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Steep Cliffs on Mars

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 20:33 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

Vertical cliffs of nearly two kilometers occur near the North Pole of Mars.

Also visible in the above image of the Martian North Polar Cap are red areas of rock and sand, white areas of ice, and dark areas of unknown composition but hypothesized to be volcanic ash.

The cliffs are thought to border volcanic caldera.

Although the sheer drop of the Martian cliffs is extreme, the drop is not as deep as other areas in our Solar System, including the 3.4-kilometer depth of Colca Canyon on Earth and the 20 kilometer depth of Verona Rupes on Uranus’ moon Miranda.

The above image, digitally reconstructed into a perspective view, was taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera on board the ESA‘s robotic Mars Express spacecraft currently orbiting Mars.

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World Famous Russian Clown Brings Snowmen to Moscow

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 20:31 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


An unusual scene accompanied this year’s opening of world-famous Moscow clown Vyacheslav Polunin’s Snow Show at Moscow’s Vakhtangov Theater featuring his signature mimes and clowns: dozens of snowmen dotted Arbat Street in central Moscow — a prelude to the Snow Show that runs between January 23 and February 2 at the theater.

Polunin ordered the snowmen made by his self-styled Academy of Fools. Every student in the Academy of Fools — or anyone who wants to join this “academy? – must take a final exam in January… by making a snowman.

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I Pirate Hollywood Black T-shirt

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 8:40 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


This shirt says a lot while saying nothing at all. Let the symbols do the talking. Are you sick of hearing all of the doom and gloom from internet pirating as if the movie industry has not screwed the audience every inch of the way. What I am sick of is the potential collusion between the movie industry and the propaganda machine of the government. This is the first time in history when the movie industry needs the government to pass laws that limit civil liberties to insure their profits and the government has a submissive partner in oppressing our rights to distribute information. Together they make one sick little puppy that will create the propaganda and the laws that will destroy the creative potential of the “digital revolution”. Big Brother can only exist if the media industry allows intrusive behavior to exist. This is the first time in history when the media industry needs the government to create laws that will insure their profits and they will support intrusive measures to get those laws.

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Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 8:31 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 8:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


The archbishop told Il Giornale: “The book is everywhere. There is a very real risk that many people who read it will believe that the fables it contains are true.”

I wonder…. is he talking about the Da Vinci Code, or the Bible?

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The Man with No Country

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 8:19 by John Sinteur in category: News


Although I was born in the United States, I lived most of my life in Libya with my father. In Libya, people live under an oppressive government. One of the most widely known stories happened in the early 1980’s. Several university students were taken from their classrooms. They got hanged just tens of meters away from their classes in the campus square. The only thing they had done was not agreeing with the government’s point of view. The executions were shown on the government TV. The students did not have any trial. Their lives did not mean anything to the people who killed them.

After I left the U.S. at age 3, all of my connection with my mother was cut for several reasons. The political situation between Libya and the United States was one of them. I did not hear from my mother for 15 years. I did not even know what she looked like because I did not have a single picture of her. The day in 1998 that my sister and I saw my mother after so long was very emotional for all of us.

My mother was the only American who came to Tripoli with a group of mothers from the United Kingdom whose children were in Libya. The mothers had been unable to see their children because of the political problems between Libya and the West, and family difficulties with the fathers. An arrangement between a Libyan government-controlled organization and a social organization in the United Kingdom allowed the mothers to visit Libya to see their children for two weeks.

The next summer, my mother came by herself. I noticed that I was being followed everywhere I went by two men. Clearly, they were doing their job! I was afraid that one day I might disappear if I said or did something that the government and their not very secret police disliked. I felt their eyes were on me even when I slept.

The summer of 2000 I went with my sister to meet my mother and stepfather in Malta and to get my American passport. There is no American consulate or embassy in Libya. I took my passport back to Tripoli in my shoe. Luckily, I was not searched.

In the summer of 2001 I decided to go with my sister to visit the United States for the first time in 18 years. It was love, sort of, at first sight.

When I came here, I thought that this country was going to be my home. At the Los Angeles airport, I saw people in the line where the sign said “Americans check in here.” Those Americans were of African, Asian, South American and European descent. We were treated equally.

I stayed here for five weeks. I went to see my grandparents in Oregon, and my stepfather’s parents in Colorado. We had a great time at my uncle’s cabin near a beautiful lake in Washington. We went by car down the coast of Washington, Oregon and California.

For the first time, I saw the Pacific Ocean and the redwoods. Everything was so beautiful. I saw that people spoke out against the government without fear of being followed or arrested. I felt the freedom in the air. I loved this country so much that I decided to live here permanently. I wanted to be an American, an American-Arab or Arab-American. I did not care which.

I told my mother that I wanted to live with her. She was thrilled to hear that.

I had to take my sister back to Libya, tell my father what I had decided and get my college transcripts. On my way back to Tripoli my mother and stepfather went with us all the way to the gate of the airplane to say goodbye. When I left on September 6th, I was treated like any American. I was so proud of my blue passport.

I remember the night I talked to my father about coming to live in the United States. I saw tears on his face. He told me, “Son, you are a man now and you can make your own decisions.” I remember that night very well because the day after would change my fate forever.

I was having lunch at my friend’s farm when his cousin came running to us. He told us that an airplane had crashed into a skyscraper in New York. My first reaction was that it must have been an accident. We went to the TV to see what was going on. I was standing not believing what I was looking at when we saw the other airplane crashing into the second tower. I felt like a bullet went through my heart. I could not stand on my feet. When I went back home, my father asked me whether I still wanted to go to the United States. I was determined to go. I was not afraid.

I came back to the United States two months after September the 11th. Everything was different, like day and night. The United States was at war. This war was with an enemy that the government had little knowledge about. I saw how the airport had transformed from almost a bus station with metal detectors to a chaos of lines and confusion. There were soldiers with guns, just like in Libya. I was asked many questions about my passport and my family and why I was in America. They asked me the same questions several times. All of a sudden, I had become a suspect simply because of the color of my skin, my name and my religion. My blue passport meant nothing to them. Instead of an Arab-American, I was now an Arab-Suspect.

I understood why this was happening. America was attacked. I thought America was right to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda. I thought that after the war Arabs and Muslims would not be treated differently. I was wrong.

I have traveled by airplane six times overseas and four times in the U.S. in the past three years. I notice that I am selected in their “random search” every single time before I get into an airplane. I have been “interviewed” several times, once for more than an hour. Not only me. My mother and my stepfather are selected every time they travel as well. Also every time before I leave the package claim area I get pulled aside for another full search. All that treatment because my name is [Ibrahim] and my religion is Islam. It is humiliating to have my freedom in the hands of people who don’t understand my religion or my culture.

The war on Iraq makes everything worse. What happens at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo shames me, but this does not seem to matter very much to other Americans. When I am in the airport now and they search me I wonder if they would torture me. President Bush talks about how bad Iran and Syria are, and I worry we will have more war against Muslims. I think Bush believes in a Crusade, not in freedom and democracy.

September the 11th robbed my right to be like any other American. September the 11th gave the excuse for the government to chew my freedom and my pride. Government policies let airport authorities digest my American citizenship into a name on the “must search list.” September the 11th made the United States act in ways that sometimes makes me ashamed of my blue passport.

I still love America. But I am thinking about moving to another country. I am now worried about my life here. I am worried about what will happen to us if another terror attack happens. Will the government put all of the Arabs or Muslims in camps like what they did to the Japanese in World War II?

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Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 8:10 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

A lion goes for his prey in a Chinese safari park, which have agreed to stop staging live feeding shows in which horses and oxen are given to tigers who tear them to pieces for visitors’ entertainment(AFP/File)

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  1. Cool.

Microsoft lifts curtain on Indigo

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 7:19 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


Microsoft has released an early version of Indigo, a new communications system intended to let Windows programs more easily connect to other software.


The goal of Indigo is to simplify the process of building distributed applications, where software components communicate across a network using Web services protocols. For example, the Indigo communications system will allow an application written with Microsoft’s .Net tools to share information with a Java application without the need for special code to bridge the two systems.

Now that all the DCOM holes have been plugged (either at the OS, or at the firewall, or both), let’s pick a new port number that’ll be open and listening to the world by default, and on which all the OS components will have to rely. It sounds really cool on paper if you’re a CTO, but is actually the first line from the functional spec for “A platform for writing remote exploits” to anybody with even a millineuron of cynicism left in their brain. And microsoft knows this – look at the way you pronounce Indego: in they go!

Indigo will replace the five different programming methods that Microsoft has today for sending messages between two programs in a distributed system, said Ari Bixhorn, the lead product manager for Web services strategy at Microsoft.

And when I see how many windows98 installations I still run into, I think this can be rephrased as “Indigo will add a sixth different programming method for sending messages between two programs in a distributed system”.

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Online purchase could give you away

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 7:10 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself


Retailers could guess your age, sex, birthday and wedding anniversary simply from the types of gifts purchased for you online and their timing, according to a patent granted to online retail giant, Amazon.

The information could be used to remind your loved ones of an impending special occasion and offer gift suggestions.

Currently Amazon makes personalised suggestions to customers based on previous purchases by that customer, previous web pages browsed and comparisons between customers who have bought similar products. But the company may vastly increase its predictive capability in the future.

“Dear short, fat, balding, over-the-hill, poorly-dressed, divorced and lonely couch-potato. We have some wonderful discounts to fit in with your special life-style….”

All you have to do is buy ‘inappropriate’ gifts for your friends and it’ll keep suggesting more of them!

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Auditors Find IRS Workers Prone to Hackers

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 6:57 by John Sinteur in category: Security


More than one-third of Internal Revenue Service employees and managers who were contacted by Treasury Department inspectors posing as computer technicians provided their computer login and changed their password, a government report said Wednesday.

The good news:

That was a 50 percent improvement when compared with a similar test in 2001, when 71 employees cooperated and changed their passwords.

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Robert Fairlie’s Patent Double Engine

Posted on March 17th, 2005 at 0:46 by Michael in category: Funny!, Great Picture

Double engine

More here.

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