March 2009 Archives

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan --  The commander of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly assault on a Pakistani police academy and said the group was planning a terrorist attack on the U.S. capital.

Baitullah Mehsud, who has a $5 million bounty on his head from the U.S., said Monday's attack outside the eastern city of Lahore was in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes against militants along the Afghan border.

"Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," Mehsud told The Associated Press by phone. He provided no details.

Mehsud and other Pakistani Taliban militants are believed to be based in the country's lawless areas near the border with Afghanistan, where they have stepped up their attacks throughout Pakistan.

Forum Thread: MilitaryTimes

Note: I've seen variants on this discussion for a bit over a year now. I wonder where this will land; I'll likely never know.

---
By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Mar 6, 2009 12:28:38 EST

Special Forces soldiers and Central Intelligence Agency operatives could soon be moving seamlessly between the military and intelligence realms if Congress follows advice it received Tuesday.

The special operations community and the CIA each would benefit from a much closer integration of their personnel, Roger Carstens, a recently retired Special Forces lieutenant colonel who is a non-resident fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Robert Martinage, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities subcommittee.

Martinage, who authored an 82-page report titled "Special Operations Forces -- Future Challenges and Opportunities" that was published in November, argued for "increased institutionalized cooperation between the CIA and SOCOM [i.e. U.S. Special Operations Command], including hybrid career paths, so people could go back and forth between the two."

"Ideally, personnel should not only be able to move back and forth from CIA stations and SOF ground units, but also to compete for selected mid- and senior-level leadership positions in either organization," Martinage said.

The Defense Department should "migrate Special Forces [units] over to the CIA," suggested Carstens, who conducted a yearlong study of the U.S. special operations community for CNAS in 2008.

"I'm not talking about just onesies and twosies," he said. "Why not take a Special Forces company and just plop them down in Virginia and say, 'When you go to that company, you're spending a three year-long tour working for the agency'?"

CIA operatives as well as members of other government agencies, could also serve on A-teams, the 12-man units also known as operational detachments-alpha, or ODAs, that are the lowest echelon of command in Special Forces, Carstens said.

Such arrangements would have multiple benefits, they said.

What Martinage termed "flexible and routine detailing of SOF personnel" to the CIA would allow special operations forces to use the agency's Title 50 foreign intelligence authorities, which permit covert activities in which the U.S. role is hidden, he said. The same would be true if a CIA operative was serving on an A-team, according to Carstens, who noted that adding a State Department representative would give the A-team access to authorities under Title 22, the section of the U.S. Code that covers foreign relations.

Seconding a Special Forces company to the ground branch of the CIA's Special Activities Division would give the agency "a resident capability in foreign internal defense, which is not a bad thing," Carstens said. Foreign internal defense is the training of host-nation security forces in counterinsurgency and related techniques.

Any special operators detailed to the agency "would also benefit from being exposed to the tradecraft of National Clandestine Service personnel," Martinage said in his prepared remarks.

Contacted by Army Times, U.S. SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw declined to answer questions on the relationship between the CIA and special operations forces.

"The Central Intelligence Agency is one of U.S. Special Operations Command's key interagency partners," he wrote in an e-mail "It would be inappropriate to discuss the details of that partnership or speculate how the CIA and special operations forces may or may not integrate in the future."



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The actor best known as "Borat" tricked the Alabama National Guard into allowing him onto a post, giving him a military uniform and briefly letting him train -- all, supposedly, for a German TV documentary.

The ruse, which included comedian Sacha Baron Cohen exposing his thong underwear while changing clothes, was going well until a young cadet recognized Cohen and notified older officers who weren't familiar with the actor.

"It's an embarrassment to the Alabama National Guard," Staff Sgt. Katrina Timmons said Monday. "Since then we have put in protocols to make sure this doesn't happen again."

A film crew pulled the stunt Feb. 13 at the Alabama Military Academy, which trains officer candidates from across the nation. The school is located at the Army's old Fort McClellan in Anniston, about 65 miles east of Birmingham.

Footage from the visit could be included in Cohen's upcoming movie featuring his character Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion writer. The reported title is "Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America For The Purpose Of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable In The Presence Of A Gay Foreigner In A Mesh T-Shirt."

Cohen's spokesman, Matthew Labov, declined comment.

Guard officials who let Cohen and his crew into the Alabama base initially believed they were helping foreign journalists.

"They called and said they were a German affiliate of a TV station doing a documentary on what it was like to be in officer candidate school," said Timmons. "They wanted to know if they could come here and embed one person for a few hours up to a day."

Military officials met Cohen and his crew at the gate.

"He was treated like a member of the media and escorted around. He was put in a uniform like he requested to allow him to get a taste of what it was like to be an officer candidate," she said.

The actor's schtick should sound familiar. Cohen portrayed uncouth journalist Borat Sagdiyev in the 2006 hit "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," in which he traveled the United States fooling people with gags.

The film included a scene shot at a dinner party in suburban Birmingham.

The number of Medal of Honor recipients from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can be counted on one hand.

Each of the five acted spontaneously and heroically to save the lives of comrades. Each exemplified the medal's criteria of "gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one's own life above and beyond the call of duty."


Virus Alert for Win32/Conficker.B worm

Symptoms:

If your computer is infected with this worm, you may not experience any symptoms, or you may experience any of the following symptoms:
  • Account lockout policies are being tripped.
  • Automatic Updates, Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS), Windows Defender, and Error Reporting Services are disabled.
  • Domain controllers respond slowly to client requests.
  • The network is congested.
  • Various security-related Web sites cannot be accessed.

At the Game Developers Conference on Friday in San Francisco, Georgia Tech professor and author Ian Bogost talked about the lessons that can be learned by game designers from the iconic Atari 2600.

(Credit: Daniel Terdiman/CNET Networks)

SAN FRANCISCO--If you draw a straight line representing the evolution of video games from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Wii, one thing is clear: if you don't know your past, you can't know your future.

That was the central lesson of Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost's Friday talk at the Game Developers Conference here, "Learning from the Atari 2600." Essentially, Bogost argued, it's not always necessary to reinvent the wheel; sometimes, instead of being discarded as so much arcane, the discoveries of the past are best adapted for the future.


Is this location still open to motorized vehicles? Approximate GPSr coordinates to the trail head are: Mineral Fork

We've been up in this area a couple of times, both hiking and ATV'ing. The last time we were up there, we rapelled to the top of the mountain at the very end of the canyon and had a spectacular view to all directions.

DSC07131.JPG
DSC07136.JPG




What an outstanding area to hike, climb, geocache in. Seeing these photos again made the case of Spring fever even worse. It's been two weekends now without any real outdoor activity. This past weekend (on Saturday), we celebrated my youngests 11th birthday by taking him and 8 friends to the park for a couple hours of Airsoft war.

On Sunday, a storm front came in, with temps. dropping quickly below freezing, making any chance of outdoor fun out of reach.

DSC07142.JPG


Weather forecasts are indicating that this week and weekend are going to be the same as the past two. It doesn't snow enough to allow me to snowshoe and snows just enough to make things a muddy/slushy mess and that's no fun for hiking and ATV'ing!

ARGH!

Businesses worldwide are under attack from a highly infectious computer worm that has infected almost 9 million PCs, according to antivirus company F-Secure.

That number has more than tripled over the last four days alone, says F-Secure, leaping from 2.4 million to 8.9 million infected PCs. Once a machine is infected, the worm can download and install additional malware from attacker-controlled Web sites, according to the company. Since that could mean anything from a password stealer to remote control software, a Conflicker-infected PC is essentially under the complete control of the attackers.

According to the Internet Storm Center, which tracks virus infections and Internet attacks, Conficker can spread in three ways.

First, it attacks a vulnerability in the Microsoft Server service. Computers without the October patch can be remotely attacked and taken over.

Second, Conficker can attempt to guess or 'brute force' Administrator passwords used by local networks and spread through network shares.

And third, the worm infects removable devices and network shares with an autorun file that executes as soon as a USB drive or other infected device is connected to a victim PC.

Conficker and other worms are typically of most concern to businesses that don't regularly update the desktops and servers in their networks. Once one computer in a network is infected, it often has ready access to other vulnerable computers in that network and can spread rapidly.

Home computers, on the other hand, are usually protected by a firewall and are less at risk. However, a home network can suffer as well. For example, a laptop might pick up the worm from a company network and launch attacks at home.

The most critical and obvious protection is to make sure the Microsoft patch is applied. Network administrators can also use a blocklist provided by F-Secure to try and stop the worm's attempts to connect to Web sites.

And finally, you can disable Autorun so that a PC won't suffer automatic attack from an infected USB drive or other removable media when it's connected. The Internet Storm Center links to one method for doing so at http://nick.brown.free.fr/blog/2007/10/memory-stick-worms.html, but the instructions involve changing the Windows registry and should only be attempted by adminstrators or tech experts. Comments under those instructions also list other potential methods for disabling autorun.

Weather: Winter makes a return

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Note: When we left for breakfast this morning, it was mostly clear and 55F (@9:00am). Upon finishing breakfast and heading back to our vehicle, it was 32F, heavy winds and snowing (10:30am). In an hour and a half the temps dropped 20F and changed dramatically!


A cold front will hit the Wasatch Front on Monday morning.

Ahead of the front, expect strong south winds, with gusts over 50 mph.

With the front, a mixture of rain and snow is expected, changing to all snow by Monday afternoon.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Don't expect any change soon to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays in the military.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says both he and President Barack Obama have "a lot on our plates right now." As Gates puts it, "let's push that one down the road a little bit."

The White House has said Obama has begun consulting with Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on how to lift the ban. Gates says that dialogue has not really progressed very far at this point in the administration.

The Pentagon policy was put in place after President Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gay service members in 1993.

The policy refers to the military practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

Gates appeared on "Fox News Sunday."

TORONTO --  A cyber spy network based mainly in China hacked into classified documents from government and private organizations in 103 countries, including the computers of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan exiles, Canadian researchers said Saturday.

The work of the Information Warfare Monitor initially focused on allegations of Chinese cyber espionage against the Tibetan community in exile, and eventually led to a much wider network of compromised machines, the Internet-based research group said.

"We uncovered real-time evidence of malware that had penetrated Tibetan computer systems, extracting sensitive documents from the private office of the Dalai Lama," investigator Greg Walton said.

The research group said that while it's analysis points to China as the main source of the network, it has not conclusively been able to detect the identity or motivation of the hackers.

Calls to China's Foreign Ministry and Industry and Information Ministry rang unanswered Sunday. The Chinese Embassy in Toronto did not immediately return calls for comment Saturday.

Students For a Free Tibet activist Bhutila Karpoche said her organization's computers have been hacked into numerous times over the past four or five years, and particularly in the past year. She said she often gets e-mails that contain viruses that crash the group's computers.

The IWM is composed of researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies. The group's initial findings led to a 10-month investigation summarized in the report to be released online Sunday.

The researchers detected a cyber espionage network involving over 1,295 compromised computers from the ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan. They also discovered hacked systems in the embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.

Once the hackers infiltrated the systems, they gained control using malware -- software they install on the compromised computers -- and sent and received data from them, the researchers said.

Two researchers at Cambridge University in Britain who worked on the part of the investigation related to the Tibetans are also releasing their own report Sunday.

In an online abstract for "The Snooping Dragon: Social Malware Surveillance of the Tibetan Movement," Shishir Nagaraja and Ross Anderson write that while malware attacks are not new, these attacks should be noted for their ability to collect "actionable intelligence for use by the police and security services of a repressive state, with potentially fatal consequences for those exposed."

They say prevention against such attacks will be difficult since traditional defense against social malware in government agencies involves expensive and intrusive measures that range from mandatory access controls to tedious operational security procedures.

The Dalai Lama fled over the Himalaya mountains into exile 50 years ago when China quashed an uprising in Tibet, placing it under its direct rule for the first time. The spiritual leader and the Tibetan government in exile are based in Dharmsala, India.

Back in the old days when TVs and radios had tubes, it took a couple of minutes for a set to warm up before you could watch or listen. But even then, you could turn it off instantly. That's not true with Windows PCs. Not only does it sometimes take seemingly forever for them to boot, but it can take several minutes for one to shut down. Even worse, if a program stops responding, you may or may not be able to shut it down. And even if it does terminate, it may take awhile.

And by the way, I'm not just talking about Windows XP and Vista. I'm having the same problem with Windows 7 though, to be fair, the new operating system is still in beta so it's possible that Microsoft could amaze and delight me by fixing this in the final version.

I can understand why it takes at least some time for a PC to boot from a power-off situation because the operating system and some software and drivers have to be copied from storage into memory. But I can't understand why it takes more than a few seconds for the computer or one of its applications to shut down. I realize that sometimes there is a bit of housekeeping to do in the form of closing files but--give me a break--should that really have to take up to five minutes? And there have been countless times in my experience when it simply never shuts down, forcing me to hold the power button for several seconds. I've even had laptops that were so stubborn that I had to remove the battery to turn them off.

I'm particularly annoyed at how Windows often fails to terminate programs that have crashed. In theory, pressing Ctrl Alt and Delete to bring up the Task Manager followed by clicking End Task should simply stop the program and return you to the operating system. But that doesn't always work. Sometimes the program just hangs there forever, sometimes it quits after a random period of time and sometimes the entire computer just crashes. Imagine if you had a lamp in your house that was malfunctioning and the only way to turn it off was to turn off all the power to your house from the main breaker.

I haven't raised this particular issue with people at Microsoft, but a couple of years ago- when I was researching a story for The New York Times on technology energy hogs, the standard response from folks in Redmond was to blame third party applications and drivers for the fact that Windows machines often fail to properly go to or wake up from from sleep mode. Third party applications may very well be to blame, but it's no excuse. One of Windows strongest selling points is its ability to work with software and hardware from thousands of sources so it seems to me that a company with the resources and experience of Microsoft should have by now figured out how to handle errant programs and drivers.

I do like many of the improvements in Windows 7 and appreciate that it boots a little faster and--at least on my machine--seems better at going to sleep and waking up. Now all I want is the ability to turn off the darn machine and terminate a misbehaving program without having to dedicate my entire afternoon to the task.

It's tonight. Do we power down tonight? I guess the family will decide.

Cat -v- Printer

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KABUL, Reuters (March 27) - An Afghan army soldier shot dead two U.S. servicemen and wounded a third before killing himself in northeast Afghanistan on Friday, U.S. military said.

The Afghan soldier fired at the U.S. soldiers, killing one and wounding two others, one of whom died later, it said in a statement.

"One coalition service member was killed ... another died of wounds and a third was wounded by an Afghan National Army soldier who reportedly fired upon them," it said. "The Afghan National Army soldier reportedly killed himself immediately after the incident."

The incident occurred at about 2:20 p.m. (6:20 a.m. EDT), before President Barack Obama unveiled the results of his administration's strategy review of Afghanistan, which includes strengthening Afghanistan's national security forces.

The training of the Afghan army and police is being undertaken by U.S. forces.

The U.S. statement quoted Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak as saying the incident was being investigated and "full corrective action" would be taken.

No further information was available from U.S. military. Similar incidents have occurred in the past in Afghanistan, where about 70,000 foreign troops are fighting a growing Taliban insurgency.

Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan set out as its key objective the defeat of al Qaeda militants there and in Pakistan who he said were plotting new attacks on the United States.









Officer Robert Powell also drew his gun during the March 18 incident involving Houston Texans running back Ryan Moats in the Dallas suburb of Plano, police said.

Ryan Moats

Moats

"I can screw you over," he said at one point in the videotaped incident. When another officer came with word that Moats' mother-in-law was indeed dying, Powell's response was: "All right. I'm almost done."

Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle apologized to the family and announced that Powell would be on paid leave pending an internal investigation.

"When we at the command staff reviewed the tape, we were embarrassed, disappointed," Kunkle said. "It's hard to find the right word and still be professional in my role as the police chief. But the behavior was not appropriate."

Powell, 25, a three-year member of the force, stopped Moats' SUV outside Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano after Moats rolled through a red light.

Police officials said Powell told his commanders he believed he was doing his job, and that he drew his gun but did not point it. Kunkle said Powell was not necessarily acting improperly when he pulled his weapon out, but that once he realized what was happening should have put the gun back, apologized and offered to help the family in any way.

"His behavior, in my opinion, did not exhibit the common sense, the discretion, the compassion that we expect our officers to exhibit," Kunkle said.

Moats' wife, who was in the car along with other relatives, said Powell pointed his weapon at her.

"He was pointing a gun at me as soon as I got out of the car," Tamishia Moats told The Dallas Morning News.

Ryan Moats told KRLD-FM in Dallas in a phone interview Thursday that after the officer pointed the gun at his wife, he pointed it at him. "I just tried to stay as still as possible to not scare him or do anything to make him react," he said.

He earlier told the newspaper he thought Powell should be fired but backed off that in his radio interview.

"All I know is what he did was wrong," Moats said. "He stole a moment away from me that I can never get back. I'm really not the judge on what should happen to him."

The Moats family did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press. Powell did not respond to requests for comment through the Dallas police union.

Video from a dashboard camera inside the officer's vehicle, obtained by Dallas-Fort Worth station WFAA-TV, revealed an intense exchange in which the officer threatened to jail Moats.

He ordered Tamishia Moats, 27, to get back in the SUV, but after pausing for a few seconds, she and another woman rushed into the hospital. She was by the side of her mother, 45-year-old Jonetta Collinsworth, when she died a short time later from breast cancer.

"Get in there," said Powell, yelling at Tamishia Moats as she exited the vehicle. "Let me see your hands!"

"Excuse me, my mom is dying," Tamishia Moats said. "Do you understand?"

Ryan Moats explained that he waited until there was no traffic before proceeding through the red light. When Powell asked for proof of insurance, Moats grew more agitated and told the officer to go find it.

"My mother-in-law is dying! Right now! You're wasting my time!" Moats yelled. "I don't understand why you can't understand that."

As they argued, the officer got irritated.

"Shut your mouth," the officer said. "You can either settle down and cooperate or I can just take you to jail for running a red light."

By the time the 26-year-old NFL player received a ticket and a lecture from Powell, about 13 minutes had passed. When he and Collinsworth's father entered the hospital, they learned Collinsworth was dead.

Earl Jackson, Collinsworth's father, said he knew what Powell was doing was wrong. "This guy, he wouldn't listen to nobody," Jackson said in an interview with Dallas-Fort Worth station KDFW-TV.

Moats said he wouldn't have had a problem with the officer giving him a ticket after letting him go into the hospital.

"I don't know what he was thinking," he told KRLD-FM. "Basically, I was just shocked. I was very shocked that he wasn't budging on it. I even said I can't believe that this was happening."

Kunkle said the video showed that Moats and his wife "exercised extraordinary patience, restraint in dealing with the behavior of our officer."

"At no time did Mr. Moats identify himself as an NFL football player or expect any kind of special consideration," Kunkle said. "He handled himself very, very well."

The Moats family, who are black, said they can't help but think that race might have played a part in the white officer's behavior.

"I think he should lose his job," Ryan Moats said.

When the exchange was at its most contentious, Powell said he could tow Moats' SUV if he didn't have insurance and that he could arrest him for fleeing because he didn't immediately stop when Powell turned on his sirens. The pursuit lasted a little more than a minute.

"I can screw you over," Powell said. "I'd rather not do that. Your attitude will dictate everything that happens."

The ticket issued to Moats was dismissed, Dallas police spokesman Lt. Andy Harvey said.

Texans spokesman Kevin Cooper said the team had no comment.

Moats, a third-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005 out of Louisiana Tech, was cut by the Eagles in August and later signed with the Texans. In three seasons as a backup, he's rushed for 441 yards and scored four touchdowns.

He was a standout at Bishop Lynch High School, a private school in Dallas, rushing for more than 2,600 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior.

Cuckoo Clock

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Note: Emailed to me by my mother!

"The other night I was invited out for a night with
the "girls." I told my husband that I would be home by midnight , "I
promise!" Well, the hours passed and the margaritas went down way too
easily:-). Around 3 a.m. , a bit loaded, I headed for home. Just as I
got in the door, the cuckoo clock in the hallway started up and
cuckooed 3 times. Quickly, realizing my husband would probably wake up,
I cuckooed another 9 times. I was really proud of myself for coming up
with such a quick-witted solution, in order to escape a possible
conflict with him. (Even when totally smashed... 3 cuckoos plus 9
cuckoos totals 12 cuckoos = MIDNIGHT!) The next morning my husband
asked me what time I got in, I told him "MIDNIGHT"... he didn't
  seem p*ssed off in the least. Whew, I got away with that one! Then he
said "We need a new cuckoo clock." When I asked him why, he said,
"Well, last night our clock cuckooed three times, then said "oh sh!#."
Cuckooed 4 more times, cleared its throat, cuckooed another three
times, giggled, cuckooed twice more, and then tripped over the coffee
table and farted."

The following is a route I've followed a couple of times to ride from the Five Mile Pass to Jacob City (through Mercur Canyon and over the top of Ophir Canyon).

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Total mileage will probably exceed 50+ miles round trip, so if you plan on following this route, bring ample supplies and perhaps extra fuel.

Staging area:

Sunshine Canyon / Rattlesnake Jeep Trail #1 / N 40° 14.882 W 112° 12.823

Note that a hyperlinked name denotes a geocache placement, while just providing a Google Maps or GPSr coordinates simply denotes a trail / location.

From this point, we'll continue North, paralleling both US73 and the Mountains to the East. Bear North/East and proceed to the trail junction at:

N 40 15.369 W 112 12.395

Proceed North/West until you encounter another trail junction at:

N 40 15.901 W 112 13.410

From here, continue North/West for a long stretch until you reach yet another trail junction at:

N 40 16.707 W 112 14.665

At this point, and if you're into geocaching, you can proceed North along this trail along a dry wash and up into the hill until you reach (and hopefully find):

Fire Support / N 40° 17.480 W 112° 13.288

If you decide to pursue this geocache, log it, then continue back to the junction at:

N 40 16.707 W 112 14.665 and continue North/West.

Again, proceed along the North/West trail until the next junction at:

N 40 17.458 W 112 15.656

At this point, we'll bear North / North West toward:

Ogre / N 40° 18.236 W 112° 15.108

If you bag this geocache, sign the log, then proceed North/West until you reach the Mercur Canyon Road (asphalt) at:

N 40 18.508 W 112 15.227

From this point, drive the asphalt South/West until you see the hill banking North/West at:

N 40 18.412 W 112 15.460

This location is more of an improved dirt road than a trail, but it continues North/West and parallels the mountain(s) to the North/West of Mercur. Be aware that further up ahead is a favorite destination for Paintball and AirSoft combat, so don't be surprised if you see Hummers and men outfitted for combat. There are plenty of abandoned concrete buildings and structures along this trail. In addition, the soldiers from Tooele and Dugway sometimes like to take their HumVee's out here to "break-them-in".

Continue to follow this trail North/West to the trail junction at:

N 40 19.456 W 112 17.099

At this location, break North/East (toward the mountain) and proceed North toward:

N 40 19.557 W 112 17.087

Continue following this trail North, then slightly banking West to the junction at:

N 40 19.866 W 112 17.300

At this location, continue North again until:

N 40 20.314 W 112 17.608

From this location, we head up and into the mountain and proceed due East up above Mercur and Ophir Canyons. Simply follow this trail up and around. Be cautious for cows, cowboys, snakes and other items along this somewhat narrow and very rocky trail. Proceed East until approximately:

N 40 21.060 W 112 14.138

At this point, the trail breaks North and South. Proceed North (left) toward Ophir, or South (right) toward the top of Mercur Mine. At this point, it's up to you, but the continue to Jacob City, you must proceed North (left).

Catch the switchbacks and continue North/East toward approximately:

N 40 21.305 W 112 14.335

From this location, follow the trail North and downward (down the hill toward):

N 40 21.406 W 112 14.338


There are several abandoned mines and buildings in this area. Feel free to explore, but please don't go off trail or destroy anything. When you've finished your discovery, continue down the mountain, following the various switchbacks until you're at the bottom of Ophir Canyon at approximately:

N 40 22.724 W 112 14.427

Most of the property (if not all) at the base of the canyon is private (and marked), but the road is owned by the county and can be ridden on with ATV's provided you do not exceed 25mph (per signage). Poeple do live in this valley, so please respect their privacy, noise, etc.

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More to come later. How to get back is not quite as simple!
At least every two weeks (for as long as I can remember), people ask for my recipe on Prime Rib. Oddly, it's the easiest thing to make and serve. This recipe works for any size Prime Rib. We average 6-12 pounds, depending on how many we're serving.

Roast Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Crust

Here are the simple instructions:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 475F
  • Allow your Prime Rib roast to reach room temperature before preparing
  • Find a baking pan that provides for catching the fat drippings
Prepare the following rub ingredients:

  • ~5 Garlic cloves
  • Your favorite horse radish (we prefer the natural/raw/HOT)
  • Ground black pepper
  • Kosher or Sea salt (we prefer Sea Salt)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A bit of dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp of flour
  • 2 Cups beef broth
Mix these ingredients into a paste and rub on the meat thoroughly.

Place your Rib Roast in the pan, bone-side down (acts as a natural rack).

Cook at 475F for 15 minutes (to sear the meat) and reduce oven temperature to 350F.

Cooking time is contingent on the size of the roast and the internal temperature. Meat is done when internal temperature (center of meat, not touching the bone) reaches 140F (140F = Medium Rare).

After the meat reaches this temperature, remove from oven and allow it to sit for at least 15-20 minutes.

Slice and serve!

Advanced SQL Injection

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Joe McCray of Learn Security Online provided a video of a presentation he gave on Advanced SQL Injection. Slides for this presentation can be found:
Advanced_SQL_Injection.pdf


DojoSec Monthly Briefings - February 2009 - Joseph McCray


Note: Strong Language!





Health fair

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Never having been one to participate in a Health Fair (at work), I had a bit of extra time yesterday between meetings, so I hesitantly decided to join in and have some health vitals examined.

Mind you, I've been telling the wife for a full year now that I'd schedule a date with our family physician to get a physical (she's really worried about my blood pressure and cholesterol levels).

Vitals:

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215 pounds
Age: 40

Body Fat: 18% (Healthy range is 10-25%)
Blood Pressure: Systolic (top): 138, Diastolic (bottom): 82  ( Ideal is 120/80)
Blood Glucose Screening: 70 (ideal is 80-120 and less than 170 (1-2 hours after a meal)
Cholersterol: 182 (Desirable is less than 200)

After comparing results with my co-workers, my averages equate to where most of the 20-26 year old men were landing! Not too shabby!
DSC07520.JPG

March 26, 2009 (Computerworld) Dell Inc. announced on Tuesday a new PC that, among its other impressive specs, can be upgraded to sport as much as 192GB of ultrafast DDR3 RAM.

The Precision T7500 sports 12 memory slots, each of which can take a PC10600 stick (1333 MHz) of up to 16GB.

Most new desktop PCs have two to four RAM slots that can take up to 4GB modules of DDR2 memory that runs between 400 MHz and 1066 MHz in speed.

Not a high-end gamer PC, the Precision T7500 workstation (which starts at $1,800) is aimed at video game designers, engineers and digital animators.

Note: Content comes from SANS:




HOUSTON --  Teen-age boys, are you tired of embarrassing questions about when you last changed underwear?

Japan's space scientists may have just the answer -- a line of odor-free underwear and casual clothing.

Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to live on the International Space Station, is testing the clothes, called J-ware and created by textile experts at Japan Women's University in Tokyo.

"He can wear his trunks (underwear) more than a week," said Koji Yanagawa, an official with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Wakata's clothes, developed by researcher Yoshiko Taya, are designed to kill bacteria, absorb water, insulate the body and dry quickly. They also are flame-resistant and anti-static, not to mention comfortable and stylish.

Japanese astronaut Takao Doi gave the clothes a trial run during a shuttle mission last year. Even after a vigorous workout, Doi's clothes stayed dry.

"The other astronauts become very sweaty, but he doesn't have any sweat. He didn't need to hang his clothes to dry," Yanagawa said.

J-ware should reduce the amount of clothing that needs to be sent to the space station, which has no laundry facilities.

Toting cargo into orbit is expensive, so having clothes that stay fresh for weeks at a time should result in significant savings.

The Japanese space agency plans to make the clothes available to NASA and its other space station partners once development is complete. A commercial line also is in the offing.

Taya also is working with clothing manufacturers Toray Industries and Goldwin on clothes that have a microscopically thin chemical layer in the materials.

Wakata, who arrived at the station last week for a three-month stay, said on Sunday that the clothes appear to be working.

"Nobody has complained, so I think it's so far, so good," Wakata said.


Note: Need I type anything beyond just pasting the photo?

Ashley Paige is the most popular swimsuit designer in Hollywood, with a client list that runs the gamut from Jessica Simpson to Jennifer Aniston.

But Ashley's suits have never looked hotter than they did earlier this week.

Carmen Electra just completed a photo shoot in this Ashley Paige one-piece, set to go up with the relaunch of her official website, CarmenElectra.com.

PHOTOS: Sneak peek plus our 10 favorite Carmen Electra swimsuits.

PHOTOS: More pics from the CarmenElectra.com swimsuit shoot.

We got a sneak peek from the series, and put together our own photo essay of some of our Electra faves from some of her sexiest shoots of the past.

So check out the latest pics of the former "Baywatch" babe. And check out our favorite Electra swimsuits of yore.


(CNN) -- Erik Roberts, an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, underwent his 13th surgery recently to save his right leg from amputation. Imagine his shock when he got a bill for $3,000 for his treatment.

Army Sgt. Erik Roberts was badly wounded in Iraq with two comrades in April 2006.

Army Sgt. Erik Roberts was badly wounded in Iraq with two comrades in April 2006.


"I just thought it was bull---- that I'm getting billed for being wounded in Iraq doing my job. I always put the mission first, and now that I was wounded in Iraq, they're sending me bills," he said.

"I put my life on the line and I was wounded in combat, and I came back and they're not going to take care of my medical bills?"

It's a level of outrage shared by his mother, as well as the doctor who performed the surgery.

"It's hard to understand why we're not taking care of guys like Erik whose injuries are clearly related to their service. They deserve the best care of anybody," said Dr. William Obremskey, an Air Force veteran and surgeon at Vanderbilt Orthopaedics in Nashville, Tennessee.

"For him to be responsible for $3,000, I think, is a little ridiculous or is uncalled for, particularly in this situation."

His mother, Robin Roberts, put it more succinctly: "Why should any soldier pay one penny of a medical bill from injuries that occurred while they were fighting in a war? That's what really frustrates me."

The Department of Veterans Affairs has now decided to pay his bill, but only after prodding from a U.S. senator who got involved after CNN brought it to his attention.

Roberts, of Warren, Ohio, is one of more than 31,100 U.S. troops to have been wounded in Iraq. An additional 4,262 have died in the war.

Roberts was wounded April 25, 2006, when roadside bombs tore through his Humvee in western Baghdad. Heat from the flames ignited the Humvee's ammunition, which popped off all around. See Roberts describe getting blown up »

Roberts and his buddies, A.J. Jefferson and Luke Murphy, were badly wounded and bleeding on the ground after jumping the from the burning vehicle. They were saved by comrades who rushed to help them.

"The truck automatically filled with smoke. There was fire coming from the middle of the truck. And I just feel my whole right side just like kind of explode," Roberts said. "I thought at that moment that my life was over, so I started praying."

All three soldiers survived the attack, but Murphy lost his leg. Days later, on his 23rd birthday, Roberts returned to the States. He underwent a series of life-saving surgeries, including 12 different ones to repair his fractured right leg. A metal rod was inserted in his upper leg to help the fracture heal.

He retired from the Army in October 2007, because of his war injuries, and enrolled in college last fall at Youngstown State University, majoring in finance and minoring in economics.

But in December, he says, a golf ball-sized lump appeared on his wounded leg. He says he went to a Veterans Affairs hospital and was told not to worry about it.

A few days later, he says, he went to the emergency room after the lump flared up more. A doctor there, he says, told him that the leg was badly infected and that it might have to be amputated.

Desperate for help, his mother contacted the Army surgeon who had saved her son's life two years earlier. That doctor referred him to Obremskey, the Vanderbilt surgeon.

The Robertses say the VA did not approve of them going outside the system. Erik Roberts says he had no choice -- it was have surgery or potentially lose his leg.

"I thought my leg was more important than the usual bureaucratic mess," he said.

His leg was saved. The $3,000 billed to Roberts wasn't for the surgery itself. It's a portion of the bill for six weeks of daily antibiotics to prevent the infection from coming back. His private insurance plan picked up the majority of the $90,000 in costs.

Roberts has been administering the drugs himself -- up to seven IVs a day, with a nurse coming to his home once a week to check on him. At one point, his mom says, the insurance company suggested the war veteran should be put in a nursing home to receive the round-the-clock antibiotics.

"Now why would you want to put an injured soldier who is 25 years old in a nursing home to get IVs?" Robin Roberts said. "He said, 'Send me home and teach me to do it myself.' "

Roberts has also paid for his travel expenses from Ohio to Tennessee for treatment. He fears how much of the $57,000 surgery bill he will owe and how much he might be billed for his emergency room visit in December.

His schooling has been put on hold because of his surgery and lengthy recovery.

"These soldiers and young men and women fight for our country and our freedom, only to come back to have to fight for their health and their life back in the United States," Robin Roberts said.

Dr. Obremskey said it's "frustrating" to hear about cases like Roberts'. He says the lesson from Roberts' story is "pretty obvious."

"If they're injured in the service to our country, we should continue to take care of them even if they are discharged from active duty because of their injuries. Some mechanism ought to be available for them to obtain whatever care they need," Obremskey said.

CNN on Wednesday contacted the office of Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Roberts' home state of Ohio who serves on the Senate's VA committee. Brown's office had not heard of Roberts' case, but immediately reached out to the soldier and alerted the VA about his situation.

In less than 24 hours, the VA got back to CNN. "The VA will be paying the bill," said VA spokesman Sean Nelson.

Brown's office issued a written statement, applauding the decision. "Sen. Brown is pleased to hear that Mr. Roberts will not have out-of-pocket costs for a service-connected injury. However, he believes it should not take the intervention of a U.S. senator for our veterans to receive the care they've been promised."

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Roberts said he appreciates the help. Despite everything he's experienced, Roberts -- who went into the Army just after high school -- said he would never trade in being a member of the 101st Airborne.

"I will always be proud I served my country, and proud that I was able to wear that flag on my shoulder," he said. "I would defend this country against anyone, and I'm proud to wear that uniform."
Masked Palestinian Hamas members are seen during a demonstration to show solidarity with Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir, in the Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza, on March 6, 2009.  (UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad)
Masked Palestinian Hamas members are seen during a demonstration to show solidarity with Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir, in the Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza, on March 6, 2009. (UPI Photo/Ismael Mohamad)

PORT SUDAN, Sudan, March 26 (UPI) -- An Israeli airstrike on a weapons-laden convoy in Sudan affirms arguments Iran is secretly supplying arms for Hamas fighters in Gaza, analysts said.

The January airstrike in the desert northwest of Port Sudan, which Israel refuses to comment on, reportedly killed 39 people riding in 17 trucks.

The attack, which Paris's Sudan Tribune called an "embarrassment" to Sudan's government, also exposed a network that stretches from Iran through the Persian Gulf and Yemen to Sudan, Egypt and Hamas-ruled Gaza, said analysts, including U.S. terrorism and security expert Reva Bhalla.

Around the time of the attack, Bhalla suggested Lebanon's militant Hezbollah Shiite movement was involved in the Iranian-created arms network, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

"You'll have a bunch of Hezbollah agents who will procure arms through Sudan," said Bhalla, director of geopolitical analysts at Strategic Forecasting Inc., an Austin, Texas, private intelligence agency.

"They'll enter Egypt under forged documents, pay off disgruntled Bedouins in the Sinai with things like light arms, cash, Lebanese hashish -- which they can sell in the black market -- and pay off Egyptian security guards as well so that they can travel covertly into Gaza to pass off the weapons shipments through Hamas' pretty extensive underground tunnel network," Bhalla said at the time.

Before conducting its airstrike, Israel learned of plans to move weapons through Sudan north toward Egypt and then through the Sinai into the Gaza Strip, CBS News reported.

Parents! (and my neighborhood)

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/RANT ON

A little background: We purchased our home over 12+ years ago. The primary attraction was that our backyard had a gate that led directly to the Elementary School. Go through the gate, across a small field and there was the school.

Three years after moving in, the school district (Jordan) sold the little field (we didn't even know they owned it) and it was developed into a row of homes. Our back gate now leads into our neighbors back yard.

Shortly thereafter, our City built a walkway to the school between two homes to the West of us (about a 50' walk west of our house), then put a cross walk directly in front of our driveway for kids walking home to the south.

Since that time, parents are too impatient to drive to the Elementary and wait in the long line of cars for their children, so they now come down our street and park all along the neighborhood - choking access to our street, our homes and sometimes even our driveways.  Additionally, once they get their own kids, they drive like crazed lunatics trying to depart - usually narrowly avoiding other vehicles, children, pets, signage, etc.

Yesterday was the final straw for me. Upon viewing my roaming security camera (it points to my front yard), I had two cars in my driveway, cars parked atop the cross-walk and parents almost running over children trying to walk south across the cross-walk.

As a neighborhood, we petitioned the city months ago to place signs (with enforcement) declaring our street a non-parking zone for non-residents, but this went nowhere.

Last night, I emailed the city mayor, police and other bureaucrats trying to solicit assistance in protecting our neighborhood and these children.

Photo of a good day with fewer than normal cars along our street:
motion20090325s152312982.jpg

If the city doesn't take action, I fear I may just have to get home early each day, and as Neighborhood Watch Block Captain, enforce some form of parking restriction on my own. I'm tired of these moronic parents endangering the neighborhood (that they don't even live in), our kids and even their own!

/RANT OFF

There's been lots of hype about the fact that the latest variant of the Conficker worm is set to start communicating with other computers on the Internet on April 1--like an April Fool's Day time bomb with some mysterious payload.

But security researchers say the reality is probably going to be more like what happened when the clocks on the world's computers turned to January 1, 2000, if that.

"It doesn't mean we're going to see some large cyber event on April 1," Dean Turner, director of the global intelligence network at Symantec Security Response, said on Wednesday.

It's likely that the people behind Conficker are interested in using the botnet, which is comprised of all the infected computers, to make money by distributing spam or other malware, experts speculate. To do so, they would need the computers and networks to stay in operation.

"Most of these criminals, even though they haven't done something with this botnet yet, are profit-driven," said Paul Ferguson, an advanced-threats researcher for Trend Micro. "They don't want to bring down the infrastructure. That would not allow them to continue carrying out their scams."

To help clear up some of the confusion about Conficker, here are answers to common questions people may have.

What is Conficker and how does it work?
Conficker is a worm, also known as Kido or Downadup, that cropped up in November. It exploits a vulnerability in Windows that Microsoft patched in October.

Conficker.B, detected in February, added the ability to spread through network shares and via removable storage devices, like USB drives, through the AutoRun function in Windows.

Conficker.C, which surfaced earlier this month, shuts down security services, blocks computers from connecting to security Web sites, and downloads a Trojan. It also reaches out to other infected computers via peer-to-peer networking and includes a list of 50,000 different domains, of which 500 will be contacted by the infected computer on April 1 to receive updated copies or other malware or instructions. Previous Conficker variants were written to connect to 250 domains a day.

Among the domains targeted by Conficker was that of Southwest Airlines, which was expected to see an increase in traffic from the botnet on March 13. But a Southwest spokesman said the worm had had no impact on the site.

Where did Conficker come from?
Some pieces of the Conficker code and methodologies it uses are similar to those used in previous botnet worms created by the underground operation known as the Russian Business Network and cohorts in the Ukraine, Ferguson said. But while there is speculation, researchers don't know for sure who is involved, he said.

"There is some evidence to indicate that this might at one point have been tied to distribution of misleading apps and rogue affiliate networks," said Symantec's Turner.

How is it different from other Internet worms?
Conficker has grown increasingly sophisticated with each iteration, with features designed to increase its longevity, most likely in response to researchers' attempts to block it. After researchers began preregistering domains targeted in the code, the Conficker.C authors upped the ante by having the algorithm generate 50,000 possible domains, instead of just 250, throwing a big roadblock into efforts to counter the worm. The creators also are using advanced encryption to obscure the instructions detailing which random 500 of the 50,000 domains will actually be contacted on April 1.

It appears the authors may also be intending to create domain collisions by targeting domains that are already in use by legitimate owners, Ferguson said.

"They're creating collateral damage, throwing a monkey wrench into our ability to counter them," he said. "What they're trying to do is make our lives miserable on any efforts to mitigate the threat."

Some of the tactics, including the domain randomization, inter-node communication, and use of strong encryption, are new, according to Ferguson.

"They are using tactics that are probably the most complex and sophisticated botnet tactics we've seen to date," he said. "This is very professionally architected design and development."

Added Turner: "This is the first widespread distribution of a worm since about 2004," when Sasser came out. That worm was believed to have infected as many as 500,000 computers.

What is being done to fight Conficker?
Microsoft has partnered with all the major security companies and domain registrars and registries to form the Conficker Coalition Working Group. The parties are collaborating on research, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and figure out who is behind the worm and how to stop it. They are using techniques like behavioral analysis of the code and reverse engineering, but researchers don't want to reveal too much information on their efforts. "We have made headway but I'm hesitant to talk about how far we've gotten," Turner said.

Researchers in the U.S. are preregistering domains that are targeted, but experts in Canada are going even further. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority is taking steps to block domains generated in Conficker code that fall in the .ca top-level domain from being used in the botnet, the nonprofit agency said. "If other domain registries were able to do the same thing it would go a long way toward helping mitigate some of the ability for the botnet to breathe," Ferguson said.

Conficker has proved to be such a nuisance that Microsoft has even offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the Conficker case.

What can I do?
Computer users should apply the Microsoft patch and update their antivirus and other security software.

Windows users should also apply a Microsoft update for the AutoRun feature in Windows that was released in February. The patch allows people to selectively disable the Autorun functionality for drives on a system or network to provide more security, to ensure that it is truly disabled. In addition to putting USB drive users at risk of Conficker and other viruses, the Autorun functionality has been blamed for infections from digital photo frames and other storage types.

Panda also has released a free "vaccine" tool for blocking viruses that spread through USB drives.

Microsoft has a Conficker removal tool. More botnet information and removal resources are on the Shadowserver Web site.

Note: I don't yet know what the total impact of this is to those of us that ATV/4wd and enjoy the trails. The AP has simply stated that the impact to Utah is


Utah:

_Protect more than 250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Zion National Park.

----

In what's being called the most sweeping land protection law in a quarter century, the US House of Representatives Wednesday passed a conservation plan to set aside more than 2 million acres of desert and forest in nine states.

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, which cleared the Senate last week, was approved by a margin of 285 to 140 and has been sent to President Obama for his signature.

The bill would officially designate land in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia as wilderness. That means no logging, mining, drilling, or even vehicles.

The Associated Press details the provisions by state. They include setting aside more than 450,00 acres of wilderness near Santa Clarita, Calif., and along the California-Nevada border, nearly 250,000 acres of Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, 517,000 acres in Idaho's Owyhee Canyonlands, and more than 250,000 acres of wilderness in and near Utah's Zion National Park.

Environmentalists are hailing the measure. Upon passage of the bill, this blogger's email inbox was flooded with press releases.

William H. Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society was quoted as saying:

"This is a monumental day for wilderness and for all Americans who enjoy the great outdoors. With passage of this bill, Congress has made a great gift to present and future generations of Americans. These special places make our communities better places to live, clean our air and water for free, and provide ecological resilience in the face of climate change. They're also great places to hike and camp and fish with family and friends, of course."

And here's Dave Jenkins, director of government affairs for Republicans for Environmental Protection:

"This bill is the most important conservation legislation that Congress has passed in many years. We are especially pleased that 38 Republicans from all parts of the country supported this bill. It's a powerful demonstration of the good that can be accomplished for our country when Republicans return to their roots as the party of conservation."

Of course, not all were thrilled about the bill. The AP notes that opponents of the measure, mostly Republicans, called the bill a "land grab."

The news agency quotes Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican who argued that the bill would deprive the US of much-needed energy development.

"Our nation can't afford to shut down the creation of jobs for jobless Americans, and we can't afford to become even more dependent on foreign sources of energy," Hastings said.

The bill "even locks up federal lands from renewable energy production, including wind and solar," he said.


173rd Airborne jump into Iraq

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Note: Retrieved this from Armyranger.com:






Note: From the files of the strange and stupid:

(CNN) -- An Indonesian fisherman has been killed by Komodo dragons after he was attacked while trespassing on a remote island in search of fruit, officials said Tuesday.

Komodo dragons kill their prey with an extremely toxic bite.

Muhamad Anwar, 32, bled to death on his way to hospital after being mauled by the reptiles at Loh Sriaya, in eastern Indonesia's Komodo National Park, the park's general manager Fransiskus Harum told CNN.

"The fisherman was inside the park when he went looking for sugar-apples. The area was forbidden for people to enter as there are a lot of wild dragons," Harum said.

Other fisherman took Anwar to a clinic on nearby Flores Island, east of Bali, but he was declared dead on arrival, he added.

Komodo dragons, the world's heaviest lizards, can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in length and have a toxic bite that they use to kill prey such as buffalo, returning to feast when the animal succumbs to the poison.

Despite their ungainly appearance, the carnivorous reptiles can run as fast as a dog in short bursts, jump up on their hind legs, and kill animals with a blow of their powerful tails.

Attacks on humans are rare, but Monday's incident is the latest in a series in which the monster lizards -- which have forked tongues and fearsome claws --have killed or injured people.

Last month a park ranger survived after a Komodo dragon climbed the ladder into his hut and savaged his hand and foot. In 2007 an eight-year-old boy died after being mauled.

In June last year, a group of divers who were stranded on an island in the national park -- the dragons' only natural habitat -- had to fend off several attacks from the reptiles before they were rescued.

Park rangers also tell the cautionary tale of a Swiss tourist who vanished leaving nothing but a pair of spectacles and a camera after an encounter with the dragons several years ago.

An endangered species, Komodo are believed to number less than 4,000 in the wild. Access to their habitat is restricted, but tourists can get permits to see them in the wild within the National Park.

All visitors are accompanied by rangers, about 70 of whom are deployed across the park's 60,000 hectares of vegetation and 120,000 hectares of ocean.

Despite a threat of poachers, Komodo dragon numbers are believed to have stabilized in recent years, bolstered by successful breeding campaigns in captivity.

On Monday, a zoo in Surabaya on the Indonesian island of Java reported the arrival of 32 newborn Komodos after the babies all hatched in the past two weeks, the Jakarta Post reported

Note: This is the machine I decided to purchase (albeit in camo) instead of the 2009 model. No discernable difference except a larger base price on the 2009.






WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Air Force F-22A fighter jet crashed Wednesday near Edwards Air Force Base in California, Air Force officials said.

An F-22A fighter jet similar to this one crashed Wednesday during a test mission in California.

An F-22A fighter jet similar to this one crashed Wednesday during a test mission in California.

The single-seater crashed about 10:30 a.m. for unknown reasons, the officials said.

The status of the pilot was unknown.

At $150 million apiece, the F-22A is the most expensive Air Force fighter.

The fighter was on a test mission when it crashed about 35 miles northeast of Edwards AFB, where it was stationed, the Air Force said in a news release.

In 2004, an F-22 Raptor crashed on a training mission in the Nevada desert. The pilot ejected and was not hurt, though the jet was destroyed.

The plane was designed in the 1980s to provide a stealthy method to enter Soviet air space and strike Soviet bombers if the USSR attempted a nuclear strike.

Once the Cold War ended, the Air Force found a new mission for the F-22 as a long-range fighter with a sophisticated stealth design and state-of-the-art equipment that no other plane could rival.

However, the rising cost of the plane and numerous design and software problems threatened the program, which was almost killed by Congress.

In the end, the aircraft survived, and most of the problems were fixed, except for the price tag, which forced the Air Force to buy fewer aircraft.

MOAB RMP Travel Plan

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BLM Travel Management Plan (Moab)

On October 31, 2008 the Assistant Secretary of the Interior signed the Moab Resource Management Plan (RMP).  In accordance with the RMP most of the Moab Field Office (MFO) is now limited to designated roads and trails. 

Below you will find two different indexes for travel maps of the MFO. These maps show the roads that are available for travel. Click on the index number next to the map to bring up the page for that area. 

The first index is for 11"x17" maps. There are 39 maps in the series. The same legend applies to all of the maps in this series and the link to the legend is included in the list next to the index. Each of these maps is approximately 4MB. The maps should be printed on 11"x17" paper to preserve scale.

The second index is for 24"x30" maps. There are 13 maps in the series. These maps vary in size from 11MB to 16MB. Each of these maps has a legend. Click on the index number next to the map to bring up the map for that area. The maps should be printed on 24"x30" paper to preserve scale. 

Maps will be updated and posted quarterly.  Please check this location for the latest edition.




Note: Not being much of a web designer (not even close), I found this posting quite interesting and hope to incorporate some of it into my site:


DSCF0020.JPG









Today's Salt Lake City weather

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After a few days of temperatures in the mid-60's and a general feeling that Spring had arrived, typical Utah weather has returned.

Today, the forecast is for mid-30's with a severe weather bulletin in effect.

It's expected that we'll get over 2' of fresh snow in the mountains and +4" in the valley starting this evening. For the majority of the day, cold temperatures and considerable rain is forecast.

Here's a current (0809) photo outside:

timer.jpg


The Conficker Internet worm could strike at infected computers around the world on April 1, a security expert warned Monday.

Conficker is a sophisticated piece of malicious computer software, or malware, that installs itself on a Windows PC's hard drive via specially written Web pages. It then conceals itself on a computer.

Graham Cluley of the British security firm Sophos confirmed that Conficker is programmed "to hunt for new instructions on April 1."

However, he added, "This does not mean that anything is going to happen, or that the worm is actually going to do anything. Simply, it is scheduled to hunt a wider range of Web sites for instructions on that date."

One strange thing about Conficker is that no one yet has any idea what it is programmed to do.

In February, Cluley told The Times: "It's as if someone is assembling an army of computers around the world, but hasn't yet decided where to point them."

A worst-case scenario for April 1 would be for all the world's millions of infected computers to receive simultaneous instructions to attack, or to flood the Internet with spam e-mail

Ed Gibson, Microsoft's chief security adviser for the U.K., was reluctant to make predictions about Conficker's behavior.

"April 1 is a classic date for anything like this to go off," he said. "But I really would hate to say that April 1 is going to be unlike any other day."


STRASBOURG, France --  A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as "a way to hell."

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama's massive stimulus package and banking bailout "will undermine the stability of the global financial market."

A day after his government collapsed because of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence, Topolanek took the EU presidency on a collision course with Washington over how to deal with the global economic recession.

Most European leaders favor tighter financial regulation, while the U.S. has been pushing for larger economic stimulus plans.

Topolanek's comments are the strongest criticism so far from a European leader as the 27-nation bloc bristles from recent U.S. criticism that it is not spending enough to stimulate demand.

They also pave the way for a stormy summit next week in London between leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized countries.

The host of the summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, praised Obama on Tuesday for his willingness to work with Europe on reforming the global economy in the run-up to the G-20 summit.

The United States plans to spend heavily to try and lift its economy out of recession with a $787 billion economic stimulus plan of tax rebates, health and welfare benefits, as well as extra energy and infrastructure spending.

To encourage banks to lend again, the government will also pump $1 trillion into the financial system by buying up treasury bonds and mortgage securities in an effort to clear some of the "toxic assets" -- devalued and untradeable assets -- from banks' balance sheets.

Topolanek bluntly said that "the United States did not take the right path.".

He slammed the U.S.' widening budget deficit and protectionist trade measures -- such as the "Buy America" -- and said that "all of these steps, these combinations and permanency is the way to hell."

"We need to read the history books and the lessons of history and the biggest success of the (EU) is the refusal to go this way," he said.

"Americans will need liquidity to finance all their measures and they will balance this with the sale of their bonds but this will undermine the stability of the global financial market," said Topolanek.

Obama insisted Tuesday that his massive budget proposal is moving the nation down the right path and will help the ailing economy grow again. "This budget is inseparable from this recovery," he said, "because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity."

Obama also claimed early progress in his aggressive campaign to lead the United States out of its worst economic crisis in 70 years and declared that despite obstacles ahead, the U.S. is "moving in the right direction."

Xobni, the Outlook e-mail helper launched at the TechCrunch 40 conference in 2007, is finally leaving its official beta phase. It's getting some needed updates in the 1.0 release, although no major new features. Xobni is also announcing that it's closed its B round of funding.

Xobni logo

The software updates for Xobni are all in the performance and compatibility areas. The product is now faster, co-founder Matt Brezina told me. In other words, it should work acceptably quickly for users with large e-mail installations, such as Xobni investor Josh Kopelman. Passing "The Kopelman Experiment," Brezina says, was a key milestone during development.

The product now has caching and other performance tweaks so it doesn't drag Outlook performance down during message switching, and it has a feature that allows it to be installed but not automatically run at Outlook start-up; users can turn on Xobni when they want it, or turn it off to free up resources.

Download Xobni here.

It's also supposed to be more compatible with key products that interact with Outlook, such as Microsoft's Dynamic CRM and Outlook Business Contact Manager, and the enterprise versions of McAfee virus scanner, version 8.5 and up (I'm sad to report it doesn't work with version 8.0, which is what I have installed on my laptop).

"We truly needed this beta period," Brezina said as he ran down the tweaks the team made with the product. Installed software, he reminded me, is much harder to develop than Web apps, since the compatibility testing is so much more complex.

Cisco is in
The company has also closed a $10.5 million second round of venture funding, led by Cisco ($5 million) (previous story), with participation of the Blackberry Partner Fund ($3.2 million) and all the previous investors.

Cisco's participation in the Xobni project is telling, and hopefully will help push Xobni beyond the world of just Microsoft e-mail and toward creating products for other platforms. Brezina told me the company's vision is to diversify its products but keep a focus on helping people index personal (as oppose to the world's) information.

Xobni "hasn't made a penny yet," Brezina said, but it will be announcing a premium product this summer, as well as paid online services. Brezina would not elaborate on these plans.

Read previous Xobni coverage.

The OnLive system will be shown with 16 games from a series of major publishers during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week. OnLive is aiming to upset the traditional video game business model.

SAN FRANCISCO--Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, look out. Your traditional video game console business model may be in danger.

It's too early to tell how much danger, of course, but a start-up called OnLive announced a brand-new game distribution system Monday night that, if it works as planned, could change the games game forever.

OnLive, which was started by WebTV founder Steve Perlman and former Eidos CEO Mike McGarvey, is aiming to launch a system--seven years in the works--that will digitally distribute first-run, AAA games from publishers like Electronic Arts, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Atari, and others, all at the same time as those titles are released into retail channels. The system is designed to allow players to stream on-demand games at the highest quality onto any Intel-based Mac or PC running XP or Vista, regardless of how powerful the computer.

The system will also stream games directly to a TV via a small plug-in device, and players can use a custom wireless controller as well as VoIP headsets in conjunction with it.

The OnLive system includes the ability to use wireless controllers similar to those available for standard console systems like the Xbox or PS3. It also has a small micro-console that will allow games to be streamed directly to a TV.

Based here in San Francisco, OnLive timed its formal unveiling to this week's Game Developers Conference, where it will be showcasing the technology and 16 initial games it will launch with.

The service is currently in a closed beta, but is expected to go into a public beta this summer, and to launch this winter.

According to Perlman, OnLive's technology will make it possible to stream the games in such a manner--high quality, no matter what kind of system the user has--by virtue of a series of patented and patent-pending compression technologies. And instead of requiring users to download the games, OnLive will host them all and stream them from a series of the highest-end servers. Users will have only to download a 1MB plug-in to get the service up and running.

OnLive is hoping to capture a significant portion of the video game market share. In February, the industry posted one of its strongest months ever, with total sales of $1.47 billion, up 10 percent from a year ago. And in February, the Xbox, PS3 and Wii accounted for total sales of 1.42 million units.

The OnLive system aims to bring cost-efficient instant and high-quality video games streamed to Macs and PCs.

An intended benefit of this infrastructure, Perlman and McGarvey explained, is that users will be able to play streamed games via OnLive with no lag, so long as their Internet connections meet minimum thresholds. For standard-definition play, that would mean a minimum 1.5 Mbps connection, and for high-def, 5 Mbps.

That's obviously an essential feature, as it's hard to imagine anyone paying for a service like OnLive, no matter what games are on offer, if the user experience is inadequate. But the company promises that as long as users have the requisite minimum hardware, operating systems, and Internet connections, they should be able to have seamless play.

The upshot of this infrastructure model, Perlman said, is that OnLive is somewhat future-proof, meaning that players won't have to upgrade anything to keep on playing games on the system years into the future. Instead, the upgrades will happen on the back-end, with the company regularly boosting the power of the servers it uses to host and stream the games.

And while demos always have to be taken with a grain of salt, CNET News did see a real-time presentation of OnLive on at least two different computers and on a HD TV. Game play was as smooth and lag-free as advertised

So far, OnLive has yet to make its business model public, but what seems likely is some form of subscription service, where players will pay a monthly access fee and then pay additional costs, depending on whether they want to play games once, or buy them for permanent play.

The company also said that it will probably offer free trials of some or all of the games it offers, allowing consumers to decide whether they want to buy. OnLive recognizes that some players may use those trials as a way of deciding whether to buy such games from traditional retail stores, but Perlman and McGarvey suggested that as long as people are interacting with the OnLive system, they'll be happy.

It's clear that OnLive is modeling its system at least somewhat after Microsoft's hit Xbox Live service. So fans of multiplayer games won't be on their own. Rather, they'll have full access to multiplayer features of games built for them. And another interesting social feature is one that will allow users to digitally watch others play games in real time. The company thinks that users will find it exciting to watch the best players in action, even if they themselves are only kibitzing.

Perlman said that the concept of spectating in online game systems is, in and of itself, not new, but that OnLive presents the first time players will be able to look in on what others are playing without owning the games themselves.

Another social feature in the Xbox Live mold is what are called "brag clips." These are essentially 15-second replays of game action that players can share with friends if they want to show off their prowess. This is possible, Perlman said, because OnLive is continually recording the last 15 seconds of action.

The OnLive system includes social features such as 'brag clips,' which allow players to share 15-second videos of game action they want to brag about.

All told, McGarvey said, OnLive offers a full suite of standard social features including friends, clans, rankings, leader boards, tournaments and more.

From the outset, OnLive isn't partnering with any of the first-party publishers--Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, meaning that franchises like "Halo" or "Zelda" won't be available. And that makes sense, since those companies are hardly likely to want to sign up with a company whose very technology may obviate their longstanding business models.

That means, Perlman and McGarvey acknowledged, that many players who sign up for OnLive's service will still maintain their consoles, and continue to buy games for them. At least for the rest of the current generation of machines, they said. But come the next generation, all bets are off, they said.

And for the nine--to date--third-party publishers who have committed to being involved, McGarvey said, OnLive presents a much more efficient and profitable distribution model than the standard retail structure. That's because the system is all digital, cutting down on physical distribution costs, and because it is designed to eradicate piracy and second-hand sales, both of which are banes of the publishers' existence.

Indeed, McGarvey said that OnLive has gotten strong commitments of titles from the nine publishers. That means, added Perlman, that the planned launch this winter could be accompanied by the most titles of any new gaming system launch in history.

In addition, McGarvey said publishers are eager for the kind of raw data that OnLive can provide about players' usage of the games, including whether they like or dislike games, how much they play, how they play and so on. That data is hard for publishers to collect with traditional consoles, he argued.

Clearly, OnLive has set an ambitious goal: dethroning the console makers as the game industry's kings. And as is always the case with brand-new and publicly unavailable technology, it is far too early to know whether the company or the service can live up to that goal. But if its demo is any indication, OnLive is definitely onto something, and given that the company has been in stealth mode for so many years, it's possible that the console makers will be caught off guard.

Morning Edition, March 24, 2009 · Sometime during the first week in April, North Korea is expected to launch a three-stage, long-range rocket for only the third time in its history.

The North Koreans say the rocket is purely civilian in nature, designed to put a satellite in orbit. But suspicions have grown that this launch may actually be a test of a long-range ballistic missile.

American satellites are watching the launch site carefully to determine North Korea's true intentions.

Preparations have been under way for weeks at Musudan-ni in North Korea for the launch of a rocket, known as the Taepodong-2. The activity at the site provoked concern in the U.S. that the North Koreans were preparing to test a long-range missile that might have the capability one day to deliver a warhead on U.S. territory.

But recently, the North Korean government has taken steps that point to an attempt to put a satellite into orbit, says Mitchell Reiss, vice provost at the College of William and Mary and former head of policy planning at the State Department.

"There's a context in which this launch is going to take place. And so far, the North Koreans are trying very hard to manipulate and shape the context to persuade everybody that this is a civilian-based space launch vehicle," he says.

Earlier this month, North Korea notified international organizations that it intends to launch the rocket between April 4 and 8, on a trajectory east from North Korea. It has warned ships and aircraft to avoid that flight path during those days.

The North Korean actions have been persuasive, says Jack Pritchard, president of the Korea Economic Institute.

"I do think that they are going to attempt to launch a satellite of some form," he says.

Recently, the U.S. director of national intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had reached the same conclusion.

"I tend to believe that the North Koreans announced that they are going to do a space launch, and I believe that that's what they intend. I could be wrong, but that would be my estimate," he said.

Still, uncertainties persist. The North Koreans are assembling the rocket inside a long covered building, out of sight. They will disassemble it, bring the parts out to the launch pad, and reassemble it there. Erecting the rocket on the launch pad will take three days, and it will take another two days to fill it with liquid fuel.

Satellite photos of the rocket on the launch pad will not be available until then.

The rocket will be highly vulnerable to attack once it's been reassembled, hardly a sign that this is a military test launch. But many analysts say civilian and military launches are quite similar, according to Evans Revere, president of the Korea Society.

"Whether it's a satellite launch or something else, what they are essentially doing here is developing the launch vehicle, the same launch vehicle that could be used to launch a warhead of some sort at one of its neighbors or even the United States at some point down the line," he says.

Experts in rocketry say there are significant differences between a space launch vehicle and a long-range missile. Their trajectories are quite different, and that makes for different stresses on the rocket.

With its assortment of sensors in space and radars in Japan, Alaska and at sea, the United States will know within the first minute whether the North Koreans really are trying to put a satellite in orbit.

There has been much talk of using American missile defense interceptors to destroy the North Korean rocket, but such an attempt would be considered only if it was on a flight path to reach U.S. territory. North Korea has said that would constitute an act of war.

Pritchard, of the Korea Economic Institute, believes the North Korean rocket is highly unlikely to pose a threat to the U.S.

"There's no public, nor do I understand, any classified information that suggests that there is any type of warhead, conventional or otherwise. So the potential for this being a risk to U.S. security is not there, as far as we know," he says.

There also is great concern in Japan about this rocket because it will overfly Japanese territory.

Reiss, of the College of William and Mary, believes that everybody ought to take a deep breath and use diplomacy to get North Korea back to the bargaining table over its nuclear weapons and its missile development.

"What we need to do is to think very clearly about what level of threat this space launch vehicle really presents to us, make sure that our allies don't overreact, then try to think through exactly what it is that we want from the North Koreans in the future," he advises.

This will be only the third time North Korea has launched a Taepodong-2. In 1998, Pyongyang claimed it put a satellite in orbit, but there has been no proof of that. In 2006, there was a missile test, but it exploded 45 seconds after launch.

NPR.org, March 24, 2009 · China is calling for a new global currency controlled by the International Monetary Fund, stepping up pressure ahead of a London summit of global leaders for changes to a financial system dominated by the U.S. dollar and Western governments.

The comments, in an essay by the Chinese central bank governor released late Monday, reflect Beijing's growing assertiveness in economic affairs. China is expected to press for developing countries to have a bigger say in finance when leaders of the Group of 20 major economies meet April 2 in London to discuss the global crisis.

Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan's essay did not mention the dollar by name but said the crisis showed the dangers of relying on one nation's currency for international payments. In an unusual step, the essay was published in both Chinese and English, making clear it was meant for an international audience.

"The crisis called again for creative reform of the existing international monetary system towards an international reserve currency," Zhou wrote.

A reserve currency is the unit in which a government holds its reserves. But Zhou said the proposed new currency also should be used for trade, investment, pricing commodities and corporate bookkeeping.

Beijing has long been uneasy about relying on the dollar for the bulk of its trade and to store foreign reserves. Premier Wen Jiabao publicly appealed to Washington this month to avoid any steps in response to the crisis that might erode the value of the dollar and Beijing's estimated $1 trillion holdings in Treasuries and other U.S. government debt.

The currency should be based on shares in the IMF held by its 185 member nations, known as special drawing rights, or SDRs, the essay said. The Washington-based IMF advises governments on economic policy and lends money to help with balance-of-payments problems.

Some economists have suggested creating a new reserve currency to reduce reliance on the dollar but acknowledge it would face major obstacles. It would require acceptance from nations that have long used the dollar and hold huge stockpiles of the U.S. currency.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Late-night talker David Letterman married his longtime girlfriend, Regina Lasko, last week, according to a transcript of the taping of his Monday night show.

Late-night host David Letterman says he "avoided getting married for ... 23 years."

Late-night host David Letterman says he "avoided getting married for ... 23 years."

The wedding was at the courthouse in Choteau, Montana, on Thursday, he said, according to quotes from CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" provided to CNN by Letterman's publicist, Tom Keaney.

"Regina and I began dating in February of 1986, and I said, 'Well, things are going pretty good, let's just see what happens in about 10 years ...," he joked during the taping.

"I had avoided getting married pretty good [sic] for, like, 23 years, and ... honestly, whether this happened or not, I secretly felt that men who were married admired me -- like I was the last of the real gunslingers."

Lasko is a former "Late Show" staffer. The couple have a son, Harry.

Letterman told his audience that the wedding almost didn't happen after the couple, son in tow, got their pickup truck stuck in the mud on the way to the ceremony.

"So I get out of the truck and I walk two miles back to the house into a 50 mph wind. It's not Beverly Hills, it's Montana, for God's sakes,' " he said. "And the whole way, I'm thinking, 'See, smartass? See? See? You try to get married, this is what happens.' "

When he returned with a car, he said -- presumably joking -- that his son was disappointed, "because mom had told him if I wasn't back in an hour, the deal was off.

Domino's Pizza: I love it!

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I love Domino's pizza. Additionally, I truly like the web site and the way they keep you updated as to delivery status.

Today, we decided to (again) order pizza and hot wings. Pay by credit card and watch the status updates real time.

Only 5 minutes after the status changed to "Delivery", a driver was at our door with piping hot pizza and wings! Only in America!

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Update to a story listed here about two weeks ago:


MIDVALE -- Sporting goods store Sportsman's Warehouse has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Midvale-based company is worth about $436 million, and it owes its creditors $452 million.

Sportsman's CEO said in court papers filed Saturday the company was "another retailer victim of the worldwide-global recession."

Earlier this month, the company announced it was closing 23 stores across the country and selling another 15. No Utah stores are affected.

JERUSALEM  --  Israel's military condemned on Monday T-shirts worn by soldiers that depict scenes of violence against Palestinians as the army faces increasing domestic criticism over its conduct during the recent Gaza war.

The T-shirts, ordered by troops to mark the end of basic training and other military courses, were worn by a number of enlisted men in different units, the daily Haaretz newspaper reported. They were not made or sanctioned by the military.

One depicts a child in the cross-hairs of a rifle with the slogan, "The smaller they are, the harder it is," said one of T-shirts shown in Haaretz. Another shows a pregnant woman in the cross-hairs and the words "1 Shot 2 Kills." Others depict a soldier blowing up a mosque and Palestinian women weeping over a gravestone.

The Tel Aviv factory that made many of the shirts, Adiv, refused to comment.

The shirts "are not in accordance with IDF values and are simply tasteless," the army said in a statement. "This type of humor is unbecoming and should be condemned."

The statement said disciplinary action would be taken against troops wearing the T-shirts.

The Israeli military has been facing increased criticism at home for its conduct in Gaza in the aftermath of published testimony from several unidentified soldiers released last week.

The soldiers' testimony described troops killing Palestinian civilians, including children, by hastily opening fire under relaxed rules of engagement. The soldiers also reported the wanton destruction of civilian property.

The three-week Gaza offensive, launched to end years of rocket fire at Israeli towns, ended on Jan. 18. According to Palestinian officials, around 1,400 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. Thirteen Israelis died, three of them civilians.

The U.S. military is calling out the "BigDogs" in addition to its big guns as it deploys more troops to fight terrorists in Afghanistan.

The BigDogs -- four-legged robots that can navigate the country's treacherous terrain -- and pilotless helicopters than can transport tons of supplies to very remote bases are just two of the new weapons being tested in Afghanistan.

The war zone is increasingly becoming a development laboratory for machines that don't eat, sleep, polish their boots or suffer casualties. But can they succeed where man struggles?

It takes a moment for the senses even to comprehend BigDog, a four-legged robot that vaguely resembles a headless pack animal.

Click here for photos.

The machine's creator, Boston Dynamics, has a motto -- "dedicated to the way things move" -- and that's precisely what is both jarring and fascinating about its invention. Using a gasoline engine that emits an eerie lawnmower buzz, BigDog has animal-inspired articulated legs that absorb shock and recycle kinetic energy from one step to the next.

Its robot brain, a sophisticated computer, controls locomotion sensors that adapt rapidly to the environment. The entire control system regulates, steers and navigates ground contact. A laser gyroscope keeps BigDog on his metal paws -- even when the robot slips, stumbles or is kicked over.

Boston Dynamics says BigDog can run as fast as 4 miles per hour, walk slowly, lie down and climb slopes up to 35 degrees. BigDog's heightened sense can also survey the surrounding terrain and become alert to potential danger.

All told, the BigDog bears an uncanny resemblance to a living organic animal and not what it really is: A metal exo-skeleton moved by a hydraulic actuation system designed to carry over 300 pounds of equipment over ice, sand and rocky mountainsides.

So much for the ground war. With IED attacks in Afghanistan increasing on land, air transportation has become a major focus for the military.

Routine helicopter flights operating 24 hours a day, year round, are crucial for the American mission. The Marine Corps has recently called for unmanned cargo flights to carry essentials to isolated areas that can be reached only by air.

Enter the K-MAX, a remote-controlled helicopter designed to transport heavy loads -- even in Afghanistan's high altitudes.

The K-MAX's unique rotor design -- two intermeshed rotors turning in opposite directions and slightly angled to prevent the blades from colliding -- give this unmanned aircraft a distinct advantage.

"All the energy goes into the lift and eliminates the need for the tail rotor," said Frans Jurgens, spokesman for Lockheed Martin Corporation, which manufactures the K-MAX.

The design enables the relatively small chopper to tow up to 6,000 pounds. "The K-MAX is basically an aerial truck," Jurgens said.

A ground controller "pilots" the unmanned aircraft using a "digital tablet" -- a portable device the size of a clipboard attached to a backpack. The controller has visual contact with the aircraft during takeoff and can see where the K-MAX is going through a camera attached to the unmanned helicopter.

Unlike other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the K-MAX currently requires some visual contact -- ground controllers to launch and retrieve the aircraft.

During a flight, K-MAX's "autonomous flight brain" calculates the best route to its destination and can automatically re-route itself should an area be designated a "no-fly" zone.

After launch, control transfers to a second ground controller waiting at the point of capture. Once the K-MAX has been sighted, the destination controller discharges the cargo by remote command.

But some in the military remain skeptical that a robot and a distant operator can replace a skilled pilot.

"When you're dealing with a small area and a very small margin of error, mountains, temperatures, and other factors like heavy unpredictable winds, it's hard to believe unmanned flights could account for all the variables," Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Smail, a pilot from Eagle Lift, the 7th battallion 101st Aviation Regiment, told FOXNews.com in a phone interview from Afghanistan.

"Everything those troops have we're responsible for bringing," Smail said. "Not saying it can't be done, I would just be skeptical."

After two tours in Iraq, Smail is serving a second tour in Afghanistan, which he says is the "most difficult place to pilot in the world."

But, Jurgens is not concerned.

"The K-MAX will fly repetitive flights that can be predictably programmed," he said. "Given the fact that traveling by ground convoy is not the preferred transportation, unmanned cargo flights can save pilots from routine unnecessary exposure."

KMAX has never been deployed to a war zone, but the unmanned aircraft has been a robotic workhorse in the logging industry, where it transfers heavy loads at high altitudes. It has also been used to transport water to fight forest fires.

They'll never fully replace actual people, but robots and unmanned vehicles will spare soldiers from routine tasks and enable them to focus their experience and skills on missions that require the human touch.

8250' climbing and TB recovery

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8250'

If the snow isn't impassable (it's snowing right now outside), then I plan on making an attempt on this peak on Sunday.

When out in this area over the weekend, the elevations above this are still covered in deep snow, but this location may be passable (I can take snow shoes with just in case).

The wife, dog (12 Gauge) and I made an attempt at this one last November, but summited at the wrong location:

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Followup: Geocaching FTF

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5 Mile Pass Hilltop Cache

About a week ago, I mentioned my interest in pursuing this geocache.

I went out on Saturday and hiked (crawled/clawed/climbed) my way up the mountain to retrieve this one. It was an arduous hike, made worse by the fact that I took the wrong route up, proceeding from the North, instead of the West as instructed by the owner.

From the base where I parked the ATV, it was easily a good 900' ascent, followed by a small valley about 350' wide and then another climb of about 400' straight up.

Here's a photo from the first summit, looking to the North/West:

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At the top, a rock cairn was piled high (easily 7' tall) to mark the location, right next to a USGS survey marker. The location was crawling with boy scouts. Oddly, I ran into three young men climbing down the mountain as I was making my way up.

Easily one of the better, yet arduous hikes in quite some time. Found next to the cairn and survey mark was the remnants of a flag pole. If I can get the logistics together on getting equipment to the top, I'd be interested in putting a new 5x7' flag up there.

Oh, I did get the FTF (first-to-find), but barely. Just as I had started hiking down, another gentlemen was just making his way up.

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Iran sets terms for U.S. ties

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has responded to U.S. President Barack Obama's offer of better relations by demanding policy changes from Washington, but the Islamic state is not closing the door to a possible thaw in ties with its old foe.

Iran wants the United States to show concrete change in its behavior toward it, for example by handing back frozen assets, but Tehran is not pursuing "eternal hostility," said Professor Mohammad Marandi at Tehran University.

"I think they (the Iranian leadership) are quite willing to have better relations if the Americans are serious," said Marandi, who heads North American studies at the university.

A day after Obama held out the prospect of a "new beginning" of diplomatic engagement, Iran's top authority spoke at length on Saturday about its grievances against the United States and said he saw no real policy shift yet by the new administration.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, also added in his speech at Iran's most prominent religious shrine in the northeastern city of Mashhad: "You change, our behavior will change."

Marandi said Khamenei did not dismiss Obama's overture but was "effectively saying that this is simply not enough, that the United States must take concrete steps toward decreasing tension with Iran."

Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic ties for three decades and are now embroiled in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies the charge.

Saeed Laylaz, editor of business daily Sarmayeh and an outspoken political commentator, said Khamenei in his speech had sent a "counter-offer" to the United States following Obama's video message on Friday to mark the Iranian New Year. "I think he opened the doors to the United States," Laylaz said.

FROZEN ASSETS

After taking office in January, Obama talked of extending a hand of peace to Tehran if it "unclenches its fist," in contrast to his predecessor George W. Bush, who branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" and spearheaded a drive to isolate it.

In his warmest offer yet of a fresh start in relations, Obama said in Friday's video message: "The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations."

But Khamenei made clear more than a change in U.S. rhetoric was needed, saying the United States was "hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries.

He also spoke of "oppressive sanctions" imposed on the Islamic Republic, Iranian assets frozen in the United States and Washington's backing of Israel, which Tehran does not recognize.

"Khamenei suggested a very clear way for Obama's administration, how they can start real action about Iran," Laylaz said.

Iranian officials have repeatedly shrugged off the impact of U.S. and U.N. sanctions on the country but analysts say tumbling crude prices may make the world's fourth-largest oil producer more vulnerable to such pressure over its nuclear activity.

Marandi said the United States could make a significant move by giving back Iranian assets blocked after a group of Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Analysts have said Iran is setting tough conditions for dialogue to buy time. Adding to uncertainty, it holds a presidential election in June that could strengthen moderate voices backing detente over more hardline opponents.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has demanded Washington apologize for decades of "crimes" against Iran. Tehran also says it cannot let down its guard as long as U.S. troops are on its borders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Professor Hamidreza Jalaiepour, who teaches political sociology in Tehran, said Khamenei had delivered a pragmatic message rather than one based on ideology on Saturday.

If the United States eased sanctions imposed on Iran or released frozen funds, Iran was likely to respond, for example in helping to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan, he said.


Paiute Trail 78, Monroe Mountain

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Photos courtesy of DickC on ATVUtah.com:

Since Nick now has a Brute Force 750i, our very next ATV/Camping trip will be on top of Monroe Mountain somewhere. We did this type of camping/riding event in 2007, staying at almost 12000' elevation.

---


Trail 78 from Monroe up to the Monroe Peak area is actually Forest Road #078 that vehicles use on a regular basis. It is very easy and is no problem for a SxS.
 
Photo 1 is at a road intersection where it goes up to Monroe Peak and 078 continues to the right. I think the Road number up to the peak is #165.
 
Photo 2 is at the same intersection but looking back in the direction to Monroe
 
Photo 3 is quite a ways back down off the Mt where a road goes up to Monrovian Park
 
Photo 4 is just a bit south out of Monroe (at the jct of trails 78 & 24) and looking towards Monroe Mt.
 
Photo 5 is at the same spot as photo 4 but looking North down Monroe's Main St.

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After much deliberation, I finally decided to go out and purchase a new Brute Force 750i (Fuel Injected).

Went riding today on the 2005 in the Five Mile Pass area (probably did more hiking than riding), then packed up and drove North to Full Throttle in Centerville to pay for and load up the new machine.

Since there was really no difference (except color options and Ignition module) between the 2008 and 2009 Kawasaki Brute Force 750, I bought the 2008 (.1 miles on the odometer), had an AT25 WARN winch installed and heated grips/throttle.

After getting the new machine home, I started to take all my add-ons off the 2005 (TigerTail, rear rack back, tires, GPSr mount, SPOT mount, etc) -- when I noticed the front & rear racks on the 2008 were not quite the same as the 2005.

In fact, the entire front bumper and racks are different. Quite honestly, I prefer the 2005 setup. The front bumper is far more beefy and has more steel (as opposed to plastic).

A few comparison photos:

NEW 2008 Brute Force 750i
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OLD 2005 Brute Force 750i
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2008 and 2005 together
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Interestingly, after taking all the add-on's off the 2005, I felt no noticeable power loss on the 2008, and saw a power-gain on the 2005.

The 2008 has a more noticable TURBINE like sound and more electronic noise upon turning the key than the 2005.

The 2008 (due to Fuel Injection) definately has more top-end in comparison to the 2005.

Should be interesting to get my son on the 2005 and see how they handle.



Since I hope to pick up my new ATV this afternoon, we'll be loading up at 0800 and departing for the Five Mile Pass area. First on the agenda is to tag the three new geocaches placed by ejoty, culminating with 5 Mile Pass Hilltop Cache. We'll then head north, following US73 toward Ophir Canyon.

Just outside the gate to the Deseret Chemical Depot, we'll bank East and start the climb upward.

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(CNN) -- A U.S. Navy submarine collided with a Navy amphibious ship Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, mildly injuring 15 sailors, according to the commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The submarine USS Hartford and amphibious ship USS New Orleans are shown in Navy photos.

The submarine USS Hartford and amphibious ship USS New Orleans are shown in Navy photos.

The submarine, the USS Hartford, collided with the USS New Orleans about 1 a.m. in the strait, which runs between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. It is one of the busiest commercial routes for oil tankers.

Fifteen aboard the Hartford were injured but returned to duty, according to a news release.

Both vessels are operating on their own power.

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The nuclear propulsion plant on the 362-foot-long sub was not damaged, but "New Orleans suffered a ruptured fuel tank, which resulted in an oil spill of approximately 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine," the release said.

The New Orleans is capable of carrying almost 1,100 troops and crew. The Hartford carries about 145 sailors.

(CNN) -- Thousands of taxpayers across the country aren't getting their refund or stimulus checks because criminals have stolen their Social Security numbers in an identity theft scam, CNN has learned.

Some victims don't learn about identity theft until the IRS questions them about income in their name.

Some victims don't learn about identity theft until the IRS questions them about income in their name.

"We see a lot of activity right now, because clearly folks who are trying to perpetrate a fraud have to get their claims in early before a true taxpayer files their return," said Nina Olsen, the national taxpayer advocate for the Internal Revenue Service.

Olsen, whose independent office is set up to help taxpayers, said her office fielded several thousand complaints this year connected to the scam. The Federal Trade Commission reported that approximately 50,000 taxpayers complained about tax fraud and employment-related identity theft during 2006, compared with 18,000 in 2002.

"It's a huge nightmare," Olsen said. "Basically, their life can be taken over by just about every approach, trying to prove that they are who they are and other people are not. And when you think about how central the Social Security number is to banking, to credit, to school applications, for financial aid, just for everything you can think of -- plus your taxes -- it has a significant impact on a person's life."

That's what happened to Brenton King, a 25-year-old father and student from Orem, Utah.

King said he was 17 when someone stole his wallet at a ski resort. Over the past four years, at least five people have used his Social Security number to report income. And since the criminals earned income on his number and never paid taxes, he and his wife, Jennifer, can't get any tax refunds from the IRS or their government stimulus check even though he reported the theft several years ago to police and the IRS.

Under the government's economic stimulus plan, 130 million people were supposed to received tax rebate checks from $300 and up last year.

"We want to put that money in the bank," Jennifer King said. "We want to be able to put money down on a home."

The Kings said the ordeal has been frustrating because they know when they file their tax return every year that they won't get the money back that they are owed. Initially, they said, it was difficult dealing with the IRS, which they said made Brenton feel as if he were the criminal.

"The fear is it will happen for the rest of our lives," Brenton King said.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, said it takes the IRS an average of about a year "to sort out who is the real taxpayer."

"In the meantime, the victim's tax accounts get frozen," Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a written statement. "The IRS issues no refund. The money that the taxpayer was planning on doesn't come. The taxpayer waits in tax limbo, for months and months."

Baucus, who led a hearing into the issue in 2008, said other taxpayers don't learn that they are victims of identity theft until years later.

"Victims first realize that other people are using their identities when the IRS contacts them. The IRS asks them why they did not report the income that appears on W-2 forms with their names on them," he said.

And Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on Baucus' committee, said the IRS doesn't do enough to combat tax-related identity theft.

He said the IRS does not prosecute, "and that's not very helpful. It sends a signal that you get a free pass if you're using IRS instruments."

But IRS spokesman Dean Patterson called preventing identity theft "a top priority" for federal tax collectors and said, "we are committing significant resources to address the challenges posed in protecting taxpayers' identity information."

"We have established a special unit dedicated to resolving tax issues incurred by identity theft victims and special tracking codes to monitor returns and prevent further fraud," Patterson said in a written statement. "Potential identity theft victims can contact the IRS if they suspect fraud."

The IRS said it "vigorously prosecutes identity thieves to the fullest extent of the law using tax-related laws that result in the toughest penalties possible." The agency said it was unable to provide details of how many cases it prosecuted, however.

In the meantime, the Kings have signed up with Lifelock, a private company that helps identity-theft victims. Todd Davis, the company's CEO, said cases like theirs are "like getting a disease that's incurable."

"Look, once your information has been compromised, it's not like when they steal your car," Davis said. "Once they steal your car, you file a police report, you do an insurance claim or whatever it may be, you get your replacement car, it's over. Once they have your personal information, as exemplified by this couple in Utah, this information could be used over and over by multiple people."

China effectively ended a stand-off with the United States that began when its naval vessels harassed an American surveillance ship and attributed the reduction in tension directly to President Barack Obama.

Just a day earlier, Beijing said that it would boost patrols in the South China Sea, converting decommissioned naval ships and possibly drafting in fishing boats to protect its interests in the disputed area.

However, a front-page article today in the China Daily headlined "Sino-US sea stand-off appears to have ended" signalled a change of tone. Top commanders had no plans to increase the People's Liberation Army military presence in the South China Sea, it said.

Li Jie, a senior researcher at he Chinese Navy's Military Academy, offered remarks that demonstrated Beijing's apparent eagerness to move forward without an embarrassing climbdown by indicating that it believed that the US military may have acted without Washington's approval.

He told the China Daily: "It is time to call an end to it. It might be that the US military wanted to flex its muscles but the Barack Obama Administration managed to bring the situation under control for the good of both countries."

The Pentagon revealed this month that one of its unarmed maritime surveillance ships had been harassed by five Chinese naval boats in waters about 75 miles (120km) off the southern Chinese island of Hainan. China said that the US ship was engaged in spying. The Pentagon then raised the stakes by sending in a destroyer to protect the USNS Impeccable as it carried out its surveys in the region.

In the confrontation the US ship sprayed Chinese vessels with their fire hoses as they approached within metres, prompting the Chinese sailors to strip down to their underwear.

Zhang Tuosheng, director of the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies, said that neither side wanted to see the incident blow up. "This is because both sides have so many areas they share interests in."

The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, has indicated that diplomatic efforts may have made it unnecessary to send out any more warship escorts for surveillance vessels.

China's more conciliatory approach may indicate that it has achieved the aim of showing the United States that the modernisation of its navy has made it a force to be reckoned with in its regional waters.

A region of atolls, islands and reefs in the South China is disputed by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, and the area is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. More than half the globe's oil tanker traffic passes through the South China Sea as it offers the shortest route between the Pacific and Indian oceans for ships bringing energy from the Middle East to China and Japan.

Both the United States and China may have been reluctant to allow the surveillance boat incident to result in heightened tensions at the start of the Obama Administration and just as both countries struggle to cope with the world financial crisis.

The spider was given to University of Tulsa Animal Facilities director Terry Childs who said this type of spider kills more people than any other.

Childs said a bite will kill a person in about 25 minutes and while there is an antidote he doesn't know of any in the Tulsa area.

Spiders often are found in imported produce, and a manager at Whole Foods says the store regularly checks its goods and that's how the spider was found.

Oddly, the Brazilian spider delivers more than a painful bite that sends most victims to the hospital. Researchers have found its venom also stimulates an hours-long erection in men.

Patients not only experience overall pain and an increase in blood pressure, they also sport an uncomfortable erection.

In Brazil, emergency room staff can immediately spot the victims of a bite.

"The erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort," said study team member Romulo Leite of the Medical College of Georgia, presumably speaking only about male bite victims. "We're hoping eventually this will end up in the development of real drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction."

This screenshot shows varying frequencies of keystrokes, with the arrow pointing to what a stroke on the space bar looks like on a spectrogram.


VANCOUVER, B.C.--Presenters at the CanSecWest security conference detailed on Thursday how they can sniff data by analyzing keystroke vibrations using a laser trained on a shiny laptop or through electrical signals coming from a PC connected to a PS/2 keyboard and plugged into a socket.

Using equipment costing about $80, researchers from Inverse Path were able to point a laser on the reflective surface of a laptop between 50 feet and 100 feet away and determine what letters were typed.

Chief Security Engineer Andrea Barisani and hardware hacker Daniele Bianco used a handmade laser microphone device and a photo diode to measure the vibrations, software for analyzing the spectrograms of frequencies from different keystrokes, as well as technology to apply the data to a dictionary to try to guess the words. They used a technique called dynamic time warping that's typically used for speech recognition applications, to measure the similarity of signals.

Line-of-sight on the laptop is needed, but it works through a glass window, they said. Using an infrared laser would prevent a victim from knowing they were being spied on.

The only real way to mitigate against this type of spying would be to change your typing position and mistype words, Barisani said.

In the second attack method, the researchers were able to spy on the keystrokes of a computer which was using a PS/2 keyboard through a ground line from a power plug in an outlet 50 feet away.

"Information leaks to the electric grid," said Barisani. "It can be detected on the power plug, including nearby ones sharing the same electric line" as the victim's computer.

The researchers used a digital oscilloscope and analog-digital converter, as well as filtering technology to isolate the victim's keystroke pulses from other noise on the power line.

Their initial test, which took about five days to prepare and perform, enabled them to record individual keystrokes but not continuous data such as words and sentences, though they expect to be able to do that within a few months, Barisani said.

In addition to being used to sniff a neighbor's keystrokes in a nearby room, the attack could be used to sniff data from ATM machines that use PS/2 or similar keypads, Barsani said. The attack does not work against laptops or USB keyboards, he said.

The attacks are similar to other recent research that involves sniffing keystrokes through a wireless antenna.

And of course there is the big daddy of these types of remote sniffing attacks, TEMPEST, which allows someone with a lot of expensive equipment to sniff the electromagnetic radiation emanating from a video display.

The new attacks are easier and can be accomplished at lower cost, the researchers said.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Russian military aircraft flew just 500 feet over two U.S. Navy ships this week as the ships participated in a joint military exercise with South Korea in the Sea of Japan, according to U.S. military officials.

Two Russian Ilyushin IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft flew only 500 feet above a U.S. aircraft carrier.

Two Russian Ilyushin IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft flew only 500 feet above a U.S. aircraft carrier.

On Monday, two Russian Ilyushin IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft, known as "Mays," overflew the U.S. aircraft carrier Stennis while it was in international waters in the Sea of Japan.

The Russian aircraft flew about 500 feet over the ship, lower than other flights the Russians have made over U.S. ships in the past year.

The USS Stennis was about 80 miles east of Pohang, South Korea, participating in the joint military exercise when the flyover occurred.

On Tuesday, the USS Blue Ridge, a lead command and control ship, and the Stennis were overflown by two Russian "Bear" long-range bombers multiple times, according to U.S. military officials.

The Bears overflew the ships at about 2,000 feet, officials said.

U.S. military officials said that in both cases, U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighters met up with the Russian aircraft about 70 nautical miles from the U.S. ships and flew alongside them until they left the area.

On both days, U.S. aircraft tried contacting the Russian planes on international air frequency radio channels, but the Russian pilots did not respond, officials said.

The last time Russian planes flew over a U.S. Navy ship was February 2008, when two Bears flew 2,000 feet over the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz south of Japan.

Russian long-range flights skirting U.S. or other nations' boundaries have also been common over the last year.

Although the Pentagon does not often talk about the overflights, there is nothing illegal about the actions, and they are generally seen by the United States as nothing more than muscle-flexing by the Russian military.
After a bit of wrangling and comparing the 2009 -v- 2008 Brute Force, I determined that other than an additional color scheme and new Ignition module, there was no real difference between the two machines except about $1000.

So, after calling virtually every local dealer, I found one in Centerville that still had ONE 2008 unit .05 miles on the odometer) in stock.

After adding a 4 year warranty, 2.5 ton winch, heated grips / throttle and having them kick in a flag mount, it cost me $8395.xx, saving well over $1000 on a 2009 and well over $3000 on a comparable Polaris XP 850.

I decided to stick with Kawasaki because I have extra parts, can interchange CVT belts and swap components (tires, etc). Had I gone with the Polaris, the brand new ITP SS108 rims & bighorn tires would not have been interchangable.

Once I swap over the tires, mounts and TigerTail, I'll upload pics with the two Brute Force 750's next to each other.

LAS VEGAS--Aiming to better compete against a growing list of rivals, Microsoft on Thursday is launching Internet Explorer 8, the latest version of its Web browser.

Click for gallery

IE 8, as the browser is known, was first shown a year ago and has been in testing for months. The new browser adds security improvements, a private browsing option, as well as the ability to save pre-defined "slices" of a Web page for at-a-glance viewing.

But perhaps the biggest change in the browser is one made behind the scenes--the decision to make the browser better adhere to Web standards. That should make life easier for Web developers in the future, but also poses compatibility challenges for sites that are optimized specifically for older versions of IE. In part to address this, Microsoft has a "compatibility" mode that lets Web sites indicate if they would prefer to be run by an engine that is more like older versions of the browser.

As expected, Microsoft is using the Mix 09 conference for Web developers as the launchpad for IE 8.

The release of IE 8 comes as Microsoft has been losing share to leading rival Firefox and also seeing stepped-up competition from Google and Apple, among others. The global market share of Internet Explorer, which was more than 90 percent in 2004, ended last year at just above 70 percent, according to Net Applications.

Both Google and Apple have been touting the performance of their new JavaScript engines, but Microsoft has sought to downplay speed concerns. The company last week released a video it says shows that, in many cases, IE 8 is just as fast as other browsers in loading popular Web sites.

"In most cases the difference could literally be measured by a blink of an eye," said Microsoft Senior Director Amy Barzdukas. "That kind of speed becomes almost a push."

Despite IE's waning share, the European Union has said it is considering sanctioning Microsoft for bundling a Web browser into its operating system in the first place, a move that it says appears to violate its antitrust laws.

As for IE 8, Microsoft will make it available for download beginning at 9 a.m. PDT on Thursday, but will wait a while before it begins to push it to Windows users who have their computers set to get the latest updates automatically.

A version of Internet Explorer 8 will also be built into Windows 7, though it is one of many Windows components that users will be able to turn off if they wish.

As for the future, Microsoft isn't saying much about its browser plans, but corporate vice president Mike Nash did seek to quash speculation that IE 8 will be the end of the road.

"I can't say what it will be called," he said of the next version of the browser. "But we're not done."

Kawasaki Brute Force 750 Camo: Base price: $8549



Brute Force® 750 4x4i (Camo)
Specifications

Engine Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin
Valve system SOHC, four valves per cylinder
Displacement 749cc
Starting system Electric
Bore x stroke 85 x 66mm
Compression ratio 8.8:1
Fuel System Digital Fuel Injection; (2) 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies
Carburetion (2) Keihin CVKR-34
Ignition TCBI with digital advance
Transmission Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse, and Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
Final drive Selectable four-wheel drive with Variable Front Differential Control, shaft
Frame Double-cradle, high-tensile tubular steel
Front suspension / wheel travel Dual A-arm / 6.7 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel Fully Independent, dual A-arm / 7.9 in.
Front tires AT25x8-12
Rear tires AT25x10-12
Front brakes Dual hydraulic 200mm discs with 2-piston calipers
Rear brake Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc
Overall length 86.4 in.
Overall width 45.9 in.
Overall height 48.5 in.
Wheelbase 50.6 in.
Ground clearance 9.7 in.
Seat height 35.6 in.
Lighting (4) 40W headlights, 5W taillight, 21W stoplight
Rack capacity, front / rear 88 / 176 lbs.
Towing capacity 1,250 lbs.
Curb weight 652.7 lbs.
Fuel capacity 5.0 gal.
Instruments Speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, clock, hour meter, fuel gauge, 2x4/4x4 indicator, neutral indicator, reverse indicator, low fuel warning light, low oil warning light
Color choices Realtree® Hardwoods Green HD®
Good Times™ Protection Plan 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Warranty 12 Months




As an update to: Military Surplus ammo:

Yesterday morning, the Department of Defense informed NRA-ILA that fired military small arms cartridge cases are once again eligible for sale, following a temporary suspension in such sales instituted last week. NRA-ILA began discussions with DoD shortly after the suspension took effect, and we were assured from the beginning that efforts were underway to resolve the issue favorably.

Yesterday afternoon, DoD additionally confirmed the lifting of the suspension to pro-Second Amendment United States Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who sent the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) a joint letter vigorously opposing the suspension, on the grounds that it had "an impact on small businesses who sell reloaded ammunition utilizing these fired casings, and upon individual gun owners who purchase spent military brass at considerable cost savings for their personal use."

Everyone who would have been impacted by the suspension, had it become permanent, owes thanks to Senator Baucus for his leadership on this issue, as well as to Sen. Tester and U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who also weighed in strongly on behalf of gun owners and the suppliers from whom they obtain ammunition reloaded with surplus military brass.

In announcing that the suspension has been lifted, DoD also made clear that no cartridge cases that, in the absence of the suspension, would have been sold for reloading purposes were destroyed while the suspension was in effect. Such cases were instead protected by DoD during the suspension, and are again eligible for sale. With ammunition currently in short supply, that was welcome news, to be sure.

DLA also put to rest various theories and rumors that were circulated on the internet, concerning the reason for the suspension. As DLA explained to Senators Baucus and Tester, and to NRA-ILA, DoD officials responsible for the demilitarization of military property temporarily halted the release of the cartridge cases last week, pending review of a policy change issued last year by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which, in the interest of national security, halted the sale of items within a broad category of government property including, but not limited to, surplus small arms cartridge cases.

To make cartridge cases eligible for sale once again, DoD demilitarization officials verified that the cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for use within the United States, and then executed the recategorization. Whereas during the brief suspension, fired cartridge cases would have been releaseable only if the purchaser crushed or smelted them, now the cases may be sold as before, intact and reloadable.

DoD also assured NRA-ILA that companies previously authorized to purchase cartridge cases under Trade Security Controls need no further vetting at this time, and are eligible to resume purchasing cases under the policy adopted yesterday.

In sum, a problem that could have had serious repercussions for the remanufactured ammunition industry and the countless gun owners who support it, appears to have been resolved quickly.

EXCLUSIVE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigration laws, as currently practiced, is "un-American."

The speaker, condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, referred to the immigrants she was addressing as "very, very patriotic."

"Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families?" Pelosi told a mostly Hispanic gathering at St. Anthony's Church in San Francisco.

Video: Click here to view the video of Pelosi speaking.

"It must be stopped....What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American."

Pelosi said she was invited to the church by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., as part of his 17-city, cross-country tour called United Families, which he says is intended to put a human face on the immigration debate.

"We think that families are the cornerstone of our society and our nation, and an immigration system should preserve those families, not destroy them," Gutierrez told FOX News Capitol Hill Producer Chad Pergram on Tuesday.

The congressman is collecting petitions that ask President Obama to "stop the immigration raids and deportations that are tearing our marriages, families and children apart." He is expected to present those petitions when Hispanic members of Congress meet with the President Wednesday.

Click here for more video from FOX News.

On Saturday night, Pelosi joined Gutierrez before a cheering crowd at St. Anthony's chanting, "Si se puede," or "Yes we can."

Referring to work site enforcement actions by ICE agents, Pelosi said, "We have to have a change in policy and practice and again ... I can't say enough, the raids must end. The raids must end.

"You are special people. You're here on a Saturday night to take responsibility for our country's future. That makes you very, very patriotic."

"I was embarrassed by what she said," said Rick Oltman, with Californians for Population Stabilization, an anti-illegal immigrant group. "Exhorting illegal aliens for taking responsibility for our country's future.... In fact, sitting there in the audience.... I really resented that comment."

"I think it was pandering to the crowd but also insulting to American citizens who consider themselves to be patriotic, who obey the rule of law," said Oltman, who shot a video of the rally.

President Obama, after an uproar by veterans groups, has scrapped a plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in service.

"In considering the third-party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday in a written statement. "However, the president listened to concerns raised by the [veteran service organizations] that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans' and their families' ability to access health care.

"Therefore, the president has instructed that its consideration be dropped," Gibbs said.

Obama met with 11 veterans service organizations on Monday and explained his plan to increase funding for Veterans Affairs by $25 billion over five years and bring more than 500,000 eligible veterans of modest income into the VA health care system by 2013.

But the American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, said the president's plan would have increased premiums, made insurance unaffordable for veterans and imposed a massive hardship on military families. It could have also prevented small businesses from hiring veterans who have large health care needs, the group said.

The American Legion applauded Obama's decision to drop the plan on Wednesday.

"We are glad that President Obama listened to the strong objections raised by The American Legion and veterans everywhere about this unfair plan," Cmdr. David K. Rehbein of the American Legion said. "We thank the administration for its proposed increase in the VA budget and we are always available to assist by providing guidance to ensure a veterans health are system that is worthy of the heroes that use it."

The American Legion wants the existing system to remain in place. Service-related injuries currently are treated and paid for by the government. The American Legion has proposed that Medicare reimburse the VA for the treatment of veterans.

It's that time again. Time to purchase a new ATV and hand-down the old faithful 2005 to my youngest son as a birthday gift.

Specifications required for my new machine:

- 2009
- 750i
- Camo
- 2.5/3.5 Warn Winch
- Heated grips & throttle
Logan2.jpgI've gotten some pricing from local dealers, with the most helpful and cooperative being White Knuckle out of Springville (40 miles south of me).

If you know any dealers that are willing to deal and give me a great price, let me know.



WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Wednesday that over the next two years, he would all but eliminate an unpopular practice that has prevented thousands of active duty soldiers and reservists from leaving military service on time if they were scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

More than 13,000 Army personnel remain unable to exit from military service under the policy, in place since 2004, and known as "stop-loss." Mr. Gates said the practice was "breaking faith" with those in uniform, and announced a timetable that would cut the numbers affected in half by next June, and virtually eliminate them by March 2011.

He revealed his decision on the evening of the sixth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, where more than 140,000 American troops are still deployed.

Mr. Gates cautioned that "scores," but not thousands, of Army personnel might continue to be affected by the policy if they had skills that were particularly important to the war effort. He said retroactive pay benefits would be awarded those who fell under the policy.

Mr. Gates also announced personnel decisions to assure continuity for the Obama administration. The defense secretary said he had recommended to the president that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and the vice chairman, Gen. James Cartwright, be re-appointed to a second two-year term in their posts.

At its core, the stop-loss policy meant that all troops headed to Iraq and Afghanistan would remain in service throughout their unit's deployment -- even if the time on an individual soldier's enlistment contract expired before the deployment ended. It also prevented the movement of soldiers who wished to remain in service but had intended to change positions within the military or attend a military school.

The Army said the rule was required not just to sustain the numbers necessary to carry out two wars, but to maintain continuity in leadership and cohesion within units that trained for and then were deploying to war.

Bored beer drinker (Dominos)

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Organic Grocer Puts Leases of 19 closed Wild Oats, 12 Open Wild Oats, and One Open Whole Foods Store Up For Sale


As part of its ongoing battle with the Federal Trade Commission regarding its 2007 purchase of Wild Oats Markets, Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI) recently appointed a third party trustee to market for sale the leases and related assets (excluding inventory) for 19 non-operating Wild Oats stores, the leases and related fixed assets (excluding inventory) for 12 currently operating Wild Oats stores, as well as one currently operating Whole Foods Market store. In addition, it has put Wild Oats' registered trademarks and intellectual property up for sale.

The 13 currently operating stores put up for sale are located at 7133 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ; 8688 E. Raintree Dr., Scottsdale, AZ; 2584 Baseline Rd., Boulder, CO; 1651 Broadway St., Boulder, CO; 3180 New Center Pt., Colorado Springs, CO; 5910 S. University Blvd., Littleton, CO; 9229 N Sheridan Blvd., Westminster, CO; 340 N. Main St., West Hartford, CT; 4301 Main St., Kansas City, MO; 1090 St. Francis Dr., Santa Fe, NM; 7250 W. Lake Mead Blvd., Las Vegas, NV; 19440 N.W. Cornell Rd., Hillsboro, OR; and 6930 S. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, UT.

The 19 already-closed stores being marketed for sale are located at 5350 W. Bell Rd., Glendale, AZ; 1422 N. Cooper Rd., Gilbert, AZ; 874 E. Warner Rd., Gilbert, AZ; 9028 W. Union Hills, Peoria, AZ; 13823 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ; 15569 W. Bell Rd., Surprise, AZ; 200 W. Foothills Pkwy., Fort Collins, CO; 8194 S. Kipling Pkwy., Littleton, CO; 6424 Naples Blvd., Naples, FL; 4600 Shelbyville Rd., St. Matthews, KY; 87 Marginal Way, Portland, ME; 8819-8833 Ladue Rd., St. Louis, MO; 7831 Dodge St., Omaha, NE; 517 N. Stephanie St., Henderson, NV; 4879 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV; 5695 S. Virginia St., Reno, NV; 2077 N.E. Burnside St., Portland, OR; 17711 Jean Way, Lake Oswego, OR; and 3736 W. Center Park Dr., West Jordan, UT.

The deteriorating economy has drastically altered plans for a Canadian co-operative to buy 80 percent of Sportsman's Warehouse, a Midvale-based outdoors company.

Instead, Sportsman's Warehouse is closing 23 stores in 17 states and selling 15 other stores in the northern United States to UFA Co-operative Ltd., based in Calgary.

While its four Utah stores - in Midvale, Provo, St. George and Riverdale - will remain open, about 150 Utah employees are among 2,000 people losing jobs companywide.

And the blood-letting might not be over.

"I need to find a new bank, and a new credit line, and I probably need to identify a new equity source of about $30 million, and I need to do it in a short time," Sportsman's Warehouse Chairman Stuart Utgaard said Wednesday.

"It's a terrible time and a terrible situation," he added. "Let's just say we didn't get our share of the bailout money."

Utgaard said the store closures and sales will reduce company debt by more than $100 million. He expressed hope those two actions will allow Sportsman's Warehouse to "go forward as a viable entity" with 2,300 employees at 29 remaining stores.

But he was far from certain about that Wednesday, saying he was "trying to salvage things from the past four months when UFA had control of our company."

In November, the cooperative started in 1909 by Canadian farmers announced plans to buy a majority interest in Sportsman's Warehouse. UFA already had made an investment in the Midvale company and hoped to complete the purchase by now. But because of "the continuing deterioration of the North American economy," UFA spokeswoman Natalie Dawes said, "UFA has decided not to pursue the acquisition under the original terms."

For Sportsman's Warehouse, Utgaard said that meant "UFA failed to complete their equity infusion, missing three closing dates." Meanwhile, banks stopped lending money, suppliers stopped shipping goods and company inventories - the basis for obtaining credit - shrunk by $120 million.

"Today we find ourselves in a very difficult spot," he added. "It breaks our hearts to lay these people off because they all have mortgage and rent payments, car payments and have to buy groceries."

UFA President Dallas Thorsteinson said the co-operative is taking possession of the 15 Sportsman's Warehouse stores in exchange for its original loan. The outlets in Washington, Oregon, northern Idaho, Montana and North Dakota "align nicely with our western Canadian geography and distribution routes.

"We cannot predict the future for Sportsman's Warehouse," he added, "but we are certain the acquisition of these specific locations is good news for the growth and sustainability of UFA."


Salt Lake City Marathon

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As of yesterday, my 10 year old (Nick) and my 14 year old niece (Megan) have started to train-up for this years Salt Lake City Marathon.

We didn't get to run this one last year, but have the four years prior.

As I get older, it gets more difficult to push my 215 pounds across the pavement while trying to keep pace with 10 and 14 year olds.

The course map is the same as last year: All_events_08.pdf

DCP_0926.JPG



The Shootist

AND SO IT BEGINS...

We all wondered when it was going to start--when the new administration would make their move against us as gun owners.

Oh, everyone got upset about HR45--I'll bet I got over 100 e-mails warning me about this draconian gun registration bill that had been introduced in Congress.

I was really glad to see Tom Gresham, host of "Gun Talk Radio," an editor, writer, television host on "Self-Defense TV," and one of the foremost gun spokespersons, come out and tell everyone to stop worrying about legislation so absolutely over-the-top--it would never get out of committee.

Tom said save your energy for when we really need it--don't expend it trying to warn everyone in your e-mail list about legislation that would go nowhere.

Now, Tom just interviewed me, and Larry Haynie, owner of Georgia Arms (http://www.georgia-arms.com/), on Gun Talk (http://www.guntalk.com/)--and Tom agrees, now is the time to "...unleash the hounds..." by which he means start e-mailing and writing your senators and congressmen.

Now it has come clear...now we know what they intend to do.

It is an end-run around Congress. They don't need to try to ban guns--they don't need to fight a massive battle to attempt gun registration, or limit "assault" weapon sales.

Nope. All they have to do is limit the amount of ammunition available to the civilian market, and when bullets dry up, guns will be useless.

Think we jest?

Here are copies of two letters sent to Georgia Arms just Thursday evening--effectively cancelling a contract he had to purchase 30,000 pounds of expended military brass in .223, 7.62mm, and .50 caliber:


Dear Valued Customer:

Please take a moment to note important changes set forth by the Defense Logistics Agency:

Recently it has been determined that fired munitions of all calibers, shapes and sizes have been designated to be Demil code B. As a result and in conjunction with DLA's current Demil code B policy, this notice will serve as official notification which requires Scrap Venture (SV) to implement mutilation as a condition of sale for all sales of fired munitions effective immediately. This notice also requires SV to immediately cease delivery of any fired munitions that have been recently sold or on active term contracts, unless the material has been mutilated prior to sale or SV personnel can attest to the mutilation after delivery. A certificate of destruction is required in either case.

Thank you,

DOD Surplus
15051 N Kierland Blvd # 300
Scottsdale, AZ 85254



March 12, 2009

Larry Haynie
Georgia Arms
PO Box 238
Villa Rica, GA 30180

Re: Event 7084-6200:

Dear Larry Haynie,

Effective immediately DOD Surplus, LLC, will be implementing new requirements for mutilation of fired shell casings. The new DRMS requirement calls for DOD Surplus personnel to witness the mutilation of the property and sign the Certificate of Destruction. Mutilation of the property can be done at the DRMO, if permitted by the Government, or it may be mutilated at a site chosen by the buyer. Mutilation means that the property will be destroyed to the extent prevents its reuse or reconstruction. DOD Surplus personnel will determine when property has been sufficiently mutilated to meet the requirements of the Government.

If you do not agree with the new conditions of your spot sale, please sign the appropriate box provided below stating that you do not agree to the new terms and would like to cancel your purchase effective immediately. If you do agree to the new terms please sign in the appropriate box provided below to acknowledge your understanding and agreement with the new requirements relating to your purchase. Fax the signed document back to (480) 367-1450, emailed responses are not acceptable.

Please respond to this request no later than close of business Monday, March 16th, 2009.

Sincerely,

Government Liquidation.



Got that? From now on, remanufacturers of military brass will not be able to buy surplus brass from DOD--actually from Government Liquidators, llc.--the corporation that sells surplus materials for the U.S. government. At least, not in any form recognizable as once-fired brass ammunition.

Now all brass ammunition will have to be shredded, and sold as scrap.

Georgia Arms, who brought this to our attention, is the 5th largest ammunition manufacturer of centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition in the U.S.

"We're right up there behind Hornady," Larry Haynie told me.

He also told me with the cancellation of his contract to purchase this brass, and the ending of his ability to purchase any more expended military ammunition, he will have to severely curtail his operation--laying off approximately half his 60-person work force.

Haynie further pointed out this move is a stupendous waste of taxpayer money--reducing the worth of the brass some 80%--from casings, to shredded bulk brass.

He stated most of this will now go to foundries where it will be melted down, cast in shippable forms, and likely be sold to China, one of the largest purchasers of U.S. metals on the open market.

Haynie was manufacturing over 1 million rounds of .223 ammunition every month, which he sold on the civilian market to resellers, and to law enforcement agencies across the country.

He will start tomorrow sending cancellations of orders for .223 to law enforcement agencies all over the country.

You can expect this to affect every bullet you purchase in the future--with no reloaded ammunition available, the already strained new manufacturers will be unable to meet demand. They are already turning out everything they can build for the military market. The civilian market is stressed to the point even reloading components have become hard to find.

Now, with this hit, ammunition prices will go through the roof in the next year.

Your quality piece, sitting in your gun rack, will become a very expensive wood and steel, or plastic and steel club.

What can you do?

Google "contact members of Congress" or simply type in http://www.congress.org/.
When you reach that site, type in your zip code--it will give you all your representatives, senators, and their web pages.

Or you can find the addresses and e-mails of your own senators and congressmen by going to http://www.senate.gov/ and http://www.house.gov/. Both pages have locator aids at the top of the page.

Here is a letter I just sent to Representative Bill Cassidy, Congressman from the 6th District of Louisiana, and Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. I will be sending it to every member of our congressional delegation. Feel free to copy it and paste in your own e-mail, sending it to your legislators.

We have to stop this now!


The Honorable Bill Cassidy
Member of Congress from Louisiana

Dear Congressman Cassidy:

It has come to my attention that the Department of Defense has issued a directive that all expended military brass (fired cases) will now be shredded and sold for scrap material, rather than resold by Government Liquidators LLC to the civilian market for remanufacture.

You may not be aware of it, but there is a severe shortage of ammunition available for sale to the public across the country, causing problems for shooters, hunters, and reloaders everywhere.

Now, apparently the Obama administration, realizing they cannot move against private firearms ownership since the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Washington D.C./Heller case, has made their move in another way.

By cutting off the resale of expended military ammunition to remanufacturers, they have put a stranglehold on the nation's ammunition supply.

Further, they have reduced the return to the government on expended brass by 80%. What was sold for remanufacturer at a fair return to the government, will now cost the taxpayers untold sums of money as the cost of scrap brass is far below the price per pound for expended military ammunition.

In addition, the use of remanufactured ammunition is a huge asset to law enforcement agencies across the country who buy millions of rounds of reloaded ammunition a year from these manufacturers for practice rounds.

With this market gone, law enforcement will no longer be able to purchase inexpensive reloaded ammunition, and with the continuing combat status of military forces across the Middle East, original manufacturers of new ammunition are turning out everything they can make to the government, thus exacerbating the shortage of new ammunition in both the civilian and law enforcement market.

Lastly, in these harsh economic times, does it not strike you as cold and calculating that the Obama administration has no compunction against ruining an industry that employs thousands of American citizens in the remanufacturing of sporting and military ammunition. One major resupplier, Georgia Arms, the fifth largest manufacturer of centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition has informed me he will have to quickly lay off half his 60-person workforce, as he has had to cancel contracts with dozens of police agencies who had contracted with him to supply them with remanufactured .223 ammunition.

Georgia Arms has been practically put out of business by this directive that all expended military brass must be shredded. His current contracts have been canceled, and he is notifying his customers across the country he can no longer supply their ammunition needs.

Please look into this immediately. This move by the Obama administration is nothing but a back-door strike against firearms ownership in this country--if shooters can't buy ammunition, the guns are little better than steel clubs--and this is obviously the intent.

Thank you for your time and efforts in this serious attack against the Second Amendment rights of the American citizenry.

Sincerely,

Gordon Hutchinson


Click here to read more!

A list of thousands of user names and passwords for Comcast customers was removed from document sharing Web site Scribd on Monday, two months after it was posted there.

Scribd removed the list of more than 8,000 passwords and user names after being contacted by Brad Stone at The New York Times. Stone wrote that he was contacted by a Comcast customer who happened across the list after doing a search on his own e-mail address on search engine Pipl.

Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury told The New York Times that the list was probably compiled from phishing or some other related type of attack and not from inside Comcast.

Comcast is freezing the e-mail accounts of customers whose data was exposed and is contacting them, she said.

Half of the items are duplicates, so only about 4,000 customers had information exposed, according to Comcast.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. fighter jets in Iraq have shot down an unmanned Iranian spy drone aircraft, the U.S. military said Monday.

The Iranian aircraft had been flying in Iraqi airspace for 70 minutes before being shot down 60 miles northeast of Baghdad last month, the military said.

"This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians," the U.S. military said in a statement. "The [drone] was in Iraqi airspace for nearly one hour and 10 minutes and well inside Iraqi territory before it was engaged."

Two F-16 fighter jets followed the drone for about an hour before shooting it down, a Pentagon official said.

The drone had no weapons and was strictly a spy aircraft, the official told CNN.

The U.S. military has taken ownership of the drone, which the Pentagon official said is in "pretty good shape."

Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, declined to comment on the allegation and most major state-run media outlets in Iran did not carry news of any incident involving an Iranian drone.

The Bush administration regularly accused Iran of meddling in Iraq and arming fighters, and in 2002 President George W. Bush put Iran in his "axis of evil."

Since President Barack Obama took office he has appeared more conciliatory towards Iran although the country continues to cause U.S. concern over its nuclear ambitions and its role in Iraq.

Geocaching: FTF

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Geocaching for me is an means to an end. Getting to a new location and then hiking, ATV'ing or finding some way into a difficult or not easily accessible area.

When I see a new cache pop up that's off the beaten path, I'm quickly intrigued.

Over a week ago, ejoty placed a cache in my domain (Five Mile Pass) entitled 5 Mile Pass Hilltop Cache that has yet to be found. Why hasn't it been found yet? Because most folks that are in that area can't seem to be bothered to leave the pavement or their vehicle.

I hope to bag his three caches this weekend and gain some great climbing and hiking in during the process, then make an attempt on the high point overlooking Ophir Canyon.

MOSCOW - A top Russian military official has confirmed that the Kremlin is thinking of parking some of its strategic bombers in Cuba or Venezuela, within easy range of the continental United States.

That's just one of several options currently under discussion in Moscow that, if carried out, would see Russia's armed forces take up positions around the world on a scale unseen since the cold war ended almost two decades ago.

Venezuelan President Hugo "Chavez has proposed to us a whole island with an airfield that we can use for temporary basing of strategic bombers," Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, chief of Russia's strategic aviation forces, told journalists on Saturday.

"There are four or five airfields in Cuba with 4,000-meter-long runways, which absolutely suit us," he added. "If the two chiefs of state display such a political will, we are ready to fly there."

In late 2007 Russia resumed its cold war-era bomber patrols along the North American coast, using lumbering 1950s-vintage turboprop Tu-95 Bear bombers as well as a few needle-nosed supersonic Tu-160s, which were introduced in the 1980s.

But Russian generals complain that in the absence of refueling and maintenance facilities in the western hemisphere, the planes are able to remain as little as half an hour on station before beginning the long flight back to their bases in Russia.

As the Monitor reported recently (see story here), two Tu-160s visited Venezuela last September as part of joint war games that included a large flotilla of Russian warships and a visit to the region by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Last week, the two Georgian breakaway statelets of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose de facto independence was established by Russian military intervention against Georgia last summer, offered long-term leases for the construction of Russian military bases on their territory. South Ossetia has offered basing rights to Moscow for 99 years, while Akhazia says it is ready to lease facilities for 49 years. Russian media reports suggest those bases, housing thousands of troops and naval facilities on the Black Sea, are likely to be completed by year`s end.

The two statelets' self-declared independence has been recognized only by Russia and Nicaragua, while Georgia, with the support of most Western countries, insists that it has full sovereignty over the territories under international law.

"Russian troops are the only factor supporting the independence of South Ossetia, which is why they should stay there for a long time," Alexander Khramchikhin, an expert at the independent Institute for Military and Political Analysis, told the Moscow daily Novye Izvestia last week.

And Moscow has recently been in talks with former Soviet allies about re-establishing cold war-era naval bases at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam and Tartus in Syria (see the Monitor's recent story here) as well as taking steps to beef up its own regional security alliance with several countries of the ex-USSR.

But some experts suggest that the noises coming out of Moscow about basing nuclear bombers in Cuba or Venezuela could be just a propaganda gimmick in advance of forthcoming US-Russian negotiations for a new strategic accord (story on treaty discussions here).

"Talking about building Russian bases near the US is a good way to get Washington's attention, and drive home the point that this is exactly what they've been doing to us for years," says Irina Zvigelskaya, an expert with the independent Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Moscow.

She says that Moscow still has an institutional memory of the stinging diplomatic defeat suffered by the USSR in 1962, after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev deployed medium-range nuclear missiles in Cuba, and no one in the Kremlin today is likely to repeat that mistake. But for Moscow, she adds, US intentions to station strategic anti-missile weapons near Russia's borders and the continuing Washington-backed drive to include Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, are seen as similar encroachments on Russia's strategic comfort zone.

"We are hopefully going to see some rethinking of the US-Russian relationship, and so we are positioning our arguments. The talk of basing Russian bombers in Cuba is more of a bargaining ploy than a real plan," Ms. Zvigelskaya says.

Lawmaker: Army fired 11 in Jan. as openly gay


By Anne Flaherty - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Mar 13, 2009 12:40:40 EDT

WASHINGTON -- The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military's policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman.

Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed. In a statement released on Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

"How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?" asked Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending.

The Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was instituted after President Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gay service members in 1993. It refers to the military practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

The military discharged nearly 10,000 service members under the policy in a 10-year period, from 1997 to 2007. The number fired each year dropped sharply after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, when forces were stretched thin. Whereas more than 1,200 were dismissed in 2000 and again in 2001 for violating the policy, about half as many -- 627 -- were fired in 2007.

The Pentagon has not released its 2008 figures.

The White House has said President Barack Obama has begun consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen on how to lift the ban. But the administration won't say how soon that might happen or whether a group of experts will be commissioned to study the issue in-depth, as some Democrats have suggested.

Likewise, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill support repealing the ban but have not promised to press the issue immediately.


A Kentucky man has been charged after allegedly persuading an 11-year-old girl to send nude pictures of herself while they played video games online via their PlayStation 3 consoles, according to reports.

Police have charged Anthony Scott O'Shea, 24, of Somerset, Ky., with promoting child pornography, online solicitation of a minor, and sexual performance of a child, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday. Because the girl lives in the Houston area, O'Shea faces extradition to Texas.

The Chronicle cited court documents stating that O'Shea met the girl while they were playing Warhawk via the PS3's online network late last year. Over several weeks, he persuaded her to send him photos and to perform for him via a Webcam. According to police, he shared the photos with others online. The girl told police the man "kept pressuring her for more pictures and wanted to set up a meeting with her in order to engage in sexual activity," the Chronicle said.

The girl eventually told her parents, who contacted police
At 0800 I awoke to melt the ice coating my 2005 Kawasaki 750i (VTwin) and proceeded straight up the canyon despite the bone chilling low teen temperatures and heavy frozen moisture in the air.

A few photos from the last ride of the weekend and the SPOT waymarks in KML (google earth) format:
paiute_74.kml

A view (from the top) of Marysvale, Utah
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DSCF0055 (Large).JPGAfter having climbed over the downed tree, I continued another ~3 miles
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After several days of great warm sunshine (high 60's, low 70's), I wrapped up my last organized ride Friday afternoon in Kanab, Utah (Hog Canyon) hog_canyon.kml and headed north along US89 toward Marysvale (home of the Paiute trail system).  Upon arrival, temps were mild, but easily 15+ degrees cooler than the Southern half of the state.

I grabbed an awesome prime rib (medium rare) steak from my favorite spot (Hoovers) and setup the RV for the evening.

At 0800 Saturday, I awoke to find the water line to the RV had frozen and my ATV was coated in 1/4" of ice. Got a couple of hot rags to thaw everything out, and proceeded to put first tracks on the Pauite 74 trail.

Most of the 74 trail is still covered in snow. Some areas with just a coating, other areas with over 3 foot of compacted and crusty snow.

I made my way across downed trees and snow that would normally have high centered me. At about the 5 mile mark, the snow was less crusty causing my machine to since below the running boards. Cold doesn't come close to describing the numbing sensation that morning.

A few photos from Friday and Saturday before proceeding home.

View from the mesa overlooking Kanab, Utah and Arizona (Colorado City, etc)

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Navigating the slick rock was challenging:
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First lady at Fort Bragg, NC

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First Lady at Fort Bragg

Supporting military families, she has said, is an issue "close to her heart."

And on her first solo out-of-town trip as first lady, Michelle Obama yesterday went to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where soldiers greeted her with cheers. She talked with troops, posed for pictures and gave hugs, according to a pool report, before a private lunch with 20 relatives of service members and five volunteers who help support soldiers and their families.

The visit to Fort Bragg, her office said, is part of her campaign to meet military spouses and learn about support services that are available to military families.

Obama has said that more national attention must be paid to the plight of military families, and she has made their needs one of her signature issues.

Last week at the women's center at Arlington National Cemetery, Obama said military families have a special strength, noting that military service doesn't stop with the person wearing the uniform.

"They are mothers and fathers who have lost their beloved children to war," Obama said. "They are husbands and wives keeping the family on track while their wives and husbands are deployed, on duty. They are grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers who are taking care of children while single moms or dads in uniform are away."

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She continued: "See, military families have done their duty, and we as a grateful nation must do ours. We must do everything in our power to honor them by supporting them."

Support for military families remains a top issue for President Obama as well as the first lady. During the presidential campaign, Michelle Obama often met with families who, she said, "are left behind when our men and women go off to serve."

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Japan said Friday that it could shoot down the satellite that North Korean officials said they plan to launch.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura says it has the right to shoot down the satellite.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura says it has the right to shoot down the satellite.

"Japan is legally able to shoot down the object to secure safety if it looks like it will fall on to Japan," Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said during a news conference.

North Korea had informed an international organization that it plans to launch a satellite. The announcement has triggered international consternation. U.S. and South Korean officials have long said the North is actually preparing to test-fire a long-range missile under the guise of a satellite launch.

The missile, Taepodong-2, is thought to have an intended range of about 4,200 miles (6,700 kilometers), which -- if true -- could give it the capability of striking Alaska or Hawaii.

A U.N. Security Council resolution in 2006 banned North Korea from conducting ballistic missile testing. Japanese officials said they could shoot down the object whether it is a missile or a satellite.

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"As the U.N. resolutions prohibit (North Korea) from engaging in ballistic missile activities, we still consider it to be a violation of a technical aspect, even if (the North) claims it is a satellite. We will discuss the matter with related countries based on this view," said Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.

Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso added: "No matter what they call it, a satellite or anything, it will violate U.N. Security Council Resolution. We must lodge a stern protest through the U.N. and strongly demand it be called off."
Commentary: This CIO was just appointed about a week ago. The first ever appointed CIO for the federal government. One week after assuming his post, he's investigated by the FBI and found to have some background issues.

-----------

As Vivek Kundra, President Obama's choice for U.S. chief information officer, was speaking about government transparency at the Washington, D.C., convention center on Thursday morning, his former offices a few blocks away were being raided by the FBI.

Until Obama's appointment last week, Kundra was the District of Columbia's chief technology officer. The FBI raid coincided with two arrests as part of a bribery sting--Yusuf Acar, 40, and Sushil Bansal, 41.

An administration official tells our sister news organization, CBS News, that Kundra has taken a leave of absence from his new position as the federal government's CIO until the FBI investigation is sorted out.

At an arraignment in federal court Thursday afternoon, Acar was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, conflict of interest, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. He was ordered to be held without bond until a hearing Tuesday because prosecutors said he posed a flight risk.

Bansal was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, though prosecutors said a plea agreement could possibly be reached in his case. He was released after Thursday's arraignment but ordered not to conduct overseas financial transactions or leave the Washington metropolitan area.

Acar worked for Kundra as an information systems security officer with responsibility for government contracts. A number of requests for bids (PDF) posted on the District's Web site list Acar as "responsible for general administration of the contract" and "responsible for the day-to-day monitoring and supervision of the contract, of ensuring that the work conforms to the requirements of this contract."

Bansal previously worked as a project manager for the D.C. government and then founded a consulting firm called Advanced Integrated Technologies Corporation. AITC is a D.C.-government certified contractor with multiple contracts with the city, including one for "information technology services" worth $10 million.

AITC says that its contracts with the city of Washington, D.C., include technical support and network administration for the DMV's driver licensing system and that the city purchased McAfee anti-spyware licenses from AITC.

The FBI affidavit in support of their arrest said Acar and Bansal conspired to defraud the District of Columbia Government and commit bribery through a variety of schemes. In one such alleged scheme, a vendor such as AITC would bill the D.C. government for a higher number of goods than it would provide. A CTO official like Acar would allegedly falsely certify that the greater quantity was actually received, so the vendor would be paid more than necessary and the co-conspirators could split the proceeds.

Kundra's speech at the FOSE 2009 summit on Thursday focused on government transparency. He said: "We also want to tap into the ingenuity of the American people, lowering the cost of government operations, engaging citizens, and radical transparency ultimately pulls the citizens of the United States closer to the government."

"Imagine the vast depository of information the federal government has and what people could do if they had access to it--how it could change the engagement model and help create a more perfect union," he said.

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's office were not immediately available for comment. Kundra's last day in the District government was March 4.

During the FBI raid, most of the employees were told to go home, with others segregated into a waiting room, according to a report by WTOP radio.

Update 11:22 a.m. PDT: Kundra is not a target of the investigation, a spokeswoman for Washington's mayor said, according to Reuters. The U.S. Attorney's office has told us to expect more information soon.

Update 2:55 p.m. PDT: More information added from FBI affidavit.

Update 4:43 p.m. PDT: Added information about Kundra taking a leave of absence.


low_mountain.kml

Today was our first organized ride. We drove about 30 minutes south and just over the border into Arizona. Took the Black Rock Road exit and unloaded our machines.

At 0900, the temperature was still a bit on the chilly side. We were told to expect snow, mud, slush and much dust; we got all of them!

A few photos from todays ride:DSCF0019 (Medium).JPGDSCF0017 (Medium).JPG


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All rides are signed up for. At 0830 on Thursday morning, we depart for an "advanced ride" along the Virgin river on the border of Arizona & Utah. It's supposed to be scenic and easy to access driving the 31' RV and trailer.

So far, other than 3 or so others, I appear to be amongst the youngest of the participants. At age 40, it's very odd to be "one of the youngest". Although I came here to get GPSr coordinates for trail heads, its going to be odd riding among these somewhat older folks. I only hope the experience they have riding will equate to great/rugged rides and not some slow poke flat trail rides. The photos will tell the tale on Thursday evening.

On an unrelated note, this outing is the first test of the wireless Internet and Satellite TV setup in the motorhome. Thus far, it's working out great. I can surf the net, and watch Survivorman at the same time!


hurricane7 (Medium).jpgAfter driving 40 miles (round trip), I found a truck/RV wash and got the RV cleaned ($38). Although it was expensive, washing all that salt off proved helpful in seeing through the windows and mirrors on the drive back.

I'm signed up for 2 sanctioned rides (Thurs & Fri) and one double secret club ride on Saturday.

A few updated photos from the staging area:




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If indeed this is accurate, it can only be described as zealot-like political correctness that prevents authorities from cleaning these people up! 35+ known compounds?






11 killed in Alabama slayings

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GENEVA, Alabama (CNN) -- Authorities in a southern Alabama community are trying to determine what caused a man to open fire on family members and apparent strangers on Tuesday, killing 10 people, before turning the gun on himself.

"I don't think anybody has any idea of what the motive is," said Clay King, mayor of Samson, Alabama, where some of the shootings took place. "The whole community is still in shock."

King -- who spoke to CNN's "American Morning" -- said he knew the shooter, Michael McLendon, and all of the victims.

"I coached him in both T-ball and Little League Baseball along with my two sons," he said of the shooter.

By the time McLendon ended his rampage, he had fatally shot his mother and set fire to her house, and killed his grandparents, his aunt and uncle, the wife and child of a sheriff's deputy, and three other people, according to King and the coroners of the two counties where the shootings occurred.

"He was shooting at just ordinary people going about their business," said Alabama state Sen. Harri Anne Smith.

Smith represents Geneva County, where all but one of the victims were killed. Smith said she had been briefed about the incident by state and local law enforcement. Video Watch CNN's Sean Callebs say who was shot first »

By early Wednesday, authorities were still trying to piece together the chronology of events and the motive for McLendon's actions.

Though they have identified all the victims, they withheld releasing their names until they could notify family members.

The shooting started about 4 p.m. at a house that McLendon shared with his mother, Lisa, in the town of Kinston, near the Florida border in Coffee County.

A passerby found the house on fire and alerted authorities. Inside, firefighters found the bodies of Lisa McLendon and four dogs, said county Coroner Robert Preachers.

The mother had been shot, he said.

The gunman then went east into Geneva County. There, he shot his grandfather, grandmother, uncle and aunt as they sat on a porch in the nearby town of Samson, said Geneva Coroner Max Motley.

The wife of a sheriff's deputy who lived in a house across the street was also killed, along with her toddler, Motley said. Both were shot.

A second child was airlifted to a hospital in Florida in critical condition, authorities said.

"I can't describe what happened, why it happened," Geneva County Sheriff Greg Ward told CNN affiliate WTVY. "It's just a sad day for Geneva County." Video Watch Sheriff Ward talk about the shootings »

McLendon, armed with a semiautomatic weapon, allegedly also fatally shot a man who lived in a mobile home in his family members' yard, Motley said.

At some point, the gunman headed down state Highway 52, firing at least seven bullets into a state trooper's car. The trooper suffered minor injuries from shattered glass. Video Watch the aftermath of the shooting spree »

The final two victims were a woman killed at a Big-Little Store service station off the highway and a man outside the Samson Pipe and Supply store. Both victims were apparently shot at random, authorities said.

The gunman ended up at the Reliable Metal Products plant in Geneva, where police rammed his vehicle, forcing him to get out. He fired a 30-round burst with what appeared to be an M16 rifle, grazing Police Chief Frankie Lindsey with a bullet. Video Watch a timeline of the shootings »

"Then the subject entered the business. Within minutes, shots were heard. ... Law enforcement officers found him dead," state police Cpl. Steve Jarrett said.

The manufacturing plant is 12 miles from his mother's house.

Sheriff's officials say the gunman was a former employee of Reliable Metal, CNN affiliate WEAR-TV reported.

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Col. Christopher Murphy, head of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, called the southern Alabama rampage "the worst that DPS has a memory of." Video Watch CNN's Anderson Cooper talk about the investigation »

Another mass killing occurred in southern Alabama in 2002, when Westley Devon Harris gunned down six members of his 16-year-old girlfriend's family at their farm in Luverne. Harris was convicted and sentenced to death in 2005.

BERLIN, March 11 -- A gunman dressed in black combat fatigues burst into a German high school Wednesday morning and launched a shooting rampage, killing 13 people before fleeing, authorities said.

Authorities said the 17-year-old suspect was fatally shot after commandeering a vehicle the city of Willenden and driving about 50 kilometers to another town, where he left the vehicle in the parking lot of a car dealership and killed two more people.

He then exchanged gunfire with police, injuring two officers, police said. It was not immediately clear whether the gunman was shot by police during that exchange or took his own life.

"He left the lot and was met by the police in an open area, near the dealership," said Fritz Mehl, a spokesman for the local police force. "Shots were exchanged. Two police officers were injured. The suspect was killed."

Wire services reported that State Interior Minister Heribert Rech said three teachers were among the dead. Police said 10 students were killed.

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The gunman entered the secondary school building, where about 1,000 students ages 10 to 16 are enrolled, and began firing randomly about 9:30 a.m., police said.

Witnesses said students jumped from the windows of the school building after the gunman opened fire, wire services reported. Concerned parents quickly swarmed around the school, which was evacuated during the incident.

"He went into the school with a weapon and carried out a bloodbath," regional police chief Erwin Hetger told the Associated Press. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."

The gunman escaped the school and headed toward the Willenden city center, police said. Helicopters blanketed the area as authorities tried to pinpoint his location. Police evacuated the school and warned residents to exercise caution.

Television pictures showed dozens of heavily-armed black-clad SWAT teams entering the two-story white school building.

"Police are coming through the whole time. They're obviously looking all over town for him," Roberto Seifert, who works at a company located next to the school, told Reuters. "We've never had anything like this."

About 25,000 people live in Willenden, located in the state of Baden-Wuerttemburg, north of the Black Forest region in southwestern Germany.

Firearms are tightly regulated in Germany, but the country has been afflicted by other mass, lone-gunman shootings in the past several years.

In 2006, an 18-year-old student carrying explosives and rifles injured dozens of people in the northwestern German town of Emsdetten before killing himself. In 2002, a 19-year-old former student fatally shot 16 people at a high school in Erfurt, in eastern Germany, before taking his own life.

After driving 7 hours through the snow, slush and salted roads, I've finally arrived in Hurricane, Utah. While at home, temperatures are easily 27F and snow packed, down here it's high 60's and very sunny.

I'm a full day early to arrive, but this will just give me more time to review the trail maps for the rides that commence Wed. morning.

Today's agenda first and foremost is to wash the salt and road dirt off the vehicles (RV & ATV) to minimize any corrosion. As you can see in the photo, the RV is pretty dirty from the 7 hour drive down through snow, slush, salt and road mess.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon said Monday that Chinese ships harassed a U.S. surveillance ship Sunday in the South China Sea in the latest of several instances of "increasingly aggressive conduct" in the past week.

The Pentagon says the USNS Impeccable, a surveillance ship, was on routine patrol in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon says the USNS Impeccable, a surveillance ship, was on routine patrol in the South China Sea.

During the incident, five Chinese vessels "shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to USNS Impeccable, in an apparent coordinated effort to harass the U.S. ocean surveillance ship while it was conducting routine operations in international waters," the Pentagon said in a written statement.

The crew members aboard the vessels, two of which were within 50 feet, waved Chinese flags and told the U.S. ship to leave the area, the statement said.

"Because the vessels' intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself," the statement said. "The Chinese crewmembers disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet."

After the Impeccable alerted the Chinese ships "in a friendly manner" that it was seeking a safe path to depart the area, two of the Chinese ships stopped "directly ahead of USNS Impeccable, forcing Impeccable to conduct an emergency 'all stop' in order to avoid collision," the statement said.

"They dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable's path."

A Pentagon spokesman called the incident "one of the most aggressive actions we've seen in some time. We will certainly let Chinese officials know of our displeasure at this reckless and dangerous maneuver."

He said the Chinese crew members used poles to try to snag the Impeccable's acoustic equipment in the water.

The Impeccable's crew is composed primarily of civilians, and the ship itself is not armed, the spokesman said.

No one at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing answered CNN's telephone calls seeking comment, and there were no stories about the incident in Chinese media.

The 281.5-foot Impeccable is one of six surveillance ships that perform military survey operations, according to the Navy. It is an oceanographic ship that gathers underwater acoustic data, using sonar.

It has a maximum speed of 13 knots -- or about 15 mph -- but it travels 3 knots, or 3.5 mph, when towing its array of monitoring equipment. It carries a crew of 20 mariners, five technicians and as many as 20 Navy personnel.

The Chinese ships involved were a Navy intelligence collection ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries Patrol Vessel, a State Oceanographic Administration patrol vessel, and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers, the statement said.

The Pentagon cited three previous instances of what it described as harassment, the first of which occurred Wednesday, when a Chinese Bureau of Fisheries Patrol vessel used a spotlight to illuminate the the ocean surveillance ship USNS Victorious.

In the incident, which occurred about 125 miles from China's coast in the Yellow Sea, the Chinese ship "crossed Victorious' bow at a range of about 1,400 yards" in darkness without notice or warning. The following day, a Chinese Y-12 maritime surveillance aircraft conducted 12 fly-bys of Victorious at an altitude of about 400 feet and a range of 500 yards.

The next day, a Chinese frigate approached Impeccable "and proceeded to cross its bow at a range of approximately 100 yards," which was followed less than two hours later by a Chinese Y-12 aircraft conducting 11 fly-bys of Impeccable at an altitude of 600 feet and a range of 100 to 300 feet, the statement said.

"The frigate then crossed Impeccable's bow yet again, this time at a range of approximately 400-500 yards without rendering courtesy or notice of her intentions."

And on Saturday, a Chinese intelligence collection ship challenged Impeccable over bridge-to-bridge radio, "calling her operations illegal and directing Impeccable to leave the area or 'suffer the consequences,' " the statement said.

(CNN) -- A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house, according to local media reports.

According to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Watan, troubles for the woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, began last year when a member of the religious police entered her house in the city of Al-Chamli and found her with two unrelated men, "Fahd" and "Hadian."

Fahd told the policeman that he had the right to be there, because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam, according to Al-Watan. Fahd, 24, added that his friend Hadian was escorting him as he delivered bread for the elderly woman. The policeman then arrested both men.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism and punishes unrelated men and women who are caught mingling.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, feared by many Saudis, is made up of several thousand religious policemen charged with duties such as enforcing dress codes, prayer times and segregation of the sexes. Under Saudi law, women face many restrictions, including a strict dress code and a ban on driving. Women also need to have a man's permission to travel.

Al Watan obtained the court's verdict and reported that it was partly based on the testimony of the religious police. In his ruling, the judge said it had been proved that Fahd is not the Sawadi's son through breastfeeding.

The court also doled out punishment to the two men. Fahd was sentenced to four months in prison and 40 lashes; Hadian was sentenced to six months in prison and 60 lashes. In a phone call with Al Watan, the judge declined to comment and suggested the newspaper review the case with the Ministry of Justice.

Sawadi told the newspaper that she will appeal, adding that Fahd is indeed her son through breastfeeding.

The case has sparked anger in Saudi Arabia.

"It's made everybody angry because this is like a grandmother," Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huwaider told CNN. "Forty lashes -- how can she handle that pain? You cannot justify it."

This is not the first Saudi court case to cause controversy.

In 2007, a 19-year-old gang-rape victim in the Saudi city of Qatif was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison for meeting with an unrelated male. The seven rapists, who had abducted the woman and man, received sentences ranging from 10 months to five years in prison. The case sparked international outrage and Saudi King Abdullah subsequently pardoned the "Qatif Girl" and the unrelated male.

Many Saudis are hopeful that the Ministry of Justice will be reformed. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz announced in February a major Cabinet reshuffling in which many hard-line conservatives, including the head of the commission, were dismissed and replaced with younger, more moderate members.

The new appointments represented the largest shakeup since King Abdullah took power in 2005 and were welcomed in Saudi Arabia as progressive moves on the part of the king, whom many see as a reformer. Among ministers who've been replaced is the minister of justice.

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The actions of the religious police have come under increased scrutiny in Saudi Arabia recently, as more and more Saudis urge that the commission's powers be limited. Last week, the religious police detained two male novelists for questioning after they tried to get the autograph of a female writer, Halima Muzfar, at a book fair in Riyadh, the capital of the kingdom.

"This is the problem with the religious police," added Al-Huwaider, "watching people and thinking they're bad all the time. It has nothing to do with religion. It's all about control. And the more you spread fear among people, the more you control them. It's giving a bad reputation to the country."

North Korean threatens war!

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Fox News

SEOUL, South Korea --  North Korea put its armed forces on standby Monday and threatened "a war" if anyone tries to shoot down what regional powers suspect is an imminent test-firing of a long-range missile.

Pyongyang also cut off a military hot line with the South, causing a complete shutdown of their border and stranding hundreds of South Koreans working in an industrial zone in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

Monday's warning -- the latest barrage of threats from the communist regime -- came as U.S. and South Korean troops kicked off annual war games across the South, exercises the North has condemned as preparation for an invasion. Pyongyang last week threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace during the drills.

nalysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama's attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.

The North also indicated it was pushing ahead with plans to send a communications satellite into space, a provocative launch neighboring governments believe could be a cover for a long-range missile capable of reaching Alaska.

U.S. and Japanese officials have suggested they could shoot down a North Korean missile if necessary, further incensing Pyongyang.

"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," the general staff of the North's military said in a statement carried Monday by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Any interception will draw "a just retaliatory strike operation not only against all the interceptor means involved but against the strongholds" of the U.S., Japan and South Korea, it said.

The North has ordered military personnel "fully combat ready," KCNA said in a separate dispatch.

Obama's special envoy on North Korea again urged Pyongyang not to fire a missile, which he said would be an "extremely ill-advised" move.

"Whether they describe it as a satellite launch or something else makes no difference" since both would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the North from ballistic activity, Stephen Bosworth told reporters after talks with his South Korean counterpart.

South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae downplayed the North's threats as "rhetoric" but said the country's military was ready to deal with any contingencies.

Analysts say a satellite or missile launch could occur late this month or in early April when the North's new legislature, elected Sunday, is expected to convene its first session to confirm Kim Jong Il as leader.

Ties between the two Koreas have plunged since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office a year ago halting aid unless the North fulfills an international promise to dismantle its nuclear program.

In retaliation, North Korea suspended the reconciliation process and key joint projects with Seoul, and has stepped up the stream of belligerence toward the South.

Severing the military hot line for the duration of the 12-day joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises leaves the two Koreas without any means of communication at a time of heightened tensions.

The two Koreas use the hot line to exchange information about goods and people crossing into Kaesong. Its suspension halted traffic and stranded about 570 South Koreans who were working in Kaesong.

About 80 had planned to return to the South on Monday but were stuck there overnight since they cannot travel after nightfall. Earlier, some 700 South Koreans who intended to go to Kaesong on Monday were unable to cross the border, the Unification Ministry said.

All South Koreans in Kaesong are safe, the ministry said as it called on Pyongyang to restore the hot line immediately.

The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war since their three-year conflict ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, in 1953. Hundreds of thousands of troops are amassed on each side of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, making the Korean border one of the world's most heavily armed.

The United States, which has 28,5000 troops in South Korea, routinely holds military exercises with the South. Pyongyang routinely condemns them as rehearsals for invasion despite assurances from Seoul and Washington that the drills are defensive.

The exercises, which will involve some 26,000 U.S. troops, an unspecified number of South Korean soldiers and a U.S. aircraft carrier, are "not tied in any way to any political or real world event," Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of the U.S. troops, said Monday.

Just two more days before I depart (solo) to Hurricane, Utah. It's about a six hour drive, but will end up being considerably more for me.

For my journey, weather permitting, I hope to modify my route so as to jog through Gunnison, cut over to I-70, proceed West toward Richfield and stop at Hoovers (for lunch). I then hope to unload my ATV and ride the 74 Trail up to the Silver King mine (again, weather and snow permitting).

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Load back up, continue West on I-70, connect to I-15 south bound and journey on the additional ~3 hours to Hurricane.

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The return of L0phtCrack (v6)

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Softpedia

The rights for L0phtCrack, one of the favorite tools of now old-school hackers, have been reacquired by its original developers from Symantec. They plan to release version 6 of the application at the upcoming SOURCE Conference in Boston, on March 11th.

To have a glimpse at the history of L0phtCrack, we have to go back in time to around 1992, when a bunch of students from Boston formed a group named L0pht Heavy Industries, which was later to become one of the most famous hacking collectives in the history of the Internet.

The hacking outfit was headquartered in a loft apartment, hence its name, from where it ran various websites and released hacking software. L0pht Heavy Industries was one of the few underground hacking groups to evolve into a security consultancy company.

Its members included the likes of Christien "Dildog" Rioux, former Symantec researcher and author of the controverted Back Orifice 2000 remote administration application, Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, who was summoned by President Clinton, along with other security professionals in 2000 to discuss the major DDoS attacks on the Internet at the time, Chris "Weld Pond" Wysopal, named in 2008 by eWeek one of the "100 Most Influential People in IT" for his achievements and contribution to the industry along the years, and Joe "Kingpin" Grand, electrical engineer and inventor, currently one of the stars of Discovery Channel's "Prototype This!" TV series.

The group members are also famous for testifying in 1998 before the U.S. Senate that they could bring the Internet down in 30 minutes. The L0pht underground hacking think tank came to an end in 2000, when it merged into a security company known as @stake, which was acquired by Symantec in 2004 along with the successful L0phtCrack password auditing tool.

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L0phtCrack was much appreciated by the hacking community for its ability to use dictionary and brute-force attacks, as well as rainbow tables in order to crack weak passwords. The graphical interface version required purchasing a license, however, the command-line one was offered for free. Symantec discontinued sales of and support for the product in 2006, allegedly because it was conflicting with regulations in the U.S.

"Space Rogue," one of the former L0pht members, announced yesterday on his blog that "L0phtCrack, the original and still the best password auditing tool for MS windows based systems, will be re-released at Source Boston by the original authors." Meanwhile, the l0phtcrack.com website confirms the come-back. "At a special information session at SOURCE Boston (Thursday, 10:15am), the team that brought you L0phtCrack will be releasing version 6 of the highly-acclaimed Windows password auditing tool," the website announces.

Details on the new version are scarce, but, according to "Space Rogue," new features include support for 64-bit platform and upgraded rainbow tables. "Details on potential additional new features, and pricing have not yet been released, but you can bet that it will be better than Symantec's," the former-hacker writes.


Ready to ruck it up?











And a parady in respone:






What the hell is wrong with these people?

Cybersecurity official quits

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A top federal cybersecurity official resigned this week in a letter sharply critical of what he described as a power grab by the National Security Agency.

Rod Beckström, director of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center, said in his letter that NSA "effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees, technology insertions," and has proposed moving some functions to the agency's Fort Meade, Md., headquarters.

Rod Beckstrom, director of the National Cyber Security Center, gives a keynote at Black Hat last year.

(Credit: Elinor Mills/CNET)

Beckström was picked for the job in March 2008 and reported to DHS secretaries Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano. His letter also took aim at DHS, saying the center "received only five weeks of funding" in the last year because of "roadblocks engineered within the department" and by the White House. (DHS has claimed that cybersecurity was one of Chertoff's "top four priorities for '08.")

The idea of the NSA taking over governmental cybersecurity efforts is not exactly new: it was discussed by a commission organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies last fall, and the agency already has some related responsibilities. Last week, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair suggested (PDF) to a House of Representatives committee that the NSA would be an appropriate body to take over cybersecurity efforts, saying "there are some wizards out there at Fort Meade who can do stuff."

But Beckström warned that would be a mistake and could significantly threaten "our democratic processes...if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by any one organization."

Before taking the job at DHS, Beckström co-founded CATS Software, a derivatives and risk management software company, and co-founded Twiki.net, a company that supports open-source wikis. A DHS undersecretary is responsible for the agency's overall cybersecurity efforts.

The National Cyber Security Center has remained partially shrouded in secrecy, with the Bush administration last summer refusing to release information about its budget, what contractors will run it, or how its mission relates to Internet surveillance--on the grounds (PDF) that disclosure could endanger "operations essential to the interests of our nation."

Initially, the White House went so far as to claim (PDF) that the mere existence of the NCSC was classified.

Beckström's resignation takes effect next Friday. Meanwhile, President Obama has assigned Melissa Hathaway, who worked for the director of national intelligence in the Bush administration and was director of an multi-agency "Cyber Task Force," to conduct a two-month review of related federal activities
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(CNN) -- Nearly 7,000 Mexican soldiers and federal police arrived in the U.S.-Mexico border city of Ciudad Juarez this week to restore security to a city plagued by a long-standing, bloody drug war.

Mexican federal police patrol in Ciudad Juarez earlier this week.

Random vehicle checkpoints, patrols of masked soldiers and police in SWAT gear are some of the signs of the massive military buildup ordered by Mexico's president, Ciudad Juarez police spokesman Jaime Torres Valadez said Thursday.

Another 1,500 soldiers are expected to join the 3,500 that rolled into Juarez earlier this week to support municipal police in street patrols and ultimately take control of their operations, Torres said.

In addition to the army troops, about 3,000 federal agents arrived to carry out investigations Torres likened to those of the FBI in the United States.

"They'll stay as long as necessary," Torres said, in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Extreme violence among warring drug cartels and between them and the Mexican government has long plagued Juarez and the state of Chihuahua, but the situation has been getting worse.

Last month, the city's chief of police was obliged to quit after threats from organized crime to kill a policeman every day that he remained on the job.

And this week, the U.S. Consulate in Juarez specifically warned Americans to avoid an area southeast of the city.

"There has been a dramatic increase in drug related violence in the Guadalupe Bravo area and there is no indication that the situation will improve in the near future," the consulate said on its Web site. Video Watch how drug killings are making Americans wary of Mexico »

President Felipe Calderon's security cabinet met in the city last week to devise a strategy to combat narcotraffickers.

The federal government is footing the bill for the troops' wages and food, and the municipal government is paying for their gas and living expenses, Torres said.

Surveillance cameras will be installed throughout the city to help police stem executions and assassinations in the streets, scene of many of Juarez's 1,600 killings in 2008.

Police advised residents to carry identification with them at all times to ensure that encounters with law enforcement in the streets and at vehicle checkpoints proceed as quickly as possible, Torres said.

"It's necessary to keep the peace," Torres said in a telephone interview as he sat in his car, waiting in line at a police checkpoint. "For me, it's safe. If there are more soldiers, I feel safe."

But human rights advocates say the military presence creates a police state in a region where confidence in law enforcement is low.

"The increase in law enforcement brings elements that create an environment conducive to the violation of human rights," said José Luis Armendáriz González, president of the Chihuahua State Commission of Human Rights. "What are the limits of their power? The risk for wrongful detentions, raids of homes increases when there's no clear line."

Armendáriz said the focus on troop numbers detracts from improving the quality of investigation and crime-fighting techniques.

"We've been battling the criminal elements with force and gunfire for years now with few results," he said. "I believe it's necessary to pass to a second phase that focuses on intelligence and infiltrating the criminal organization to hit all levels."

Others say the stronger law enforcement presence is producing results.

"In the last seven days, we've had no more than five reported deaths. Before that, the average was six a day," Sen. Ramón Galindo Noriega said in an interview Wednesday.

"Maybe it's a coincidence, but I believe the presence has generated an environment of greater security and this is congruent with the numbers that we have this week."

Galindo, a lifelong Juarense who sends his children to schools in Juarez and owns businesses there, said more troops are the only answer to a problem that has transformed Juarez from a center of industry and commerce to a major battleground in the war among drug cartels.

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"What we had before was a state that was under the control of crime. It was a state that didn't permit a normal life. People left, businesses closed. There was fear in the streets, an environment of fear that we had to take radical measures to eradicate," he said.

"I believe the people are content with the presence of the army. They feel safer in the city, calmer in the streets."

ATV TV - TigerTail

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Note: I won the TigerTail late last year as a result of a contest the company was hosting. Great device!

ATV TV - ITP SS108 Wheels

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Note: I do own a set of these and they are tough, resilient and good looking!

ATV TV - RotoPax fuel packs

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Note: I have yet to purchase one of these and still use the Kolpin 4gal flat packs. With the latest development and idiot caps on the new Kolpins however, I am looking forward to trying these out.

LAKE WATEREE, South Carolina (CNN) -- At a time when the U.S. Postal Service says it is experiencing a financial crisis, it purchased a $1.2 million home from an employee so he could relocate, a CNN investigation has found.
The Postal Service bought this 8,400-square-foot South Carolina home so an employee could relocate.

The Postal Service bought this 8,400-square-foot South Carolina home so an employee could relocate.

Postal Service spokesman Greg Frey said the home will be resold, as others have been.

"It's not like we threw away a million dollars," Frey told CNN. "We are hoping it's going to go for the appraised value."

But a real estate agent in the area said the home could be a tough sell in a depressed housing market -- and the USPS said it lost an average of more than $58,000 on the 500-plus homes its relocation program bought and sold in 2008.

The 8,400-square-foot, six-bedroom home on Lake Wateree, about 30 miles north of Columbia, is likely to be the last million-dollar home purchased by the Postal Service. A $1 million cap on homes eligible for the relocation program took effect in February, Frey said.

But the program has raised eyebrows among critics and is under scrutiny by the USPS inspector-general's office in the wake of a CNN investigation.

The South Carolina home belonged to Ronald Hopson, the former postmaster in Lexington, South Carolina, and his wife, Evelyn. The property includes five acres, four bathrooms, two half-baths and an indoor swimming pool.

Hopson is now the customer service manager for the USPS branch in Carrollton, Texas. He would not discuss the house and referred CNN to the service's press office for additional questions. But property records show that the house was purchased by the Postal Service's relocation contractor, Connecticut-based Cartus Relocation, in February.

Just weeks earlier, Postmaster General John Potter told a congressional subcommittee that the post office was considering cutting back mail delivery because of the economy.

"The Postal Service, like the rest of the economy, is experiencing a severe financial crisis, and I'm here today to ask for your help to protect America's postal system," Potter said.

He added that the post office has cut travel expenses and frozen executive salaries.

Faced with those cutbacks, Billie Bierer -- who owns the lot next door to Hopson's old home -- called the purchase "crazy."

"I mean, this should not be allowed in any company, and in this economy, things need to change," Bierer said.

The Postal Service is a semipublic corporation, chartered by the U.S. government but not supported by taxpayer funds. Corporate relocation services are a common executive perk in the corporate world, where companies typically buy a property from an employee who is transferring to another city and resell it later.

Some U.S. government agencies do the same thing, but with limits on how much they will spend. For example, the Food and Drug Administration limits its relocation assistance to homes under $330,000.

Frey said the average cost of the 1,022 homes purchased through the USPS relocation program in 2007 and 2008 was $257,874. Fifteen of those remain on the market, he said.

Of the 1,022, 14 cost between $1 million and $2.8 million. All of those have been sold, Frey said, but typically at a loss once closing costs, attorneys fees and commissions are paid.

In 2007, after the U.S. housing boom peaked, the USPS lost an average of $50,542 on each deal, he said. In 2008, with the market in full retreat, the average loss climbed to $58,397.

And in Lake Wateree, real estate agent David Beckroge said, buyers for million-dollar properties are hard to come by right now.

"That would be very tough," he said.

The purchase of Hopson's home drew criticism from Pete Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, a Washington-based government watchdog group.

"At a time when the Postal Service is considering cutting back on delivery, raising stamp prices, perhaps even going to the federal government for a taxpayer bailout, this sends the wrong signal. It is likely to make customers very angry," Sepp said.

And Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has been a critic of the Postal Service relocation policy, has asked Postal Service Inspector-General David Williams to investigate the deal. A spokesman for Williams' office said it was conducting a preliminary review of the case.

"We need to know that the Postal Service is for the patrons of the Postal Service, the people that are buying stamps, the people that are supporting it, that they're getting their money's worth," said Grassley, R-Iowa.

On June 5, 2007, the Ukrainian government declared Russian intellectual Aleksandr Dugin persona non grata and banned him from entering the country for a period of five years. This exceptional decision was motivated by a series of inflammatory remarks made by Dugin and his followers about Russia's various pro-Western neighbors, the Ukraine foremost among them. It was not long, however, before Kiev retracted its decision, fearing further deterioration in its relationship with the superpower to the east. Dugin, after all, is not merely a philosopher. He has influential friends in the Russian presidential cabinet and is associated with many leading politicians, as well as prominent academics and celebrities. And indeed, Ukrainian apprehension was justified by the events that followed: That very evening, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykola Zhulynsky and his family, who had arrived in St. Petersburg to visit the graves of their relatives, were deported by the Russian government. This retaliation had no mitigating effects on Dugin's aggressive public campaign against the Ukraine. On October 12, activists from Dugin's International Eurasian Movement sawed through the country's national emblem--a statue of a trident situated on Mount Hoverla--and announced that they had thus "castrated" the Ukraine of its sovereignty. Following this ostentatious act of vandalism, Dugin was again banned from entering the Ukraine. This did not, however, prove to be the end of the affair. Authorities in Moscow were quick to show their support for the provocative thinker, and promptly deported Ukrainian political analyst Sergei Taran. The Russian Foreign Ministry left no doubt about Moscow's motivations when it announced that Taran's expulsion was a direct response to the Ukrainian ban.1
If nothing else, this seemingly bizarre series of incidents demonstrates the enormous influence Aleksandr Dugin has come to wield in his native Russia. A gifted and charismatic intellectual, Dugin is the author of sixteen books on philosophy and politics that profess an extremist worldview which combines authoritarian politics with an imperialist strategic agenda and a nostalgic longing for the glory days of the Soviet Union.2 Inspired by philosophers closely associated with fascism and Nazism, Dugin is an outspoken critic of capitalism, liberal democracy, and the bourgeois social order, which he identifies with his archenemy, the United States. Despite his radicalism--or perhaps because of it--Dugin is a favorite of the Russian establishment, a sought-after figure in the media, and a popular and oft-quoted political analyst.
Dugin was not always such a prestigious public figure. Barely a decade ago, he was at best a marginal player in Russian politics. During Boris Yeltsin's presidency in the 1990s, Dugin was a relatively unknown intellectual who spread his doctrines among small circles of followers. His attempt to enter Russian politics and bring his ideas to the public through the National Bolshevik Party (NBP) ended in an embarrassing electoral defeat. It was only in the late 1990s that Dugin finally began to shed his image as a professional gadfly and mingle with senior government officials, finally emerging onto the national stage in the early 2000s. Not coincidentally, Dugin's meteoric ascent from anonymity to fame took place alongside Vladimir Putin's rise to power as Russia's new strongman. Indeed, there is an undeniable connection between Dugin's politics and the regime change led by Putin, a former KGB officer who has put an end to democratization in Russia and subjected it to a centralized authoritarian regime.
Dugin and his philosophy cannot, therefore, be dismissed as an insignificant episode in Russian intellectual history. On the contrary, they reflect the dominant trend in current Russian politics and culture, and their influence over the general public and decisionmakers in the Kremlin is only going to become stronger. If we wish to understand the zeitgeist that prevails in Russia today, it is essential for us to acquaint ourselves with this thinker, who expresses the innermost feelings of many of his fellow countrymen and their leadership. Dugin's intellectual and political biography is, in many ways, a window into a nation and culture that many Western observers still regard as, in Churchill's famous phrase, "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
  
The strange rise of Aleksandr Dugin to the heights of intellectual and political prominence is inextricably linked to the recent history of Russia and the dramatic changes it has undergone since the collapse of communism. Unfortunately, these developments were, at least until very recently, of little interest to the rest of the world. The invasion of Georgia in August 2008, however, has now proven that the Russian bear, eulogized a mere two decades ago, was at best hibernating. During Putin's term of office, Russia has become a strong and proud country once again. Its coffers swollen by high gas and oil prices, its population enjoying relative security and economic stability (admittedly threatened by the current global economic meltdown), its army winning encouraging--if not unexpected--victories in Chechnya and Georgia, Russia is swiftly regaining its power and influence in the international community as American hegemony erodes. In light of these achievements, the Russian public is willing to accept, if not agree to, Putin's anti-democratic politics and the widespread corruption within his administration.
Things were entirely different in Russia a decade ago. Between 1991 and 1999, the Russian Federation was faced with the difficult, and perhaps insurmountable, challenges posed by democratization, an attempted transition to a market economy, the war on terror and organized crime, and the question of its new place in a unipolar world. Boris Yeltsin's presidency was beset by political and economic crises: In 1991, prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, senior members of the Communist Party attempted a coup and failed; in 1993, Yeltsin, backed by the military, suppressed an uprising in the Russian parliament; in 1994, the First Chechen War broke out, lasting three years and taking a heavy toll on Russia; and in 1998, following a financial collapse in Asian markets, the ruble severely depreciated, the banking system crashed, and the government was forced to declare bankruptcy.
The economic liberalization led by Yeltsin's administration was plagued by corruption throughout, and benefited two groups in particular: criminals, who flourished after years of living underground, and the handful of entrepreneurs generally known as the "oligarchs." These men, some of whom had been apparatchiks during the Soviet era, successfully navigated the transition from politics to the business world. Their sharp political instincts, honed by years of negotiating the impenetrable Soviet bureaucracy, and close ties to government officials allowed them to take advantage of the sweeping privatization of Communist Party assets and become fabulously rich almost overnight.
Outside of these privileged circles, however, the vast majority of the Russian people suffered greatly. Instead of enjoying the fruits of reform, they were faced with hyperinflation, skyrocketing unemployment, loss of public property, and rising crime. Media outlets freed from the grip of government censorship bombarded the public with unfiltered and often distressing information. Moreover, the dissolution of the Soviet empire prompted a massive influx of Russian and non-Russian refugees from the newly independent republics, which the Federation was ill-prepared to absorb. On top of it all, indiscriminate Chechen terrorism made Russia's already angry streets all the more dangerous.
Thus, the euphoria that followed the collapse of communism was quickly overtaken by disappointment, insecurity, and despair. The talented author Victor Pelevin described these sentiments in his novel, Homo Zapiens, published in 1999. The hero of the story, Babylen Tatarsky, a typical member of the Soviet liberal intelligentsia, drifts through a Russia marked by decline and decadence:
It was a very strange world. Externally it had not changed too much, except perhaps that there were more paupers on the streets, but everything in his surroundings--the houses, the trees, the benches on the streets--had somehow suddenly grown old and decrepit. It wasn't possible to say that the essential nature of the world had changed either, because now it no longer had any essential nature. A frighteningly vague uncertainty dominated everything. Despite that, however, the streets were flooded with Mercedes and Toyotas carrying brawny types possessed of absolute confidence in themselves and in what was happening, and there was even, if one could believe the newspapers, some kind of foreign policy.3
The malaise Pelevin describes was caused, to a large extent, by Russia's sense that it had lost the national greatness it once knew. The Soviet Union was not a worker's paradise--in fact, it was quite the opposite--but it did give the Russian people a sense of order and stability. For many of its citizens, the ussr's global reach and power were a source of pride. The collapse of the Soviet bloc and the political, social, and economic crises that swept through Russia in its wake changed all that. Russians went from being the subjects of an awe-inspiring superpower to the citizens of a defeated country plagued by domestic problems and lacking any substantial international influence.
This humiliation was most keenly felt by the Russian military. The army, whose prestige had already been greatly diminished by the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, was almost in shambles: naval vessels were rotting in their docks, nuclear missiles were rusting on their launch pads, and fighter jets were grounded. Nonexistent morale, a shrunken budget, and a series of failures in Chechnya threatened to make Russia's military a laughingstock to those who had once trembled at the mention of its name. The situation in the arms industry was even worse. Since the end of the Cold War, weapons sales had dropped worldwide, particularly in the Middle East. The factories that had once armed the Soviet superpower and its satellites were on the brink of bankruptcy.4 Things were no better among law enforcement officials in the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, and the police force. They felt betrayed by the Soviet collapse, and many of them resigned because of their minuscule salaries. Widespread corruption among those who stayed further lowered their prestige in the eyes of the general public, which had never held them in high regard. Tough times came even to the formerly omnipotent intelligence service: Between 1990 and 1995, its name and mission changed at least five times; it suffered from a brain drain, shrinking resources, and the loss of its deterrent power. Only after the creation of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in 1995 and its success in the war against Chechen terrorism was the service's reputation somewhat restored, though it has never reclaimed the stature it enjoyed during the Cold War.
Russia of the 1990s was, in short, a mere shadow of the "Evil Empire" it once had been. Its traditional rival, the nato alliance led by the United States, was acting unimpeded, without any apparent regard for Russian interests or any fear of Moscow's response. The military actions of America and her allies in Serbia and Iraq conveyed a profound disrespect for the Kremlin, which could do nothing but voice its opposition. This ongoing humiliation inspired a surge of nationalist rage, directed mainly toward the Ukraine and the Baltic states, which had unequivocally rejected their Soviet past and expressed their desire to be incorporated into the West. This was seen by the Russian public as an attempt to "jump ship"--an unforgivable act of betrayal by those who had once been their closest compatriots.
Overtaken by confusion, frustration, and nostalgia for its former glory, Russia was a breeding ground for xenophobia and nationalist discontent. Such impulses, which had long been repressed or recast into "acceptable" form by the old Soviet regime, began to emerge as a genuine political movement as an ever-increasing number of activists took up the war cry of their dishonored nation.5 The most brilliant and talented of them all was Aleksandr Dugin.

(CNN) -- Robin Williams will undergo heart surgery, according to his publicist.

Actor-comedian Robin Williams was on an 80-city tour for his one-man show.

Actor-comedian Robin Williams was on an 80-city tour for his one-man show.

The 57-year-old actor and comedian postponed his one-man show tour and entered a hospital for testing this week after suffering a shortness of breath.

Williams will undergo an aortic valve replacement, the publicist said.

"I'm so touched by everyone's support and well wishes," Williams said in a statement. "This tour has been amazing fun and I can't wait to get back out on the road after a little tune-up."

The publicist would not say when or where the surgery will take place.

The surgery is similar to the procedure former first lady Barbara Bush underwent Wednesday. Bush's surgeon, Dr. Gerald Lawrie, described it as "a very routine procedure" from the doctors' perspective.

Williams was in the middle of an 80-city tour of his "Weapons of Self-Destruction" show, which is expected to resume in the fall, the publicist said.

His Web site says the shows "highlight Williams' trademark free associations and riffs on social and political absurdities."

Don't Miss

Williams rose to fame in the mid-1970s as the childlike alien Mork, who first appeared on an episode of "Happy Days" and then was spun off into his own show, "Mork and Mindy." His manic standup comedy, combining impersonations, commentary, jokes and nonsense in high-speed profusion, was and remains his trademark.

Williams began his movie career with 1980's "Popeye," but succeeding films, such as 1982's "The World According to Garp" and 1984's "Moscow on the Hudson," countered his wild standup persona with quiet, pensive performances. (The performer had attended New York's famed Juilliard School to study drama in the 1970s, where one of his classmates was Christopher Reeve.)

It wasn't until 1987's "Good Morning, Vietnam," which managed to combine Williams' frenzied comedy style with more sober drama, that he broke through as a film star. He was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of "Vietnam's" DJ Adrian Cronauer.

Other Williams films include "Awakenings" (1990), "The Fisher King" (1991), "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993), "Good Will Hunting" (1997) and "Insomnia" (2002). He won a best supporting actor Oscar for "Good Will Hunting."

Williams has been active in charitable endeavors, most notably the Comic Relief program, which raises money for various causes.

Williams' current heart problems aren't the first time he's coped with health issues. In August 2006, the comedian and actor checked himself into an alcohol rehab center.

"After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again and has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family," his publicist told CNN at the time.


All About Robin Williams

IAMX - Alternative Music

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While working from home today and listening to my "Planet P Project" Pandora station, I came across a couple songs by "IAMX". If you'd like to try it out:

I thought you would like to try this IAMX Radio station I created on Pandora. Just click the link below and start listening.

James King wants to share some music with you.

 

"IAMX Radio"

 

Pandora is a free music service that helps you
listen to and discover new music.

 

Click here to listen




Stock tip: ADP

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This company has been around over 60+ years and it share price has averaged (consistently) around $40/share. Dividends are paid quarterly and it has a fairly diverse base of business (Payroll, HR/Benefits outsourcing, Automotive services, stock backroom processing).

Google Finance


Examiner.com

RALEIGH, N.C. (Map, News) - Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater who used an auto parts inheritance to build the security firm into one of the world's most respected - and reviled - defense companies in the world, said Monday he has stepped aside as chief executive.

Prince appointed a new president and chief operating officer in a management shake-up he said was part of the company's "continued reorganization and self-improvement." It comes just a couple weeks after changing its name to Xe, pronounced like the letter "z," in an effort to repair its severely tarnished name and reputation.

"As many of you know, because we focus on continually improving our business that Xe is in the process of a comprehensive restructuring," Prince wrote in a note to employees and clients. "It is with pride in our many accomplishments and confidence in Xe's future that I announce my resignation as the company's Chief Executive Officer."

Joseph Yorio, recently a vice president at DHL and a former Army special forces officer, will serve as president, replacing retiring executive Gary Jackson. Danielle Esposito, who has worked within Xe for nearly 10 years, will be the new chief operating officer and executive vice president.

Prince, who will retain his position as chairman of the company but remove himself from the day-to-day operations, founded Blackwater in 1997, initially to provide training to law enforcement and military. But after Sept. 11, the bombing of the USS Cole and the start of the Iraq War, the company built a large presence in providing private security.

Prince is a Holland, Mich., native whose family fortune was made in the auto parts industry. His sister, Betsy DeVos, a former chairwoman of the Michigan GOP, is married to Dick DeVos, a Republican and Amway Corp. heir who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2006.

The company's lucrative contract to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq comprises about one-third of Xe's revenues, but the State Department announced it would not rehire the firm after its current contract with the company expires in May. The company has one other major security contract, details of which are classified.

Prince said in a January interview that losing the contract would be damaging.

"It would hurt us," Prince said at the time. "It would not be a mortal blow, but it would hurt us."

That said, executives have long bemoaned that the work in Iraq has cost the company. A 2007 shooting in Nisoor Square involving Blackwater guards drew outrage from politicians in Baghdad and Washington and demands that the company be banned from operating in Iraq.

Late last year, prosecutors charged five of the company's contractors - but not Blackwater itself - with manslaughter and weapons violations. In January, Iraqi officials said they would not give the company a license to operate.

In the meantime, Xe has been expanding into other lines of business. It has built a fleet of 76 aircraft that it has deployed to such hotspots as West Africa and Afghanistan.

The firm continues to expand training for law enforcement, with a renewed focus on international clients. Last year, some 25,000 civilians, law enforcement and military personnel were trained by the company.

Prince founded Blackwater with some of his former Navy SEAL colleagues. The company is headquartered in Moyock, about 150 miles northeast of Raleigh.


KUTV2

http://www.kutv.com/media/news/4/8/e/48ec0fba-62a6-4cb6-9f1e-94cb961195d9/Story.jpg

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - An asteroid about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago just buzzed by Earth.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported that the asteroid zoomed past Monday morning.

The asteroid named 2009 DD45 was about 48,800 miles from Earth. That is just twice the height of some telecommunications satellites and about a fifth of the distance to the Moon.

The space ball measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter. The Planetary Society said that made it the same size as an asteroid that exploded over Siberia in 1908 and leveled more than 800 square miles of forest.

Most people probably didn't notice the cosmic close call. The asteroid was only spotted two days ago and at its closest point passed over the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti.

FoxNews






Conservative mega-host Rush Limbaugh disavows talk that he is
running the Republican Party -- and party members generally laugh off
the idea that a radio jockey is telling them what to do -- but efforts
by Democrats to cast the talkmeister as the man in charge may be
starting to stick. 

"It seems like Rush Limbaugh is the kind of he-who-must-be-obeyed these
days in the Republican Party," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine told FOX News on Tuesday. 

Kaine and the DNC are hammering the theme that Limbaugh can't be crossed,
seizing on the apology Republican National Committee Chairman Michael
Steele made to the radio host on Monday. 

Steele apologized after drawing Limbaugh's wrath over the weekend
by calling the host's on-air style "incendiary" and "ugly." His criticism was aimed at Limbaugh's statements about wanting President Obama to fail. 

"As (Steele) then apologized ... it left a lot of us wondering who's really in charge,"
Kaine said, initially calling Steele "courageous" for standing up to Limbaugh. 

Limbaugh said on his radio show Tuesday that he's not in charge of the
Republican Party and doesn't want to be. "I would be embarrassed to say
that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that's
it's in," he said. "I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would
have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans
and conservatives."

But as Democrats cast Limbaugh as enemy No. 1 and Republicans repeatedly
decline dares to cross him, Limbaugh appears to have no obstacles in
his path should he choose to steer the GOP ship. 

Seizing the bully pulpit for the moment, Limbaugh is steering what some call the
"party of no" into the "party of hell, no" -- urging conservatives to
dig in on their principles, and to root the Democratic administration
to fail. 

"The John McCain experiment of moderation clearly does not work," said
fellow talk show host Mike Gallagher. "We better stop this conciliatory reaching-across-the-aisle malarkey." 

On Tuesday, Limbaugh told his audience that he wants Obama's brand of "socialism" to fail -- not the country itself.

"Idon't want the economy to fail. That is why I am sticking my neck out
here. ... I am the one that is truly worried about this," he said.

The question of leadership in the Republican Party is a common and sensitive one, heightened by the stumbling of so many potential leaders. 

Conservatives say the moderate and tepid message by Sen. John McCain ruined his
bid for the presidency last year. 

Rising stars like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist
scored at the bottom of a straw poll asking who should be the 2012 GOP
nominee for president -- held Saturday at the Conservative Political
Action Conference that Limbaugh headlined.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the poll with 20 percent.
But he won it last year, too -- although he failed to win the hearts of primary voters. He won the straw poll right after he dropped out of the presidential race.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ranked second in this year's poll despite being
panned for last week's lackluster rebuttal to Obama's address to
Congress. Jindal had been hailed as another rising star and possibly
Republicans' answer to Obama.

"I'm a policy guy," Jindal told reporters Monday as he defended himself against
charges that he flunked the audition. 

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin inspired the base as McCain's running mate, but
she was dogged by accusations that she was unqualified and out of her league. She came in third in the straw poll, tying with Rep. Ron Paul, whose ultra-libertarian message makes many mainstream Republicans shudder.

In the CPAC straw poll, participants overwhelmingly picked Limbaugh as their favorite media personality. He was presented with the "Defender of the Constitution Award" at the event. 

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, who ran unsuccessfully against
Steele for RNC chairman, said leadership in the Republican Party is
clearly spread out among many people, not a single individual. 

"I'vealways said that you're not going to have one person lead the
Republican Party. It takes the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the
Sean Hannitys ... to help articulate the message," he said. "We've got
a lot of people out there." 

Dawson said governors like Palin and Jindal are still drawing a lot of
interest and support. And Romney, with his business background, is in a
position to come out on top given the big-government reaction to the
recession. 

"Look out for Mitt Romney. He's in an 'I told you so' position," Dawson said. Dawson said Limbaugh is no "kingmaker," but Steele would be misguided to think the party's leader has the recognition to make or break the GOP. 

"You can only name a handful of RNC chairmen," he said. 

Limbaugh said on his show that Steele is not in charge despite his declaration over
the weekend that he is the "de facto leader" of the party. 

"Michael, you are head of the RNC. You are not head of the Republican Party,"
Limbaugh said as he launched a lengthy on-air excoriation of the newly
elected chairman. "Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans
have nothing to do with the RNC and right now they want nothing to do
with it, and when you call them asking them for money, they hang up on
you."

Limbaugh ridiculed Steele for trying to be a "talking head pundit" and "media
star" and relegated him to the level of GOP bureaucrat. He said Steele
"took the bait" of the liberal media by attacking him. 

So did Steele err by going after Rush in the first place? 

No question, said Gallagher. 

"It's a joke to pretend ... that Rush Limbaugh isn't one of the most prominent Republican voices in American today," he said. "There's a reason Michael Steele is now falling all over himself to apologize, because he made a mistake." 

He, too, said the GOP has room for more than one voice. But Steele's authority is not in question. 

"Rushis a prominent voice, Michael Steele is the chairman of the Republican
National Committee. They're not mutually exclusive," Gallagher said. 

Democratic strategist Maria Cardona said Steele should never have apologized because his criticism of Limbaugh is appealing to the moderate audience his party needs. 

"What he said about Rush Limbaugh, a lot of
people actually agree with," she said. "His apology hurt him."


Dad's visit to Utah

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In early February of 2009, Dad came to visit us over a weekend. It had been quite some time since the boys have seen him, so for us, it was "about time".

During his visit, he played Foosball with the boys and generally made himself available. I'm certain Alex got him hooked on Industrial metal-rock (Megadeth, Metallica, etc), but that's a story for another day.

Much like Mom's visit earlier the previous year, I decided to take Dad (through the snow) on the same exact ATV route Mom was on; Dad was towed at least 9+ times during our outing. I'm certain he had a great time, even though he froze his ass off during the ride!

A few photos from that adventure:

Snowbusting.jpgHilltip.jpgDSCF0002 (Medium).JPG



XP's backdoor login

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FoxBusiness

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday he was "angry" insurance company AIG had to be bailed out by the government, but emphasized publicly that the aid to the company was necessary to ensure financial stability.

The comments came at his first appearance in front of Congress since the U.S. government provided a $30 billion in aid to insurance giant American International Group (AIG: 0.4301, -0.0201, -4.46%) earlier this week.

Bernanke, who testified in front of the Senate Budget Committee to discuss the economic outlook regarding the Obama Administration's budget proposal, said the aid to AIG was needed to "preserve financial stability."

"If there is a single episode in this entire 18 months that has made me more angry, I can't think of one, than AIG," Bernanke said, in response to a question from Ohio Sen. Ron Wyden.  "AIG exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system; there was no oversight of the financial products division. This was a hedge fund basically that was attached to a large and stable insurance company, made huge numbers of irresponsible bets, took huge losses... we had no choice."

The U.S. government provided $30 billion in additional aid to AIG on Monday, bringing the total cash support for the struggling insurance giant to $186 billion, as the credit crisis continued to cause massive problems for the company's toxic balance sheet. 

This is the fourth time the government has had to step in to help AIG, who came close to bankruptcy in September in the same weekend that Lehman Brothers failed.

"We took those actions because we felt that the failure of the world's largest insurance company ... would be devastating to the stability of world financial system," Bernanke said.

In his prepared remarks regarding the economy, Bernanke said regarding the economy that "the near-term [economic] indicators show little sign of improvement" and that the economy will continue to struggle for the rest of this year.

One notable interaction during the committee meeting came between Bernanke and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who asked Bernanke to comment on the White House's current economic forecast, which Bernanke said, was "optimistic."

In its budget proposal, the Obama Administration based its tax revenue projections on an economic forecast rosier than the projections of most Wall Street economists, notably the unemployment rate.

Currently, the White House forecasts an unemployment rate of 8.1% this year. The Federal Reserve, which by tends to be conservative in its projections, has a unemployment estimate in the range of 8.5% to 8.75%. Wall Street economists are predicting unemployment could easily exceed 9% this year.

Bernanke, as he has said repeatedly in previous testimony, believes inflation will "remain quite low over the next couple of years" primarily because the economy will remain sluggish for the foreseeable future.

In his testimony last week, Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that he believed the economy would suffer for 2009 and that 2010 would be a "year of recovery."

In regards to Obama's budget and the $780 billion economic stimulus package, Bernake said that the government will run enormous deficits for several years, but must eventually return to "fiscal stability" once the economy recovers.

"Without fiscal sustainability, in the longer term (the economy) will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth."

Metasploit Project is a tool I'm using to test our external facing systems. Embedded is a YouTube video showing how this tool could be used.






CNet News

The Bush administration secretly concluded after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that it had the authority to wiretap the Internet and telephone calls with virtually no limitations, restrict free speech, and use the U.S. military domestically against suspected terrorists.

Those legal opinions came in a series of memorandums written by U.S. Department of Justice lawyers, including deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo, which were disclosed by the Obama administration on Monday.

Although the broad outlines of the Bush administration's claims to sweeping executive powers were previously known, the newly released memorandums provide a glimpse at both the legal arguments used and the scope of the claims.

An October 2001 memorandum (PDF) by Yoo and special counsel Robert Delahunty, for instance, says that "the president has the legal and constitutional authority to use military force within the United States to respond to and combat future acts of terrorism, and that the Posse Comitatus Act does not bar deployment."

It also envisions the possibility of censorship restrictions that could be slapped on newspapers and the Internet, saying "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully."

A September 2001 memorandum (PDF) previews what would become an extensive debate over the National Security Administration's warrantless surveillance program, saying "the president must be able to use whatever means necessary to prevent attacks on the United States; this power, by implication, includes the authority to collect information necessary for its effective exercise."

Yoo is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald has suggested that Yoo could be prosecuted for war crimes; he has been sued by Jose Padilla, the American citizen who detained by the U.S. military for more than three years as an enemy combatant and was subsequently convicted by the criminal justice system.

Some of the Bush administration's sweeping claims to unchecked executive branch powers were struck down by federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court--a fact that lawyers from the outgoing administration noted at the last minute in a set of memorandums that explicitly backed away from the earlier claims.

On January 15, just days before Barack Obama took office, Steven Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general, informed federal agencies that the 2001-era memos were no longer valid.

Bradbury's memo (PDF) revised the Office of Legal Counsel's opinions on topics including treaties, torture, and wiretapping, saying those "do not reflect the current views of this office."

One 2002 memorandum (PDF) hinted at how a suspect could be tortured: "So long as the United States does not intend for a detainee to be tortured post-transfer, however, no criminal liability will attach to a transfer, even if the foreign country receiving the detainee does torture him."

"Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness," said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement on Monday. "It is my goal to make OLC opinions available when possible while still protecting national security information and ensuring robust internal executive branch debate and decision-making."

Salt Lake Tribune



If there's any small solace when starting a job search in this recession, it's the proliferation of digital technology to help you re-enter the working world.

Web sites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com have multiplied the number of job openings you can track and the professional contacts you can make. E-mail and smart phones make it easier to pitch yourself and set up appointments.

But think twice before picking up that BlackBerry and thumb-typing a message to the hiring manager whose e-mail address you so slyly uncovered online. In the end, landing the right job hinges on old-world skills.

"The electronic piece usually just gets your foot in the door," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a tech industry recruiting division of Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing consultant Robert Half International.

"But you still have to present yourself well face-to-face in an interview, and you have to have good references," he said. "I think some job candidates lose sight of that because of all the technology options and capabilities that get your name out there."

Willmer and Kate Wendleton, president of The Five O'Clock Club, a New York-based career counseling company, advise that job seekers -- especially the young and tech-savvy -- frequently misuse electronic gadgets and the Web and run roughshod over professional etiquette.

Some of their advice:

Resist the temptation to respond to each online job listing in your field, and focus on those that fit the best. Only about 6 percent of jobs are filled by candidates recruited through advertisements, said Wendleton, whose firm also conducts career research. If you can use personal contacts to learn about an opening that's not widely publicized, your chances of landing the job increase because you've got fewer rivals.

Instead of blast e-mailing, use the Web to research potential employers and put yourself in position to recite key facts about that company should you land an interview.

"Too many people are sitting there all day hitting that send button on their computer, answering ads, answering ads," Wendleton said.

Embrace snail mail » In your first contact with a prospective employer, you're unlikely to stand out if you join the legions of job seekers sending 'hire me' pitches via e-mail with resumes attached. E-mails also are too easy for a hiring manager to delete. With snail mail, you control the appearance of your carefully crafted cover letter and résumé. With e-mail, the user's machine can control settings for fonts and spacing. And managers can be wary of opening attached résumés for fear of unleashing a computer virus.

Get personal » If you resort to e-mail pitches, make them personal. If you're introducing yourself to a hiring manager you've identified via a professional colleague, type that colleague's name in the e-mail's subject line and succinctly explain the link (e.g. "John Doe referred me") so the manager is less likely to hit delete.

Avoid follow-up foibles » If you land an interview, pay close attention if the hiring manager specifies how to make any follow-up contacts. E-mail can be a good option because of its speed; if you send a follow-up note via snail mail, it may arrive too late in the hiring process to make a difference. If the hiring manager is OK with e-mail, send a message that addresses any unanswered questions from the interview and state that you're also mailing a hardcopy. In the snail mail message, reference that you also sent the e-mail.

Whatever you do, don't follow up on an interview with an e-mail sent via a handheld gadget -- there's too great a chance you'll thumb-type a typo-ridden message. Only use handhelds to send brief, timely e-mails confirming an appointment or advising you're running late for a meeting. Don't type without regard to grammar and capitalization, and resist including smiley faces or other emoticons in electronic messages. "There is no circumstance where that is appropriate," Wendleton said.

Observe boundaries » Even if you managed to track down a hiring manager's cell phone number, don't call it unless given permission. "Cell phones are considered private," Wendleton said.

Stick with land lines » For any phone contact with a prospective employer, try to use a land line. With cell phones, there's too great a risk that you'll get a spotty connection, lose it altogether, or end up with excessive background noise if you're in a public place. If you lack a land line, call from a quiet place like a hotel lobby. Have a pen and pad ready so you can jot down information.

Network the smart way » If you identify a hiring manager or other professional you'd like to connect with on an online networking site, don't merely send an electronic invitation without explaining why you want to get in touch. An out-of-the-blue request will likely be ignored. "Write something like, "I was intrigued by your LinkedIn posting. I see you have 10 years of international experience. I too have 10 years of international experience,'" Wendleton said.

Manage your digital footprint » Hiring managers can be expected to go beyond your résumé and references, and perform a background check online. So be judicious about what you post on social networking sites such as Facebook, and limit access to friends and family if it's something you wouldn't want an employer to see. Likewise, think before posting political opinions or personal information in blogs or other online forums. Consider posting under a pseudonym rather than your name. "As a job candidate, I would encourage people to be conservative," said Willmer. "Assume that anybody has access to anything."

Application of the day: XOBNI

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Use Outlook? Need a better way to quickly find an email or attachment?

Try XOBNI . INBOX spelled backwards. Plugs directly into Outlook as an Add-on.
Concerned about security for your home or work network? SANS provides an updated list of top ports and IP sources that you can block.

SANS

Top 10 Ports

by Reports
by Targets
by Sources
PortReports
1211574775
445572786
53483606
1434430111
1433380242
139225499
135175036
80169658
51413108341
2597657
PortTargets
1434134510
143378657
13572252
489954835
8034662
44531531
13721828
5319712
2312959
2210510640
PortSources
44597245
1425623672
2699320381
6059117888
3005016697
4557015881
6422115648
4219014131
6169213231
1367612393
port report

Top 10 Source IPs

IP AddressReportsAttacksFirst SeenLast Seen
218.095.047.083738,101 144,7372009-02-16 2009-03-03
219.139.130.1391,029,114 141,6072009-01-08 2009-03-03
202.099.011.0991,439,621 141,0872007-11-01 2009-03-03
221.233.242.0041,266,350 140,7312008-11-09 2009-03-03
218.098.106.053908,165 140,6612009-02-04 2009-03-03
059.081.064.229885,662 140,4662009-01-17 2009-03-03
061.139.054.0941,359,981 139,6492008-09-02 2009-03-03
058.020.222.030376,434 138,4492008-10-15 2009-03-03
059.173.247.106768,991 137,9312008-11-03 2009-03-03
218.075.199.0501,023,808 136,6582008-06-30 2009-03-03

Top Sources Apply the Top 10 blocklist automatically to your firewall via ThreatSTOP.

CNN.Com

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A soldier who reported for duty with her children in tow has been granted her request for a discharge, her lawyer said Monday.

Lisa Pagan was recalled to the Army after being honorably discharged four years ago.


Lisa Pagan was recalled to the Army after being honorably discharged four years ago.

Lisa Pagan, of Davidson, North Carolina, reported for duty Monday morning at Fort Benning, Georgia, with her two preschool children. She had been honorably discharged from active duty at the rank of specialist nearly four years ago but was recalled as part of the Individual Ready Reserve program.

The former Army truck driver asked for a reprieve from deployment because her husband travels for business and they would have no one to care for their children if she was sent overseas. Until Monday, her request had been denied.

Late Monday afternoon, Pagan's lawyer told CNN the Army would grant her request and begin the process of discharge again, this time for good.

"We are definitely heading in the right direction for Lisa and her family and her children," said Mark Waple, Pagan's attorney. "She has been told by her chain of command they plan on doing everything they can within reason to do this as expeditiously as possible."

Pagan enlisted in 2002 and was honorably discharged from active duty in June 2005. She was never deployed.

Before she left for Fort Benning, Pagan, 27, told CNN affiliate WCNC that her relatives weren't able to care for her children for various reasons, including her relatives' health.

She said her family couldn't afford having her husband give up his job. They would lose their house, she told the Charlotte, North Carolina-TV station.

"I'm a human being. I need to take care of my children. They don't have anybody else," Pagan told WCNC.

Since September 11, 2001, the Army has recalled about 25,000 soldiers. Nearly half requested a delay or a full exemption. Some just wanted to finish their school semester before reporting. Others had financial or medical problems that made it difficult to report for duty.

CNet News

Skype plans to announce on Tuesday that it will be working with SpinVox to provide its users with voice-to-SMS messaging in four languages. This adds another option to Skype's messaging notifications for both Windows and Mac, which also includes a free e-mail notification or a simple SMS notification when a contact leaves a message.

Converting the messages from voice to text won't be cheap, however. Users will pay 25 cents per message, not including the standard Skype text message rate, and long voicemails could be spread out over as many as three messages. If the entire voicemail won't fit into three texts, then the message will be cut off. Also, if the message is garbled or otherwise unconvertible--because of poor signal quality, for example--SpinVox and Skype will still charge you for the failed conversion effort.

Words that cannot be understood will be converted into question marks or spaces in the body of the message. Fortunately for the cost-conscious, there are several options for cutting down on quickly running up a massive bill. Users can configure which of their Skype contacts will have their voice messages converted, so it's not an all-or-nothing deal. Messages will also only be sent after a 10-minute delay, so you don't have to worry about getting a text if you walk away from your desk for a few minutes. You'll have the option of configuring a maximum number of voicemail conversions per day, too. An obvious problem with that is missing that must-get voicemail, but at least the option will be there.

SpinVox with Skype will support English, Spanish, French, and German, and there are plans to incorporate SpinVox's current support for Italian and Portuguese, as well.


South Valley Motorsports

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Stay away from the service department! 

Need I say anything else? In less than one year, I've spent over $4000 in repairs.

This last go around, $1000. Upon inspection, I can't confirm they actually did any work.

When I dropped it off, I was quoted $105 for basic clutch adjustment (my CVT belt was jumping). A few hours later, they phoned to indicate (much like last time) that much more work was required.

What they claimed to have done:

- Rebuild the clutch
- Replace rear (non-serviceable) brake pads
- Adjust park brake (tied to rear brakes)

If indeed they worked on the clutch, it wasn't evident when I opened the CVT cover. I saw what appeared to be some sanding on the old pulleys, but nothing else.

If they worked on the rear brakes, nothing showed as evidence. In fact, quite the contrary. When I took receipt of the machine, I found ice jammed into the under carriage. Odd, considering temps the last few days were in the 50's. On top of this, over 3 miles were clocked after I dropped it off. Where did they take my machine riding that still had snow? No bolts were shiney (as though they were recently removed), the oil was still filthy (they would have had to drain the wet brake/clutch oil).

DO NOT USE THESE GUYS. BAIT AND SWITCH IS THEIR AGENDA!

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Mom's visit in May 2008

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Mom came to visit us in May 2008. I decided to make it a visit of firsts while she was here. First time on an ATV, first time handling a loaded firearm and the first time to try and kill me on a 4wheeler (while on a cliff edge)!

A few photos from here visit:

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Circleville ATV / Camping trip

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Alex's Blog Site

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So Alex decided to setup his own blog site. It can be accessed via Click me!





Kawasaki CVT belt replacement

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MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks plunged and the major indexes closed at their lowest levels in more than a decade as more anemic manufacturing data hurt Alcoa and more government intervention in the financial sector was interpreted as an ominous sign for shareholders of Citigroup.

General Electric, both a major lender and a major manufacturer, continued its decline as the stock, once a perennial pick for safe portfolios, sold off to levels associated with distressed "fallen angels."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 299.64 points, or 4.24%, to 6763.29, its lowest close since April 25, 1997, and the first close below 7000 since May 1, 1997. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 34.27 points, or 4.66%, to 700.82, its lowest finish since Oct. 25, 1996.

The biggest percentage decliner on the Dow was Citi, which fell 30 cents, or 20%, to 1.20, as investors feared the latest dilutive government rescue would not be the last. Bank of America, another bank undergoing a "stress test" to determine its capital position, fell 32 cents, or 8.1%, to 3.63.

GE fell 91 cents, or 11%, to 7.60, a roughly 15-year low. On Friday, the conglomerate said it was going to cut its quarterly dividend for the first time in 71 years, to 10 cents from 31 cents.
Despite that cash saving, traders worried that its finance unit would see its critical AAA credit rating cut. In a sign of elevated fears, the cost of insuring GE Capital's debt against default spiked.

Manufacturing data indicated that a freeze in industrial activity continued into February, while further government intervention in American International Group raised fears of an incremental nationalization of the U.S. financial sector.

"We're in a bottoming process and it's going to take a while," said Anthony Conroy, head equity trader at BNY ConvergEx.

"Two things need to happen for the market to bottom: financials need to be healthy and the housing market needs to stabilize," Conroy said.

Conroy said "healthy banks" were a prerequisite for a healthy financial system and a healthy economy.

Conroy expects a "soft nationalization," where the government avoids complete ownership of all major banks, yet helps wind down some of the weaker ones.



Tri-State ATV Jamboree

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Jamboree_Logo.jpg

March 11-14th is the Tri State Jamboree in Hurricane, Utah. I've never been much for riding in crowds of ATV'ers and have never participated in a Jamboree.

Since we've not yet explored the trails in this area, I decided it would be a good idea to join this group of 300+ folks and 100+ ATV's to locate all the great trails in the Southern Utah/Arizona/Nevada area.

I'll depart on Tuesday the 10th with the RV, my 2005 Kawasaki Brute Force 750i, extra fuel and tires.
Tri-State-all-TOPO!map_small.jpg


Since the weather was going to be mid-50's and sunny, I decided to take my machine out for some dry riding (dry as in no mud/slush/snow).

My goal was to get a first to find on a newly published geocache: Panoramic View and then to continue another 40+ miles to another geocache: The Long Climb.
March1.jpg



March2.jpgWhile I was successful at getting the "First-to-Find / FTF" on the Panoramic View, after using 4 gallons of fuel and getting to within 1 mile of "The Long Climb", I discovered that the entire area had been fenced off and somebody was raising sheep!
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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2009 is the next archive.

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