Since 1990, Gallup has been asking Americans whether they think gun control laws should be stricter. The answer, increasingly, is that they don’t. “The percentage in favor of making the laws governing the sale of firearms ‘more strict’ fell from 78% in 1990 to 62% in 1995, and 51% in 2007,” reports Gallup. “In the most recent reading, Gallup in 2010 found 44% in favor of stricter laws. In fact, in 2009 and again last year, the slight majority said gun laws should either remain the same or be made less strict.”
A federal watchdog criticized U.S. agencies on Thursday for squandering taxpayer money on facilities in Afghanistan that are too complex and costly for the Afghan government to maintain.
U.S. officials acknowledge that they plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to hire contractors to operate a complex of buildings in troubled Kandahar and other facilities in Afghanistan for the next 10 years.
“Why in the world are we continuing to construct facilities all over Afghanistan that we know, and the Afghans know, they will not be able to sustain once we hand the facilities over?” asked Arnold Fields, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.
This is not the first time Washington has been accused of overbuilding projects for a frail allied government. During the George W. Bush administration, U.S. agencies were faulted for building power plants in Iraq that were never employed to capacity because they were too complex for Iraqi engineers to operate.
Morgan Stanley plans to repackage a downgraded collateralized debt obligation backed by leveraged loans into new securities with AAA ratings in the first transaction of its kind, said two people familiar with the sale.
After nearly a year of flagging sales, low gas prices and fat incentives are reigniting America’s taste for big vehicles.
Trucks and SUVs will outsell cars in December, according to researchers at the automotive Website Edmunds.com, something that hasn’t happened since February.
Meanwhile the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down.
Austria: Lebensmensch — “most important person in your life.” The word took on a sexual connotation when Stefan Petzner used it after the death of Joerg Haider– leader of that nation’s far right — and acknowledged the two were one of those couples that could only be married in Massachusetts or Connecticut. By vote.
Holland: Swaffelen (won 57% of vote at a dictionary publisher web site). “to swing one’s penis, making it bump against something, in order to stimulate either oneself or someone else.” Runners-up: “wiiën” (playing on a Wii game console) and “bankendomino” (banks falling over like dominoes).
Note that “swaffelen” made it because of a website campaign by GeenStijl (who earlier had a Doritos snack named after them in a similar way, and who is now campaigning to have Sourcy name a new water after them. Marketeers never learn.
For the words of the year in the other mentioned languages, follow the link.
A prominent Senate Democrat on Wednesday said federal and local police should use custom software to monitor peer-to-peer networks for illegal activity, and he wants to spend $1 billion in tax dollars to help make that happen.
At an afternoon Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about child exploitation on the Internet, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) said he was under the impression it’s “pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape, molestation” simply by looking at file names.
Somebody break out a fresh clue-bat for Senator Biden…
In the wake of our story about Exchange 2007 failing to realize that February 29 is a real day, one astute Reg reader pointed out that Microsoft has no excuse for allowing its software to behave this way. “The rules of the Gregorian calendar aren’t really that difficult to grasp,” said someone called MacroRodent. “They are not trade secrets. And they have been available for centuries.”
Nonetheless, the SQL Server 2008 “community technology preview” was brought down by the dreaded Leap Year Day bug just 48 hours after Microsoft unveiled it. “We have recently discovered an issue with SQL Server 2008 CTPs that result in SQL Server 2008 not starting on Feb 29 GMT only,” read a statement from the company. “We recommend that you do not run or install this CTP on Feb 29 GMT to minimize any impact in your environment. You can install starting on March 1 GMT.”
And there was a very similar problem with Windows Small Business Server. On Leap Year Day, Windows SBS was unable to issue itself certificates because it stamped each certificate with the date February 29, 2013. So, it failed to recognize the correct date. And it replaced the correct date with a date that doesn’t exist.
Yesterday I received a generic replacement battery that I had ordered for my Sony VGN-FS840/W laptop. When placed in the laptop the battery indicator flashes rapidly. The laptop will not turn on with the battery inserted, even if the AC cord is also used. The battery shows no charge and does not charge. Reading online I learned that Sony apparently uses a hardware lock in certain of its laptop models to prevent the use of non-Sony replacement batteries. See, for example, these blog posts.
As I said before, avoid all products with the Sony label – they’re out to screw you.
“The Sony ‘Connect’ DRM-tastic music store is closing shop on March 31, 2008. Another failed experiment in DRM is leaving its paying customers out in the cold with soon-to-be unusable content (unless you violate the DMCA) in the form of audio files DRM locked to Sony’s ATRAC media players. Yet another in a seemingly endless stream of examples of how media companies are punishing their paying, legitimate customers for the RIAA’s own infuriating technological shortsightedness.”
The Southeast is having serious water shortages. Just look at Lake Lanier, the main water source for Atlanta.
So, what do you do when you live in Palm Beach, FL, there is a water shortage, fines for washing your car or watering your lawn except during specified hours, and serious enforcement efforts in place? The Journal’s Robert Frank tells us:
…According to the rules, residents who put in “new landscaping” can water three days a week, instead of the usual one, for 30 days after the planting. Once that period ends, homeowners can plant yet again — and resume the thrice-a-week watering. That has led some Palm Beachers to put in new trees, shrubs and turf — often at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars per residence — just so they can run their irrigation systems more frequently.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said he returned to Palm Beach after the summer and found that he had the only brown lawn on the block. “When I asked everyone how they were watering, they all said ‘new plantings,’ ” he said. “So that’s the loophole. We’re all just ripping out the old lawn and shrubs and putting in new ones.”
Now, if that doesn’t irritate you, check this out–under Florida’s rules in Palm Beach, if you use a lot of water, you just pay a surcharge. So, guess what the fabulously rich do? Use all the water they want and pay a surchage:
Consider Nelson Peltz. The investor and food magnate’s oceanfront estate, called Montsorrel, is among the island’s biggest water consumers. His 13.8-acre spread, which combines two properties, used not quite 21 million gallons of water over the past 12 months — or about 57,000 gallons a day on average — at a cost of more than $50,000, according to records obtained from the local water utility. That compares with 54,000 gallons a year for an average single-family residence in Palm Beach, says Ken Rearden, assistant city administrator of West Palm Beach. (West Palm Beach supplies Palm Beach’s water.)
Yes, an average home uses 54,00 gallons a year.
The USA… where you can be five years old for your whole life.
A reader brought to my attention a thread in Microsoft’s discussion forums for Windows OneCare titled “Outlook and Outlook Express Mail Store Missing or Quarantined“. The thread started with a message in January and it’s still running today, with no clear resolution. In brief, if you get a virus in an email message received by Outlook, OneCare’s next virus sweep may quarantine or delete your entire email store. If you receive a virus via Outlook Express OneCare may quarantine or delete the entire folder containing the virus. Really!
The proposed solution is to exclude your email from the virus scan.
Now how did most virus infections get to your computer again?
Microsoft is facing an early crisis of confidence in the quality of its Windows Vista operating system as computer security researchers and hackers have begun to find potentially serious flaws in the system that was released to corporate customers late last month.
On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.
Microsoft has spent millions branding the Vista operating system as the most secure product it has produced, and it is counting on Vista to help turn the tide against a wave of software attacks now plaguing Windows-based computers.
Vista is critical to Microsoft’s reputation. Despite an almost four-and-half-year campaign on the part of the company, and the best efforts of the computer security industry, the threat from harmful computer software continues to grow. Criminal attacks now range from programs that steal information from home and corporate PCs to growing armies of slave computers that are wreaking havoc on the commercial Internet.
Een Nederlandse man is maandag in de Dominicaanse Republiek aangehouden met honderd bolletjes cocaïne in zijn maag. Dat heeft een woordvoerder van de DNCD, de Dominicaanse antidrugseenheid, woensdag laten weten.
De man werd gearresteerd op het vliegveld Punta Cana, vanwaar hij naar Amsterdam wilde vliegen. Hij is overgebracht naar het ziekenhuis, waar de bolletjes uit zijn maag zijn verwijderd.
Naar verluid had hij de bolletjes genummerd, en hebben ze in het ziekenhuis nog een hele leuke bingo avond gehad…
A network worm attack exploiting a critical Microsoft Windows vulnerability appears inevitable, security experts warned Aug. 10.
Just days after the Redmond, Wash., software maker issued the MS06-040 bulletin with patches for a “critical” Server Service flaw, Microsoft’s security response unit is bracing for the worst after exploit code that offers a blueprint for attacks began circulating on the Internet.
Even before the release of Microsoft’s patch, the US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) warned that the flaw was being used in targeted attacks and that the appearance of public exploits is a sure sign that a worm attack is imminent.
An exploit module was added to the HD Moore’s Metasploit Framework that could launch attacks against all unpatched Windows 2000 systems and some versions of Windows XP.
Two penetration testing companies, Immunity and Core Security Technologies, have already created and released “reliable exploits” for the flaw, which was deemed wormable on all Windows versions, including Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1.
Look, whatever the article says, it probably makes sense to ban all liquid or gel substances from any building that has Windows PCs, make all people stand in ridiculously long lines to have their pocket books and backpacks security-checked for 8.5″ floppy disks carrying said exploit, and even perhaps start a secret list of people who are banned by name from actually accessing a PC at all. I recommend the first name be John Smith, that bastard.
Further, we should probably ban anyone that has dirt on their shoes, because I hear worms like dirt.
Safety first people. It may be an inconvenience, but it’s all about your safety, and the safety of democracy across the world. We will prevail over the security-exploiters.
• De politie waarschuwt dat er een bende tassendieven actief is in de tram. Op camerabeelden van de HTM is duidelijk te zien hoe drie mannen te werk gaan bij het stelen van tassen van passagiers.
Puik idee hoor, om die camera beelden op het net te zetten. Prima gedaan, dat je alle overige, onschuldige, passagiers even afplakt zodat ze niet herkenbaar zijn.
Alleen, doe dat dan niet in PowerPoint zodat elke 11-jarige bavo scholier de grijze vlakjes weg kan halen…
A brace of new Internet Explorer vulnerabilities have been disclosed on a security mailing list.
The most serious of the two flaws, which has been accompanied by the publication of proof of concept exploit code, involves HTA applications and creates a means to trick users into executing malign code providing users can be tricked into double clicking on an icon.
Workarounds against the flaw involve disabling active scripting.
The second security bug involves processing of the object.documentElement.outerHTML property. This vulnerability creates a means for hackers to retrieve information from sites a potential mark is logged into, such as a webmail page, in order to swipe user credentials.
Microsoft is investigating both flaws. The SANS Institute says it’s yet to hear of the active exploitation of either vulnerability by hackers.