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A Fixation With Secrecy

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 18:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


In 1971, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird punctuated his plea to Congress for more cold war appropriations with a graphic display of information that revealed the nation on guard with 54 Titan and 1,000 Minuteman nuclear missiles, plus 30 strategic bomber squadrons. In making his case, Mr. Laird exemplified the idea that a little transparency is no drawback in a democracy.

Thirty-five years later, the Bush administration, which has consistently demonstrated an extraordinary mania for secrecy, is blacking that public information out of history. That’s right: it has reclassified the number of missiles and bombers from the Nixon era as some fresh national security secret, even though historians and officials in the old Soviet Union long have had it available on their research shelves.

What strange compulsion drives such “silly secrecy,? as it is aptly described by officials of the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research library at George Washington University? The archive published a report on how retroactive the administration has become in its obsession with creating secrets out of interesting information. The blacked-out missile and defense policy information dates to the 1960’s. Soviet numbers are left untouched on the open record, while the old American armada is freshly cloaked. What’s next? Classifying Civil War ironclads and cannons?

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Raalte vele malen bedreigender dan Brein

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 18:30 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

Eerst deze lezen…

verbaasd staan…

dan kijken wie de auteur is.

Ah. Helder.

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PI announces the 2006 Stupid Security Competition

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 15:47 by John Sinteur in category: Security


Stupid security has become a global menace. From the airport that this month emptied out a full plane because a passenger was drinking from a lemonade bottle, to the British schools that fingerprint their children to “stop? the theft of library books, to the airline company that refused to allow passengers to bring books or magazines onto the plane, the world has become infested with bumptious administrators competing to hinder or harass us – and often for no good reason whatever.

The sensitive and sensible folk at Privacy International have endured enough of this treatment. So we are running an international competition to discover the world’s most pointless, intrusive, stupid and self-serving security measures.

The “Stupid Security Awards” aim to highlight the absurdities of the security industry. Privacy International’s director, Simon Davies, said his group had taken the initiative because of “innumerable? security initiatives around the world that had absolutely no genuine security benefit. The awards were first staged in 2003 and attracted over 5,000 nominations. This will be the second competition in the series.


Privacy International is calling for nominations to name and shame the worst offenders. The competition closes on October 31st 2006. The award categories are:

* Most Egregiously Stupid Award
* Most Inexplicably Stupid Award
* Most Annoyingly Stupid Award
* Most Flagrantly Intrusive Award
* Most Stupidly Counter Productive Award

The competition will be judged by an international panel of well-known security experts, public policy specialists, privacy advocates and journalists.

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Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 13:59 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

Guess which country gave Iran a nuclear reactor and enriched uranium?

Hint — the same country gave Iraq chemical weapons

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  1. the “lord” giveth and the “lord” taketh away.

R-rated smokes screened

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 13:50 by John Sinteur in category: News



Smokers and cigarette sellers are going to extraordinary levels to avoid graphic new tobacco warnings.
Retailers are displaying packets upside down so the explicit health warnings are not visible to customers.

And smokers are requesting specific packs, which have statistical warnings rather than gruesome images of smoking-related illnesses.

Other are buying cheap plastic cigarette packet covers or transferring their smokes to “retro” glo-mesh containers.

The trend comes as new research shows more than half of Victorians want plain paper packaging on tobacco products.

Shocking images of gangrenous limbs, cancerous mouths and choked arteries were introduced to Victoria in March.

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Are you a psychopath?

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 13:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


At least one Australian police force is using a well-known US psychology test in an attempt to filter-out psychopaths wanting to join up, it’s been revealed today. The problem is the 567 questionnaire is so well known that it’s available on the Internet, along with recommended answers for the true and false quiz. Questions range from the predictable (“I am a very sociable person?) to the downright strange (“Evil spirits possess me at times?). Take the test yourself by following the link below.

The Herald Sun newspaper, which revealed the test today, opted not to publish details on where to find it on the Internet to protect police security. But given that the newspaper published examples of questions, which with the help of Google means you can find it in a matter of seconds, Gotcha thought we’d save you the trouble.

The questions on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index (or Inventory, as it is also known) and some recommended answers can be found here.

The test is described as “the most widely used and misused personality test in the world?. You can read more about its history on Wikipedia.

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Many in New Orleans can’t afford insurance

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 12:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


“It used to be the conversation went, ‘What’s the price? What’s the square footage? And where is it located??’ says local real estate agent Richard Jeansonne, co-owner of French Quarter Realty. “Now the conversation is, ’What’s the price? What’s the square footage? Did it flood and can I get insurance??’ he said.

And the answer to that last question is often “Sure, for over $800 a month.”

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Hot fuel for you and cold cash for big oil

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 8:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


Lesley “Lucky? Duke’s mood darkens with every drop of diesel that flows into his 2005 Freightliner big rig.

The 52-year-old independent trucker from Hertford, N.C., has just dropped off a load of potatoes and now is topping off his tank on a sweltering summer day.

He whips out a thermometer and takes the temperature of the $2.80-per-gallon fuel gushing into his truck’s tanks. The thermometer hits 80. Then 90. Finally, it stops at 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Hot? fuel is costing him the price of a good lunch today, Duke reckons, and as much as $700 a year.

It gnaws at him. Duke, you see, is one of the few Americans who realize that fuel is often sold at temperatures much hotter than the government standard of 60 degrees. It’s a standard agreed to nearly a century ago by the industry and regulators, but virtually unknown to the average consumer.

But you should understand it too — because collectively it’s costing us billions of dollars a year. An investigation by The Kansas City Star has found that at recent prices U.S. consumers are spending about $2.3 billion more for gasoline and diesel this year than they otherwise would if fuel pumps were adjusted to account for expansion of hot fuel.


While the problem may be costly to consumers, The Star’s examination reveals that it is eminently fixable. The technology exists to retrofit the nation’s filling stations to adjust the amount of fuel pumped to reflect changes in fuel temperatures.

Even so, Big Oil has argued successfully for decades that it would cost too much to retrofit the nation’s fuel pumps, particularly for independent retailers that now sell the majority of the nation’s fuel. The industry also argues that consumers simply wouldn’t understand fuel pumps that adjust for temperature change.


While the industry generally shies away from discussing the idea in this country, it has embraced temperature adjustment in Canada. The reason is simple. While hot fuel makes more money for the industry in the United States, cold fuel once cost the industry money in Canada.

The industry put a stop to its Canadian cold-fuel problem beginning in 1990. That’s when a Canadian law supported by oil companies and other gasoline marketers went into effect that permitted retailers to temperature-adjust on a voluntary basis. Supporters said the change, which meant Canadian consumers would stop catching a break on cold fuel, brought fairness to the marketplace.

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SHA-1 hash function under pressure

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 7:23 by John Sinteur in category: Security


Cryptographic experts at the Crypto 2006 conference have demonstrated a modified method of attack against a reduced variant of the SHA-1 hash algorithm. The new method is an attack which, for the first time, allows at least a part of the message to be freely selected, for example as straight text. Previous approaches, for example the collision attack by Xiaoyun Wang and her team, which attracted considerable attention, were merely able to produce almost completely different hash twins of the same length, both consisting of meaningless gibberish.

Although the demonstration was restricted to the reduced SHA-1 variant in 64 steps, it can, according to the experts, also be generalised to the standard 80 step variant. This means that SHA-1 must also be considered as cracked in principle.

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Words of Wisdom vs. Words From Our Sponsor

Posted on August 28th, 2006 at 7:20 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself

The Future:

History 101, chapter 57, American Revolution

“…due to a pounding headache, General Washington couldn’t think well enough to keep his troops in line. Luckily, a medic delivered to him new TYLENOL FAST ACTING GEL CAPLETS, the soothing action of which cleared his head in just minutes, letting him order his troops properly, and ensuring the victory for the Americans.

Tylenol: Fast acting strength, protecting America from the British since 1776”

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