Sunday, August 31, 2003

Chalabi calls for security to be handed over to Iraqis after Najaf outrage:

"BAGHDAD (AFP) - A member of Iraq (news - web sites)'s US-appointed Governing Council called on Friday for internal security to be handed over to Iraqis following the killing of top Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim in a devastating car bombing in the holy city of Najaf.

Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Pentagon (news - web sites)-backed Iraqi National Congress (INC), blamed remnants of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s regime and supporters of the al-Qaeda terror network for the attack, which came a little over a week after another deadly bombing wrecked the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
'This is not an inter-Shiite affair,' Chalabi told AFP, flatly rejecting the suggestion that the attack could have been triggered by rivalries over the mantle of leadership of Iraq's majority Shiite community.
'The attack was against the holy shrine,' he said in a reference to the mausoleum of Imam Ali, outside of which the bombing that claimed at least 82 lives occurred.
For a Shiite to carry out such an action 'would be like a Catholic blowing up the Pope at St. Peter's,' said Chalabi, himself a Shiite, albeit a secular one. "
Voting machine controversy: "Columbus - The head of a company vying to sell voting machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent fund-raising letter that he is 'committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.'
The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the re-election effort of President Bush - prompted Democrats this week to question the propriety of allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the 2004 presidential election. "

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If we ever go to computerized voting our democracy is finished. | 'Dog is dead' sparked Najaf arrests (September 1, 2003):

"TWO Saudis arrested after the Najaf attack in Iraq that killed leading Shiite cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim were picked up after sending an e-mail saying 'mission accomplished: the dog is dead', The Times reported today quoting a source close to the Iraqi inquiry.

The men were grabbed by a crowd and taken to the nearest police station after being seen sending the e-mail from an Internet cafe, the source said.
The bombing on Friday in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf killed at least 83 people including Ayatollah Hakim, regarded as a moderate Shiite.
The two suspects apparently attracted the attention of the son of the cafe owner after having 'offered a larger than usual sum of money to use a computer', the British daily said.
It was then that the son saw the men send a message saying 'mission accomplished: the dog is dead'.

Grabbed by an angry crowd of Shiite Muslims, the two men 'admitted they were Saudi Wahhabis working for al-Qaeda', Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, the source was quoted as saying.
Iraqi police said yesterday at least two Saudis were among 19 people detained in connection with the car bombing in Najaf. "Why are they so insistent on sending the email, when whoever they were sending it to could just as easily watch the news, or read it on the internet?

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I have been reading about the myers briggs personality types, and about my type in particular, and I think this is just fascinating. I know this has been around for a while, so some of you may have already found your type out, but if you haven't the top two links are to a longer and a shorter test to help you determine your type. Then I have some links about where you can find out more about your type. I am an INTP.

quick 70 question test to determine your Myers Briggs personality type:

If you don't have the patience for the 70 question test, here's a four question test, although it may not be as accurate. After you find your type, there are many good links on the bottom to sites with more info about your type. From this first page, select "are you ready to take a test?"

brief descriptions of the types in the middle of the page

good overview of the four general characteristics of the 16 types.

Each of the 16 types has a mousepad! Kind of gives you a quick and fun overview of the 16 types, but don't read too much into a three word description.

Another good description of the 16 types. Click the icons on the top to find more specific information about each type, including portraits, careers, and relationships. They offer a paid test to discover your type, which I would skip, since only free things are cool.

My type is INTP. Heres a link to a good online profile of my type. This gentleman has written a profile only of this one, unfortunately, because it is very detailed and well written.
I notice there is also a website at with more info about intp's.
The Scotsman - International- 50 Taleban die in US-led strikes

UP TO 50 Taleban fighters were killed yesterday in an air and ground operation by United States and Afghan forces against hundreds of guerrillas in the southern province of Zabul, Afghan officials said.

"The deaths were the result of heavy bombing by US forces and ground attacks by government forces," the provincial governor, Hamdullah Watandoost said. "We have seen 40 to 50 dead bodies." A main Taleban guerrilla base was over-run, he said.

"Our mopping-up operation continues and we have besieged the entire Taleban force who have no way to escape," he said.

Juman Khan, a local police chief, said US planes had pounded mountain areas where up to 600 Taleban fighters were believed to be cornered after launching weekend attacks. Ground forces including about 450 Afghans and two dozen Americans, had captured up to 40 suspects and suffered no casualties.

"The rest of Taleban, I think, have fled," he said. As far as I can see, the Taleban have been defeated totally here and we have captured their bases."

Mr Khan described the Taleban force as one of the biggest concentrations since Afghanistan�s Taleban government was overthrown in late 2001.

A death toll of 50 would be the biggest single-day setback for a resurgent Taleban movement in more than a year. In early June, government forces claimed to have killed 40 fighters near the Pakistan border.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

WorldNetDaily: Al-Qaida plot to hijack plane in UK: "Intelligence uncovered by the FBI indicates al-Qaida terrorists plan to hijack an aircraft in Britain within the next two months and fly it into an ''important'' building.
British Airways and other leading airlines operating in and out of Britain have been put on alert. The report says the most likely targets for the hijackers were aircraft taking off from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, according to a report in the London Telegraph.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security circulated a warning to American and British airlines on July 30, saying terrorists working in teams of five were likely to try to attempt hijackings using common items carried by travelers, reports the paper. "

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage: "U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in a television interview some of the people attacking U.S. forces in Iraq are slipping across the border from Saudi Arabia.
U.S. officials have long suspected some militants have come through Iran and Syria and has warned both against interference in Iraq but have not previously singled out Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally because of its vast oil reserves. However, Riyadh's cooperation on fighting terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States has left some U.S. officials disappointed.
'The borders are quite porous, as you'd imagine, and the fact that we've captured a certain number of foreign fighters in Baghdad and around Iraq indicates that the ways that these people are getting into the country is from Iran and from Syria and from Saudi Arabia,' Armitage said in an interview with Arabic-language television channel Al-Jazeera.
'I'm not in any position to assert that the governments of Iran or Syria or Saudi Arabia are in any way responsible. But, as a minimum, I can state that they're not -- these fighters -- are not being stopped at the borders, and this is something that causes us a great deal of concern,' he added according to a transcript of the interview provided by Al-Jazeera.
Bush said adding more foreign troops to the occupation force would increase the ability to protect Iraqi infrastructure and let U.S. forces take the battle to their enemies. 'That will help free up our hunter teams,' he said."
WorldNetDaily: Al-Qaida trickle into Iraq becomes flood: "Many are coming unhampered from the border areas of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
More than 1,000 al-Qaida operatives have entered Iraq just in the last three months. Many other supporters have also entered Iraq. These are not the young, unemployed looking for action. These forces appear trained and highly disciplined. "
Better to have our soldiers fight them in Iraq then to have them attack our civilians in the streets of the United States
Design your own hell!: This is a fun one! It takes a little while, but once it's all sorted out you get html code to insert into your web page that depicts your new hell. (hint, if you don't have a webpage, paste the html text into a notepad file, and then save it with an .html extension, and save it as *all files type. )
Tech News - "Rockin' on without Microsoft
By David Becker

Sterling Ball, a jovial, plain-talking businessman, is CEO of Ernie Ball, the world's leading maker of premium guitar strings endorsed by generations of artists ranging from the likes of Eric Clapton to the dudes from Metallica.
But since jettisoning all of Microsoft products three years ago, Ernie Ball has also gained notoriety as a company that dumped most of its proprietary software--and still lived to tell the tale.
In 2000, the Business Software Alliance conducted a raid and subsequent audit at the San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based company that turned up a few dozen unlicensed copies of programs. Ball settled for $65,000, plus $35,000 in legal fees. But by then, the BSA, a trade group that helps enforce copyrights and licensing provisions for major business software makers, had put the company on the evening news and featured it in regional ads warning other businesses to monitor their software licenses.
Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months. 'I said, 'I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses,'' recalled Ball, who recently addressed the LinuxWorld trade show. 'We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly.'

Ball's IT crew settled on a potpourri of open-source software--Red Hat's version of Linux, the OpenOffice office suite, Mozilla's Web browser--plus a few proprietary applications that couldn't be duplicated by open source. Ball, whose father, Ernie, founded the company, says the transition was a breeze, and since then he's been happy to extol the virtues of open-source software to anyone who asks. He spoke with CNET about his experience"
Very interesting interview

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Zombie Infection Simulation

Wow! This also is cool and hard to describe. Watch the zombie infection progress, and especially watch how the waves of panic spread out. Very and fun interesting simulation. Here are the instructions:

"Zombies are grey, move very slowly and change direction randomly and frequently unless they can see something moving in front of them, in which case they start walking towards it. After a while they get bored and wander randomly again.

If a zombie finds a human directly in front of it, it infects them; the human immediately becomes a zombie.

Humans are pink and run five times as fast as zombies, occasionally changing direction at random. If they see a zombie directly in front of them, they turn around and panic.

Panicked humans are bright pink and run twice as fast as other humans. If a human sees another panicked human, it starts panicking as well."

Very cool interactive flash movie. Very well done, kind of hard to describe, but really cool, almost hypnotic
The Prometheus Society > Articles > The Outsiders: "One of the problems faced by all gifted persons is learning to focus their efforts for prolonged periods of time. Since so much comes easily to them, they may never acquire the self-discipline necessary to use their gifts to the fullest. Hollingworth describes how the habit begins.

Where the gifted child drifts in the school unrecognized, working chronically below his capacity (even though young for his grade), he receives daily practice in habits of idleness and daydreaming. His abilities never receive the stimulus of genuine challenge, and the situation tends to form in him the expectation of an effortless existence [3, p. 258].

But if the "average" gifted child tends to acquire bad adjustment habits in the ordinary schoolroom, the exceptionally gifted have even more problems. Hollingworth continues:

Children with IQs up to 150 get along in the ordinary course of school life quite well, achieving excellent marks without serious effort. But children above this mental status become almost intolerably bored with school work if kept in lockstep with unselected pupils of their own age. Children who rise above 170 IQ are liable to regard school with indifference or with positive dislike, for they find nothing in the work to absorb their interest. This condition of affairs, coupled with the supervision of unseeing and unsympathetic teachers, has sometimes led even to truancy on the part of gifted children [3, p. 258].

A second adjustment problem faced by all gifted persons is due to their uncommon versatility. Hollingworth says:

Another problem of development with reference to occupation grows out of the versatility of these children. So far from being one-sided in ability and interest, they are typically capable of so many different kinds of success that they may have difficulty in confining themselves to a reasonable number of enterprises. Some of them are lost to usefulness through spreading their available time and energy over such a wide array of projects that nothing can be finished or done perfectly. After all, time and space are limited for the gifted as for others, and the life-span is probably not much longer for them than for others. A choice must be made among the numerous possibilities, since modern life calls for specialization [3, p. 259].

A third problem faced by the gifted is learning to suffer fools gladly. Hollingworth notes:

A lesson which many gifted persons never learn as long as they live is that human beings in general are inherently very different from themselves in thought, in action, in general intention, and in interests. Many a reformer has died at the hands of a mob which he was trying to improve in the belief that other human beings can and should enjoy what he enjoys. This is one of the most painful and difficult lessons that each gifted child must learn, if personal development is to proceed successfully. It is more necessary that this be learned than that any school subject be mastered. Failure to learn how to tolerate in a reasonable fashion the foolishness of others leads to bitterness, disillusionment, and misanthropy [3, p. 259].

The single greatest adjustment problem faced by the gifted, however, is their tendency to become isolated from the rest of humanity. This problem is especially acute among the exceptionally gifted. Hollingworth says:

This tendency to become isolated is one of the most important factors to be considered in guiding the development of personality in highly intelligent children, but it does not become a serious problem except at the very extreme degrees of intelligence. The majority of children between 130 and 150 find fairly easy adjustment, because neighborhoods and schools are selective, so that like-minded children tend to be located in the same schools and districts. Furthermore, the gifted child, being large and strong for his age, is acceptable to playmates a year or two older. Great difficulty arises only when a young child is above 160 IQ. At the extremely high levels of 180 or 190 IQ, the problem of friendships is difficult indeed, and the younger the person the more difficult it is. The trouble decreases with age because as persons become adult, they naturally seek and find on their own initiative groups who are like-minded, such as learned societies [3, p. 264].

Hollingworth points out that the exceptionally gifted do not deliberately choose isolation, but are forced into it against their wills.

These superior children are not unfriendly or ungregarious by nature. Typically they strive to play with others but their efforts are defeated by the difficulties of the case... Other children do not share their interests, their vocabulary, or their desire to organize activities. They try to reform their contemporaries but finally give up the struggle and play alone, since older children regard them as "babies," and adults seldom play during hours when children are awake. As a result, forms of solitary play develop, and these, becoming fixed as habits, may explain the fact that many highly intellectual adults are shy, ungregarious, and unmindful of human relationships, or even misanthropic and uncomfortable in ordinary social intercourse [3, p. 262].

But if the exceptionally gifted is isolated from his contemporaries, the gulf between him and the adult authorities in his life is even deeper.

The very gifted child or adolescent, perceiving the illogical conduct of those in charge of his affairs, may turn rebellious against all authority and fall into a condition of negative suggestibility--a most unfortunate trend of personality, since the person is then unable to take a cooperative attitude toward authority. A person who is highly suggestible in a negative direction is as much in bondage to others around him as is the person who is positively suggestible. The social value of the person is seriously impaired in either case. The gifted are not likely to fall victims to positive suggestion but many of them develop negativism to a conspicuous degree [3, p 260].

Anyone reading the super high IQ journals is aware of the truth of this statement. Negative individuals abound in every high IQ society."

This is one of the best things I've read in a long time. "'Chemical Ali' Captured in Iraq

Ali Hassan al-Majid al-Tikriti (search), a first cousin of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein linked to some of the regime's most brutal acts, is the King of Spades and No. 5 in the U.S. Army's deck of 'Most Wanted' playing cards. "
Looks like they got him this time

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Jolted Over Electronic Voting ( "
Report's Security Warning Shakes Some States' Trust

The Virginia State Board of Elections had a seemingly simple task before it: Certify an upgrade to the state's electronic voting machines. But with a recent report by Johns Hopkins University computer scientists warning that the system's software could easily be hacked into and election results tampered with, the once perfunctory vote now seemed to carry the weight of democracy and the people's trust along with it. "
As much as I love computers, if we ever switch to electronic voting our democracy is finished.
Left-Wing Bloggers Select The 20 Worst Figures In American History - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views): "Left-Wing Bloggers Select The 20 Worst Figures In American History
by John Hawkins
Out of all the gangsters, serial killers, mass murders, incompetent & crooked politicians, spies, traitors, and ultra left-wing kooks in all of American history -- have you ever wondered who the worst of the worst were? Well, we here at RWN wondered about that too and that's why we decided to email more than a hundred left of center bloggers to get their opinions."
20) The Rosenbergs (3) + Julius Rosenberg (3) (6 total votes)
20) Pat Robertson (6)
20) Oliver North (6)
20) William Randolph Hearst (6)
20) Aaron Burr (6)
20) Aldrich Ames (6)
18) George Lincoln Rockwell (7)
18) Robert McNamara (7)
14) Richard Mellon Scaife (8)
14) Lee Harvey Oswald (8)
14) Charles Coughlin (8)
14) Strom Thurmond (8)
13) Ronald Reagan (9)
12) George Wallace (10)
11) Andrew Jackson (12)
9) Jefferson Davis (13)
9) George W. Bush (13)
6) Benedict Arnold (14)
6) Henry Kissinger (14)
6) John Wilkes Booth (14)
3) Timothy McVeigh (16)
3) Nathan Bedford Forrest (16)
3) J. Edgar Hoover (16)
2) Richard Nixon (25)
1) Joseph McCarthy (26)
Here's how the right wing bloggers responded:
17) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (6)
17) John Walker (6)
17) Lee Harvey Oswald (6)
17) Robert Byrd (6)
16) Aldrich Ames (7)
14) Richard Nixon (8)
14) Aaron Burr (8)
12) Al Sharpton (9)
12) Charles Manson (9)
8) Timothy McVeigh (10)
8) Lyndon Johnson (10)
8) Hillary Clinton (10)
8) John Wilkes Booth (10)
7) Alger Hiss (12)
6) Noam Chomsky (13)
4) Jesse Jackson (14)
4) Jimmy Carter (14)
3) Bill Clinton (15)
2) Benedict Arnold (19)
1) The Rosenbergs (15) & Julius Rosenberg (5) (20 total votes)
Who's watching the class? Webcams in schools raise privacy issue: "Who's watching the class? Webcams in schools raise privacy issue
By Greg Toppo
When students in Biloxi, Miss., show up this morning for the first day of the new school year, a virtual army of digital cameras will be recording every minute of every lesson in every classroom.
Hundreds of Internet-wired video cameras will keep rolling all year long, in the hope that they'll deter crime and general misbehavior among the district's 6,300 students -- and teachers.
''It helps honest people be more honest,'' says district Superintendent Larry Drawdy, who, along with principals and security officers, can use a password to view classrooms from any computer. In an emergency, police also can tune in.
So far, Biloxi is the only school district in the nation to install Webcams in every classroom -- nearly 500 so far. But school districts in cities nationwide and in England are experimenting with classroom Webcams for security reasons, installing the affordable cameras in hallways and selected classrooms and planning devices for future schools. One security firm says it's negotiating with an undisclosed urban district to install 15,000 cameras so security personnel can keep an eye on classes, hallways and parking lots."
This is just crazy.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

U.S.: Banned arms evidence in Iraq: "MSNBC AND NBC NEWS

WASHINGTON, June 25 � U.S. investigators in Iraq have found equipment for a nuclear weapons program and millions of detailed documents relating to chemical and biological weapons, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday."
U.S. OFFICIALS said the discoveries were not proof that Iraq had managed to build or obtain banned weapons of mass destruction, as President Bush asserted before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March. But they said the materials, some of which dated back to the first Gulf War, were compelling proof that Saddam was trying actively to acquire such weapons in defiance of the United Nations.
NBC News has learned of several recent discoveries, some within the past week, one related to nuclear weapons and the others to chemical, biological and banned conventional weapons.
News: "Mob attacks pollsters who found few Palestinians want their old homes in what is now Israel
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
14 July 2003
A mob of about 100 Palestinian refugees stormed the office of a Ramallah polling organisation yesterday to stop it publishing a survey showing that five times as many refugees would prefer to settle permanently in a Palestinian state than return to their old homes in what is now Israel."

U.S. struggling to find replacement troops

"WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is scrambling to find enough fresh troops to begin an orderly rotation program that would bring home some of the 147,000 soldiers spread thinly across troubled Iraq.
With the new commanding general of U.S. Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid, confirming what others in the Defense Department had been reluctant to admit - that United States forces face an increasingly deadly guerrilla war - the question of relief and rotation for weary GIs moved to the front burner.
The easiest fix would be for the 14,000 foreign forces, mostly British, already in Iraq to be augmented by thousands more allied soldiers. But negotiations to internationalize the occupation have been slow and difficult." Abstract: "AFTER THE WAR: BAGHDAD; IRAQIS SET TO FORM AN INTERIM COUNCIL WITH WIDE POWER

By PATRICK E. TYLER (NYT) 1289 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 6
ABSTRACT - Representatives of major political, ethnic and religious groups of Iraq will declare first postwar interim government in Iraq this weekend, in form of 'governing council' of between 21 and 25 members with extensive executive power; new body of Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Christians and Turkmen will share responsibility for running country under United Nations resolution that will continue to vest Washington and London with ultimate authority until sovereign government is elected and new constitution ratified; there is no clear timetable for that transition; American administrator L Paul Bremer III says he agreed that majority of council's members would be Shiites, one of 'tactical adjustments' he made to meet demands of Iraqis; formulation of governing panel comes after eight weeks of negotiations with American and British occupation powers; process is speeded by deteriorating security situation and mounting American casualties from daily attacks on allied forces; Bush administration is eager to create credible Iraqi governing body to help counter negative image of foreign occupation that is being exploited by remnants of Saddam Hussein's forces; two American soldiers are killed and one is wounded in two separate attacks in latest round of violence against allied forces (M) "
Terror Group Seen as Back Inside Iraq: "Terror Group Seen as Back Inside Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 � The American-led administration in Iraq has received intelligence reports that hundreds of Islamic militants who fled Iraq during the war have returned and are planning to conduct major terrorist attacks.
L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator in Iraq, said in an interview on Friday night that fighters from Ansar al-Islam, a militant organization that the United States tried to destroy during the war, had escaped to Iran and then slipped back across the border into Iraq. He said hundreds of the militants were now in Iraq, where they were preparing to attack the occupation forces or administration. "
US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq

American pilots dropped the controversial incendiary agent napalm on Iraqi troops during the advance on Baghdad. The attacks caused massive fireballs that obliterated several Iraqi positions.
The Pentagon denied using napalm at the time, but Marine pilots and their commanders have confirmed that they used an upgraded version of the weapon against dug-in positions. They said napalm, which has a distinctive smell, was used because of its psychological effect on an enemy"

Saturday, August 09, 2003

World Page: "11,000 sign up for new Iraqi army

Thursday, July 31, 2003
The United States will begin training Iraq's new military this weekend.
Officials said the training program will begin on Saturday. They said the program was delayed because of intense U.S. search-and-destroy operations of Sunni insurgents northwest of Baghdad.
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, head of the U.S. military in Iraq, said more than 11,000 people have expressed interest in enlisting for the new Iraqi army. Sanchez said on July 23 that the first battalion of the new Iraqi army would begin training within 10 days."