not use Microsoft’s web server.

Slashdot misreports the severity, though:

<q>Gartner remains concerned that viruses and worms will continue to attack IIS until Microsoft has released a completely rewritten, thoroughly and publicly tested, new release of IIS,‘ which they say has an 80% chance of happening by the end of next year.</q>

Note that the Slashdot quotes extend into the portion that is... [More]

Guilty until proven innocent

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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):

<q>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, <q>pose a significant risk of committing</q> such acts. It further allows the government to move against those who aid terrorists, serve as fronts for them or are <q>... [More]

Quick, before they come to their senses!

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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):

<q>[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

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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

<q>…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?

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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]

War

Published on in Public Policy & Politics

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]