Sunday, June 11, 2006

British ISP first to block suspected childporn sites

In the biggest site-based internet censorship program to date in a democratic country, the British service provider BT has started blocking child porn related websites. The project was inspired by pleas from the children's charity NCH. Apparently, one of my formerly favorite websites, the imageboard 4chan /b/ is also amongst the blocked sites. It's hard to feel sympathy for these guys, even though most of them are not technically pedophiles - but as the saying goes:

"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."

-- Henry Mencken

10 cool spy gadgets

techeblog.com has compiled a collection of 10 nifty spy gadgets to send your James Bond fantasies flying.

Google has an interest in crappy search results?

This guy argues that Google is deliberately slacking on cleaning up its search results from link-farming sites, because it relies on the GoogleAd revenue those sites generate. I think, a tamer version of saying this, is that the quality of results in the Internet search market isn't competitive enough ... I wonder why there are no popular testing sites...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

company provides spoofed telephone number service, gets closed down because of death threats

In 2004, the company Star38 started providing a traditional hacker method of spoofing caller-IDs on a commercial level. After one year of continous hatemail, culminating in a death-threat nailed to the door of the founder, the company calls it quits. The revenge of the nerds, the debtors, or ...?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Canadian opposition accidentally votes for budget after a sudden change of procedure

(Bloomberg.com)

``It passed with unanimous consent,'' Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters outside the House of Commons in Ottawa today.

Legislators were supposed to hold a debate and final vote on the spending plan after Parliament's finance committee completed its review. By remaining seated in the House of Commons, opposition lawmakers allowed the bill to pass ``in a matter of minutes,'' said Libby Davies, the New Democratic Party member responsible for legislation.

[..]

``Let's not make a mountain out of a molehill -- we oppose the budget,'' said Liberal leader Bill Graham. ``It's an unfortunate error, but it doesn't change anything.''

Doctors keep transplanted heart beating during transport

U.K. doctors were able to keep a heart beating during transplant, which allows to avoid the usual deteriorating effects of putting it on ice. Imagine being able to do that with a human brain.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

35 yo mother seconds as an online spy to find terrorist suspects

... and apparently the FBI does appreciate her services. From the article:

"They get pumped up when they see beheadings. For them, it's like rock videos," Rossmiller said. "I always give the appearance that I am one of them."

Appearances deceive. At her Montana high school, Rossmiller was a cheerleader -- a farm girl whose slight frame meant she was the one hoisted to the top of the human pyramid. Now 35, she is a mother of three, a part-time paralegal and a $23,000-a-year municipal court judge in a town north of here.

Caller claims to be a police officer and makes recipients commit sexual abuse

Between 1995 and 2003 a 38 year old US male is suspected to have committed 60 instances of sexually motivated phone pranks. The scheme was to call in a fast-food restaurant, pose as a police officer, and convince the manager to strip-search a alleged criminal suspect. When the possiblity arose, it also went a good deal beyond that. Those commiting the actual abuse got mild penalties for having fallen victim to a prank, and the caller was able to, even though convicted, convince his neighbourhood and the assigned psychologist that he is not guilty. Here's a more detailed article on the case.
I stumbled upon the subject orginally after watching this TV documentary on human behavior experiments. There is something immoral and dirty about real knowledge of other people. It can make you powerful to a point where a good portion of humanity becomes your willing servant and property.

Babies cry less when comforted on demand

According to an article to be published in the New Scientist, children cried least when parents held them on audible demand. Letting babies cry led to more crying overall, and holding them too much resulted in additional crying after a few months. Science says: follow your heart!