After fooling around with Avidemux2 on my linux box for the past few days I managed to get a clip produced that is watchable. It's the Intro to Zoids Guardian Force. Zipped it's approx 29 megabytes.
Format is in Mpeg2 (SVCD Compatible) with bitrate at 2300 and audio is 192kbps mpeg layer II.
Size is 640x480 so it's nice and big.
Running time is almost 2 minutes.
Let me know how it looks/sounds etc...
Download the zipped file.
I also made a couple screen caps from the last Zoids Fuzors episode of Fire Phoenix and such. Enjoy.
SAN DIEGO — Firefighters in Southern California (search) were continued to battle devastating wildfires Tuesday morning that have killed 17 people and destroyed at least 1,134 homes in the state's deadliest outbreak of fires in more than a decade.
About 30,000 homes were still in danger from the fire, which had consumed more than half a million acres of dense, dry brush and trees.
Fifteen Californians were killed as of Tuesday by five separate blazes scattered around Southern California. Two more people were killed in Mexico.
The mounting daily cost of fighting Southern California's wildfires is draining the state's already stressed coffers as California's contribution could swell to $100 million.
"This will be the most expensive fire in California history, both in loss of property and the cost of fighting it," Dallas Jones, director of the state Office of Emergency Services, said Monday.
The flames dotted an area that extended on a 100-mile line from the Mexican border north to the suburbs of Los Angeles.
A handful of other fires that hadn't hit any homes also consumed tens of thousands of acres of brush and forest lands, bringing the total burned to more than 500,000 acres -- or about 780 square miles, roughly three-quarters the total area of Rhode Island.
"It's a worst-case scenario. You couldn't have written anything worse than this. You can dream up horror movies, and they wouldn't be this bad," said Gene Zimmerman, supervisor of the San Bernardino National Forest, the area in which two of the most destructive fires began last week.
A blaze in San Bernardino County called the Old Fire, which began near the forest on Saturday, has destroyed at least 450 homes and been blamed for the deaths of two people. It was 10 percent contained Tuesday. The Grand Prix Fire, which was 25 percent contained, has destroyed at least 77 homes since it ignited near the forest on Oct. 21.
One of the biggest fire fights on Tuesday was unfolding in the Santa Susana Mountains that separate Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, where 1.3 million people live, from Simi Valley in neighboring Ventura County.
The Simi Valley fire, which has destroyed 13 homes since it began Saturday, was burning dangerously close to a gated community of million-dollar mansions in Los Angeles' Chatsworth section. It was only 5 percent contained.
Meanwhile, 90 miles away in San Bernardino County, the Old Fire and Grand Prix Fire, which merged earlier in the week, had jumped a highway and was moving as one contiguous wall of flames toward the mountain resort town of Lake Arrowhead. The town, which sits at an elevation of 5,100 feet, was left particularly vulnerable to flames by a beetle infestation that has devastated the surrounding trees.
"It is one of our major concerns at the moment," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Carol Beckley said late Monday.
Officials were particularly concerned about "crowning," in which flames leap from one treetop to another, leaving firefighters on the ground all but powerless to stop them.
"If that occurs we don't have the capability to put those fires out," Beckley said. "It will be a firestorm."
Conditions were equally grim in San Diego County, where ash from three large fires fell on the beaches like snow and drivers had turn on their headlights during the day.
San Diego Fire Chief Jeff Bowman was worried that the fires would merge into one gigantic blaze, pushing already strained resources to the breaking point.
"It would be disingenuous to say we have control of these fires. Right now we are throwing everything we can at them," Dallas Jones, director of the state Office of Emergency Services, said of the San Diego blazes.
More than 10,000 firefighters were battling the flames, which by Tuesday had already cost the state more than $24 million.
The 15 people killed were the most since the devastating Oakland Hills fire that killed 25 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes in October 1991.
Scores of people were also injured by this week's fires, including eight people treated for burns and smoke inhalation at the University of California, San Diego, Medical Center, on Monday. Two were in serious to critical condition with burns over more than 55 percent of their bodies, spokeswoman Eileen Callahan said.
The fires also knocked out power to tens of thousands of people, closed highways and disrupted air travel.
More resources were on the way from Arizona and Nevada, which were answering pleas for help from Gov. Gray Davis.
Each state has volunteered the use of 50 fire trucks, most of which are being directed toward the San Diego fires, Davis said. Nevada was also sending three helicopters.
On Monday, President Bush granted Davis' request to declare the region a disaster area, opening the door to grants, loans and other aid to residents and businesses in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.
"I believe at the local, state and federal levels they are doing their parts in this distress," Davis told The Associated Press.
The Democratic governor, who will leave office next month after being recalled, dismissed criticism from some Republican lawmakers that he could have asked for help sooner.
"It's not time for second guessing, but to pull their loads to get these fires out and checks in the hands of people who lost their homes," Davis said.
As the flames continued to rage out of control, every Californian seemed to know someone -- or know someone who knew someone -- who was affected by the fires.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, said his home was among hundreds damaged or destroyed in his mountain town.
Maurice Greene, a sprinter who won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, had to evacuate his 9,000-square-foot home near Simi Valley on Monday.
"We have to put it in God's hands. That's all we can do," he said as he left.
Mike sent me this great image, it's very fitting for today. Hackers pray too, only this is a slight twist to the original.
I had a good chuckle, I'm sure God did too. After all it was He who gave us our sense of humor. :^)|-<
From the Inquirer
*Muddy's Note* This was Far to good to pass up on posting. Those familier with Linux/Open Source will enjoy this.
Messrs William Gates Jnr & Steven Ballmer
One Microsoft Way
I see you have been active again in making interesting and to some degree highly amusing statements about Free/Libre Open Source Software and the many and varied people who make up its community.
I in particular would like to thank Mr. Steven Ballmer for your entertaining exposee of Linux's deepest, darkest secret - that it can seriously worry the senior executive of a convicted predatory monopoly, without that ever having been the intention of its principal software designer and initial developer.
I would also like to thank you for humming and hawing around the question of the release of source code to people who can use it, in the light of the new MVP source code entitlement program. Well, are they deserving members of the Windows development team or not?
In relation to your comments, Steve Ballmer, on Linux's "road map", I will refrain from expounding on Linus Torvalds' comment on the cover of one of Bill Gates' books, showing him standing in the middle of an empty road. It's not nice to make jokes like that, is it, Your Billness? Road kill is no joke, even if some enterprising chef has written a book about it.
No, I have something else on my mind, something much more worthy.
I would like to challenge you to a software coding bake-out, a bet to see which methodology works, and which doesn't. You have made some progress with your NT source tree, anyone can see that - Windows 2k3 is a more serious product than Windows XP, and definitely a more realistic - and much more massive - product than Windows 95. Congratulations.
You have also declared that Windows 95, Windows NT 3.x and NT 4.x are discontinued, end-of-line, unsupported products. And Windows 98 is shortly going to be in the same category, having already been discontinued. And Microsoft is attempting to roll the Win9x features into the NT line. XP is the nearest you have come to success. In the process, Windows users have enjoyed an interesting remote use of RPC and other features that might otherwise bug you. And in the process you have put back Longhorn's release date.
My challenge is this - release the entire range of discontinued, end-of-line and unsupported Operating Systems mentioned above (Win9x, NT 3.x and Win4.x) and their related utilities and Productivity Applications, as Open Source under the BSD/MIT license, since you have stated at sundry times and in diverse manners that that license is one you can live with. You are of course expected to sanitise the source trees - we don't want trouble with absurd IP cases.
Release the sanitised source trees, minus any bits and pieces of third-party encumbered code Microsoft may have in the Win9x and NT 3.x and 4.x source trees, to the ftp servers at the MIT, ibiblio, the U of Calif. at Berkeley, and the U of Cambridge, UK, with prominent notices stating that they are released under the terms of the BSD/MIT licenses placed in slashdot.org, newsforge.com, computerworld.com, news.com.com, www.theinquirer.net and www.theregister.co.uk and other industry news outlets.
My bet is that in the time it takes Microsoft to come up with a half-way decent Windows product, the Open Source development process starting from an earlier, identical initial source tree without constraints will produce one better. The length of time is going to be the same.
On one side you have the multi-billion dollar transnational corporation, on the other you have an amorphous world-wide community. One has a head start, but the code bases for this challenge are the same.
The only catch - Microsoft is not allowed to use the source code produced by the open source effort until after it has rolled out Longhorn - thus preserving the independence of the challengers, who will not have access to the Longhorn source tree. After the challenge has finished and the bets have been tallied up, then it is a totally different story, because the BSD/MIT license doesn't prohibit incorporation within a closed-source code base, only the denial of attribution. But should Microsoft use the independent effort's code during such a challenge, it would be an admission that the Free/Libre Open Source community is right, and must be met with an appropriate forfeit - the sanitising and opening of the Longhorn source tree.
I propose in the interim that the challenge in the interim be named something other than Windows or Office - precisely what will have to be decided upon later.
So, there you have it. Are either of you betting men, able to face a challenge?
It seems Mandrake's new 9.2 release is causing some LG based CD-ROM drives to crash and burn. The following announcement is from Mandrake's website.
"Error scenario: Installing 9.2 and being told unable to install the base system and subsequent reboot reveals that CD-ROM drive is physically dead.
Why: According to LG Electronics, their ODD (Optical Disc Drive) products do not support Linux nor do they test with Linux. Unfortunately, many Dell computers (possibly others) come with these CD-ROM drives.
Solution: Currently there is no solution or work-around for this issue; it is still under investigation. Damage occurs even when doing a network install. At this point, please do not install Mandrake Linux 9.2 on any computer containing a LG-based CD-ROM drive or it will damage your CD-ROM drive! We are actively looking for a solution to this problem."
Well, once in a while a great flash animation comes along that puts everything into perspective. This is one such film, check it out.
By Ted Baehr
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Several people have called me lately to discuss the controversy over "The Passion." Generally, they have brought up the question of whether the movie is anti-Semitic. The real issue of "The Passion" is not anti-Semitism; after all, Jesus was Jewish, as were the disciples. The real issue is anti-Christ – a bigoted position embraced by a group of negative, self-appointed secular elites whose intent is to attack Jesus Christ by attacking the authenticity of the Bible and of Christianity itself.
These are the same people who fight to get the 10 Commandments removed from the Alabama courthouse and crosses removed from government cemeteries. Their arguments do not hold water.
(The Passion of Christ, will open in theaters next Ash Wednesday — Feb. 25)
Many of these anti-Christs want people to believe that the Bible is highly inaccurate and cannot be read as if it says what it says. They are angry that Mel Gibson has stuck to the biblical text, and their problem is that they do not want to believe the biblical text because it would force them to consider the claims of Jesus Christ. Their fallacious premise is that "we don't know who wrote the Gospels." The reason they can make such an absurd statement is that they've thrown out 2000 years of tradition, research and historical documents. From their brief, insignificant, semi-sentient life spans and limited intellectual capacity, they've passed judgment on over 2000 years of tradition and history; and so, their judgment is that the Gospels do not mean what they say.
One of these anti-Christs makes the silly statement that the thieves on the cross, crucified with Jesus, were not thieves, but "insurgents." The question is, Has this self-appointed expert ever read the Old Testament? Isaiah 53:12 says that the Messiah will be crucified with thieves, and the Gospel account of the crucifixion is a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy written hundreds of years earlier. In fact, most of the things they object to in the Gospels are prophesies testified to in the Old Testament. Therefore, the events of the Gospels are proved by prophecy, history and the immediate revelation to those who are believers in Jesus Christ. What's sad is that the cynical press seizes upon the comments of these negative anti-Christs and treats them as if they were saying something profound and truthful, which they are not.
The Gospels were written very shortly after the death of Jesus, as J.A.T. Robinson points out in "Redating the New Testament." Robinson (a noted theologian, but not a believer) dates all of the New Testament books as written before A.D. 70 and some as early as A.D. 40-50, which is only 10 to 20 years after these events occurred. Biblical archeologist William Foxwell Albright supports this finding:
In my opinion, every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the 40s and 80s of the first century A.D. (very probably sometime between about A.D. 50 and 75).
In recent years, this view has been confirmed by several other top-line scholars.
The significance of this dating is that those reading the testimony of the New Testament writers would have been alive during the events written about. Hence, if the writings were outright fabrications, they could have easily been challenged. In fact, the testimonies in the writings were indeed challenged, yet there is no historical record anywhere that the challenges were successful, or that the disciples who witnessed Christ's brutal death and miraculous resurrection appearances recanted their testimony.
Bishop Robinson began his book, "I thought I would see how far one could get with the hypothesis that the whole of the New Testament was written before 70," the year in which the Roman army sacked and burned the Temple of Jerusalem. According to reviewer Edward Thomas Veal, "As it turned out, Robinson got much further than he had ever expected, a journey made more impressive by his lack of any predisposition toward a 'conservative' point of view. His conclusion is that there is no compelling evidence – indeed, little evidence of any kind – that anything in the New Testament canon reflects knowledge of the Temple's destruction. Furthermore, other considerations point consistently toward early dates and away from the common assumption (a prejudice with a seriously circular foundation) that a majority of primitive Christian authors wrote in the very late first or early-to-middle second century under assumed names."
Thus, the Gospels are highly accurate and well attested to by the historians of their age and tell the story that God gave His only begotten son, that all who believe in Him will be saved. What these people are rejecting is not Mel Gibson and "The Passion"; they're rejecting reason, tradition and God himself, who is Jesus Christ, and his salvation, and we need to pray for their eternal souls. This pack of ravenous anti-Christs have done little more than weave a pack of vicious lies.
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
- 1 John 2:22 (KJV)
From The Register
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer yesterday defended the company's record on security, arguing that, contrary to popular opinion, Windows was easier to secure than its open source rivals.
During a showpiece Interview with analysts during Gartner's ITXpo in Orlando, Ballmer went as far as suggesting data from security clearing house CERT supported his controversial assertion that Windows was subject to fewer vulnerabilities than popular Linux distros, such as Red Hat.
According to Ballmer, four critical vulnerabilities were discovered in the first 150 days after the release of Windows 2003, compared with 17 found in the same time following the release of Win2000.
"The first 150 days of Red Hat 6, go check the number, just go check the number. It's five to ten times higher than what we are showing," Ballmer said.
But vulnerabilities in Red Hat include flaws with the applications that run and top of the distro as well as the distro itself, so Ballmer has latched onto a misleading comparison. In absolute terms, the number of Microsoft security alerts is decreasing. But this doesn't tell the whole story either, as the seriousness of particular problems and how widely they are exploited are not taken into account.
Academics believe that the security of open and closed source platforms to be roughly equivalent. Sysadmins says that patching Windows for security updates is more problematic than is the case with Linux. Despite this, Ballmer continues to find fault with open source security.
"There's no roadmap for Linux. There's nobody to hold accountable for security issues with Linux. There's nobody sort of, so to speak, rear end on the line for issues; it may or may not be an issue," he said.
And what of Microsoft's own Trustworthy Computing initiative, now approaching its second birthday? Ballmer admits that Redmond's effort to address patching issue are overdue but he points to the progress the company has made thus far.
"Since we embarked on what I might call the trustworthy computing release process, we've made dramatic strides; maybe not good enough, four critical vulnerabilities, still not good enough, but we've made dramatic strides," Ballmer said.
"We put a lot of effort and energy into improving our patching process, probably later than we should have and now we're just gaining incredible speed. Our patching process needs to be more predictable, people want smaller patches, we need one simple installation process for patches, which we haven't had, we need rollback on patches, we need a more consistent patch policy, people want more predictability about when they come out, and people want better patch management tools."
"There's a whole set of things that people absolutely want and we've been raising our game," he added, referring to Microsoft's plans to provide improved "inspection and shield" technologies.
Security is 'top priority' for Redmond
Ballmer gave one of his strongest statements to date that giving people confidence in the security of Microsoft's products is "absolutely our top priority.
"We've got our best brains on it. We've told people anything we need to do - acquiring new technologies, people, approaches - we should put our heads down and go get that stuff done. And we're not going to let anything stand in the way.
"We understand this is an issue of customer satisfaction. It could slow down progress on IT for the whole industry."
The last remark is telling. Ballmer's sees security as a difficult stretch of water to be navigated or a roadblock to "innovation", not as a process that needs to be continual, with trade-offs made to manage risks within business requirements.
Gartner analysts correctly identified one of the key security problems Microsoft has yet to address. Whatever the compamy is doing now in terms of improving its code quality most of the problems ("probably 95 per cent") are from code that was written six, seven, eight years ago.
Ballmer was asked if Microsoft was going to rewrite some of this code over time or start over in a few years?
His reply was far from convincing: "There are some things that, in the 20-year time horizon, I'm sure we will redo, and perhaps others will as well," he said, before moving on to discuss new security models based on XML technology.
This is not good enough and touches the heart of the problem, namely the lack of compelling commercial incentives for Microsoft to improve older software.
A transcript of Ballmer's interview is here. ®
Sameena, 26, had her dreams shattered when, instead of the small house her husband Jameel had promised, she ended up in an Islamabad Rawalpindi brothel in November 2001.
“I was shocked to know that it was not my sweet home and Farida, whom my husband had introduced to me as caretaker, was lady manager,” recalled Sameena in an interview that an NGO conducted into the issue of women trafficking.
Her face, said the interviewer later, betrayed the trauma Sameena has undergone as a prostitute for almost two years.
Sameena’s is not an isolated story; scores of such victims of greedy flesh merchants serve and suffer not only at hundreds of "civilized brothels" – guest houses – inside Pakistan, but also abroad, where young girls and women are taken as nurses and caretakers, but are in fact used as tools for money-minting.
Human Rights organisations like the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report that a woman could be bought for no more than rupees 10,000 ($175) in NWFP.
In the Sindh and Punjab provinces, impoverished parents sell daughters as young as 10 to suitors willing to pay their families sums of money ranging from $425 to $4250. They either end up in local brothels, or are taken abroad.
“I have seen young girls being brought back on stretchers from the Gulf, after agonizing experiences at the hands of foreign merry-makers,” says Firyal Ali Gohar, a social activist and a Goodwill Ambassador to the UN’s population fund.
Gohar, who has been focusing on human rights and women’s issues in Pakistan, says unscrupulous traders are using both domestic as well as foreign women to fill up their pockets.
“Pakistan in fact serves as a nation where women are sold and sent to other countries after being brought into it,” says Zia Awan, the head of a Karachi-based Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA).
The survey noticed an increase in recent years in the number of women brought into the country from Bangladesh, Iran and Central Asia, often to serve as sex workers or as bonded domestic labour.
In November 2002, 20 young Iranian girls were repatriated to Iran in a state of trauma after being forced to work in Pakistan as prostitutes.
“These girls had apparently been brought by traffickers from impoverished families in Iran and promised marriage with well-off men in Pakistan,” revealed Kamila Hayat, editor of the monthly magazine of HRCP.
Areen Parvez, a Bangladeshi woman had been brought to Pakistan 10 years ago by a distant cousin with a promise of marrying her off to a God-fearing landlord, but sold her for $350 instead to someone in the southern Sindh province; the middle-aged man subjected Areen to a decade of rape, torture and bondage.
According to estimates by human rights activists, about 200,000 women and girls between the ages of 12-30 years have been trafficked from Bangladesh to Pakistan in the last 10 years.
Dozens of girls from China and some Central Asian Republics at a few low profile, but exquisite places of entertainment in Islamabad, also point to the flourishing trade in recent years.
Dr Sarah Tirmazi, Country Director Action Aid Pakistan, a British NGO, says trafficking of women and children is a shame for any country.
“There also seemed to be an increase in the trend of kidnapping women for trafficking with several women of the same family sometimes abducted for this purpose and smuggled within the country or abroad,” Tirmazi maintains.
Action Aid runs a counseling office in the red light district of Lahore, capital of the largest Punjab province, particularly to promote awareness on sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and AIDS.
According to a Karachi-based helpline, Madadgar, there have been over 1745 cases of abduction across the country last year.
Another issue confronting human rights activists as well as the authorities is the abduction and trafficking of children.
A recent US State Department report classified Pakistan, India and Bangladesh as countries that “do not fully comply with minimum standards to check human trafficking.”
“Pakistan is a main transit point for women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation and bonded labor,” the report said.
“I don’t think this (exploitation of women) will ever come to an end in the Pakistani society where males consider females as their personal property or a trading commodity," said 31-year-old Sobia Faruq, who was forced into prostitution after her husband abandoned her in favour of another girl.
“I tried my best to find a job but got nothing except ‘dirty looks’. Many people were ready to help me but they wanted to have sex in return,” she said adding that an elderly woman later offered a job of a housekeeper to her, which she accepted.
“But it was trap laid out for me; it was not a house but a brothel, which turned a housewife into a prostitute.” Sobia lives on in the same house with little choice of getting out of the vicious cycle.
Few would, however, disagree that trafficking and trade in women and children within and outside Pakistan is a primary result of extreme poverty and social norms that treat women as inferior beings.
“The fact that women and children are placed in the same category as arms and drugs is in itself a flagrant violation of their dignity and rights as human beings,” said Nazish Brohi, who also works for Action Aid.
Firyal Ali Gohar is equally bitter about the situation.
“The landed aristocracy, a corrupt and conniving bureaucracy, and a people essentially mired in anti-women conservative culture all combine to put poor women and children at the mercy of unscrupulous traders," Gohar believes.
From New York Post
October 19, 2003 -- BETTER-ARMED and better-trained, a Western army "liberates" Arab territory. Divided among themselves, some Arabs cut deals with the invader, while hardliners resist the occupation. Assassins from a terrorist organization haunt - and hunt - local leaders.
Sunnis and Shi'as compete for advantage. Long-suffering minorities wonder whether to welcome their liberators or distrust them. Divided between new powers and old, the Westerners squabble over issues of international law, political authority and trading privileges. Favored parties win economic concessions from the victors.
Having failed to block the advance of the invading army, the Turks meddle in Arab affairs. And a portion of the soldiers in the conquering army feel they've done what they came to do and want to come home.
No. The Middle East at the close of the 11th century, in the wake of the First Crusade.
The point is not to play clever games with history, but to stress that the dilemmas of our own day are not exceptional or new. On the contrary, our worthy destruction of Saddam's regime can be seen as part of history's longest war: the battle for hegemony between Middle Eastern and Western civilization.
We don't have to like the idea of such an endless conflict before admitting its existence. Well-meant denials help no one, while hindering understanding. The historical record shows that the conflict between Islam and the (Judeo-) Christian West began in the middle of the seventh century, as Muslim armies burst from the Arabian peninsula, energized by a new vision, destroying or subjugating the Christian and Jewish populations of the eastern Mediterranean.
The war never really stopped.
When Arabs complain of their victimization by the West, inevitably citing the interlude of the Crusades, they neglect to mention that, within a century of the birth of Islam, Muslim armies had swept across North Africa, through Spain, and deep into France. In the process, Christian communities that had shaped the faith were devoured.
To the north, the Arabs relentlessly pushed back the Orthodox Christian empire of the Byzantines. Turkic tribes thrust westward, across the Russian steppes and through the Balkans, establishing Islam's frontiers in today's Hungary and Romania.
The combat hardly paused. And the tide slowly turned. Long weakened by the West's internal rivalries, Byzantium fell in the middle of the 15th century. But by the end of that century, the Moors had been expelled from Spain. After a thousand years of defeats, the West's march to dominance began.
Even so, a Turkish army besieged Vienna as late as 1683 - until defeated by the valor of a Polish king. Russia fought fanatical Islamic warriors throughout the 19th century - as Russia does again today. And the Balkan wars that finally expelled the Turks in the early 20th century were vastly more horrific than those of our own time.
The struggle did not stop. It only moved. With the age of European imperialism, the conquests shifted in the other direction. The Islamic world of the greater Middle East, proud of its tradition of conquest, found its methods and values could not compete with modern, mechanized, liberal societies. The Mahdi's horsemen fell to Maxim guns.
The new debate in the Muslim world, begun 200 years ago and still underway, is between those who seek to emulate the processes of the West and those who advocate a return to religious rigor. Tragically, the fanatics appear to be winning the tactical debate, which leads, inevitably, to strategic defeat and further humiliation.
Now we face something unique in history: the collapse, before our eyes, of the competitiveness and competence of a vast civilization, that of Middle Eastern Islam. None of its cherished values - the subjugation of women, religious intolerance, economic organization based on blood ties - works anymore. The people of the Middle East simply can't compete on their own terms. And the Arab world appears close to hitting bottom.
A decade ago, that rarest of creatures, a courageous academic - Samuel P. Huntington - advanced his theory of a "clash of civilizations." His honesty met outrage from those for whom emotion and prejudice trump facts. Yet all that Huntington really did was to note that the emperor of political correctness wore no clothes.
Still, even Huntington fell short by suggesting that this clash of civilizations was something new. Clashing is what civilizations do. Especially monotheist civilizations, with their one-God, one-path-to-the-truth, our-way-is-best convictions.
We should not be surprised at the current clash of civilizations. It would be far more surprising if it were not occurring. Such conflict is the rule, not the exception.
Of course, we would be fools to celebrate this clash, despite our own triumphs. It would be better for all if the Middle East could regain its moral and economic health. Cooperation is better than warfare. Peace should be our ultimate goal.
But not peace at any price. And cooperation doesn't work unilaterally.
Our soldiers in Iraq aren't engaged in a religious crusade. But ours is, undeniably, a cultural crusade, based upon our belief that the values of our civilization, from human rights to popular sovereignty, are superior to archaic forms of oppression. It's an old, old struggle, fought on post-modern terms.
Today's Middle East has become a citadel of tyranny. And tyranny must be fought without compromise. If that's a crusade, there's no reason to deny it.
Ralph Peters' new book is "Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace."
If Linux were a person, he would be growing, fast. Taught by the best. Gaining wisdom beyond his years. And sharing. He would be in business, education, government and homes. He would be a nine-year-old boy changing the world.
Download the Ad Here. (Mpeg format 8.31Mb)
*Muddy's Note* This is a great commercial, even if you don't get into Linux.
My first wallpapers I made are already up there and a picture I took at the Dayton International Air Show this past July. I took over 418 pictures so it will take some time to sift through them all to find the best ones to post.
Hello everyone! PFC (soon to be Lance Corporal) Skywalker here, greeting you all from Camp Pendleton, California. I've learned alot more about why anti-war protestors are Idiots (tm) and I should be coming home to Atlanta on a permanent basis and getting back to school here by mid-December. I've got some stories for you soon, including one about who the military votes for in our elections. Some funny ones, and I'll even post some pictures from MCT (very basic combat training given to non-infantry Marines) and from here at the air station.
From The Register
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has come to the aid of one Ross Plank - a man the recording industry accuses of having an unhealthy love for Latin music.
Plank, of Playa Del Rey, California, is one of the 261 alleged file-traders to face a lawsuit from the RIAA's (Recording Industry Association of America) legal arm. The music labels claim that he made hundreds of Latin song available via the KaZaA service. The problem, however, is that Plank does not have a love for the Latin groove.
"Plank does not speak Spanish and does not listen to Latin music," the EFF said in a statement. "More importantly, his computer did not even have KaZaA installed during the period when the investigation occurred."
Plank would not be the first victim of a RIAA legal misfire. The pigopolists last month withdrew their lawsuit against a 66-year-old woman after discovering that she uses a Mac and cannot run KaZaA.
A self-employed Web consultant, Plank is a tad hacked off at the RIAA's threaten now and check the facts later legal strategy.
"I need my computer and Internet connection to run my business," he said. "I shouldn't have to feel my business and future are at risk because the RIAA has somehow linked my name to a set of Latin songs."
The EFF along with US Senator Norm Coleman are calling for new legislation that would cut the amount of damages the RIAA can seek against file-traders and call for a judge - a not a clerk - to review subpoenas seeking individual's information.
From Radio Free Europe
Two girls have been expelled from their school on the outskirts of Paris for wearing Muslim head scarves. It's the latest move in a debate over whether wearing head scarves in public schools represents a breach of the country's century-old separation of religion and state.
Prague, 13 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Two French sisters, 18-year-old Lila and 16-year-old Alma Levy, were suspended at the end of September from their high school in the northern suburbs of Paris after refusing to remove their traditional Muslim dress.
A disciplinary board meeting on 10 October decided to expel the two students after they refused to comply with a dress code banning "ostentatious" religious symbols in French schools. The sisters were wearing head scarves that covered everything but their faces, as well as long tunics that hid the remainder of their bodies.
Alma and Lila maintain they were not flaunting their religion. Their father, who describes himself as an atheist Jew, characterized the board's decision as "academic apartheid" and is promising to launch an appeal.
Michel Tubiana, president of the Paris-based Human Rights League, calls the move a defeat for dialogue and secularism. "These young girls were following all classes, which is essential for us. And despite the fully detestable meaning of the scarf [at school], [wearing it] comes under their freedom of conscience only. I think that those who decided this expulsion have forgotten that the only way to make things evolve is precisely the teaching given by the republic's school system," Tubiana said.
Worn by some Muslim women as a sign of modesty, the head scarf -- or "hijab" in Arabic -- has become a sensitive issue in France. Mouloud Aounit, head of the antiracist Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples (MRAP), says the expulsions point out what he called the "Islamophobia" currently reigning across France. Lila and Alma, he said, are not Islamic radicals.
However, Agence France Presse quoted Remi Duloquin, educational counselor at the school, as describing the girls as "militants" and saying their presence upsets the balance inside the school. The school's student body is made up largely of the children of Muslim immigrants. About 15 other young girls wear a more revealing head scarf without the accompanying tunic.
France's principle of separation of religion and state bars the display of any religious symbols in state schools. And Richard Serero stresses that secularity is not negotiable. He is first vice president of the Paris-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA).
"LICRA's position is the republican law -- secularity, full secularity, and only secularity. No exception. No head scarves at school. No religious signs at school. It's crystal clear," Serero said.
In practice, however, school authorities across the country decide themselves on a case-by-case basis whether to implement the rule. There have been expulsions of Muslim girls wearing head scarves before, but the current case has raised the heat under a national French commission mulling whether to recommend a tightening of the rules on the issue. The panel is due to report back to President Jacques Chirac by the end of the year.
To some advocates of tougher laws, head scarves are perceived as a provocation. Jacques Myard is a member of the ruling conservative UMP coalition in the French National Assembly. "In our schools, there have been no signs of religions of any kind for a century now," he said. "It has been just for a few years that it has been an attempt by [some] Muslims to try to impose the head scarf to show the other people that they are Muslims."
The Human Rights League's Tubiana, however, said tightening the law would put France in contradiction with its constitution and its international commitments to protecting freedom of religious beliefs. Besides, he noted, such a move would further stigmatize the French Muslim community. "In reality, the daily wearing of any religious sign is not targeted, but only the Muslim head scarf. So a law would be totally inappropriate," Trubiana said.
Others warn that a tougher law would only boost support for the Islamist fringe. France, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, has Europe's largest Muslim minority, with about 5 million faithful.
Last month in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that the Baden-Wurttemberg state was wrong to deny a job to an Afghan-born teacher who was wearing a head scarf. The country's highest court argued that the state has no laws banning such displays. The court said the state could ban head scarves if it passes a law to that effect, prompting a number of German states to announce plans to do so.
LONDON (Reuters) - A collection of more than 12 million historic photographs, capturing scenes from the Boer War to the D-Day landings, has been published on the Internet.
The images, which date back to the turn of the 20th century, have been captured from the archives of the British Pathe newsreel, a cinema news service that pre-dated television.
The unique collection has been created by re-scanning every inch of the archive's 3,500 hours of 35mm film.
A still image has been produced from every second of film, ranging from the earliest flickering monochrome pictures of the Boer War in 19th century Africa to Pathe's coverage of London in the swinging sixties.
Peter Fydler, archive marketing director at Independent Television News, which owns British Pathe, said the collection should provide a powerful learning aid and a trip down memory lane.
"By using the newsreel archive to create a huge collection of still images, people can have access free of charge to printable pictures which will add to their enjoyment of history," he said.
The collection can be accessed at britishpathe.com
Memorable images include John Lennon and Paul McCartney with their 1964 NME award and England footballers Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst celebrating their 1966 World Cup victory.
Two unidentified soldiers are seen after their rescue from Dunkirk in 1940, while former leader Winston Churchill is pictured enjoying a football match at London's Wembley Stadium at the height of World War Two.
Classic actresses Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe also feature, along with silent movie star Charlie Chaplin, pictured in Venice in 1930.
Queen Elizabeth is seen at the annual Chelsea Flower Show in 1960 and the world's first supermodel, Twiggy, is captured in Hamburg.
Surrealist painter Salvador Dali was the highlight of Pathe's final newsreel in 1970, pulling a bizarre pose in Paris.
Well, added category icons to the site.
I "borrowed" them from the Noia and Crystal Icon sets for Linux. Until I learn how to use a 3D rendering program and make my own these will have to work. :-)
From The Register
Realizing it had little to gain through legal action, SunnComm has backed down from threatening to sue a Princeton student who broke the company's CD copy protection technology simply by holding down the Shift key.
SunnComm issued a statement long on denouncing researcher Alex Halderman's critique of the MediaMax CD3 technology and short on saying why it won't sue. But nonetheless, the company has retreated from its promise to use the DMCA against Halderman.
"I don't want to be the guy that creates any kind of chilling effect on research," SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs told The Daily Princetonian less than twenty-four hours after wanting to be that guy. "I just thought about it and decided it was more important not to be one of those people. The harm's been done . . . if I can't accomplish anything [with a lawsuit] I don't want to leave a wake."
Jacobs' change of heart comes after seeing his company's market value drop by more than $10 million. In addition, SunnComm's approach to DRM endured widespread public ridicule at the hands of Halderman.
The Princeton student showed that holding down the Shift key would disable Windows' Autorun function and leave MediaMax CD3 rather ineffective.
Sunncomm, whose slogan is "light years beyond encryption," said that Halderman has missed the point when he exposed weaknesses with the MediaMax technology.
"MediaMax performs EXACTLY as "advertised" to the companies who purchased it," Jacobs said in the statement.
“We realize now that Mr. Halderman had mistakenly expected to be researching an 'extremely hack resistant' copy protection product when he evaluated MediaMax -Version1."
Extremely hack resistant apparently meaning something not done in by the Shift key.
All in all SunnComm made the right choice by backing down from what would have been a most liberal use of the DMCA. The company will be better off focusing its efforts on the MediaMax technology and also, with any luck, its Web site.
From The Washington Times
White House Web site guests got some straight talk about postwar Iraq yesterday from Dan Senor, senior adviser to L. Paul Bremer, who's spearheading the multinational rebuilding effort in the war-torn country.
Mr. Senor, who has spent the last six months in Iraq, answered questions submitted online as part of "Ask the White House," a live, public forum that has featured more than 50 Bush administration officials since April.
There is good news, he told a New York woman who complained that the news media presented an "unfairly negative" portrait of the coalition efforts in Iraq.
"Hospitals are open. Schools are open. Children are back at school. Iraqis are taking more and more responsibility for their security. There is a flourishing free press with over 160 Iraqi newspapers that have started up since liberation," Mr. Senor said. "Ninety-five percent of the country is at peace and returning to normal daily life."
One California man wanted to know if the Iraqis are grateful to the United States for ousting Saddam Hussein.
"There are Iraqi leaders stepping up all the time thanking the United States for their liberation. Members of Iraq's new governing council as individuals and as a group have repeatedly thanked President Bush and the United States for removing Saddam Hussein from power," Mr. Senor said.
"I hear from Iraqis all the time who have expressed this sentiment. One I will never forget was Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim, who is a senior Iraqi security official. In his words, 'We will never forget the Americans who came to a foreign country to help people they never knew.' "
Mr. Senor also calmed a man concerned that the media reports depicted Iraq as "another Vietnam."
Iraq had 40,000 new police officers and a new army battalion to help protect Iraq's borders and assist American troops, he said.
"In addition, today, all of Iraq's 240 hospitals are open, 90 percent of Iraq's health clinics are open ... just a few days ago, we exceeded prewar electricity-generation levels," the aide said.
"The overwhelming majority of Iraqi people have embraced the liberation and are grateful for all we are doing to reconstruct their country," Mr. Senor told a California woman concerned about Iraqi children.
"When we arrived in Iraq after the fall of the regime, the school system was in disarray, but we got the school system up and running quickly," Mr. Senor added, noting that 1,500 schools were rebuilt in time for the new school year, and that all of Iraq's 22 universities had reopened.
"As the media speculates, do you think Iraq has derailed us from the war on terror?" asked one man.
"Iraq is now a central front in the war on terror," Mr. Senor said, and Iraq now served "as a model for the region" for a nation at peace with its citizens.
"If we choose to ignore terrorists in Iraq, we will wind up hearing from them on our own soil. That is why success in the reconstruction of Iraq is so critical," he said.
The complete transcript can be read online at www.whitehouse.gov/ask.
This series is based on R.D. seeking some legendary "Alpha Zoid" and the adventures of the Mach Storm group.
All Zoids now fight in a Battle League in arenas, no more fighting in the open. Ahh the good ol' days.
Some sites have said that R.D. and Sweet are brother and sister but this does not seem true. (at least thus far)
If they would make the lines that they give the voice actors more intelligent it would give this show a huge lift.
I'll attempt to list the characters that are covered in the first episode.
##Mach Storm Group ##
R.D. - Liger Zero's pilot
Sweet - Female who does not seem to be a pilot. Sweet is Very leena like. (her daughter maybe?)
Hop - Leader of the Mach Storm Group, also very Doctor Toros like.
Sigma - Male Zoid Pilot. I was not able to determine what zoid he pilots.
Helmet - Male Command Wolf Pilot (much like Brad's blue command wolf)
Amy - unknown who she is other than the Mach Storm group knows her well and Sweet can't stand her. (reminds me of Naomi Fluegel)
## Savage Hand Group ##
Blake - Male Zoid Pilot of the Bezerk Fury
Sandra - Leader of Savage Hand
Burton - Male Zoid Pilot
Message boards and chat rooms were buzzing Tuesday morning with word of the leaked game. Some fan-based and hacker sites were even displaying in-game images. It is unclear whether the leaked version features the entire game or a limited number of levels. Also unclear is how current the assets used to create the game are.
t's the latest in a series of frustrations for Vivendi Universal Games (V: Research, Estimates) and developer Valve. Earlier today, Christophe Ramboz, VU Games president of international operations, told Reuters the source code theft would result in a four month delay, pushing Half-Life 2 back to April 2004.
Valve, though, has not confirmed that delay. (Calls to the developer were not returned.) That's an important thing to note. Large independent game developers such as Valve and id Software typically decide when their games are released – not the publishers.
The hunt for the thieves is ongoing, but a rough timeline of events has emerged. Somewhere on or around Sept. 11, hackers broke into the email of Valve founder Gabe Newell, possibly utilizing a security hole in Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) Outlook. Eight days later, they made a copy of the game's source tree. Keystroke recorders were also installed on the computers of several other employees. The invasion was methodical and seems deliberately aimed at the developer.
"This [keystroke] recorder is apparently a customized version ... created to infect Valve (at least it hasn't been seen anywhere else, and isn't detected by normal virus scanning tools)," said Newell in a message board posting last week.
In the same post, Newell said the company had been subject to "a variety of denial of service attacks" over the past year. He was unsure whether these were related to the code theft.
The company has since minimized its network connection to the Internet, as it was still finding infected machines on Saturday.
The company has asked the Half-Life fan community for assistance as it searches for the attackers. Newell also mentioned in a Saturday update that it's possible other game developers might have been targeted by the same group.
"There's anecdotal evidence that other game developers have been targeted by whoever attacked us," he wrote. "This hasn't been confirmed. We've been providing other game developers with more detailed information about the exploits and evidence of infiltration."
Valve did not name the other developers who might have been targeted.
Id Software, though, knows a few things about source code leaks. Several of the company's biggest games, including all of the Quake games, have seen their source code leak out. Last year, a playable build of the still-in-development Doom 3 hit the Internet.
"It's happened enough that you think you'd start to get used to it," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software. "But whenever it happens, it's a sinking feeling. It's like somebody died. I don't mean to over dramatize it - I know its just a video game - but this is our lives here."
Today's release of a playable version of the game brings Vivendi's comments from earlier today into question. Ramboz told Reuters "a third of the source code was stolen". However, with the stolen game now out, it's possible a more complete version of the source code was taken.
While it's possible to make a playable version of a game without its complete source code, doing so without a strong knowledge of game development is extraordinarily challenging.
There are additional fears that the thieves could distribute other aspects of the game, which have not yet been officially announced.
Valve has been actively pursuing the thieves since the hacking came to light, which is a different approach than other developers have done in previous instances of code theft. Hollenshead said he understands where the drive to find who was responsible comes from, but questions its usefulness.
"From what I've seen of Half-Life 2, it looks like it's going to be a really fun game," he said. "My focus would be on doing the thing that's going to make the game great: Focus on finishing it. ... The risk is they find out who did it and [the hacker is] a resident of Russia. Then there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Ultimately, we're in the business of making games, not chasing hackers."
Half-Life 2 was shaping up to be the year's most anticipated PC game. Vivendi was counting on heavy sales to help it improve revenues – and possibly make its gaming unit more attractive to potential buyers. The game, originally scheduled to be released Sept. 30, was first delayed on Sept. 23, with Valve saying it was "targeting a holiday release."
The leak could also have a negative impact on graphic chip manufacturer ATI, which Valve recently named the preferred graphics card partner of Half-Life 2. ATI (ATYT: Research, Estimates) planned to give away a free copy of the game with its two latest products. The leaked version could lessen demand for those graphics cards, though.
Well, finally getting around to playing some more with Karamba, now have T-Mon, Liquid-Weather and Kroller running.
Kroller seems easy enough to edit, swapped out the mozilla icon for Phoenix/Firebird since I'm running it now.
As before they can all be found on KDE-Look.org
Federal agents investigating the death of Brian Wells on August 28 outside Erie also issued a $50,000 reward for information leading to anyone responsible for the robbery and Wells' death.
Before he died, the 46-year-old deliveryman told authorities he had been forced to rob the bank by someone who locked the collar around his neck. Police who surrounded Wells after he robbed the bank were waiting for a bomb squad when the device detonated.
FBI Agent Bob Rudge said the cane-shaped weapon fired shotgun shells and appeared to be homemade. Investigators hope someone will recognize the gun, which is made of wood and metal.
"We know that Mr. Wells was instructed to take the cane inside (the bank) to commit the robbery," Rudge said. He did not say how the FBI knows that and he refused to say whether the weapon had been fired.
Rudge said behavioral specialists at FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, determined that the person who made the weapon was likely patient, mature and deceptive.
"This may not be the only cane-gun the individual has manufactured," he said.
In the weeks since Wells' death, authorities also have released details from an extensive note in Wells' possession. The note directed him to four locations after robbing the bank. Investigators also have released photographs of the three-ringed, locked metal collar.
Investigators have said that they have not ruled out that Wells could have been a willing participant in the crime.
I was sitting here thinking, the same folks who built my computer monitor at work also built the majority of Japanese fighters that killed my American brothers during WWII. As well Ford, GM and a host of other American companies helped in the war effort by building bombers, fighters and many other machines of war. Which in turn killed many thousands of Germans, Japanese and Italians. Yet they also drive and use our products.
What's as interesting is Hollywood during WWII produced propaganda and training films that helped our boys kill German and Japanese troops. Yet today the countries that Hollywood helped to destroy crave their films and entertainers.
In addition the well documented "good cheer" that was between the French and Americans during WWII and right after has now turned into disgust and distrust in both directions.
What sickens me however is the fact my country was "delighted" to capture Werner von Braun and allowed him to come to the U.S. and build rockets for NASA. Von Braun a dedicated Nazi should have never lived, let alone been given a "get out of jail free" card just because he could help us build rockets.
"It was later calculated that thousands of people enslaved by the Nazis had been killed working in von Braun's missile projects, in addition to the thousands killed in London from the notorious V-2 missile, developed by von Braun. The V-2 was also used against Allied troops after D-Day." (from History Central)
Of course these are a small drop of examples in a lake of interesting and disturbing things that came out of WWII.
Ironic isn't it?
The Indianapolis Colts just shocked the Tampa Bay Bucs with an amazing OT win.
In the 4th quarter the Colts scored 4 TD's to come back from a 21 point deficient to tie the game. In OT Mike Vanderjagt missed his 1st field goal attempt only to be given another chance after Simeon Rice was called for unsportsman like conduct on an obscure rule. Vanderjagt's 2nd attempt was tipped at the line and hit the goal post only to bounce in giving the Colts an incredible win in OT.
More on NFL.com
Beirut, Lebanon -- Israeli warplanes bombed a target just miles from the Syrian capital yesterday, in the first Israeli military attack inside Syria in 30 years. Israel said the site was a training camp used by Pales- tinian militants responsible for deadly attacks against Israelis, but Syria said it was a civilian area and warned of a "grave escalation" in violence.
The air strike - in apparent retaliation for a Palestinian suicide bombing Saturday that killed 19 Israelis, came on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel held off Arab armies. The attack brought condemnation from many Arab governments and heightened fears that Israeli-Palestinian fighting could spread to neighboring countries. The Bush administration appeared to have been taken by surprise, with officials saying that Israel did not give Washington any advance warning of the attack.
The administration urged both countries to show restraint, but added a pointed criticism of Syria, saying Damascus "must cease harboring terrorists and make a clean break from those responsible for planning and directing terrorist action from Syrian soil." Washington has been pressuring Syria for months to cease its support for Palestinian militant groups and to seal its borders with Iraq, where Syrians have slipped in to fight U.S. troops. Last month, administration officials suggested that they might impose sanctions on Syria.
With Israel's far superior military, Syria has little option for retaliation. Instead, Syrian leaders looked for international support yesterday, calling for emergency meetings of the United Nations Security Council and the 22-member Arab League. In a letter to the UN, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al- Sharaa said the attack "threatens security and peace in the region and could aggravate the situation into dire consequences that would be hard to control."
Israeli officials said they would pursue Palestinian militants wherever they are. "Any country who harbors terrorists, who trains them, supports and encourages them, will be responsible to answer for their actions," said Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner.
Even if Syria does not retaliate directly, the raid signals a dramatic shift in Israel's response to Palestinian suicide attacks. Since the start of the current Palestinian uprising three years ago, Israel has confined its retaliation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Now, analysts say, Israel could expand its strikes into Syria and Lebanon, where Palestinian groups operate.
"This is the beginning of a new phase of retaliation, because now nothing can stop Israel from hitting Palestinian targets inside Syria or Lebanon," said Farid el-Khazen, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut. "There is no military deterrence to Israel in the region. The only deterrence is the United States, and it does not seem to object strongly to this new Israeli strategy."
Syrian analysts said Damascus would not abandon the Palestinian groups, which are one of its last potential bargaining chips with Israel.
"Israel's message to Syria today was that Damascus will pay for anything that happens inside Israel and the occupied territories," said Imad Shueibi, a politics professor at the University of Damascus whose views often reflect the government's position. "But Syria cannot be intimidated into withdrawing its support for the Palestinian resistance groups."
By making such a dramatic raid, analysts said, the Israeli government might have forestalled public demands for the expulsion of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a move strongly opposed by the United States.Israeli officials said the targeted camp - about 12 miles northwest of Damascus - was used by Islamic Jihad, the group that claimed responsibility for Saturday's suicide bombing in the Israeli port city of Haifa. While several leaders of Islamic Jihad, Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups are based in Damascus, they all deny having any training camps on Syrian territory. Villagers near the targeted site told reporters that Palestinian guerrillas had used it in the 1970s but that it had been abandoned for many years. Syrian officials quickly closed off the area yesterday and prevented journalists from photographing it.
To buttress its case, Israel distributed undated video footage said to have been taken at the camp by Iranian TV. The footage shows a man in a camouflage uniform conducting a tour of underground tunnels packed with arms and ammunition. In one room, dozens of pistols, machine guns and grenades were displayed on a table.
A small, radical Palestinian group based in Damascus said it once used the area but that it had been deserted for years. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command said two civilian guards were injured in the air strike.
The last time Israel struck inside Syrian territory was during the October 1973 war.
During the past 30 years, military confrontations between Israel and Syria have taken place in neighboring Lebanon, which is politically dominated by Damascus. Syria has more than 20,000 troops in Lebanon. In April 2001, Israeli warplanes destroyed a Syrian radar station in Lebanon, killing three Syrian soldiers. That strike came in retaliation for an attack on Israeli troops by Hezbollah, a Lebanese guerrilla group backed by Syria and Iran.
Yesterday's attack prompted speculation that Syria would retaliate indirectly by having Hezbollah launch attacks from Lebanon's southern border with Israel. A senior Hezbollah official said the group, which fought an 18-year guerrilla battle that drove Israel out of south Lebanon in 2000, has taken steps to fortify its positions along the border. But the official hinted at Hezbollah restraint, saying the group "would not take any steps to enable further Israeli aggression."
In recent months, Syrians have been worried about becoming Washington's next target for "regime change."
Syrian leaders are convinced that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not negotiate a return of the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War, and that the Bush administration will not broker a peace deal between the two countries. That is why Damascus sees little incentive to entirely cut its support to Palestinian militant groups and to Hezbollah.
Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.
A possible new class-action lawsuit against the Microsoft Corporation claims that the software giant’s products are susceptible to viruses that are capable of triggering “massive, cascading failures” in global computer networks.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of two major viruses that took advantage of flaws in Microsoft operating systems.
Filed on Tuesday, the suit also claims that Microsoft’s security warnings are too complex to be understood by the general public – instead it gives hackers detailed information on how to exploit the flaws in the operating system.
Attorney Dana Taschner of Newport Beach, California, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Marcy Levitas Hamilton, a film editor and "garden variety" PC user who had her social security number and bank details stolen over the Internet.
"Something fundamental has to change to protect consumers and businesses," Taschner said.
The lawsuit, which could include millions of plaintiffs if allowed to proceed as a class action, seeks unspecified damages and legal costs, as well as an injunction against Microsoft barring it from alleged unfair business practices.
Microsoft, which received and reviewed the complaint, said it would fight the attempt to certify the lawsuit as a class action.
"This complaint misses the point. The problems caused by viruses are the result of criminal acts by people who write viruses," said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake, adding that Microsoft was working with authorities to bring malicious code writers to justice.
But the lawsuit will most likely refuel the debate over whether the software industry should be accountable – as other companies such as automakers – for their end product.
"It's obvious Microsoft does not bear 100% of the responsibility for these problems, but it's just as obvious that they don't bear 0%," said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Counterpane Internet Security.
"This represents the first salvo for consumers to say to software makers 'Wait a second, if you are going to put out software that needs be patched three times a week, take responsibility for it,'" said Mark Rasch, a former head of the US Department of Justice computer crime unit, now with security firm Solutionary.
But with about $49 billion in cash and more than 90% of the market in PC operating systems, Microsoft has long been seen as a potential target for massive liability lawsuits.
But the company, which has been moving to settle anti-trust claims that it abused its monopoly on PC software, has been seen as shielded from liability claims by disclaimers contained in the licenses that users must agree to when installing software, according to experts.
I was messing around with SuperKaramba today and thought I'd put up a quick shot of what it does. It's a very cool program that allows you to run themes and change your linux box into anything you want.
I'm going to add the Mac OSX scroll bar next, but now I have to get some sleep.
I'll report on more as I play around with it.
You can check out the themes and such @ KDE-Look.org
WASHINGTON — The inspector leading the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq received a round of applause from the House Intelligence Committee Thursday morning even though he told lawmakers that no smoking gun has yet been found in the search, a Capitol Hill source told Fox News.
Speaking to reporters after a companion hearing on the Senate side late Thursday afternoon, CIA adviser and head of the Iraq Survey Group David Kay said he is convinced that there will be more surprises to come.
"Don't be surprised by surprises in Iraq," Kay said, adding that a mission that size will always uncover startling information.
Kay did not reveal any bombshells but said that he had enough evidence to show that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (search) had been violating U.N. disarmament resolutions up until as recently as this year, including by having very substantial chemical and biological weapons plans.
"At this point we have found substantial evidence of an intent of senior-level Iraqi officials, including Saddam, to continue production at some future point in time of weapons of mass destruction. We have not found at this point actual weapons," he said.
Kay said Iraq's nuclear weapons program appears to have been the least developed program uncovered so far, but the country did have bombs that could fly as far as 1,000 kilometers, much further than the 93-kilometer limit the U.N. had imposed on the country.
Kay said his team is still trying to determine the foreign influences that could have provided the liquid and solid fuels that would have flown medium-range missiles.
Earlier in the day Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, one of the coalition partners in Iraq, said weapons inspectors, who have only been on the ground for three months, have only one threshold to consider.
"The crucial question Kay's report poses is whether it will disclose evidence that is a breach of the United Nations resolutions that would have triggered a war with U.N. support if that information had been before the U.N. last March," Blair said.
The Kay appearance came after Bush administration officials revealed last month that Kay was returning to Washington to spend time barreling through thousands of documents from Saddam's deposed regime.
According to a source with knowledge of the closed-door House meeting, when Kay was asked point-blank by one House member whether he had found any weapons of mass destruction, Kay said no. Asked if he is going to find any, Kay replied, "I don't know."
According to the source, Kay described having found a lot of documents, a lot of computer files and quantities of materials — like chemical agents — needed to make weapons of mass destruction.
Kay briefed House committee members for approximately two and a half hours, spending the first hour delivering written testimony and the remaining 90 minutes answering lawmakers' questions. The source said he did a "very thorough job."
He cautioned that he still has much ground to cover and suffers from obstacles such as an inadequate supply of Arab linguists.
"It's not going to be obvious. Just walking in the country is not going to reveal the truth, you have to work at it and work at it hard," Kay told reporters after his testimony.
The source said Kay told lawmakers he expects to submit a final report to CIA Director George Tenet in September 2004, right in the middle of next fall's presidential campaign.
White House officials Thursday downplayed the importance of the session, saying Kay's mission remains very much a work in progress.
"This is a progress report, keep it in perspective. They continue to do their work. There's some 1,900 members of the Iraq Survey Group who are going through a massive amount of documents, interviewing a number of people in Iraq, Iraqis and scientists, who have knowledge of Saddam Hussein's history of weapons of mass destruction. And so they continue to pull together a complete picture," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said.
Asked whether the intelligence relied on to justify the war had been off base, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he had not seen anything that would lead him to think collectively the intelligence was inaccurate.
"I expect there to be considerable variations between what the intelligence suggested and what is eventually found on the ground. That's been true with intelligence since man began trying to gather intelligence. But I believed it then. I believe it now. We'll all know in good time," Rumsfeld said in a briefing with reporters.
One Republican senator suggested that whatever Kay reports, it will not diminish the strength of President Bush and Congress' decision to authorize war in Iraq.
"I think that we all made that decision in good faith. So I hope we do find remnants that show that there was an ongoing effort to make those weapons of mass destruction, but I also think events have overtaken that issue right now," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
Some experts have suggested that Kay's group will find no evidence of actual weapons, and perhaps only documentation. For Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that's not good enough.
"If he's talking about programs or ready-to-reconstitute weapons of mass destruction, that's a very different thing than what it was that the president said to us in the State of the Union when he implied in a sense that the situation in Iraq was of immediate threat to the United States and therefore we had to take pre-emptive action," Rockefeller said.
He added, however, that he is not prepared to make any final judgments until the report is wrapped up next year.
Lawmakers are continuing to investigate the quality of prewar intelligence. In a letter last week to Tenet, the two top members of the House intelligence panel said there were "significant deficiencies" in the collection of intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs and any ties Iraq may have had to Al Qaeda terrorists.
"There was a disconnect between public statements by administration officials and the underlying intelligence," read the letter sent by Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., and Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.
Kay's visit corresponds with Senate debate of President Bush's request for $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats say the failure to find weapons calls into question whether the war, and its human and financial costs, were necessary.
Among the classified section of the request is a $600 million request to pay for the continued hunt for conclusive evidence of WMD, according to a New York Times report Thursday.
Fox News' James Rosen and The Associated Press contributed to this report
Well I got off my butt and I'm upgrading my MythTV to v0.11 today.
Finished upgrading xmltv to 0.5.15 with no problems. I did have to download the DateManip-5.42 perl module from CPAN.org website.
MythTV is still compiling, I'll update when I'm done. I'm also going to put up all the files in one spot so anyone else with Mandrake 9.1 can just grab the files from here to make life easy.