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Snippets #38, Saturday, 23.Nov.2002     (ISSN 1530-9622)


_______________S N I P P e T S

_________________________from James S. Huggins' Refrigerator Door

___________________________________#38, Saturday, 23.Nov.2002

_____________________________________________ISSN 1530-9622




_____0. Thoughts

_____1. Quotations

_____2. Ephemerae

_____3. New/Changed on My Site

_____4. Awards



__________0. THOUGHTS

Although you receive this on Saturday, I'm writing it on Friday. As I write, I'm on a brief holiday, down south of Houston, near NASA, visiting my mother. Spot, my all black cat, accompanies me on these trips. Once scared of cars, she has become quite the traveler, frequently standing up in the seat and looking out at neighboring cars, frequently to the delight of the passengers of those cars.

Holidays like this let me sleep a bit later than normal, have a wonderful breakfast including made-from-scratch biscuits, take the occasional nap during the day, and pursue my eclectic interests of reading, both on and off the net.

Included in the collection for today is an article about Alan Ralsky, one of the net's biggest spammers. It was an interesting article, and it encouraged me to share my information about Cloudmark and SpamNet again. SpamNet is a free cooperative service to filter spam. It isn't perfect, but I like it.

Also, today, I received an email about broken links on my site. The page is my page about coughing as a way to stop a heart attack. The email was right, several of the links had changed. So I went out to the net to see if I could find the new URLs. I found one; the other is "gone". So I went looking for more and, sure enough, even though this "myth" is more than three years old, I found an article through Google News that was just posted yesterday that had the same myth. I've updated my page to correct the links and add the new article.

The Office of Information Awareness and the Total Information Awareness project continue to generate news and comments. I've included an editorial that draws similarities between this project and the information collected by the east German Stasi.

And, the private sector continues to push to have information be something you must pay for. In the latest case, private pressure from commercial sites has caused a free government website to shut down. The energy Department has shut down PubSCIeNCe, a Web site that offered free searches and abstracts of energy and science articles and reports. I've included a link to The Washington Post article that reports that the popular site was shut down after private sector groups said PubScience competed with similar commercial services, including Scirus and Infotrieve.

But despite that, there are still internet projects that "aim to change the world". One of these, the International Children's Digital Library, intends to offer 100 titles from 100 cultures (10,000 total) by 2007. I've included links to an article about the library, as well as the library itself. Among the interesting innovations are the techniques being provided to find the books.

"One of our most interesting findings was how kids wanted to look for books based on how they made them feel," Druin recalled. "They said, 'I want to find all the happy books.' Or 'I want to find books that are scary.' No library in the world has shelf labels that say 'happy books,' so the kids are rating the books on how they make them feel."
[end quote]

Still, most commercial organizations don't really like the free flow of information. WalMart, Target, BestBuy and Staples are all claiming that their sale prices are copyrighted and have used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to force websites providing that information to take it down. To those of us that track these types of skirmishes, this is not new. But many in the public are unaware. Companies want to use copyright to protect all types of information. It has been proposed, for example, that sports scores be protected by copyright. Then you would need a license from the NFL to write about the score of the Super Bowl. The Register, an irreverent publication from the UK, provided some of the initial information about this latest attack. The story has also been carried on radio. (I heard it on the news yesterday.)

On the national front, we passed the Homeland Security Act. Aside from the fact that I hate the name "Homeland", I have major problems with our approach to all of this, particularly as it relates to privacy. I've included a couple of articles to explain some of the issues.

each day, I enjoy finding an unusual site. Today is no different. The Cold War era Civil Defense Museum is a delightful site, dedicated to the Civil Defense personnel of the United States who worked throughout the Cold War to try to protect the public from nuclear attack. Relive some of those memories and check this one out.

Who knows whether there will be another issue of Snippets before Thanksgiving. So, just to be safe, let me wish everyone a very joyful and safe holiday.



__________1. QUOTATIONS

We won't have a society if we destroy the environment.
          — Margaret Mead

Man shapes himself through decisions that shape his environment.
          — Rene Dubos

The first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else.
          — Barry Commoner (1917-), US biologist, environmentalist

The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.
          — Native American Proverb

The unique personality which is the real life in me, I can not gain unless I search for the real life, the spiritual quality, in others. I am myself spiritually dead unless I reach out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other, that the god hidden in me, will consent to appear.
          — Felix Adler (1851-1933), American educator

every so often, I like to go to the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture.
          — Steven Wright

::::: You can see these and more in my Quotations section:
::::: http://www.JamesSHuggins.com/h/quo1/quotations.htm



__________2. EPHeMeRAe

every day interesting “stuff” crosses my desk. Some isn’t important enough to put on my site in any permanent way. But it is interesting enough to put there somehow, quickly, at least for a while.

These are ephemerae: collections of temporary, transitory tidbits. 

Macon Area Online.com (21.Nov.2002),
"Letter-ever Feel Like Your having A Heart Attack?":
An email from Darlene Jantzen to this news site continues the cough story.
»» http://www.maconareaonline.com/news.asp?id=1179

Detroit Free Press (22.Nov.2002),
"Spam king lives large off others' e-mail troubles":
An article about Alan Ralsky, one of the world's major spammers, including his new 8,000 square foot luxury home.
»» http://www.freep.com/money/tech/mwend22_20021122.htm

Creators of SpamNet (originally called Vipul's Razor). SpamNet (first described in emphemerae back in September, is a cooperative effort to filter spam. It is only available if you use Windows 2000 or Windows XP and only if you using Outlook (not Outlook express). But if you fit those parameters, you should check it out. It is filtering more than 50% of my spam and has very few "false positives". The kinks aren't all worked out yet, but so far, I like it.
»» http://www.cloudmark.com/

InfoWorld (22.Nov.2002),
"ethics Matters: Pentagon Data Mining: Just Say No":
Another editorial about the Office of Information Awareness run by John Poindexter and the Total Information Awareness project. This one draws on history and notes the massive collection of data amassed by the east German Stasi (secret police).
»» http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/02/11/22/021122opethics.xml

Washington Post TechNews.com (21.Nov.2002),
"Free Web Research Link Closed Under Pressure From Pay Sites":
The private sector continues to make information less "free" and to extend control over information distribution. In this case, the energy Department has shut down a free web research site under pressure.
»» http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17568-2002Nov20.html

Washington Post (21.Nov.2002),
"A Library for Young Browsers":
How the International Children's Digital Library, a free public library, aims to change the world.
»» http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17546-2002Nov20.html

International Children's Digital Library
»» http://www.icdlbooks.org/

The Register (21.Nov.2002),
"Prices are trade secrets - stores unite to make DMCA look stupid":
Another bad use of the DMCA to restrict the free flow of information.
»» http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/28223.html

The website being threatened through the law.
»» http://www.fatwallet.com/

Christian Science Monitor (21.Nov.2002),
"Security Act to Pervade Daily Lives":
The Homeland Security Act will have many consequences. Some are intended. Some, perhaps many, will be unintended.
»» http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1121/p01s03-usju.html

AlterNet.org (19.Nov.2002),
"The Homeland Security Monstrosity":
This article, by Ron Paul, provides some of the objections to the act.
»» http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=14582

Cold War era Civil Defense Museum:
A very unusual and interesting site dedicated to the Civil Defense personnel of the United States who worked throughout the Cold War to try to protect the public from nuclear attack. I grew up in this era, and, in Boy Scouts, even received some "training". This is a great site.
»» http://www.civildefensemuseum.com/index.html

::::: I have the same information and links to prior items at
::::: http://www.JamesSHuggins.com/h/eph1/ephemerae.htm



__________3. NEW/CHANGED ON MY SITe


How to Stop a Heart Attack By Yourself:
Can coughing save your life? Or is this just another dangerous urban legend? Find out how an email is forwarding very misleading medical information.
»» http://www.JamesSHuggins.com/h/oth1/heart_attack_cough.htm

::::: I have the same information and links to prior items at
::::: http://www.JamesSHuggins.com/ephemerae



__________4. AWARDS

Nothing this time.

::::: You can see all my awards at
::::: http://www.JamesSHuggins.com/h/awd1/awards.htm

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