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Trans-Atlantic flight from Britain diverted to airport in Maine

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 22:30 by John Sinteur in category: Security


A trans-Atlantic flight from Manchester, England, was diverted to the Bangor International Airport today, officials said.

American Airlines Flight 55, en route to Chicago, was diverted for security reasons, said Arlene Murray, New England regional spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, who declined to elaborate.

Can we please move November forward a bit? The sooner the elections are over, the sooner we’re rid of this crap security theater.

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Fun with Photoshop

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 19:42 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

More here.


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Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 17:19 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon






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Airport ban on carrying liquids is permanent, warn security chiefs

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 17:02 by John Sinteur in category: News, Security


The 200 million passengers who pass through British airports each year will face high levels of security “permanently”, senior government officials say.

Passengers will be ban-ned from taking liquids bought outside the security screening zone on an “enduring basis”, security experts at the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The officials indicated that any relaxation of the rules would depend on the development of technology able to detect all potentially explosive liquids, the perceived level of threat and the experience gained from operating the procedures.

In political terms, “permanent” is probably only until after the next election.

Be Afraid, Citizen! We are at war with Eurasia!

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  1. Oh, I see the pattern.
    You can’t bring liquids on the plane, but you can buy them from the stewardess.
    At a reasonable price of course.

Harmonize the language

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 16:15 by John Sinteur in category: Joke

The European commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English” (or preferably, “SI English”).

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords containing “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

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  1. lol..
    I had it with United Nations some 10 years ago.
    But still good 🙂

It’s finders keepers in NH

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 14:55 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News


The state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that the government can keep and destroy more than 500 CDs taken from Michael Cohen, owner of Pitchfork Records in Concord, in 2003 even though the state failed to prove that a single disk was illegal.

Cohen was arrested for attempting to sell bootleg recordings. But the police case collapsed when it turned out that most of the recordings were made legally. Police dropped six of the seven charges, and Cohen went to trial on one charge. He beat it after the judge concluded that the recording was legal.


Indeed, the majority’s reasoning is chilling. The majority concedes that no crime or illegal act was proven, but allows the confiscation anyway by concluding that a crime might have been committed. The majority used words such as “apparently,? “likely? and “would have? to describe the alleged illegal activity.

People should be arrested and their cars impounded because they are likely to get into an accident.

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Teacher Placed On Leave For Hanging Foreign Flags

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 14:24 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


A Jefferson County geography teacher was placed on paid administrative on the second day of school for hanging several flags from other countries in his classroom.

Eric Hamlin said the flags were part of a world geography lesson plan at Carmody Middle School and refused to take them down. The school’s principal escorted Hamlin out of class Wednesday morning after he refused to remove the flags of China and Mexico.

The school district placed him on administrative leave for insubordination, citing a Colorado law that makes it illegal to display foreign flags permanently in schools.

“Under state law, foreign flags can only be in the classroom because it’s tied to the curriculum. And the principal looked at the curriculum, talked to the teacher, and found that there was really no curriculum coming up in the next few weeks that supported those flags being in the classroom,” said Jeffco Public Schools spokeswoman Lynn Setzer.

And after the predictable media attention:


The Jefferson County School District said Thursday that it has reinstated a geography teacher who was placed on paid administrative leave because he refused to take down foreign flags hung up in his classroom.

The school district said Eric Hamlin will be back in class at Carmody Middle School and so will his flags. Hamlin said he needs to think about whether he wants to return to the school or not.

“I did ask the area superintendent if I could take one more day, tomorrow, (to) think through this,” said Hamlin. “It’s the first time I’ve been torn in quite a while.”

The school said that he can have the flags up for only six weeks at a time and then he will have to rotate them out, since state law makes it illegal to display foreign flags permanently in schools.

That newspaper allows comments on their stories, and there’s comedy gold in there:

In the post 9/11 year of terrorism, I think the schools should take one week and discuss one county at a time with one flag at a time. The US Flag should never be removed from the classroom as the other countries are being talked about. To leave all the flags up in the classroom all at once is wrong and I am glad there a law to ban this. Too many flags confuses the kids, and it affects their patriotism and allegance to the US flag. We need to also bring the Bible back into the school, where it belongs. Our nation was born as a republic not democratic. The pledge says, “And to the Republic we stand, One nation, under GOD, indevisible and Liberty and justice for all”. No where does it say to the Democratic we stand. It’s so sad people twist our pledge and are anti American.

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  1. What if the teacher should rotate his flag display for two days longer than permitted by the school principal? Oh, horrors!!

Who has killed more, Satan or God?

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 13:57 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


In a previous post, I counted the number of people that were killed by the God in the Bible. I came up with 2,128,335, which, of course, greatly underestimates God’s total death toll, since it only includes those killings for which specific numbers are given. No attempt was made to include the victims of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc., with which the good book is filled. Still, 2 million is a respectable number even for world class killers.

But how does this compare with Satan? How many did he kill in the Bible?

Well I can only find ten, and even these he shares with God, since God allowed him to do it as a part of a bet. I’m talking about the seven sons and three daughters of Job.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job … And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD … put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house…And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. — Job 1:1-19

So it seems that both Satan and God share the blame (or the credit) for these killings. If so, then the tally would be:

God 2,128,345+
Satan 10

No contest.

Grab yourself some popcorn and go read the comments in the thread.

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  1. how can you say or talk about good in that way god is perfect beautiful and no matter what you say a reall cristian will always follow him. no matter what you say god will always be god. god is a good peace, lo9ve everything a person needs. shame on who ever did this put remember good forgives if you mean it from the heart. remember god is the life the light and the truth]

  2. I find it funny how people who are quote “religious” have no concept of what God is. In the old testament, which is taken from Hebrew scriptures, there is no mention of Satan. He was added by King James in that rewrite (keep in mind that you read a bible that is the word of God and has been translated a number of times by kings and politicians) The Hebrews, as per mosses, worship and recognize only one God. Okay think about that ONE God. Meaning all bad and good is done by, the one God. Now consider that death is not bad if you believe in God, you go to heaven if you are a good person ( I won’t even start about heaven and hell thing). Re-read the bible and understand that God is everything, nothing exist without God and things happen because of God. People die and wars happen and children are born because of God. As well if you truly respect God capitalize the word God.

  3. Ahhh… nothing like the smell of fanaticsm in the morning…

    The “literal” word of a god… uh-huh. Who told them?… and ifyou say “god”, then who told him?it’sa nice circular argument “God told me. How do I know it’s god? He told me so. And so on ad infinitum”.

  4. The answer to “Who told them” isn’t God, it’s “my local shaman”. You’ll end up with the same circular argument, of course..

  5. “People die and wars happen and children are born because of God.”

    So, what you say is that people has no responsibility in these things, and can not be hold accountable, because it was all because of God.
    And then I ask: where has free will gone?

  6. The thought of free will, if you belive in God can you belive in free will. Then why do bad things happen, because God lets them or free will let them happen. A drunk driver runs into a bus of school kids…is it God or free will of the drunk driver???

A Man, a Plan, a Dam. Then, an F.B.I. Call

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 12:07 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News


On July 25, Jim Bensman of Alton, Ill., attended a public meeting on the proposed construction of a bypass channel for fish at a dam on the Mississippi River. Less than a week later, he was under investigation by the F.B.I. — the victim, depending on how you look at it, of either a comedy of errors or alarming antiterror zeal.

The meeting was organized by the Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains Mississippi River navigation systems, including the Melvin Price Lock and Dam in East Alton, Ill., where it is considering construction of a fish passage.

At the meeting, Mr. Bensman, a coordinator with Heartwood, an environmental organization, suggested the corps simply destroy the dam. It was an idea the corps itself had considered. In fact, a photograph of an exploding dam was included in the corps’ PowerPoint presentation, explosive demolition being by far the most common method of dam removal.

Mr. Bensman said he had long criticized the system of locks and dams as environmentally damaging and an unfair government subsidy benefiting boat traffic over railroads. “I’ve been fighting these things for decades,? he said.

But news accounts of the hearing did not put it quite like that. One newspaper said simply that he “would like to see the dam blown up.?

On July 31, he said, he got a telephone call from someone who identified himself as Matt Federhofer, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There is such a person at the agency’s office in Fairview Heights, Ill., a St. Louis suburb, but he did not respond to a voice mail message yesterday.

When Mr. Bensman learned what the call was about, “it was just kind of disbelief,? he said. “How could anyone be so utterly stupid as to think that was a terrorist threat?? For one thing, he said, it would be ridiculous for a would-be terrorist to announce explosive intentions at a public meeting, much less a meeting sponsored by an arm of the military.

But when the agent said he wanted to visit him at home, Mr. Bensman became frightened. “I was thinking, I need to talk to an attorney,? Mr. Bensman recalled. “And he said, ‘Well, O.K., I will put you down as not cooperating.’ ?


Mr. Bensman, who wrote an account of his experience that is circulating on the Internet, said he had been informed that he is not now suspected of anything. But he worries that his phone may be tapped and wonders what will happen if he is pulled over for a traffic violation: “Are the cops going to think I am a terrorist? You never know what is going to happen nowadays.?

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Senator puts ‘secret hold’ on bill to open federal records

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 11:22 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News


In an ironic twist, legislation that would open up the murky world of government contracting to public scrutiny has been derailed by a secret parliamentary maneuver.

An unidentified senator placed a “secret hold” on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year. The database would bring transparency to federal spending and be as simple to use as conducting a Google search.

The measure had been unanimously passed in a voice vote last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It was on the fast track for floor action before Congress recessed Aug. 4 when someone put a hold on the measure.

Now the bill is in political limbo. Under Senate rules, unless the senator who placed the hold decides to lift it, the bill will not be brought up for a vote.

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  1. Apparently, freedom functions like an economy. One cannot increase freedom one place without decreasing freedom elsewhere. All that glorious freedom we are giving the Iraqis, Lebanese, and Afghans is being deducted from our freedom at home. Your blog illustrates these debits very well, thanks.

Black Kids Sent to Back of Bus

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 10:02 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, News


A Louisiana school district suspended a white bus driver while it investigates complaints that she ordered nine black children to sit at the back of the bus.

No previous complaints have been lodged against the driver, who has worked several years for the Red River Parish school district, school Superintendent Kay Easley said Thursday. She refused to reveal the driver’s name.

“I’m trying to get all this straight, and settled, so we can all move on,” Easley said.

Two mothers, both black, sparked the investigation with a complaint on Monday that their children and the other black children had been ordered to sit in two rows of seats in the rear of the bus.

“In all these years, I’ve never had a problem like this,” said Janice Williams, whose four children ride public school buses.

One of her children, Jarvonica Williams, 16, said the bus driver allowed many white students to have seats all to themselves while some blacks were forced to stand or sit in others’ laps.

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‘Suspicious’ passengers had no terrorist intent

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 9:58 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon, News


The twelve passengers detained after a plane turned back to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Wednesday have all been released. The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office said on Thursday evening that the twelve arrestees had done nothing wrong. The Northwest Airlines DC-10 headed back to Schiphol, escorted by two Dutch airforce F16 jet fighters, at the request of the pilot, who reported that a number of passengers had been behaving suspiciously. The plane, which had 149 passengers on board, was destined for the Indian city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay).

The 12 passengers detained – all of them Indian nationals – were initially held on suspicion of ‘attempted violence on board a plane in mid-flight thereby posing a threat to the aircraft’. During questioning of the twelve, however, no evidence was found to substantiate this suspicion. Their mobile telephones and laptop computers were also examined, as was the Northwest Airlines plane, but no signs of any explosive material was found. The Public Prosecutor’s Office therefore emphasised on Thursday evening that the twelve passengers had not had any terrorist intent.


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Dangerous Patent Law Ruling Threatens Free and Open Source Software

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 8:17 by John Sinteur in category: Free Software, Intellectual Property


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn a dangerous patent law ruling that could pose a serious threat to Free and Open Source Software projects.

In a recent decision, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed its own “suggestion test” as the main method for determining when a patent should be found obvious over knowledge in the public domain. Under this test, even the most obvious incremental advances and add-ons can be patented unless the Patent Office or a defendant in court produces a document that shows someone else suggested it prior to the patent being filed.

“The Federal Circuit’s suggestion test forces litigants to search through reams of technical papers for a document in which someone, somewhere, bothers to state the obvious,” said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry, who co-authored the amicus brief. “This is inefficient and burdensome, and contrary to the principles, policies, and standards the Supreme Court has upheld.”

In its amicus brief filed Tuesday, EFF shows how this “suggestion test” has led to a massive surge in bogus patenting, especially in software. These bad patents then become weapons against legitimate innovators — especially those working on Free and Open Source Software projects.

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Locked, but not secure

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 7:56 by John Sinteur in category: Security



The most popular locking mechanism in the world utilizes the pin tumbler design, first developed 4000 years ago in Egypt and then rediscovered and perfected a century and a half ago by Linus Yale. There are billions of these locks in the world and they come in all sizes, configurations, and security ratings. Some are secure; most are not, and even some high security rated cylinders can be easily compromised. All that is required to open many times of pin tumbler cylinders — the kind of lock that probably keeps the bad guys out of your home — is a bump key and a tool for creating a bit of force. The bump key shown above opens an extremely popular five pin lock, and the plastic bumping tool is produced by Peterson manufacturing, although many others are now being offered for sale. With these two cheap implements, anyone — and I do mean anyone — can get into your home or business in a matter of seconds.


There is significant misunderstanding about the bumping technique, what locks are affected, and which products will provide real security against this threat. Barry Wels and I discussed bumping during a panel at HOPE in New York in July, and Matt Fiddler and I presented the same topic at DEFCON 14. A great deal of international media attention resulted from these talks because of the apparent simplicity of opening cylinders that were previously believed to be secure. The photograph to the right shows an eleven year old girl that opened a popular five pin cylinder in seconds at Defcon 14. She had no prior experience or expertise. You can watch a video (WMV) of her opening the lock here, it’s actually a little scary.

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LA power outages

Posted on August 25th, 2006 at 7:29 by John Sinteur in category: Security


It is *so* hard to do redundancy on an industrial-scale. I.e., for a large data center. One reason the attempt is so frequently doomed is that is is *SO* hard to test a critical system. Here is a true story of such a failure. I know of a facility has a diesel generator, and even plenty of diesel, enough for easily powering critical systems for a long time. Wanting to be safe they test their generator every month. Time passes. Something goes wrong with the utility power, so the generator fires up. All is running as expected–until the generator stops. Problem: All that diesel. It can’t all sit in a gravity-fed tank on top of the generator, most of it is in the big tanks, some distance off, and fed with a pump. Specific Problem: The pump was powered off the utility power not the generator power; works great during monthly tests, but doesn’t work well at all when the utility is down.

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