October 30, 2001

Peter Fromherz and colleagues in the Department of Membrane and Neuro Physics at Munich's Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry have created the world's first living silicon circuit.

See the Popular Science article It's alive! Brain cells and silicon learn to get along, by Katie Green.

Mindjack has just published a great article by Bryan Alexander about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the complex issues surrounding Intellectual Property and fair use in this day and age: The Digital Millenium Copyright Act: Licensing the Commons.

Here's a chuckle to start off your day: BBspot - RIAA Wants Background Checks on CD-RW Buyers from BBspot's Technology news.

RIAA Wants Background Checks on CD-RW Buyers Washington DC - The RIAA is lobbying for vendors of CD-RW drives to conduct background checks and require a 3 day waiting period before the drive can be sold.
The extensive background check would include cross referencing credit card numbers with local merchants sales logs looking for purchases of dual-cassette decks between the years of 1980 and 1987. It would also include checking for installation of file sharing software, knowledge of the Internet, and the ability to hum. Any of which would bar the purchaser from receiving his drive.
"A CD-RW can be a dangerous weapon when it falls into the wrong hands," said RIAA President Hilary Rosen, "You wouldn't sell a gun to a convicted felon and you shouldn't sell a CD-RW drive to a Gnutella user. The 3 day waiting period gives us time to verify that no copyrighted material is on the purchasers hard drive and to make sure they have a membership in the Columbia House CD club."

October 29, 2001

Various members of our Military Infrastructure are starting to move forward with their own agendas, including the creation of a global command that would commit us to a War that may last longer than we do.

See Global command considered , by Rowan Scarborough for The Washington Times.

Giving Gen. Holland, or another four-star officer, command of the anti-terror war would avoid shifting responsibility from commander to commander as anti-terror operations move from region to region. The principal war-fighting commanders, known as commanders in chief, or cincs, are assigned their own turf, such as Pacific or European command.
The Bush administration is in the early stages of discussing covert intelligence operations or actions by U.S. commandos, or their foreign surrogates, around the world. These actions likely would not come until President Bush meets his first objective: ousting the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan and eliminating Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. The locations include:
  • South America — The administration is collecting evidence of al Qaeda operatives involved in cocaine trafficking in Paraguay and Colombia. Islamic fundamentalist cells are operating in a tri-border area of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. Evidence has been found of al Qaeda members in this no man's land, a senior administration official says.

  • Philippines — Anti-government Abu Sayyaf terrorists are linked to bin Laden. Options discussed include an all-out conventional attack, the use of special operations troops or asking a surrogate to do the job. One candidate is Australia's Special Air Service, which has seen, or will see, action in Afghanistan.

    The United States believes the Philippines serves as home to scores of al Qaeda foot soldiers. Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vigorously supports America's war on terrorism, but is cool to the idea of allowing U.S. commandos to fight Abu Sayyaf. The Philippines government does want American training and advanced equipment.

    U.S. military advisers have visited the Philippines to assess the capabilities of forces fighting the rebels.

  • Iraq — Some Pentagon officials, notably Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, are advocating going after dictator Saddam Hussein. Saddam has not been directly linked to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, but the State Department lists Baghdad, which plotted to kill former President George Bush in 1993, as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Administration officials said several Rumsfeld aides believe the armed forces need an anti-terrorist commander for a war that may last for decades.
"This is a global war on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction," Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, told ABC this week. "So Afghanistan is only one small piece. So of course we're thinking very broadly. I would say since World War II we haven't thought this broadly about a campaign.
The Air Force general added, "I think this is going to be a long, hard-fought conflict. And it will be global in scale. And it won't be, as I mentioned earlier, it won't be just military. It's going to be all the instruments of our national power, with our friends and allies. And the fact that it could last several years or many years, or maybe our lifetimes, would not surprise me.

October 28, 2001

A friend of mine sent me this cool map of Afghanistan and its surrounding countries. (Thanks Doug!)

This story provides a nice background on the subject of online music subscription services, If you've been wanting to catch up on the big music industry players so you can follow along in the Department of Justice's big anti-trust investigation, try MP3: Just Press Play -- The future of digital music is almost here. Please have your credit card ready.

My own Turn About Is Fair Player provides a bit more detail on the history and politics of the subject.

Does Osama have nukes? Here's one perspective from the other side of the world.

See: US mulls neutralising Pak nuclear facilities from The Times of India. (Thanks Doug!)

Okay guys, when we said "a war against every country that supports terrorism" we didn't really mean to include the United States, did we? (albeit history will attest that it qualifies).

If you don't believe that airport security is getting a little out of hand, and quickly (although I personally have had nothing but easy going experiences myself even as recently as yesterday), read Homeland Insecurity : A Sacramento journalist is taken into custody by police and forced to destroy photos by an over-zealous National Guardsman. Apparently, the terrorists are indeed causing instability, by R.V. Scheide.

It was 5:15 pm on Wednesday, October 12, and we had call to be apprehensive. The previous day, the FBI had placed the entire nation on high alert, based on "credible" information that Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization headed by Osama bin Laden, was planning reprisal attacks on U.S. soil for the coming weekend. The bureau urged Americans to report any suspicious activity. Friday morning, armed troops from the California National Guard were deployed at Sacramento International Airport.
America, as we've been told over and over since September 11, is forever changed. Nowhere is this change more evident than in our approach to national security. Practically overnight, major metropolitan airports across the country have been turned into militarized zones crawling with armed soldiers and police. Their presence is designed to deter terrorists and provide us with a sense of security, but as I was about to discover, that security has come at a high price.
I'd purchased a roundtrip ticket from Sacramento International to LAX to observe firsthand the unprecedented measures being taken to combat terrorism. There'd been more than a little fear and paranoia in Sacramento and I expected to find more of the same in Los Angeles.
I didn't expect to be ordered to destroy photographs by an irate National Guardsman. I didn't expect the Los Angeles Police Department to confiscate and read the notes I'd taken on my trip. I didn't expect to be questioned by the FBI and detained for nearly three hours for no probable cause.
I didn't expect any of these things, but that's what happened. As I followed my fellow passengers up the jetway and into the LAX terminal, I had no idea I was stepping onto the War on Terrorism's first domestic battlefield, where, as in all wars, truth was about to become the first casualty.