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Construction of New CYBER/ISR Facility

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 19:44 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


The 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, located at Warfield Air National Guard Base, Baltimore, Maryland, intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to award a single firm fixed-price contract for Construction of a CYBER/ISR Facility. Project to be LEEDR Silver Certified. Construction services will consist of the construction of a new CYBER/ISR Facility. The purpose of this facility is to house a Network Warfare Group and ISR Squadron. The Cyber mission includes a set of capabilities, expertise to enable the cyber operational need for an always-on, net-speed awareness and integrated operational response with global reach. It enables operators to drive upstream in pursuit of cyber adversaries, and is informed 24/7 by intelligence and all-source information


Let’s get real, how many guardsmen speak Farsi, Chinese, Russian, Swahili or Hindi?

Virtually none.

How many know anything about NZ, Australia, GB or Canada worth knowing in a cyber context.

Virtually none.

So who does that leave for adversaries?

Right. You and me.

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Денис Пушилин ушел в отставку

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 19:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


Председатель Верховного совета самопровозглашенной Донецкой народной республики Денис Пушилин отправлен в отставку по собственному желанию. Об этом сообщает «Интерфакс» со ссылкой на Владимира Маковича, вице-спикера парламента ДНР.

По словам Маковича, Пушилин в настоящее время находится в Москве.

«Он прислал на мое имя письмо с просьбой об уходе с занимаемой должности по собственному желанию. На сессии совета этот вопрос был поставлен на голосование. Депутаты поддержали отставку Пушилина», — рассказал Макович.

Denis Pushilin, self-declared Chairman of the Supreme Council of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, has submitted a letter of resignation (from Moscow).

Rats off a sinking ship.

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Microsoft layoff e-mail typifies inhuman corporate insensitivity

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 18:37 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


As a veteran of the aerospace industry, I’m very familiar with layoff notices. During the almost-decade I spent working for Boeing, I survived probably a dozen major reductions in force, and they all had two things in common: a plainly stated promise of an open and transparent process and a hilariously terrible lack of actual transparency.

Well, congratulations to Satya Nadella and the Microsoft HR and communications teams, because you’re stealing from the best—or maybe you all took the same course in corporate doubletalk and truthiness as part of your MBA programs. Microsoft this morning announced far and away the largest round of layoffs in its history, and Nadella’s e-mail drips with that familiar mixture of faux sympathy and non-information that is so typical of carefully managed corporate communication.

There’s a name for this kind of uninformative spin-talk: it’s known as “ducking and fucking.”


This, sadly, is not a Microsoft-specific issue; it’s standard all across not just the tech industry but essentially every large American company.

The first sentence of any story sets the tone—and look at the robo-sentence the Microsoft layoff notification e-mail starts off with:

Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction as a productivity and platform company.

Leading off with a sentence like this immediately creates distance between the reader and the speaker—the kind of distance necessary to dehumanize both parties so that the big blow to come hurts less. The corporate-speak continues with creaky euphemism after creaky euphemism, including using the phrase “workforce realignment” instead of simply saying “staff reduction” or “layoff.” People and corporations both use euphemisms to cloak unpleasantness; however, it’s much more honest and personal to simply speak the unadorned truth when dealing with people’s livelihoods. “We’re going to realign our work force” might sound a lot better than “we’re firing 18,000 people,” but the latter more properly informs employees that jobs are going to be lost and lives are going to be affected.

“synthesizing a strategic direction”, right? If you were up until that minute the person responsible for corporate strategic direction, that is the very last thing you care about. Because it has instantly become completely irrelevant to you. Forever. So, yeah, great way to start.

and don’t get me started on how you talk about Microsoft’s strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people “do more” and then listing XBox as an example.

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  1. [Quote]:

    Think of it this way — since Elop took over as Nokia CEO, the company has cut over 50,000 jobs (if you include today’s announcement.) That is just mind boggling. That bumbling strategy which was the hallmark of Elop’s Nokia tenure still continues — in other words, Microsoft doesn’t really have a Nokia strategy. From Elop’s memo today: “In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia.” That is precisely what Nokia guys used to say — we have the low end and we can grow our share. How did that work out?

  2. The job of so-called Human Resources (motto: “Our people are our most important resource!”) is hiring, firing, keeping angry employees out of the way of management and avoiding lawsuits.

    They usually use large numbers of women. Apparently they have the reputation of being able to fake empathy and sincerity more convincingly.

  3. Nokia was in deep trouble before Elop got there. They had featurephone marketshare and no momentum in smartphones. The Lumias are excellent phones, but the Nokia brand did not help sell them.

Verizon made an enemy tonight

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 18:00 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


On a flight back to New York I read Level 3’s assessment of the latest round of the Netflix vs Internet Provider debacle.

The summarized version is that basically Netflix is slow because Verizon refuses to add capacity to peer with Level 3. Fixing the situation would cost Verizon on the order of a few thousand (that’s right thousand) dollars. Level 3 is even willing to foot the bill. But Verizon refuses.

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Ukraine’s intelligence agency, the State Security Service, known as the SBU, just released what it said was audio from intercepted phone calls between separatist rebels and Russian military intelligence officers on Thursday, in which they appeared to acknowledge shooting down a civilian plane.

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 14:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


Ukraine’s intelligence agency, the State Security Service, known as the SBU, just released what it said was audio from intercepted phone calls between separatist rebels and Russian military intelligence officers on Thursday, in which they appeared to acknowledge shooting down a civilian plane.

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Snowden: NSA employees routinely pass around intercepted nude photos

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 11:21 by John Sinteur in category: News


Further Reading

LOVEINT: On his first day of work, NSA employee spied on ex-girlfriend

New letter from NSA oversight to senator details 12 instances of obvious abuse.

Edward Snowden has revealed that he witnessed “numerous instances” of National Security Agency (NSA) employees passing around nude photos that were intercepted “in the course of their daily work.”

Makes you wonder how many of those pictures were for underage girls… but then again, if those teens don’t want the NSA looking at their nude photos they just shouldn’t have become terrorists, right?

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  1. Everyone’s a terrorist if they potentially threaten your job.

  2. Baby, you so fine we’re gonna classify that body as a weapon.

Crash claims top AIDS researchers heading to Melbourne

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 11:19 by John Sinteur in category: News


About 100 of the 298 people killed in the Malaysia Airlines crash were heading to Melbourne for a major AIDS conference, conference attendees have been told.

Delegates at a pre-conference in Sydney were told on Friday morning that about 100 medical researchers, health workers and activists were on the plane that went down near the Russia-Ukraine border, including former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange.

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Double Irish Dutch Sandwich

Posted on July 17th, 2014 at 0:56 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote via here.

Want a glimpse of how companies can shift their profits among countries in a way that reduces their tax liabilities? Here’s the dreaded “Double Irish Dutch Sandwich”…


Best of all, it’s surprisingly legal and affordable and, as long as you have oodles of money, you have the motive, means and opportunity.


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  1. Brilliant summary, Sue. It’s the holy grail of power- and money-seekers throughout the ages. A perfectly legal crime.

  2. Oh great. You might as well just tell them how to make an A-bomb.

  3. Perhaps that should be “googles of money”…

UN: Nations hide rise in private digital snooping

Posted on July 16th, 2014 at 22:06 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy


Governments on every continent are hiding an increasing reliance on private companies to snoop on citizens’ digital lives, the U.N. human rights office said Wednesday.

Stepping into a fierce debate over digital privacy rights, the U.N. office says it has strong evidence of a growing complicity among private companies in government spying. It says governments around the world are using both the law and covert methods to access private content and metadata.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the lack of transparency and tactics extend to governments’ ”de facto coercion of companies to gain broad access to information and data on citizens without them knowing.”

Her office’s report to the U.N. General Assembly says concerns about the erosion in privacy have increased since last year’s revelations of U.S. and British mass surveillance. The report said stricter laws are needed to prevent violations and ensure accountability when digital technology and surveillance is misused. It warned that mass surveillance is becoming “a dangerous habit rather than an exceptional measure.”

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Market Rigging Explained

Posted on July 16th, 2014 at 15:21 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


We received trade execution reports from an active trader who wanted to know why his larger orders almost never completely filled, even when the amount of stock advertised exceeded the number of shares wanted. For example, if 25,000 shares were at the best offer, and he sent in a limit order at the best offer price for 20,000 shares, the trade would, more likely than not, come back partially filled. In some cases, more than half of the amount of stock advertised (quoted) would disappear immediately before his order arrived at the exchange. This was the case, even in deeply liquid stocks such as Ford Motor Co (symbol F, market cap: $70 Billion). The trader sent us his trade execution reports, and we matched up his trades with our detailed consolidated quote and trade data to discover that the mechanism described in Michael Lewis’s “Flash Boys” was alive and well on Wall Street.

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  1. So Michael Lewis told the whole world that this was going on and that there’s a new exchange that prevents these shenanigans… so why aren’t people trading over there on the IEX?

  2. Because the “Flash Boys” are doing everything they can to kill the HFT story and keep trades off IEX. And it’s working.

  3. “Kill the HFT story”? Are you kidding? Who does not know about this?

Church lawyer details cover-up claims on sex abuse

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 21:25 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


A canon lawyer alleging a widespread cover-up of clergy sex misconduct in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has made her most detailed claims yet, accusing archbishops and their top staff of lying to the public and of ignoring the U.S. bishops’ pledge to have no tolerance of priests who abuse.

Jennifer Haselberger, who spent five years as Archbishop John Nienstedt’s archivist and top adviser on Roman Catholic church law, also charged that the church used a chaotic system of record-keeping that helped conceal the backgrounds of guilty priests who remained on assignment.

Haselberger said that when she started examining records in 2008 of clergy under restrictions over sex misconduct with adults and children she found “nearly 20″ of the 48 men still in ministry. She said she repeatedly warned Nienstedt and his aides about the risk of these placements, but they took action only in one case. As a result of raising alarms, she said she was eventually shut out of meetings about priest misconduct. She resigned last year.

“Had there been any serious desire to implement change, it could have been done quickly and easily with the stroke of a single pen,” Haselberger wrote in the affidavit, released Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by attorney Jeff Anderson. “The archbishop’s administrative authority in his diocese is basically unlimited.”

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  1. This one dovetails nicely with Desiato’s question what power the Pope has. So, either he is in on the cover-up, or he asked “who runs Bartertown” and came up with the wrong answer…

  2. It’s a resource issue. They are so short of priests that they were prepared to ignore child abuse. (Also they were bringing priests from India into Canada, for example, in a rather nice inversion of the missionary position.) Without priests, the money stops rolling in…

    I don’t care if their religion survives (it doesn’t deserve to) but even I can see the solution.

  3. The devil made them do it? Which religion is this?

Tech Blogger Tries To Cancel Comcast Service, Hilarity Ensues

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 19:20 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


The representative (name redacted) continued aggressively repeating his questions, despite the answers given, to the point where my wife became so visibly upset she handed me the phone. Overhearing the conversation, I knew this would not be very fun.What I did not know is how oppressive this conversation would be. Within just a few minutes the representative had gotten so condescending and unhelpful I felt compelled to record the speakerphone conversation on my other phone.This recording picks up roughly 10 minutes into the call, whereby she and I have already played along and given a myriad of reasons and explanations as to why we are canceling (which is why I simply stopped answering the rep’s repeated question — it was clear the only sufficient answer was “Okay, please don’t disconnect our service after all.”).

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Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 19:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. What’s _his_ new fragrance called?

BitTorrent not to blame for movie revenues, says economist

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 11:48 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


This time around, Strumpf looks at the relationship between the stock price of producers, and when illicit copies of movies hit the file-sharing sites. The thesis is that if investors considered a Torrent of Transformers: Age of Extinction represented a greater risk for DreamWorks than the quality of the movie, it would be reflected in the share price.In the more academic language Strumpf uses: “forward-looking markets can be used to establish the unobserved counter-factual of how movie revenues would change on any possible file sharing release date, particularly those prior to the theatrical premier.


An interesting observation in the paper is that “one consistent result is that file sharing arrivals shortly before the theatrical opening have a modest positive effect on box office revenue”, suggesting that “free and potentially degraded goods such as the lower quality movies available on file sharing networks can have some beneficial effects on intellectual property”.

Overall, however, “The estimates indicate that the displacement effect is quite small, both on a movie-level and in aggregate” – in other words, no, BitTorrent isn’t what’s destroying Hollywood.

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Wealth Gap

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 11:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Careful, this could get Messi

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 10:36 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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How the Other Half Works: an Adventure in the Low Status of Software Engineers

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 10:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


If programmers want to be taken seriously, and we should be taken seriously and we certainly should want this, we’re going to have to take stock of our compromised position and fix it, even if that’s “getting political”. We’re going to have to stop glorifying pointless self-sacrifice for what is ultimately someone else’s business transaction, and start asserting ourselves and our values.

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Ahh, the annual migration of the rocks across the freeway.

Posted on July 15th, 2014 at 9:03 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


You can’t really get a good idea of how majestic this is until you see it in IMAX, narrated by Morgan Freeman.

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  1. Why did the rock cross the road?

    So she could ‘av a lunch.

  2. Everybody must get stoned…

  3. I-80 south of Toledo? Let’s Rock and Roll!

  4. I never wanted to go down the Stoney End.

NSA-Ausschuss erwägt Einsatz von Schreibmaschinen

Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 18:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


Der NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss will möglicherweise auf altbekannte Methoden setzen, um sich vor Ausspähung zu schützen. Es werde erwogen, wieder auf mechanische Schreibmaschinen zurückzugreifen, um geheime Dokumente zu verfassen, sagte der Vorsitzende des Untersuchungsausschusses, Patrick Sensburg (CDU), am Montag im ARD-”Morgenmagazin”.

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  1. A pre-TCP/IP Mac or MS-DOS machine would probably be fine too.

  2. Pen and paper.


Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 15:48 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Make sure you update the firmware on all your lightbulbs!

Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 14:31 by John Sinteur in category: Security


In the latest cautionary tale involving the so-called Internet of things, white-hat hackers have devised an attack against network-connected lightbulbs that exposes Wi-Fi passwords to anyone in proximity to one of the LED devices.


According to a blog post published over the weekend, LIFX has updated the firmware used to control the bulbs after researchers discovered a weakness that allowed hackers within about 30 meters to obtain the passwords used to secure the connected Wi-Fi network. The credentials are passed from one networked bulb to another over a mesh network powered by 6LoWPAN, a wireless specification built on top of the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. While the bulbs used the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to encrypt the passwords, the underlying pre-shared key never changed, making it easy for the attacker to decipher the payload.

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Google Glass Snoopers Can Steal Your Passcode With a Glance

Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 14:00 by John Sinteur in category: Security


The odds are you can’t make out the PIN of that guy with the sun glaring obliquely off his iPad’s screen across the coffee shop. But if he’s wearing Google Glass or a smartwatch, he probably can see yours.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell found they could use video from wearables like Google Glass and the Samsung smartwatch to surreptitiously pick up four-digit PIN codes typed onto an iPad from almost 10 feet away—and from nearly 150 feet with a high-def camcorder. Their software, which used a custom-coded video recognition algorithm that tracks the shadows from finger taps, could spot the codes even when the video didn’t capture any images on the target devices’ displays.

“I think of this as a kind of alert about Google Glass, smartwatches, all these devices,” says Xinwen Fu, a computer science professor at UMass Lowell who plans to present the findings with his students at the Black Hat security conference in August. “If someone can take a video of you typing on the screen, you lose everything.”

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How a password changed my life

Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 13:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


It was obvious that I couldn’t focus on getting things done with my current lifestyle and mood. Of course, there were clear indicators of what I needed to do -or what I had to achieve- in order to regain control of my life, but we often don’t pay attention to these clues.

My password became the indicator.

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  1. Here’s a link to change all your passwords with one click: http://fffff.at/category/projects/


Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 13:37 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?, Google


Shortly after the initial news came out that NSA fakes google and yahoo servers with stolen or faked certificates:


the german computer magazine C’T issued a warning that it is a security risk, when microsoft automatically updates its list of certificates without any noticing of the users, so that dubious certificates could easily get into the windows certificate list, which is thrusted by webbrowsers like internet explorer or google chrome for windows:


After reading this, I filed a bug in chromium, which then was dismissed as a “won’t fix”, with the chromium developers saying that the certificate list is “signed by Microsoft” and there would not be any break in the “chain of thrust”.

And now I see this message from google:



“On Wednesday, July 2, we became aware of unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains. The certificates were issued by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of India, which holds several intermediate CA certificates trusted by the Indian Controller of Certifying Authorities (India CCA).

The India CCA certificates are included in the Microsoft Root Store and thus are trusted by the vast majority of programs running on Windows, including Internet Explorer and Chrome. Firefox is not affected because it uses its own root store that doesn’t include these certificates.

We are not aware of any other root stores that include the India CCA certificates, thus Chrome on other operating systems, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and OS X are not affected. Additionally, Chrome on Windows would not have accepted the certificates for Google sites because of public-key pinning, although misissued certificates for other sites may exist.”

Update Jul 9: India CCA informed us of the results of their investigation on July 8. They reported that NIC’s issuance process was compromised and that only four certificates were misissued; the first on June 25. The four certificates provided included three for Google domains (one of which we were previously aware of) and one for Yahoo domains. However, we are also aware of misissued certificates not included in that set of four and can only conclude that the scope of the breach is unknown.”

Now microsoft has removed the certificates in question and it turnes out that the issue affected 45 domains:




In view of this list, the advice from google looks especially funny:

“Chrome users do not need to take any action to be protected by the CRLSet updates. We have no indication of widespread abuse and we are not suggesting that people change passwords.”

The microsoft certificate list is used in the browser chrome. Faking of a google server is difficult, since chrome checks its certificate by different means and that was how the attack was revealed. But chrome does not have a similar check for yahoo. If that attack would not be working after all, the hackers would not have used it.

But still, google does explicitely not suggesting anyone that they should change passwords…

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Pope Francis: ‘About 2%’ of Catholic clergy paedophiles

Posted on July 13th, 2014 at 17:19 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that “about 2%” of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles.

The Pope said that abuse of children was like “leprosy” infecting the Church, according to the Italian La Repubblica newspaper.

He vowed to “confront it with the severity it demands”.

Yes, so you’ve been saying, but since I haven’t seen many handed over to authorities I think you underestimate the severity it demands.

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  1. Some people who cover up crimes are worse than the original criminals.

  2. Does the Pope actually have the direct personal power to hand over priests to the police? Can you point to concrete evidence?

  3. According to this religion, all he needs to do is sit in a chair and what is says is by definition impossible to be wrong. At all.

    And you’re seriously asking if this guy has any direct personal power?

  4. @Desiato: Yes. They have all sworn an oath of obedience.

  5. Total number of people registered as sex-offender in the US: 747,408 – and that’s not just against minors, but:

    “What classifies someone as a sex offender varies by legal jurisdiction and culture. In the U.S. a person can convicted for prostitution, obscene content in the form of a text message, sex with a minor, child molestation, rape and various other sexual assault convictions”

    So, if you pee against a tree in the wrong state, you’re also counted. So that’s about 0.24 percent of the entire population.

    I suspect this “About 2%” is a number conveniently rounded down, but even if it isn’t, we can forget about the old notion that the number of child predators in Church is not any different from that in the general population.

  6. @John @#3: But do you think that the cardinals *actually* will do whatever the Pope says? You believe that there are no power politics in the Catholic Church, cos hey, what the Pope says is the Word of God? Really?

  7. @Desiato @#2: The Pope has the same direct personal power as anyone anywhere to report a crime.

    The bigger question is why the Church seems to claim that it has institutional immunity NOT to report crimes.

America Fails the ‘Rule of Law’ Test

Posted on July 13th, 2014 at 13:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


The U.S. Army field manual defines “the rule of law” as follows: “The rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.”

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Israeli ‘knock on the roof’ bombing technique caught on film

Posted on July 13th, 2014 at 12:58 by John Sinteur in category: News


The IDF practice of firing a missile at a civilian home to warn the occupants to leave the building before a larger attack, has been caught on film. Amnesty International has decried “roof knocking,” saying it in no way constitutes an “effective warning.”

(note there’s a cut in the film at about 1:15 – there’s usually about 15 minutes between the roof knock and the raid. Enough to get the people out, not enough to get the missiles (which are the real target) stored there out)

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  1. The knock isn’t so people can escape, it is so people can rush in and be human shields. If they die in the service of Allah’s jihad then they get instantly transported to paradise and their own 70 Houries.


  2. I first thought you were trying, and failing, to be funny. You weren’t though, were you?

    Heaven help us all when brainwashing is so successful – and I mean you, Joe, not the poor bastards you so casually malign.

Singapore bans gay penguin book

Posted on July 13th, 2014 at 3:19 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Singapore has ordered the destruction of a children’s book inspired by a real-life story of two male penguins raising a baby chick in New York’s zoo after it was deemed inappropriate.

The National Library Board, which runs 26 public libraries in Singapore, pulled the book from the shelves this weekend and said it would “pulp” the copies of three titles, citing complaints their content goes against Singapore’s family values.

They have laws against gay sex but rarely use them? Now the Authorities are trying to appease religious fundamentalists? Save yourselves, little penguins!

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They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.

Posted on July 12th, 2014 at 15:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. Ooh, grammar flame! Very mature :-)

  2. Weird Al (whose price is above that of rubies) must be having an impact: the Price Chopper supermarket in Ogdensburg, NY, now proudly has a “20 items or fewer” sign!

    However, I fear that the struggle against wandering and lost apostrophes is futile.

The Onion Reviews ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

Posted on July 12th, 2014 at 15:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

The Onion Reviews ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

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  1. Want to understand one of the reasons for the dumbing down of the masses? Look no further than the ilk that produces movies like this and then feeds them to the populace that eats em up in mass and demands something even more stupid which then begins the cycle again. Burn the TV; Shred the movie ticket; Read a book.

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