Technolotics #33 – Mouth Words


Listen: Episode 33
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The Death of Net Neutrality

Article by Daniel Berninger on GigaOM website.
Argues that net neutrality refers to “the uses of the Internet not the quality of access”.
Already a large number of classes of service available from the telcos, you pay for the performance and capacity of your Internet access.
The telcos have in mind creating another kind of customer, charging for the right of transit.
Technology already exists to examine packets at the routers.
Kills innovation as the ability to charge per application allows telcos to block technologies such as VOIP from ever getting a foothold.
Allowing telcos this kind of control allows them to make more money while providing nothing new.
Link [1]

The New Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006 will expand the copyright restrictions of the DMCA.
Will also expand federal police wiretapping and enforcement powers.
Attempted copyright infringement would become a federal crime punishable by up to ten years in prison.
This is more time in prison for those who download child pornography.
Will make it a crime to “make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess” software that can bypass DRM systems.
Amazingly it will allow copyright holders to impound “records documenting the manufacture, sale or receipt of items involved in” infringements.
According to the EFF this is a Godsend for the RIAA as they can demand server records.
EFF’s “Unintended Consequences” report exposes further issues with the basic DMCA which obviously will only become worse.
One issue is that Sony’s DRM rootkit software may not have been publicized because it exposed the people who discovered it to litigation by Sony.


Where Windows Vista Fails

Vista was first unveiled on in October 2003 it still isn’t here.
Worse many features have come and gone, promises made and broken time and time again.
Writer points the finger of blame at a mindset of establishing market dominance at any cost as the root of the problem.
Bill Gates is seen as the epitomy of this philosophy and all that is wrong with Microsoft.
Some of the wonderful things we have to look forward to in Vista are.
User Account Protection

Meant to prevent even administrators from carrying out dangerous actions that could harm the system.
Actually annoys the user with continuous popup warnings regarding simple actions.

Glass Windows

Vista’s touted transparent windows.
You can’t tell which Window currently is at the top (i.e. has focus)

Media Center

Tv and multimedia interface software that’s not integrated into Vista and not a standalone product.
Simply it doesn’t follow the same UI structure of previous versions, is ugly and confusing.

Interesting point made by John C. Dvorak, IE is also a disaster and chews up a lot of Microsoft’s attentions.
IE is linked to the OS and is the source of many of the security problems.
Dvorak urges MS to drop IE and concentrate on making a working OS.
Might not be a bad idea considering how slow Vista is taking to get to market.
Paul Thurott’s Supersite for Windows
The Great Microsoft Blunder

Short Stories

Googleblogger Report: Google SketchUp

New downloadable program from Google that allows the creation of 3D objects.
Integrates into Google Earth, so you can see what your 3D object would look like in the world.
Buildings such as the Whitehouse are available and can be edited.
SketchUp comes in 2 versions, Pro and Free.
This is the first time that Google has offered software in this form.

Apple’s all seeing eye

Apple application for a patent for dual monitor/image capture device.
Image capture devices placed in between each pixel.
Overall image produced as amalgum of images from each device.
Acts as both a monitor and camera.
Aim is to make videoconferencing etc. easier

Camera is always present.
User looks directly at the camera.

Eerie similarity to the viewing screens in 1984.
Also raises serious security issues, zombie machine can be used to spy on others.
Link [4]


Media Pimp


Top 20 Fake [5]


Jeff Bridges Blog [6]
The Soul Exchange [7]
I used to believe [8]

Technolotics #32 – Pathological Scrupulosity


Listen: Episode 32
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Digg hits a gas main

Social bookmarking phenomena Digg is in trouble this week, after being accused of the blogosphere’s greatest sin – censorship
Slashdot have posted a story – in Taco’s mangled grammer ‘submitted so numerous that I had little choice but to post’ – accusing dig of a variety of heinous crimes

The allegations

    Stories put onto the front page by the editorial staff, rather than the community
    Site which reports this banned from being dug
    Stories which report site which reports this disapearing
    Users who submit stories which report site which this disapearing, being banned by name and IP
    Other stories being removed for being critical of ‘Go Daddy’, a Revision 3 Sponsor

Digg’s Responce

It’s the system man!

    Kevin Rose say’s the stories removed we taken down due to user reports
    No response on the front page editorial control
    Users who report this are being banned, because accusing other users of gaming the system ‘violates digg’s terms of use’ (paraphrase) – even if the accused is digg itself!


Slashdot Story
Splasho Story
Forever Geek Story
Kevin Rose’s Responce
Another ‘Digg bullying’ example

The RIAA vs the EFF

Ars Technica have an article on the Internet culture wars – the RIAA vs the EFF
Elektra v. Barker – one of the thousands of frivolous RIAA lawsuits – if the RIAA win, the repercussions could undermine the very nature of the internet.
RIAA state sharing a folder constitutes infringement – even if files are never accessed
RIAA attempting fundamental changes to copyright law through courts
RIAA is argue copyrighted uploads to P2P infringe as much as downloads
Current law: to “distribute” a copyrighted work – physical exchange of a material object must take place – law doesn’t take account of the digital distribution of copyrighted works.
Ars Technica say – ironically EFF are arguing for pre-internet disribution model
We say – hooey – this mearly points out the absurity of applying arbitary legal weight of theft to duplication => makes sence from a commercial perspective, insanely fascistic if actually applied on individual scale => this is not how information works


Ars Technica – The RIAA vs the EFF

The Flaws of HDCP

HDMI is a technology that restricts the availability of high-def TV content.
Devices carry out a HDCP handshake before sending HD video over a connection.
Handshake authenticates devices & computes secret key for encrypting video between them
Each HDCP device is given two things: a secret vector, and an addition rule (not secret.)
A device uses it’s own vector and the other device’s addition rule to compute the secret key.
Vector and key are set so that both devices end up with the same key.
Problem is that conspiring devices can break the system and discover the secret vectors, thereby impersonating any HDCP device.
They came up with their own rather than using established handshake protocols such as Diffie-Hellman.
Reason for custom protocol seems to be to accomodate reduced computational ability, protocol is a simplified and less secure version of Diffie-Hellman.


Freedom to tinker
Diffie Hellman Key Exchange

The ignorance of crowds

This is a question we tacked back in show 2
Do folksonomy sites like Wikipedia lead to a better ‘infosphere’, or just a noiser and more confusing media landscape
WikiTruth ( charts the inner machinations of wikipedia.
Creators of the website (who claim to be wiki admins) say the increasing banality of entries and decrease in the quality is self-inflicted.
Essentially, the more edits by more people is decreasing the quality of the information.
Problems with the homogenity of information,
Diverse views become suppressed, denying the viewer the ability to see an issue from multiple viewpoints.
Options for the administrators include restricting access.
This risks driving away contributors.
Raises the question of whether traditional sources such as encylopedia Britannica are better due to an editing process.


Guardian Article
Acerbic comments from Lore Sjöberg
Wiki Truth

The latest on bionics

Super vision

Scientists are concentrating on restoring sight to blind people.
Daniel Palanker, a physicist at Stanford University in California has created a bionic eye.
Dead cone and rods are bypassed and the cells of the inner retina are stimulated with electrical signals directly.
Dr Palanker believes the system will provide a human user with 20/80 vision, enough to read large fonts and recognise faces.

Super strength

The Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (Bleex) fits along a user’s legs and allows the carrying of 90Kgs with no strain on the user.
Made up of 40 sensors, a hydraulics system and a central controller that decides how to distribute the weight so the user feels none of it.

Bionic limbs

Modern artificial hands, give wearers a better quality of life but they have little of the functionality of the real hands they replace.
William Craelius of Rutgers University in New Jersey has developed Dextra.
System can be trained to recognise muscle movements in user’s arm and then carry out a corresponding action.
Dextra can control up to three fingers, one user even could play the saxaphone with it.
Future work will concentrate on many types of hand motion – grasping a key, opening a door, holding a hammer.


Guardian Science Article

Another Front in the Global War on Islam

Bush will attack Iran
Because it’s about the dumbest thing he could do.

Why Iran is a much worse place to invade than Iraq

It’s geographically 3 times larger.
It’s population is approximately 3 times larger.
Population is a military strategists dream: a large number of fighting age men ~ 18 million with few very old or very young.
The failure to “win hearts and minds” in Iraq when you are replacing somebody like Saddam is not much encouragement that it can be achieved in Iran.
It will be another muslim country invaded within a few short years.
Iran has strong links to terrorism.
Shia Islam is the state religion, an attack on the country may be used by terrorists to claim the US is attacking Islam.
Current rumours indicate that the US will carry out airstrikes and limited special ops raids on the nuclear sites to disable them.
This may be difficult as the sites are spread thoughout the country to make such a task more difficult.

The New Yorker allege

Special Op’s Troops are already on the ground
Airforce planners drawing up target list
Disagreement between Europe and US over how long it would take for Iran to build a bomb
Bush’s white house refer to Irans president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as another hitler – clearly violating Godwins Law
‘Saving Iran’ will be Bush’s legacy
Administration purport to believe – “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.”
Only alternative administration will consider – campaign of coercion
“The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”
administration wants to change to power structure of Iran
senate is being selectively briefed on the plans
no one is ‘really objecting’
Special Op’s on the ground would be needed to knock out nuclear and chemical factories
Administration considering ‘tactical use’ of nuclear weapons
Joint Chiefs of staff want to take nukes of the table – administration refuses
Pentagon advisor – “The problem is that the Iranians realize that only by becoming a nuclear state can they defend themselves against the U.S. Something bad is going to happen.”
Case for a near and present danger is being built on unreliable evidence – A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of the Pakistani atomic bomb
I.A.E.A – Iran 5 years from bomb – “the Iranians want confrontation, just like the neocons on the other side”
“there’s nothing the Iranians could do that would result in a positive outcome. American diplomacy does not allow for it.”
Flynt Leverett (european diplomat) – Europeans want sanctions & diplomacy – US & Isreal want bombs – “There may be a military option, but the impact could be catastrophic.”

Unanswered Questions

Who is the rogue regieme here? The ones who want a bomb, or the ones who want to use the bomb?
How will Russia and China react to an attack on Iran – nuclear or conventional
What chaos will erupt, if the heart of the muslin world is invaded (remember ‘regime change’) by a western millenarian christian conservative nation


New Yorker Article
Justin Gauvin excellent blog
Godwins Law
International Atomic Energy Agency


Addendums to last weeks show

FYI, not sure if Rowan mentioned this – but the creator of comment cast Robin Blandford is his cousin
LASIK@Home is a joke site


Media Pimp


Negative Pimp – Freaky Ajax Hell Hive 7
Mark Echo Tags Airforce One [1] – or does he [2]
The iPod Box, MS Style [3]
Quake3 in a browser [4] – huge searchable archive of a variety of British poetry magazines [5]
David Elsewhere (worlds best dancer) [6]


Help me win my Bet [7]
Lost Episode 17 related map [8]

Technolotics #31 – Ringing Up Osama


Listen: Episode 31
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Mac BootCamp

Intel macs now officially run Windows
Macs get mainstream – All silicon valley geeks must have PowerBooks (except me)
How will OSX cope with the competition – Who will reboot?

The hardcore will stay for the unix backend

But Mac enthusiasts already talking about a no-windows-booting pledge

Reasons to love Open Source DRM

Sun Microsystems has proposed, with its DReaM initiative open source DRM.
Central idea is to assign rights to users not devices, hence rights can follow user across devices allowing access to DRMed media from a multitude of devices.
Lawrence Lessig approved Sun’s plan apparrently because they have with the Creative Commons to support their licences.
However: Sun’s DReaM “Usage Scenarios” document says that its fair-use mechanism is purely optional for rights holders.
No obligation on copyright holders to support fair use.
who would certify the players, and what would block the non-certified players from playing DReaM-protected content, that is still not clear.
Not all are happy with Sun’s scheme: ‘I wish Sun would figure out a way to let me do less with my music and movies,'” Cory Doctorow.
EFF makes the point that “open” and “royalty-free” DRM doesn’t make it any less capable of restricting the public’s rights under copyright.
Link: Wired

Laser Eye Surgery for the Home!

LASIK@Home was founded in 2004 by Dr. Amir Khadim, M.D., Ph.D.
Key to the system is the Scal-Pal™ Scanning Adjusting Laparascopic Personal Laser.
Contains two lasers: first laser cuts a small flap in the cornea of your eye. Then the second laser vaporizes a tiny section of the lens without damaging the surrounding tissue.
Claim that “LASIK@Home is 100% safe” is a little hard to believe, especially for what it does.
Normally such surgery costs thousands of dollars and is carried out by trained professional who have years of experience. Would you trust yourself and a piece of plastic and electronics to do as good a job?
Risks of Lasik surgery include: loss of vision
Link [1]

Comment Tracking

CoComment –

only comments on posts you’ve commented on
only shows comments by other cocomment users

co.mments –

lets you track any comments


Robin Blandford, final year DCU
leave comments on podcasts by phone, which are nicely wrapped up in an RSS feed

Short Stories

Listen to this NSA

Phil Zimmermann’s (creator of PGP)newest encryption software, Zfone.
The fruit of 10 years trying give the world easy-to-use software to cloak internet phone calls.
Open source, currently in Beta.
uses the industry standard SIP protocol, so it will work with a number of clients.
It has been submitted to IETF for approval as an internet standard, and rumours exist that it is indeed good enough to beat the acres of computers under Fort Meade.
Question is whether it will be adopted widely or will Skype continue to dominate.
Skype uses their own closed-source, own proprietary protocols.
may end up being used by the paranoids and geeks.

Face Recognition

riya –

launched publically a week ago after months of valley hype
recognizes common faces in your photos

You upload all your photos
it finds the faces automatically
then you train it by telling it who’s who
eventually it learns to recognize people and label them
you can search for other people’s photos of yourself (or whoever)

They employ lots of vision processing guys and plan to expand into more areas of image recognition
You can’t import all your photos from flickr yet
looks cool but haven’t used it yet

Can this level of technology beat the cutest kitten test?

better have a good supply of kitten photos and other animals to stop a brute force attack

Media Pimp


Kleptones Latest Album

Shadow of the Colossus – PS2 game


Greg Apodaca’s Digital Portfolio

If you ever wondered how much photoshopping is used in glamour magazines then take a look at this… the skill of this guy is unbelievable! Nottie to hottie with a wave of his mouse!
Link: bikini_nottie_to_hottie

How to pull an all-nighter

How to pull an all-nighter when you have that all important assignment due in the morning.
Link How to pull an all-nighter

Technolotics #30 – The Trip to Tipp


Listen: Episode 30
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Robocode competition


Imelda Morton (former competitor and student)
Peter Benilov (creator of one of the pitbots)
Louise Crowe and Aoife Clohessy, (2nd level students)
Niall Donnelly (member of the WIT team which made it to the semi-finals)
John Barrett (member of the DIT team which came second with their bot Spinning-Banana)
Andrew Adams and Alan Morey (the winning team members from CIT with their bot Chuck Norris.)

Assisted with lights and camera: Mike Kiely.
Special Thanks To: Bernie Goldbach
Music: John Fleagle – Doon da Rooth (Available from Magnatunes), DJ Wurz – Irregulator (Available from CCMixer), Le Tigre – Fake French, Marc Kaschke – Remember the Name, DJ Dolores – Oslodum 2004, Wadealin – No Meaning No (Gold Teeth), Chuck B – Visciouslemurer

France forces ITunes Open

A New Law passed by the French Parliament will force any music purchased in an online store to be playable on hardware from a variety of manufacturers [1]
The legal change would legalise cracking DRM, and break apples holy marraige of iPod & iTunes
Leander Kahney writing on wired news [2] likens this strategy to Microsofts Embrace Extend Extinguish strategy of incompatibility and nonstandard flakey interfaces
If passed the law would be a huge victory for consumers

but likely also result in Apple dropping out of the French market
and labels refusing to lisence music for online distrobution

Only time will tell if the French parliament will follow through a force labels to distribute DRM free music online
As Wired point out such a law would have far reaching consequences

ideally preventing the sort of monopolistic behaviour that has allow Sky to build a monopoly in Ireland
and is leading cable companies to delete or restrict the recording of old shows from the clients PVRs

OPod: OPML Feed Grazer

Rowan Nairn has developed an ultra impressive feed grazer
His OPod software – the first of its kind – points the way to a new method of browsing the web as feed

Gareth’s article on OPML & the future of the Web
Rowan Nairn’s Opod

The podcasting rule book

Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and the Performing Right Society (PRS) launch a

licensing scheme for music podcasters in the UK [3]

The terms of the liscence are onerous to say the least

10 seconds at start and end of the song must be obscured
music must not represent more than 80% of a programme
avoid revealing a cast’s musical content in metadata

Songs are charged at 1.5p per song per download or 12% of gross income – whichever is larger

Child stolen for Parody religion membership

Judge has taken a mother’s child from her after seeing photos of a SubGenius event.
Subgenius are an ironic Web religion dedicated to parodying and mocking actual religion
The judge in this trial was a strict catholic
Not only was the woman’s child taken – but the judge ordered (verbally) that she abstain from communicating about the case on the internet
The firm who defended Larry Flint on obscenity charges are defending her maternity rights
The culture wars have a new front line

Boing Boing
Bartholomew’s notes on religion

Media Pimp


You’re a man now dog
Geoffrey Chaucer Hath A Blog – Get your daily fix of middle english
Consumating – Indy Dating Site, with tags
Banned SouthPark Episode With Scientology

Draw a Pig Personality Test


Epica Film Winners for 2005

Technolotics #29 – ZZ Fops

Listen: Episode 29
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Matrixstream IPTV

Movies / Television channels streamining instantly through any broadband connection up to 1080P resolution over the H.264 codec through best effort network – public internet [1]

The claim is HD can be distributed in real time on a 6 meg connection!

Works with existing broadband networks with no upgrades or changes.
Essentially is a middleware that promises to provide VOD, via push, pull or streaming.
uses multicast or unicast to reduce load on the backbone network.
How does it work in practice with a large user base? Unknown. As far as we know nobody has deployed this yet.

Finally the device cringley has been predicting?

Will it recieve the necessary studio support to succeed?

Last Stand For Sanity

The Pirate Bay [2]

The MPAA’s latest sortie against filesharers has omitted one of the most prominent: The Pirate Bay.
Founded in 2003 by a group of Swedish file-sharing advocated the Pirate Bureau.
Site has provoked a file-sharing debate in Sweden and has even spawned a pro-piracy political party making a credible bid for seats in the Swedish parliament.
Sites immunity credited to the basic structure of the BitTorrent protocol. Servers provide only torrent files, which by themselves contain no copyright data — merely pointers to sources of the content.
MPAA spokeswoman Kori Bernards insists The Pirate Bay violates copyright laws around the world.”The torrent and torrent tracker is something that points people to various files that make up a copyright that is protected under the law.”


Laurence Lessig thinks an MSID might not be the worst idea [3]

The system effectively adds an “identity layer” to the Internet.
Hard to to falsify an identity and easy to verify your own.
Users’ computers will hold files called InfoCards that give encrypted sites access to authenticated information about the user.
When a Web site requests personal data, you choose whether to release that information, securely and with the verification of the card’s issuer.
Privacy fears addressed by the fact that the user decides what information is shared.
System is also open, it’s a protocol, implementable by many, not just Microsoft.
It will be distributed with Vista, MS’s new OS.

Short Stories

Functional Body Modification

The first stage in extrasensory enhansement – elegant lowtech(ist) implementation of superhuman status [4]

Google to purchase writely?

Google office rumours get a boost [5]

Google Mars

It’s out of this world – sorry I couldn’t resist![6]
You can look down on the red planet with elevation, infra red, and visible views

Webpages That Suck – Worst pages of 2005

And heres my least favourite (requires sound) [7]


Finally, a painless way to add live & recorded chat to any website
Simple put – and begin chatting [8]
This is viral methinks

Almost a mental Keyboard

A funny thinkable cursor [9]
Hope for paraplegics and wanabe cyber people alike.
A user must wear a cap containing electrodes that measure electrical activity inside the brain
Cap works like an EEG.
Device can train itself to new users in about 20 minutes.


Microsoft have finally unveiled their origami project. Unsurprisingly its an ultra mobile PC. [10] [11]
These will be even more mobile than the smallest of todays micro laptops
The Specs: 7′ screen, touch screen interface, 800grams approx,
Some models will have: gps, web cam, finger scanner, 40gig hard drives


The antisocial network [12]

Science Myths Explained

20 of the most plausible scientific myths explained [13]
Our favourite – the five second rule is five seconds too long

Media Pimp


Langer Land – What have the Brits done for us? [14]
Find Me Guilty – Vin Deisel Attempts to Act [15]
TV Go Home – Charlie Brookers mad masterpiece [16]
Convert to PDF [17]


View from the Sidewalk. [18]

Technolotics #28 – Back from the Dead

Listen: Episode 28
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Everyone by the campfire

A discussion of the democratizing impact of citizen media, distributed distrobution, folksonomy, podcasting, vidcasting and the future of news, entertainment and human communication

Buzzwords: Web2.0, emergent, folksonomy

Content Creation: Geocities -> Google Pagemaker

Media: NBC, Sky, Fox -> Indymedia, Channel 101, Revision3

Knowledge: Britannica -> Wikipedia

Productivity: WordPerfect -> Office -> Writely, Thinkfree, EyeOS

Blogging: Livejournal -> Blogger -> WordPress

Bookmarking: Bookmarks ->, furl

Homepage: Portals (yahoo etc) -> netvibes, pageflakes

Search: Altavista -> Google -> Technorati, Kosmix, Rollyo

Community: Six Degrees -> Orkut -> Myspace, Bebo, FaceBook

Storage: XDrive -> Ourmedia -> Google locker – infinite free personal storage

News: Slashdot, Google News -> Google Alerts, Newsvine , Digg

Collaboration: Usenet -> Mediawiki -> Wetpaint, WikiWyg

The Future of Science

Kevin Kellys new work in progress – discusses the future of science
Kelly suggests potential near term advances in the scientific method

The New Methodology

Some of the Tools Kelly suggests science may adopt

Compiled Negative Results – the recording and analysis of negative results

As things stand – only studys which find a significant result tend to be published – creating a significant ‘file drawer problem’ – and failing to uncover flaws in exisiting theory / paradigms

Triple Blind Experiments – experiments which occur ubiquitously, without the awareness of participants – raw data collection over masses of variables – allowing flexability of post hoc data analysis / study design

Combinatorial Sweep Exploration – sampling and analysis of randomly constructed massive samples of models of studied objects – e.g.: brute force attacks on the analysis of genomic structure – through modelled or constucted recombinations genotyping

Evolutionary Search – the evolution of a problem solution (e.g.: computer program, useful polypeptide) through iterative evolutionary simulation – ‘Wolfram science’

Deep Simulations – hypercomplex simulations of life systems – from weather patterns, to genomes, to animal brains

Wiki-Science – multiple author continuas work in progress leading edge discussion / papers


Kevin – The Technnium

Podcasting Consultancy Goes Mainstream

Conn Ó Muíneacháin on the Sunday Business Posts article about Irish podcast consultancies
Doop – producing podcasts for the band whipping boy – [1], and Irish Emigrant magazine
Century Homes – have commissioned a series of podcasts for the construction industry
Digicast – plans sponsored casts like a tour of Dublin – have a proprietary download system

This is important – as caching makes it difficult to realistically judge podcast downloads


Edge Case
Digicast Podcasting Consultancy

Googlenews – Googleblogger

Gdrive – googles theoretically unlimited storage solution has been confirmed [2]
More limited hacks – allowing use of gmail or goole pages storage for data back up are already available


Media Pimp


The Power Glove [3]
The IT Crowd First Season [4]
Diggnation on Time [5]
Spore Gameplay Video [6]
House of Cosbys [7]


Google Calendar Screenshots [8]
Wikipedia [9]


Real Life Simpsons [10]

Technolotics #27 – How easy to kill you all


Listen: Episode 27
Watch: Youtube
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How Easy to kill you All


One journalist wondered just how easy it would be to create a biological WMD.
Scientists have always been skeptical that individuals or terrorist groups about the idea that individuals or small groups are capable of creating bioweapons.
In their opinion “A significant bioterror attack today would require the support of a national program to succeed”
Roger Brent, a geneticist who runs a California biotech firm, claimed in an unpublished paper that that genetically engineered bioweapons developed by small teams are a bigger threat than suitcase nukes.
There is a growing number of researchers claiming that advances in DNA-hacking technology have reached the point where an evil lab assistant with the right resources could create a bioweapon.
Anyone’s allowed to buy raw genetic material and lab equipment online and very few checks are carried out.
Experts believe that currently the expertise required to create a fully fledged bioweapon such as smallpox is beyond a lab technician.
However DNA synthesis is following a kind of accelerated Moore’s law—the faster and easier it gets, the faster and easier it gets.
If the current pace of biotech proceeds for another decade, cooking up a lethal bug will be as easy and cheap as building a Web site.
after-the-fact vaccines won’t stop a plague; they take months to develop and deploy.
the only option is a general-purpose virus detector and destroyer, which has yet to be invented.
Such a device would also do an enormous amount of good for routine health care and global disease possibly eliminating large lethal epidemics of infectious disease in our lifetime.

Article on Pual Boutin’s Blog

The Right to Dissent


Publisher of the Mohamad Cartoons explains his reasoning
“cartoons in response to several incidents of self-censorship in Europe caused by widening fears and feelings of intimidation in dealing with issues related to Islam.”
Editor felt was a legitimate news story
Editor cited a half-dozen cases of self-censorship – freedom of speech vs. fear of confronting issues about Islam as the motivation for the cartoons.
Cartoons do not demonize or stereotype – those who have taken the religion of Islam hostage by committing terrorist acts in the name of the prophet have given it a bad name.
Editor noted: cartoons depict Jesus on the cross having dollar notes in his eyes and another with the star of David attached to a bomb fuse have not drawn the embassy burnings or death threats that the Mohammad cartoons have.
religious who demand we observe their taboos in public domain – not asking for our respect, but for our submission.
“I acknowledge that some people have been offended ….. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material.”
aimed to provoke debate – hailed moderate Muslims who contributed to the debate about freedom of expression, freedom of religion and respect beliefs
success and failure – inspiring defences of freedom of speech vs. tragic demonstrations

paper has recieved numerous death threats – some of the cartoonists and staff in hiding


Article on Internetavisen Jyllands-Posten

Unintelligent Design


Did all life evolve from Viruses?
Virus’s have typically been looked down upon their name comes from the Latin word for “poisonous slime”.
Virus’s are seen as evolutionary latecomers as they depend on organisms such as cells etc. to host them.
However the sheer number of new viruses (millions literally!) being discovered are painting a broader and more benign picture.
Scientists estimate that they have discovered and documented less than 1 percent of all the living things on the planet.But for every organism in that unidentified 99 percent, at least 10 times as many unknown viruses are thought to exist—the vast majority of which are harmless to life and yet integral to it.
The discovery of a new virus Mimivirus (because it mimics a bacterium) is so complex that The London Telegraph described it as, ” unlike anything else seen by scientists . . . that . . . it could qualify for a new domain in the tree of life.”
The complexity of Mimivirus indicates an ancient ancestor which may have been around when life was first emerging on Earth.
Virus’s seen traditionally as the bringers of death could see a new role, as one of the foundations of life.

Article on

A Digital Identity System for Comment


Bloggers have to deal with comment spam etc. and it is a constant trade-off between reader convenience and effectiveness.
A company called clipperz is proposing a reputation based online system
This system requires the trust of the public in and the existence of an online identity bond merchant
The only conceivable companies which would have the trust – Microsoft, Ebay, Google

Could this be the more important feature of the proposed Google Wallet

The system clipperz propose is essentially

commenter gets unique trust token from identity merchant
blog confirms id – checks ‘rating’ with ID merchant
confirms or deletes comments – and provides feedback to merchant



Requires trusted identity merchant

Whom do you trust to watch all comments
Especially in the light of companies like google being more than williung to co-operate when governments seek access to email / posting etc

Open to campaigns of identity smear
Open to identity theft
Spam blog nets could support each other – unless id’s were linked to real world ID’s

Hired bloggers could still comment / spam for cash – spam would just be more targeted

Who will pay? Confirmation of real world id & fighting abuse would cost real cash – so ID’s would not be free
Even posting a dissenting opinion – especially in a contentious area – could lead to loss of reputation

Judging the reliability of a blogs feedback – how? Just moves the problem around

Anonymity from government / corporate surveilence
Identity providers have too much power – without central authority – they can dicatate you reputation / punish you for switching providers
Every identity bond merchant would have to co-operate
The market for fake / second hand reputations would be huge

Proposal on

Short Stories

Gervais Show to Charge


The Ricky Gervais Podcast will be jump the gun of the yet to be enabled monetarised iTunes downloads – having signed an exlusive deal with
Shows will be available on iTunes as an audible partner
This will be the first experience most users have with the nefarious world of DRM
The shows will be available for the price of $7 per month (or as part of an subscription) – monsterously high when compared to Satellite packages
Audible files apparently no longer work once you’ve cancelled your account
If your computer dies – you may no longer be able to listen to the files you’ve purchased
Audible files cannot be used on mp3 players other than the ipod
Audible files can only be burnt to a CD once

The Rick Gervais Show on
O’ on audible’s DRM hell
Computing Pioneer Dave Winer’s experince with audible
Dave Winers Podcast on his experience with audible
Goldwave Software – can supposedly circumvent the odious restrictions on audible files
Audible Subscription Plans

Out of Control


Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World
Kevin (former executive editor of Wired magazine) Kelly’s 11 year old masterpiece is free to read online
The book covers the emergent biological properties of complex systems – to ultimately argue ‘that biological and machine life are converging’
The book covers topics as varied as transhuman evolution, complexity, anthropology, epistemology, ontology, and ethics

Out of Control on Kebin

Additional Stories We’re Not Covering


Dropped Technolotics Stories

Media Pimp



Expose for Windows – a number of tools which replicate the functionality of the fantastic exposé tool on mac [1]
Stardock Object Dock – Make your desktop a mactop [2]



New Trailer for shitcool Richard Linklater directed, Philip K.Dick Adapted flick – A Scanner Darkly [3]
Fuzzmail – Blurs the Bountrys between chat and mail [4]