Blog Smith

Blog Smith is inspired by the myth of Hephaestus in the creation of blacksmith-like, forged materials: ideas. This blog analyzes topics that interest me: IT, politics, technology, history, education, music, and the history of religions.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Still Have Checks, I Can't Be Overdrawn . . .

Bush announced that Social Security is facing a $13.6 trillion shortfall and that delaying reforms is not fair to younger workers.


Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is on record in stating that some combination of benefit cuts and tax increases will need to be considered to permanently fix the funding shortfall.


Bush would like to privatize Social Security for younger workers while cutting some benefits and he has remained opposed to a tax hike to make up for the shortfall.


Privatization is not popular with Bush's opponents but I believe there is little choice. Young people are not planning their finances any better than previous generations.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Iran Does Not Like the U.S.

Should Americans really be upset now that the Iranian Parliament declared the U.S. Army and the CIA as terrorist organizations?


Hardly, the Parliament can now join American academics and commentators who noted that the Iranian President did not receive a warm welcome while in New York.


I guess that is what happens when you deny obvious and horrific events in history such as the Holocaust and continue to send state-sponsored terrorists to neighboring countries.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Lights Go Out

A disturbing story ran on CNN this week. A simulated attack points to just how vulnerable the U.S. power infrastructure really is.


Only a software vulnerability in a control system could be used to physically destroy power grid equipment.


A CNN segment demonstrated how a turbine was reduced to a smoking, shuddering, metal spewing mess as the result of malicious code execution on the computer controlling the system.


The Idaho National Laboratory prepared the demonstration for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The simulated attack re-visited an old issue, now rectified--in a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.


The vulnerability points out how easily a well-executed digital attack could hit our critical infrastructure.


Since they run on proprietary systems, SCADA systems are less vulnerable than Internet accessible networks but they are not immune to the kinds of cyberattacks that can plague corporate information systems.


The present danger lies in an attacker who gains administrative access.


As utilities transition to connect with the Internet what has not happened is that the systems are secured and upgraded over time. The cost is prohibitive.


The move to Ethernet, TCP/IP and Web technologies will provide hackers and virus writers a number of backdoors and pathways to core control systems at utility companies, according to Eric Byres, CEO of Byres Security Inc., a consultancy that focuses on SCADA security.


The DHS and the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) have worked to address cybersecurity issues. NERC adopted eight new cybersecurity standards around asset identification, security management controls, personnel and training, perimeter security, systems security, incident reporting and response planning.


Although there are some helpful developments, I know locally that PECO Energy has enough difficulty supplying power when faced only with storms and trees. I'd hate to think how they could handle a malicious and determined attack.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fortune Cookies, Again?

China does not seem capable of keeping their hands out of the cookie jar as reports indicate that two who were charged with espionage sought funding in China.


A federal grand jury indicted the two men of conspiring to steal high-tech trade secrets and develop them with Chinese venture capital funding.


The two, Lan Lee, 42, of Palo Alto and Yuefei Ge, 34, of San Jose, are accused of trying to steal trade secrets from their employer, chip maker NetLogics Microsystems Inc. They allegedly sought funding from China's General Arms Department and the 863 program, which is a government-led project aimed at boosting technology research in China.


Lee is an American, while Ge is a Chinese national.


However, the original indictment makes no mention of possible involvement by the government of China.

Talk Back

I attended a conference of educators and you really have to consider how slow education changes in comparison with other fields. The media formerly was a thing to consume but now the direction is on reader feedback. Web 2.0 hit with Digg and StumbleUpon in a big way but this similar phenomenon has yet to really impact education. What if people have an opportunity to provide immediate feedback and a reciprocal conversation ensues? Education want responses and this would accomplish that end. The days of not knowing how people are responding to your message are over. In former days an academic could toil in isolation not knowing how their research was received but now they can have instantaneous feedback. This would liven up the educational process tremendously. I recall the demands of publishing online eLearning research in the pre-bubble phase of the Internet and it was exciting. The demand for high quality ideas were there but the demand of time were so much greater. Publish or perish, sabbaticals are optional.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Al-Maliki on Iraq at the U.N.

Al-Maliki is asking that the flow of arms must stop pouring into Iraq and he is correct on this point.


Regions such as Anbar province are quieter but he did claim that there has been a drop in sectarian killings which is difficult to believe. There has been a wave of bombings and shootings which swept Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 50 people.


The success in Anbar is a result of a coalition of Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Text of Comments by Columbia President Lee Bollinger

Graphic source: Getty Image File


I thought it proper, in order to fully understand the discussion, to provide the full text--according to CNN--of President Bollinger's comments about President Ahmadinejad. Thus, I reproduce the CNN story here. I'd like to see this text studied and commented about since there are very few American academics who seem to take Middle Eastern spokespersons to task, or to school as the case may be. Ahmadinjad claims to be an academic, and appeals to audiences as such, thus, he should be able to interact with the world community, and fellow academics, as one.

==NEW YORK (CNN) -- Columbia University president Lee Bollinger took Iran's president to task Monday, bluntly criticizing his record and saying he exhibits "all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

Columbia University president, Lee Bollinger, excoriated Iran's leader Monday.

Bollinger's assessment came as he introduced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an audience of students and faculty.

As he read a long list of documented actions and remarks by the firebrand Iranian leader and his government, the crowd of 600 applauded.

Ahmadinejad was at the university to give a speech and take part in a question-and-answer session.

During the introduction, Bollinger cited the Iranian government's "brutal crackdown" on dissidents, public executions, executions of minors and other actions.

He assailed Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust as "ridiculous."

"For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda," he said. He called the Iranian leader "either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

"The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history," he said.

"Will you cease this outrage?" he demanded.

Bollinger said he doubted Ahmadinejad would show the intellectual courage to answer questions posed to him.

Ahmadinejad opened his remarks by saying Bollinger's introduction was discourteous, intellectually dishonest and inaccurate.

He said academic freedom should prohibit the "vaccination" of the audience with negative comments about a guest speaker and his ideas.

"I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here," Ahmadinejad said through a translator.
Don't Miss

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* Iran: 'We are not building A-bomb'
* Brzezinski: U.S. in danger of 'stampeding' into war with Iran
* Iran: Missing American's family can visit
* Ahmadinejad eager to teach Americans

"In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all," he said.

During his introductory remarks, Bollinger said Columbia would offer a faculty position to Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American social scientist who was released last week after having been held in Iran since May.

Tajbakhsh, a Columbia graduate, will be offered a position as visiting professor of urban planning as soon as Iran lets him leave the country, he said.

Bollinger asked Ahmadinejad to allow Tajbakhsh to lead a university delegation to address collegiate audiences in Iran on the subject of freedom of speech.

During a question-and-answer period after his remarks, Ahmadinejad invited Columbia students to visit Iran and promised to provide a list of universities for them. The audience applauded.
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"I am only a professor who is also a university president, and today I feel the weight of all the civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for," Bollinger told Ahmadinejad. "I only wish I could do better."

After the session, Bollinger said Ahmadinejad left without properly answering many of the questions that were posed to him.

Monday, September 24, 2007

FBI Questions Unisys After Chinese Hack

IT systems integrator Unisys Corp. failed to detect the hacking of U.S. Department of Homeland Security computers; thereafter, data was sent to a Chinese-language Web site.


DHS had 844 "cybersecurity incidents" during the government's 2005 and 2006 fiscal years, and it described that number as "high and unacceptable."


The data breach adds to countries such as France, Germany and the U.K. that hackers in China have attacked them for sensitive information on government computer systems.


In 2002, Unisys won a $1 billion contract to manage U.S. government computer systems created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to shore up the nation's defense. Unisys received a $750 million contract in early 2006 to continue the work.


Three months passed before clues emerged that malicious software capable of copying and transferring files had been installed on 150 DHS computers. In 1997-1998 I monitored a network that featured the same type of shenanigans. In the DHS case, the software led to the transfer of unclassified data late at night or early in the morning to a Chinese-language Web site. This is Security 101.

Columbia's President Challenges Meglomaniac

Of course we want an ingrate such as Ahmadinejad to question 9/11 and the Holocaust so that the reams of academics who enjoy free inquiry in the U.S. can refute him. I heartily recommend providing a forum for the disturbed for this has been the only way to crowd out error and expose falsehood.


But that would have involved thinking in the U.S. and it is not to be expected everywhere.


At the Columbia University appearance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questioned the widely accepted view of the 9/11 attacks and defended the right to dispute the reality of the Holocaust.


Thankfully, there were edgy moments due to a sharp individual at Columbia University. Columbia President Lee Bollinger challenged Ahmadinejad by stating: "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."


Finally, one American academic who does not willingly swallow the swill of every Islamist who appears to the West and claims to be misunderstood. "You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated," Bollinger told Ahmadinejad.


Ahmadinejad, according to news reports, smiled at first but appeared increasingly agitated, decrying the "insults" and "unfriendly treatment." Welcome to free speech Ahmadinejad.


Audience members took Ahmadinejad to school over Iran's human-rights record and foreign policy, as well as Ahmadinejad's statements denying the Holocaust and calling for the disappearance of Israel.


"When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."


Ahmadinejad rose, also to applause, and after a religious invocation, said Bollinger's opening was "an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here." I don't think hiding behind religion will work in the West.


During a question and answer session, Ahmadinejad appeared tense and unsmiling, in contrast to more relaxed interviews and appearances earlier in the day.


Ahmadinejad reiterated his desire to visit the 9/11 ground zero but he is on record questioning whether al-Qaida was responsible.


This might be his Holocaust II.


Asked about executions of homosexuals in Iran, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary executed violent criminals and high-level drug dealers by comparing them to microbes eliminated through medical treatment. He said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."


The audience roared derisively.


President Bush said Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia "speaks volumes about really the greatness of America."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bush Leading Towards a Renewal of the Middle East Peace Process

The U.S., EU, Russia, and the U.N. are detailing a series of key talks to re-vitalize the Middle East peace process for a peace conference in November.


The Arab League will have representation.


In addition to Israel and the Palestinians, expected countries include: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen and Syria.


A key move is that the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are drafting a document that would "lay the foundations for serious negotiations." The Arab representatives are criticizing the work as non-substantive.


The Islamist movement, Hamas, is already predicting the conferences are a waste of time.

Ian Hunter, "When The World Was Round," Animated Video Release

Jerkin' Crocus in the UK will release the first single from Ian Hunter's critically acclaimed album Shrunken Heads on 29 Oct 2007. 'When The World Was Round' will be available in three formats: a 7 inch picture disc, a CD single, and a DVD single. Each format will be on sale for £1.99, or all three can be bought for £3.99. The 7 inch and CD will both include unreleased material, whilst the DVD will include an animated video. Pre-orders are available now from Townsend Records.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

U.N. Not to Abandon Iraq Again?

The U.N. may be ready to get its hands dirty again after abandoning the Iraqis after a 2003 bombing.


Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pledged that the time had arrived for determined action on Iraq. This should also be the time that nations that consistently weighed in on Iraq should arrive with their financing and ideas but I doubt that will happen.


It remains to be seen if the U.N. will make any difference given the fact that a greater U.N. presence will do little to ensure better security.


Since a 2003 bombing killed the U.N.'s top envoy--Sergio Vieira de Mello--and 21 others the U.N. presence has been negligible. Iraqi Primi Minister Nouri Maliki says he can now guarantee UN security. Not.


The U.N. recognizes that the military solution, as hammered out by the U.S., can not operate in a vacuum. The U.S. military has done all that it has been asked to do.


Now is time for others to jump into the breach.


Germany and Japan are pledging supoort. Saudi Arabia and Iran are making their presence known, however, this should involve a great deal of oversight from the international community. Too easily funding could be directed to groups that are de-stabilzing influences. More positively, representatives from international economic organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been involved in recent discussions.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Firefox, Not Only Just a Long Time to Download

The new Firefox 3.0 alpha blocks malware, takes a long time to tie up your computer while downloading as I realize from first-hand experience, and it secures plug-in updates.


I am glad to see that security features debut in the latest download, it is one of the best features of Firefox. Now that Mozilla Corporation has updated Firefox 3.0 to alpha 8, this is the revealing for the first time to users concerning the several security features that have been in the works.


One of the features debuting is the alpha of "Gran Paradiso," the code name for Firefox 3.0, which includes built-in anti-malware warnings and protection against rogue extension updates.


An interesting twist on the Firefox phenomenon are the small plug-ins--"extensions" in Mozilla lingo--thus increasing its scalability, range, and flexibility. Even more important is that the several thousand extensions originated with outside developers, that include diverse tools to pick from.


The browser is smart in that updates are authenticated and downloaded automatically.


This is a worthwhile upgrade while Mozilla has not officially announced a release date for the final version of Firefox 3.0.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Microsoft Reveals U.S. Navy Secrets

Microsoft is revealing U.S. submarine secrets through its Virtual Earth tool. The image clearly shows the propeller on an Ohio class submarine.


The picture has enough detail to show the seven-bladed prop. The image was photographed while the boomer was in dry dock at the Navy's base in Bangor, Washington.


This revelation might allow a reverse engineering opportunity for nefarious purposes.


In fact, submarine propulsion systems are engineered to operate as silently as possible and the design clearly is one of the Navy's most closely guarded secrets.


If you recall the movie The Hunt For Red October U.S. forces attempt to hunt down a Soviet submarine equipped with completely silent hydrojets with the drama hinging on the silent operation.


At least there were no topless sailors in the photo. In 2006, Google Earth caused quite a stir when the system photographed a Dutch woman sunbathing topless in her backyard.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Obvious: Cell Phone Usage Causes Brain Damage

Perhaps my headline is overstating the case but we all know frequent cell phone use may slow brain function which has been studied by researchers.


I know its true that when trying to walk through a store or when winding my way through traffic the cell phone users are dim-witted and in the way.


The researchers in Australia, England, and the Netherlands studied 300 persons and as published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, looked at the group of people over 2.4 years. A larger study expands the basics here to gather data on 17,000 people over a longer period of time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stanford Saves Face (book)

Stanford will host a course on designing applications in Facebook. The focus is designed to teach a broad range of students how to build "engaging Web applications." You might not know that from the actual name of the course: "Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook."


What I find amusing about these higher education courses is that they are developing the things that at the secondary level students are being told to avoid.

7 Begin Trial in Miami

Graphic source: Department of Justice photo of Narseal Batiste.


The jury selection began in Miami for the seven men accused of plotting to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices with the goal of inciting an anti-government insurrection.


The trial is in the wake of last month's conviction of Jose Padilla, formerly held as an enemy combatant, and two other men on murder conspiracy and terrorism support charges.


The seven men from the Liberty City neighborhood face charges of up to 70 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to levy war against the United States and conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida.


The ringleader is a construction worker named Narseal Batiste, 33, and the seven were videotaped pledging allegiance to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.


The seven hoped to trigger a "full ground war" and replace the U.S. government with one based on Islam according to tape transcripts.


The objections to this case seem a big odd since the plotters never got far enough to assemble explosives and weapons. On the other hand, this went beyond just opinions, ideas, and speech. They were plotting and just because they did not pull it off is no reason to demean law enforcement.

Sim City Iraq



Iraq re-enactments are using 3-D imaging and innovative computer animation to show nascent commanders how the battles are shaping up. The "Virtual Staff Rides" come courtesy of the Combat Studies Institute at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.


The project has been in the works since February 2005.

Monday, September 17, 2007

France Prepared for Nuclear War With Iran

UPI ran a story quoting France's foreign minister as warning that the world should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons. Bernard Kouchner added that European leaders were considering their own economic sanctions against the Islamic country.


I wonder what France has lost, certainly there are no principles that they would feel are worth defending.

Hackers Aim at Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is barely out of the bag but hackers have already loosed a torrent of malicious code threats aimed at vulnerabilities, Symantec Corporation announced today. The most dangerous targeting vulnerabilities? Browser plug-ins.

Second to Microsoft?

Another disappointing decision for Microsoft from a 2004 antitrust ruling in the European Union.


The Court of First Instance rejected Microsoft's appeal, and confirmed both of the behaviors the European Union's Competition Commission said were illegal. Microsoft has bundled, or ties Windows Media Player to the operating system. And, Microsoft used the dominance of Windows on the desktop to increase in the share of the server software market.


In August 2000 the European Union's Competition Commission filed its first "Statement of Objections," or official complaint, against Microsoft. The complaint accused Microsoft of withholding technical information that would have let other server operating system developers make their products interoperate with Windows clients.


No fan of Microsoft here but who will be able to replace Microsoft and actually be their competition?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wikipedia Summary of Imperial Hubris


One of the most worthwhile books I have read in some time: Imperial Hubris. I reproduce here, in its entirety, the Wikipedia article as of today on the work.


Summary of Imperial Hubris


Preface


Author a "career-long 'headquarters' officer . . . focused exclusively on terrorism, Islamic insurgencies, militant Islam, and the affairs of South Asia ― Afghanistan and Pakistan" (ix-x). Conclusions: (1) "We are fighting a worldwide Islamic insurgency ― not criminality or terrorism"; (2) current policies make the military "America's only tool"; (3) bin Laden's reasons are "U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world"; (4) his war depends on "the tenets" of Islam; (5) U.S. interest in "Persian Gulf oil" central; (6) war may last many decades and be fought "mostly on U.S. soil" (x-xi). Foreboding of future attack; reproach to neglect of "duty" by "leaders" (xii).


Acknowledgments


Foreign Broadcast Information Service; a small group of "mostly women" officers working "against the bin Laden target" (xiii); references to U.S. martial past (xii, xiv, passim).


Introduction: "Hubris Followed by Defeat"


U.S. is completing the radicalization of the Islamic world (xv). War in Afghanistan "is being lost" (xvi). Invasion of Iraq was militaristic, untimely, "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war" (xvi-xvii). Osama bin Laden's strength is his ideas, grounded in Islam (xvii-xviii). He is waging "a defensive jihad" to advance "clear, focused, limited, and widely popular foreign policy goals" (xviii). Sources: bin Laden's pronouncements, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Sulayman Abu Gayeth, 3 web sites (Al-Ansar, Al-Neda, and Al-Islah), various secondary sources (xix). Importance of Internet emphasized (xx). Hubris seems to doom us; "al Qaeda sees the world clearer than we" (xxi).


Ch. 1: Some Thoughts on the Power of Focused, Principled Hatred


Most Muslims reject separation of religion from politics (2). So they take seriously anti-Islamic statements from U.S. evangelists (2-4). Like most Muslims, bin Laden sincerely loves God (4). Islam's "loving tone" (4-6). Defensive jihad is a personal obligation, requiring no authority (sources: Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes) (6-8). U.S. policies and actions, not values, are the cause (8-11). Evidence of U.S. attack on Islam, from Muslims' perspective: (1) U.S. challenging Muslim jihad, charity, and curricula (11); (2) U.S. supporting oppression of Muslims, apostate Muslim regimes, anti-Muslim economic and military sanctions, and control of oil in Muslim lands (12-13); (3) politically, U.S. denies self-determination to Muslim lands, occupies Muslim states, supports Israeli expropriation of Palestine (13-14). These views are nearly universal in the Muslim world and cannot be undone through PR (14-16). U.S. is seen as the restorer of colonialism (16). The fault is not in them, but in us: the cause of the war is "their love for Allah and their hatred for a few, specific U.S. policies and actions" (17). Bin Laden and the mujahideen are "legitimate and romantic heroes" loved as "symbols of hope" (18-19).


Ch. 2: An Unprepared and Ignorant Lunge to Defeat ― The United States in Afghanistan


Intelligence advice: "do the checkables first" (21-22). Al Qaeda has achieved seven major "victories": Aden, Mogadishu, Riyadh, Dharan, Nairobi/Dar es Salaam, Aden, 9/11 (22-24). U.S. should have had plans for immediate response and executed them ― but did not (24-27). U.S. had vast expertise on Afghanistan, but failed to use it after 9/11 (27-30). Lessons from the Soviet war in Afghanistan available, but unused (30-32). By Sept. 1, 2001, the Afghan Northern Alliance was a defeated force, and after the assassination of Ahmed Shah Masood on Sept. 9, certainly not the basis of a national government (33-35). Masood represented only "a small subset of the country's Tajik minority" (35-37). The Karzai régime and its allies are hopelessly unrepresentative (37-39). U.S. ignored key Islamic commanders (41-45). The Karzai government is doomed (45-46). Seven truths about Afghans ignored by U.S.: (1) only Pashtuns rule durably (47); (2) the U.S. backed Westernized Afghans, not the "Muslim tribal xenophobes" who matter (48-49); (3) Afghans can't be controlled by money (49-51); (4) strong central governments, like the one Karzai is seeking, cause war in Afghanistan (52); (5) Afghanistan is a cauldron of international tensions (53-54); (6) Pakistan's national security depends on an Islamist, Pashtun-dominated régime (54-56); (7) an Islamic régime in Kabul is inevitable (56-57).


Ch. 3: Not Down, Not Out: Al Qaeda's Resiliency, Expansion, and Momentum


Al-Qaeda's fighters compared to those of the Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War (59-60). Al Qaeda follows principles of successful insurgent groups (60-61). When attacked, the Taliban dispersed effectively (61-66). U.S. lacks knowledge of al-Qaeda's order of battle, so cannot estimate damage to the organization (66-68). U.S. still hampered by a "law-enforcement mentality" (69-71). Two recent studies are good: Jason Burke's Al Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror (2003), and Rohan Gunaratna, Inside al Qaeda's Global Network of Terror (2002) (71). Al-Qaeda extremely popular in Saudi Arabia (71-74). Ansar al-Islam received effective help from al-Qaeda in northern Iraq (74-75). Al-Qaeda is present in Lebanon, but does not cooperated operationally with Hezbollah (76-77; see 229). Al-Qaeda's effective use of the Internet (78-84). Given U.S. policies, "blood-soaked offensive military actions" are the only path to victory (84-86). The following "balance sheet of 2001-2004" excludes Kashmir, Philippines, Algeria, Palestine, and Aceh (Indonesia) (86). "Victories" for U.S. and allies "almost entirely tactical" (87-91). Al Qaeda's and allies' "victories" show "strategic environment" has shifted in their favor (91-100). Acc. to al-Qurashi, al-Qaeda considers the U.S. center of gravity to be the economy, not public opinion (101-02).


Ch. 4: The World's View of bin Laden: A Muslim Leader and Hero Coming into Focus?


"Viewed from any angle, Osama bin Laden is a great man," "world-changing" in Western eyes and revered by tens of millions of Muslims (103-05). The evil-criminal view (105-07). Denigrations of his mind and capacity for leadership (107-09). Said by some to be dominated by al-Zawahiri (109). The thesis that Islam is a "failed civilization" lashing out in resentment (109-13) does not jibe with bin Laden's view: he blames Muslims themselves (114-15). Ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism impede analysis (115-16). Bin Laden as military genius (Christopher Bellamy) (117). Bin Laden as business genius (Larry Seaquist; Bruce Hoffman) (117-18). These miss the religious inspiration of the Islamic hero (118-21). Testimony of those who know him (121-22). Influence of size of his enemy (U.S.) (123). Bin Laden inspires love (124-25). He, like Abraham Lincoln, represents belief in a moral universe (Scheuer quotes again from Kent Gramm's Gettysburg: A Meditation on War and Values (1994) (125-26; also xii and passim).


Ch. 5: Bin Laden Views the World: Some Old, Some New, and a Twist


Importance of bin Laden's words, neglected by the West (127-29). Main concept: defending the ummah [= Islamic community bound by religious ties on a tribal model (OED)] from U.S. attacks (129-31). Al-Qaeda's role is principally to awaken and incite Muslims (131-34). Suicide bombers perceived positively in Muslim world as heroes of "self-sacrifice, patriotism, and worship" (135). Bin Laden's elegy of 9/11 hijackers misunderstood in West (135-36). Bin Laden frustrated by inadequate response from Muslim middle and upper-middle classes (137). Poem by bin Laden; use of poetry (138). Bin Laden's historical uniqueness comes from focusing Islamic resistance on the international level, on the U.S. (139-40). The centrality of Afghanistan is due to a need for a new Muslim state as a world center from which to launch a new caliphate (140-44). Recent refinements: allowing some attacks on non-U.S. targets (145-47), creating a vulnerability should a free-lancer cause Europe and U.S. to come together again (148); attacking "apostate régimes" more directly and accusing clerics of compliance with corrupt U.S.-backed power (148-52); preparing Muslim opinion by presenting arguments justifying WMD attack on U.S. (152-58). Bin Laden's 2001 statements on U.S. attitudes, unheeded (158-61).


Ch. 6: Blinding Hubris Abounding: Inflicting Defeat on Ourselves ― Non-Wars, Leaks, and Missionary Democracy


American élites' blinding "imperial hubris" (term also used in Through Our Enemies' Eyes [2001]) endangers U.S. safety (163-168). The case of bin Laden is a maximal instance of this (168). Bin Laden's fidelity to his words demonstrated by pattern of post-9/11 attacks (169-70). 1990-2003 U.S. "victories" are really only self-declared ―no foe has been defeated (170). E.g. Afghanistan (171-77). Castigates U.S. military hierarchy: "lieutenant colonel . . . seems to be where truth-telling stops" (177). Win-quick and low-casualties-on-both-sides an "immoral" approach to war that violates the "basic lesson of military history since Alexander" (177-80). E.g. Afghanistan (180-81), Iraq (181-82). Placing Mongolian and Indian troops in Iraq shows ignorance of history (182-83). It is un-American to argue that only those with military experience can criticize military policy and operations (183-84). Some U.S. general should resign to protest recent U.S. approach to war (184-85). U.S. policy mentality too legalistic (185-86). CIA & FBI have "fundamentally incompatible" missions ― one breaks the law, the other enforces it (187-88). Law-enforcement focus lulls public (188-89). Islamists not affected by legal approach (189-90). We need to "fix the problems" in "intelligence community cooperation" (190-92). Endemic leaking by officials is treason due to hubris (192-99). John Quincy Adams in 1821: "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy" (200-01). Invasion of Afghanistan is an arrogant attempt to do just that (201-03). Worse, U.S. leaders show no knowledge of American history (203-04). U.S. political achievements hard-won and not historically transferable (204-05). Muslim society, "where God and Caesar are the same," presents special difficulties (205-06). Recommendation: "Victory, I think, lies in a yet undetermined mix of stronger military actions and dramatic foreign policy change" (207).


Ch. 7: When the Enemy Sets the Stage: How America's Stubborn Obtuseness Aids Its Foes


Unlike Khomeini in Iran, bin Laden has six focuses foreign policy goals: (1) end U.S. aid to Israel; (2) U.S. withdrawal from Arabian peninsula; (3) end of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan; (4) end of U.S. support for Muslim oppression by China, Russia, India, etc.; (5) Muslim control of oil and sale at market prices (6) Islamist régimes instead of U.S.-protected Muslim régimes (209-12). Invasion of Iraq an unexpected gift to bin Laden (212-14). U.S. failed correctly to analyze the threat in the 1990s (214-16). Camps were training not only "terrorists" but, especially, "insurgents" (216-22). As a result "the brutal reality . . . is that we must kill many thousands of these fighters" (222). Coalition-building after 9/11 wasted time, imposed civilized standards, and counterproductively associated the U.S. with oppression elsewhere (222-26). Israel: "Objectively, al Qaeda does not seem too far off the mark when it describes the U.S.-Israel relationship as a detriment to America" (227-30). Post-9/11 measures that have increased Muslims' anti-American feelings: Immigration rule changes (231-33); interference with freedom of speech (233-34); hi-tech war briefings (234-35).


Ch. 8: The Way Ahead: A Few Suggestions for Debate


Risk aversion in the intelligence bureaucracy (237-38). Guidelines for use in defeating bin Laden and militant Islam: don't overblow the war (239); stop glorifying bereavement (239-40); accept that we are hated for our policies and acts (240-41); be bloody-minded and kill in large numbers (241-42); fight without principle ("engaging in whatever martial behavior is needed") (242); "stop knee-jerk yellow ribboning" (242-43); depend on ourselves, not others (specifically, Pakistan) (243-44); rely on real expertise (244-45); deal with bin Laden as a warrior, not a terrorist (246-47); attain energy self-sufficiency (247-48); break the military-industrial institutional nexus, perhaps by "banning many post-retirement jobs in exchange for a full-salary annuity after thirty years" (248-49); accept that we are at war with Islam (249-50); "learn to watch others die with equanimity" (Ralph Peters) (250-52). War cannot be avoided, but new policies affecting the length and cost of war are possible (253-54). Recommended reading (254). We must accept that bin Laden is "a worthy and dangerous foe" (255). U.S. needs a frank and public policy debate (255-57). Questions: Does support for Israel serve U.S. interests? (257) Do we have a duty to defend freedom beyond our borders, or to "abandon the sordid legacy of Woodrow Wilson's internationalism"? (257-58) What do we gain from backing corrupt tyrannical Muslim régimes, except for cheap oil? Have we the moral courage for energy self-sufficiency? Do we need bases on the Arabian peninsula? Do we have the moral right to spread democracy? (258) Hopes for policy changes, but "as always, the majority must rule" (259).


Epilogue: No Basis for Optimism


Americans have still not recognized the nature of the war they are losing (citing George Tenet's late-Feb. 2004 testimony to a Senate committee) (261-63).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Child's Play

This is a scene of a Shia child being raised in the Middle East.

U.S. Grant on How To Conduct American Warfare

The art of war is simple enough. Find out where the enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.
General U.S. Grant


Graphic source: www.ushist.com.


It may seem strange that today I am reflecting on how to increase U.S. troop levels in the wake of Bush's reluctant acquiescence for the necessity of a troop withdrawal. Readers of this blog should be accustomed to the oddness of my perspective by now though. Today I wonder why we are not increasing the level and lethality of our troops.


We are convincing worldwide insurgents that America has not the will nor the stomach for warfare.


Americans, for their part, sated with their congratulatory self-satisfaction in their humaneness and civilized conduct of war are relieved with the satisfaction that the desultory Bush has finally seen the light of day.


If only things were that simple.


Grant, who knew a thing or two about war, during the Civil War showed Americans how war is conducted and he was successful in eliminating the Confederacy.


Through their shock and awe, horrifying for the time, Grant and Sherman demonstrated to the American people how to decapitate, destroy, and obliterate the enemy: the Confederacy.


American democracy was all the stronger as a result and the U.S. lost none of its moral strength for unleashing the full fury of finally and completely mobilizing the North's might through the Union army.


Americans have lost their killer instinct and seem to believe war can be conducted cleanly, clinically, and safely illustrated on CNN in sound bites. The illustrations reassure Americans that we are systematically tracking down the enemy, as false as that conclusion is, and it demonstrates to the enemy, who is also watching, that though some die--rewarded by entering paradise no less--America can be beaten, since the deadly might of America is tempered by public opinion and restrained from unleashing its fury. The conclusion, `this too shall pass,' is clear.


War is hell according to General Sherman but once engaged stopping and engaging in half-military measures only makes America less secure and ensures that more American soldiers will die needlessly in subsequent deployments.


Debate all you want about the reasons for originally engaging in the conflict in Iraq but we are failing to conduct war as Americans have found to be necessary in order to successfully bring about the desired result.


Also, Americans are not convinced we are at war in any case. We fail to accept bin Laden as he is, true to his word, lethal, patient, clever, and long-suffering in seeking a death blow to American.


The import of his latest videos is a warning, convert to Islam before it is too late, the standard Muslim announcement before an attack which justifies to an Islamic audience that the devastation to be inflicted can be avoided if only the infidel would have listened. The next spectacular al-Qaida attack is coming. 9/11 was just a warm-up.


In the announced troop withdrawal, none of Grant's precepts are being followed.


We don't know where the enemy is. We are not pursuing the enemy with all deliberate and lethal speed. Our tepid attacks have not dented the enemy's resolve. We are not hitting often, and we are bogged down in both Iraq and Afghanistan, even retreating.


Our modern distaste for historic American military violence notwithstanding, we will have to go back, we will have a more devastating attack on mainland America, and more innocents and soldiers will needlessly die for no visible gains.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"One Fine Night, When We Were All in Bed, Mrs. Osama Left An IED in the Shed"

Graphic source: Wikipedia Commons, originally published in Harper's Weekly.


What you don't know won't hurt you is a saying very wrong in the confidential Chicago terrorist threat assessment which was leaked over P2P. In 2002, a study performed by top consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., commissioned by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), considered 35 threat assessments of the nation's bus and rail systems.


Larry Yellen, a Fox News reporter, acquired the confidential terrorist threat assessment on Chicago over a peer-to-peer (P2P) program, LimeWire, a public file-sharing network.


With Al-Qaida urging the U.S. to embrace Islam, a traditional notice before an imminent military strike, the information is revealing, and alarming in how available critical knowledge is readily disseminated on the Internet.


Popular P2P clients such as Kazaa, LimeWire, BearShare, Morpheus, and FastTrack are designed to let users quickly download and share files. If the access these P2P clients have on a system is not secure, it is easy to expose and share personal data with users on a file-sharing network.


In July, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform heard testimony from several witnesses about how everything from classified military documents to corporate data can be found on P2P networks. The leaked documents on P2P networks included the Pentagon's entire secret backbone network infrastructure diagram; contractor data on radio frequency manipulation to defeat improvised explosive devices in Iraq; and physical terrorism threat assessments for three major U.S cities.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bush as Saladin: Bin Laden Hiding in a Cave

Graphic source: The White House.


Once the death toll mounts for Arab fighters it is at that time that victory is declared. This is the historical pattern made clear by successive defeats against Israel. Once Bush announces his plans this evening to withdraw a limited number of troops, no doubt citing that some of the benchmarks have been met, the Arab response will be to declare victory.


Meanwhile, hiding in a cave somewhere is the person who has refused to sacrifice himself; in contrast, Bush has visited his troops three times to lend moral support.


Who should be humiliated by their behavior?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thought on 9/11

If U.S. leaders truly believed the country is at war with bin Laden and the Islamists, they would dump the terminally adolescent bureaucrats and their threat matrix, accept and tell the voters that war brings repeated and at times grievous defeats as well as victories, and proceed with relentless, brutal, and yes, blood-soaked offensive military actions until we have annihilated the Islamists who threaten us, or so mutilate their forces, supporting populations, and physical infrastructure that they recognize continued war-making on their part futile.

Imperial Hubris, Michael Scheuer, p. 85.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Not Much New for Osama

Bin Laden didn't have much to say. There is a new tape of a 9/11 terrorist but the same old tired rhetoric. The audience for this tape is Middle Eastern. I can't see how many people in an American context are fearful as one of the points of the attack seemed to be.


With nothing compelling to say, al-Qaida will wait to strike in a bigger and bolder attack. They are patient.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Progress Petraeus

Graphic Source: BBC.


I know he said "working" but I think he should be called Progress Petraeus. Petraeus has more to say tomorrow but as readers on this blog would have noted, I predicted what Petraeus would say.


I don't believe Petraeus is simply putting a Bush spin on the numbers; I believe in the essential substance of what he is saying: the military made the surge work.


He stated that the military objectives of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq "are largely being met." Although improvements were "uneven," violence had declined significantly since the surge began in February.


In his testimony before the joint hearing by the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, Petraeus said "security incidents," had declined since the start of the surge; he anticipated the withdrawal of around 30,000 U.S. troops by the middle of 2008, beginning with 2,000 marines in September.


However, the situation in Iraq remained "difficult."


A record 168,000 US troops are now in Iraq after 30,000 arrived in the surge between February and June.


Petraeus told the committees that troop numbers could be eventually reduced to pre-surge level without jeopardising the security situation.


But he warned that a premature reduction would have "devastating consequences."


"It is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time, although doing so will be neither quick, nor easy," he said. If this is a gradual draining of our resources, then this point was not addressed.


The objective of the surge was to buy time for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to end sectarian violence and secure a political settlement between sectarian groups.


Maliki failed. Iraq has not produced leaders who want to lead, and leaders who do not want to end the corruption, waste, and stop sectarian violence.


The U.S. military did their part; the Iraqis failed themselves.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grim Statistics: Military deaths

Less than 3,800 Americans have died in Iraq. Every death is a tragedy but this is a reflection on the numbers of American deaths in past conflicts.


The bleak summary of numbers illustrates a point of clarity.


Civil War - At least 618,000.


WW II - 405,399


Since the Iraq conflict began, around 170,000 Americans died in automobile accidents.


WW I - 116,516


Vietnam - 58,209


Korea - 36,574


Mexican War - 13,283


Philippine-American War - 4,324


War of 1812 - 2,260


Spanish-American War - 2,446


In the latter two wars, the involved military forces were less than a tenth of the size of our current military. Likewise, American deaths might be expected to have more of an impact given the smaller population of the country at the time.


Since the Iraq conflict began, around 170,000 Americans died in automobile accidents. Yet, no one is outraged with automobile deaths and no one is seriously calling for an end to driving.


Whatever one feels about the misguided notions and wrongful thinking of how the U.S. entered the war, simply citing combat deaths as a reason to withdraw seems misplaced. Relatively speaking, the numbers are significantly less than most American conflicts.


If you throw out the in many ways non-comparable internal Civil War, and WW II, automobile deaths are a huge tragedy that few are outraged about, and the fact is the U.S. has been relatively unscathed. Our deaths are low relative to the size of our population.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Canterbury Coach



A motley group of travelers are thrown together to reveal and contrast their backgrounds and ideas:
The Canterbury Tales and Stagecoach.


The bare bones description seems to fit both. The thought occurred to me while screening John Ford's classic film.

Osama Ho Hum

Graphic source: Investigation by FBI, public domain graphic of Adam Yahiye Gadahn.


The world will little note nor long remember this message but for the time being he has the attention of the media. The far more important Osama bin Laden tape is the one where he got away.


Before Bush was President, and well before Iraq, the primary bin Laden hunter in America, Michael Scheuer claims that Clinton was given 8-10 chances by sound intelligence to take bin Laden out but Osama got away. Scheuer states that by late 1999, bin Laden could have been a "smoldering memory." Tennant and others in the intelligence community deferred to the law enforcement arm of the U.S. government. This was a mistake. The U.S. faced an international terrorist and a Clintonesque law enforcement strategy was not adequate.


Meanwhile, Osama drones on.


The new video message from bin Laden appeared on militant Islamist Web sites Saturday, a day after it was released by the U.S.-based SITE Institute, a terrorist monitoring organization. Television was the chosen medium although Web site posting had been the usual means used by bin Laden.


The video portrays bin Laden as a rather restrained preacher, he makes no overt threats, and he does not call for the spectacular type of attacks which seems to characterize al-Qaida. The message is more direct, addressing Americans and telling them the Iraq war has failed and urging them against capitalism, multinational corporations, globalization, democracy and finally, "I invite you to embrace Islam," he states. The message is: Islam is the answer to the evils of America.


American intelligence agencies are still studying the video for authenticity and hints about bin Laden's health.


There is a Marxist twist to the terrorist understanding of the West as bin Laden notes: "as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the . . . capitalist system."


Bin Ladenism fails to appreciate liberal democracies which eliminated many of the worst abuses of untrammeled capitalism. In this regard, bin Laden seems trapped in an antiquated understanding of how capitalism works. He seems to still view capitalism as a pure Adam Smith variety of capitalism which no longer exists. The only rapacious form of capitalism still alive in the Middle East. With the discovery of oil, fabulous Middle Eastern wealth was created for the fortunate few with the resulting decline of any progressive and upwardly mobile lifestyle possible for the unfortunate.


This would also explain why bin Laden's appeal is to the most downtrodden in Iraq and Afghanistan who have little chance of improving their lives through education, a democratic political process, or equitable, liberal economic reform. Globalization has impacted the Middle East severely, as the Middle East suffers from repressive regimes, a lack of capital investment, low rate of education, and a non-innovative business climate. All of this makes bin Laden's violent appeals all that more dangerous. It is an expression of Middle Eastern backwardness and frustration.


Interestingly, some analysts believe an American, 28-year-old Adam Gadahn, may have authored at least part of the speech.


The intelligence considered reliable about Gadahn includes:


Adam Yahiye Gadahn, born Adam Pearlman, grew up in rural Southern California [near Riverside California] and had frequent contact with Muslims. He converted to Islam in the mid-1990s and moved to Pakistan to study a few years later. He was apparently radicalized there.


Between October 2004 and September 2006, Gadahn appeared in five videotapes in support of al-Qaeda.


U.S. officials labeled him as a propagandist for the organization. He is not charged with taking part in any terrorist operation.


The Rewards For Justice Program of the U.S. State Department, is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of Gadahn.


He speaks English and Arabic.


He is the first American to be charged with treason since the World War II era. The counter-terrorism site Global Security is the source of information about Gadahn.


Gadahn has been charged with treason as an al-Qaida propagandist, and while making insider American references, he has attacked capitalism and globalization while appearing in several al-Qaida-produced videos.


The age-old communist cabal against warmongering corporation reappears in a theistic Islamic cover.


On a fashion note, bin Laden's trimmed beard is shorter than in his last 2004 video, fully black and clearly dyed while having dark bags under his eyes, speaking softly, as he usually has.


This is the first video since 2004, and he had not put out an audiotape in more than a year, his longest period without a message. The message is pretty much outdated, absurd, the only real significance is that he is still alive.


The video must be recent since he mentions that "several days ago" Japan marked the 62nd anniversary of the 6 August 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He also refers to last year's Democratic Party congressional victory and to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was elected in May. If authentic then, the tape was apparently recorded in early August.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Petraeus: Progress, Redeploy in Spring

Petraeus favors a troop buildup until next spring. He stated: "Based on the progress our forces are achieving, I expect to be able to recommend that some of our forces will be redeployed without replacement," according to the Boston Globe.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Survey of Globalization

The video summarizes some important points.


Sources: Karl Fisch, and modified by Scott McLeod: Globalization and The Information Age.


Music Credits: (1992) "The Last of the Mohicans" off the soundtrack the song is (Elk Hunt/The Kiss.

China, No to Wikipedia, Again

China has blocked access to Wikipedia after an almost uninterrupted two months. The Chinese government blocks sites deemed questionable but with no explanation.

Bush Mum On Chinese Hacks

Bush did not discuss recent allegations of the Chinese hacking Pentagon computers but The Financial Timesis still reporting additional hacks. Beijing is also suspected of hacking British government networks as well as earlier reporting that the Pentagon and German targets were also hit by China. China is engaged in hostile intelligence activities based not on Cold War methods but on hacking.


Recently, MI5--Britain's security service--warned that the biggest cyberattacks may arise from China and Russia.

Stonebraker Turns Over a New Rock

Relational database pioneer says his technology is a dinosaur but by chance he has a new product to offer.


Michael Stonebraker researched relational databases, or RDBMS,' at UC, Berkeley in the early 1970s but now with a new product he has more to offer.


Ingres and Postgres technology is the foundation for many leading relational databases such as SQL Server, Sybase Inc.'s Adaptive Server Enterprise, Ingres Corp.'s product, IBM's Informix, among others.


The new product is column-oriented databases which just happens to be built by Stonebraker's latest start-up, Vertica Systems Inc. which store data vertically in table columns rather than in successive rows.


Maybe he has a vested interest in the adoption of the new column-oriented databases.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chinese Deny Hacks of Two Countries

China denies that the type of hacks it has been working on, military intrusions, is not what it has done to the Pentagon network.


Yesterday, China denied that in June it had attempted to access the Pentagon. This is not the first accusation.


Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, denied the charges.


The Financial Times quoted American officials who said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was behind the June hack. American officials interviewed clearly thought China was responsible.


The Pentagon network had been taken offline in response to the attacks.


The attack was against an unclassified email network in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.


A month previously, the Department of Defense claimed that the PLA maintains first-strike cyberwarfare units whose arsenals include computer viruses.


Although Jiang denied the charges, just last week, Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, accused China of the same type of hacks. Der Spiegel reported that government ministries as well as Merkel's office, had been infected with spyware planted by Chinese hackers.

Denmark Not Laughing Over Terror

According to the AP, Denmark arrested eight al-Qaida suspects planning an attack using explosives.


The suspects included six Danish citizens and two foreigners with residence permits who had been under surveillance for some time.


Denmark had participated in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.


The suspects ranged in age 19 to 29, and, although not identified by name, are of Afghan, Pakistani, Somali, and Turkish origin.

Germans Do Not Kowtow to New Threats

Graphic source: Michael Probst, AP.


Germany arrested three suspected Islamic militants on charges of alleged "imminent" acts and plotting "massive" attacks on U.S. military sites.


U.S. military installations, such as Ramstein Air Base, as well as "soft targets," such as nightclubs visited by American service personnel and German civilian targets were identified.


German federal prosecutor Monika Harms stated that the suspects had trained at terror camps in Pakistan and assembled 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide for making explosives. The attacks could have been timed for anniversary of 9/11.


The potential to make bombs would have more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid bombings, according to Joerg Ziercke, head of Germany’s Federal Crime Office.


The three suspects range in age from 22-29 and were considered suspicious by authorities since they had been observing a U.S. military facility. The trio included two German nationals and a Turk.


Their training at Pakistani camps were run by the Islamic Jihad Union, Sunni Muslims, arising from Central Asia and an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.


The band were drawing unemployment benefits since they had no gainful employment.


Germany’s elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist unit arrested the suspects in a large-scale investigation that included 300 agents.


Police had been monitoring their email for six months.


A pattern is emerging with these threats, as parliamentary debates were being undertaken in regards to continued involvement in Afhghanistan, this plot heated up, just as the Madrid bombings occurred to influence Spanish debates about Middle Eastern involvement.


Germany's attempt to stabilize Afghanistan against Islamic insurgents made it a target.


Germany is expected to keep troops in Afghanistan for several more years, despite the terrorist threats.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

WeBWork, Web-based Interactive Homework Site

"WeBWorK is a web-based interactive system designed to make homework in mathematics and the sciences more effective and efficient."


I glanced at this which seemed worthwhile, although I am totally out of my bailiwick with the subject matter. It seems worth investigating though.

Video Glut

I read this recent report by a UC, San Diego professor who has warned that the U.S. economy may stall because of the massive upsurge in video posting. Unless the Net expands, according to the report, innovation may stall.


The report, "Point of Disconnect," by Profesoor Michael Kleeman a senior fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Communication, seems counter-intuitive. Who is to say that videos do not add to efficiencies, and lead to more productivity. Many businesses are expanding into video and YouTube makes for an inexpensive video delivery mechanism.


Kleeman though seems to think that compression technology should be used more frequently, especially for video files, to reduce demands on the network.


The number of new videos uploaded daily to YouTube.com jumped from 20,000 at the beginning of 2006 to 65,000 daily at the beginning of this year.


But, if I were a SMB, I would employ YouTube for my training provider. I wanted to learn about Vista recently, and I found a number of handy Vista videos out there, all readily accessible on YouTube.


Its there, I'd use it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bush in Anbar

Graphic source: AFP


The fact that Bush visited Anbar province seemingly unconcerned about security and the insurgents is significant. Anbar is widely considered to be the heart of the Sunni insurgency but Bush came and went without incident. Petraeus must feel the U.S. has greatly reduced the threat from Sunni Arab militant groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Bank of India Hacked

The Bank of India site was hacked while displaying 22 malware exploits. Analogous to the January Super Bowl site hack, suspects are from a Russian group.


Sunbelt Software Inc. posted details of the hack once they found rogue code embedded in the site's HTML. The code, an IFRAME exploit, covertly redirected users to a hacker server with 22 pieces of malware installed then onto vulnerable PCs. By Sunbelt's tally, the malware included one worm, three rootkits, five Trojan downloaders, and several password stealers.


Roger Thompson, CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs Inc., posted a video of the hack (.wmv file download) that showed the massive infections and resulting system changes in a debugger window.


Alex Eckelberry, Sunbelt's CEO, thought this was the work of the Russian Business Network (RBN) gang. The RBN is characterized as "the baddest of the bad" by VeriSign iDefense.


The malware was installed through an exploit framework -- Webattacker, Mpack, Icepack -- as it was encrypted in the same way as Webattacker," Eckelberry stated.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Time For the World to Step Up to the Plate

The American surge has provided breathing room for the Iraqi government which has been in the news of late.


What I have been thinking about of late though is the role of diplomacy. The Iraq Study Group Report recommended diplomatic efforts, and the Democratic contenders have been stressing diplomacy in their criticisms of Bush's handling of the conflict in Iraq.


What successes have the Democratics had in enlisting foreign governments to get involved?


Which countries have jumped into the breach?


The Group recommended the U.N.'s involvement with Iran and the nuclear issue. Are there any developments on that front?


The Security Council, plus Germany, was to be involved. Has there been any progress since 2006?


If you haven't guessed by now, these are rhetorical questions.


I, like you, have not heard the Democratic contenders address the issue and the U.N.'s response has been tepid.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

YouTube Emirate Founded

Graphic source: the Armoury of St. James. The unfolding emirate features a graphic of Saladin, who I picture here, but since the site does not credit a source I don't know if its borrowed or not.


Here is one of the ideas that can only happen in the wonderful, zany world of the Internet.


A hardy band of 'Netters, no, I didn't say nutters, announced that they are beginning a YouTube Emirate.


What is an emirate? This is the quality, dignity, office, or territorial competence of any Emir (prince, governor etc.). These folks think on a small scale apparently: the opposite of "if I were Emperor of the world," and then the person fills in the gaps of what they would do.


An emirate designates a political territory ruled by a dynastic Arab Monarch styled an emir. They are not too popular in the modern world as most emirates dissipated or were integrated into larger modern states. These are small time thinking folks.


The Arabic etymology suggests the term is generalized to indicate any province of a country that is administered by a member of the ruling class, e.g., a Sheikh of the royal family.


The basics of the idea then are to create a cyber small-time monarchical Arab state in YouTube-ville. Are you with me?


The group has gone so far as to write up a constitution, and by constitution they don't mean the French Revolution variety but an agreement to accept authority as Mohammed did some centuries ago.


Authority is a major point to this group: to wit, "There is to be one single leader of the Muslims on YouTube" (#2).


Sexism is important for this band as well since of that one leader it is stated to: "honor his authority" (#2).


The one authoritative leader has help though because there are two advisory committees. And what, pray tell, are the two top priorities that are needed to fill those committees? The "Disciplinary Committee" and the "Religious Consultants" are required (#3).


But perhaps the laws of the emirate are the high point of constitutional thinking here. From whence do laws of this mighty band arise? Of the laws governing the band it is stated: "All laws of the Qur'an and Islam must be followed and given precedence to this document. . . . The YouTube Terms of Service must be followed and given precedence to this document" (#5).


So let me get this straight: the Qur'an, and the YouTube Terms of Service, are held in equal regard as laws of this emirate?


Good thing this statement is still in draft form. I am no expert on statements like this but I suspect there are difficulties when any group maintains that a religious book and an American company's agreement with its customers are equal.


We do have a problem when folks are so inspired by past failures, Islamic Empires, but try to wed those notions to 21st century technology.


Is it just me or am I alone in appreciating the irony? Thanks to the U.S.A., and specifically an American company giving away free technology--based as it is on Western research in an open, free, scientific, and secular society--some people have allowed their fantasies to spiral exponentially.


I hope the emirate enjoys the blessings of the U.S.A.

Egyptian "Students" Nabbed

Mohamed with Megahed behind him in court. Graphic source: AP.


Most likely, this is another cell nabbed but they will have their day in court. The Egyptian "students" at the University of South Florida were indicted on explosives charges and carrying pipe bombs across state lines. One of the Egyptians also did some teaching to the other "student" apparently; he faces terrorism charges for allegedly teaching the use of explosives.


The pair was speeding 4 August in South Carolina when they were stopped near a Goose Creek, South Carolina Navy base. The men also possessed pipe bombs.


Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, is an engineering student; Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, 24, is an engineering graduate student and teaching assistant, he faces terrorism charges for teaching and demonstrating how to use the explosives.


The indictment alleges that Mohamed taught and demonstrated the making and use of an explosive and destructive device with the intent that such information be used for . . . an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence, according to the written federal prosecution statement.


Enemy combatants had been held at the Navy base so the FBI is investigating whether there was a terrorism link.


Mohamed was charged with distributing information relating to explosives which seems like a non-offense to me. Information should be available, and is, to anyone who seeks it out. The possession of destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction, is something else, and rightfully is a terrorism-related statute. The crime carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.


Both indictees face with charges of transporting explosives in interstate commerce without permits, which carries a 10-year prison penalty.


Local authorities carried the ball here initially and their suspicions resulted in a more vigorous case.


The local sheriff in South Carolina said the explosives were "other than fireworks."
The four-week investigation resulted in charges that followed several searches in Tampa, including a storage facility, and a park where the explosives might have been tested.


Both Mohamed and Megahed are here legally on student visas. Neither of their names though appear on USF's engineering website for students.


This looks like astute local police enforcement if the indictments hold up in court.

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Reading since summer 2006 (some of the classics are re-reads): including magazine subscriptions

  • Abbot, Edwin A., Flatland;
  • Accelerate: Technology Driving Business Performance;
  • ACM Queue: Architecting Tomorrow's Computing;
  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations;
  • Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity;
  • Allawi, Ali A., The Crisis of Islamic Civilization;
  • Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb;
  • American School & University: Shaping Facilities & Business Decisions;
  • Angelich, Jane, What's a Mother (in-Law) to Do?: 5 Essential Steps to Building a Loving Relationship with Your Son's New Wife;
  • Arad, Yitzchak, In the Shadow of the Red Banner: Soviet Jews in the War Against Nazi Germany;
  • Aristotle, Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. (Loeb Classical Library No. 285);
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics: Books X-XIV, Oeconomica, Magna Moralia (The Loeb classical library);
  • Armstrong, Karen, A History of God;
  • Arrian: Anabasis of Alexander, Books I-IV (Loeb Classical Library No. 236);
  • Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy);
  • Auletta, Ken, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice;
  • Bacevich, Andrew, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism;
  • Baker, James A. III, and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach;
  • Barber, Benjamin R., Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century;
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith;
  • Baseline: Where Leadership Meets Technology;
  • Baur, Michael, Bauer, Stephen, eds., The Beatles and Philosophy;
  • Beard, Charles Austin, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (Sony Reader);
  • Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America;
  • Bergen, Peter, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader;
  • Berman, Paul, Terror and Liberalism;
  • Berman, Paul, The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy Over Islamism and the Press;
  • Better Software: The Print Companion to StickyMinds.com;
  • Bleyer, Kevin, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;
  • Bracken, Paul, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics;
  • Bradley, James, with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers;
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre;
  • Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 10 1974-1984: The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 8 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics;
  • Bryce, Robert, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence";
  • Bush, George W., Decision Points;
  • Bzdek, Vincent, The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled;
  • Cahill, Thomas, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter;
  • Campus Facility Maintenance: Promoting a Healthy & Productive Learning Environment;
  • Campus Technology: Empowering the World of Higher Education;
  • Certification: Tools and Techniques for the IT Professional;
  • Channel Advisor: Business Insights for Solution Providers;
  • Chariton, Callirhoe (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Chief Learning Officer: Solutions for Enterprise Productivity;
  • Christ, Karl, The Romans: An Introduction to Their History and Civilization;
  • Cicero, De Senectute;
  • Cicero, The Republic, The Laws;
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 1 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 2 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • CIO Decisions: Aligning I.T. and Business in the MidMarket Enterprise;
  • CIO Insight: Best Practices for IT Business Leaders;
  • CIO: Business Technology Leadership;
  • Clay, Lucius Du Bignon, Decision in Germany;
  • Cohen, William S., Dragon Fire;
  • Colacello, Bob, Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House, 1911 to 1980;
  • Coll, Steve, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century;
  • Collins, Francis S., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ;
  • Colorni, Angelo, Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat;
  • Compliance & Technology;
  • Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management;
  • Connolly, Peter & Hazel Dodge, The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome;
  • Conti, Greg, Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?;
  • Converge: Strategy and Leadership for Technology in Education;
  • Cowan, Ross, Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69;
  • Cowell, F. R., Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Creel, Richard, Religion and Doubt: Toward a Faith of Your Own;
  • Cross, Robin, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare from Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts;
  • CSO: The Resource for Security Executives:
  • Cummins, Joseph, History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World;
  • D'Amato, Raffaele, Imperial Roman Naval Forces 31 BC-AD 500;
  • Dallek, Robert, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963;
  • Daly, Dennis, Sophocles' Ajax;
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen, Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome;
  • Darwish, Nonie, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror;
  • Davis Hanson, Victor, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene;
  • de Blij, Harm, Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism;
  • Defense Systems: Information Technology and Net-Centric Warfare;
  • Defense Systems: Strategic Intelligence for Info Centric Operations;
  • Defense Tech Briefs: Engineering Solutions for Military and Aerospace;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea;
  • Devries, Kelly, et. al., Battles of the Ancient World 1285 BC - AD 451 : From Kadesh to Catalaunian Field;
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations;
  • Digital Communities: Building Twenty-First Century Communities;
  • Doctorow, E.L., Homer & Langley;
  • Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational;
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The House of the Dead (Google Books, Sony e-Reader);
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The Idiot;
  • Douglass, Elisha P., Rebels and Democrats: The Struggle for Equal Political Rights and Majority Role During the American Revolution;
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear;
  • Dr. Dobb's Journal: The World of Software Development;
  • Drug Discovery News: Discovery/Development/Diagnostics/Delivery;
  • DT: Defense Technology International;
  • Dunbar, Richard, Alcatraz;
  • Education Channel Partner: News, Trends, and Analysis for K-20 Sales Professionals;
  • Edwards, Aton, Preparedness Now!;
  • EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, the No. 1 Videogame Magazine;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why;
  • Electronic Engineering Times: The Industry Newsweekly for the Creators of Technology;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency: George Washington;
  • Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Emerson, Steven, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us;
  • Erlewine, Robert, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion);
  • ESD: Embedded Systems Design;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician;
  • eWeek: The Enterprise Newsweekly;
  • Federal Computer Week: Powering the Business of Government;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Civilization: The West and the Rest;
  • Ferguson, Niall, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000;
  • Ferguson, Niall, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Decline of the West;
  • Feuerbach, Ludwig, The Essence of Christianity (Sony eReader);
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Principate 27 BC-AD 117;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army of the Punic Wars 264-146 BC;
  • Fields, Nic, The Roman Army: the Civil Wars 88-31 BC;
  • Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire;
  • Fisk, Robert, The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East;
  • Forstchen, William R., One Second After;
  • Fox, Robin Lane, The Classical World: An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian;
  • Frazer, James George, The Golden Bough (Volume 3): A Study in Magic and Religion (Sony eReader);
  • Freeh, Louis J., My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Freeman, Charles, The Greek Achievement: The Foundations of the Western World;
  • Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century Further Updated and Expanded/Release 3.0;
  • Friedman, Thomas L., The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization;
  • Frontinus: Stratagems. Aqueducts of Rome. (Loeb Classical Library No. 174);
  • Fuller Focus: Fuller Theological Seminary;
  • Fuller, Graham E., A World Without Islam;
  • Gaubatz, P. David and Paul Sperry, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America;
  • Ghattas, Kim, The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power;
  • Gibson, William, Neuromancer;
  • Gilmour, Michael J., Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music;
  • Global Services: Strategies for Sourcing People, Processes, and Technologies;
  • Glucklich, Ariel, Dying for Heaven: Holy Pleasure and Suicide Bombers-Why the Best Qualities of Religion Are Also It's Most Dangerous;
  • Goldberg, Jonah, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning;
  • Goldin, Shmuel, Unlocking the Torah Text Vayikra (Leviticus);
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus;
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian, How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower;
  • Goodman, Lenn E., Creation and Evolution;
  • Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln;
  • Gopp, Amy, et.al., Split Ticket: Independent Faith in a Time of Partisan Politics (WTF: Where's the Faith?);
  • Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq;
  • Government Health IT: The Magazine of Public/private Health Care Convergence;
  • Government Technology's Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Government Technology: Solutions for State and Local Government in the Information Age;
  • Grant , Michael, The Climax of Rome: The Final Achievements of the Ancient World, AD 161 - 337;
  • Grant, Michael, The Classical Greeks;
  • Grumberg, Orna, and Helmut Veith, 25 Years of Model Checking: History, Achievements, Perspectives;
  • Halberstam, David, War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals;
  • Hammer, Reuven, Entering Torah Prefaces to the Weekly Torah Portion;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, How The Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security (Encounter Broadsides);
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The End of Sparta: A Novel;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day, How Three Great Liberators Vanquished Tyranny;
  • Hanson, Victor Davis, Wars of the Ancient Greeks;
  • Harnack, Adolf Von, History of Dogma, Volume 3 (Sony Reader);
  • Harris, Alex, Reputation At Risk: Reputation Report;
  • Harris, Sam, Letter to a Christian Nation;
  • Harris, Sam, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason;
  • Hayek, F. A., The Road to Serfdom;
  • Heilbroner, Robert L., and Lester Thurow, Economics Explained: Everything You Need to Know About How the Economy Works and Where It's Going;
  • Hempel, Sandra, The Strange Case of The Broad Street Pump: John Snow and the Mystery of Cholera;
  • Hinnells, John R., A Handbook of Ancient Religions;
  • Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything;
  • Hogg, Ian V., The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: The Development of Weaponry from Prehistory to 21st Century Warfare;
  • Hugo, Victor, The Hunchback of Notre Dame;
  • Humphrey, Caroline & Vitebsky, Piers, Sacred Architecture;
  • Huntington, Samuel P., The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order;
  • Info World: Information Technology News, Computer Networking & Security;
  • Information Week: Business Innovation Powered by Technology:
  • Infostor: The Leading Source for Enterprise Storage Professionals;
  • Infrastructure Insite: Bringing IT Together;
  • Insurance Technology: Business Innovation Powered by Technology;
  • Integrated Solutions: For Enterprise Content Management;
  • Intel Premier IT: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Irwin, Robert, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents;
  • Jeffrey, Grant R., The Global-Warming Deception: How a Secret Elite Plans to Bankrupt America and Steal Your Freedom;
  • Jewkes, Yvonne, and Majid Yar, Handbook of Internet Crime;
  • Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire;
  • Journal, The: Transforming Education Through Technology;
  • Judd, Denis, The Lion and the Tiger: The Rise and Fall of the British Raj, 1600-1947;
  • Kagan, Donald, The Peloponnesian War;
  • Kansas, Dave, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It: What You Need to Know About the Greatest Financial Crisis of Our Time--and How to Survive It;
  • Karsh, Efraim, Islamic Imperialism: A History;
  • Kasser, Rodolphe, The Gospel of Judas;
  • Katz, Solomon, The Decline of Rome and the Rise of Medieval Europe: (The Development of Western Civilization);
  • Keegan, John, Intelligence in War: The Value--and Limitations--of What the Military Can Learn About the Enemy;
  • Kenis, Leo, et. al., The Transformation of the Christian Churches in Western Europe 1945-2000 (Kadoc Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 6);
  • Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam;
  • Kiplinger's: Personal Finance;
  • Klein, Naomi, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism;
  • KM World: Content, Document, and Knowledge Management;
  • Koestler, Arthur, Darkness at Noon: A Novel;
  • Kostova, Elizabeth, The Historian;
  • Kuttner, Robert, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity;
  • Lake, Kirsopp, The Text of the New Testament, Sony Reader;
  • Laur, Timothy M., Encyclopedia of Modern US Military Weapons ;
  • Leffler, Melvyn P., and Jeffrey W. Legro, To Lead the World: American Strategy After the Bush Doctrine;
  • Lendon, J. E., Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity;
  • Lenin, V. I., Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism;
  • Lennon, John J., There is Absolutely No Reason to Pay Too Much for College!;
  • Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror;
  • Lewis, Bernard, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East;
  • Lifton, Robert J., Greg Mitchell, Hiroshima in America;
  • Limberis, Vasiliki M., Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs;
  • Lipsett, B. Diane, Desiring Conversion: Hermas, Thecla, Aseneth;
  • Livingston, Jessica, Founders At Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days;
  • Livy, Rome and the Mediterranean: Books XXXI-XLV of the History of Rome from its Foundation (Penguin Classics);
  • Louis J., Freeh, My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror;
  • Mackay, Christopher S., Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History;
  • Majno, Guido, The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World;
  • Marcus, Greil,Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes;
  • Marshall-Cornwall, James, Napoleon as Military Commander;
  • Maughm, W. Somerset, Of Human Bondage;
  • McCluskey, Neal P., Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education;
  • McCullough, David, 1776;
  • McCullough, David, John Adams;
  • McCullough, David, Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt;
  • McLynn, Frank, Marcus Aurelius: A Life;
  • McManus, John, Deadly Brotherhood, The: The American Combat Soldier in World War II ;
  • McMaster, H. R., Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam;
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 1: Origins and Destinies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 2: Persons and Groups (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • McNamara, Patrick, Science and the World's Religions Volume 3: Religions and Controversies (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution);
  • Meacham, Jon, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House;
  • Mearsheimer, John J., and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy;
  • Meier, Christian, Caesar: A Biography;
  • Menzies, Gaven, 1421: The Year China Discovered America;
  • Metaxas, Eric, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy;
  • Michael, Katina and M.G. Michael, Innovative Automatic Identification and Location-Based Services: From Barcodes to Chip Implants;
  • Migliore, Daniel L., Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology;
  • Military & Aerospace Electronics: The Magazine of Transformation in Electronic and Optical Technology;
  • Millard, Candice, Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The River of Doubt;
  • Mommsen, Theodor, The History of the Roman Republic, Sony Reader;
  • Muller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop: Volume III: Essays On Language And Literature;
  • Murray, Janet, H., Hamlet On the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace;
  • Murray, Williamson, War in the Air 1914-45;
  • Müller, F. Max, Chips From A German Workshop;
  • Nader, Ralph, Crashing the Party: Taking on the Corporate Government in an Age of Surrender;
  • Nagl, John A., Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam;
  • Napoleoni, Loretta, Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World;
  • Nature: The International Weekly Journal of Science;
  • Negus, Christopher, Fedora 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux;
  • Network Computing: For IT by IT:
  • Network World: The Leader in Network Knowledge;
  • Network-centric Security: Where Physical Security & IT Worlds Converge;
  • Newman, Paul B., Travel and Trade in the Middle Ages;
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence;
  • Nixon, Ed, The Nixons: A Family Portrait;
  • O'Brien, Johnny, Day of the Assassins: A Jack Christie Novel;
  • O'Donnell, James J., Augustine: A New Biography;
  • OH & S: Occupational Health & Safety
  • Okakura, Kakuzo, The Book of Tea;
  • Optimize: Business Strategy & Execution for CIOs;
  • Ostler, Nicholas, Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin;
  • Parry, Jay A., The Real George Washington (American Classic Series);
  • Paton, W.R., The Greek Anthology, Volume V, Loeb Classical Library, No. 86;
  • Pausanius, Guide to Greece 1: Central Greece;
  • Perrett, Bryan, Cassell Military Classics: Iron Fist: Classic Armoured Warfare;
  • Perrottet, Tony, The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Olympic Games;
  • Peters, Ralph, New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy;
  • Phillips, Kevin, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush;
  • Pick, Bernhard; Paralipomena; Remains of Gospels and Sayings of Christ (Sony Reader);
  • Pimlott, John, The Elite: The Special Forces of the World Volume 1;
  • Pitre, Brant, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper;
  • Plutarch's Lives, X: Agis and Cleomenes. Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. Philopoemen and Flamininus (Loeb Classical Library®);
  • Podhoretz, Norman, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism;
  • Posner, Gerald, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK;
  • Potter, Wendell, Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans;
  • Pouesi, Daniel, Akua;
  • Premier IT Magazine: Sharing Best Practices with the Information Technology Community;
  • Price, Monroe E. & Daniel Dayan, eds., Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China;
  • Profit: The Executive's Guide to Oracle Applications;
  • Public CIO: Technology Leadership in the Public Sector;
  • Putnam, Robert D., Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community;
  • Quintus of Smyrna, The Fall of Troy;
  • Rawles, James Wesley, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse;
  • Red Herring: The Business of Technology;
  • Redmond Channel Partner: Driving Success in the Microsoft Partner Community;
  • Redmond Magazine: The Independent Voice of the Microsoft IT Community;
  • Renan, Ernest, The life of Jesus (Sony eReader);
  • Richler, Mordecai (editor), Writers on World War II: An Anthology;
  • Roberts, Ian, The Energy Glut: Climate Change and the Politics of Fatness in an Overheating World;
  • Rocca, Samuel, The Army of Herod the Great;
  • Rodgers, Nigel, A Military History of Ancient Greece: An Authoritative Account of the Politics, Armies and Wars During the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, shown in over 200 color photographs, diagrams, maps and plans;
  • Rodoreda, Merce, Death in Spring: A Novel;
  • Romerstein, Herbert and Breindel, Eric,The Venona Secrets, Exposing Soviet Espionage and America's Traitors;
  • Ross, Dennis, Statecraft: And How to Restore America's Standing in the World;
  • Roth, Jonathan P., Roman Warfare (Cambridge Introduction to Roman Civilization);
  • SC Magazine: For IT Security Professionals;
  • Scahill, Jeremy, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army [Revised and Updated];
  • Schama, Simon, A History of Britain, At the Edge of the World 3500 B.C. - 1603 A.D.;
  • Scheuer, Michael, Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War On Terror;
  • Scheuer, Michael, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq;
  • Scheuer, Michael, Osama Bin Laden;
  • Scheuer, Michael, Through Our Enemies Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America;
  • Scholastic Instructor
  • Scholastic Parent & Child: The Joy of Family Living and Learning;
  • Schopenhauer, Arthur, The World As Will And Idea (Sony eReader);
  • Schug-Wille, Art of the Byzantine World;
  • Schulze, Hagen, Germany: A New History;
  • Schweizer, Peter, Architects of Ruin: How Big Government Liberals Wrecked the Global Economy---and How They Will Do It Again If No One Stops Them;
  • Scott, Sir Walter, Ivanhoe;
  • Seagren, Eric, Secure Your Network for Free: Using Nmap, Wireshark, Snort, Nessus, and MRTG;
  • Security Technology & Design: The Security Executive's Resource for Systems Integration and Convergence;
  • Seibel, Peter, Coders at Work;
  • Sekunda N., & S. Northwood, Early Roman Armies;
  • Seneca: Naturales Quaestiones, Books II (Loeb Classical Library No. 450);
  • Sewall, Sarah, The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual;
  • Sheppard, Ruth, Alexander the Great at War: His Army - His Battles - His Enemies;
  • Shinder, Jason, ed., The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later;
  • Sidebottom, Harry, Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction;
  • Sides, Hampton, Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West;
  • Simkins, Michael, The Roman Army from Caesar to Trajan;
  • Sinchak, Steve, Hacking Windows Vista;
  • Smith, RJ, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown;
  • Software Development Times: The Industry Newspaper for Software Development Managers;
  • Software Test Performance;
  • Solomon, Norman, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death;
  • Song, Lolan, Innovation Together: Microsoft Research Asia Academic Research Collaboration;
  • Sophocles, The Three Theban Plays, tr. Robert Fagles;
  • Sound & Vision: The Consumer Electronics Authority;
  • Southern, Pat, The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History;
  • Sri, Edward, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy;
  • Sri, Edward, Men, Women and the Mystery of Love: Practical Insights from John Paul II's Love and Responsibility;
  • Stair, John Bettridge, Old Samoa; Or, Flotsam and Jetsam From the Pacific Ocean;
  • Starr, Chester G., The Roman Empire, 27 B.C.-A.D. 476: A Study in Survival;
  • Starr, John Bryan, Understanding China: A Guide to China's Economy, History, and Political Culture;
  • Stauffer, John, Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln;
  • Steyn, Mark, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Strassler, Robert B., The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories;
  • Strassler, Robert B., The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War;
  • Strassler, Robert B., The Landmark Xenophon's Hellenika;
  • Strategy + Business;
  • Streete, Gail, Redeemed Bodies: Women Martyrs in Early Christianity;
  • Sullivan, James, The Hardest Working Man: How James Brown Saved the Soul of America;
  • Sumner, Graham, Roman Military Clothing (1) 100 BC-AD 200;
  • Sumner, Graham, Roman Military Clothing (2) AD 200-400;
  • Suskind, Ron, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11:
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