The Alabama Department of Homeland Security (ALDHS), established in June of 2003, has recently constructed a website that defines Domestic Terrorists as those who oppose gun control and a strong federal government.
Under the heading “Anti-Government Groups”, the site displays a flag that is widely considered one of the first symbols of American patriotism and reads, “In general, these terrorists claim that the U.S. government is infringing on their individual rights, and/or that the government’s policies are criminal and immoral. Such groups may hold that the current government is violating the basic principles laid out by the U.S. Constitution…”
Bank customers wanting to make international transactions are being asked to sign a waiver to allow their personal details and financial records to be scanned by US anti-terror investigators.
The waivers put customers in the same Catch-22 European data protection officials found themselves in after it emerged that the US had been snooping on the world’s international financial transactions in the hope of picking up some transnational insurgents.
According to reports received by The Register, people wanting to make international money transfers using the Belgian-based international banking co-operative Swift (as most do), have been asked to sign a form giving their approval for details of their transaction to be disclosed “to any Government entity, regulatory authority or to any person we reasonably think necessary for these purposes”.
These purposes being “fighting crime and terrorism” and “any applicable laws”.
The disclaimer warns: “This may mean that personal information will be transferred outside the EEA to countries, which do not provide the same level of data protection as the UK.”
This is illegal under EU law, which says data should not be sent to countries that don’t give people the same data protection rights.
Yet if customers don’t sign away their privacy rights to foreign governments in the name of the “war on terror”, they will find it very difficult to make international payments.
So what? Let’s see how long the USA survives if the world stops sending them money.
What if Democratic voters turned out for a presidential primary in Florida and their vote didn’t count?
No, this isn’t a Katherine Harris joke.
It’s an option national Democratic leaders are seriously considering as they grapple with Florida’s newly scheduled 2008 presidential primary date, which could upend the national primary process and produce yet another weird Florida election. Consider the scenario:
On Jan. 29, Florida Republicans and Democrats head to the polls to pick presidential nominees. Republican votes count, just as you would expect, but the results for Democrats would be nonbinding. No delegates would be awarded based upon the results and instead party activists and insiders would decide on some later date how to divvy up the state’s more than 200 delegates to the Democratic national convention.
Why not skip a few steps and make all elections non-binding? It’s much tidier that way… Hell, we should just go back to strange women lying in ponds distributing swords..
Republicans are accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of including a provision in a water redevelopment bill that could benefit property her husband owns in San Francisco.
Aides to the San Francisco Democrat denied any connection, noting the waterfront improvements were requested by the Port of San Francisco and the four rental properties in question are at least a mile away.
Republicans, who raised the issue more than two weeks after the bill passed the House, offered no evidence of benefit to Paul Pelosi’s real estate holdings.
“I don’t have any facts to say anything untoward has been done here,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
Of course he doesn’t. Facts have a well-known liberal bias.
SRI Lanka’s powerful air force has been grounded by single-engined, propeller-driven aircraft adapted by Tamil Tiger guerillas to carry bombs under their wings.
The “Flying Tigers” — the tiny air wing of the brutal LTTE insurgents fighting for a separate Tamil state — are proving more than a match for Sri Lanka’s well-equipped air force.
After a second night raid on the capital, Colombo, it is clear to South Asian military analysts that the world’s only guerilla movement with an air-strike capacity has been able to attack virtually unchallenged by the conventional air force.
Flying hundreds of kilometres from secret jungle airstrips, the Flying Tigers, in what are believed to be adapted Zlin Z-142 aircraft of Czech design, have been untroubled other than by ground fire as they have successively raided the country’s biggest military base, next to the international airport, and oil and gas installations on the fringes of the city.
After each attack, they have returned to their bases, outwitting the Sri Lankan air force, which has a fleet of more than 100 aircraft.
Even sophisticated radar and air defence systems have done little more than warn of impending attacks and allow time for anti-aircraft batteries to open fire into the night sky, aiming at targets they cannot see.
The fighter jets Sri Lanka has are only capable of ground attacks and they don’t have functionality carry out air to air combat. It lacks night vision capabilities as well. Therefore the SLAF is now purchasing Mig 29′s which are capable of air-air attacks.
And a Mig-29 is serious money. How’s that for asymmetric warfare?
After much talk and posturing over the future of “The Terminator” franchise in recent years, something surprising has happened – producers Mario Kassar and Andy Vajna have given up their baby.
The Halcyon Co. has acquired the franchise rights to the popular “The Terminator” movie series and intend to make a new trilogy that would anchor their movie company.
“Terminator 4″ will be based on a script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris (“Terminator 3″), and Halcyon plans to immediately begin preproduction on the film with the hope of a Summer 2009 release.
Originality is totally gone from Hollywood. Let me make a prediction for this movie:
“Meesa be back!”
Iraqi firefighters douse fire which swept over cars at the site of a car bomb that exploded in a parking lot nearby the Green Zone area in central Baghdad, 24 April 2007. The parking lot is usually used by visitors and employees working inside the Green zone or visitors to the facing Iranian Embassy. A string of bomb attacks in Iraq yesterday killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens of others, including an attack outside a restaurant near the Green Zone.
A sharp increase in mortar attacks on the Green Zone — the one-time oasis of security in Iraq’s turbulent capital — has prompted the U.S. Embassy to issue a strict new order telling all employees to wear flak vests and helmets while in unprotected buildings or whenever they are outside.
The order, obtained by The Associated Press, has created a siege mentality among U.S. staff inside the Green Zone following a recent suicide attack on parliament. It has also led to new fears about long-term safety in the place where the U.S. government is building a massive and expensive new embassy.
The situation marks a sharp turnaround for the heavily guarded Green Zone — long viewed as the safest corner of Baghdad with its shops, restaurants, American fast-food outlets and key Iraqi and American government offices.
On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
It’s a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country’s civil conflict, and at times it’s been difficult to arrive at a quorum).
What is clear is that while the U.S. Congress dickers over timelines and benchmarks, Baghdad faces a major political showdown of its own. The major schism in Iraqi politics is not between Sunni and Shia or supporters of the Iraqi government and “anti-government forces,” nor is it a clash of “moderates” against “radicals”; the defining battle for Iraq at the political level today is between nationalists trying to hold the Iraqi state together and separatists backed, so far, by the United States and Britain.
Germany and Britain topped a list of countries with polluting power stations in Europe in a Dirty Thirty report published Thursday by WWF.
The study by the Swiss-based international conservation organization listed the least efficient plants and those with the largest carbon dioxide emissions.
Germany and Britain topped a list of worst offending countries with 10 of Europe’s dirtiest plants within each of their borders, followed by Poland with four. Greece’s Agios Dimitrios and Kardia power plants owned by DEH, followed by the Niederaussem plant in Germany owned by RWE, topped the table of worst plants.
Just four companies were responsible for more than half the stations listed: RWE and EON of Germany, Vattenfall of Sweden and EDF of France.
In 2006, the Dirty Thirty coal-powered stations were responsible for 393 million tonnes of CO2, equal to 10 per cent of all European Union emissions. CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is seen as a major factor in global warming and climate change.
A camera that monitors eye movements from up to 10 metres away makes it possible for smart billboards that track the attention of passers-by.
The developers behind the technology – dubbed Eyebox2 – believe it could have a range of possible applications, but should particularly interest advertisers. This is because it allows billboards to track people’s attention and perhaps respond when it wanes.
Until now, eye-tracking systems have only worked over about half a metre.
“It’s less accurate than those systems, but it is good enough to let us know whether you are looking at a display or billboard or not,” says lead developer Roel Vertegaal from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.
Let me give you a fucking hint. When I’m looking at a billboard, I’m figuring out how to best remove the eyesore you created from the landscape. I’m figuring out how to best fuck up the company that was moronic enough to buy space on this eyesore and ruin my view.
German researchers said Wednesday that they were launching an attempt to reassemble millions of shredded East German secret police files using complicated computerized algorithms.
The files were shredded as the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and it became clear that the East German regime was finished. Panicking officials of the Stasi secret police attempted to destroy the vast volumes of material they had kept on everyone from their own citizens to foreign leaders.
So great was the task that it overwhelmed the shredding machines, and a large number of the documents were torn by hand into between eight and thirty pieces.
Some 16,250 sacks containing pieces of 45 million shredded documents were found and confiscated after the reunification of Germany in 1990. Reconstruction work began 12 years ago but 24 people have been able to reassemble the contents of only 323 sacks.
“Many important documents are slumbering in these sacks,” Marianne Birthler, head of the Stasi archives, told Deutschlandfunk radio.
Yeah, sure, and you’ll re-shred all the personal and private stuff, right?
New technology designed to thwart DVD theft makes discs unplayable until they’re activated at the cash register.
A chip smaller than the head of a pin is placed onto a DVD along with a thin coating that blocks a DVD player from reading critical information on the disc. At the register, the chip is activated and sends an electrical pulse through the coating, turning it clear and making the disc playable.
For the life of me I can’t figure out what they’re trying to do. Professional thieves and fences will have access to the method of activation because that’s what they do. Thieves have tools related to their trade. If they wanted to prevent shoplifting they’d do the same as here in the Netherlands: put empty boxes on the shelves, and insert the actual CD/DVD at the checkout. Which gives you much better inventory control as well, without making your product vulnerable to yet another failure mode.
So, it must be something else. But what?
Yes, Microsoft has a plan. They plan to create a new phone handset to go against Apple’s iPhone and also being very creative with its prototype name by calling it the ofone (yeah right). The ofone has a round LCD screen at the center, and 3 twistable handles that will goes around the LCD screen like a boomerang.
Each of the swiveled body represents a function. The first one is a keypad, followed by a QWERTY keyboard and the last one is a music player control pad.