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Roughly two days for Switzerland to have been safe from naked singularities (both point and ring), should Einstein be right. (From somewhen Nov. 3 2009 when the avian deployed a baguette to de-energize the cooling for sectors 7-8 and 8-1, to somewhen in the evening Nov. 5 2009.)

At least now we know how long the Large Hadron Collider will take to recover from a blackout.

From ComputerWorld:

As the conference was kicking off a few days ago, attendees noticed that at ATM placed in the Riviera Hotel, which plays host to the annual event, didn't quite look right, according to a senior conference organizer who identified himself only as Priest. "They looked at the screen where there would normally be a camera," he said. "It was a little bit too dark, so someone shined a flashlight in there and there was a PC."

The ATM looked like a working system, but when people would put their cards in the machine, it would scan their card information and record the PIN numbers they entered. He didn't know how long the ATM had been at the Riviera.

Conference organizers notified local law enforcement who hauled away the machine on "Thursday or Friday," said Priest, who said he works as a "civil servant" in his day job.


The criminals probably didn't realize that they were installing their ATM in a hotel that was soon going to be flooded with more than 8,000 security professionals, he added.
I.e., didn't do their homework. This sort of thing is public information.
They were smart enough to place the machine in one of the few spots in the hotel where there was no security camera to catch them, Priest said. "It was literally right next to the hotel security entrance."
But did do a detailed analysis of the terrain.

[Aside: have finally completed Julius Caesar's military history works in translation (The Conquest of Gaul and The Civil War, complete with not-so-awesome ghostwritten sections), and have started on Sallustius Crispus's Sallust's two complete monographs.

Julius Caesar includes so much commentary on favorable versus unfavorable terrain [including a few places where such almost caused terminal defeat for Caesar] that he emphasizes it more that just about every other writer I've read — including Sun Tzu's Art of War.

Yes, next reading in that era of Roman history will have to be from the political opposition. Cicero keeps coming up in the modern commentary.]

University of Bonn makes progress on transforming atoms into the Flash:

In less politically correct times, physics professors explained the random walk as follows. Suppose a drunk stands under a lamppost, staggering to the right or left with equal probability. After some number of steps, N, he is likely to have taken a few more steps to the left than to the right, or vice versa. In fact, after N steps, on average the drunk will have moved a distance proportional to the square root of N from the post. That may seem like a pointless thing to know, but such a random walk neatly describes the motion of a molecule in a sample of liquid or electrons rattling around in a metal.


Taking advantage of all this, the researchers have made a single cesium atom take a "quantum walk" along a chain of spots of laser light formed by two opposing laser beams. Starting with the atom in one spot, they tickle it with radio waves to make it spin in opposite directions—up and down—at once. They then fiddle with the polarizations of the laser beams in a way that pulls the "up" part of the quantum state to the right and the "down" part to the left. That puts the atom in a hard-to-imagine state in which it sits in one spot spinning up while at the same time it sits in the next spot spinning down.

The researchers then repeat the process again and again so that the atom ends up in a quantum state in which it occupies many light spots at once. When the researchers measure the atom's position, the state collapses to just one spot. But by performing the experiment many times, they can sketch out that state. And they find that, after N steps in the process, an average atom has moved a distance proportional to N from its original spot--farther than it would get classically.
What would be really interesting is how much of this speed linearization happens in "unobservable intermediate circumstances" without lasers. This looks like an interesting way to throw off weather forecasts.

(This depends on the exact modeling of measurement in the first place. The mathematics is fairly clear that in chain-relay situations that the collapse happens when the measuring device interacts with the system, not when the researcher reads the measuring device. What happens when there is no measuring device in the way?)

Failure exposes the first five digits of the Social Security number. From NetworkWorld:

The study comes from Carnegie Mellon University's Alessandro Acquisti, an assistant professor of information technology and public policy, and Ralph Gross, a postdoctoral researcher.


The algorithm, which the authors did not detail, successfully ascertained the first five digits for 44 percent of the records in the Death Master File for people born between 1989 to 2003. The complete SSN could be picked out for 8.5 percent of those people in under 1,000 attempts. [zaimoni: Worse than random chance or adequate pseudorandom number generator (~9.5% by rote calculation).]


In 1989, the agency stated a program called Enumeration at Birth, assigning SSNs to newborns as part of the birth certification process. The changes, however, increased the correlation between a person's birth date and all nine digits of a SSN, especially for people in less populated states, making SSNs easier to discover, the researchers wrote.
Unfortunately, the identity-verification services used in issuing credit cards, etc. aren't that finicky about repeat attempts.

(Note: tracking this as background study for my science fantasy.)

There are no good solutions by the point that the military gets involved in deciding which branch of government is legal. (This could happen in the U.S. The conditions for invoking martial law as denotated in the Insurrection Act of 1807, border on a logic paradox when the threat to the welfare of all citizens of a state, is a branch of the Federal government itself.)

What is next to impossible to get from normal-media, is that former President Zelaya was bucking both the Honduras Congress and the Honduras Supreme Court. The problem is the latest Honduras Constitution, dating from 1982. In particular:

ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Vicepresidente de la República.

El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos y quedarán inhabilitados por diez (10) años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.
* Modificado por Decreto 299/1998.
* Modificado por Decreto 374/2002 y ratificado por Decreto 153/2003.
Regardless of the legality of holding the poll (which I have no opinion on pending locating the text of the Honduras Supreme Court ruling declaring it unConstitutional), it is clear that under the current Honduras Constitution Zelaya not only immediately forfeited the Presidency by proceeding with organizing the vote -- he is barred from public office for ten years.

Assuming rule of law. Both the Organization of American States [OAS] generally, and the Obama administration in particular, are set on abrogating rule of law in Honduras, even without considering whether the current regime is legitimate.
The Congress and Supreme Court entered an emergency session on June 27 to determine their response to Zelaya’s illegal acts, as well as his clear intent to go through with the vote. They determined that, for the protection of both democracy and the Constitution, it was necessary to arrest Zelaya. Acting on orders from the Supreme Court and in conjunction with the Attorney General, Zelaya was arrested by a military contingent, and then allegedly given the choice to stay in Honduras and be prosecuted, or accept exile to Costa Rica. It is reported that he chose exile, though Zelaya denies these claims. Zelaya was voted out of office the same day, and the next in line of succession (via the Constitution), Roberto Michelleti, was sworn in as interim President.
While the above citation represents the Roman Catholic Church, the summary is completely consistent with what reporting is indexed by Google News in the U.S.

(After accounting for reporting bias of all sources, and undeleting facts actively deleted by either of the secular pro-Zelaya or secular pro-Michelleti news reporting. All of U.S.-centric normal-media, EU-centric normal-media, and Venezuelan parastatal media are oozing pro-Zelaya bias currently. It is not possible to get a decent secular view without reading both far-left and far-right extremist media.)

Or we could consider the abstraction relayed by the Huffington Post:
The military removed Zelaya under orders from the Supreme Court and with the support of Congress, which is controlled by Zelaya's Liberal Party — though nearly all members had turned against him. Lawmakers unanimously installed as president congressional leader Roberto Micheletti, who says he will serve out Zelaya's term and oversee November elections to choose a successor.

At issue was a referendum Zelaya planned to hold the day of the coup, asking voters if they would support a subsequent vote to modify the constitution. Critics feared he would use it to do away with term limits and run again — something Chavez and other Latin American leftist leaders have succeeded in doing. Supporters of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a conservative U.S. ally, also have proposed extending term limits to allow him to run again.

Meanwhile, Chavez and his allies have taken to ruling by plebiscite, or referendum, sidestepping congress and the courts that are designed to check executive powers and taking issues directly to voters. After Chavez lost one referendum to eliminate term limits, he held a second one little more than a year later and won. The Venezuelan Congress and courts are filled with Chavez's supporters.

Zelaya denied that he was following that model. But he modified the ballot language at the last minute from a vote on whether to hold a separate referendum on revamping the constitution to one asking if the public wanted to convoke "a national constitutional assembly."

The Honduran constitution has no provision for an assembly like the one suggested in the final version of Zelaya's referendum question. Congress can modify nearly all the Honduran constitution. But certain clauses — including those limiting presidents to one, four-year term — cannot be changed.
No wonder the current regime wants to drop out of the OAS. (As I am not a lawyer, I will not opinine on whether the current regime's declaration of dropping out is valid.)

I think the real question is whether the OAS members have a treaty obligation to reinstall Zelaya. That would at least coerce the Obama administration stance to choose between reinstalling Zelaya, and dropping out of the OAS.

It's Independence Day in the U.S. May all readers enjoy it regardless of whether it is a holiday locally.

(Much as that may be difficult in some parts of the world, e.g. portions of Honduras where procedures strictly analogous to the U.S. Insurrection Act of 1807 have gone off.)

Because you never know who else has leased a server in the same building:

According to the owner of one co-location facility, Crydon Technology, which was raided on March 12, FBI agents seized about 220 servers belonging to him and his customers, as well as routers, switches, cabinets for storing servers and even power strips. Authorities also raided his home, where they seized eight iPods, some belonging to his three children, five XBoxes, a PlayStation3 system and a Wii gaming console, among other equipment. Agents also seized about $200,000 from the owner's business accounts, $1,000 from his teenage daughter's account and more than $10,000 in a personal bank account belonging to the elderly mother of his former comptroller.

"Our Residential DSL users, authenticate via PPPoE, using a RADIUS server we have hosted with Core IP," says Brent Waldrep, owner of Lightning Bolt Technologies. "Yesterday morning, around 7am, it was brought to our attention a few of our residential customers could not authenticate, and after some quick troubleshooting, we found our RADIUS server was not online," he says. According to Waldrep, a call to Core IP alerted them to the FBI raid.

"We sent out an email to all our residential DSL users, about 20% of our client base, informing them of the authentication issue," he says. He notes that users who were currently authenticated are still able to use their connection, though any users needing to re-authenticate, are not able to do so. Waldrep says he's giving impacted users a free upgrade to SOHO packages, which don't use the residential RADIUS server.
The DEA precedents are ugly. Note that any servers on which evidential data are found, aren't going to be returned until after the trial.

There are some not-so-firm references to about 50 businesses disrupted as collateral damage, such as disabled 911 service and derailed startup plans for a credit card processor. (Whose PCI certification¹ was dependent on a server confiscated by implementing this search warrant.)

I could use a more definitive source for the affadavit responsible for the search warrant.
¹I thought about writing Congress about whether there were adequate legal remedies for bogus PCI certification on the part of MasterCard and VISA. Heartland's public relations response to their Dec. 2008-discovered compromise immediately documented that their PCI certification used false representations of near-realtime forensic data analysis; their certification was revoked three months later.

Latest poll results from Quinnipiac:

Asked which public official is most to blame for the AIG bonuses:
  • 28 percent blame former President George W. Bush;
  • 27 percent blame Dodd;
  • 20 percent blame Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner;
  • 7 percent blame President Barack Obama.
Of these four, Dodd is both obviously involved in creating insufficiently punitive AIG bailout conditions and in office. (Negative spin from other sources includes both organizing the AIG bailout, and taking quantitatively impressive campaign donations from AIG.) Nothing like a predicted loss 5:4 to a Republican candidate that 80% of the pollees admit to having no opinion about [former ambassador Tom Foley], to suggest that systematic image damage control is necessary.

[sarcasm]Too bad most the positive public relations about Diebold, and other provably unauditable voting machines, was from the Republican Party.[/sarcasm] (I prefer the only nonracist, non-discriminatory against low education voting record technology out there: optical scanners. As measured by spoiled ballot rate.)
The Atlantic's overview of the crime rate trends of Memphis, Tennessee since the 1960's through mid-2008 is instructive reading. (Relayed from prester_scott.)

How artistic of the crackers:

The Far Polo L1 satellite, placed in geostationary orbit to broadcast TV programs to a global audience, appears to have been infected by a virus known as W32/Shatner. Under the control of sci-fi obsessed hackers, the Shatner virus is embedding subliminal images related to Star Trek into popular television programs such as "The Simpsons", "Friends" and "Doogie Howser MD" as they are beamed down to viewers on Earth.


Subliminal images placed into the TV programs include images of legendary Star Trek villains the Klingons and actor William Shatner, with the message
"This is W32/Shatner. All your TV are belong to us".
At the moment the hackers can only embed images for a split second, but if they manage to take complete control over TV broadcasts they could begin to advertise to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Getting positive information on the satellite is tricky. A fan site mentions a Marcopolo communications satellite targeting the U.K., but nothing else is really obviously coming up.

But it is happening:

There are 18 listings in Flint, Mich., for under $3,000, according to Realtor.com. There are 22 in Indianapolis, 46 in Cleveland and a whopping 709 in Detroit. All of these communities have been hit hard by foreclosures, and most of these homes are being sold by the lenders that repossessed them.


In Detroit for instance, Century 21 Villa owner Randy Eissa has a three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow of about 1,000 square feet listed at just $500. It's a nice place with lots of light, but it needs a total rehabilitation inside, which Eissa estimates will cost between $15,000 and $20,000. But that's not bad, considering that the home last sold for $72,000 in late 2007, according to Zillow.com.


These houses are almost always small fixer-uppers. Wiring, plumbing and heating systems have to be replaced, walls and ceilings sheet-rocked, plumbing and light fixtures installed and new kitchen cabinets and counters put in. Few come with working appliances.

Often buyers are legally required to rehab these homes to bring them up to code. In Detroit, buyers are required to sign Affidavits of Compliance Responsibility, which obligates them to make repairs outlined in an inspection report. Only after that can a certificate of occupancy will be issued, which makes the house legal to live in.


Most of these $1,000 homes can be renovated relatively inexpensively, and buyers can actually get government help to finance these repairs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a special loan program for just such purchases.

Its rehabilitation mortgage insurance, available through FHA-approved lenders, was designed to encourage banks to issue a single, long-term loan to buyers that covers both the acquisition and rehabilitation of a property, according to HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan.
Regrettably, I suspect that even at these prices said homes may not be that much of a bargain.

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