April 2009 Archives

ATV Mini-DV Camera Mount

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So yesterday after work, I decided to fabricate a mount for my Sony Mini-DV video camera. The mount, while not very pretty does seem to be functional and holds my $1500 camera steady.

On Friday, I'll try it out as I attempt to ride to the top of Ophir Canyon and Mill Canyon (30 miles to the South). Once I return home, I'll upload the video here (and possibly other sites) so some expectation can be gleaned on a potential May 16th ride to this area.

Friday is looking to be cloudy, but in the mid-60's, so I'm looking forward to getting out before the rains start Friday evening!

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Updated again: At this point, if it looks like this area is passable (based on my checking it out again this weekend), then this ride is scheduled for Saturday, May 16th! If you'd like to participate, email/comment.


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Update: Ride

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As an update to this GPSr route, I'm planning a group ride along this route sometime in the next few weeks. I hope to get up to this location by the weekend to scout out the trail and snow situation. Based on my findings, I'll be emailing those that express interest in joining in. PM me or leave a comment if you want to join in.

This is not a coordinated group ride so much as just folks showing up and participating or just following behind.

Windows 7 to have an 'XP mode'

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Note: Why? Why continue looking backwards and adding additional bloat to what was sounding like a great VISTA replacement!
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Microsoft is trying to make it easier to sway users of Windows XP onto the latest version of its operating system.

For some time now, the company has been quietly building a "Windows XP mode" that uses virtualization to allow Windows 7 to easily run applications designed for Windows XP. According to sources familiar with the product, the application compatibility mode is built on the Virtual PC technology that Microsoft acquired in 2003, when it scooped up the assets of Connectix.

By adding the compatibility mode, Microsoft is aiming to address one of the key shortcomings of Windows Vista: its compatibility issues with software designed for Windows XP and earlier versions of the operating system.

Details of the Windows XP mode, previously known as Virtual Windows XP, were first published earlier Friday by the Windows SuperSite blog.

The technology has not been part of the beta version of Windows 7 or previously disclosed by Microsoft, but is expected to be released alongside the upcoming release candidate version. Microsoft said on Friday that it will release it to developers next week and publicly starting May 5.

According to the SuperSite report, written by bloggers Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera, the XP mode won't come in the box with Windows 7, but will be made available as a free download for those who buy the professional, enterprise, or "ultimate" versions of Windows 7. The site also has some screenshots of the mode in action.

There had been rumors of a secret user interface, but until Friday, no mention of the XP mode.

Update: Late on Friday, Microsoft confirmed XP Mode in a blog posting.

"Windows XP Mode is specifically designed to help small businesses move to Windows 7," Microsoft's Scott Woodgate said in the blog. "Windows XP Mode provides you with the flexibility to run many older productivity applications on a Windows 7 based PC."

According to the post, "all you need to do is to install suitable applications directly in Windows XP Mode which is a virtual Windows XP environment running under Windows Virtual PC. The applications will be published to the Windows 7 desktop and then you can run them directly from Windows 7."

Microsoft said it "will be soon releasing the beta of Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate."


Note: Just more evidence that the Obama administration has forgotten the lessons of 11 September 2001 (9/11). Couple this with bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia and we have the making of our own Presidential traitor.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A White House official apologized Monday after a low-flying Boeing 747 spotted above the Manhattan skyline frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty.

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty.

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The aircraft was a White House plane taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption."

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River. It was accompanied by two F-16s. Video Watch the plane fly over Manhattan »

"I was here on 9/11," said iReporter Tom Kruk, who spotted the plane as he was getting coffee Monday morning and snapped a photo. Kruk called the sight of the aircraft low in the sky "unsettling."

The incident outraged many New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"First thing is, I'm annoyed -- furious is a better word -- that I wasn't told," he said, calling the aviation administration's decision to withhold details about the flight "ridiculous" and "poor judgment."

"Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center defies the imagination," he said. "Had we known, I would have asked them not to." Video Watch the White House respond to questions about the scare »

Linda Garcia-Rose, a social worker who counsels post-traumatic stress disorder patients in an office just three blocks from where the World Trade Center towers once stood, called the flight an "absolute travesty."

"There was no warning. It looked like the plane was about to come into us," she said. "I'm a therapist, and I actually had a panic attack."

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Garcia-Rose, who works with nearly two dozen post-traumatic stress disorder patients ages 15 to 47, said she was inundated with phone calls from patients Monday morning.

"They're traumatized. They're asking 'How could this happen?' They're nervous. Their anxiety levels are high," she said.

Garcia-Rose is considering filing a class-action suit against the government for sanctioning the plane's unannounced flight. "I believe the government has done something really wrong," she said.

Capt. Anna Carpenter of Andrews Air Force Base said local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration had been given notice of the exercise.

New York Police Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said the department had been alerted to the flight by the federal agency "with directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it."

Sen. Chuck Schumer echoed the mayor's sentiments in a separate news conference Monday afternoon, saying the Federal Aviation Administration should have notified the public to avoid panic.

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"It is absolutely outrageous and appalling to think that the FAA would plan such a photo shoot and not warn the public, knowing full well New Yorkers still have the vivid memory of 9/11 sketched in their minds," the New York Democrat said. Schumer said the FAA's decision to not announce the fly-by "really borders on being either cruel or very very stupid."



Although we've never been big fans of the sand dunes, we somehow found ourselves there this weekend. Going with friends (even after spelling out our dislike for the dunes), they nonetheless still found a camp spot right in the sand (White Sands camp ground).

The weather was terrible. We only had half a day without rain, snow, sleet or hail. We had to make every minute count and went riding and exploring as much as the cold wet weather would allow.

While on a quick morning outing (30 mile round trip), those of us riding discovered an abandoned settlement of some kind. It must have been hastily abandoned a few years ago, because clothing, books, bills (some in Dutch) and two pickup trucks were still there.

En route to Eureka (or so we thought):
Wife, youngest son Nick, Neice (Megan) and her friend
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The lovely wife (she hates cameras and is very camera-shy):
DSCF0017.JPGMe, of course:
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One of the abandoned trailer homes found:
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Now, it's not unusual to find abandoned dwellings in the desert, but it is unusual to find them still loaded with clothing and other personal effects. These still had toys, kids bikes, clothes, food, kitchen-ware and two pick-up trucks. Also scattered throughout were books on astrology, generating solar power and various science studies.

Closets still full of clothes. Vermin have thoroughly invaded the location:
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Yet more personal stuff laying about:
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The neice and her friend were clearly spooked by this location:
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On Sunday, a group of friends wanted to be led to this location. The weather was looking grim, but we pressed on anyway. About 3/4 of the way to the location, we entered a cloud layer and it began to rain, then snow and finally hail. I turned the group around and had to stop, setup an emergency fire and get everyone somewhat warm and dried out:

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After a grueling 45 minutes of driving through rain, hail and snow we finally made it back to camp. Everyone (myself included) were tired, wet and miserable.

An hour or two later, the weather broke, a bit of sun peeked through and I decided to ride to the mountain to the South of Little Sahara.

Here's our camp or RV/5th Wheel trailers:

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The mountain to the South, overlooking Little Sahara:
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Overlooking Sand Mountain and the dunes:
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All in all, and even though the weather was gloomy cold and rainy - it still beat sitting around the house over the weekend. I hope to get back out to this area and explore the Jericho area to the North of Little Sahara. Seems there still much to be seen and many trails to be enjoyed.

And.. I'm still no fan of the sand dunes!

The world's intelligence agencies and defense experts are quietly acknowledging that North Korea has become a fully fledged nuclear power with the capacity to wipe out entire cities in Japan and South Korea, the Times of London reported.

The new reality has emerged in off-hand remarks and in single sentences buried in lengthy reports. Increasing numbers of authoritative experts -- from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the U.S. Defense Secretary -- are admitting that North Korea has miniaturized nuclear warheads to the extent that they can be launched on medium-range missiles, according to intelligence briefings.

This puts it ahead of Iran in the race for nuclear attack capability and seriously alters the balance of power between North Korea's large but poorly equipped military and the South Korean and U.S. forces ranged against it. "North Korea has nuclear weapons, which is a matter of fact," the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, said this week. "I don't like to accept any country as a nuclear weapon state we have to face reality."

North Korea carried out an underground nuclear test in 2006 but until recently foreign governments believed that such nuclear devices were useless as weapons because they were too unwieldy to be mounted on a missile.

With 13,000 artillery pieces buried close to the border between the two Koreas, and chemical and biological warheads, it was always understood that the North could inflict significant conventional damage on Seoul, the South Korean capital. Military planners had calculated, however, that it could not strike outside the peninsula.

Now North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong Il, has the potential to kill millions in Japan as well as the South, and to lay waste U.S. bases and airfields in both countries. It will force military strategists to rethink plans for war in Korea and significantly increase the potential costs of any intervention in a future Korean war. The shift from acknowledging North Korea's nuclear weapons development program to recognizing it as a fully fledged nuclear power is highly controversial. South Korea, in particular, resists the reclassification because it could give the North greater leverage in negotiations.

Note: Being the father of two sons, ages 11 and 14, this story really tore at me. Kids can be so cruel and the cruelty seems to start younger and younger. Speak with your children to ensure a) they're not the bullies and b) to determine if they are being bullied. Really sad!

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Suicide hotline numbers

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Eleven-year-old Jaheem Herrera woke up on April 16 acting strangely. He wasn't hungry and he didn't want to go to school.

Jaheem Herrera's mother thinks he hanged himself because he was perpetually bullied at school.

Jaheem Herrera's mother thinks he hanged himself because he was perpetually bullied at school.

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But the outgoing fifth grader packed his bag and went to school at Dunaire Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia.

He came home much happier than when he left in the morning, smiling as he handed his mother, Masika Bermudez, a glowing report card full of A's and B's. She gave him a high-five and he went upstairs to his room as she prepared dinner.

A little later, when his younger sister called him to come down to eat, Jaheem didn't answer.

So mother and daughter climbed the stairs to Jaheem's room and opened the door.

Jaheem was hanging by his belt in the closet.

"I always used to see these things on TV, dead people on the news," says Bermudez. "I saw somebody die and to see this dead person is your son, hanging there, a young boy. ... To hang yourself like that, you've got to really be tired of something."

Bermudez says bullies at school pushed Jaheem over the edge. He complained about being called gay, ugly and "the virgin" because he was from the Virgin Islands, she said.

"He used to say Mom they keep telling me this ... this gay word, this gay, gay, gay. I'm tired of hearing it, they're telling me the same thing over and over," she told CNN, as she wiped away tears from her face.

But while she says her son complained about the bullying, she had no idea how bad it had gotten.

"He told me, but he just got to the point where he didn't want me to get involved anymore because nothing was done," she said.

Bermudez said she complained to the school about bullying seven or eight times, but it wasn't enough to save him.

"It [apparently] just got worse and worse and worse until Thursday," she said. "Just to walk up to that room and see your baby hanging there. My daughter saw this, my baby saw this, my kids are traumatized."

She said Jaheem was a shy boy just trying to get a good education and make friends. Video Watch what experts say about bullying in schools »

"He was a nice little boy," Bermudez said through her tears. "He loved to dance. He loved to have fun. He loved to make friends. And all he made [at school] were enemies."

Bermudez said she thinks her son felt like nobody wanted to help him, that nobody stood up and stopped the bullies.

"Maybe he said 'You know what -- I'm tired of telling my mom, she's been trying so hard, but nobody wants to help me,' " says Bermudez.

After Jaheem's death, the school board expressed condolences, saying the school staff "works diligently to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students."

Trying desperately to understand what went wrong, Bermudez asked her son's best friend to recount what happened on the day Jaheem killed himself.

"He [said he was] tired of complaining, tired of these guys messing with him," Bermudez said, recalling the conversation with Jaheem's best friend. "Tired of talking, I think to his teachers, counselors and nobody is doing anything -- and the best way out is death."

Allegations of such severe bullying surprises experts familiar with the school district. It's anti-bullying program was considered exemplary and includes programs to raise awareness and a specially trained liaison. Students are even asked to sign a no-bullying pledge. But other parents told CNN they have complained about bullying as well.

Despite recent strides towards preventing bullying in schools and increased awareness programs, a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network study showed that 65 percent of teens are bullied each year and most believe adults can't help them.

Less than a month before Jaheem's death, a boy in Massachusetts killed himself after being bullied, harassed and called "gay."

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, says to be effective, awareness programs need to include education about the harm that can be done by teasing someone about sexuality or perceived sexuality.

"Anti-gay language is really the ultimate weapon for a bully who wants to degrade his or her peers," she says. "And any effective response to bullying has to take that on."

Bermudez doesn't understand why the children at school couldn't learn to get along. Because of it, she'll never get to see her son grow up.

"My baby, that's my only boy, and I lost him now," says Bermudez. "He was my first child and ... to lose him 11 years after, he didn't live his life."

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She hopes her son's death will result in positive changes that will help other kids being bullied.

"Those that are being bullied -- they need to talk to their parents, they need to not hold back," she says. "I lost my son and now something has to be done."

SAN FRANCISCO--Security firm Finjan has uncovered what it says is one of the largest bot networks controlled by a single cybergang, with 1.9 million infected zombie computers.

The botnet has been in use since February, is hosted in the Ukraine, and is controlled by a gang of six people who are instructing the Windows XP-based machines to copy files, record keystrokes, send spam, and take screenshots, Ophir Shalitin, Finjan marketing director, said in an interview on the eve of the RSA security conference.

The gang has compromised computers in 77 government-owned domains in the U.S. and elsewhere, he said. Nearly half of the infected computers were in the United States. Nearly 80 percent of the infected computers are running Internet Explorer, while 15 percent are using Firefox, Finjan said.

The criminals operating the botnet can make as much as $190,000 in one day renting out the zombies to others, according to Finjan Chief Technology Officer Yuval Ben-Itzhak.

The command-and-control server being used to control the infected PCs is instructing the bots to download and execute a Trojan horse, which is detected by only 4 out of 39 antivirus products, said Shalitin.

The Trojan installs malicious executables that communicate with other computers, inject code into processes, visit Web sites, and other activities the user has no involvement with, according to a post on the Finjan Malicious Code Research Center blog.

"Overall, the cybergang can remotely execute anything it likes on the infected computers," the post says.

It could be the best Xbox 360 game ever, and a real kick in the ARSS.

The U.S. Army is testing the Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System (ARSS) -- a remote-controlled unmanned Vigilante robot helicopter equipped with a high-velocity sniper rifle.

Its RND Edge semi-automatic gun is mounted on a self-stabilizing turret with built-in zoom camera, and fires 7 to 10 precisely aimed .338-caliber rounds per second.

Back on the ground, a human directs it using a modified Xbox 360 controller, which plugs into a laptop so that the operator can see what the drone sees.

"Having the ability to accurately engage single point man sized targets with an airborne UAV will give the ground based soldier the ability to have a high-point survivable sniper at their disposal when needed," stated the Army solicitation notice when the project was announced in 2005.

The Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University developed the Precision Weapons Platform guided turret and rifle system.

Note: I sincerely hope this report is incorrect and the're over-doing the numbers for their own agenda (raising capital for the Fund).

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NPR.org, April 22, 2009 · The world economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time in six decades.

The International Monetary Fund projected the 1.3 percent drop in a dour forecast released Wednesday. That could leave at least 10 million more people around the world jobless, some private economists said.

"By any measure, this downturn represents by far the deepest global recession since the Great Depression," the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook. "All corners of the globe are being affected."

The new forecast of a decline in global economic activity for 2009 is much weaker than the 0.5 percent growth the IMF had estimated in January.

Big factors in the gloomier outlook: It's expected to take longer than previously thought to stabilize world financial markets and get credit flowing freely again to consumers and businesses. Doing so will be necessary to lift the U.S., and the global economy, out of recession.


Last year, I embarked on a two day adventure to place a 5x7' flag atop the Tintic Mountains, just about at the junction between Tooele, Juab and Utah counties.

I received several messages in support of and against the idea and it's execution. Those in support thought it was a symbolic and patriotic endeavor, while those against proclaimed that I was littering the wilderness.

After a day, I returned to recover the flag, pole and dispose of the cement that I used to secure the pole to the ground.






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My decision to remove the flag was not due to any environmental concerns, but more out of concern that my flimsy PVC pole would snap (it's windy up there), leaving the flag to go flying down the mountain.

Once the snow melts up top, I'm contemplating a wooden or aluminum pole permanently affixed to the mountain top, with regular flag inspections on a ~ quarterly basis.

Good idea, bad idea or stupid idea? Thoughts?






Note: Maybe they should start with disconnecting critical/sensitive systems from being accessed via the Public Internet! <DUH!>
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The Obama administration plans to create a new military command to coordinate the defense of Pentagon computer networks and improve U.S. offensive capabilities in cyberwarfare, according to current and former officials familiar with the plans.

The initiative will reshape the military's efforts to protect its networks from attacks by hackers, especially those from countries such as China and Russia. The new command will be unveiled within the next few weeks, Pentagon officials said.

The move comes amid growing evidence that sophisticated cyberspies are attacking the U.S. electric grid and key defense programs.

A page-one story in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that hackers breached the Pentagon's biggest weapons program, the $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter, and stole data.

Lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to the defense secretary Tuesday requesting a briefing on the matter.

Lockheed Martin Corp., the project's lead contractor, said in a statement Tuesday that it believed the article "was incorrect in its representation of successful cyber attacks" on the F-35 program.

"To our knowledge, there has never been any classified information breach," the statement said. The Journal story didn't say the stolen information was classified.

President Barack Obama, when he was a candidate for the White House, pledged to elevate cybersecurity as a national-security issue, equating it in significance with nuclear and biological weapons.

A White House team reviewing cybersecurity policy has completed its recommendations, including the creation of a top White House cyberpolicy official. Details of that and other proposals are still under debate. A final decision from the president is expected soon.

A draft of the White House review steps gingerly around the question of how to improve computer security in the private sector, especially key infrastructure such as telecommunications and the electricity grid.

The document stresses the importance of working with the private sector and civil-liberties groups to craft a solution, but doesn't call for a specific government role, according to a person familiar with the draft.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to announce the creation of a new military "cyber command" after the rollout of the White House review, according to military officials familiar with the plan.
Note: Not sure what to think of this. It's funny and sad at the same time.

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POCATELLO, Idaho --  An eastern Idaho judge who lost patience with the disruptive behavior of a defendant ordered court officials to tape the man's mouth shut with duct tape during a court hearing. The unusual move was ordered by 6th District Judge Peter D. McDermott during a probation violation hearing for Nicklas Frasure, 23.

Frasure was convicted of felony theft in 2008, but the judge retained jurisdiction for sentencing depending on Frasure's response to treatment. In October, Frasure was released from a state mental hospital in Blackfoot.

He is accused of violating his probation by not taking prescribed medication.

During the hearing, witnesses told the judge that Frasure's behavior had been strange and erratic since his release from the state hospital. They also said he has not been taking his medication and has been consuming alcohol, factors also contributing to mood and emotional swings.

Probation officer Julie Guiberson testified that Frasure is a threat to himself and others.

During Monday's hearing, Frasure interrupted the proceedings with repeated verbal outbursts and unusual behavior and ignored several orders from McDermott to restrain himself. After another series of outbursts, McDermott told bailiffs to silence Frasure.

The bailiffs then found a roll of duct tape, tore off a piece and put it over Frasure's mouth, according to the Idaho State Journal.

"He's obviously not mentally competent," Frasure's lawyer Kent Reynolds told the judge


For the past several years, I've used a set of Dragon MDX fog-free goggles and have only had to change out the lenses. I've tried orange, blue, clear and grey -- and can't quite discern the difference between the colors.

While the Dragon goggles have been awesome, the lenses (fog-free) seem excessively prone to cracking, even when not in use (just stored in-doors for a few weeks, and voila - cracks have formed).

Two weeks ago, via RMATV, I purchased a new set of Scott 83X Desert Goggle Black Part# 117358000 ($29.99) and they've been fantastic. The adjustable strap is excellent and the goggles seem to be holding up quite well (and I'm tough on goggles)!

Now if only I could find a pair of 5.11 tactical boots that are great for riding and hiking. All the boots I've purchased thus far seem to tear apart quite quickly.


Note: Our Federal government can mandate how we protect data, but can't seem to prevent our power grid or sensitive military data from being breached! 

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The US Department of Health and Human Services has released a document offering guidance on protecting electronic health record data.  The document says that electronic medical data must be rendered "unusable, unreadable or indecipherable" to those who do not have the authority to view them, and recommends encryption and destruction as acceptable methods of meeting those requirements.  The document is tied to two sets of breach notification regulations required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the economic stimulus bill.  One set of notification guidelines will be issued by HHS, and the second will be issued by the Federal Trade Commission for entities not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Organizations that comply with the guidelines set forth in the document will not be held to breach notification requirements.  HHS will accept public comments on the document through May 21, 2009.

http://fcw.com/Articles/2009/04/20/HHS-releases-guidance-on-securing-electronic-health-data.aspx

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/hitechrfi.pdf

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20090420_8620.php

http://govhealthit.com/articles/2009/04/20/health-it-privacy-guidelines.aspx

[Editor's Note (Pescatore): The real key is enforcing existing regulations around personal health information vs. any real need for new regulations.

(Liston): I completely disagree with giving these companies a free pass from breach notification simply because they checked the "we encrypt"

box on some form.  Doing encryption is easy... doing encryption well is hard.  Also, encrypting data-at-rest and data-in-motion is wonderful, but what if a breach targets data-in-use?]


I know the location is somewhere south of Five Mile Pass and North of Eureka, but I just can't quite recall. This canyon is by far one of my favorite locations in the spring/summer and fall.

If you know where this photo was taken (by me), do Comment or PM me with approx. GPSr coordinates:

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Note: And if things continue as they are in the United States, I anticipate more Americans will be added to a long list of most wanted. 

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WASHINGTON --  For the first time, an accused domestic terrorist is being added to the FBI's list of "Most Wanted" terror suspects that includes Usama bin Laden.

Daniel Andreas San Diego, a 31-year-old computer specialist from Berkeley, Calif., is wanted for the 2003 bombings of two corporate offices in California.

Authorities describe San Diego as an animal rights activist who turned to bomb attacks and say he has a tattoo that proclaims, "It only takes a spark."

Click here to read FOXNews.com's original WANTED story on Daniel Andreas.

A law enforcement official said the FBI was to announce Tuesday that San Diego was being added to the "Most Wanted" terrorist list. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the announcement ahead of time.

San Diego would be the 24th person on the list, and the only domestic terror suspect.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko declined to comment on the pending announcement.

The move to add a domestic, left-wing terrorist to the list comes only days after the Obama administration was criticized for internal reports suggesting some military veterans could be susceptible to right-wing extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans groups.

An arrest warrant was issued for San Diego after the 2003 bombings in northern California of the corporate offices of Chiron Corp., a biotechnology firm, and at Shaklee Corp., a nutrition and cosmetics company. The explosions caused minor damage and no injuries.

A group calling itself "Revolutionary Cells" took responsibility for the blasts, telling followers in a series of e-mails that Chiron and Shaklee had been targeted for their ties to a research company that conducted drug and chemical experiments on animals.

Officials have offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to his capture, five times the reward amounts offered for other so-called eco-terrorists wanted in the U.S.

In February, the FBI announced San Diego may be living in Costa Rica, possibly working with Americans or people who speak English in the Central American country.

Law enforcement officials describe San Diego as a strict vegan who possesses a 9mm handgun. On his abdomen, he has images of burning and collapsing buildings.

The FBI's "Most Wanted" terrorist list is distinct from the much longer-running "Ten Most Wanted" list. Al Qaeda chief bin Laden is on both.

There is another American already on the list, but he is wanted for his work overseas for Al Qaeda. Adam Yahiye Gadahn grew up in California but moved to Pakistan and works as a translator and consultant to Al Qaeda.


Note: Why in the world do we connect these secure systems to the global Internet? Is our government intentionally looking to have these recurring breaches? These should be completed closed systems with no access to/from the Internet!

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WASHINGTON --  Computer spies have broken into the Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project -- the Defense Department's costliest weapons program ever -- according to current and former government officials familiar with the attacks.

Similar incidents have also breached the Air Force's air-traffic-control system in recent months, these people say.

In the case of the fighter-jet program, the intruders were able to copy and siphon off several terabytes of data related to design and electronics systems, officials say, potentially making it easier to defend against the craft.

The latest intrusions provide new evidence that a battle is heating up between the U.S. and potential adversaries over the data networks that tie the world together.

The revelations follow a recent Wall Street Journal report that computers used to control the U.S. electrical-distribution system, as well as other infrastructure, have also been infiltrated by spies abroad.

Attacks like these -- or U.S. awareness of them -- appear to have escalated in the past six months, said one former official briefed on the matter.

"There's never been anything like it," this person said, adding that other military and civilian agencies as well as private companies are affected. "It's everything that keeps this country going."

Related Stories

Many details couldn't be learned, including the specific identity of the attackers, and the scope of the damage to the U.S. defense program, either in financial or security terms.

In addition, while the spies were able to download sizable amounts of data related to the jet-fighter, they weren't able to access the most sensitive material, which is stored on computers not connected to the Internet.

Former U.S. officials say the attacks appear to have originated in China. However it can be extremely difficult to determine the true origin because it is easy to mask identities online.


A few weeks ago, my wife asked me why the U.S. doesn't make anything of value anymore. Everything, she said, is made in China or Mexico or other faraway points on the compass.

Welcome to one of the destructive side effects of the "woe is me" times we live in: Along with the legitimate and serious problems that face our economy, we seem to have convinced ourselves that we're powerless to do much about the downturn because we've already become a second-rate economic power.

In fact, as I told my wife, the U.S. is still the world's leading manufacturer and in most of the world, "Made in the USA" is still synonymous with quality and high value.
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SPOT on: The entire story can be read here.

Another Tintic Mountains Ride

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Since we're going to be camping in the Jericho area next weekend (weather permitting), I decided against riding there today.

Instead, I opted for yet another Tintic mountains exploration trip.

I Parked in Little Moab, rode toward Allan Ranch, banked South, dropped into Eureka (for fuel), circled around the Tintic mountains, tried to get up Mill Canyon (no luck), placed two geocaches (in Memory of Pudge and Pudge Overlook), headed south to 12Mile and back to Little Moab.

Total mileage was around 65 miles for today.

I encountered monstrous mud, deep snow, dusty desert floor and large rocks.

At the end of the day, I came home filthy and very sunburned.

A few photos from today:

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Vandalism-Postal/Identity Theft

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Seems this morning around 0527, some morons in a silver or gold import (probably a Toyota Camry) were hitting mailboxes for blocks in every direction of my house.

My house was hit, but we use a PO Box, so nothing was taken - but these cretins did leave the discarded mail they didn't want in my mailbox.

Fortunately, I have a motion activated, night-sensor camera in the front yard and was able to get a few still shots of the vehicle.

This morning, I phoned police and provided a report and the photos. Here's an example of the morons dumping discarded (not mine) mail in my box this morning:

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I do hope these boneheads get caught by the Police before I catch them!
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This morning at 0730, we (my 11 year old son Nick and 14 year old niece Megan) ran the 5k portion of the Salt Lake City Marathon.

We didn't train up for this one too much this year and are seriously consider a half marathon (12.2 miles) for our next run.

While we're not the fastest runners (35 minutes), we were consistent and sprinted the last 1/4 mile (I'm uploading a short video to YouTube).

It was quite a turn-out, well over 20,000 runners I believe. The fastest runner came in at like 12 minutes for the 5k. WOW! We watched several folks throwing up spaghetti and vomiting other contents. Quite interesting.

The route for this years 5k went from the Salt Lake City Building (400 South and State Street), south to 900 South, then to State Street and State north to South Temple, then over to the Rio Grande station, around and into the Gateway mall area.
SLC_09_5K_coursemap.pdf

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Note: Being a techno-geek, I've been looking for a low-cost solution to secure wireless (WLAN) connections to my network.

Windows Server 2003 comes bundled with a very capable RADIUS (also known as AAA) server that's extremely stable, secure, and robust. When you search on Internet security databases for Microsoft IAS vulnerabilities, you won't find any. The IAS service just runs for years without the need to patch IAS. If your Windows Server 2003 box is hardened to only accept IAS requests with host-based firewall restrictions on all other ports and you install no other services on a Windows 2003 box, you can literally keep an IAS RADIUS server up for years of zero downtime or reboots.

PDF Version of this how-to is:
gou_secure-wireless-guide.pdf

Everett Ruess


It was a chilly day in November 1934. The country had been mired in the Great Depression for more than five years, and no town felt the pinch of poverty more acutely than Escalante. Founded by Mormon pioneers 59 years earlier, the small settlement in southern Utah--then one of the most remote towns in the United States--had been stricken in successive summers by a plague of grasshoppers that ruined the crops and by the worst drought in nearly eight decades. In late autumn, the arrival of any visitor in Escalante was a rare occurrence. It was all the more surprising, then, when the thin, sandy-haired stranger rode into town from the west, saddled on one undersized burro, leading another that was packed with camping gear. His name, he told the locals, was Everett Ruess. He was from California. And although he was only 20, he had been wandering all over the Southwest for the better part of the previous four years.



Rammstein - Mein Hertz Brent

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Note: Rockin' it old school! Fortunately, I understand German. It's unreal just how tame the lyrics for Rammstein are. They sound so hard-core, but the lyrics are super-tame. My heart burns. The kids heads on the pillow...







Feeling like a little rock this evening! Having grown up in Germany, Rammstein is just awesome!






And.. "You smell so good"






And finally, America, America:






Note: We all know that guns kill people, not bad people killing people, so lets ban those bad, bad guns! If the guns are banned, they won't come back to those bad people that use them!  Just another excuse to yet again start another weapons ban. When will our government learn?

----


MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) -- Reviving a ban on assault weapons and more strictly enforcing existing gun laws could help tamp down drug violence that has run rampant on the U.S.-Mexican border, President Obama said Thursday.

"We can respect and honor the Second Amendment while dealing with assault weapons," Obama says in Mexico.

"We can respect and honor the Second Amendment while dealing with assault weapons," Obama says in Mexico.

Speaking alongside Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Obama said he has "not backed off at all" on a campaign pledge to try to restore the ban. It was instituted under President Clinton and allowed to lapse by President George W. Bush.

"I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment right in our Constitution -- the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners that want to keep their families safe -- to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know here in Mexico, are used to fuel violence," Obama said.

Obama and Calderón spoke after completing a wide-ranging meeting that included talk of the deadly border situation.

Calderón said that the link between Mexican drug violence and the U.S. ban on 19 types of military-style semi-automatic rifles -- which lapsed in 2004 -- is clear.

"From the moment the the prohibition on the sale of assault weapons was lifted a few years ago, we have seen an increase in the power of organized crime in Mexico," Calderón said.

He said that more than 16,000 assault weapons have been seized in the crackdown on drug traffickers, with almost 9 in 10 coming from the United States.

Some observers have said Obama may be slow to reintroduce the ban in Congress, where it would be sure to spark a fight at a time when his administration needs all the political clout it can muster to push its aggressive economic recovery efforts.

Calderón acknowledged the debate's thorny nature.

"We know that it is a politically delicate topic because Americans truly appreciate their Constitutional rights," he said. "As long as we are able to express clearly what our problems in Mexico are, then we might be able to also seek a solution that respects the constitutional rights of Americans, that at the same time will avoid organized crime becoming better armed in our country."

Obama said he has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to study how current gun laws are enforced and whether loopholes in some can be tightened. He said laws already on the books should restrict the flow of weapons into Mexico.

Obama and Calderón said their discussions ranged from working together to combat global climate change, to efforts at comprehensive immigration reform. Obama noted his two votes as a U.S. senator for reforms was backed by then-President Bush but shot down by Bush's fellow Republicans over what they called an "amnesty" provision for illegal immigrants.

"For those immigrants who have put down roots -- they have come here illegally -- I think they need to pay a penalty for having broken the law. They need to come out of the shadows. Then we need to put them through a process where, if they want to stay in the United States, they have an opportunity to earn it," Obama said.

Calderón said the key to reducing illegal immigration is to grow jobs in Mexico, which he pledged to do.

But much of their talk centered on the drug violence. Video Watch report on President Obama's trip »

Since taking office in 2006, Calderón has worked to root out government corruption and crack down on the drug cartels that hold sway in many of Mexico's border regions. That, combined with ramped-up power struggles and turf warfare, has contributed to a rash of violence that has led to more than 1,000 deaths this year.

Obama commended Calderón on the steps his government has taken.

"But I will not pretend that this is a Mexican responsibility alone," he said. "A demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping keep these cartels in business. This war is being waged with guns not purchased here but in the United States."

Obama said he'll urge fast-tracking of the three-year, $1.4 billion Merida Initiative, a joint security plan between the United States, Mexico and other Latin American countries in which U.S. equipment, technology and expertise are used toward combating the drug trade.

Speaking to CNN en Español, Obama lauded Calderón as having done "an outstanding and heroic job in dealing with what is a big problem right now along the borders with the drug cartels."

Asked whether the United States is partly to blame for the violence along the border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, "there certainly is a relationship. You can't deny it."

In Mexico City on Thursday, she said, "What we're working to do is to work to stop the flow of guns and cash into Mexico that are helping fuel these cartels, but also we're working at the border to make sure that the spillover violence doesn't occur in our own cities and communities." Video Watch what Napolitano says about the U.S.-Mexico drug link »

Napolitano said the United States also must ensure that it is enforcing immigration laws on employers who "consistently go into that illegal labor market in order to exploit it."

E-verify, an electronic employment eligibility verification system, must be an integral part of immigration enforcement, she said.

Obama is to travel later in the week to the summit for meetings with Latin American leaders. While on the trip to Latin America, Obama said he seeks to engage in talks with the region's leaders as equals.

"Times have changed," Obama said Wednesday.

He refused to criticize the leaders of Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, who have taken measures to change their constitutions to extend their holds on power. Video Watch as President Obama arrives in Mexico »

"I think it's important for the United States not to tell other countries how to structure their democratic practices and what should be contained in their constitutions," he said. "It's up to the people of those countries to make a decision about how they want to structure their affairs."

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He said he believes that the United States has a leadership role to play in the region, but he qualified that role this way: "We also recognize that other countries have important contributions and insights."

He added, "We want to listen and learn as well as talk, and that approach, I think, of mutual respect and finding common interests, is one that ultimately will serve everybody."
Just wow!



NEWPORT, R.I.-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made clear on Thursday that any repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law would have to be undertaken slowly, and suggested that it might not happen at all.

"If we do it,'' Mr. Gates told reporters on his plane enroute to Rhode Island, "it's important that we do it right, and very carefully.''

Mr. Gates was expanding on his answer to an officer's question earlier in the day at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., where the Defense secretary was asked about the policy that allows gay men and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret. "Everybody in this room knows that this is a complex and difficult problem,'' Mr. Gates responded.

Then he noted that President Harry S. Truman had signed an executive order integrating the armed services in 1948 "and that it was five years before the process was completed.''

Mr. Gates added: "I'm not saying that's a model for this, but I'm saying that I believe that this is something that needs to be done very, very carefully.''

President Obama pledged during the presidential campaign that he would work to repeal the law and allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly, but both the White House and Pentagon leadership have since made clear that they are reluctant to tackle the issue in the first year of the new administration. On Thursday, Mr. Gates said, as he has in the past, that he had only begun conversations on the matter with Mr. Obama and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. Gates also said that "if we do go down that road,'' it was important that "we do it right and in a way that mitigates any downsides.''

In the session with reporters on his plane, Mr. Gates said that it was hard to gage opinion about changing the law within the military. "To get people's real feelings about it, you have to have almost a one-on-one private conversation,'' Mr. Gates said. "I think it's very difficult for people to speak in front of their peers about this issue.''






Now kiss her butt, judges!

If you are not a National Rifle Association (NRA) member, now is the time to sign up since the first year is free.

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Anyway, the NRA's primary focus continues to be firearm and hunting safety. Just about every person who owns a handgun has taken a course from a NRA instructor, and many states require hunter safety training by NRA instructors.

Of course, the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action stays on top of all state and federal legislative efforts that erode 2nd Amendment rights. They do an excellent job of staying on top of legislatures who like to quietly change laws that restrict hunting, access to public land, and restrict American's ability to defend themselves.

So, let's get right down to it and get you signed up for the NRA. Sure, you'll get some additional e-mail in your box and additional mail in your regular mail box too, but you also get some benefits including a monthly eNewsletter and discounts on hotels, rental cars and more.

Click here to sign up for the free one year trial membership. You can also get a two year full membership for $25 which is a great deal since regular yearly memberships are about $35 each.

Navy:1, Pirates: 0

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As seen flying in Annaplois, MD, home of the US Naval Academy:

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Despite the reported threats by right wing extremists on April 19th, I am planning to do some ATV'ing, geocaching and further exploring South/West of Eureka on Sunday.

I anticipate staging somewhere in the vicinity of: Cherry Creek Road.

Anyone capable of having fun, riding hard, hiking and exploring is welcome to join in!

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Note: To believe most of this would require me to put on a tin-foil hat. Is our government really afraid of returning veterans?

(U) Key Findings
(U//LES) The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific
information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,
but rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about
several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first
African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and
recruitment.

(U//FOUO) Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans
likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups,
as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for
violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and
stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation
of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary
concern to law enforcement.

(U//FOUO) Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are
attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing
extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to
boost their violent capabilities.

Here is the leaked (unclassified) report from DHS:
HomelandSecurityreport.pdf
Note: A while back, I posted about how much I loved Dominos Pizza. I was dismayed to discover this story today:

In its trial by social media, Domino's Pizza seems to already have been found guilty.

Two employees of the Domino's in Conover, N.C., made a video which featured one of them putting cheese up his nostrils (and then putting it on a sandwich) and passing a salami around his wind-passing backside (and then putting it on a sandwich).

The employees, Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer, have been fired and charged with delivering prohibited goods.

Yet this is not the first time employees of fast-food outlets have used YouTube as an emotional outlet from their rewarding work.

Last year, Burger King fired an employee for making a video while bathing in the restaurant's kitchen sink and uploading it to MySpace. Yet the brand seems to march confidently on.

Why is this Domino's video appearing to have such a deleterious effect on the brand? Perhaps it's that it has simply gained a viral life far beyond its makers' expectations.

Or perhaps it's that in recessionary times people are relying far more on fast food to get through their budgetary week and are desperate, despite stories to the contrary, to know that these restaurants are sanitary.

While Ms. Hammonds and Mr. Setzer are at pains to point out that the food was not actually served (and, of course, we all believe them), the blog Good as You seems to have uncovered four videos in total featuring the pair.

And nauseating viewing they really do make. Especially the one showing, presumably, Mr. Setzer wiping a dish sponge on his bare backside.

Domino's first reaction, one of caution, has now been replaced by something that bears a resemblance to panic.

Domino's President Patrick Doyle has posted his own video to YouTube, in which he apologizes for the incident and attempts to reassure. His arguments seem reasonable.

However, as you watch it, you wonder if the video just might make things a little worse in the short term. Mr. Doyle fails to look into the camera. Instead his eyes peer at 45 degrees, presumably in the direction of a script. The effect is not reassuring.

What is even more unfortunate for Domino's is that the posting of the video apology has caused even more YouTube commentary about the company, some of it extremely unflattering.

And to think that just a couple of days ago, Domino's was madly touting its Bailout Package. It's Big Taste Bailout Package, to be precise. Will you be nosing through the Domino's menu tonight?


MEXICO CITY --  A woman was arrested guarding an arsenal that included an anti-aircraft machine gun -- the first weapon of its kind seized in Mexico, police said Tuesday.

The arsenal belonged to a group linked to the powerful Beltran Leyva drug cartel, federal police coordinator Gen. Rodolfo Cruz said. It also included ammunition, five rifles, a grenade and part of a grenade launcher.

Mexican drug cartels, battling a fierce crackdown by soldiers and federal police, have increasingly gotten hold of higher-powered weapons, even military-grade arms such as grenades and machine guns. That has left police -- particularly state and municipal forces -- grossly outgunned, and many officers have quit following attacks.

Cruz said the confiscated .50-caliber, anti-aircraft machine gun can fire 800 rounds per minute and is capable of penetrating armor from more than 5,000 feet. Police on a routine patrol Monday found the gun fitted atop an SUV at a house in northern Sonora state.

Authorities did not release any other details about the gun, including its make, where it was manufactured, or where it was sold.

The arrested suspect, Anahi Beltran Cabrera, apparently is not related to the Beltran Leyva clan, Cruz said.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has traced many guns seized at scenes of drug violence in Mexico to U.S. commercial sources. But determining the source of military-grade weapons such as grenades and fully automatic machine guns is more complicated.

The ATF says the grenades are mostly smuggled in through Central America, and have been traced back to the militaries of many countries, from South Korea to Spain and Israel. Some may be leftovers from the Central American civil wars.

Assailants have fired on government aircraft performing anti-drug missions in Mexico in the past, but apparently never with the caliber of weapon found Monday.

In 2006, a helicopter on a federal drug-eradication mission crashed while trying to escape ground fire, and a second helicopter was damaged by gunfire in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero.

Mexico is upgrading its northern and southern border checkpoints in an effort to detect and seize more guns and other contraband, installing equipment that will weigh and photograph each car and truck coming into the country.

President Barack Obama has promised to do more to stop gun trafficking from the United States to Mexico. He has pledged to dispatch nearly 500 more federal agents to the border, along with X-ray machines and drug-sniffing dogs.

Mexico's drug violence has claimed more than 10,650 lives since President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against trafficking cartels in December 2006.

In March, the government sent thousands more troops to the northern border to quell escalating violence. The government announced Sunday that drug-related homicides fell 26 percent across the country in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period in 2008.

Note: Fear mongering on the part of the press? Seems only sensational or over-the-top stories make it to press these days.

--

(CNN) -- Right-wing extremist groups may be using the recession and the election of the nation's first African-American president to recruit members, a Department of Homeland Security report contends.

The Department of Homeland Security says membership in extremists groups like this may be increasing.

The Department of Homeland Security says membership in extremists groups like this may be increasing.

Though the nine-page report said it has "no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence," it said real-estate foreclosures, unemployment and tight credit "could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past."

The report, prepared in coordination with the FBI and published April 7, was distributed to federal, state and local law enforcement officials under the title "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

It compares the current climate the 1990s, "when right-wing extremism experienced a resurgence fueled largely by an economic recession, criticism about the outsourcing of jobs, and the perceived threat to U.S. power and sovereignty by other foreign powers."

It cites proposed restrictions on weapons as likely to increase membership in extremist groups and expresses concern the groups might try to recruit veterans.

The report also cites concern about anti-Semitism, saying that some groups are blaming the loss of U.S. jobs and home foreclosures on "a deliberate conspiracy conducted by a cabal of Jewish 'financial elites' " in an attempt to recruit members.

The election of President Obama is cited as a key recruitment tool. "Many right-wing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearm ownership and use," the report said.

It said that twice in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, "extremists appeared to be in the early planning stages of some threatening activity targeting the Democratic nominee, but law enforcement interceded."

The report said that "lone wolves and small terrorist cells" represent the nation's biggest terrorist threat because their low profile makes it difficult to intervene before they act.

Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, agreed that Obama's election may have boosted membership in such groups, but called any link to the economy "more questionable."

He said his group has documented "a steady, not dramatic," growth of extremist groups -- from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008, an increase of more than 50 percent.

Though "there has been a lot of talk about the country being stolen," it is "a little early" to conclude that Obama's election has driven massive growth in such groups, he said.

A DHS official said the department was not trying to squelch free speech by issuing the report. "There is no link between extremists being talked about in that report and conservative political thinkers, activists and voters," the official said.

But conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock was not persuaded. "If the Bush administration had done this to left-wing extremists, it would be all over the press as an obvious trampling of the First Amendment rights of folks and dissent," he told CNN.

In fact, the Obama administration in January did issue a warning about left-wing extremists. Both reports were initiated during the administration of former President George W. Bush.
Note: Maybe I'm dense, but how do a LT and CAPT. in the US Army not know that there are specific grooming and clothing standards in the military? Complain that cutting their hair and removing their turban violates their rights?  How did the CAPT. avoid the issue so long? To get to O3, he has to have been in at least a couple of years. Odd issue.

My opinion: They need to observe SOP on grooming/attire or be discharged.

Listen Now [2 min 32 sec] 

Morning Edition, April 15, 2009 · Two U.S. Army recruits, who are members of the Sikh faith, have filed a complaint against the Army over rules that require them to cut their hair and beards and forbids them to wear turbans. The Sikhs call it religious discrimination. The Army says it bans overt religious symbols and for practical reasons it cannot accommodate the Sikhs' requirements.


Since the weather was going to be ~70F and the remainder of the week stormy with snow & rain, I decided to take the day off to do some hiking, ATV'ing, geocaching and exploration.

During my journey of ~70 miles, I hid three caches, got stuck in 2.5' of snow (for over 2 hours), ran into countless deer, climbed to heights above 8500' and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

This video is a location for a geocache placement:





This is today's trail map, totaling just under 70 miles of exploration:

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The next few photos are from various locations from today's trip:

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Prisoners of war suffer in ways most veterans don't, enduring humiliating forced marches, torture or other trauma that may haunt them long afterward. In partial recompense, the government extends them special benefits, from free parking and tax breaks to priority in medical treatment.

Trouble is, some of the much-admired recipients of these benefits apparently don't deserve them.

There are only 21 surviving POWs from the first Gulf War in 1991, the Department of Defense says. Yet the Department of Veterans Affairs is paying disability benefits to 286 service members it says were taken prisoner during that conflict, according to data released by VA to The Associated Press.

A similar discrepancy arises with Vietnam POWs. Only 661 officially recognized prisoners returned from that war alive -- and about 100 of those have since died, according to Defense figures. But 966 purported Vietnam POWs are getting disability payments, the VA told AP.

Being classified as a POW doesn't directly increase a veteran's monthly disability check. There's no "POW payment."
Note: This story made headline news nationally! Should somebody up at UofU be held accountable for not taking proactive measures?

--

More than 700 computers at the University of Utah have been infected with the Conficker worm.

The hit includes computers at the university's three hospitals, the Associated Press reported early Sunday.

University spokesman Chris Nelson said the outbreak was detected Thursday, the AP reported. By the next day, the worm had struck at the hospitals, medical school, and the nursing, pharmacy, and health colleges.

Patient records have not been touched, Nelson said. IT cut off Net access for up to six hours on Friday in order to isolate the virus, the AP reported.


Five Mile ATV'ing (North side)

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After the Easter festivities concluded at home, I just had to pack up the trailer, ATV, GPSr and SPOT and head out.

I decided to park East of the South staging area and ride up the canyon along Lewiston. The trail was mostly dry until I started up toward Coyote Hill.  After passing this location, the trail became very muddy and wet.

Here's the SPOT trail map of today's ride:

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My ATV was throwing mud/rock balls the size of grapefruit, and I quickly felt the ATV gain over 100 pounds of weight due to the mud and rocks being gathered underneath and along the foot wells.

I decided that since I had gone this far, that I would attempt to gain access to Castle of Cacti.  Within .5 miles of this location, the snow was easily 1' deep in spots and icy. I put my machine in 4wd low, grabbed the posi-traction lever and barreled to the top.

The view was well worth the mud, snow and cold:

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Note: Although there's always fun-poking between Army -v- Navy (Rangers -v- SEALs), I'm glad they finally got this done!

--

MANAMA, Bahrain (CNN) -- U.S. Navy snipers fatally shot three pirates holding an American cargo-ship captain hostage after seeing that one of the pirates "had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," a military official said Sunday.

Cargo ship Capt. Richard Phillips is shown aboard the USS Boxer shortly after his rescue Sunday.

Cargo ship Capt. Richard Phillips is shown aboard the USS Boxer shortly after his rescue Sunday.

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The captain, who'd been held in a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean since Wednesday, was rescued uninjured, Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters.

Capt. Richard Phillips' ship, the Maersk Alabama, was stormed by pirates 350 miles off Somalia on Wednesday morning. He was "resting comfortably" on the USS Boxer after his rescue Sunday night, according to the Navy.

Phillips contacted his family and received a routine medical exam after his rescue at 7:19 p.m. (12:19 p.m. ET), the Navy Central Command said.

"The captain is in good health. He's showered up and in a clean set of clothes," Gortney said in a telephone news conference from Navy Central Command in Bahrain.

U.S. forces moved to rescue Phillips after seeing him in imminent danger on the lifeboat, Gortney said. A fourth pirate was negotiating Phillips' fate aboard the nearby USS Bainbridge.

"While working through the negotiations process tonight, the on-scene commander from the Bainbridge made the decision that the captain's life was in immediate danger, and the three pirates were killed," Gortney said. "The pirate who surrendered earlier today is being treated humanely; his counterparts who continued to fight paid with their lives."

The three pirates, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, were killed by shooters who were aboard the Bainbridge, Gortney said. Video Watch how U.S. forces believed Phillips was in danger »

The on-scene commander gave the shooters approval to open fire after seeing that "one of the pirates had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," Gortney said.

Seas in the area were getting rough at the time of the rescue, Gortney said, and the Bainbridge was towing the lifeboat presumably to calmer waters with a towline about 82 feet long.

A senior defense official told CNN that each pirate was shot in the head.

After the shooting, special operations personnel shimmied along the tow rope to ensure the pirates were dead and freed Phillips, the official said.

The official added that the pirates had become increasingly agitated over the past day, and negotiations were not going well.

The fourth pirate was aboard the Bainbridge most of the day and told military negotiators that he wasn't going back to the other pirates, according to a defense official with knowledge of the situation.

Federal prosecutors would be "reviewing the evidence and other issues" to determine whether that pirate would be prosecuted in the United States, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.

It's the first time in modern history that the United States has in custody a pirate who carried out an attack on a U.S. citizen, said a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation. The source said figuring out what to do with the pirate is a sensitive issue.

Phillips' rescue came a day after he dove into the water in an attempt to escape his captors, Gortney said. The pirates "shot in the water at him" but eventually recaptured him, Gortney said.

Maersk Line Limited President and CEO John Reinhart called Phillips "a leader of men ... [and] a brave and courageous man."

He said he has spoken with Phillips and said the captain is "feeling quite good." Phillips and his family, through Reinhart, expressed gratitude to the U.S. Navy.

"I actually was more concerned for his family," said Adm. Rick Gurnon, head of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where Phillips had trained. "As a captain in sea, in a lifeboat, he was comfortable -- even if he was sharing it with Somali pirates." Video Watch Massachusetts Maritime Academy celebrate rescue »

Gurnon stressed that while Phillips was rescued, more than 200 mariners remain captives at sea.

"The pirates have a great business model that works for them: See ships, take ransom, make millions," he told reporters.

At the White House, President Obama issued a statement saying he is "very pleased that Capt. Phillips has been rescued and is safely on board the USS Boxer."

"His safety has been our principal concern, and I know this is a welcome relief to his family and his crew," Obama's statement said. "We remain resolved to halt the rise of piracy in this region."

Obama had given standing orders for the military to take "decisive action" if Phillips was in "imminent danger," Gortney said.

Phillips offered himself as a hostage after the pirates stormed the U.S.-flagged Alabama Wednesday morning, according to Maersk.

Crew members have said that after the pirates stormed the ship, they overpowered one pirate and tied him up. The crew released the pirate Wednesday, hoping to exchange him for Phillips, but the pirates instead retreated to the lifeboat with Phillips, leaving the Alabama to its crew. View a timeline of the attack and its aftermath »

Maersk Alabama crew members, who guided the ship to port in Mombasa, Kenya, on Saturday, were "jubilant" when they received word of the rescue, a statement from the company said.

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Alison McCall, a spokeswoman for Maersk, owner of the Alabama, read a statement from Phillips' family to reporters. Video Watch spokeswoman read statement from Phillips' family »

"The Phillips family wants to thank you all for your support and prayers. They have felt the caring and concern extended by the nation," McCall said. "This is truly a very happy Easter for the Phillips family."

Easter 2009

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Although we (the wife and I) recognize Easter is a religious and pagan holiday, the wife persists on celebrating as though it were Christmas, Part 2.  The boys both woke early this morning, eager with anticipation.

First task was to have a bit of coffee, then have the boys embark on their Easter basket hunt. For being ages 11 and 14, they had no sense of puzzle solving whatsoever and needed hints for the most obvious riddles.

After a grueling thirty (30) minutes, they finally followed the clues and retrieved their baskets.

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Note: Since April 1st, this worm hasn't garnered much attention, but it is still active and viable!

(CNET) -- The Conficker worm is finally doing something--updating via peer-to-peer between infected computers and dropping a mystery payload on infected computers, Trend Micro said on Wednesday.

This piece of computer code told the worm to activate on April 1, researchers found.

This piece of computer code told the worm to activate on April 1, researchers found.

Researchers were analyzing the code of the software that is being dropped onto infected computers but suspect that it is a keystroke logger or some other program designed to steal sensitive data off the machine, said David Perry, global director of security education at Trend Micro.

The software appeared to be a .sys component hiding behind a rootkit, which is software that is designed to hide the fact that a computer has been compromised, according to Trend Micro. The software is heavily encrypted, which makes code analysis difficult, the researchers said.

The worm also tries to connect to MySpace.com, MSN.com, eBay.com, CNN.com and AOL.com as a way to test that the computer has Internet connectivity, deletes all traces of itself in the host machine, and is set to shut down on May 3, according to the TrendLabs Malware Blog.

Because infected computers are receiving the new component in a staggered manner rather than all at once there should be no disruption to the Web sites the computers visit, said Paul Ferguson, advanced threats researcher for Trend Micro.

"After May 3, it shuts down and won't do any replication," Perry said. However, infected computers could still be remotely controlled to do something else, he added.

On Tuesday night Trend Micro researchers noticed a new file in the Windows Temp folder and a huge encrypted TCP response from a known Conficker P2P IP node hosted in Korea.

"As expected, the P2P communications of the Downad/Conficker botnet may have just been used to serve an update, and not via HTTP," the blog post says. "The Conficker/Downad P2P communications is now running in full swing!"

In addition to adding the new propagation functionality, Conficker communicates with servers that are associated with the Waledac family of malware and its Storm botnet, according to a separate blog post by Trend Micro security researcher Rik Ferguson.

The worm tries to access a known Waledac domain and download another encrypted file, the researchers said.

Conficker.C failed to make a splash a week ago despite the fact that it was programmed to activate on April 1. It has infected between 3 million and 12 million computers, according to Perry.

Initially, researchers thought they were seeing a new variant of the Conficker worm, but now they believe it is merely a new component of the worm.

The worm spreads via a hole in Windows that Microsoft patched in October, as well as through removable storage devices and network shares with weak passwords.

The worm disables security software and blocks access to security Web sites.
Note: I don't like the Pet Shop Boys and I really don't like PETA. I just found this too entertaining to pass up.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Just because they named their new CD "Yes," does not mean that British electro-pop duo, the Pet Shop Boys, will agree to just about anything.

PETA has asked the Pet Shop Boys to change the band's name to Rescue Shelter Boys.

PETA has asked the Pet Shop Boys to change the band's name to Rescue Shelter Boys.

The band has turned down a request from an animal rights group to rename itself the Rescue Shelter Boys.

The organization, the People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA), sent a letter to Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe acknowledging that its request, at first blush, might appear "bizarre."

But, by changing its name, the band could raise awareness at every tour stop of the "cramped, filthy conditions" that breeders keep animals in before selling them to pet stores, PETA said in its letter.

The duo, which has performed under its current name for more than 20 years, reproduced PETA's written request in full on its Web site.

The musicians said they were "unable to agree" to the request "but nonetheless think (it) raises an issue worth thinking about."

The animal rights group said it was pleased the Pet Shop Boys had drawn attention to the issue by posting its letter so prominently on the band's site. Talking about its campaign on a blog entry, a PETA staffer wrote:

"I think I may have to stick "West End Girls" on my iPod right now to celebrate."

"West End Girls" is one of the many hits the group has had in its long career.

PETA is no stranger to oddball campaigns. A recent one was aimed to re-christen fish as "sea kittens" because "who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?"

Hiding and fighting from within civilian structures gives insurgents an edge. The US military wants to negate this home field advantage with technology that would allow soldiers to look through concrete walls and give them a detailed picture of a building's interior--right down to the fixtures.

DARPA has asked companies to propose a suite of multiple sensing technologies that could, upon development, deliver "complete situational awareness" above and below ground that would "reverse the adversaries' advantage of urban familiarity."

The Comprehensive Interior Reconnaissance program sponsored by DARPA describes a scenario where an area would be cordoned off and specific buildings identified as deserving closer scrutiny.

In addition to aiding in hostage rescues and other urban combat operations, this "no-knock" technology could have some "hearts and minds" collateral benefits, as it could mean fewer doors kicked in.

An uber-vision system would be brought in to scan and kick out floor plans on up to a ten-story building, including basements and the structural and infrastructure systems such as electrical, plumbing, and ventilation; all accurate to within one yard.

Sensing may be accomplished through passive or active means, as long as it's from outside the building or through an "exterior umbilical", according to the DARPA announcement. This could be done from a passing vehicle, an aircraft, or from a clandestine operations compatible, backpack-sized unit. The crown jewel for special ops would be a "head-mounted multispectral imaging device".

A combination of optical and microwave satellite sensors have reportedly been used to successfully map subsurface archaeological sites, but there's no hint yet on how this ability will be brought down to earth . External, through-the-wall radar is already in the works at DARPA, so companies are encouraged to look elsewhere for solutions.

Although the DARPA solicitation carefully specifies that this is intended for "overseas urban building interior awareness," it's not hard to imagine the technology being adapted to drive-by inspections by your local building department. Time to legalize that "granny" unit.

Note: As I understand it, these are not yet commercially available. I'm certain I'll be adding one to my office's budget once they can be sourced.






Nice place for a crappy cache

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Note: Easily one of my favorite geocache containers. This is located south of Five Mile pass in Utah County.







AYL - Little Moab

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Note: I've ridden (and geocached) this location quite a few times. This used to be one of my favorite ATV/Camping locations -- until Chief Mining (our of Eureka) fenced off the area to the South/East of Little Moab.


Note: I've been wanting something like this for my ATV and a few years ago, devised a bracket that mounted to the rear. Problem was, the extra weight of the tire really did make the Kawi unstable when climbing (too heavy in the rear).






Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The spies came from China, Russia, and other countries, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls, the newspaper said, citing current and former U.S. national security officials.

The intruders have not sought to damage the power grid or other key infrastructure but officials said they could try during a crisis or war, the paper said in a report on its Web site.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," a senior intelligence official told the Journal. "So have the Russians."

The espionage appeared pervasive across the United States and does not target a particular company or region, said a former Department of Homeland Security official.

"There are intrusions, and they are growing," the former official told the paper, referring to electrical systems. "There were a lot last year."

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama was not immediately available for comment on the newspaper report.

Authorities investigating the intrusions have found software tools left behind that could be used to destroy infrastructure components, the senior intelligence official said. He added, "If we go to war with them, they will try to turn them on."

Officials said water, sewage, and other infrastructure systems also were at risk.

Protecting the electrical grid and other infrastructure is a key part of the Obama administration's cybersecurity review, which is to be completed next week.

The sophistication of the U.S. intrusions, which extend beyond electric to other key infrastructure systems, suggests that China and Russia are mainly responsible, according to intelligence officials and cybersecurity specialists.

While terrorist groups could develop the ability to penetrate U.S. infrastructure, they do not appear to have yet mounted attacks, these officials say.

Some stowaways were inside my helmet when I took a ride.

Tax Season Scams

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Internet Storm Center (SANS)


We are entering the last few days of the US personal income tax season. The filing deadline April 15th is just about a week away. So far, it has been not to busy when it came to scams. But here a few things to watch out for:

  • fake e-file websites. Only use reputable companies. I did a quick check earlier and didn't see any obvious fakes on Google, but this may change at any time.
  • IRS e-mails: The IRS will never send you an e-mail asking you to go to a website to get a refund.
  • malicous tax preparation software: Don't just download the next best free tax prep software package.
  • and once you are all done: Make good offline backups. If you used tax preparation software, burn a couple CDs with your files and don't forget to retain a copy of the software itself so you can read the files later. Keep a paper copy. This includes supporting electronic files like account software and spread sheets that you may use to track finances.

If you come across any suspect websites, let us know.

Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship with 20 American crew members aboard, FOX News has learned.

The 17,000-ton Maersk Alabama was carrying emergency relief to Mombasa, Kenya at the time it was hijacked, said Peter Beck-Bang, spokesman for the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.

A Kenya-based diplomat identified the vessel and told the Associated Press all crew members are American. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. Navy confirmed the hijacking early Wednesday off the eastern coast of Somalia and said it is monitoring the situation with its own ships.

"The area we're patrolling is more than a million miles in size. Our ships cannot be everywhere at every time," Christensen said.

Spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen said the attack happened in the early hours of the morning, about 280 miles northeast of Eyl, a town in the northern Puntland region of Somalia.

"The area, the ship was taken in, is not where the focus of our ships has been," Christensen told The Associated Press on the phone from the 5th Fleet's Mideast headquarters in Bahrain.

He declined to release the name of the ship until the family members of the crew are notified.

He said the ship was operated by the Danish company Maersk, which deals with the U.S. Department of Defense. Christensen said the vessel was not working under a Pentagon contract when hijacked.

"Our initial concern is to ensure proper support of the crew and assistance to their families," Maersk said in a statement.

An U.S. embassy spokeswoman was not immediately able to confirm the incident.

Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said the ship was taken about 400 miles from the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The vessel is the sixth to be seized within a week and the first with an all-American crew.

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems, military leaders said Tuesday.

Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, who heads U.S. Strategic Command, said the military is only beginning to track the costs, which are triggered by constant daily attacks against military networks ranging from the Pentagon to bases around the country.

"The important thing is that we recognize that we are under assault from the least sophisticated -- what I would say the bored teenager -- all the way up to the sophisticated nation-state, with some pretty criminal elements sandwiched in-between," said Chilton, adding that the motivations include everything from vandalism to espionage. "This is indeed our big challenge, as we think about how to defend it."

Digg's release of a pervasive, software-free toolbar last week brought with it a sweet little surprise: the capability to jump to a random site or story that was recommended by other Digg users. For a site that's run entirely by its community, this puts the power of browsing in the hands of an algorithm that does the deciding for you. Digg wasn't the first site to do this, though. So what are some other tools that let you randomly explore the Web? I've put together a few of my favorites below.


StumbleUpon: Calling StumbleUpon just a random site generator may not be fair. While it does a great job of taking you to random sites, most of its links have been vetted by a large user base of people who go through and weed out some of the bad or outdated stuff. It's also got a built-in recommendation engine that will tune its "stumbles" to your tastes as you give sites a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down.

In addition to being able to use the site with a special toolbar that remains no matter what site you're on, you can get a similar experience right from StumbleUpon's site, which brings with it a software-free toolbar. You can also access StumbleUpon for sites, and video on various gaming consoles, including the Nintendo Wii, for which StumbleUpon coded a special version of the site to work with the Wii's remote and your living room's TV set.


Mangle: Next to StumbleUpon, Mangle is one of the oldest sites on this list, having launched in early 2002. While it's not much to look at, it does a good job of letting you randomly hop to big sites, personal pages, images, and even maps. You can access all these verticals either through bookmarks, or by installing Mangle's browser toolbar, which also throws in the option to show random sites that match up with keywords you've entered. Worth noting, however, is that the toolbar hasn't been updated in a while, so it won't work with the latest version of Firefox.


Delicious Randomizer: Delicious may be all about organization (which some people take to an obsessive compulsive level), but it's also got a wild side. It has a random links feature that will take you to a link that's either recently been created or bookmarked by another Delicious user. You can click on it again and again, and it will give you random results based on the pulse of the site. To do it, just save this link to your bookmarks toolbar or bookmarks list.


(Credit: CNET Networks)

DiggBar: Digg's software-free toolbar has a large, orange random button, which as you might guess, takes you to a random page. Where Digg differs from some of the other services on this list though, is that all stories or sites it takes you to have been featured on the front page of Digg.com. This may keep you from finding some real undiscovered gems, but for the casual user you at least know you're being taken to something worthy of a quick look.


Rolling the dice takes you to a new site based on topical sites you've visited recently.

(Credit: CNET)

Google Toolbar: Users with the Google Toolbar installed can add on a special random page button that goes to a random site recommended by Google based on your past browsing history. It looks at what you've been searching for, and pulls up 50 related links, which it cycles through at random whenever you click the button. You can also hop to one of its suggestions by choosing from a drop-down menu, although the first option is way more fun.

If you don't feel like giving Google more of your browser than it already has, you can accomplish the same thing with this Firefox add-on, which also feeds from the same list.


Minthink: Minthink generates a random site to go to with the press of a button. What's nice about this one compared to some of the rest is that if you're accessing it from its standard site, you can preview what the URL is before you click on it. However, if you're a Firefox user and feeling bold, there's an extension, and a script for Ubiquity that will take you directly to the site without you knowing what it is first.

That Random Website: This one may not be well and truly random since it's working off a database, but the folks behind it were smart enough to see the success of the Million Dollar Homepage and go for something similar by selling off slots at $1 a pop (which goes to charity). Every time you visit it or hit the refresh button in the browser it'll take you somewhere new, along with the option to hop back to That Random Website's homepage which makes it feel like a Web ring of yore.

Random Website: (not to be confused with That Random Website) lets you click on a giant face to be hurtled towards a new site. You can also add any of your own URLs to its database, which will go out to other users after being approved by its creators. There's no fancy toolbar, but you can save its bookmark, which will open up a random site in a new browser tab.

Web-O-Random is another service on that list that isn't the prettiest, but it makes up for it with neat AJAX tricks. It will load up random pages in a frame on the bottom of the page with slick fades. It also has a carousel of alternate links if you want to control your destiny a bit more. Technology demo aside, I ran into some problems with it spitting out pages that either weren't alive anymore, or weren't in English, which may not be a problem if you've got Google Translate handy.

For the first time since the Iraq war began, the Army is notifying thousands from a special category of reservists that they must report this summer for medical screening and other administrative tasks.

The decision to issue "muster" orders for 5,000 members of the Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR, is not a prelude to a new mobilization or deployment of reservists to Iraq, an Army spokesman said. Instead it is part of a new effort to fix an IRR call-up system that failed on multiple fronts early in the Iraq war.

One problem was that the Army simply could not contact many of its IRR members; it had allowed them to ignore the requirement that they notify the Army of a change in residence. Some turned out to be deceased; others were physically unfit for duty or faced personal problems that barred them from serving.

To correct that the Army is now requiring that they show up in person for what it calls a one-day "physical muster." The idea is to ensure that when and if more IRR members are needed for Iraq or other active-duty deployments the Army will at least know which are fit for duty and where to find them.

Eventually all IRR members will get the order to report for screening; the first 5,000 are considered a test group.

IRR members are people who were honorably discharged after finishing their active-duty service but have not yet completed the eight-year commitment they made when they joined the Army. While in the IRR they are not required to train; they are not paid, and thus many believed they had no further active-duty obligation. Some are former officers who chose not to resign their commission and thus remained on the IRR rolls.

An Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, said the 5,000 who are receiving "muster" orders this month were picked at random, and they are not necessarily in line to get mobilized and sent to Iraq.

The first 5,000 will receive orders to report to one of four reserve centers -- in Tacoma, Wash.; Fort Totten, N.Y.; Fort Meade, Md.; or Los Alamitos, Calif. -- and will be paid a $176 stipend once they finish the one-day process, Gall said. All 5,000 live within a 50-mile radius of one of the reserve stations, he said.

The reporting is mandatory. It will begin in mid-July and run through August.

Prior to the Iraq war, IRR members were rarely called to active duty -- and many believed they never would be called -- but when the Army found itself stretched by unexpected combat demands in Iraq in the summer of 2004 it began issuing mobilization orders. Hundreds of surprised IRR members refused to report or simply ignored their mailed mobilization orders, and the Army realized it had lost control of the situation.




Full article: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/0...usters_070612/

Mill Canyon ride

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Since the weather was looking promising (50F, no snow), my son and I decided to get out an do some ATV exploring and geocaching.

Our goal was the Sportsmans Toolkit geocache, approx. 2.5 miles up Mill Canyon Trail. En route to this location, we decided to check on my geocaches that were along the way.

Most of the trail was dry until we got near Mill Canyon. At this point, there was again snow on the ground and further up the trail, several feet of packed snow.

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At this point, we both managed to get high centered in the deep snow. Fortunately each machine has a winch and mine also has the TigerTail rear tow-hook system.

To get out, we had to connect the tow hook from my machine to Nicks, and Nicks machine winched to a tree. Voila!

We left the snow and exited Mill Canyon and proceeded back to the main road (graded dirt road) to have a small snack and drink. At this point, a father/son team parked next to us an unloaded a Rhino and proceeded up Mill Canyon.

We continued South and explored a few canyons near the old mining ghost towns. At this point, we hid a geocache (think you can figure out where it's at based on the photos?):

When the geocache becomes active, it will be located at: China Poop Canyon

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Oh, we named the cache because of the vast amount of cow dung and broken china plates in this area.

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What a great day to be outside exploring, riding and playing in the deep snow!

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea launched a long-range rocket Sunday in what U.S. and South Korean officials deemed a provocative act.

A recent satellite image shows a rocket sitting on its launch pad in northeast North Korea.

A recent satellite image shows a rocket sitting on its launch pad in northeast North Korea.

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While the United States and South Korea confirmed the rocket launch, the payload of the rocket remained unclear. North Korea has said the rocket was to carry a satellite into space, but the United States, South Korea and other nations fear it could be a missile with a warhead attached.

"With this provocative act, North Korea has ignored its international obligations, rejected unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.

"We will immediately consult with our allies in the region, including Japan and (South Korea), and members of the U.N. Security Council to bring this matter before the Council," Obama added. "I urge North Korea to abide fully by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and to refrain from further provocative actions."

A senior Obama administration official in Washington confirmed that the rocket did clear Japan.

Japan's chief Cabinet secretary told reporters after the launch that the country's military was not forced to intercept any missiles, which it had pledged to do if necessary.

Preliminary data show that two objects, likely boosters from the rocket, apparently fell around Japan, one in the Sea of Japan and one in the Pacific Ocean.

The rocket -- launched at about 11:30 a.m. local time on Sunday (2:30 a.m. GMT) -- was a "provocative act in violation" of U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea's weapons program, Fred Lash, a State Department spokesman, told reporters.

An October 2006 resolution condemned North Korea for missile launches in the summer and a nuclear test that same month. Video Watch the debate about what North Korea is allowed to do »

The office of the South Korean president condemned the launch, calling it a "serious threat" to world peace, the state-run Yonhap news agency reported.

"We cannot withhold our regrets and disappointment that North Korea has caused such a serious threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world by firing a long-range rocket when the entire world is joining efforts to overcome the global economic crisis," Lee Dong-kwan, a presidential spokesman said, according to Yonhap.

On Friday, Obama reiterated that the United States strongly opposes any such launch.

"We have made it very clear to the North Koreans that their missile launch is provocative, it puts enormous strains on the six-party talks and that they should stop the launch," Obama said while on a stop in France.

Obama warned that the United States will join with its allies to take "appropriate steps" to let North Korea know it can't violate United Nations rules and get away with it.

Earlier Sunday, before the launch, South Korea's national security council called an emergency meeting amid concerns that a North Korean rocket launch was imminent, a presidential spokesperson said.

Also, Japan's representative to the United Nations, Yukio Takasu, sent a letter requesting an urgent Security Council meeting in response to the launch. The letter to Claude Heller, Mexico's representative and the current security council president, was sent minutes after news of the launch broke.

Western nations fear that North Korea plans a ballistic missile test rather than a satellite launch, but the Obama administration's special envoy to the six-party talks, Stephen Bosworth, said last week that it didn't matter if the North Koreans were trying to put a satellite in space or testing a ballistic missile that could threaten Japan or the United States.

"Whether it is a satellite launch or a missile launch, in our judgment makes no difference. It is a provocative act," Bosworth said.

Bosworth said the U.S. stands ready -- after a launch -- to participate in United Nations deliberations on new sanctions against North Korea.

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U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a statement late Saturday.

"It is alarming that North Korea carried out this missile launch in direct defiance of the international community," Berman said. "The test is an unnecessary provocation that raises tensions in the region, and I urge the North Koreans to stop using their missile and WMD programs to threaten their neighbors and the rest of the world."
Note: So, will we (or Japan) shoot this thing down or not? I'm thinking we're more bark than bite!
---

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has removed the cover from the top of a long-range rocket and started a radar needed to track its flight, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said on Sunday in an unsourced report, indicating a launch is imminent.

The United States, South Korea and Japan have said they would see the launch as a test of the North's Taepodong-2 missile, which is designed to fly as far as Alaska.


Note: The Google car has busted a few of my neighbors outside gossiping between houses. Quite humorous.

(CNN) -- Google's ambitious plan to offer a 3-D street level view of communities across three continents hit a snag when angry residents of a UK village blocked the search engine's camera car from photographing their homes.

Broughton, can be seen from the air on Google Earth, but not from the ground.

Broughton, can be seen from the air on Google Earth, but not from the ground.

Fearing the appearance of their well appointed properties on the Web site would attract criminals scouting for burglary targets, villagers in Broughton, north of London, summoned the police after spotting the car.

"I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane," resident Paul Jacobs told The Times of London.

"My immediate reaction was anger: How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime.

"This is an affluent area. We've already had three burglaries locally in the past six weeks. If our houses are plastered all over Google it's an invitation for more criminals to strike. I was determined to make a stand, so I called the police."


Google's Street View project to map 360-degree images of roads and homes across the world has generated numerous complaints over privacy, despite automated software that blurs faces and car licence plates.

A Google spokesman, quoted by the UK Press Association, said: "Embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception.

"We know that some people are uncomfortable with images of their houses or cars being included in the product, which is why we provide an easy way to request removal of imagery. Most imagery requests are processed within hours."

The spokesman added: "We take privacy very seriously, and we were careful to ensure that all images in our Street View service abide by UK law."
Obtained from Grizzly Guy TV

Deer Creek Trail
Multi-cam video from our ride up Utah's Deer Creek Trail (Paiute 74) in October 2007. This is essentially a continuation of the Paiute Fall ride (same trail) but this higher section is more interesting.

Adventureworld.TV

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Adenture World TV

GrizzlyGuy and FlyingBoy share their outdoor adventures. This is my stuff right here!

Here is the show's intro segment just to give you a quick taste:

Subscribe to our journal to see all the Adventure World episodes as we release them. If you are in Marina, Monterey or Truckee California, look for our show on your local public access channels in the future.



Note: Found on Army Times Forum Site

The armed forces are recruiting citizens of foreign countries who are in the U.S. temporarily.

Under the yearlong program announced by the Pentagon in December, about 1,000 non-U.S. citizens will be signed up for service as health care workers and language and cultural specialists. In exchange, they get on the fast track to become Americans.

It's a bad idea. Those who serve need to have a vested interest in this country, not just want to stay in this country.

Until now, the military has recruited only U.S. citizens and permanent residents. About 8,000 permanent residents enlist every year and about 29,000 are in the services today. They've even been drafted along with citizens.

The Defense Department's new program is targeting what it calls the "temporary immigrant"; consular and immigration officials use "nonimmigrant," the term found in the law and in official documents.

Nonimmigrants include tourists, businessmen, students, workers in international organizations such as the World Bank, participants in international exchange programs and certain skilled workers. They come to the U.S. wanting to stay only temporarily -- or at least saying they want to stay only temporarily. Consular officials are required to refuse a nonimmigrant visa request if they suspect the applicant wants to use it to get a "green card," or, in other words, become a permanent resident.

The Pentagon shouldn't give an out to someone from a foreign country who either changes his mind about wanting to stay temporarily in the U.S. or who wasn't candid with consular officials in the first place.

It won't be easy to pull back from this program because the services need medical experts, as well as those with language and cultural skills.

In a statement to the Armed Forces Press Service, Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, estimated the military is short almost 1,000 of the 24,000 doctors and nurses it needs. He didn't even address the number of linguists and cultural specialists.

"We observed there are tens of thousands of health professionals in the United States on a work visa who would be very interested in achieving green card status or, ultimately, citizenship," Carr told the press service.

There's one problem, though. There are plenty of American citizens and permanent residents who have the knowledge and skills that the services are looking for. And more -- thousands even -- are being trained in those skills on the Pentagon's dime.

No, the Pentagon shouldn't help anyone skate around the system. Everybody knew the rules going in.

Residence and citizenship are not commodities. Participation in our society, even in its sacrifices, should not be for sale.


Oklahoma lawmakers are close to approving a bill that allows pregnant women to use deadly force to protect their unborn children.

State lawmakers passed the Use of Force for the Protection of the Unborn Act this week and if the Senate approves it in a final vote, as expected, it will be sent to the governor's desk.

The bill was crafted after a Michigan woman who was carrying quadruplets stabbed and killed her boyfriend after he struck her in the stomach. The woman lost the babies and was convicted of manslaughter.

"Pregnant women who refuse to abort their child are too often attacked by their partner in an effort to force a miscarriage," said state Rep. Mike Thompson, who co-authored the bill after Americans United for Life asked him. "Women put in this position should have the legal right to defend themselves, with lethal force if necessary."

State Sen. Glenn Coffee said the measure will allow victims of domestic violence defend themselves and their unborn children.

"Unfortunately, the unborn child is often the primary target of domestic violence," Coffee said in a statement. "Domestic violence has been acknowledged as a primary cause of stillbirths and miscarriages."

I decided that it was time to scout out this trail and see how much snow still exists up top. Since I parked at Sunshine Canyon, I decided to explore a canyon just to the East of the staging area. From a Google Earth perspective, there wasn't much of a trail going back.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this canyon just kept climbing and heading into the mountain. About 1/2 way up, I surprised a huge herd of deer and parked to snap a few photos:

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From this point, I turned around and proceeded North toward Mercur Canyon Road, crossed it and continued past the Airsoft gaming area and continued onward toward what I'll now call MercOphir Canyon trail.

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At this point, there wasn't much snow but I was starting to see signs that the snow would become problematic.

Did I mention that I only had 2 miles clocked on this brand new ATV before embarking on this scouting trip? What an awesome machine!

At any rate, I continued Eastward up into the canyon and the snow continued to get deeper. Fortunately, it was hard-packed and I easily rode over the top of 1' of packed snow until almost 3/4 of the way toward the top. At this point, the snow was now 1-3' packed in spots and was quickly becoming more difficult to plow through.

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Again, I continued to plow through, but at this location, it was simply too deep and I was stuck.

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I then decided to place a geocache at this location, entitled: First Tracks on the MercOphir Trail .  In a spot near the geocache placement, I sunk into a hole well past my knee. The snow is still really deep out here!

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All-in-all, it was a great ride on the only day where we haven't seen snow, rain or high winds (or all at the same time). With the amount of snow up there, the ATV/Geocaching event will need to probably be pushed until May.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- North Korea has begun fueling its long-range rocket, according to a senior U.S. military official.

A satellite image shows a rocket sitting on its launch pad in the northeast of the country.

The fueling signals that the country could be in the final stages of what North Korea has said will be the launch of a satellite into space as early as this weekend, the senior U.S. military official said Wednesday.

Other U.S. military officials said the top portion of the rocket was put on very recently, but satellite imagery shows a shroud over the stage preventing a direct view of what it looks like.

The officials said the payload appears to have a "bulbous" cover, which could indicate that there is a satellite loaded on it. Such a cover protects a satellite from damage in flight.

Although the sources did not know for sure what the payload is, they said there is no reason to doubt that it is a satellite, as indicated by North Korea.

Pyongyang has said it will launch the rocket between April 4 and April 8. A launch would violate a 2006 United Nations Security Council resolution banning the reclusive state from launching ballistic missiles.

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Pentagon officials worry less about the payload and more about the launch itself, saying that any kind of launch will give the North Koreans valuable information about improving their ballistic missile program.

The United States believes that the North Koreans have the technology to hit Alaska or Hawaii with a missile and that the country is working on advancing that technology so it could hit the west coast of the United States.

Ask any soldier who's been to both countries: Afghanistan is not Iraq. It's a different war against a different enemy in a different country with an entirely different terrain and altitude.

One thing is the same, though. The Improvised Explosive Device -- the deadly "IED" roadside bombs that blew up Humvees and the soldiers inside them along the dusty roads of Iraq -- is an equally effective weapon in the rocky steeps of Afghanistan.

When the Humvee proved unable to withstand IED attacks in Iraq, the U.S. military built a new vehicle -- the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) -- to replace it. And like a neglected sibling, the troops in Afghanistan automatically acquired the MRAP as a hand-me-down. It's the wrong vehicle for the new war.

"Best vehicle in Afghanistan? Two legs. And maybe a mule to pack the .50 caliber machine gun," Arizona National Guardsman Anthony McGee said, only half-jokingly. "Breakdowns were an almost everyday occurrence."

Click here to see video of a an MRAP rolling over in Iraq.

So it's back to the drawing board. Soon there'll be a new king of the road: the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), nicknamed the "Baby MRAP," which is being "designed for mobility and survivability," says Cheryl Irwin, spokeswoman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

As a nation at war for nearly 40 years, the Afghan landscape is peppered with an astounding variety of things that blow up. Along the bare, parched mountains near the border with Pakistan, explosives are more abundant than flowers or trees.

Weight, height, size -- all the advantages the MRAP afforded troops in Iraq's urban environments -- are all liabilities in a country that barely possesses paved pathways.

Last year, three Green Berets drowned when their MRAP, which is prone to tilting over on uneven terrain, rolled into a canal in southern Afghanistan. The problem was obvious, and the solution is clear: Afghanistan needs a special vehicle for its unique demands.

Enter the M-ATV.

A scaled-down, all-terrain, four-wheel offspring of the larger MRAP, the M-ATV is one of the first tactical vehicles designed specifically with Afghanistan in mind, and the Defense Department has put an urgent priority on getting it into the war zone by the end of this year.

"The M-ATV is designed to have the same level of protection as the previous MRAPs, but with the mobility of a Humvee," says Steve Field, spokesman for BAE Systems, one of several competing manufacturers designing this vehicle of the future.

Its equipment and capabilities are many:

• IED jammers

• V-shaped blast-dispersing monocoque hull

• Significantly increased power-to-weight ratio

• The ability to ford hard-bottom fresh water to depths of up to 5 feet. (M-ATV is not amphibious)

• Generate 10 kilowatts of vehicle host power and export an additional 20 kilowatts for mission equipment

• Turbo-charged diesel V8 engine

• Shorter wheelbase for improved cross-country mobility

• Lower center of gravity for increased maneuverability and to prevent rollovers

• Ergonomic steering angle to "drive like an SUV"

• "Runflat" tire system allowing the M-ATV to safely cruise at 30 mph on up to two flat tires

To meet future challenges, a new composite "hyperplastic" material capable of absorbing enormous amounts of kinetic energy is the new frontier for armor. This new "composite armor system" has even resisted the deadly energy formed projectile (EFP) class of IED, all while weighing 37 percent less than conventional steel armor.

It's a major victory in the "up armor" race, but in Afghanistan, the IED battle is just beginning.

Hard and rough, the M-ATV is designed with shock absorption in mind. Its independent suspension system is a break from the less flexible standard straight axle systems used in the larger MRAPs.

"This type of train allows each wheel a bit more mobility," said suspension systems guru Scott Arentz of Extremegearoffroad.com. "The independent drivetrain requires a few more parts and is more 'delicate,' but it usually gives a smoother ride."

An added bonus of the M-ATV is that it will be a money-saver. A barebones unit will cost roughly $500,000, compared to $1 million for an MRAP.

The far lighter M-ATV will also cost much less to deliver to landlocked Afghanistan. The military estimates that airlifting each MRAP into Afghanistan costs $135,000 -- and there currently are 1,800 MRAPs in the country.

"The key here is survivability," Irwin said. "We want to protect our people and give them what they need to succeed in their mission....

"I hate the term 'baby' MRAP," she said, referring to the nickname the nimble 4x4 has acquired.

And well she might. The M-ATV must hit the ground running, which is precisely what the military expects it to do. In Afghanistan, there will be no time to crawl.

Snow, snow and more snow!

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/RANT ON

Isn't it Spring? What's with the three weeks of periodic snow, followed by temps warm enough to melt it - just so it can snow again?

Current Live photo from the University of Utah:

http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/images/slc/camera/latest/uofu.latest.jpg

NETGuard Program

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FEMA - NETGuard

As a member of InfraGard for the past several years, I've been invited to become involved in a joint FEMA/DHS effort called NETGuard. The initial discovery meeting is tonight at 7pm.

Those interested in becoming involved need to either already be cleared by the FBI or pass a stringent FBI background check.

Additional information as follows:

"We will be hosting the first NetGuard Team meeting on April 1st, 2009 at 7PM.  The meeting will take place at the City offices located at 1265 E Ft Union Blvd, Suite 250.  For those not familiar with the location, we are on the north side of Ft Union Blvd opposite the Maverick.  The meeting will be an overview of the project as well as an opportunity for us to gather information about each of you.
 
For those not thoroughly familiar with the project and the NetGuard concept, please visit
FEMA Site for a description of the federal program.  Each participating city can develop the NetGuard in their own way.  For Cottonwood Heights, we have opted for a multi-function team.  I will attach our description below.
 
One important aspect of the NetGuard Team will be credentials for participants.  As part of the credentialing process, all participants will be required to submit to a FBI background check.  More details of that will be provided at the April 1st meeting.
 
I'm looking forward to meeting each of you on April 1st.  Please feel free to e-mail me should you have any questions.
 
///Chris\\\
Chris Gebhardt
Cottonwood Heights IT
 
Cottonwood Heights NetGuard Project Description
NetGuard consists of a Mobile Response Team consisting of five disciplines: 1) Radio, 2) Server, 3) Network, 4) Work Station, and 5) Application.  These represent the major areas of IT and the baskets that individual's skills normally fall into.
 
The Radio Team would handle the establishment of radio communications and a redundant communications system much like that used Sunday.
 
The Server Team would be responsible for rebuilding and supporting file server operations.  Servers represent one of the most important aspects to IT.  Without servers, there is little a workstation or user could do.  Personnel assigned to the Server Team would be well versed in all Microsoft and Linux/Unix variants of server operations.  They would also need to understand backup operations and software for recreating post-incident environments.
 
The Network Team would consist mainly of personnel with a thorough understanding of LANs, WANs, and WiFi.  Every entity uses all three of these technologies today and the Network Team would need to support each.   They would be fluent with the hardware devices (switches, routers, WAPs) as well as the wiring (Cat 5, RJ45).  The Network Team would carry enough equipment to re-establish a full network whether it be hard wires or WiFi for the affected entity.
 
Next is the Workstation Team.  Their main goal is the support of desktop and laptop computers.  They are more of a hardware team being able to tear apart a machine and rebuild it with available parts.  During a disaster event, many machines will probably suffer damage. The Workstation Team will be the mechanics of the Guard physically working on both workstations and servers.
 
Finally is the Applications Team.  Their mission is to support end user applications and server databases.  Once the other Teams have re-established the infra-structure, the Applications Team will assist users in getting back "online" with their software.  They may repair databases and applications or transition into creating new databases for use during the event.  Team members must bring a handyman knowledge set to the Team rather than an application specific education."


Deadly 'subcompacts' on hold

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Crews hoping for more personal fire power when scrambling from a tank hatch or other confined conveyance will be disappointed to learn that the U.S. Army is putting the search for a "subcompact" carbine on hold, according to industry reports.

While searching for a possible alternative to the M4 carbine, the Army had also been looking at a new "personal defense weapon" to give drivers and crews a little more punch than the currently issued Beretta M9 9mm pistol. But that plan has followed the economy, and the military budget, down the drain, according to the industry press.

"I see this as an uphill battle," C. Reed Knight Jr., owner of Knight's Armament Company told Military.Com in an interview. "I think it will probably die a slow death."

There's been no shortage of candidates; the market has been flooded with new grease gun wannabes. The challenge has been to come up with something both more powerful than the pistol ammunition now used by many PDWs, yet lighter than the 5.56mm round used in assault rifles.

Knight's Armament submitted a 6x35mm PDW--a streamlined, 4.5 pound weapon that can fire 700 rounds per minute. But there's less than "a 50-50 chance" of anything getting adopted, Knight said. "The government still doesn't know what it wants."

There are plenty of other contenders on the shelf, including the LWRC International PSD, which sports an 8-inch barrel and comes in both 5.56mm and a punchy 6.8mm, and the Adams Arms at 7.5 inches.

The Army's position: don't rush us. "The subcompact has to serve a lot of different people...it's much too early to say this is what we are looking for," Jim Stone, the head of the Soldier Requirement's Division at Fort Benning, Ga., told Military.com.

Rock Crawling On An ATV

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ATV Magazine Online

Rock crawling! Without a doubt I can say it is the one thing that turned this sport quad-addicted journalist into a 4x4 ATV junkie.

It was only a few short years ago that I got my first taste for the giant red rock cliffs of Moab, Utah, the best place on the planet for rock crawling. Since that time, I've returned two or three times a year with my usual group of Moab fanatics for our rock fix. We don't even bother with the easy and moderate trails anymore; just bring on the tough stuff! Is it dangerous? Yes, but not so much if you have the right equipment and several good friends along for the ride.

Rock crawling presents 4x4 ATV owners with the ultimate test of man and machine. And if you happen to be riding a location such as Moab, the views from the top will reward you with stories you'll tell for a lifetime. Sound like fun? Well, then here are a few things you should know before heading out of your first rock crawlin' safari.

Any 4x4 ATV will do for easy to moderate trails, but we like the nasty stuff! Engine displacement and horsepower aren't near as important as low-end torque. We've tested everything from 400cc engines to mammoth V-twin monsters out on the rocks, and actually found that they all work well. The key is smooth off-idle response, though, and the smaller engines tend to excel in this area. A good amount of engine braking is also nice to have for those steep downhill descents. It's all about what you feel comfortable with.

Low range selection and a good front locking differential are a must. Auto lockers and manual lockers will do, but we've found the manual variety to be more predictable and reliant when it comes to safely pulling the ATV up over steep rock shelves. With the manual lockers, you know for a fact that all four wheels are turning together without any chance of the wheel slipping.

Ground clearance is also a good thing; after all, we are talking about rocks. Ten inches or more of ground clearance seems to work the best. The longer, two-rider ATVs also seem to work better due to the longer wheelbase. When climbing over taller rocks they don't require near as steep of an attack angle, which makes getting the front wheels over the top of an obstacle much easier.

Rock And Roll Gear

Face it, rocks hurt and are unforgiving. While you should always wear a helmet when riding an ATV, it's especially important when rock crawling. The speeds are slow, but you will be riding at steep angles, and could possibly tip over. For that reason you should also invest in a good set of protective riding boots that cover the shins. Elbow and knee pads are a great idea too. The knee pads also come in handy when you need to get down on one knee to get that great photo angle of your buddy getting completely vertical on a rock face.

Don McNeilly/ ATV News

Most rocky trails, like those found at Moab, are only 10 to 20 miles in length, but could take you most of the day to complete depending on the degree of difficulty. If you'll be out in the sun, pack sunscreen. All of the typical mandatory safety items also apply -- long pants and a long sleeve jersey, gloves and eye protection.

Never Go Alone!

You should never ride alone to begin with, but this is especially true out on the rocks. In this case, though, many friends are better than a few. You'll need each other to help lift and pull your machines up and down the more difficult parts of the trail. Pick your friends wisely, though, as one unreliable machine or rider can ruin the whole day for everyone.

What to Pack?

Since you will be out on the trail most of the day, you should pack all of the necessary tools you'll need for any possible breakdowns, a towrope and additional fuel. A tire plug kit and a small air compressor are also a must since jagged rocks can tear up your tires. We can't state enough that rocks do hurt, so you'll also want to take along an ample first aid kit and your cell phone. A GPS is also a good idea should you need to define your location for breakdown or medical assistance. Food and plenty of water should also go without mentioning.

Don't over pack with a lot of weight, and invest in a good lower profile rack bag. Shorter bags don't restrict your view of the terrain below you, and they help keep the center of gravity lower. Distribute the weight evenly between the front and rear racks. Too much weight over the rear of the ATV can make the front end light, which is not a good idea when climbing steep angles! You don't want a 600-plus-pound ATV to flip backwards on top of you.

Get a Rope

Any veteran ATV rock crawler will tell you that a strong rope is your best friend. You'll want a rope with a locking hook on the end. Hook the rope to the lowest point on the front of the ATV, and then throw the other end to your buddies at the top of the steep obstacle you're about to tackle. It only takes a small amount of tension on the rope to keep the nose of an ATV down when motoring up a steep grade.

Basic Technique

Before attempting a difficult rock crawling trail, you'll want to make sure you have a handle on your throttle and brake control. Sometimes you'll be using both at the same time. It's never a good idea to nail the front brakes while descending a steep hill, or the back brakes should you start to roll backwards down an obstacle. Ease into the brakes and throttle with light pressure. Take advantage of your engine braking system. Often it's better to just roll through with light throttle and brake tension and take a few bumps so that the ATV doesn't loop over on you from a sudden stop.

Use a spotter for the more difficult climbs. Have one of your friends stand at the top of the rock you're climbing and point the direction you need to turn the handlebars. A second set of eyes can usually see where all four of your tires are going better than you can.

When climbing, never go full throttle! Move all of your body weight forward over the bars, and traverse those steep obstacles by letting the torque of the front wheels pull you up and over. Traction is your friend. More traction can also be obtained by running your tires' air pressure a little lighter. This allows the tread patch to flex and expand, firmly gripping the rocks.

If you find you lack power to crawl over a large rock, or the initial point of contact is taller than your tire can handle, then you can use a technique known as the "Moab Bump." This refers to approaching an obstacle such as a steep rock step with a little forward momentum to get the tires to bite and climb. As the front wheels clear the step, the rear tires hit the rock ledge and push the front end down. You need to carry just enough speed to get the rear wheels to climb the step, but not so much speed that it sends the front end in the air. Again, never go full throttle when climbing rocks, and use your safety rope!

Winch It Good

If you ever have a doubt that you can't safely climb or descend a challenging hurdle, use a winch! Make sure at least two riders in your group have a winch installed on their ATV should one fail. Never attempt to tackle a difficult rock unassisted if you're unsure of yourself.

Bring that UTV!

Believe it or not, a UTV can actually conquer the same rock challenges that an ATV can, and then some! Much like the two-rider ATVs, the UTV's longer wheelbase does not require as steep an angle to get the front wheels up over a challenging rock shelf. Just like the ATV, horsepower is not as important as smooth low-end torque. Some of my best rides on difficult Moab trails were accomplished in the smaller displacement Yamaha Rhino 450.

If you follow these guidelines, and just use your head, you'll find yourself addicted to rock crawling and, just like me, seeking out and conquering challenges that used to seem too formidable. Rock crawling is fun, challenging and oftentimes rewarding. With a little practice and experience, you'll be amazed at where these amazing vehicles can go.




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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

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