Monday, May 31, 2004
Students Censured For Wearing Pink
CBS 2 Chicago: "Six middle school boys who were banned from a class portrait for refusing to cover up their pink T-shirts have gained the support of fashion guru and 'American Idol' host Ryan Seacrest.

Ensign Middle School principal Edward Wong pulled the boys from their eighth grade class portrait last Thursday because he feared the color could be associated with gang-affiliated 'dance crews,' which hold all-night dance contests and raves.

The boys denied being crew members and said they wore the shirts, which students described as 'Easter pink,' to stand out in the photo.

More than 400 of the 1,000 seventh- and eighth-graders at the upscale school wore pink to class the following day in support of the teens. Many said they would wear pink again Friday.

'It's dumb,' said Luis Solis, 13, one of the boys who was barred from the photo. 'How come we can't wear pink? We didn't do nothing.'

Seacrest, who also hosts 'On Air with Ryan Seacrest' and 'American Top 40,' said Tuesday he got involved because a student was quoted in a local newspaper saying pink was popular among teens because Seacrest often wore it.

....But Jane Garland, spokeswoman for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, said the six students were also wearing black shoes, pink-and-black armbands and pink socks.

"The color pink itself is not a problem with us. We like the color pink," she said. "But pink and black together ... are known to be party crew colors. It's how they are worn."

Garland said crews can be precursors to gangs. Students who wear certain color combinations are carefully watched by administrators, she said." "A sensors set, packaged in a very nice frog, you plug it into your PC to have an accurate barometer, thermometer, hygrometer and data logger.
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At a low cost you can complete this information about your environment with atmospheric pressure, hygrometry and temperature.
A double click on this new icon, a frog, and gives you access to high accuracy meters. You can look through records without time limits and display with coloured curves the weather trends.
You can export data to Microsoft Office or any equivalent software to customize data management.
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Thomasville Times Enterprise - Internet Edition:
"Nelson Winbush knows his voice isn't likely to be heard above the crowd that writes American history books. That doesn't keep him from speaking his mind, however.

A 75-year-old black man whose grandfather proudly fought in the gray uniform of the South during the Civil War, Winbush addressed a group of about 40 at the Thomas County Museum of History Sunday afternoon. To say the least, his perspective of the war differs greatly from what is taught in America's classrooms today.

'People have manufactured a lot of mistruths about why the war took place,' he said. 'It wasn't about slavery. It was about state's rights and tariffs.'

Many of Winbush's words were reserved for the Confederate battle flag, which still swirls amid controversy more than 150 years after it originally flew.

'This flag has been lied about more than any flag in the world,' Winbush said. 'People see it and they don't really know what the hell they are looking at.'"

Add Porn Star To List Of Outsourced U.S. Jobs : "SAO PAULO, Brazil
American X-rated film directors are heading to Brazil in search of uninhibited women, exotic locations and cheap production costs. The going rate for a Brazilian X-rated actress is about $175 per sex scene -- a fraction of what talent in the Los Angeles area costs.

Unlike most of their American counterparts, condoms are the norm for the Brazilian sex stars. It's an example many in the U.S. adult entertainment industry say Americans should learn.

Tim Connelly, publisher of California-based AVN, an adult film industry magazine, said Brazil is the place to go today. He said economics and beautiful women are driving the growth of the Brazilian porn industry."

'Invention' set for discovery 04/29/2004
Yahoo! News: "In their first project since exiting 'The West Wing,' Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme will join forces at New Line on 'The Farnsworth Invention,' a drama about how Philo Farnsworth invented TV technology and was robbed of the glory by broadcast pioneer David Sarnoff.

Project was sold as a spec package. After entering into exclusive negotiations early this week, New Line agreed to pay $2.5 million against 2% of gross for Sorkin to write and produce, with Schlamme receiving just north of $1 million to direct the film and produce.

Script is set in the late 1920s, when the 22-year-old genius from Utah became the first to capture a moving image in a box. That led to a skirmish with rival scientist Vladimir Zworykin, who years earlier had filed a patent for the technology even though he hadn't made it work until Farnsworth's invention.

Since Zworykin was under the employ of radio giant RCA and Sarnoff, the young mogul who ran the broadcasting giant engaged in a take-no-prisoners battle for control of the invention that would change the world.

New Line president Toby Emmerich made the buy and will oversee the project. 'The way (Sorkin) portrayed Philo and Sarnoff on the page, I'd say (they were) two of the best characters I'd read in a movie script over the last 10 years. They are adversaries, but it is subtle and sophisticated. It is a compelling drama that will have the feel of 'Seabiscuit' in that it covers one of those periods in the country where everything changed.'

Sorkin and Schlamme met while working on the Sorkin-created series 'Sports Night,' and then became exec producers on 'The West Wing."

Recording Companies Agree to Pay $50M
Yahoo! News: "Major recording companies have agreed to return nearly $50 million in unclaimed royalties to Sean Combs, Gloria Estefan (news), Dolly Parton (news) and thousands of lesser known musicians under a settlement announced Tuesday.

A two-year investigation by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office found that many artists were not being paid royalties because record companies lost contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments.

As a result of the agreement, Spitzer said, new procedures will be adopted to ensure that artists and their descendants receive the compensation they are entitled to get.

'Once the recording companies have received royalties, those royalties have to be disbursed to the artists who are owed those funds,' Spitzer said at a news conference.

'There are many artists who struggle. ... They depend on the stream of royalties,' he added.

The attorney general said about $25 million in royalties has already been paid, with the other $25 million still outstanding."

Democrat wants to Kill Koala Bears - Call to shoot 20,000 Australian koalas - Apr 30, 2004: "A koala population explosion on an Australian island has prompted calls for 20,000 of the furry, native marsupials to be shot to stop them destroying their island habitat and end a koala famine.

Some 30,000 koalas on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of the state of South Australia, are stripping the island of its native gum trees, destroying the ecosystem and causing a koala famine, say environmentalists and national parks officials.

'We are talking thousands of starving koalas,' said Sandra Kanck from the Australian Democrats, Australia's third major political party.

'While they may be cute and cuddly we need to get beyond emotion to suggestion is professional shooters do it quickly and cleanly,' Kanck told Reuters on Friday of the proposed cull."

Who's Fucking Who? "Last week, my uncle called an emergency family meeting to discuss my grandmother. Who doesn't bathe. Who doesn't follow her diet or properly administer her insulin injections. And who is slightly retarded.

This isn't a fact we often admit in public. No one wants to go on record as saying their gene pool contains a smelly, mentally deficient matriarch who isn't concerned when a needle breaks off in her ample supply of flesh.

Her apartment reeks, and with a building inspection on the horizon and because no one wants to take her in if she gets kicked out, we needed to devise a plan to get her to wash her pits (and other areas we'd rather not envision) and give away the mangy dog that pisses everywhere.

Before the words 'Clean your apartment, you pig' could escape our lips, the first words out of her mouth were: 'Who's going to drive me to vote on the 20th?'

Because, you see, my grandmother -- she of the double-digit IQ and poor hygiene -- votes. She goes to the polls. She makes a difference. She cares.

She cares about the Social Security check she receives each month, although she never worked a day her in life. She cares about prescription drug coverage for medications she has no clue how to take. She cares about voting down the school budget, even though taxpayers put her eight kids through school.

If you don't vote, you're letting a retarded senior citizen decide your future. And retarded senior citizens don't care if you can't get your freaky sex on."

MC with goddamned standards across freaking platforms - m4w
Reply to:
Date: Mon Apr 26 12:51:21 2004

Holy high hopping christ, someone needs to take Bill Gates' cock and Steve Jobs' ass and fit them together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle until they both learn to like it. I'm THROUGH dealing with these cross-platform inconsistencies like px size and dpi differences and in-line CSS not matching on Safari vs. IE6. GET ALONG! NOW! I don't CARE if you want to quibble over iPods and Dell DJ's, no one uses .wma ANYWAY, and Quark is just a euphamism for 'almost as good as InDesign but more expensive and also buggier,' so if you must have your giggles, you can get your jollies grudging on these and leave us hard-working, blue-collar, EXTREMELY PISSED OFF web developers and designers a-fucking-lone. Just for God's sake - and mine (yes, one of the few times God and I are both on the same side. So you KNOW you're wrong) - SETTLE your differences on PIXEL MEASUREMENTS.

I hate you both."

DNA Lounge
DNA Sequencing: "But enough about zombies, now let's talk about bloodsucking parasites. We just renewed our liability insurance, and it's gone up again by like $4,000: it's now $50,000 a year! When we opened in 2001, we were paying $21,000/year. We've never filed a claim, but it doubled almost immediately after those Great White pigfuckers went and blew themselves up.

The wonderful new kink this time around is that now the insurance companies are offering 'terrorism insurance' for an additional charge. You can connect the dots on what that means, right? It means that if you file a claim, and the insurance company decides that, if they squint just right, it looks like 'terrorism', then they don't have to pay. And as we all know, here in These Uncertain Times, absolutely everything is considered terrorism. What do you want to bet that they'd consider someone getting maced to be terrorism? After all, it's a chemical weapon."

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The Embedding of America’s Poets
interventionmag: "The government, with a defense contractor, elicits work from poets to give voice to the war in Iraq, but which voices will be heard and which ones not heard?
By Kevin Bowen

In the midst of the Vietnam War, a small group of recently discharged American veterans sent out a call for poems and stories written by active duty personnel and veterans like themselves. The result was an avalanche of submissions, some supportive, many deeply critical of the war effort. Winning Hearts and Minds, an anthology of some of the submissions edited by Larry Rottmann, Jan Barry, and Basil T. Paquet was published in 1972, winning high praise from the nation's literary journals and spurring the Nixon White House to start investigations into who these writers were.

Winning Hearts and Minds was a grassroots effort, its gathering of poetry a powerful expression of the frustration, anger, and alienation soldiers and veterans felt at the conduct of the war in Vietnam. Now, as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq inch deeper and deeper into troubled territory, one wonders at the shape of this generation"

Stolen Stradivarius almost ended up as CD holder, police say "A 320-year-old missing Stradivarius cello is back with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, having possibly avoided becoming the most expensive CD rack ever.

A nurse found the $3.5 million instrument made by master craftsman Antonio Stradivari lying by a trash bin - and almost had her boyfriend convert it into a CD holder, police said Tuesday. The instrument is damaged but reparable, a restorer said.

Melanie Stevens, 29, discovered the cello about a mile from where it was stolen, still inside its silver-coated plastic case. She put it in her car's trunk for two days.

Then Stevens asked her boyfriend, a cabinetmaker, to either repair the instrument or convert it into a unique CD holder, Detective Donald Hrycyk said. She said she didn't know its significance until she noticed a news report May 7.

``I had the idea to possibly put a hinge on the front. ... He would install little shelves inside,'' Stevens said. ``It would be a very elaborate CD case. I know it sounds crazy.''

The philharmonic's associate principal cellist, Daniel Rothmuller, who played the instrument for more than 25 years, called the instrument's recovery ``an incredible miracle. ... Can you imagine it going into a garbage truck?''

Its return was a relief for philharmonic principal cellist Peter Stumpf, who accidentally left it outside his home. Nearby video surveillance cameras showed a bicyclist stole it April 25.

``It's been an enormous weight on me for the last three weeks,'' Stumpf said. ``I'm just incredibly relieved that it's solved.''

However, detectives are still looking for the thief and have not ruled out any suspects. They plan an investigation before deciding whether to give Stevens the $50,000 reward offered by an anonymous donor, Hrycyk said.

The prospect that the prized instrument could have been turned into a CD holder ``is so abominable, I get sick when I hear it,'' said Robert Cauer, a Los Angeles-based expert instrument restorer.

The 1684 cello was one of only about 60 made by Stradivari in his Cremona, Italy, workshop. The philharmonic association bought it about three decades ago."

Superhero Costume Boots : "Ever see a superhero wearing shabby boots? Not if he's serious about keeping the world a safe and villain-free place. Our superhero boots are top notch, one piece constructed, Lex Luthor stompers! They're boots for the modern man and woman! They're boots of steel! Or, close enough... "

Sunday, May 30, 2004
eXile - Issue
eXile - Issue #190 - Feature Story - Abu Ghraibi Fever - By John Dolan:,,,Then came Lynndie England, the girl who sacrificed so much to try to show America that Empires should be fun.

This was the first American war where the girls were allowed to play with the boys--literally, in Lynndie's case! Assigned to "break the will" of Iraqi prisoners, Lynndie and her chunky co-star did what good Imperialists always do: they turned business into pleasure.

If only we Americans studied history more, we'd understand that Lynndie's improvised tableaux, like the "pyramid of naked Iraqis" or the equally classic "aiming gun/thumb at captured Iraqi's balls," come straight out of the Greco-Roman canon, or even further back--from the Assyrians, masters of this sort of fun. Every time the Ancients took a city, they hired sculptors to depict in loving detail the sexual humiliation of the defeated. The losers were inevitably depicted as naked, bound, often lying on the ground to await the attentions of their new masters--just the way Lynndie, that devolved little prodigy, posed them.

Yup, this little West Virginia girl who probably could not recite ten lines of the Iliad in succession, intuitively composed the greatest of modern war art: those fantastic photos from Al Ghraib prison. Someday she may be appreciated as the woman who showed America how the game of Empire should be played; someday she will be recognized as a great sculptor, working with the bodies of slaves--the most ancient and esteemed of all media.

But in the meantime, she is hounded by hypocrites who expect America's youth to conquer foreign lands, risking their lives, for nothing more than Army pay. For these people, only money is allowed to inflict pain--never power itself. That is their real objection to Lynndie: she reached back to an older hierarchy, in which the warrior ranked above the moneychanger. Now those money men want her punished for showing us what fun conquest really could be.

No one even seems to give her credit for her greatest innovation: making the delights of Classical S&M accessible to women as well as men. Even the Romans would be amazed to see a mere slip of a girl like Lynndie holding the leash as a man of the conquered people writhes at her feet. Yet has one so-called "feminist" raised her voice in gratitude?

Low Dose Radiation, Hormesis, and Radiation Protection Policy Fraud
RSH was organized by independent individuals, knowledgeable about radiation health effects science, and associated public policies. They address the fact that data is misrepresented, and public funds wasted, to support radiation protection policy, and to prevent the application of hormesis effects of low dose radiation in medical applications, that are detrimental to public health.
# These individuals are committed to change public policy in the public interest
# (often at personal sacrifice). They report the extensive deliberate science, and advocate for appropriate research. They have negligible financial support vs. $100s millions from governments to "study" and "assess" radiation health effects (to "scientists" with substantial conflicts of interest).

We have compiled some of the extensive, valid, scientific results from the peer-reviewed literature that document no effects at significant doses, and radiation hormesis effects: The data that are consistently ignored by government agencies and their "review bodies."

Government fosters public fear of radiation, supporting extreme radiation protection policies, and limiting low dose radiation medical alternatives to drugs.

Public radiation protection costs/funds exceed US $1 Trillion that provide NO public health benefit.

* Radiation limits are to levels less than 0.1% of just the variation in natural background radiation (requiring massive public funds).
* This funding causes millions of people to die prematurely, and beneficial low dose radiation applications are suppressed, even though shown to effectively prevent and treat cancer, infections, and other diseases.

The research data and analyses are not adequately considered by radiation protection agencies. They presume, despite the data, that low-level radiation causes adverse health effects. Current knowledge of biology and carcinogenesis refute this presumption.

Biology and radiation scientists characterize the use of the LNT as "without scientific foundation," as "a deeply immoral use of our scientific heritage," (Dr. Lauriston Taylor), and as "the greatest scientific scandal of the 20thCentury," (Dr. Gunnar Walinder). Equivalent statements by credible scientists are in the RSH Brochure, and more extensively in the "RSH Data Document," Section 1.9 - Conclusions.

This partial data summary is continuously updated from existing and new scientific results, with hundreds of studies that contradict the LNT, especially from extensive efforts by Dr. T.D. Luckey, Dr. Sohei Kondo, and others who have "compiled the data" that show hormesis effects that contradict the "linear, no-threshold" hypothesis; and data that falsely claim to support the LNT. These voluminous data sources are in contrast to the few, generally poor and biased, and non-scientific, "studies" that are mischaracterized to rationalize and justify continued use of the LNT, and to foster public fear - to support self-serving, costly, radiation protection policies, and drug regimens.

Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark
Episode #1: The Case of the Missing “Permissive Action Links”
When the history of the nuclear cold war is finally comprehensively written, this McNamara vignette will be one of a long litany of items pointing to the ignorance of presidents and defense secretaries and other nuclear security officials about the true state of nuclear affairs during their time in the saddle. What I then told McNamara about his vitally important locks elicited this response: “I am shocked, absolutely shocked and outraged. Who the hell authorized that?” What he had just learned from me was that the locks had been installed, but everyone knew the combination.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the “locks” to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the “secret unlock code” during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at OOOOOOOO.

Saturday, May 29, 2004
Israel Defense Forces - The Official Website
Israel Defense Forces - The Official Website:
"Israel Channel 10: Armed Palestinians Use UN Ambulances in War against IDF
Tuesday 25/05/2004 17:38

Armed Palestinian boarding a UN ambulance. Picture by Channel 10

Israel channel 10 aired yesterday Inon Maga'l item showing armed Palestinians use UNRWA ambulances to flee undercover.

Photographs taken at the Gaza Zeintun neighborhood about two weeks ago, on the same night the first APC was exploded, clearly show armed Palestinians boarding a UN-marked ambulance with a UN flag, and flee the scene.

The reporter stressed that this was not a Palestinian Red Cross ambulance, known to have transported armored Palestinians since the outbreak of events, but rather a supposedly neutral ambulance of the UN."

Robinson's Difference Engine
This model operates on principles very similar to Babbage's original designs, though the constraints of using only standard Meccano parts inevitably mean some aspects of the operation are somewhat different. The model can handle decimal numbers with up to four digits, and up to three orders of differences - similar in scope to the fragment of the original Difference Engine #1 which Babbage actually realized in 1832. There is no reason in principle (other than the limited world supply of 2 1/2' gears and ratchet wheels!) why it could not be extended to arbitrary sized numbers and an arbitrary order of differences. Only two basic mechanisms are involved, those for the addition of individual decimal digits, and for the propagation of carries. The rest is repetition. The machine calculates reliably, producing a result about every 4 seconds - somewhat faster than they can be read off and written down. I have no doubt that if the Meccano of the 1920's had existed 100 years earlier, Babbage would have been entirely successful in his quest. It may be amusing one day to attach a Meccano steam engine to drive the mechanism and therefore realize 'computing by steam'."

Thursday, May 27, 2004
The New Yorker: Fact
Kersauson took the flashlight, and inspected for himself. “I had never seen anything like it,” he told me. “There were two giant tentacles right beneath us, lashing at the rudder.”

The creature seemed to be wrapping itself around the boat, which rocked violently. The floorboards creaked, and the rudder started to bend. Then, just as the stern seemed ready to snap, everything went still. “As it unhooked itself from the boat, I could see its tentacles,” Ragot recalled. “The whole animal must have been nearly thirty feet long.”

The creature had glistening skin and long arms with suckers, which left impressions on the hull. “It was enormous,” Kersauson recalled. “I’ve been sailing for forty years and I’ve always had an answer for everything—for hurricanes and icebergs. But I didn’t have an answer for this. It was terrifying.”

What they claimed they saw—a claim that many regarded as a tall tale—was a giant squid, an animal that has long occupied a central place in sea lore; it has been said to be larger than a whale and stronger than an elephant, with a beak that can sever steel cables.

.....Steve O’Shea, a marine biologist from New Zealand, is one of the hunters—but his approach is radically different. He is not trying to find a mature giant squid; rather, he is scouring the ocean for a baby, called a paralarva, which he can grow in captivity. A paralarva is often the size of a cricket.

....Rival hunters once viewed his plan skeptically: if no one could find the animal when it was sixty feet long, how could anyone discover it when it was barely an eighth of an inch? Lately, though, many have come to see O’Shea’s strategy as a potential breakthrough. “It offers several advantages,” Clyde Roper, an American who is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on squid, told me. Roper is a giant-squid hunter himself, who once descended underwater in a steel cage, in search of his quarry. “First, you could find the juvenile at shallower depths. That makes it a lot easier to catch. Furthermore, there are more of them around, because at that stage, even though mortality is high, the adult female will release up to four million eggs. That’s a hell of a lot of baby giant squid running around.” He added, “It’s a matter of a numbers game, pure and simple.”

In 1999, O’Shea studied what few had ever seen—the corpse of a baby Architeuthis, which was discovered off New Zealand. He described its curious morphology: two eyes spread disconcertingly far apart; a parrot-like mouth concealing a raspy, serrated tongue; eight arms extending outward from a torpedo-shaped head. Each elastic limb was lined with hundreds of suckers, ringed with sharp teeth. The skin was iridescent, and filled with chromatophores—groups of pigment cells—that allowed it to change colors. A funnel near its head could shoot out clouds of black ink. The specimen also had two extraordinary-looking clubbed tentacles. (When a giant squid is mature, they can stretch up to thirty feet.)

Class Action Settlement
McAfee Security: "Class Action Settlement for VirusScan version 3 and 4 users

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit over McAfee VirusScan versions 3 and 4. If you are a U.S. resident and you bought a retail version of McAfee VirusScan version 3 or version 4, then you are a member of the class. As a member of the class, you may receive a free download version of your choice of one of the three McAfee perpetual products: (1) VirusScan version 8, (2) AntiSpyware version 1.0, or (3) QuickClean version 4.01 (collectively 'Software').

In order to receive your free Software download, you must do the following:

1. Complete the certification form below. Then select Submit.
2. Once you have agreed to the class certification requirements, we will send you an email with a link to download your software.


Boston students ponder slimmer pickings in vending machines :
When high school student Shirley Gomez heard the news yesterday, she froze, widening her eyes and gaping in disbelief.

If the Boston School Committee adopts the new nutrition policy proposed yesterday, Gomez' midmorning chocolate-chip cookies could be replaced by granola bars. Her gummy bears dumped for raisins. And her syrupy-sweet red fruit juice axed for vitamin-fortified soy milk.

''No way. They can't do that," said Gomez, as she and her friends made their way to the Burger King next door to Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester. ''If I wanted that kind of food, I could take it from my refrigerator at home. Why do I need to buy it at school?"

Joining a nationwide effort to curb childhood obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases, Boston school officials yesterday proposed substituting healthier foods for the high-fat and high-sugar beverages and snacks now sold on school grounds. School committee members, who praised the suggested changes during the board meeting, will review the new policy in two weeks.

The approximately 130 vending machines in Boston public schools are stocked with a variety of high-fat fare: potato chips, brownies, cupcakes, and ice cream. Beverages include high-sugar sport drinks, iced tea, and juice.

If a new policy is approved, all those items will be banned in September.
''I guess I won't be eating lunch, then,' said freshman Tanisha Gray, who usually plunks about $1.50 in change for Doritos and fruit juice during lunch. ''You'd get more money from the vending machines with real snacks.'

Sherrel Stokes, 15, and Akeem Brown, 14, said they worry what the move could do for their image.

''Nobody eats bananas or apples for lunch -- nobody,' said Stokes, folding her hands across her chest.

''Who's going to walk around school eating an apple?' scoffed Brown."

No degree for student who copied from the internet
ThisisLondon: A new row over exam cheating erupted today after a student was told he would get no marks for his essays because he copied them from the internet.

The University of Kent at Canterbury has told 21-year-old Michael Gunn he will leave with nothing after a three-year English literature-course - except £11,000 in debts. But he has hit back, accusing the university of allowing him to complete three years of study and giving good marks for the essays it now says are worthless. He is planning to sue the university in the hope of recovering some of his student debt.

Copyrights for Building Codes
What the Supreme Court's Refusal to Decide Means Now and Prospects for the Future:
When the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the 5th Circuit’s en banc opinion in Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., it left unresolved a number of issues of concern to construction professionals. Veeck held that privately developed building codes lose important forms of copyright protection when adopted by state and local governments.

At one level, the Supreme Court’s refusal is surprising: The 5th Circuit’s opinion conflicted with a number of other circuits, presented an important nationwide question and drew an unusual six dissenting votes from en banc panelists. The Supreme Court had signaled its interest in the matter by asking the Solicitor General for the U.S. government’s views.

(The en banc decision of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is at 293 F.3d 791. The U.S. Supreme Court's denial of SBCCI's petition for writ of certiorari is at 123 S.Ct. 2636, 156 L.Ed.2d 674.)

The Problem
Whether a privately developed code that is otherwise eligible for copyright protection (that is, it contains a sufficient amount of original material) forfeits that protection by virtue of the code’s adoption by a governmental entity raises important public policy issues upon which reasonable people disagree.

DNA Study Finds Chihuahuas Aren't Dogs
Watley Review - Page Three:As part of an ambitious effort to identify genes that cause disease in dogs and humans, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle analyzed DNA collected from 414 dogs representing 85 breeds, including some of the most popular. The findings have sent reverberations though the ranks of dog fanciers, who primp and preen their beloved companions for shows and take great pride in their pedigrees.

"It was a surprise to find that some breeds such as the Ibizan hound and the Pharaoh hound, along with several others that dog aficionados have long believed dated back thousands of years, are actually much more modern animals – re-creations that were probably produced by breeders," said geneticist Leonid Kruglyak, who helped conduct the research. "However, it was more of a surprise to find that some breeds are not even dogs."

Among other findings, the analysis determined that the Chihuahua is actually a type of large rodent, selectively bred for centuries to resemble a canine.

"This is clearly going to raise some eyebrows in the Chihuahua world," said Peggy Wilson, president of the Chihuahua Club of America. "It goes against our belief system. People are pretty passionate about their dogs. There is going to be disbelief."

Using 96 distinct patterns in the genes called "microsatellites," the researchers compared dogs within breeds, and breeds with one another. In the May 21 issue of the journal Science, the team concluded that almost every breed was surprisingly distinct genetically. They were able to identify each dog's breed by its genes with 99 percent accuracy. They also found that breeds could be clearly grouped into four distinct clusters based on striking genetic similarities: ancient dogs, hunters, herders, and guard dogs.

"Once we had these groups pretty well mapped out, the canine mimics were easy to pick out," added Kruglyak. "And actually, it was kind of intuitive in hindsight."
Current Chaos Manor mail: "Whenever anyone presses NASA to shift money from current programs and take a bet on competition and going outside the system they say if we don't keep spending the money we'll be left without crucial capabilities. What no one realizes is that we no longer have any capabilities.

NASA ruled yesterday that U.S. spacesuits on the International Space Station are unusable and ordered the crew to use Russian gear instead, adding considerable time and distance to a critical spacewalk next month.

The crew wanted to wear American suits and go out the much closer American hatch to get to a broken power supply unit on the exterior of the space station, but a cooling problem with the outfits made that impossible.


When, way back in the 1980's, I suggested in a BYTE column that NASA's space suits were not very good, a Hamilton Standard official actually tried to get McGraw Hill to fire me for such insolence. The suits aren't much improved now. The Hamilton Standard axis of evil with the Astronaut Office is notorious. The stupid suits we use cost billions in mission effectiveness, since they use low pressure pure oxygen and thus require pure oxygen pre-breathing for any mission on which an EVA is scheduled. You can't run the Shuttle on pure oxygen at atmospheric pressure, which means that you have fewer gas molecules in the Shuttle, which means cooling efficiencies fall, which means that many electronic components have to be shut down until the EVA portion of the mission is over.

It is well known that we know how to build better suits.

Better suits would use some 12 psi of enriched air rather than 3.5 psi pure oxygen, or just go with 14 pounds of air and be done with it. But elderly astronauts tire when required to do much work in 12 - 14 psi suits. Since the astronauts all tend to be 40 year old Ph.D. types rather than 20 year old riggers and mechanics, and the astronaut office controls the missions, and Hamilton Standard and the higher ranking NASA people in the astronaut office are thick as, well, are good buddies, the NASA Ames people who know how to build suits are never given any money, Houston keeps control of any suit advancement program, and there has been little to zero progress since the 1980's.

It is one of the scandals of the space program, one well known to anyone who bothers to look into it. Hamilton Standard makes more per year maintaining the useless suits we have than it would cost for a full development program to make better ones. Think on that for a while.

I wonder if a RICO suit is in order? It is coming to that. It may take that to get the NASA bureaucracy and the industrial complex out of bed together and start a program that allows us to have decent EVA equipment that will allow us to do on-orbit assembly.

On-orbit construction is the key to the planets. Everyone knows this. And NASA does not care."
Current View: The Weekly Standard arrived today, and there is an article by Frederick Kagan called "The Incredible Shrinking Army." It's the new neo-con line: the problem is that the Army isn't big enough to do the job.

What job? That isn't discussed: apparently the question isn't relevant. We have to occupy Iraq, and probably invade some more places, and the Army isn't big enough. We need a larger Army.

The good news is that we probably won't need to revive conscription in order to get the bigger Army. Volunteer recruiting should be sufficient. But this Administration is deficient: it promised to rescue the Army from the Clinton depletion, and it didn't do it, and it's all the Administration's fault, and Iraq is at the edge of catastrophe and that's all the Administration's fault.

Well, yes: certainly if the mission of the US is to establish colonial regimes all over the world (of course they are temporary, just being trained to become independent liberal democratic allies, but that does take time) then we don't have a large enough Army, nor will we ever.

Look: if the mission is to go conquer people and run their countries we need an Imperial style army: one capable of defeating the client states who do the actual dirty work of occupying other people. Ideally we have Sunni clients occupy Shiite states, and Shiite clients occupy Sunni, and Kurds occupy Turkmen and perhaps Chechens, and Chechens can be used as a strike force for Africa, and, well, all right, I am not serious.

But until we see what the mission is, we can't possibly know how large the Army must be, or how much it should cost.

My friend John McCarthy, one of the saner people I know, is fond of pointing out that the US defense budget is pretty small compared to what it was during the high stages of the Cold War, and tiny compared to what it was in real wars. And the Army is pretty small compared to those times. Clearly we can afford a larger military. The question is, do we need one?

And that, surely, is a function of what we intend to do with it.

If what we want to do is remain a republic, friends of liberty everywhere and guardians of our own, I suggest that the Army is just about large enough now. The Fleet isn't: we need more ships and men. And within the Army we can use some new units. More Rangers and special forces. More language skills and intelligence troops with proper training.

Expanding the Navy will be expensive, but I suggest it is more useful than building an Army whose mission is to occupy other countries.

As to defending the US, have we tried? Our border controls are a joke; yet surely it is easier to defend our borders than to ferret out our enemies overseas? Surely it is more likely that we can detect bad guys coming here than we can find them in Iraq, particularly when the consequences of trying to find them in Iraq are often to generate more people who want to kill us -- and to give them opportunities right there in their home neighborhoods rather than put them to the trouble of learning how to get to the US, smuggle in weapons and explosives, and the rest of it?

If you are in Iraq and want to blow yourself up with an American or two, it's a lot easier if there is an American soldier on your block, than to have to go find one in New York.

Now, yes, of course, if your goal is to be politically correct then it's a lot harder to defend the country at the borders than to go occupy all your potential enemies. Whether or not you have missed the point of political correctness is another story.

Well, enough of this ramble: but it does seem to me that if we are faced with the need for a larger Army, it may be time to rethink our goals and strategies.

It may be true that they hate us and they are coming for us, and the only way to stop them is to go get them first, and occupy their lands, and reform them; but it is not overwhelmingly obvious, at least to me, that there are all that many nations who hate us enough to risk regime changes instituted by special forces whose only mission is to take out the existing government, or that the best way to make governments overseas cooperate in our safety is to invade and occupy them.

We are the friends of liberty everywhere. We are the guardians only of our own; but guarding our own can include operations such as we undertook in Afghanistan, and operations like Desert One done properly with enough force to matter. It can include some actual money spent on securing our borders and screening those who come into the country; it can include some internal security people who actually enforce immigration laws and actually keep track of those given asylum. Or perhaps not, but at least isn't it worth thinking about?

And while we are at it, $40 billion would build 40 1,000 Megawatt nuclear power plants (given any rational licensing system), and that in itself would help reduce fuel prices, clean the air, and reduce our dependence on Middle East Oil.

Another $40 billion spent on X programs would give us reasonable cost access to space, with space travel costs at a multiple of fuel costs, not the astronomical costs we pay now.

Or $80 billion can buy another year of occupation of Iraq. Maybe. Apparently not: we are going to have to expand the Army, says Kagan, and that can't be all that cheap.

Isn't it worth debating which would be worth more in the long run, a larger Army and longer occupation, or new energy sources and access to space?

THE EVOLUTION OF COOKING "According to Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham, almost two million years ago humans emerged from a stock of pre-human apes. Remarkably, our species is still evolving today, faster than ever. 'Why we evolved then, and why we are still changing, are problems that shape our souls,' he says.

Wrangham believes that humanity was launched by an ape learning to cook. In a burst of evolution around two million years ago, our species developed the family relations that make us such a peculiar kind of animal. Cooking made us women, men and lovers.
'We behave like our two closest relatives,' Wrangham says. 'Chimpanzees and bonobos, because in spite of first appearances, we face somewhat similar kinds of problems to each of those species. Cooking makes our behavior partly chimpanzee-like because it intensifies a chimpanzee-like division of labor. Self-domestication, on the other hand, makes us bonobo-like by selecting for a youthful psyche. In both cases human behavior echoes the biology of our cousins, though never exactly copying it.'"

Food Drop Fiasco
Loompanics Unlimited: " Shortly after the U.S. attacked Afghanistan for supposedly sheltering Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, our TV screens were filled with images of planes dropping food rations into the bombarded country. The little yellow packets were shoved out of cargo holds by the thousands. You could almost hear the government patting itself on the back as it said, “See, we're actually helping the starving people of Afghanistan.”

Trouble is, those food drops were a complete disaster. News reports mentioned some of the problems with the humanitarian effort, but there's a lot they either didn't tell us or got wrong. A nonprofit aid organization called Partners International Foundation decided to see what was going on. These guys aren't granola-crunching flower-children – they used to be in Special Forces units of the U.S. military. And they didn't content themselves to sit in an office interviewing people by phone. They went into Afghanistan during the heaviest part of the war to find out what was happening for themselves.

Here's what they discovered:

* You know those little packets in vitamin bottles and clothes that are supposed to keep them fresh? Well, many of the little meal packs dropped on Afghanistan contained one of those packets (called a desiccant) to keep the food fresh. Unfortunately, the Afghans aren't familiar with desiccants so they tore them open and ate the powder. Some thought it was medicine, so they noshed it straight. Others figured it was a funky American spice, so they sprinkled it on their beans, rice, or pasta. Lots of Afghans got sick, though we don't know if any deaths occurred. In fact, it's hard to say whether people got sick from chowing down on desiccant or because the food in the packets was usually spoiled.

The food in the packets is usually spoiled. These plastic-wrapped meals weren't made to be dropped from 25,000 to 40,000 feet.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
The Ultimate War Sim
"Like my Grandpa always said, there were no naked human pyramids in Starcraft.

There were no whiny anti-war Hollywood types or questionable war motives or granola-munching human shields. I'm starting to think that even Command and Conquer: Generals, a game so 'realistic' it took a NASA-built Quantum supercomputer to run it, has left me woefully unprepared to fight an actual war.

Well, below is my open letter to the Real Time Strategy gaming cartel. I want a War Simulation. A real one. I don't want little cartoon tanks jostling around in a video sandbox chewing down each other's health meters while a preteen opponent insults my sexuality using every key on his keyboard except the ones with letters. I want an RTS game that will give me a stress headache after an hour and an ulcer after a week. I want to identify experienced players on the street by their Thousand-Yard Stares.

I want a War Sim...

1. ...where I spend two hours pushing across a map to destroy a 'nuclear missile silo,' only to find out after the fact that it was just a missile-themed orphanage.

I want little celebrities to show up on the scene and do interviews over video of charred teddy bears, decrying my unilateral attack. I want congressional hearings demanding answers to these atrocities.

2. On the very next level I want to lose half of my units because another 'orphanage' turned out to be a NOD ambush site. I want another round of hearings asking why I didn't level that orphanage as soon as I saw it, including tearful testimony from a slain soldier's daughter who is now, ironically, an orphan. "

Aftenposten Norway, Norwegian news in English: "An IT company in Nordjylland, Denmark has introduced a novel program to keep employees satisfied. After examining well-known trends in Internet and business traffic, LL Media decided it would be sensible and appreciated to offer all of its employees free subscriptions to Internet pornography.

The company's director, Levi Nielsen, believes that access to porn is a natural fringe benefit, like a free phone or a company car.

'We know that 80 percent of all hits on the Internet are on porn sites. And we can see that people also surf porn pages during work,' Nielsen told Danish Broadcasting's DR Nordjylland.

In return for this service the company blocks all access to porn pages during office hours.

Nielsen hopes that the expense of about DKK 30 (USD 5) per head per week will make his staff more relaxed and more efficient on the job."

Monday, May 24, 2004
2 sides to the story
jaynote: this is what I was originally gonna post. There's been a good followup, which illustraets just how twisted a story like this can first be reported

The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Editorials: "Bill Nevins, a New Mexico high school teacher and personal friend, was fired last year and classes in poetry and the poetry club at Rio Rancho High School were permanently terminated. It had nothing to do with obscenity, but it had everything to do with extremist politics.

The 'Slam Team' was a group of teenage poets who asked Nevins to serve as faculty adviser to their club. The teens, mostly shy youngsters, were taught to read their poetry aloud and before audiences. Rio Rancho High School gave the Slam Team access to the school's closed-circuit television once a week and the poets thrived.

In March 2003, a teenage girl named Courtney presented one of her poems before an audience at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Albuquerque, then read the poem live on the school's closed-circuit television channel.

A school military liaison and the high school principal accused the girl of being 'un-American' because she criticized the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's failure to give substance to its 'No child left behind' education policy.

The girl's mother, also a teacher, was ordered by the principal to destroy the child's poetry. The mother refused and may lose her job.

Bill Nevins was suspended for not censoring the poetry of his students. Remember, there is no obscenity to be found in any of the poetry. He was later fired by the principal."

Now for some followup from Crawford Kilian's blog

I wrote a letter of protest to the Rio Rancho school board. But as a scarred veteran of many a school war, I should have known the story would have more than one side.

Today I received a reply from Rio Rancho school board's communications office, setting out the board's side of the story. Here's the letter, which includes a statement by a student in the controversy, and which has my original letter at the end. I'll try to keep track of this dispute. Quite apart from the issues of free speech it may (or may not) raise, it's a fascinating example of a school system dealing with a politically explosive controversy.

Thank you for your e-mail to the Rio Rancho Public Schools.

Recently, the Daytona Beach News-Journal published an editorial highly
critical of Rio Rancho High School and some of its staff members. It
was written by Bill Hill, a columnist for the paper and, he states, a
friend of Bill Nevins, an untenured teacher whose contract was not
renewed at the end of the 2002-03 school year. Mr. Nevins is currently
engaged in a legal action against the Rio Rancho Public Schools.

While we recognize the right of newspapers to engage in fair criticism,
such criticism should be grounded in the facts. We are disturbed that
neither the writer nor the Daytona Beach News-Journal contacted the
school district for information or comment. This editorial, simply put,
is rife with inaccuracies, misinformation, and outright untruths. Its
publication constitutes a reckless disregard for the truth to such a
degree that Rio Rancho Public Schools has asked its lawyers to review
and evaluate what legal recourse may be available.

Flexable Piano
YAMANO MUSIC Online: Musical instrument/musical score

author of the Gaia hypothesis calls for nukes
News: "Global warming is now advancing so swiftly that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can prevent it overwhelming civilisation, the scientist and celebrated Green guru, James Lovelock, says.

His call will cause huge disquiet for the environmental movement. It has long considered the 84-year-old radical thinker among its greatest heroes, and sees climate change as the most important issue facing the world, but it has always regarded opposition to nuclear power as an article of faith. Last night the leaders of both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth rejected his call.

Professor Lovelock, who achieved international fame as the author of the Gaia hypothesis, the theory that the Earth keeps itself fit for life by the actions of living things themselves, was among the first researchers to sound the alarm about the threat from the greenhouse effect.

He was in a select group of scientists who gave an initial briefing on climate change to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Cabinet at 10 Downing Street in April 1989."

Sunshine Project: Biodefense Research
Map of High Containment and Other Facilities of the US Biodefense Program

Sunday, May 23, 2004
Where Did They Put Their Ticket Stubs?
Yahoo! News:

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 80 British students threw caution and their clothes to the wind Friday to set a world record for the number of nudes riding on a rollercoaster.

The naked joy riders spent a hair-raising one minute and fifty seconds swooping around the rails of the gravity defying rollercoaster ride at a theme park south of London.

A spokeswoman at the park said 81 students from 15 universities took part in the record breaking stunt, which had never been attempted before."

Polls taken by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press in 2002 and 2003:
"Agree, children need to learn English to succeed in the world today"

95% Germany
95% South Africa
93% India
92% China
90% France
90% Mexico
89% Turkey
88% Poland
84% Russia
76% Canada
72% Great Britain
70% United States


Saturday, May 22, 2004
Breast Baring Popular in 1600s
Discovery Channel:
"Women of the 1600s, from queens to prostitutes, commonly exposed one or both breasts in public and in the popular media of the day, according to a study of fashion, portraits, prints, and thousands of woodcuts from 17th-century ballads.

The finding suggests breast exposure by women in England and in the Netherlands during the 17th century was more accepted than it is in most countries today. Researchers, for example, say Janet Jackson's Super Bowl baring would not even have raised eyebrows in the 17th century.

Angela McShane Jones, a lecturer in history at University of Warwick in Coventry, England, became interested in the subject while studying the nearly 2,000 woodcut ballads housed in the Samuel Pepys collection at Cambridge University. Additional ballad sheets located at the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, Harvard University, and other institutions fuelled her study.

Ballad sheets served as the pop music and pulp fiction of their time. With a cost between half a penny and a penny, they were affordable, and could be purchased from street hawkers, and at fairs and markets. Most featured a woodcut that illustrated 10 to 14 verses of song.

Many of these woodcuts showed women with breasts bared.

Jones told Discovery News that the ballad depictions of women coincided with popular fashion. At the time, women often wore low-cut dresses that exposed the chest and breast.

In paintings, breast exposure could have symbolic meaning, particularly when only one breast was shown. Jones explained that high court ladies often were painted in allegories as classical figures or as female saints, whose martyrdom usually involved breast removal.

Far from being a sign of tawdriness, Jones said breast exposure during the 1600s could indicate a woman's virtue."

..... He added that some conservatives and court outsiders, such as the 17th-century Puritan lawyer William Prynne, objected to the popular clothing, which female actresses often wore.

Capp said Prynne once criticized Henrietta Maria after she performed in a court masque, and in 1633 wrote, "... women actors (are) notorious whores."

The government responded by having his ears chopped off.

AOL Censures Email
LangaList Std Edition 2004-04-19: "AOL is at it again. This time, it's reading *inside* its members' emails, and preemptively blocking any messages that contain links to sites that AOL doesn't want you to see.

Note: I'm *not* talking about simple mail blocks, where a mail is discarded if it originates from a 'forbidden' address. No: AOL is parsing the content of its members' emails and blocking them even if they merely *mention* a site that AOL disapproves of.

This happened to my last newsletter issue, when I mentioned a perfectly valid and inoffensive link: . It turns out that last summer, in July, AOL put that site on its naughty list for some unexplained reason, and ever since has blocked all emails that even contain a link to that address.

When my list-host ( ) noticed huge numbers of AOL emails bouncing back, they preemptively sought to find out why, and the folks at AOL then removed the block--- on that one address.

AOL's mail system is just this side of insane. Not only does it read inside member emails for links that AOL doesn't like, but--- as we've reported before--- if AOL members get a little lazy and block a newsletter like this one, instead of unsubscribing, AOL keeps track of the blocks. Last time I looked, if as few as 10 readers took the lazy way out of stopping a mailing, AOL would assume that the mail in question was spam. In my case, if just 10 AOL users out of 160,000 readers--- that's 0.00006 of my readers--- took the lazy way off the list, all AOL subscribers would have their legitimate issues blocked for some time thereafter.

AOL's user-level mail filters are nearly useless because the master filters discard emails before they ever make it to the users' mailboxes and the local filters there. That means AOL members can white-list senders to their heart's content but it will have no effect at all on the pre-filtering that's done by AOL before their mail ever gets delivered. AOL's user-level mail controls are a little like those fake thermostats you sometimes see in office buildings that are meant to give occupants the illusion of local control, when in reality, a central system is making all the real decisions.

Noted tech writer Brian Livingston also has been struggling with this, as he reported in . Just look at the jaw-dropping failure rates he found:

I've written many times that Internet service providers (ISPs) are mishandling the growing menace of spam by imposing crude 'junk-mail filters' that delete legitimate messages without notifying the intended recipients of that fact.

...AOL 'bounced' about 88% of the newsletters that had been sent to subscribers who use e-mail addresses. The problem was also severe at subsidiaries owned by AOL, including (which bounced 88%) and (96%).

...[AOL's] filter simply deletes huge quantities of mail without ever delivering it...
(click link above for full article)

If you have friends on AOL, you may wish to tell them about this ( so they'll know why their email is so unreliable. Of course, there's no guarantee they'll see your email, just as there's no guarantee that legitimate subscribers to this newsletter on AOL will get this issue....

But there's a glimmer of hope: For the first time ever, AOL's membership has started to shrink significantly. Users are finally realizing they can get better service at lower costs from other ISPs. Perhaps if enough members vote with their dollars, AOL will wake up and meaningfully change its Big Brother-ish ways."

What Mr. Maillet Really Meant to Tell Me
IROSF: "Because in science fiction, and more broadly speculative fiction, authorial intent is critical across far more axes of story telling than in most forms of literature. When John Updike tells us 'Rabbit is rich' (2), readers of naturalistic fiction don't have to wonder what species Rabbit is, whether rich applies to his suitability as a menu item or his fuel-air mixture. All the same assumptions and cultural experiences which propel us through our daily lives propel us through naturalistic fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction and most non-fiction. We read these for the differences they illustrate between our experience and what the author describes, or for the joy of learning. How many readers have attained a grasp of nineteenth century military history and combat tactics from George MacDonald Fraser's excellent Flashman (3) series, or Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin books? (4)

But in speculative fiction, everything is up for grabs. Certainly there are reading protocols, conventions of (sub)genre, other signposts that provide the experienced reader with their own grab bag of assumptions. But while Updike can assume that anyone who reads his books knows what a football hero is, no writer of speculative can assume that. The writer may decide to act as if the reader were fully informed, for story-telling or stylistic reasons, but that's a conscious decision.

All of which generates a potentially vast gap between authorial intent and reader experience."

Virtual skin looking even better
BBC NEWS: "you get a close look at some of the creatures of the night in the Van Helsing movie, you might notice how realistic their skin looks.

The reason is a program that works out how light affects surfaces like skin to make computer-generated characters look more believable.

The software was first used on Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and is now a staple of blockbusters packed with visual effects.

The man behind the technique, Dr Henrik Jensen of the University of California at San Diego, was recently rewarded for his contribution to Hollywood."

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced a deal with the nation’s top recording companies that returns nearly $50 million in unclaimed royalties to thousands of performers.

The agreement comes after a two-year investigation by Spitzer’s office found that many artists and writers were not being paid royalties because record companies had failed to maintain contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments. This problem affected both star entertainers with numerous hit recordings and obscure musicians who may have had only one recording.
....Prominent artists who were owed royalty payments included: David Bowie, Dolly Parton, Harry Belafonte, Liza Minnelli, Dave Matthews, Sean Combs and Gloria Estefan.

Spitzer noted that while royalty disputes are common in the entertainment industry, this particular problem did not involve disagreement over the terms of the recording contract or the amount of the royalty payment. Instead, it was a matter of the record companies not maintaining accurate contact information to mail royalty payments. Pursuant to the agreement, the companies will make a greater effort to locate and stay in touch with artists who are owed payments.

Why one actor suddenly pops up in ad after ad after ad.
Ad Nauseam - By Seth Stevenson:
"Why does this happen? Why does one actor capture the fancy of all the agencies, all at once? And do the marketers care that the face of their product is the face of five or six other products, too?

To answer these and other questions, I tracked down one of these commercial acting champs. Ad Report Card readers, I give you Joel Moore, who in the past several months has appeared in ads for Best Buy (he's at a Rolling Stones concert), Kohl's (he's a mean-spirited ice-cream man), Castrol (a daydreaming lab tech), eBay (a crooning auction enthusiast), and Cingular ('I call it my 'They're my minutes and I'm keeping them' plan!'). In all, Moore says he's done 10 national spots in about the last year or so.

Why does an actor get hot like this? Partly, says Moore, it's that 'they love fresh faces.' Moore's got a unique look: 'I'm not completely a character actor, and not a leading man. I'm somewhere in-between.' With rangy limbs, outsized features, and a goofy voice, he's a distinctive package. He's also the right face at the right time. Moore's manager, Rachelle Ryan (of Ryan Management), says he has a certain 'geeky Gen-X thing' that's become a sought-after spokesperson aesthetic.

But it's not just having a fresh look, or the right look. Contrary to what we see in most national spots, it does require some talent to act in commercials. 'Sometimes in casting ads they're looking for a type,' says Ryan, 'but often they're just looking for something unique, and the script won't give you much direction. That's Joel's art—he can play around with the material, and improv, and in the audition he'll actually help show the agency how they can market their product.' Creating an appealing character out of thin air—a character that can be expressed in 30 seconds and is appropriate for the product—is no easy thing. Moore spent two years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival before his first ad role; Rachael Harris was in the famed improv troupe the Groundlings."

The Story Behind the Lynndie England Interview
Poynter Online: "Last week, KCNC-TV Denver investigative reporter Brian Maass landed an interview that the world wanted to hear. (See interviews and coverage details from KCNC.)

He interviewed Lynndie England, the woman that tabloids have dubbed 'Leash Gal.' England is the American soldier who has become an iconic symbol of American abuse of Iraqis being held at the Abu Ghraib prison. In one, she is seen smiling with a cigarette in her mouth as she leans forward and points at the genitals of a naked, hooded Iraqi. Another photo shows her holding a leash that encircles the neck of a naked detainee lying on his side.

Within a day of Maass' interview, U.S. senators who were shown more photos of prisoner abuse and alleged guard misconduct said that England is featured in even more photographs that have not been released.

Maass is, today, still the only journalist to have interviewed England.

I interviewed Maass for Poynter Online to learn more about how his interview came together and what else Maass learned that he has not yet reported.

Poynter Online: How did it happen that a Denver news crew landed the one interview everyone wanted Army Pfc. Lynndie England, who was in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina?

Maass: I had an ongoing professional relationship with one of Pfc. England's Denver-based attorneys, Rose Mary Zapor, which was key to us landing the interview. I had done a story several months earlier about one of her clients. (Ironically, he was a jail inmate and there was some videotape of him purportedly being abused in a jail cell.)

Study Seeks to Uncover Unofficial Rules in Science
The Scientist : "Life in the laboratory can seem increasingly rule-bound, especially in these high-security times. In studying what makes life scientists tick, some researchers suspect that the most important decisions fall into the gray areas between the rules, leaving scientists groping for guidance.

'If you were to go into a laboratory and just watch for a month ... you would probably find a whole culture governed by rules that are largely not written down at all,' says Nick Steneck, a University of Michigan professor of history who was drafted as an expert on science ethics by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI). Finding the sources of unwritten rules is the purpose of a study funded recently by the ORI, the arm of the Department of Health and Human Services charged with overseeing scientific misconduct."

Schizophrenia Experiences and Suggestions?
Schizophrenia Experiences and Suggestions?: "My mother has schizophrenia; Advice (Score:5, Informative)
by TheMCP (121589) Alter Relationship on 02:24 PM -- Friday May 21 2004 (#9218460)
My mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when I was 3. She took her meds until I was 5, when she decided she felt so good and symptom free that she didn't need the meds any more, and stopped taking them. Permanently.

She was an intensive care nurse, she should have known better.

This began her slide into increasing insanity as the years went by. My father stuck around, knowing that if he left her she'd take me and ruin my life forever, and waited. When I was 12 I figured out she was completely out of control, and told my father 'Mom's crazy, I'm leaving so she won't hurt me, are you coming?' and he left with me and divorced her. Getting a legal separation from her ruined my father, and myself, financially. She took him for all he was worth, and took my entire college fund along with it. There are many other lasting problems in our lives that she caused, like that she didn't let me have friends as a child so I still have difficulty socializing, that she destroyed most of the family photos, so my father has practically no pictures of me as a child, or that 20 years later I still have nightmares about her regularly, or that 20 years later I can tell my father still misses the beautiful and loving woman he married, who just disappeared into insanity.

Over the next 6 years she made at least three, and possibly four attempts to kill me. It's hard to say what to think about the fourth, because while it was unquestionably a murder attempt, she was so delusional by that point that she was trying to kill my father and couldn't tell I wasn't him..........."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Original Hands Free Panda Bear for Cell Phones
Evertek Wholesale Computer Parts- WEN-101-PANDA: "Are you a maverick who thinks that you have everything cool under the sun already? You don't... Not until you get an Original Hands Free Panda Bear of your very own!!! It may sound like something out of a Sci-Fi movie - but this is the bear that talks to you!!! Simply plug the bear into your cell phone's hands free audio jack, pop in three double-A batteries and TADA!!! - Instant hands free Panda Bear phone!!! When the bear 'talks' to you, it's head and mouth move in sync with the caller on the other end. And when you get a call, not only do you hear the ring, but it's cute panda bear LED heart lights up as well. The little bear even has a little pocket that you keep your cell phone in"

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Safety assessments released on four NASA projects (5/12/04) : "Along with four technical reports, the NESC produced a four-page newsletter summarizing the technical activities and some lessons learned. The biggest lesson, Roe said, is to curb the practice of 'PowerPoint engineering.' The Columbia report chided NASA engineers for their reliance on bulleted presentations. In the four studies, the inspectors came to agree that PowerPoint slides are not a good tool for providing substantive documentation of results. 'We think it's important to go back to the basics,' Roe said. 'We're making it a point with the agency that engineering organizations need to go back to writing engineering reports.'"

Listen to 'The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda'
Fresh Air: Tuesday - May 18, 2004: "Gen. Romeo Dallaire was commander of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Rwanda 10 years ago during one of the worst massacres in modern history. Some 800,000 Rwandans were killed in 100 days. Most of them were Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians. During that time Dallaire and his troops were denied authority to intervene. The experience changed him, tormented him, and filled him with guilt. He suffered from post traumatic stress syndrome, was suicidal and depressed. He's written a new account, Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda."

Monday, May 17, 2004
For Sniffing Out Land Mines, a Platoon of Twitching Noses
The New York Times : The Gambian giant pouched rat ...... may be as good a mine detector as man or nature has yet devised.

Just after sunup on one dewy morning, on a football field-sized patch of earth in the Mozambican countryside, Frank Weetjens and his squad of 16 giant pouched rats are proving it. Outfitted in tiny harnesses and hitched to 10-yard clotheslines, their footlong tails whipping to and fro, the rats lope up and down the lines, whiskers twitching, noses tasting the air.

Wanjiro, a sleek 2-year-old female in a bright red harness, pauses halfway down the line, sniffs, turns back, then sniffs again. She gives the red clay a decisive scratch with both forepaws. Her trainer, Kassim Mgaza, snaps a metal clicker twice, and Wanjiro waddles to him for her reward — a mouthful of banana and an affectionate pet.

"What Pavlov did with his dogs is exactly what we're doing here — very basic conditioning," said Mr. Weetjens, a lanky, 42-year-old Belgian who works for an Antwerp mine-removal group named Apopo. "TNT means food. TNT means clicking sound, means food. That's how we communicate with them."

Wanjiro was rewarded for sniffing out a TNT-filled land mine, one of scores buried a few inches below ground in the training field where she works out five days a week. Like all the training mines, this one was defused. But if the Mozambican authorities approve, she and her companions will move at year's end from dummies to live minefields — the world's first certified, professional mine-detecting rats.

A Medical Mystery: Delusional parasitosis For more than three years Reno resident Theresa Blodgett, 37, has had a mystery disease that seems like a plot device from the television show “The X-Files.”

Blodgett’s symptoms include feeling invisible “parasites” biting her skin. She complains of overwhelming fatigue and body aches. She suffers from hair loss, skin lesions, rashes, and blue or red “fibers” that sprout from her lesions. She sees tiny black specks — like coffee grounds — on her arms.

More than a dozen doctors have told her the cause of her strange ailment is in her mind.

But a controversial new theory says many people who are branded with delusions of parasitosis are suffering from a physical illness, not a mental disease. Enlarged images of the “parasites” are posted on several Web sites and a Texas doctor said he has found biological causes and physical evidence for many of the symptoms described by Blodgett and others.

Dr. William Harvey of Houston said many of his chronic fatigue patients, including 17 with “mystery disease” symptoms, have tested positive for borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that also causes Lyme disease. He suspects the weird symptoms and parasites are not the cause of the illness, but are opportunistic infections and organisms taking advantage of the lowered skin immunity of people whose systems are weakened by the microbe.

Sunday, May 16, 2004
Eccentric Genius: Ballista
The Greco-Roman Cruise Missile.: " Originally about 15 feet high, able to chuck javelin sized spears or big chunks of rock hundreds of yards with formidable accuracy, the original was one bad-assed monster crossbow.

This one's a lot smaller, but when fully torqued up capable of performance worthy of any serious weapons collection, and features a parallel universe inspired brass-bound laser sighting system.

Currently the most in-demand of the Eccentric Genius siege engine line, the ballista is powered by a pair of twisted cord skeins: The strength of the pull is fully adjustable from gentle lob to wood penetrating might: Likely not an appropriate gift for children or postal employees, but for anyone else a unique and beautiful heirloom quality gift."

Agents Seeks Leads in Greek Bombing
Yahoo! News: "To most Greeks, the three bomb blasts outside a suburban police station early Wednesday were not an act of unsettling terrorism. Instead, such attacks are widely viewed in Greece as the work of fringe radical groups that do not threaten the general public.

'We are used to having these small incidents that cause some damage but don't really create any problems,' said Maria Bossi, a former member of Greece's anti-terrorism commission. 'Greeks aren't used to seeing this type of terrorism as a security problem.'

Dozens of firebomb attacks and bombings occur in Athens each year, but most target banks or government offices after work hours and rarely cause injuries. A variety of groups have claimed responsibility.

Greek authorities have been reluctant to invest serious resources to chase down suspects, fearful of touching off a violent backlash. Tougher street policies have been repeatedly urged by a seven-nation Olympic security advisory task force, which includes the United States, Britain and Israel."

jaynote: WTF???

Sweden Probes Lake Monster Being on List
Yahoo! News STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A government watchdog has asked a regional council why it placed a mythical monster on Sweden's endangered species list.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman's office in Stockholm also asked the environment court in the Jaemtland province of central Sweden to explain why a businessman, who said he wanted to raise monster babies, was denied permission to search for its purported eggs.

"During a routine inspection of the environment court in Jaemtland recently, we came across a decision that attracted our interest," Parliamentary Ombudsman Nils-Olof Berggren told the AP on Monday. "It was the local environment court, as a superior instance to the regional council, that had turned down an application from a man who wanted to search for and hatch the monster's eggs, probably believing it was just a joke."

However, Berggren also found that there was an actual decision from 1986, placing the monster under protection.

"So far we decided to have a closer look at how the listing came about, and how it is applied. If a court decided that it cannot be applied, we want to find out if the monster really needs to be protected or if the decision can be scrapped," Berggren said.

He added that it may take between one and three months before he will decide on his next move. The regional council and court had not yet responded by Monday.

Legend has it that the giant serpent, similar to the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, has lived for centuries in Jaemtland's lake Storsjoen, Sweden's fifth largest lake.

Although about 500 people claim to have seen the monster, described by one purported witness as a snakelike animal with a dog's head and fins on its neck, it hasn't been captured on camera. With such vague evidence of its existence, the ombudsman last week asked the Jaemtland county administrative board to send documents that led to its 1986 decision. The issue came to the ombudsman's attention by a man who was denied permission to search for the monster's eggs.

Magnus Cedergren said he wanted to hatch the eggs to raise monster babies and turn them into a tourist attraction.

"It is my idea to hopefully contribute to the business development in the Jaemtland county, by creating new possibilities for adventure tourism," Cedergren said in the complaint.

The environment court turned down his application, saying local nature preservation rules stated that "it is prohibited to kill, hurt or catch animals of the Storsjoe monster species," or "take away or hurt the monster's eggs, roe or den."

The Storsjoe monster was first mentioned in print in 1635, when Mogens Pedersen took down a legend about two trolls who were boiling a mixture in a large kettle on the shore of the lake. Having boiled the mixture for many years, the contents of the kettle began to wail and groan and then there was a loud bang.

"A strange animal with a black serpentlike body and a catlike head jumped out of the kettle and disappeared into the lake. The monster enjoyed living in the lake, it grew incredibly big and terrorized the people living on the shores. After some time it extended all the way around the island in the middle of the lake, and could bite its own tail," Pedersen's chronicle said.

Indian EVM compared with Diebold
Last few months have brought very serious discussions on the Net regarding the use of Electronic Voting, and the security of it. In the USA, the saga related to Diebold and its opposition is well known. I do not know the electoral process in the United States, but I attempt here to compare the Technology used by the Indian Election commission and the Diebold AccuVote system. I present here the Information I have about the Indian system, and the information about Diebold got from the web.

... IMHO, the Diebold system is too complex for a simple and straight forward task such as voting. Windows CE, Modems, PCMCIA storage cards, Touch screen GUI, On-screen writing facility, Voice-guidance system, multiple language UI, DES Encryption, centralized voting Server, a step-by-step wizard to cast a vote, Microsoft SQL Server to store votes, Backup servers etc. are all unnecessary. All geeks know that a smaller and simple system is more secure, more code means more cost, more chances for bugs, more threats to security. You cannot make a system that is “guaranteed” as secure. A lot depends on the electoral process and the integrity of election officials.

The Indian Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are designed and developed by two Government Owned Defense Equipment Manufacturing Units, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). Both systems are identical, and are developed to the specifications of Election Commission of India.

The System is a set of two devices running on 6V batteries. One device, the Voting Unit is used by the Voter, and another device called the Control Unit is operated by the Electoral Officer. Both units are connected by a 5 meter cable. The Voting unit has a Blue Button for every candidate, the unit can hold 16 candidates, but up to 4 units can be chained, to accommodate 64 candidates. The Control Units has Three buttons on the surface, namely, one button to release a single vote, one button to see the total umber of vote casted till now, and one button to close the election process. The result button is hidden and sealed, It cannot be pressed unless the Close button is already pressed.

Saturday, May 15, 2004
Mall slams door on Girl Scout scavenger hunt
TCPalm: After years of cookie sales, dainty teas and camping trips, Martin County Girl Scout leaders thought the troops might enjoy a day at the mall with their fathers.

The fathers and daughters could spend quality time together, completing a scavenger hunt for items in the store windows. Then, after lunch at the food court, they could shop for a Mother's Day present.

But Treasure Coast Square mall management didn't agree that it was such a wholesome event.

It seems Girl Scouts wandering around with their fathers, holding pencils and paper, violates the post-Sept. 11 security policy at the mall, a mall representative said......

.......But when the troop leaders sent a letter asking permission from Rachelle Crain, the area director of mall marketing, they were told the event could jeopardize the security of the retailers and shoppers.

"Since Sept. 11, we have looked at our security procedures very closely," she said. "Our enhanced security prohibits us from hosting events that allow participants to wander freely around the mall area."

In addition, surveys are prohibited on mall property — and girls holding pencils and papers "could be perceived as such," Crain added.

"How do we know they're Girl Scouts?" she said. "The security personnel are trained to watch for things like that in the mall."

NASA's Finances in Disarray; Auditor Leaves
Yahoo! News:
PriceWaterhouseCoopers and NASA parted ways earlier this year, according to the space agency's inspector general, Robert Cobb. PriceWaterhouseCoopers declined to comment, but a source familiar with the situation said the audit firm opted out of the contract because it was unhappy with the relationship.

In a scathing report on NASA's Sept. 30, 2003, financial statement -- which got scant attention at its release but was detailed in a cover story in the May issue of CFO Magazine -- the audit firm accused the space agency of one of the cardinal sins of the accounting world: failing to record its own costs properly.

The same report said the transition to the new accounting program triggered a series of blunders that made completing the NASA audit impossible.

There were hundreds of millions of dollars of "unreconciled" funds and a $2 billion difference between what NASA said it had and what was actually in its accounts, which are held by the Treasury Department (news - web sites), PriceWaterhouseCoopers said in its report. .......

"......The independent investigation of the Columbia accident, in which seven astronauts died, found NASA's culture at fault. The same spirit that fueled the early boom in space exploration in the 1950s evolved into separate parts of a sprawling agency working independently rather than cooperatively.

The same independent path extends to NASA's financial accounting, Cobb said.

'You've got an environment at the agency where there are these 10 centers which pride themselves on their independence ... and it becomes very difficult in connection with any of NASA's functional management responsibilities to have people kowtow to the folks at (NASA) headquarters who have the responsibility to pull it all together,' Cobb said.

Cinager said he was hopeful that NASA's culture would change, noting a new 'willingness of all of the constituencies in the agency to introspectively look at how can they improve the way they are doing their specific duties.'

But Shyam Sundar, a professor in accounting with Yale School of Management, described the event as 'a big mess,' after seeing the auditor's report.

'If NASA would have been a public company, the management would have been fired by now,' he said."

Friday, May 14, 2004
Rescued Kitty Cat Turns Out To Be Bobcat : "A woman rescued what was described as a 'funky-looking house cat' after the animal was hit by a car near Santa Cruz, California.

But after the woman put the dazed cat in her car and brought it to an animal hospital, an animal rescue worker told her it was a good thing the injured kitty was too stunned to move.

It turns out the ten-pound cat was no ordinary housecat. It was a bobcat -- with sharp claws and long fangs.

The rescuer admitted she thought the cat 'looked kinda strange.'"

Thursday, May 13, 2004
Kit Contents:

* 1 Foreign Body Protrusion
* 1 Eyeball
* 1 Eviscerated Intestines
* 1 Each - small, medium and large lacerations
* 1 Each - Compound fractured tibia, humerus and femur
* 1 Each - Small and large sepsis wounds
* 1 Avulsion
* 2 Crushed feet
* 2 Second degree burns
* 1 Each - 1st and 3rd degree burns
* 1 Small flesh wound
* 1 Each - small and large fracture
* 1 Jaw wound
* 1 Perforated wound
* 15 Assorted moulage stick-on wounds
* 7 assorted bleeding strap-on wounds - complete with blood reservoir bags and pumps
* 1 Lower leg impalement
* 1 Broken clavicle
* 1 Each - compound fracture of humerus and tibia
* 1 Laceration of forearm
* 1 Projectile entry
* 1 Plexiglass pk for simulated 'glass in wound'
* 1 Simulated dirt package
* 1 Each - Glycerine (for perspiration), cold cream, mineral oil
* 1 Petroleum jelly
* 1 Modeling paste-light and dark
* 1 Each - Simulaids = oz make-up liners: red, blue, brown, white, yellow, black, flesh
* 1 Charcoal/wood ash
* 1 Package of blood powder Methyl cellulose for blood thickening
* 1 Each - palette, spatula, scissors, mirror 1 Each - atomizer, latex, simulation wax, body adhesive
* 1 Applicator pack including cotton balls, tongue depressors, tissues, make-up sponges, Q-tips
* 1 Roll tape

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Public Agenda Research Reports: Teaching Interrupted
Public Agenda Research Reports: Teaching Interrupted: "Teachers and parents say too many students are losing critical opportunities for learning -- and too many teachers are leaving the profession -- because of the behavior of a few persistant classroom troublemakers. Teachers in particular complain about the growing willingness of some students and parents to challenge teacher judgment and threaten legal action. But both teachers and parents support a variety of remedies, including stricter enforcement of existing rules of conduct, alternative schools for chronically disruptive students and limiting parents’ ability to sue schools over disciplinary decisions. Prepared with support from Common Good. Available for free download only in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format."

Paper Model
Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne: "Carried beneath White Knight to 50,000 ft., SpaceShipOne will be released to fly under its own power to the 100 km. target height. For re-entry, the spacecraft's entire tailplane tilts upward in a high-drag 'feather' configuration. As it approaches the ground, the tail returns to its normal flying position, and the vehicle glides to a runway landing. The first glide flight of SpaceShipOne occurred on August 7, 2003, and the first rocket-powered flight test took place on December 17, achieving a speed of Mach 1.2.

The X-prize has not yet been claimed, but it is likely that the first attempts by the contestants will be made in 2004, and in the judgement of many observers Burt Rutan's innovative SpaceShipOne is a leading contender.

This model builds into a detailed 1:48 scale replica of SpaceShipOne. The completed model is approximately 7 inches long. You will need a colour printer capable of handling card or cover stock to print the parts sheets. 67 lb cover stock (approx 8.5 thousandths of an inch or 0.2 mm thick) is recommended."

Mitsubishi abandons employee
Inquisition 21st century :

Our 'Mitsubishi abandons employee story' below has set off a huge debate about defence against charges of child pornography. We have lost track off the number of online and offline journals and newspapers that have either used it directly or done their own versions. At one stage our server shut us down when our traffic exceeded bandwidth, which we promptly doubled. It was carried by Wired, the Register, Security Focus,, the Washington Times, the Washington Post (their own version), CNN, Reuters and many others and discussed on numerous lists numerous.

The clear opinion is that whether or not Jack was squeaky clean, his browser could have been, and probably was, hijacked, his employer and others badly contaminated the evidence against him, his lawyer gave him bad service, and he has still not received any justice despite his life being destroyed.

Rob Pegoraro, of The Washington Post in his 'Browser Hijacking' follow up story said that ‘the ongoing Internet-security freak-out for anybody using Windows keeps getting worse’ and that ‘Browser hijacking is as bad as it gets’.

Reuters homed in on a most relevant theme: “Prosecutors looking to throw the book at accused computer hackers have come across a legal defence expected to become even more widespread in an era of hijacked PCs and laptops that threatens to blur the lines of personal responsibility: the computer did it.”

Jack is a US citizen and former refugee from Eastern Europe, whose English is not yet proficient enough for him to deal with US police and lawyers. He is a highly qualified engineer and worked in the US for Mitsubishi. Ironically, he tested hard drives.

Mitsubishi gave him a Toshiba laptop, over which he used to dial up connect to the company server using an 800 number, and Microsoft Outlook for emails. He also had a connection with an SAP database to track problems, and create notifications. His dial up password was simply 'password' and he believes that everybody could use it and pointed this out many times to his supervisor and after a year and a half he was allowed a new password. When not with customers, he worked out of his home office. His work laptop was connected to the company server all the time. He also had a home PC and a home laptop.
Mitsubishi called him into the Chicago head office with his laptop. When invited out of the room, they seized the laptop, and told him he was fired, and to get out quick as they were calling the police. Two weeks later, returning home from job searching, the police were waiting with a
search warrant. They found no child porn, as he says ‘not even Playboy’, in his home, but on the second personal laptop that he had bought secondhand through eBay, they found 12 small pictures in unallocated clusters on its hard drive. He did not recognize them when they were
shown to him by his lawyer, and says that forensic specialists could not provide the name of files or the time of the files creation. It looked to him like they were deleted pics from the Temporary Internet folder, possibly from a previous owner.

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