Archive for December, 2007

High-Strung Hysterics and Flippant Fearmongering

I’ve mentioned before in passing the Proteus Management Group, a fairly shadowy and little-reported “strategic” think-tank “sponsored”, and thus, presumably, funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Like most groups who rely on the current American government for their funding and, indeed, continued, existence, they tend to be pretty unapologetically hawkish in their outlook, and rarely hesitate to forecast doom and gloom, while, perhaps not coincidentally, rarely if ever offering, you know, solutions
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Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Security | on December 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

British FOI Requests Down

A Guardian article from earlier this month notes that twenty percent of recent requests under the British FOI laws were rejected; more interesting is the fact that the relatively tiny number of requests is in decline, compared to previous years.

Not to sound completely cynical, but I think there’s a very real, and very good, reason for this – early on, every researcher who’d long said “if only there were a way to get my hands on X” took advantage of the new law, as did a lot of crackpots, loonies, conspiracy theorists, amateur xenozoologists… At one point, early on, nearly a quarter of requests to the MOD involved aliens or UFOs – and heck, even British urban explorers were getting in the game, requesting maps and video of Corsham Tunnels at an alarming rate. Now, the excitement has died down, and things are assuming a less frenzied pace. That’s my theory, anyway…

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on December 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

Plea Bargain For Local Terrorist

Local naughty white boy Ian McCombs pled guilty today to damaging two Qwest utility boxes here in Saint Paul and knocking out telephone service to over a quarter-million people. As part of a plea agreement, McCombs – who has numerous previous convictions for burglary, among other things – skates on the relatively insignificant “possession of burglary tools” charge. Hey, compared to screwing with critical infrastructure, having a screwdriver really isn’t a big deal…

No word on what, if any, consequences he gets for violating his parole, but sentencing is due February 20th, and he apparently faces two to three years for these offenses. His buddies’ court appearances are still forthcoming; it’ll be interesting to see what if any additional changes they face in connection with other stuff they’re rumored to have done.

Published in: General | on December 27th, 2007 | No Comments »

The Code Book

Happy Boxing Day; hopefully, your holidays were better than mine. If you haven’t yet read Simon Singh’s The Code Book, well, you should. If you have, be sure to check out the free CD-ROM supplement available on Singh’s website.

Whether you’ve read the book or not, you may well enjoy the five-part series based on the same, which was broadcast on the BBC way back in September 1999. I’ve uploaded them to the web for your enjoyment; each is about 9.5MB, and just shy of fifteen minutes’ length. Why, it’s almost like a five-part crypto podcast. :)
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on December 26th, 2007 | No Comments »

An Introduction to Imagery Analysis

More fun and entertaining U.S. Army training materials, this time an “Introduction to Imagery Analysis”. Like most of these other textbooks, it’s a decade or two out of date (RF-111? RF-4? Huh?) but still interesting – if only to see how things were done back before computers controlled the world.

Some of the sample imagery is fairly interesting, at least from a technical perspective:
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History, Security | on December 21st, 2007 | No Comments »