Month: September 2001

In Database Nation, Simson Garfinkel writes: “The terrorist of tomorrow is the irrational terrorist. This new terrorist does not particularly want to change the enemy’s mind. Instead, he ‘sees the sheer physical annihilation of the enemy as a productive result,’ says Louis Rene Beres, a professor of political science at Purdue University… These new terrorists frequently aren’t interested in negotiation, don’t rationally consider the long-term consequences of their actions, and frequently aren’t even concerned with their own survival–in fact, they may actively work towards their own death. ‘An irrational terrorist might simply be an insane group that sees mass death as a desirable end from an ecological point of view,’ says Beres. ‘Or an irrational terrorist might see an act of terror and loss of life as causing some other political event.'”

“‘If somebody wants to do it, you can’t stop them,’ says [Kathleen C. Bailey, a former assistant director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.] ‘If it is a terrorist group, you may be able to infiltrate them. But if it is a single individual, it is going to be extraordinarily hard to know in advance what that individual is doing in their garage, closet, or basement… There are no emissions. With current technology, we have no way of sniffing out who is making anthrax in their basement.’… Even if Congress burned the Constitution and turned the U.S. into a police state, it could not eliminate the bioterrorism threat. ‘Do you really think that you could catch the individual who wants to terrorize the population by making biological weapons? How are you going to know?'”

Important points, in my opinion.

[via A Boy and His Basement]
2:32:32 AM  

Doug Bedell: “While traditional media provided most of the world with news of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a new form of war zone coverage took shape on the World Wide Web…” [via JD Lasica]
2:17:23 AM  

I agree with Flangy: A bigger mixer is always better, and CodeWarrior dishes out a big-ol’-can-o-whoopass on Visual Studio 6. 😉
2:09:32 AM  

The Motley Fool Reduces Staff.
2:02:35 AM  

AP: Holy War Has Funds, Bin Laden Says. Bin Ladin: “Freezing of the assets or accounts of al-Qaida or any other jihad (holy war) organization won’t make any difference… By the grace of God, al-Qaida has got three alternate financial systems, which are separate and independent…”
2:01:35 AM  

Wired: It’s Teleportation — For Real. “‘A teleportation machine would be like a fax machine, except that it would work on three-dimensional objects as well as documents. It would produce an exact copy rather than an approximate facsimile, and it would destroy the original in the process of scanning it,’ wrote quantum teleportation pioneer Charles Bennett.”
1:56:51 AM  

Salon: Get educated. “For those hungry to learn more about the crisis facing the U.S., a reading list.”
1:53:30 AM Word of the Day: frangible.
1:48:13 AM  

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National Writers Union press release: National Writers Union Reveals New York Times Blacklist. “The New York Times has created an internal blacklist that directs editors throughout the paper not to hire writers who won a historic decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, according to an internal memo obtained by the National Writers Union.” [via Oliver Wrede. See also Tasini vs. The New York Times

9:43:35 PM  

Apple: Seybold Gallery [via All OS X]
9:38:34 PM  

Reuters: Continental Says Execs Won’t Take Pay.
9:34:50 PM  

CNET: Free wireless Net access for the masses. “Community groups are extending Net access through the 802.11b wireless standard, generating a phenomenon reminiscent of the Napster craze.”
9:34:25 PM  

Here’s a link for Doc: God Angrily clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule: “Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.”
9:32:04 PM  

Welcome to Afghanistan, a land not conquered since Alexander the Great. “As fighting terrain, it is an absolute nightmare. It’s a natural fortress. You can’t get very far with vehicles; you get bogged down and the passes are too steep. The Russians had a bloody awful time. They really got stuck. It’s one thing to put in your infantry, but you’ve got to keep them within range of your artillery and your mortars. With bad mountain passes, this is almost impossible.”
3:46:21 AM  

Jim DeRogatis: What’s up with Generation Y?.
3:44:09 AM  

Joshuah Allen: “The sealing of the Iran and Pakistan borders seen in this light was a very good move, because the ‘flow’ of smuggled goods is directly proportional to the ‘flow’ of cash into Al Quaeda and Taliban coffers. On the other hand, attempts to control the flow of smuggled goods that fuel an insatiable public demand seem uncannily familiar…”
3:42:41 AM  

Bill Gertz: Bin Laden terror group tries to acquire chemical arms. “There is no hard evidence that bin Laden or his followers have actually produced chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. A CIA spokesman declined to comment. But a U.S. official said contacts between bin Laden and the Russian mafia, and efforts to obtain materials used to make weapons of mass destruction, could not be ruled out because of Afghanistan’s porous borders.”
3:38:02 AM  

Reuters: Hong Kong Stocks End Higher. “The market took its cue from gains on Wall Street and in Europe but analysts said investor sentiment remained fragile amid fears that the global economy could tip into a prolonged recession and uncertainty over the timing and extent of U.S. military reprisals for attacks on New York and the Pentagon.”
3:35:22 AM  

The Onion: “In the wake of the recent national tragedy, President Bush is urging Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, and other singers to resist the urge to record mawkish, insipid all-star tribute ballads. ‘To America’s recording artists, I just want to say, please, there has already been enough suffering’…”
3:33:41 AM  

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Dave linked to this essay by Carl Sagan yesterday, but it’s well worth linking to again: Reflections on a Mote of Dust. “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.”
1:37:56 PM  

First, Gartner research group recommends that companies “immediately” replace IIS with a more secure application, and up comes the spin: “Redmond is telling its sales channel that a rewrite of IIS is underway for version 6.0.” Hmmm…

Joel Spolsky has a few things to say about re-writing software: “Completely rewriting it would just introduce another set of bugs that would take another few years to find. Chances are that nobody on the current IIS team even remembers the bugs they fixed five years ago, even if they were on the team that long ago…”
1:32:55 PM  

CNET: Napster reaches settlement with publishers. “As part of the deal, Napster has agreed to pay $26 million to settle its ongoing legal disputes with music publishers and songwriters. That doesn’t mean the lawsuit troubles as a whole will disappear–record labels are continuing with their own litigation, which still threatens Napster with even more substantial legal damages.”
1:24:54 PM  

Press Release: Al Qaeda to cut at least 5,000 jobs. [Humor]
1:23:33 PM  

Humor: Got Napalm?
1:19:29 PM  

Jake's Brainpan

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President Bush is going to address the country in a speech tonight at 6:00 PST (9:00 EST). Sneak preview: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
2:16:41 PM  

Steve Watkins: Why OS X Matters. “Our iMac installation of OS X is over four months old and has not crashed — not once… My installation on the accelerated Power Mac 8500 is about three months old and has only destabilized once. It did not ‘crash’ per se. I was able to successfully reboot using the menu choice, without having to resort to a ‘hardware reset.’ No Windows PC in our company can go for more than a few days without having to be rebooted.” That’s been my experience as well.
4:09:36 AM  

Oliver Wrede: “Tom Fürstner seems to be playing around with plugging other script interpreters into Frontier. This is very interesting. He also says Python is not yet there. I wish it would…”
4:05:28 AM  

Hindustan Times: Who’s next on Osama’s hit list?. “Osama bin Laden’s already said that India, alongside the United States, is his primary target. He’s asked the mujahideen to come together to target India. Intelligence sources that the likely targets in India would be US buildings.”
4:03:17 AM  

MSNBC: British Airways cuts 7,000 jobs. Sounds like the airlines in the U.S. aren’t the only ones taking a hit.
4:01:40 AM  

Flangy: “I think I might take the mixer back and trade down to a smaller model, though. I haven’t decided yet.” Don’t do it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my secret life as a recording musician, it’s that you can never have too many channels on your board.
4:00:20 AM  

Salon: Hell no, they won’t go — yet. “Even those college students who passionately support the U.S. war on terrorism aren’t sure they want to die in it.”
3:58:14 AM  

Adam Curry: “Several weeks ago my friend Dave Winer asked me to join him on a keynote panel at this years’ Seybold conference… It’s not the flying that worries me, it’s not the security of life in America that has made me anxious. It is the uncertainty of Global Vibe.” Adam, please come to SF. You owe me a beer. ;->
3:57:26 AM  

AthenaDoc.Com: “Only 4 people were in the theater to view the films about the space program. It is not the bombing that is slowing the economy, it is our fear of what might happen. The Space Center is open for visitors. We are as proud and as curious as ever. Let’s go!”
3:55:12 AM  

Seen on FoRK: “We intend to retaliate against those states that have allowed terrorists to operate and have provided them with training and support. The bombing of Florida begins tomorrow.”
1:39:58 AM  

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Oliver Wrede: “The common opinion in Germany seems to be that USA made big mistakes in their foreign affairs policy. Bush pulled back from peace talks in Israel… He intensified bombing Iraq. [The] USA ignored international efforts in ecology by dismissing the Kyoto protocol. The Bush administration thought it could simply lock out the world from USA interests and go for the ‘American way of life’ – which simply is stating, that USA will focus on national interests and ignore concerns raised by many other countires.”
4:07:25 AM  

Salon: Dan Rather’s tears. “Journalists don’t cry on camera. That was before last week.”

“‘I’m a professional. I get paid not to do that,’ Rather said briskly to Letterman and the audience, directly following the commercial break that Letterman quickly called after Rather first lost his composure. Rather had been talking about the time he’d spent with rescue workers at the World Trade Center site, when, it seemed, he simply lost touch with whatever internal mechanism it is that keeps any of us on an even keel in times of distress. It could happen to anyone — it just happened to strike a man whose livelihood depends on a measure of detachment from the events around him, and he scrambled to regain his footing like a cat who’s fallen off a windowsill.”

I saw this live (well not quite, since I’m on the West Coast, so it was three hours delayed). What I saw in Rather was an exhausted man who has probably been getting four hours of sleep per night, or less, for the last week. Remember what he was like in the aftermath of the election crisis last November?

I saw a man who has been through more than his share of conflicts in his life, and who is exasperated at the prospect of having to endure yet another.
4:04:00 AM  

CNET: ends free hosting service.
3:55:49 AM  

Pravda: Chechen Print in Terror Acts in the USA. “In a rebel hiding place in Chechnya, a CD was found containing instructions for a pilot and a technical description of the Boeing-737. According to spokesman for the Chechen office of Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the CD was kept in a local citizen’s house. In the same house, a CD with a detailed electronic map of Chechnya was found. According to preliminary information, the hiding place belongs to a bandit group headed by field commander with nickname ‘Abdurahman the Little’.” Spin from Russia?
3:51:04 AM  

BBC: Spy satellites retasked. Apparently a couple of cavilian satellites are included.
3:48:17 AM  

Flangy hates computers. Some days, so do I.
3:47:10 AM Word of the Day: dictum.
3:45:19 AM  

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Petition for peace: “What follows is a petition that will be forwarded to President Bush, and other world leaders, urging them to avoid war as a response to the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon this week. Please read it, sign below, and forward the link to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We must circulate this quickly if it is to have any effect at all, as the Congress of The United States has already passed a resolution supporting any military action President Bush deems appropriate.”
4:15:17 PM  

AthenaDoc: “Let us seek justice for criminals rather than revenge on barbarians.”
1:36:58 AM  

Stewart Baker, former general counsel of the NSA: “When I was in government and I read some press story about the foreign adversaries we were spying on, I knew our enemies would read the same story. They would go back through their communications to find the message we had intercepted… Sooner or later, we’d pay a price — a price that would never be known by the cheerily iconoclastic reporters, so proud of wresting their story from the heart of overweening authority or the climbing officials who tossed them the intelligence to curry their favor.”

Mr. Baker’s characterization of reporters frightens me. It gives us a clue to the culture of our government, which at times of crisis, devaules the very principles which it was designed to defend. The generalization of reporters as ‘cheery iconoclasts‘, gives us a clue about the attitudes of the people who will be behind the scenes in the upcoming ‘war’.
1:29:52 AM  

David Letterman on NY mayor Giuliani: “If you didn’t know how to behave, all you had to do at any moment was watch the mayor… Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.” He went on to say later, that it was Giuliani’s courage that inspired him to go on the air.
1:17:03 AM  

What is
1:13:21 AM  

Netizen News: Because it’s so easy to forget.
1:07:52 AM  

Taliban envoy: The United States has made no demand, direct or indirect, to Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to hand over Osama bin Laden. “There has been no contact with the Americans and we have received no indirect message.” spin warning
1:05:52 AM  

Marc Morano: “In a speech Sunday at a Chicago mosque, Farrakhan implied that U.S. foreign policy is to blame for last weeks terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. He called on American officials to summon ‘the courage to look at the foreign policy” and asked if the policies have ‘produced this danger and hatred toward America.'”
1:01:00 AM  

World Tribune: “Israeli military sources… have warned the government of repercussions of any U.S. attack on Iraq. The sources said such an attack would result in Iraq firing the remainder of its medium-range ballistic missiles toward Israel. A leading analyst, Haifa University’s Amatzia Baram said the missiles would probably be tipped with chemical warheads.”
12:56:22 AM  

There’s a fairly lively discussion going on over on, about the quelching of dissenting voices, in the wake of last week’s attacks, and under the shaddow of possible future retailiation by the U.S.
12:52:59 AM  

Adam Curry: “At last count I am managing over 20 websites by myself. Nothing but Me, Manila and the Net.”
12:47:45 AM  

Jake's Brainpan

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Here’s some Presidential spin from (9/15/01):

Q: Mr. President, do you have a message for the Reservists that you called up yesterday?  Can you tell us whether you think more may have to be called up?

The President: The message is for everybody who wears the uniform: get ready.  The United States will do what it takes to win this war.  And I ask patience of the American people.  There is no question in my mind we’ll have the resolve — I witnessed it yesterday on the construction site. Behind the sadness and the exhaustion, there is a desire by the American people to not seek only revenge, but to win a war against barbaric behavior, people that hate freedom and hate what we stand for. And this is an administration that is going to dedicate ourselves to winning that war.

Um… Exactly what “construction site” is he talking about? Oh, you mean that 20-story-high pile of debris in lower Manhattan? I thought that was a destruction site.

Bush’s every word is aimed at bending our collective minds towards believing that “we, the good and just Americans, having just been the victims of a cowardly attack by some crazy Arabs, have a moral imperative to go and blast Afghanistan to bits. Oh, and by the way, we’ve already recovered from the attack, as you can plainly see by this ‘construction site’ over here.”

He even asks for us to be patient, as if we’re all just chompin’ at the bit, to go in to Afghanistan and kill a bunch of innocent people. Without a doubt, some of us are, but many of us are longing for a cool-headed approach to dealing with this situation.

Read between the lines; try to see the motivations behind the words. We must understand that every single word of George Bush’s that appears in print, on the Web, or on television, has been poured over by a crack-team of spin-masters, most of whom probably have many more years of experience at manipulating public opinion, than Bush does. And this doesn’t just apply to the words you see at

This sentence is particularly telling: “…there is a desire by the American people to not seek only revenge, but to win a war against barbaric behavior, people that hate freedom and hate what we stand for.”

Here’s my reading of the spin: “Amreica, I know you want revenge, and by God, I’m going to give it to you. Brace yourself for a lot of destruction, but understand that we’re only killing a lot of freedom-hating barbarians who hate you anyway, so don’t feel too guilty about it.”

It’s a play on our emotions. If you don’t see that, please look again.
2:19:48 PM  

James Traub: “In the news conferences he gave that afternoon, the mayor spoke of his own escape from death and of the many friends who had died. There was a delicacy in his manner, an anxious concern for the sufferings of others that few had ever associated with him. Giuliani’s stoicism in the past had seemed to come of unfeeling; this was the stoicism of deep feeling held rigorously in check.”
1:18:31 AM  

Jeff Cheney: “The bugs in our airline security were pretty obvious. What other bugs exist in our systems? Who is protecting our water supplies? Who is protecting our communications systems? Where are we vulnerable? How can we protect ourselves?”
1:14:53 AM  

Dave started a directory of local news sources on war in Central Asia.
1:13:30 AM  

Chip Pearson: “Before you think that the religious extremism that lead to the WTC tragedy is limited to the third world, spend some time in Kansas.”
1:04:14 AM  

Reuters: Taliban Officials Fleeing Afghan Capital. “Taliban officials and their families were seen heading out of the city for the countryside, but it was not clear if this was under instruction from their spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar… Witnesses said hundreds of ordinary residents of the capital were also packing up to leave.”
12:56:53 AM  

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SourceDest.Org’s WTC Assistance Offered Database is a resource for offering server space and badnwidth, admin help, and spare hardware for WTC disaster relief. Also available via RSS.
2:44:41 PM  

As of 9/16/01, 2:06 AM PST, Yahoo! has raised over $10.5M for the Red Cross, with over 92,000 contributers.
2:12:00 AM Israeli security issued urgent warning to CIA of large-scale terror attacks. “The Telegraph has learnt that two senior experts with the Israeli military intelligence service, were sent to Washington in August to alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation.

“‘They had no specific information about what was being planned but linked the plot to Osama bin Laden and told the Americans that there were strong grounds for suspecting Iraqi involvement,’ said a senior Israeli security official.”
1:24:11 AM  

CNN: Iran closes border with Afghanistan. “The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Iran would post additional military and police forces along its 562-mile border to prevent Afghan refugees from entering the country.” Huh?
1:19:42 AM  

Sidney Morning Harold: US Air Force was ready to shoot down plane. “Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said yesterday: ‘We were already tracking that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. I think it was the heroism of the passengers on board that brought it down but the Air Force was in a position to do so if we had to.'”
1:16:06 AM  

The Sunday Times: Warlord tried to buy uranium. “Osama Bin Laden, the chief suspect behind the attack on the World Trade Center, has tried at least twice to buy enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb, according to a former terrorist and Western intelligence.”
1:12:52 AM  

Is this the fate of the Internet?
1:09:09 AM  

The Intelligence Network has been collecting a great many links to stories about the investigation behind the WTC investigation, as well as links to stories from the international press, related to the American military build-up now taking place in the Middle-East.

For those of you who are interested in following the minutiae, here’s an HTML rendering of The Intelligence Network’s RSS feed.
12:50:00 AM  

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Usman Farman, one of the last to leave World Trade Center Tower #7, narrowly escaped with his life. On Thursday, his account of Tuesday’s events was forwarded to me via email, through a long string of people. When I read it, I was moved to tears. I was able to contact him via email today, and he gave me permission to re-publish his story here:

“He helped me stand up, and we ran for what seemed like forever without looking back. He was the last person I would ever have thought, who would help me. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have been engulfed in shattered glass and debris.”

Usman is Pakistani, and a Muslim. His experience illustrates beautifully, and powerfully, that we must all help each other in this time of crisis, to maintain our humanity, to disregard our religious and ethnic differences, and to love our fellow human beings. Please read the whole account.
5:07:17 PM  

Sally’s dad, James, stopped in for a visit late last night, at the begining of his 60+ mile drive home from work. He has worked at San Francisco International Airport, as an engine mechanic for United Airlines, for many years. I asked him what the mood was like there. “People are worried,” he said. “The contract negotiations [which have been going on for over a year] have been stopped. Nobody knows if the airline will survive.”

“They’ve cut us all back to five hours a day. They’re saying we might have to declare bankruptcy. The families are suing the airline – the families of people in the building.”

This is a perspective we’ve heard almost nothing about in the mainstream press. Obviously, the airlines and their employees will take a direct blow in the coming months, and possibly years, but how will other industries be affected?

Update: Glenn Fleischmann writes, “The airlines are hoping to get Congress to grant them up to $2.5 billion free and clear, absolve them of all legal liability for the deaths, and secure $12.5 billion in loans.” [more…]
4:50:19 PM Attack ‘could come this weekend’. “Defence officials said an attack on Afghanistan, which has given safe haven to Osama bin Laden, could come as early as this weekend… [Defense Secretary] Rumsfeld told US servicemen around the world in a videotaped address that much had already been asked of them, but ‘more, much more will be asked of you in the weeks and months ahead… The task of vanquishing these terrible enemies and in protecting the American people and the cause of human freedom will fall to you. I know you are ready. I know America can continue to count on your selflessness and courage,’ he said.”
12:41:40 AM  

Mom: “The world needs us alive as we were a few days ago. It cannot lose us too. We cannot give up our ties to the living and to the future by attending only to the dead.”
12:34:49 AM  

The scenario that played out at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, was debated at length in the discussion area, last November.
12:33:31 AM  

Ann Marsh: “When I finally got David on the phone, I could hear in his voice that his experience is bigger and more searing than anything I might make of it. Inevitably, perhaps, we found ourselves debating the nature and will of God. ‘The final result is that things lined up in my favor,’ he told me. ‘I personally believe God doesn’t interfere. If that were the case, I might have more trouble handling this.'”
12:31:40 AM  

Washington Post: CIA’s Covert War on Bin Laden. “Reliable intelligence on the whereabouts of bin Laden… has been rare, despite what one source called a ‘rich and active’ surveillance program… Bush and his advisers appear ready to consider the use of ground troops, particularly special forces, military officers said. ‘If you regard what happened as an act of war, as the president has said, your standard of application for what you do about it is different,’ said a four-star officer.”
12:25:09 AM  

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A Friday in 2001: “I found myself here, after a long day, again searching for the words of others, which I could post to my website in lieu of my own. I didn’t have my own voice. I lost it on Tuesday morning. It was not taken from me, rather I lost track of it myself.”
3:43:12 AM  

Brent Simmons: “You can’t kill democracy, you can only kill people.”
3:39:02 AM Word of the Day: venerate.
3:37:31 AM  

An amazing picture
3:36:16 AM  

Jake's Brainpan

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