Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:31:24 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Saturday, January 31, 2004

Slouching toward Big Brother: Excellent summary of the current situation from Bruce Schneier, a well regarded security analyst.  Again, we are reminded that in December, "a provision slipped into an appropriations bill allowing the FBI to obtain personal financial information from banks, insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service, jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships without a warrant--because they're all construed as financial institutions."  When will the mainstream media pick up on this?

  11:43:08 PM  permalink  

SourceForge.net: Project Info - pennylender:  Some programmers are planning a global micro-lending system: "PennyLenders goal is to create a service that will allow any individual to loan/borrow money in a self-contained community-based network, irrespective of economic status, location, or age and without the interference of a central controlling Bank."  No working code yet.  11:30:57 PM  permalink  

Gold and Silver Nanotubes: "Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in Israel have produced a new type of nanotube made of gold or silver. These nanotubes, which are produced at room temperature, don't have the mechanical strength of the more common carbon nanotubes. But they have unique electrical and optical properties, making them ideally suited "to form the basis for future nanosensors, catalysts and chemistry-on-a-chip systems.""  11:04:58 PM  permalink  

GBIF portal: "The purpose of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is to make the world's primary data on biodiversity freely and universally available via the Internet. .. Technically, GBIF is evolving to be an interoperable network of biodiversity databases and information technology tools using web services and Grid technologies. In the near term, GBIF will provide a global metadata registry of the available biodiversity data with open interfaces. Anyone can then use it to construct thematic portals and specilised search facilities. Building on the contents of this registry, GBIF will provide its own central portal that enables simultaneous queries against biodiversity databases held by distributed, worldwide sources. In the long term, molecular, genetic, ecological and ecosystem level databases can be linked to the system. These will facilitate and enable data mining of unprecedented utility and scientific merit. "  Related: MaNIS: "With support from the National Science Foundation, seventeen North American institutions and their collaborators are developing a network of distributed databases of mammal specimen data. "

Several related sources are indexed at http://www.learningsite.com/

  10:59:34 PM  permalink  

Sensors of the World, Unite!: Good intro to this topic, quoting an Alun Anderson Economist article, and providing other references.  "Another information revolution is emerging, driven by billions of tiny and intelligent sensors able to self-organize into scalable and fault-tolerant networks. Taken individually, these sensors have small brains, but using billions of them is an entirely other story."  10:53:57 PM  permalink  

Political Patterns on the WWW: Valdis Krebs updates last year's map of political books on Amazon, showing how nearly all "preach to the converted". "So, if you are working a 2004 political campaign what do you do with this information? Obviously you will not be successful in removing a reader from deep in one cluster and transplanting them into the other cluster. All you can do is focus on the edge nodes and the bridges."  10:51:26 PM  permalink  

Wireless Networks as a Low-Cost, Decentralized Alternative for the Developing World: "Krag's presentation describes the Wireless Roadshow plan: "By teaching the skills with hands-on training, and at the same time building wireless networks in the countries we visit, we hope not only to raise awareness and heighten skillsets, but also gain the experience necessary to build a central repository of documentation and tools, targeted specifically at the developing world."  Tomas Krag and Sebastian Büettrich wrote an O'Reilly introduction to  Wireless Mesh Networking .  10:39:08 PM  permalink  

Dowd: The Mirror Has Two Faces: "Ms. Rice argued that the U.S. was right to conclude that Saddam had W.M.D. and attack him because the dictator was not behaving rationally. But why did she think someone President Bush deemed "a madman" would behave rationally?..

Even Paul Wolfowitz observed last May that it was important not to assume that foes like Saddam "will be rational according to our definition of what is rational." Interviewed by Sam Tanenhaus for Vanity Fair, Mr. Wolfowitz said bad intelligence came from mirror imaging assuming people would behave like us: "The kind of mistake that, in a sense, I think we made implicitly in assuming that anyone who was intelligent enough to fly an airplane wouldn't commit suicide with it."

Saddam's old lieutenants have said that the dictator did not admit his paucity of weapons because he wanted his Arab neighbors to see him as a great leader and he hoped to deter America from war.

Jerrold Post, a former C.I.A. psychological profiler who calls Saddam messianic but not irrational, speculates that he may have built a Potemkin arsenal after his conventional arsenal was decimated in the first Persian Gulf war. "If he came across as an impotent leader capitulating to the West," Dr. Post said, "he might have been pushed out of power or killed."

Besides, according to Dr. Kay, Saddam was both finagling and finagled. "Did he really think he had the stuff because scientists were scared to tell him he didn't?" wondered a G.O.P. foreign policy expert. ..

The moral of Vietnam was supposed to be that we would never again go to war without understanding the culture of our antagonists, or exaggerate their threat to us. ..

The White House will have a lot of explaining to do if Iraq exchanges one form of dictatorship for another, or if it takes on a fundamentalist Islamic cast that sets Iraqi women's rights back 40 years.

"These guys created the exact can of worms we tried to avoid," said a Bush 41 official. "Guess what? Baghdad is ours."  

  10:23:23 PM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:31:24 AM.