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Atomized junior- The Radio Weblog

Saturday, 22 February, 2003
What would Bond, James Bond, do?

This is an interesting story - on the surface at least. I don't know what to make of this. I was in the Navy at one point. On the strength of that experience I will make the statement that I do not find the stories premise to be wholly unbelievable, or unlikely, or improbable. There are a lot of ships out there, and the worlds oceans are quite big and mostly empty. The article indicates that these ships have been spending most of their time in very deep water, and they talk about the possiblity the ships might scuttle themselves. If they did so in the mid Indian ocean those ships would go down where no one would ever get a usefull answer out of them. It's not as dumb a move as some would make it out to be. Special operations units or surveillience could determine whether or not these ships are indeed carrying WMD, but such information would still come to the public via military intelligence channels and be met with as much skepticism as any other information. An operation that could take control of all three ships simultaniously (keeping in mind that this is likely, if true, to be a jumbo-sized game of three-card monty) would be exceptionally difficult. What I can't figure out is whether this is a deliberate or accidental leak, or some kind of red herring.
._._. pb _._
Mystery ships. Three giant cargo ships are being tracked by US and British intelligence on suspicion that they might be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The ships have been sailing around the world's oceans for the past three months while maintaining radio silence in clear violation of international maritime law. [MetaFilter
9:43:58 PM    comment [];trackback [];
200 thousands a crowd, 65 thousand is just company

Best to let sleeping dogs lie, I say, and not to count your chickens before they're hatched. Here is a story the San Francisco Chronicle did that some one should have seen coming down main street. I could go on and on but that would be wrong. DC, which gets its share of big protests has gone back and forth on this for years. No-one seriously doubts that overhead grid-based denisty counts yield far more accurate crowd estimates. and the methodology is not new. The contesting nature of big demonstrations; however, means that no count is going to make everybody happy. This is why so many municipalities often hand the job over to just one person and have them wing a un alloyed [gue]estimate. I'm still convinced that a quarter of a million people rocked against Reagan with the Dead Kennedys in (83?) 1984 and you'll never convince me otherwise. The revolution started that day under the beady red eyes of the Great Klansman - that was Jello's half serious take on the Washington monument and its aircraft warning lights. Never paint yourself into a rhetorical corner by measuring your agenda's success against a particular crowd size unless nobody or everybody shows up.
9:13:05 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Monday, 17 February, 2003
Wonderland part two

This entry is where we go 'a photo-blogging. I put on my boots and took a little tour of my neighborhood. Just long enough to confirm what I already knew: there is a lot of snow out there. ."A There is not a Starbucks on the one corner, nor a book store on the other. A picture named southhampton I will have to make my own entertainment. A picture named creek But for you I have these pictures. A picture named street The old place does look quite nice, and all my neighbors are out chating as they dig out their cars. A picture named car The children are dashing around kicking up big billows of snow. I even snow a snow devil ( a whirlwind of snow) in the field across the way a while ago. Didn't move fast enough to get a pictue of it though.
1:52:12 PM    comment [];trackback [];
It's a wonderland

This was at five o'clock Sunday looking out across New Hampshire ave A picture named Adlephi, MD. Its been snowing since I got up this morning - since before I got up. Little snowflakes just keep coming, laying it on. I don't know seems like its snowed a lot this year. Probably just my imagination. I lost my taste for the winter wonderland the year I spent the winter in Great Lakes Illinois. You know they got a Navy recruit training center in that town. I remember the precise moment I renounced winter as an everlasting wonderland of joy. A picture named Five thirty am on a guard mail run, pushing my way through level snow three and a half feet deep, drifts topping out between four and six. I'm going to live, I told myself from somewhere inside the piled comfectious ice, somewhere where snow is what people say when the answer isn't syes. Here is a picture from 8:30 the next morning. It's been snowing now for about 30 hours
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Sunday, 16 February, 2003
Google swallows Pyra whole

Coming as it does on the heels of some talk from AOL that they were going to introduce a blogging tool to their unwashed masses, this is the surest sign yet that weblogs will be more than just a foot note in the history of the web. It doesn't strike me as a fad either - it's a little too long in bone already to just be a fad. Even if currently new users are joining in the phenomenon in the key of natural e. I am an example of that myself. This weblog is brand spanking new. I hoisted this auto-piloted wonder out the Userland well as I have written previously after watching some MeFi neocons try to stomp out the Trent Lott brush fire before it burnt down their forest. Regarding the story itself and everybody's "what it all means" a good way to follow the story is with the main blogdex entry for this. Or I suppose you could Google the story.

Offhand I'd say that this is a good thing, whether it really is or not I'll leave up to the industry watchers or what digerati are left. Weblog tools are going to become more powerful, complicated, and accomplished and they are going mainstream. Too often original developers of a product or product type are left by the side of the road, when the big rush comes by. Their vision of the thing or even their ability to keep their vision as part of the thing, gets lost. Evan Williams; hopefully, has some capital now and a seat at the Google table and is in a position to nurse the blogger revolution along.

Still it is tempting to take the view that I saw last weekend during the weblogs'n'powerlogs debate that played out on a number of sites. One view point in particular that rankled me turned up in the commentary phase on the DiveintoMark sites part in the debate. He doesn't like news aggragators bundled with weblog tools [t]he combination news-aggregator-plus-blogging-tool is probably the worst possible invention for the long-term health of the blogging community.. Which is really to say he doesn't like all the people that Dave Wiener has brought in with Radio Userland (what this is), and he doesn't like the power it gives them to jump into debates. Though he frames it as being against lazy reposting. The new bands are ruining the scene. What with their fuzzboxes, e-bows, flangers, and their punk beats. Its not real rock and roll man! Most telling is his prescription: he doesn't tell people to get better, he tells them to get out. And he calls them newbies. Its worth remembering that this is occurring in the middle of a discussion as to wether some natural law will organize all weblog commentary (and reciprocal linking) around what is being said by 20 percent of active sites (commentors). Now, I figure I'm about the same age as this web author, and over the course of the years I've been introduced to, learned, and developed experience at many different things and. Not once have I ever felt the impulse to call someone else whose skill set I perceive as differing from mine a 'newbie' It's an obnoxious putdown revealing far more about the person using it than who it's directed too. I have a difficult time respecting people who resort to such a prejudicing locution. The whole thing smacks of what growing up in Massachesetts we used to call the "last over the bridge syndrome" This is where people who had just discovered or bought property on the Cape, would decide that whatever just hauled their ass over the canal was the last legitimate thing on wheels. The Sagamore and Bourne bridges should now just be hacksawed free of their foundations fall into the current and leave the Cape the island it was meant to be.

I don't need anyone to call me a newbie or to tell me to get a new hobby. Whatever Pyra-Google or Winer-Harvard has coming; bring it on.
6:15:51 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, 13 February, 2003

The only story here is that Greenspan is being fairly consistant; whereas this administration is not. Well they are in their own way: tax cuts and regressive tax schemes for all and all potential situations. How Greenspan viewed the current tax cut proposal - also seems to have come as no real surprise to anyone. The W. Post had an editorial in Mondays paper outlining this. Interesting quote the SF Chronicle pulls out from G. Bush Sr. "If the interest rates had been lowered more dramatically, . . . I would have been re-elected," he told interviewer David Frost in 1998. "I reappointed him, and he disappointed me." Now thats an independant Federal Reserve
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Fed's Greenspan stirs up hornet's nest. San Francisco Chronicle - When Democrats and liberal economists took potshots at President Bush's tax-cut proposal, everybody yawned.
Greenspan and Bush in public clash Sydney Morning Herald
Bush ramps up sales pitch for tax-reduction proposal Atlanta Journal Constitution
St. Petersburg Times - Washington Post - Gulf Daily News - Dayton Daily News - and 600 related » [Google News]
9:40:31 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Monday, 10 February, 2003

Plenty of news over the weekend. This to me seemed as significant as any, maybe more. Chess (playing chess well) as come to symbolis man's genius, even come to signify mans difference - exceptionalism over nature and techne. I wouldn't go that far and I wouldn't all our eggs in one basket. Kasparov played deep jr. to a draw, frankly I thought it was going to wax him. And I didn't want to have to turn the keys to the planet over to some chess playing linux cluster. Plenty of time for that later.
Lot of links to pick and chose for this. I'll link you to Ars Technica and K5
9:50:23 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Friday, 7 February, 2003
the blogging is large

Related to the last. While I was going throught the list, which stretched to about 1400 sites this morning. I was randomly bringing up sites looking for things I could put into my favorites list when I came onto a site which had been the subject of a Metafilter thread which I had glanced at earlier but had passed on. Didn't even realize until I started to read it. Hey, its a snow day here at University of Mary_land. I got free time and no books to copy-catalog with bad MARC records through the Aleph 500. I'm firing up the news aggragator and going surfing. I leave the metafilter thread for you.
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Poetic Japanese Mistranslation. The Powell is sent in order to carry the water: I find Japanese "Engrish" websites unfunny and stupidly patronizing but this blog is potential poetry - Surrealist poetry. Whether it was machine-translated or drafted using Breton's, Ionesco's or Burroughs' techniques, it's splendidly memorable: Rather than "I am sad" we need "mush truth". All it needs is some artful, e.e.cummings-like arranging on the page to be transformed into art. [Via Linkfilter]. [MetaFilter]
3:41:26 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Eh, Looks like Dave Wiener has set the Washington Post up the bomb. Its a grudge match now. You can't accuse Dave and the Userland folks of trying to restrict the blogging experiance to just their product. seems to contain everything with an ability to send a ping uphill. I was going through the list earlier today - there is a lot of highly varied stuff there. Dave follows up in a subsequent post as well.

An example of a factual error in the Post piece. Weblogs.Com is not a reflection of updates of Radio users, it's open. You'll find lots of Moveable Type, Blogger, Manila, and various brands of weblog tools in the mix, including Radio. The Post said it was just for Radio users. I wonder if they had a source, or if they just made it up. These big self-confident (some might say arrogant) newspapers make mistakes in every article. Usually we just gloss it over. But it's over the line in articles that proclaim how superior they are at drilling down to the truth. Enough of that. Let's see how quickly they correct the mistake I just called them on. [Scripting News]
3:13:32 PM    comment [];trackback [];

He who laughs last

After reading my previous post over I've decided in favor of letting former Pythonette Terry Jones have the final say.
12:35:59 AM    comment [];trackback [];
Some thoughts about the Intelligence community

Watching President Bush's speech last week, I thought of the thread Kuro5hin had up the previous week: Why the UKUSA won't tell anybody where the nukes are. It was an op-ed category piece, but attracted a fair amount of comment. You can read the piece yourself so I won't go into a lengthy recap, just enough to characterize the discussion. The author doubts that the Americans or British will ever reveal or release smoking gun data concerning what - if anything they know about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Not, at least, data gained from intelligence channels. For why this will be he (or she) gives a standard and somewhat simplistic set of reasons mostly of the revealed intelligence is compromised intelligence variety. Added to this is a nod to the nuanced perfection of the bureaucratic no comment. The most curious element in the initial article is the conclusion the author draws from this: having mastered the art of demurring comment our intelligence gathers will no longer lie to us. The author does stop short of saying that our leaders having learned this trick will also stop lying to us. That was apparently a step to far for our otherwise credulous reporter. Every so often I will hear some say that we are too cynical, a people. cynicism is the strawman in this argument. Skepticism is the real fear. When I hear of premise like the one this author advances I cannot see the American people as ever becoming more skeptical than they need to be.

Even the major premise is a little off balance in its conception. This being that intelligence assets are innately more valuable as secrets than as proofs. Attempts were made in the main article and in the thread commentary to draw analogies to how the ultra and enigma secrets of the second world war were kept secret. That was a war situation - an active and declared war. What exists today is not that, even as it is being slowly posed as that. Our Government is asking to exercise war powers in the name of the American people -without congress declaring war, the formal constitutional mechanism, based on information it will not share with us - the people. They would have us believe that the right lies with the war they intend to fight, with the killing that will occur, the violation of national sovereignty which is their explicit stated purpose, these actions validated by information drawn from a secret domain they are the sole care-taking priests of.

This is not a satisfactory response in a democracy. They present an indeterminate assessment of material facts and a indistinct interpretation of their right to action given these facts. Released information, even information emanating from military intelligence channels does not necessarily compromise or even involve sensitive intelligence gathering operation. An intelligence program gathers an integrates information from a wide range of sources. If a primary source is advanced satellite imaging perhaps involving equipment that analyzes the nature and quality of reflected light from the ground across a wide and narrowly divided spectrum information on texture, temperature, and humidity. If you do not wish to reveal the exact capabilities of your imaging, you use what it lets you know and fall back on less advanced imaging to make your case and tell your story. If your assets is human intelligence (a spy), you look to confirm it by less sensitive means. Even releasing information does not necessarily mean throwing open the doors and allowing the world public to wander through the halls and offices of the intelligence agencies. In the realm of representational democracies, governments can talk to other governments, executives can talk to elected legislators at large, or on pertinent committees who will judge what they are shown. Subsets of classified information passing from highly sensitive to moderately sensitive could be created for these purposes.

A nations intelligence apparatus has to be able to preform these task. Gathering intelligence, is very much a game of investment, of money spent. You spend the money you must, to buy the product you need. The money being spent is on the order of billions and billions of dollars. Careless use of some information can negate the value of significant portions of this investment, but few facts insist on only one source and careful release can obscure even that. The investment ought to include the capacity to make a case for action, particularly when our government is insisting on proactive action. Otherwise it has no meaning and is a wasted investment.

It is sometimes said that the information cannot be shared even among the branches of government for fear it will be leaked for political purpose. Even a cursory glance at history or the daily news will show that release of intelligence or operational information is the special provence of those that control it, especially the political interests controlling the executive. They leak classified (or reclassified) information in a constant and daily stream to support their purpose. consider these two articles carried by the BBC and the Guardian One could imagine in some contexts these articles might be regarded by military commanders as being a massive and disastrous leak of operational information. Apparently not; however.

Secretary Powell's observation that the UNMOVIC team are inspectors not detectives is valid as far as it goes. The burden of proof regarding compliance with resolution 1441 is on Iraq. There also is a difference between this and the call of other top administration official that the Iraqi's prove that they do not possess they have any weapons of mass destruction, otherwise they deem it necessary to overthrow the Iraqi government and replace it with one of their own choosing by military force. I admit that what Popper I have read has left me indistinct on the exact nature of the scientific method, but I believe that it is still likely that being placed in a position of having to prove a negative unlikely to result is any advancement of knowledge. I do not think that it is intended to.

Killing ways today can take out human lives in very large chunks in a single sweep. This is what lies behind the phrase weapons of mass destruction. The moral force of the Bush administration's argument lies in showing that Saddam Hussian holds such weapons in a way differently than other nations hold similar weapons. Some regions of the world have more attention focused on them than others. Nations and rulers bear closer scrutiny. Overwound murderous meglomaniacs will no doubt find this unfair. I don't; Iraq is a vile perfect caricature of civil government. My concern lies with the difference between pinning such a regime down, acting against it, and removing it by force. Behind these words lies a reality of death and destruction.

The Washington Post ran an article in the editorial section Sunday on the difference between intelligence and evidence. The author's argument is that the two are not the same and were not previously regarded the same, but now have come to be by the intelligence communities role in monitoring cold war SALT treaties. A convolution of purpose has occurred which has lead the public and policy makers to look to intelligence to provide the tripwire to action. Intelligence work lives largely a head of the critical moment whereas evidence collection lives in the main behind it. The dilemma is that when the action you intend to take will likely entail taking human life, intelligence collection needs to take on the rigor of evidence and be laid out as justification. A police officer can lay out money on the street and find out who is dealing, who is stealing, and who is fencing, but this alone is not enough to move to arrest and would not gain a conviction. A tip of of a crime of sufficient weight might bring intervention - and may bring suit for libel. The grand jury of assembled nations watches and judges message and motivation. The accusation is made, the case laid out. Permission to act explicit or implicit is requested. Ignoring this can only bring on an additional cycles of this play in this or other institutional settings. The intelligence community may rail against the expectations placed on it and seek to define its own role, they may say that validating policy choices is not their role, the converse is also true they cannot let policy makers hide their choices behind non-disclosible intelligence.
12:26:12 AM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, 4 February, 2003

Yesterday I heard on NPR that Wyndam Hill is releasing a new George Winston Album, and now this. It must be some kind of covergence. So the Catholic Church is worrried what people do when the go off with their crystals and yoga classes, and apparently they just noticed this. I saw a cartoon in Punch Probably 25 years ago, two Anglican priests outside a cathedral watching to young people walk by one says to ther other "sure, after they've tried Hindi, Buddism, Hare Krishna, Marxism and all they'll be back." I guess some one was sitting around the Vatican library catching up on old British periodicals and saw that. Thats the only explaination I can come up with.
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Vatican Weighs In on New Age Movement [AP World News]
8:56:53 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Monday, 3 February, 2003

Both the New York times here and the Washington Post ran prominent articles Sunday on broadband internet connections. The messeage is certainly clear: get with the program people and switch now. Unless I missed it nowhere in these articles did they directly address the issue of whether broadband as its is being offered will or won't be covered by common carrier telecommunication regulations. That issue will have as much if not far greater impact on what the internet is or will become, than whether the message buzzes about at 56 or 300k. Technological change is never a single faceted thing. I do not understand why the press is covering it that way.
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As Broadband Gains, the Internet's Snails Fall Back. Consumers have been dropping their slow dial-up services and switching to faster service, called broadband. Companies like AOL appear to be losing. By Saul Hansell. [New York Times: Technology]
10:10:45 AM    comment [];trackback [];

I used to pay far more attention to northen Ireland's affairs while growing up outside of Boston. It seemed very real then and I knew people who took it quite seriously. This is bad comic opera. Whatever sectarianism these people cling too as cover, they are basically gangsters. If you divide the violent from the general population, and make movements to seek civil - political - solutions to a regions problems. The violent minded will simply start shooting each other.
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Loyalists on brink of war as UDA chief is shot dead. UK: Ulster Defence Association chiefs vow vengeance against jailed Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair. [Guardian Unlimited]
9:52:29 AM    comment [];trackback [];

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Last update: 2/16/04; 21:49:56.