Monthly Archives: October 2001


Thanks to p7tms and ://trinity for pointing me at… Wild zero told me about this story a few days ago, but it reminded me about the terrorist misidentification… I know it got virtually zero press in the US, but quite a few of the people that they named as terrorists — and showed pictures of — had nothing to do with the attacks. They just happened to have similar names. It would be sort of like charging every “John Smith” in the United States just because a “John Smith” committed a crime.

"What sort of intelligence agency doesn't know that there are thousands of Saeed Alghamdis in Saudi Arabia?" Alghamdi said. "It is like accusing Tom from New York."

Anyway, was jam-packed with excellent links… Here are some that I thought were particularly worth checking out:

Note: All of the above links are mainstream media, not fringe or indie media.

On a much more pleasant note, we adopted a cat. I can't believe the neighbors would leave it outside for weeks at a time and then yell at us for feeding it. They actually threatened to call the humane society on us for taking care of it! Of course, after doing so, they made no effort to feed or house it themselves… They just didn't want anyone else to do it either:


This may be old news to some, but I came across it while browsing a really neat currency page. When you look at many Canadian bills, they have the parliament buildings on them, which are of course flying a flag. However, when you look at them closely, it appears that on some bills the Canadian money is flying a US flag!

The answer is less exciting or nefarious than one would hope. It's not actually a US flag. It's actually a Red Ensign flag, which was the Canadian flag at the time (it looks very similar to Ontario's flag). Canada actually only started using the maple leaf flag very recently. Anyway, the flag that flys on the parliament building on the bills is historically accurate to the person that's depicted on the bill. If it's a person from the 1800s, then that's the flag that's on the bill as well!

Well, I thought it was interesting…

PS. This is funny. Oh, and if you don't know why, click here.

PPS. Stop eating all the monkfish. I just got to like it.

Grievously savage: A full disclosure of human ugliness

The experience update is up… Especially if you have full access, check it out — there are lots of new experiences in BME/extreme and BME/HARD. As I was uploading, the very first episode of ST:TNG is on TV…

Q: Captain, thy little centuries go by so rapidly. Perhaps thy will better understand this. Actually the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the commies. All it takes are a few good men.
P: What? That nonsense is centuries behind us.
Q: But you can't deny that you're still a dangerous savage child race.
P: Most certainly I deny it. I agree we still were when humans wore costumes like that, four hundred years ago.
Q: At which time you slaughtered millions, in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world. And four hundred years before that, you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal God images. Since then there're no indications that humans will ever change.
P: But even when we wore costumes like that, we'd already started to make rapid progress.
Q: Oh, yeah? Do you want to review your rapid progress?

Oh, and it looks like someone is testing their biological warfare techniques on Afghanistan — the aflicted literally just “melt”. Hmmm… I can't imagine that someone would start a war to just test it's new weapons, would they? There aren't that many countries with strong biological warfare labs — the US, China, Russia, some Middle-Eastern countries, etc… So at least the list of suspects is likely quite short.

If you'd like to distract yourself from that horror by hearing about something unrelated — there's an interesting case going on in Kansas right now. If you're straight, consensual teen oral sex gets you a year in jail. If you're gay, you get far more… An 18 year old boy was just handed 17 years in jail for consensual gay oral sex… If they don't like gay sex, just wait till they throw the book at someone for doing genital piercing, or even “worse”, S&M play.

First they came for the…

I almost forgot the title!

Time to start paying for web access? The W3C is considering allowing integration of patented tech into the standards as long as the license fees are “reasonable and non-discriminatory”. MP3 files and GIF files are good examples of patented tech… Basically what it would mean is that you'd have to pay some minor fees to use the technology that makes the web happen… I'm not saying that's a bad thing for sure, but it's yet another thing to stay informed on, and it's yet another potential blow against open-source developers.

Crypto-Gram published an interesting article on 9/11 related security, as well as terrorist use of cryptography and things like that. They talk briefly about El Al (the Israeli airline) and how it has addressed security — it obviously had to address this a long time ago. The recent reaction by airlines here in the US and Canada has been to put very visible (and relatively inexpensive) means of security in place. So far it's become apparent that the new means don't really do anything at all, and if anything, simply punish people who are very clearly no threat at all… El Al does things like use a seriously bulletproof door between the pilots and the rest of the plane, and also depressurizes all luggage before even putting it on the plane to make sure there are no bombs set to trigger via altitude sensors. (And this is on top of particularly invasive background checks on all passengers).

My biggest complaint about how the FAA handled this was the downing of VFR pilots (like myself). Pilots flying under VFR (visual flight rules) are relatively restricted as to where and when they can fly, and more importantly, are flying tiny planes. The average VFR plane probably weighs less than the average car, and carries very minimal quantities of fuel, and the amount of damage that is created from one crashing into a target is extremely minimal. There's no way terrorists would bother with small planes — so why punish private pilots? (PS. Yes, I know this was a temporary ban).

Later tonight a number of the Canadian ministers of the COBM will be meeting to ratify our consititution and things like that. We have to do this as part of filing our charitable organization paperwork, so expect a report on that tomorrow morning.

PS. Experiences are 75% done now.

Earache, my eye!

I haven't worn jewelry in my ears for the past month or so, and thus my ears have shrunk down a little from two inches. Yesterday I popped in the words ugliest jewelry; just a couple of rolled up pieces of plastic. They're slowly expanding and pushing everything back to wear it was, but it's sore, partially because of the stretching, partially from bad material, and partially just because it's got some sharp edges.

I got a courier delivery earlier this morning… I know the courier, so he doesn't even seem to notice that I answer the door in my underwear, with my hair messed up, and big pieces of plastic rolled up in my ears. He told me a story about unloading his jetskis down a boat ramp — his brakes failed and his Bronco found itself with three feet of water over it's roof. It was a total writeoff, but as is typical, they're only giving him a fifth of the replacement value.

When he asked them, “Where am I supposed to find a certified replacement truck for a grand?”, they replied, “You expect us to believe your truck would have passed certification?”