By The People

There are fundamental flaws in how American government operates today,
contrary to the Constitution and the vision of a representative republican form of governance.
I intend doing something about it: by educating and informing others who
are not even aware of the dangers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What about the Privacy Act(1973)?

A friend of mine recently was pricing high speed Internet services from competitors in the area where he has moved to when he was confronted by a customer service who wanted his social security number. My friend refused to give his SSID and was told that it was a FCC requirement that customers be properly identified. My friend informed the CSR that printed on his SS card where the words, "not to be used for identification... " to which the CSR replied, "Whuh?" (think of Tim the ToolMan Taylor)

For the record the company was Comcast Cablevision, and I strongly oppose the policy of requiring a social security number in order to obtain their services. "Papers, papers please!" will be the demand from the conductor on the train, and the stewardess as she checks your boarding pass and papers. We are gradually being conditioned to think that this is all for our own good. I think not!

Americans on the average are allowing this to happen and think that those of us that oppose it are anti-American, or worse, Liberal Democrats. Well I am even further afield than that my friends as I am a registered Libertarian, and I do NOT attend any meetings or party banquets. I do agree with most of their political views however and this invasion of privacy must cease and desist.

Please take a moment of your time and write a letter to Congress and send a copy to Comcast and the FCC. Stop this ebb of liberties before you have no liberty at all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

NASA Outsourcing Space Station Transport to SpaceX

Occasionally, outsourcing does make sense, especially when we are dealing with a government agency wrought with politics and bureaucracy such as NASA is. Elon Musk founder of PayPal has invested heavily in his new company Space X - Space Exploration Technologies and has been rewarded with a $1.6 billion dollar contract to provide the resupply program for the ISS when NASA's Space Shuttle is finally retired next year.

Mr. Musk and Burt Ruttan's private space venture along with Sir Richard Branson are making real headway into opening up space for commericial and private ventures. But will any of this result in "breakthrough propulsion" systems? Will we see in our lifetimes the coloniztaion of other planets and moons?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Researchers Find Massive Botnet On Nearly 2 Million Infected Consumer, Business, Government PCs

More than 70 government-owned domains hit, and nearly half of the overall infections are in the U.S.

Apr 22, 2009 | 12:01 PM

By Kelly Jackson Higgins

Researchers have discovered a major botnet operating out of the Ukraine that has infected 1.9 million machines, including large corporate and government PCs mainly in the U.S.

The botnet, which appears to be larger than the infamous Storm botnet was in its heyday, has infected machines from some 77 government-owned domains -- 51 of which are U.S. government ones, according to Ophir Shalitin, marketing director of Finjan, which recently found the botnet. Shalitin says the botnet is controlled by six individuals and is hosted in Ukraine.

Aside from its massive size and scope, what is also striking about the botnet is what its malware can do to an infected machine. The malware lets an attacker read the victim's email, communicate via HTTP in the botnet, inject code into other processes, visit Websites without the user knowing, and register as a background service on the infected machine, for instance. The bots communicate with their command and control systems via HTTP.

Botnet expert Joe Stewart says it appears to be similar to other downloader-type botnets. "It looks a lot like other downloader bots out there," says Stewart, director of malware research for SecureWorks. "It has a system for installing other malware and getting paid for it. The first stage is to get the bot piece onto the machine, and then they get paid to install other malware."

Finjan says victims are infected when visiting legitimate Websites containing a Trojan that the company says is detected by only four of 39 anti-malware tools, according to a VirusTotal report run by Finjan researchers.

"We don't have our hands on the actual [stolen] data, but we can tell a lot of what they [may be] doing with it by the malware," Shalitin says. "They can use it for spam, [stealing data], and almost almost anything."

Around 45 percent of the bots are in the U.S., and the machines are Windows XP. Nearly 80 percent run Internet Explorer; 15 percent, Firefox; 3 percent, Opera; and 1 percent Safari. Finjan says the bots were found in banks and large corporations, as well as consumer machines.

Shalitin says it appears that the botnet operators may be buying and selling bots or portions of their botnet based on a communique Finjan discovered on an underground black-hat hacker forum in Russia.

Copyright © 2009 United Business Media LLC, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Having a Good Business Plan

The governor of the state of Oregon looks like he is making a good move toward clean energy and creating jobs and economic growth for his state. On the other hand, GM is partnering with Segway, the makers of those two wheeled pedestrian mobility devices that you plug in to charge. I would say that based on what I see, Nissan has the better business plan and that is why bailing out GM is a bad idea.

Governor: Electric cars are Oregon’s future

The Associated Press • April 6, 2009

PORTLAND — Gov. Ted Kulongoski continues to pitch Oregon as the nation’s all-electric vehicle hub.
At a news conference the governor test drove a Nissan all-electric vehicle this morning — the same vehicle he drove during his November trade visit to Asia.

Right before Kulongoski jumped behind the wheel, he described the all-electric technology and green technology in general as “the future of Oregon’s economy” and environment.
Nissan plans to bring all-electric vehicles to Oregon in late 2010. The state will be one of the nation’s first markets.
On Tuesday, a Norway-based company will come to town as it searches for a U.S. location for an electric car manufacturing plant.

Mike Gansler, Director of Core Technology with Segway Inc., drives a Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility, or PUMA, project prototype vehicle in New York's Times Square on Sunday, April 5, 2009. Segway Inc. and General Motors Corp. announced Tuesday that they are working together to develop the two-wheeled, two-seat electric vehicle designed to be a fast, efficient, inexpensive and clean alternative to traditional cars and trucks in an urban environment. (AP Photo/Jin Lee)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wake Up And Act Now

Not long ago, legislation was proposed (purportedly drafted on behalf of the AMA/FDA) that would have made vitamins and supplements available by prescription only. This blatantly takes away your right to alternative choices in health care. Now there is a bill that would make growing a garden regulated and controlled by government which will result in the end to home gardening and small farming, giving corporate agriculture exclusive monopoly over all the foods we eat. Of course that also takes away your right to be self sufficient which is a basic human right. Barcodes and RFID tags will follow everything that is human made or grown. Everything you eat, every show you watch in theaters or on television will be known. With the concept of the “smart grid” being proposed, it will work to monitor “smart appliances” and can shut off or turn down energy usage without your consent or knowledge.

Am I being paranoid or is there real indications that we are being subjected to shock and fear so that we will then be more willing to listen to anything that promises to make our lives more stable? Eric Fromm wrote Escape From Freedom prior to the rise of National Socialism in Germany, not as a political work, but a psychological context of how people generally act when they are under stress and fear.