Archive for November 28th, 2007
Straight from Gizmodo: “The MPAA is such a kind and giving organization. After compiling a list of the top 25 schools for piracy, it sent them a letter last month offering the free, super-helpful University Toolkit to track naughty file-sharing on their networks. It “can produce a report that is strictly internal and therefore confidential to illustrate the level of file sharing on [your school's] network. In addition, we will send a hard copy in the near future to your university’s Chief Information Officer.” Of course, the first thing it does is call home. That’s before the security holes.The toolkit’s actually a modified version of xubuntu rolled up with some network monitoring tools like Snort, which “captures detailed information about all traffic flowing across a network” and ntop, which makes pretty graphs from the data produced by Snort.
After you install it, it sets up an Apache Web server that uploads all of the data and graphs to a web page that displays “not only bandwidth usage generated by each user on the network, but also the Internet address of every Web site each user has visited.” The kicker is that unless it’s properly firewalled, the page is open to anyone and easily Googlable if you know the kit’s URL conventions. Yet the MPAA’s overview explicitly promises “No privacy issues—the content of traffic is never examined or displayed.”
It gets better. The person who installs the toolkit isn’t prompted to setup a user/pass to block access to the site, and the default setting is to not log outsider views of the page. Like, say, the MPAA’s people. And even with the firewall blocking outsiders, tech-savvy university students can still sneak peaks.”
Straight from Liberty for Life: “The following video is of a FEMA ‘railway repair facility’ – the only problem is that the barbed wire fences are designed not to keep people out, they face inwards. While there is no use or need for the facility, the government has been spending millions of dollars converting this facility into an ideal concentration camp along with gassing equipment. Most people by now know that George W. Bush’s grand father funded Hitler See Bushes. Most are not aware that the primary share holders of ‘our’ Federal Reserve Bank, the Rothschild’s, also funded both Stalin and Hitler. Their goals and methodologies have not changed. Fascists Socialist Nations terrified by “unseen terrorists” make ideal breeding grounds for massive financial profit. It is also worth looking into the FBI’s programs to prepare children for living in this U.S.S.A. Police State.”
Straight from Joystiq: “Having opened a new studio in Montreal earlier this year and released the Diablo-clone Loki, French developer Cyanide has what we call ‘a lot of irons in the fire.’ The studio also announced today that it has waded waist-deep into the murky waters of middleware development, creating its own “dynamic 3D animation engine,” which Cyanide interestingly describes as a tool that “integrates physical and biomechanical laws under the control of a powerful artificial intelligence system.” Skynet, can you hear us?
While the company hopes to license the engine to other “small and medium sized” game developers, Cyanide is not above eating its own dog food, and will utilize the technology in its own projects, the first of which will be a title based on Games Workshop’s fantasy tabletop game Blood Bowl. First announced briefly last year, the real news here is that the game, which is an unofficial follow up to the unlicensed PC title Chaos League, has been confirmed as in development for the Xbox 360, PSP, and Nintendo DS, as well as the PC. Few details are known at present beyond that the studio calls the project a “faithful representation” of the tabletop game, and adds that Blood Bowl should be released sometime in late 2008. In the absence of a new Mutant League Football, we will take what we can get.”
Straight from Flight Global: “A 400,000kg (880,000lb) Marship would be assembled in orbit using the Ares V cargo launch vehicle for a 900-day mission to the red planet, according to details that have emerged about NASA’s new Constellation programme’s manned Mars mission.The spacecraft would take a “minimal crew” to Mars in six to seven months, with the crew spending up to 550 days on the surface, according to the programme’s design reference architecture 5.0, currently in development.
Each of the three to four Ares V rockets used to launch the Marship elements into low Earth orbit would need a 125,000kg payload capacity and use a 10m (32.7ft) fairing.
Crews would be sent every 26 months, will need up to 50,000kg of cargo, use an aerodynamic and powered descent method and the 40min communications delay between Earth and Mars would require autonomy or at least asynchronous operation with mission control.
Notionally launched in February 2031, the first crew’s flight would be preceded by the cargo lander and surface habitat being sent in December 2028 and January 2029, respectively using two Ares V launches.
The lander will arrive around October 2029 and the habitat November the same year. Nuclear power is the preferred surface energy source. The crew will arrive in August 2031.
A second mission’s habitat and lander will be launched by two Ares Vs in late 2030/early 2031 to reach Mars at the same time as the first crew. In the first quarter of 2033, the second mission’s crew will leave Earth to arrive at Mars by December, while the first crew leaves Mars in January 2033 after a 17-month stay, to reach Earth by September.
The details were included in a presentation at “Enabling Exploration: The Lunar Outpost and Beyond“, the October meeting of NASA’s Lunar exploration analysis group.
It also states, “Conjunction class missions (long-stay) [have] fast inter-planetary transits. Successive missions provide functional overlap of mission assets,” referring to the presence of a following mission’s habitat and cargo lander being on Mars when its preceding mission’s crew are there already.”
Straight from Ars Technica: “As the RIAA’s legal battle against suspected file-sharers has unfolded, one of the arguments put forth by some defendants is that the statutory damages sought by the RIAA are unconstitutionally excessive. That’s one of the defenses articulated by Ray Beckerman, attorney for the defendant in UMG v. Lindor. In a ruling issued yesterday, Judge Robert M. Levy ordered the record labels to provide Marie Lindor with the expenses incurred for each of the 38 songs at issue in the case, writing that Lindor’s request may “lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” The request by Lindor seems innocuous enough. “(A) Set forth all expenses incurred by plaintiffs, per authorized song file download, in connection with the thirty eight (38) songs…, and (B) annex copies of all documents kept in the ordinary course of business of plaintiffs sufficient to support said statement of expenses.”
In a court filing last month, the RIAA argued that Lindor’s request was unclear and that she already had information sufficient to make a defense that the statutory damages sought by the labels ($750-150,000) are unconstitutional. Most tellingly, the RIAA also says that “they do not have the analysis requested” and could not perform it without “enormous expense” requiring “lengthy and complex analysis.”
In Capitol v. Thomas, the only file-sharing case to go to trial so far, Sony BMG head of litigation Jennifer Pariser testified that she had no idea about the extent of the actual damages suffered by the recording industry. “We haven’t stopped to calculate the amount of damages we’ve suffered due to downloading, but that’s not what’s at issue here,” she told Jammie Thomas’ attorney during cross-examination.”
Straight from Fox News: “TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the U.S.-brokered Mideast peace conference was a “failure” and that Israel is doomed to “collapse,” lashing out at the Annapolis gathering that many saw as aimed at isolating Iran.
The comments were the first time in months that the hard-line Ahmadinejad has used such strong anti-Israeli rhetoric, highlighting Tehran’s bitterness towards Tuesday’s conference, which its closest Arab ally Syria attended.
“It is impossible that the Zionist regime will survive. Collapse is in the nature of this regime because it has been created on aggression, lying, oppression and crime,” Ahmadinejad said after a Cabinet meeting, according to state-run television.
“Soon, even the most politically doltish individuals will understand that this conference was a failure from the beginning,” he said, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Iran has repeatedly condemned the Annapolis conference, saying it would fail to bring any peace for the Palestinians and warning that it will discredit Arab countries who participated. Iran on Tuesday expresses surprise that Damascus participated in the gathering, though it has stopped short of directly criticizing its ally.
Ahmadinejad said the Palestinian “resistance” — such as Hamas, which is backed by Tehran — must have a say in any settlement.
“Many such meetings have been held but have failed,” he said. “If decision is made about Palestine, representatives of the elected Palestinian government and resistance should be there and the rights of the Palestinian people — self-determination, the right of voting and return of refugees — must be recognized,” he said.
Ahmadinejad has raised controversy in the West with past predictions of Israel’s eventual destruction, including a comment saying it should be “wiped off” or “disappear” from the map — and even critics at home said his inflammatory speeches were needlessly provoking the West against Iran.”
Was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current President of Iran, one of the militant kidnappers that took over the U.S. diplomatic mission in Tehran on November 4, 1979 and held 63 U.S. diplomats and three other U.S. citizens hostage until January 20, 1981 (Of those captured, 52 were held hostage until the conclusion of the crisis 444 days later)? John Simpson of the BBC thinks so, and so do the hostages. The photo posted here shows one of the kidnappers in 1979 on the left, and Ahmadinejad on the right.