Tuesday, June 14, 2005

---Titan Volcanoes, Religious Sensitivity, FBI Failed to Focus?, More on LANL Whistleblower Beating, Vulnerability Assessment Worms, and Other Stories 

Titanic volcano:
Cassini-Huygens: News-Press Releases-2005
Evidence suggests a possible active volcano on Titan. In the apparent absence of methane lakes or rain---which were expected as a cause for the methane in Titan’s atmosphere---methane-spewing volcanoes might account for it instead. I guess I haven't seen anything like that in a Dairy Queen parking lot--West Texas or otherwise.

Law Enforcement Religious Sensitivity Training:
FOXNews.com - Politics - Law Enforcement Considers Religious Sensitivities
In efforts to avoid misunderstandings with members of politically-expedient religions, various law enforcement groups are receiving special sensitivity training.

Of Course, U.S. Federal Courts Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sensitivity Training:
...as we can all recall from this demonstration of what happens to the “cultural dignity” of the articles of non-politically-expedient religions. Does anyone happen to remember if the forklift driver treated the monument “as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art”?
---and was the monument U.S. Federal Government-funded property?

Koran-Kicking/Flushing Inquiry Concludes:
U.S. Southern Command Completes Inquiry on Quran Mishandling - US Department of State
I can’t really say much about the outcome, since I didn’t actually bother to read it.

Justice Department IG Exposes FBI Failures before 9-11:
FOXNews.com - Politics - Report: FBI Missed 5 Chances to Get Vital Intel About 9/11 Terrorists
From the Gorelick affair to evidence of massive intelligence failures by the CIA and FBI, there is obviously plenty of blame to go around. In the case of the FBI, though, I still have trouble believing the mere incompetence of a bloated government bureaucracy is entirely to blame. What was the FBI doing up to 9-10, just before American citizens were subjected to a catastrophic terrorist attack on their own soil that a playground full of 8-year-olds would have seen through? This isn’t a conspiracy theory by any means; I just think they were really, really busy with something they considered more important.

Whistleblower beating, revisited:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Cops: Man's Beating Not Related to Whistleblower Status
Local law enforcement may be saying that the beating of a would-be LANL whistleblower might have been triggered by backing into a pedestrian rather than his free speech. At least, the investigation was “leaning” that way as of the time of this Fox News story. Here is another view of the incident.

Hacker of U.S. government networks resists extradition:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Hacking Suspect Fighting Extradition
“McKinnon installed unauthorized software on computers used by NASA, the Defense Department, the Army, Navy and Air Force that permitted him to "completely control the computers." ”
“McKinnon discovered computer accounts with passwords the same as each employee's username then installed popular remote-control software called "RemotelyAnywhere." “
Apparently nothing of value was stolen, but he locked up the “U.S. Army's military district of Washington network ” in the process. He was caught because he used his girlfriend’s email address to order the “popular software”. What happens when somebody who’s doing more than just flexing his hacker-ness finds out that users of critical U.S. government networks don’t know how to make passwords?

Scanbots that report security weaknesses:
New Scientist Breaking News - Computer viruses become hacker informants
These “vulnerability assessment worms” can check for exploitable holes in a computer’s security, such as unpatched operating system flaws, and report them to the exploiter via IRC. Why they would choose to use a chat channel to relay these illegal reports is sort of mystifying.

Russians dream of taking over ISS:
Russia ready to take lead on space station - Space News - MSNBC.com
From Oberg at MSNBC. A collection of Russian daydreams about what they could do with ISS if the Americans give up. The plans involve their next-generation “Kliper” and “Parom” spacecraft, and generous contributions from the ESA. They have a “Kliper” mockup at the Paris Airshow, along with even more grandiose plans for the Moon and Mars!

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