It has been a slow week...
Data “Dysprotection” Weekend Roundup for Week Ending May 13th
Friday May 11th 2007, 5:26 pm
Hacker know how to secure their PII
User data stolen but not unsecured
Hi, we have some sad news, but don't be alarmed...
Some people (and yes, we know who) found a security hole on our web site (in fact, actually in this blog).
They have got a copy of the user database. [Okay, perhaps they don't know everything... Bob] That is, your username and passwords. But, the passwords are stored encrypted, so it's not a big deal, but it's still very sad that it's out there. All e-mails are for instance encrypted as well, they will most likely not be able to decrypt them either (they are _very_ encrypted).
We encourage all our users to change passwords as soon as possible - and if you have the same password on the bay as other places, you should update them as well. [Should be a standard security reminder Bob]
Be afraid, be very afraid...
Fix for Microsoft Automatic Updates not working
Users report continued problems with Microsoft patch, even after downloading and running new hotfix
By microsoft automaticupdates, IDG News Service May 11, 2007
Windows XP systems are still locking up during patch update attempts -- even after users deployed the fix suggested by Microsoft.
Symptoms of the long-running problem -- which the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) team dubbed the "svchost/msi issue" -- include 100 percent CPU usage by svchost.exe and its multiple processes during Automatic Updates scanning, update downloads, and sometimes even if AU is simply enabled on a machine.
"Of course, the computer is virtually unusable" when that happens, said a user identified as Foxy-Perth on the Windows Update support forum.
... A hotfix, updated just Thursday, is available on the Microsoft support site. The patch will be pushed out via Microsoft's usual update services, including Windows Update and Microsoft Update, late this month or in early June, said a developer on the WSUS blog. However, the fix can be downloaded and installed manually on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 systems.
I haven't made sense of this yet. Part of their reasoning is to comply with laws not yet in existence... Could be my natural ignorance showing through...
Why does Google remember information about searches?
5/11/2007 11:21:00 AM Posted by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel [Interesting. Not a CPO, but responsible for tracking privacy law globally? Bob]
... We spent a great deal of time sorting this out and thought we’d explain some of the things that prompted us to decide on 18-24 months.
... For those who want to see what their logs history looks like, we offer transparent access via a Google Account to their own personal Web History. [but you have to sign into your account to see it. I'd like to see what they were able to put together about me when I don't sign in... Bob]
Always something fun going on in DC Question: Is the frequency of governmental stupidity much different from the national average?
Bushies Behaving BadlyAn illustrated guide to GOP scandals.
By Holly Allen, Christopher Beam, and Torie Bosch
Updated Friday, May 11, 2007, at 12:36 PM ET
For an interactive feature on the recent scandals of the Republican party, click here.
...and equal time for the Democrats Note: This is not unusual. Politicians invent their own history as often as other politicians invent lies about them...
Friday, May 11, 2007
I Know This Will Shock You, But a Hillary Tale About Her Childhood Doesn't Add Up
A reader notes this column in the Chicago Daily Herald by Chuck Goudie, pointing out that Hillary Clinton's tales of spending time in her childhood on nearby farms with migrant workers just doesn't add up...
Your government in action! Finding new ways to waste money?
Blinding Eyes in the Sky Won't Work, Say Sat Pix Providers
By John P. Mello Jr. TechNewsWorld 05/11/07 9:30 AM PT
The government may under certain circumstances need to clamp down on commercial satellite imagery, such as the kind found in utilities like Google Earth, Robert Murrett, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said this week. However, the providers of those images, who are licensed by the government, say that such restrictions would be useless.
... Moreover, closing the tap on U.S. sources of satellite imaging will only open it for overseas imagers, according to Mark Brender, vice president for communications and marketing for GeoEye.
... In Iraq and Afghanistan, releases of satellite photos have been suppressed or delayed by the military with questionable results, contended Simpson of American University.
"Whether that has saved lives is certainly open to debate," he said. "There's no indication that any of the opposition forces in Afghanistan have realistic access to this imagery or the capability to use it."
... Through its licenses with the satellite imaging companies, the federal government has substantial control over what's done with eye-in-the-sky pics -- including barring the photographing of any area of the earth entirely -- but it appears to have used its powers with restraint.
"In five years of operation, we haven't been requested to either not to image or hold imagery back from certain areas," DigitalGlobe spokesperson Chuck Herring told TechNewsWorld.
While the government hasn't asked to imagers to avoid taking pictures of particular areas, it has sought to control distribution of images through "preclusive buying," or buying all the photos of a particular area on an exclusive basis. That was done for three months during the war in Afghanistan.
"Our government pays farmers not to farm, so they can buy up imagery over a particular part of the world -- but it's expensive," GeoEye's Brender observed.
He explained that at the time the government embarked on its preclusive buying spree, satellite technology was new and the feds weren't quite sure how handle it.
"On a 'let's be safe' basis, they decided to buy up the imagery," he opined, "but they quickly realized that was fruitless because foreign providers were selling the imagery."
A balanced article, but Al Gore (inventor of Global Warming) will be furious!
Could Global Warming Make Life on Earth Better?
Posted by Zonk on Friday May 11, @12:43PM from the makes-for-lots-of-swimming-opportunities dept. Science
mikee805 writes "A lengthy article in Spiegel explores the possibility that global warming might make life on Earth better, not just for humans, but all species. The article argues that 'worst-case scenarios' are often the result of inaccurate simulations made in the 1980s. While climate change is a reality, as far as the article is concerned, some planning and forethought may mean that more benefits than drawbacks will result from higher temperatures. From the article:'The medical benefits of higher average temperatures have also been ignored. According to Richard Tol, an environmental economist, "warming temperatures will mean that in 2050 there will be about 40,000 fewer deaths in Germany attributable to cold-related illnesses like the flu." Another widespread fear about global warming -- that it will cause super-storms that could devastate towns and villages with unprecedented fury -- also appears to be unfounded. Current long-term simulations, at any rate, do not suggest that such a trend will in fact materialize.'"
[From the article:
During the so-called Medieval Warm Period between about 900 and 1300 A.D., for example, the Vikings raised livestock on Greenland and sailed to North America. New cities were built all across Europe, and the continent's population grew from 30 million to 80 million.
The consequences of the colder temperatures that plunged civilization into the so-called Little Ice Age for several centuries after 1300 were devastating. Summers were rainy, winters cold, and in many places temperatures were too low for grain crops to mature. Famines and epidemics raged, and average life expectancy dropped by 10 years.
... When temperatures plunged unexpectedly once again in the 1960s, many meteorologists were quick to warn people about the coming of a new ice age -- supposedly triggered by man-made air pollution. Hardly anyone at the time believed a warming trend could pose a threat.