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Airline security rules



Friday, August 11, 2006; Posted: 11:08 a.m. EDT (15:08 GMT)


(CNN) -- Here are airline restrictions put in place since the discovery of an alleged terror plot aimed at airliners flying between Great Britain and the United States. This information comes from each country's domestic security and aviation agencies:



# Qantas said it will comply with baggage restrictions on flights to the United Kingdom and the United States.


# Sydney: Secondary screening, no liquids or gels and shoes are screened on all U.S.-bound flights.


# Melbourne: Prohibition of carry-on luggage applies to flights departing the U.K. and is not in effect for flights departing Australia. Passengers departing Melbourne for the U.S. are allowed to carry-on luggage but no liquids or gels are permitted to be taken onboard. Footwear of all international outbound passengers will be screened.


# Brisbane: Additional screening of passengers and luggage and ban on carrying bottles, gels, shampoos, drinks and other liquids aboard U.S.-bound flights. Footwear will also undergo a secondary security screening process. Only passports, travel documents, pocket-sized wallets and prescription medicines will be permitted, with special arrangements in place for the elderly and infirm and for parents traveling with infants and small children.




# Passengers flying to the U.S. will not be allowed to carry fluids (including drinks, shampoo, sunscreen, cosmetic liquid lotion, toothpaste, gel, etc.).


# Such items can be in checked-in baggage.


# Items allowed to be carried onto plane are dairy products, breast milk, fruit juice, drugs prescribed to passengers and necessary non-prescription drugs like insulin.


Great Britain


# All cabin baggage must be processed as hold baggage and carried in the hold of passenger aircraft departing British airports.


The only items that may be taken through airport security search points and into the cabin, in a single -- ideally transparent -- plastic bag are:


# Pocket-size wallets and pocket-size purses plus contents -- for example money, credit cards, identity cards, etc. Handbags are not allowed.


# Travel documents essential for the journey (passports and travel tickets).


# Prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight, like diabetic kits, except in liquid form unless verified as authentic.


# Spectacles and sunglasses, without cases


# Contact lens holders, without bottles of solution


# For those traveling with an infant: baby food; milk (the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the accompanying passenger); and sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight (napkins, wipes, creams and disposal bags).


# Female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (tampons, pads, towels and wipes).


# Tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs.


# Keys (but not electronic key fobs).


Hong Kong


# U.S.-bound passengers are not allowed to carry liquid or gels in carry-on bags, except for baby food, prescription medicines and other essential medical supplies.


# Prohibited items should be packed in checked-in luggage.


# U.K.-bound passengers are not allowed to carry bags onto planes and U.K. airport security restrictions apply.




# Airport security has already been beefed up in the past few weeks ahead of Independence Day.


# U.S.- and U.K.-bound flights are following restrictions on carry-on luggage set by U.S. and U.K. authorities.




# Increased police patrols and security checks in all airports around the country


# Carry-on bags are being checked.




# Based on U.S. government requests, all passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Japan have to go through X-ray security gate without shoes.


# Liquid and gel are banned for carry-on bags but can be carried in suitcases.


# Narita Airport is specific about things not to bring on flights, including drinks, shampoo, skin cream, toothpaste, hair gels.


# Baby milk and medicine are allowed.


# Passengers for flights bound for the United Kingdon are going through ordinary security checks, as well as those on flights bound for Asia, Europe and other destinations.


New Zealand


# New restrictions apply to U.S.- and U.K.-bound flights -- passengers cannot carry liquids and gels onto aircraft, including beverages (including duty-free purchases), shampoos, suntan lotions, creams, toothpastes, hair gels and other items of a similar consistency.


# Excluded from the measures are baby formula or juice if a baby or small child is traveling, prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket and insulin and other non-prescription medicines.


# All passenger footwear will also be screened.




# Liquids and gels are prohibited on all U.S.-bound flights.


# Medicines and infant formula are allowed after inspection by a medical team.


# All passengers at the Manila airport are frisked at the final security check before boarding.




# Police and security agencies are in communication with their foreign counterparts.


# All check-in and carry-on luggage are X-rayed.


# Screening passengers with walk-through metal detectors and hand-held metal detectors.


# Body searches are carried out where necessary.


# Increased security patrols in and around the airport.


South Korea


# In Seoul and Busan airports, at the request of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, all shoes to be X-rayed before passengers pass through metal detectors.


# Liquid, hair gel, drinks, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, perfume are banned from carry-on bags. This measure does not apply to United Kingdom passengers.




# U.S.- and U.K.-bound flights are following restrictions on carry-on luggage set by U.S. and U.K. authorities.


United States


# Travelers boarding commercial flights at a U.S. airport will not be allowed to carry "any liquids, including beverages, hair gels, and lotions" onto airliners.


# Passengers on flights from Great Britain are prohibited from carrying electronics on board. There are no such restrictions on people traveling on domestic flights or from the U.S. to Great Britain.


# Beverages purchased beyond security checkpoints must be consumed before boarding -- they will not be permitted aboard the aircraft.


# TSA screeners will recheck every bag at boarding gates for banned items, preventing passengers from carrying items purchased in boarding areas.


# Gate-side inspections are taking place for all passengers on flights to Great Britain. On other flights, the TSA is conducting random gate-side inspections.


# Federal security directors -- the top TSA officials at airports -- have discretion on how to implement the new policy. They can also use any resource available to conduct the inspections, meaning they can use their own screeners, state and local law enforcement personnel or airline personnel.




U.S. travelers adjusting to tighter rules



Friday, August 11, 2006; Posted: 11:54 a.m. EDT (15:54 GMT)


LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- After a day of long lines and confusion, travelers arriving at U.S. airports Friday were better prepared for new rules, tighter security and bans on liquids of all types.


Rather than filling trash cans at security checkpoints with now-banned bottles of makeup, perfume and suntan lotion, travelers were packing those items in their checked luggage instead. (Watch how the new rules rattle some passengers -- 1:50)


That helped shrink security check lines for domestic flights to lengths closer to normal Friday morning at Miami International Airport, spokesman Greg Chin said. Operations at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport were back to normal, with security line waits between 30 and 60 minutes, said Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lara Uselding.


"Things are running very well for a Friday" at O'Hare, said United Airlines spokeswoman Robin Urbanski.


The new rules were hastily added early Thursday after British authorities arrested 24 people in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes by using explosives disguised as common liquids. It wasn't clear how long they would remain in effect, though Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, said the situation "eliminates the days of carry-on baggage." (Watch how the U.S. responded to the suspected plot -- 2:02)


Security was tightest on flights to and from the United Kingdom, with more items banned and additional luggage checks for passengers. Some long lines formed ahead of Miami's early international departures Friday, but they quickly cleared out, Chin said.


Kingsley Veal, 35, a geologist from England, said his Continental flight from London's Heathrow airport to San Francisco was "long and boring" because, under British flight restrictions, he couldn't bring any books or music on board. But he thought the no-carry-on policy should always be in effect.


"If no one's allowed anything, then you'd know, right?" Veal said.


Incoming flights from London were delayed about 50 minutes at O'Hare, Urbanski said.


But she said people also didn't appear to be ditching their upcoming travel plans. "We are not seeing any change in bookings ... nothing out of ordinary," she said.


At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, about 3,700 of an estimated 51,000 travelers missed their flights because of lines and delays on Thursday, when 164 flights were delayed, said airport spokesman Bob Parker.


Traffic was moving more smoothly at New York's major airports on Friday, where the morning flight delays were generally no more than 15 minutes, said Tiffany Townsend, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


From London to Los Angeles, travelers on Thursday had found themselves unpacking carry-on bags on the floor in the terminals. Some tried to squeeze makeup, sunscreen and other toiletries into their checked baggage, where liquids were permissible. Others filled up the bins at security checkpoints, abandoning everything from nail polish to a bottle of tequila.


"I literally lost about $50 or $60 worth of things we were told to throw out," said Terry Asbury, who flew into Cincinnati from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and found herself dumping all her cosmetics.


At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Kristin Reinke, of Champlin, Minnesota, complained to her husband, Mike Reinke, "I just threw out $34 worth of hand lotion."


He was sympathetic, but accepted the Transportation Security Administration's reasons for the ban.


"What are you going to do?" he said. "I guess you have to be safe."


Amanda Volz, a TSA screener in Minneapolis, said she hoped more travelers would take that attitude Friday.


"There's some moaning and groaning, and a few people who get angry, but once you explain it to them, they are more lenient about giving it up," Volz said. "You just try to make them understand that it's for their safety."


The ban on liquids and gels covered such things as shampoo, toothpaste, contact lens solution, perfume and water bottles. The only exceptions were for baby formula and medications, which had to be presented for inspection at security checkpoints. Liquids are allowed in checked bags because those suitcases are screened for explosives and are stowed in the cargo hold beyond passengers' reach.


Other security measures were also ramped up at airports. Governors in Massachusetts, California and New York sent National Guard troops to major airports in their states. Search dogs and officers carrying machine guns still patrolled the Miami airport Friday.


At Boston's Logan Airport, weary National Guardsmen were one of the few signs anything was different Friday morning.


"I was expecting to see the National Guard with M-16s everywhere," said Doug Way, a chemical engineering professor from Boulder, Colorado, who arrived two hours early at Logan for his flight to Denver expecting the worst. Instead, he found lines about normal and moving along.








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Thwarting the Airline Plot: Inside the Investigation

Exclusive: U.S. picked up the suspects' chatter and shared it with British authorities; new federal alert warns that peroxide-based explosives could also be employed in future attacks in the U.S.



Posted Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006

Wednesday night was a long and troubling one for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. A bubbling plot by British citizens to blow up airplanes had come to a boil in the past three days, and as British authorities arrested dozens of suspects around London, it was Chertoff's job to coordinate the U.S. defenses. Scary intelligence reports pop up all the time, but this particular terror operation got close enough to being carried out that it rattled even the normally sedate Chertoff. "Very seldom do things get to me," he told Rep. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in a phone call late Wednesday night. "This one has really gotten to me."


Chertoff had good reason to be worried. Senior U.S officials have confirmed to TIME details of the plot that led the secretary to ratchet up the color-coded security alert for British-U.S. flights to an unprecedented red for "Severe." A total of 24 individuals were arrested in Britain overnight and, says one senior U.S. official who was briefed on the plot, five still remain at large. Their plan was to smuggle the peroxide-based liquid explosive TATP and detonators onto nine different planes from four carriers — British Airways, Continental, United and American — that fly direct routes between the U.K and the U.S. and blow them up mid-air. Intelligence officials estimate that about 2,700 people would have perished, according to the official.


Britain's MI-5 intelligence service and Scotland Yard had been tracking the plot for several months, but only in the past two weeks had the plotters' planning begun to crystallize, senior U.S. officials tell TIME. In the two or three days before the arrests, the cell was going operational, and authorities were pressed into action. MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group's communications. Most of the suspects are second or third generation British citizens of Pakistani descent whose families hailed from war-torn Kashmir. U.S. officials believe the 29 members were divided into multiple cells and planned to break into small groups to board the nine planes.


During the past few months the plotters' attack plans had changed, > said Deputy Secretary for Homeland Security Michael Jackson. "There were different data sets about their interests over time that evolved," he said. It was only in recent days, said Jackson, that the plans began to focus on British-U.S. flights. The plot was "very near execution" but not imminent, Jackson said. "We didn't pull people off of airplanes."


So as not to derail the British round-up, Chertoff had to wait until the early hours of Thursday morning after all the London arrests were made before notifying U.S. airports of the threat, say senior DHS officals. When it became clear the arrests would be wrapped up around 1 a.m Washington time, Chertoff got on a conference call with his Homeland Security Advisory Committee to approve changing the threat level. Then calls when out to the airlines, airline security companies and labor unions affected by the changes, as well as to members of Congress.


Though the plot has all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation, U.S. officials cautioned that there isn't yet evidence of a direct link between the plotters and the organization's top leaders. "We're not convinced this particular operation is connected to the al Qaeda chain of command," Charles Allen, Chief of Intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters on Thursday afternoon. As for whether the attack was being timed for the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, Allen said he thought the attack would simply be launched when it was ready. "I am a long standing believer that terrorist plotters or planners execute when they have all of the plot together," said Allen. "We have no evidence this was timed to any particular holiday or special event."


The plot also appears to be a return to older terrorist tactics of trying to blow up an airplane in mid air, rather than turn the jet into a missile as the Sept. 11 attackers did. Allen stressed that the plans seemed designed to kill passengers, not crash into a city on the ground. "We have no evidence there was targeting of cities," said Allen, "This was an effort to destroy multiple aircraft in flight — not against any territory of the United States."


With five members of the cell believed to be at large, the threat still looms and intelligence officials are still working to unravel the full extent of the plot. "I don't believe we know all the dimensions of this plot. Time has to pass to determine that a network was disrupted," said Allen. Worries another U.S. official: "Plan A has been stopped, but the concern: Is there a Plan B?"


The possibility that liquid explosives could be smuggled onto a plane is not a surprise to counterterrorism experts, and the tightening of U.S. airport security could only be temporary as security officials learn more about the extent of the plot and how to defend against such an attack. The current measures — stripping passengers of anything liquid in their carry-on luggage — were in reaction to these particular arrests, and not to the realization of a new, unforeseen threat. "We're primarily concerned about this particular plot," said Allen, implying that the new security measures are not permanent.


FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials quickly alerted law enforcement agencies around the country to the peroxide-based liquid explosives the London plotters planned to bring aboard the American-bound planes. An alert the FBI and DHS sent out Thursday to state and local law enforcement agencies — which is classified "For Official Use Only" and was obtained by TIME — warns them that the peroxide-based explosives could also be employed in future attacks here.


The Joint Homeland Special Assessment, which the FBI and DHS's Office of Intelligence Analysis drafted and sent out, is titled "Possible Terrorist Use of Liquid Explosive Materials in Future Attacks." The document states: "The FBI and DHS have no information of plotting within the United States, but such a possibility cannot be discounted." The FBI-DHS report notes that Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri insisted in a July 27 videotape that Al Qaeda was still intent on conducting another "spectacular" attack in the United States. Zawahiri, the report notes, used photos of the World Trade Center burning on Sept. 11 and 9/11 leader Muhammad Atta "in the background of this video."


The FBI-DHS report next warns law enforcement agencies about the two peroxide-based liquid explosive that could be used in a future attack against the U.S.--triacetone triperoxide (TATP) or hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD). The report describes how a terrorist would assemble bombs with these chemicals. Peroxide-based liquid explosives "are sensitive to heat, shock, and friction, can be initiated simply with fire or electrical charge, and can also be used to produce improvised detonators," the report states. "For example, TATP or HMTD may be placed in a tube or syringe body in contact with a bare bulb filament, such as that obtained from inside a Christmas tree light bulb, to produce an explosion." The report doesn't mention anything about a terrorist assembling such a bomb on a plane, but it does warn that manufacturing such a device can be dangerous for the bombmaker. "Because of the instability of these substances," the report notes, "spontaneous detonation can occur during the production process."


Over the past ten years peroxide-based explosives have popped up in a number of terror operations, according to FBI-DHS report. "Terrorist have used peroxide-based explosive both as a main charge (weighing in excess of 20 pounds) and improvised detonators," the joint assessment states. "TATP was popularized as a main charge explosive in suicide bombs used by Palestinian terrorist groups."


Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted in 1996 for plotting to simultaneously bomb up to a dozen U.S. commercial airliners flying in the Far East, had manufactured TATP detonators. Arrested Dec. 14, 1999, for planning to attack Los Angeles International Airport in the millennium bombing plot, Ahmed Ressam had HMTD and RDX (cyclotrimethylene trinitrame) in a vial in the trunk of his car. He also had over 100 pounds of urea sulfate white powder and eight ounces of nitroglycerine mixture.


More recently, British shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to detonate his device with TATP as the initiator while aboard a Dec. 22, 2001, American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami. A mixture of TATP and ammonium nitrate was used in suicide bombs in Casablanca, Moroco on May 16, 2003. And the FBI-DHS report notes that four of the suicide bombers in the London subway attack July 7, 2005 "used peroxide-based explosive devices (IEDs), concealed inside rucksacks." With such a rich history, liquid explosives are sure to challenge America's counter-terror defenses for many years to come.





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New airline restrictions may be here to stay


Passengers, airlines cope with latest terror threat


(CNN) -- Air travelers might have to get used to stuffing lipstick and lotion into their luggage rather than carry it with them in the wake of a plot to destroy airliners with liquid-based explosives, security experts say.


The Transportation Security Administration issued new rules banning nearly all liquids, including beverages, lotions and hair gels, from being taken on planes after British authorities arrested at least 24 suspects in the plot.


British airlines went even further, banning all carry-on luggage except for keys, wallets, glasses and other essentials. Medications and baby formula are being allowed. (Full story)


Jamie Bowden, a former terminal manager at London's Heathrow Airport, said the new rules may be here to stay.


"I think certainly here in the U.K. and certainly in the States as well, people are now getting used to kind of a new way of travel," Bowden told CNN on Friday. "So that I think, although the airlines certainly don't want these kinds of restrictions, if they believe through government intelligence that it's much safer to fly like this, that may be a new way that people are going to have to get used to flying."


The TSA hasn't indicated how long the restrictions would remain in place but said on its Web site that "these measures will be constantly evaluated and updated as circumstances warrant."


U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, said the plot "eliminates the days of carry-on baggage," according to The Associated Press.


Nancy McKinley of the International Airline Passengers Association said the new rules are going to be a "huge adjustment," especially for business travelers.


"The challenge is going to be with the airlines on all the luggage [that] is checked and can it actually get to the destination in a reasonable amount of time once you get there -- how long do you have to wait for it and all of that," she said. (Watch how airports are getting bags through screening and to planes -- 1:47)


McKinley said some airports are urging people to arrive three hours before their flights.


"That's going to be difficult for business travelers, too. That takes a big hunk out of your day," she said.


A senior congressional source said authorities believe the plotters planned to mix a British sports drink with a gel-like substance to make an explosive that they possibly could trigger with an MP3 player or cell phone.


The components of the bomb would appear harmless until they were combined aboard the planes. (Full story)


The TSA has not banned U.S. passengers from carrying laptops, cell phones, MP3 players or BlackBerrys onto planes.


McKinley said it would "just be a nightmare" for business travelers if they did.


"If they try to take laptops and cell phones and put them into checked baggage, that creates a whole new problem," she said. "Because in the past, those type of things (were) not covered. If your luggage is lost and you have something like that in your luggage, it's not covered."


McKinley said she was confident that the restrictions eventually would be eased, once screening technology catches up with the threat.


"I mean there are studies going on right now to get more equipment, more updated equipment that can be changed out so that it doesn't become archaic, and I think that's where the focus has got to go," she said.


After the September 11, 2001, attacks, authorities banned passengers from carrying sharp objects such as knives, scissors and nail clippers. Passengers also were required to have their shoes examined after Briton Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane with a bomb hidden in his shoe.


In December, the TSA decided to allow passengers to carry scissors and small tools on board. (Full story)


Rafi Ron, former head of security at Tel Aviv, Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, said screeners should focus more on finding suspicious people than on hunting for potential terrorist tools.


"It is extremely difficult for people to disguise the fact they are under tremendous amount of stress, that they are going to kill themselves and a lot of people around them in a short amount of time, and all the other factors that effect their behavior," Ron said.




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DOT Anti-Fraud Computer Stolen



A federal agent left a notebook computer in a government vehicle in the Miami area, and unsurprisingly it was promptly stolen.


A Sun-Sentinel story said the stolen machine was part of the DOT's anti-fraud efforts. The unnamed agent stopped for a bite to eat at a Doral restaurant on July 27th, and returned to find the laptop containing the kind of information the Department of Transportation wanted to keep out of the hands of thieves had been swiped.

( http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/sou...-home-headlines )


The Miami Herald reported the computer contained all kinds of choice data, like names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses for a number of people. From the report:


The agent compiled the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses of 42,792 Florida residents who hold a pilot's license; 80,667 people in the Miami-Dade County area who hold commercial driver's licenses; and 9,496 people who took personal driver's license tests or obtained their license from an examining facility in Largo.

( http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/15247707.htm )


A spokesperson for the Inspector General's office declined to comment on a Herald question about the presence of "sensitive law enforcement files, such as reports containing the identifies of agents, witnesses or confidential informants."


Although the machine is password-protected, the data contained on it is not encrypted. It would have been encrypted, but the agent apparently had not connected the machine to the DOT network to receive an upgrade that would have protected the data.


A couple of weeks before the theft, the data had been encrypted. It was decrypted to allow the upgrade to take place, as it had for a number of agency machines.


The Herald also noted some oddities about the theft. Although it happened on July 27th, it was not reported immediately; he told a supervisor about the disappearance the next day. Five days after the theft, Miami-Dade County police were notified, and five days after that, the agency alerted Washington about it.


"The agent and his supervisor later discovered a lock on the SUV had been tampered with, using a sophisticated technique that isn't commonly employed," the report said. Whoever took the computer and a charger from a case left behind a second computer in the vehicle.


A $10,000 reward has been posted by the DOT for the return of the machine.





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Don't you dare forget





or Gizmodo



Don't ever fall behind, Keep up with Web 2.0!!


NXT Announces New iPod Dock Equipped Systems


NXT has announced today the debut of two new ultra-thin hi-fi systems, both sporting an iPod dock. These two new products (CD-X10i and MC-DX22i) utilize the profound SurfaceSound technology that will deliver full sound out of a pair of thin speakers.



















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Technology is no panacea in hijackings



Liquid explosives threaten air travel



Researchers chase goal of nonhijackable plane





Researchers chase goal of nonhijackable plane



Can technology create a nonhijackable plane?


By 2008, European researchers aim to bring that vision closer to reality through an ambitious security program to combat on-board threats in an industry left reeling this week by a security scare that raised the specter of Sept. 11, 2001.


On Thursday, British police said they had foiled a plot to blow up aircraft mid-flight between Britain and the United States in what Washington said might have been an attempted al Qaeda operation.


Since Sept. 11, 2001, the idea that civilian planes can be used as weapons has taken hold globally, spawning increased security measures in airports around the world.


The researchers aim to create a "last barrier to attacks" on planes in flight.


Among the nonhijackable plane's features: computer systems designed to spot suspicious passenger behavior, and a collision-avoidance system that will correct the plane's trajectory to prevent it from being steered into a building or mountain.


The researchers are also investigating the possibility--although they say it is probably some 15 years away--of developing an on-board computer that could guide the plane automatically to the nearest airport, in the event of a hijack.


"You never reach zero level of threat, no risk," said program coordinator Daniel Gaultier of French technology group SAGEM Defense Securite, a unit of Safran. "But if you equip planes with on-board electronics, it will make them very, very difficult to hijack."


Smart plane

The 4-year, 35.8 million euro ($45.7 million) project, called SAFEE or Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment, was launched in February 2004. Among those taking part are aircraft maker Airbus, its parents EADS and BAE Systems, as well as Thales and Siemens AG. The European Commission is contributing 19.5 million euros ($25 million).


Omer Laviv of Athena GS3, an Israeli company taking part in the project, said the system might be commercially available around 2010 to 2012.


SAFEE goes beyond the limited on-board improvements made since September 11 -- like reinforced cockpit doors and the deployment of sky marshals.


Proposed enhancements include:

• A chip-based system to allocate matching tags to passengers and their luggage, ensuring both are on board and removing the need for stewards to count passengers manually.

• Cameras at check-in desks and at the entrance to the plane, in order to verify with biometric imaging that the person getting on board is the same as the one who checked in.

• An "electronic nose" to check passengers for traces of explosives at the final ground check before boarding.

• An Onboard Threat Detection System (OTDS) to process information from video and audio sensors throughout the cabin and detect any erratic passenger behavior.

• A Threat Assessment and Response Management System (TARMS) to assemble all information and propose an appropriate response to the pilot via a computer screen located at his side.

• A Data Protection System to secure all communications, including conversations between the cockpit and ground control.

• A secure cockpit door with a biometric system that recognizes authorized crew by their fingerprints, together with a camera to check they are not opening it under duress.

• An automatic collision-avoidance system to correct the plane's course if it strays from a permitted trajectory.


In a Sept. 11, 2001-style hijack scenario, for example, the TARMS system would detect that the plane was on course to plow into buildings and use biometric fingerprint sensors to check whether the pilot or an intruder was at the controls.


"If there is a terrorist in control or the pilot is not aware of this (false) trajectory, the TARMS decides to avoid the obstacle so there is an automatic control of the plane," Gaultier said.


The avoidance system would also kick in if the pilot, despite verifying his identity, persisted in the false course. Given its complexity, the SAFEE project raises legal and ethical issues that are themselves a key part of the research. They include whether people will find it acceptable to be minutely observed by sensors throughout their flight, recording everything from their conversations to their toilet visits.


With help from sources including security agencies and behavioral psychologists, researchers are building a database of potentially suspicious traits for computers to detect.


"It could be someone who's using their mobile phone when they shouldn't be, or trying to light up a cigarette. But it could also be something much more extreme, it could be a potential terrorist," said James Ferryman, a scientist at Britain's Reading University who is working on SAFEE.


The sensitivity of the system could be adjusted depending on factors like the general threat level, he said.


Program coordinator Gaultier conceded the system could generate false alarms, but said the crew and pilot would remain in ultimate control, deciding if the threat was real.


Who pays?

The improved passenger surveillance, researchers say, will be an important advantage on larger planes such as the Airbus A380, capable of carrying 550 people.


They believe passengers will be ready to accept the trade-off of less privacy for the sake of greater safety.


"We have to show it's not Big Brother watching you, it's Big Brother looking after you," Ferryman said.


Researchers say it is too early to judge the price of kitting out a plane with SAFEE, but they are working closely with a user group including airlines like Air France-KLM.


The issue is part of a wider debate within the industry, with airlines calling on governments to underwrite security costs.


"Suicide terrorism is not an issue for the airlines, it shouldn't be their responsibility," said Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International magazine. "It is an attack, actually, against the state and it's part of a national defense, and therefore we need to fund this accordingly."







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Teen battles state over cancer treatment



(Court TV) -- In Virginia, age 16 is old enough to drive a car, work a 40-hour week, stand trial in adult court, and marry.


Whether 16 is old enough to reject traditional cancer treatment is at the heart of a trial slated to begin next week on the Eastern Shore town of Accomac.


Starchild Abraham Cherrix, a 16-year-old suffering from Hodgkin's disease, has refused chemotherapy and radiation treatments ordered by his oncologist in favor of an herbal remedy prescribed by a Mexican clinic.


If Abraham, as he is known, were two years older, the decision would be his alone and no court could challenge his choice, no matter how medically unorthodox. But because he is a minor, social services authorities have intervened.


In the proceeding that begins in Accomack County Circuit Court on August 16, government lawyers will accuse his parents, who support Abraham's herbal treatment, of medical neglect for not ensuring their son receives chemotherapy and radiation. If they are successful, the judge is likely to give partial custody to the state and order Abraham into a hospital for treatment.


Although the right of states to compel medical treatment for gravely ill children over their parents' wishes is well established, Abraham's case is noteworthy because he has articulated strongly his own reasons for refusing conventional treatment.


"I should have the right to tell someone what I want to do with this body," he told USA Today last month. "I studied. I did research. I came to this conclusion that the chemotherapy was not the route I wanted to take."


Other cases often turn on a parent's religious beliefs, but the Cherrixes say that while they are devout Christians, their decision is based on Abraham's own negative experience with a first round of chemotherapy and his evaluation, seconded by his parents, of alternative treatments based on that experience.


"When Abraham mentioned that he didn't want to take radiation and that he wanted to try alternative treatments, I tested him and questioned him to make sure that was what he really wanted to do," Jay Cherrix said. "I researched it myself and saw that there were other options."


State authorities acknowledge the case is not an easy one and said they are concerned only with the teenager's health.


"One of the most difficult decisions of the Child Protective Services program requires balancing the rights of the parents with the health of the child," Anthony Conyers Jr., State Social Service commissioner, said in a statement about Abraham's case.


The trial comes as Abraham's health continues to deteriorate.


Although his lawyer says the lanky teen has gained weight and energy with the daily doses of herbs, including licorice, he acknowledged that tumors in Abraham's neck and chest are growing, albeit "infinitesimally."


Abraham was diagnosed with cancer a year ago after a doctor evaluating his complaints of exhaustion discovered growths in his neck. He began chemotherapy at a hospital in Norfolk, a two-hour drive from the Cherrixes' home on the island of Chincoteague.


The treatments left Abraham, who stands 6-foot-1, nauseous and so weak that his father had to carry him from the car to his bed.


"I watched Abraham go from 156 pounds to 122 pounds. I watched all of his hair fall out. I saw him cringing from pain in his jaw so bad that he couldn't eat. The heels of his feet hurt so much he couldn't walk. He had blisters in his mouth," said Jay Cherrix, who refers to his eldest son as "my little boy."


The chemotherapy initially seemed to work. His tumors shrank, and according to the Cherrixes, Abraham was cancer-free by the end of 2005. By February, however, the cancer was back.


Abraham's oncologist ordered a second, more intense round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Abraham balked.


"I think it would kill me the second time," he told the Associated Press.


Instead, he began searching for alternative treatments and decided on a sugar-free diet and a regiment of herbal supplements known as the Hoxsey Method. The treatment is controversial.


It is banned in the United States by the FDA, and a review by the National Cancer Institute several years ago of 400 patients who claimed they were cured by the method could not substantiate a single account.


Abraham and his parents, however, maintain they know people who have been helped by the treatment and were convinced by visits to a clinic in Tijuana.


"They were so overwhelmed with the kindness and professionalism of the staff and with the success stories of people they met there who had been cancer-free for 20, 30, 40 years. They felt they had found their place, their niche," said Sharon Smith, the family spokeswoman.


The Cherrixes asked Abraham's oncologist in Virginia to continue monitoring their son during the herb treatment, but the physician refused and instead alerted the Accomack County Department of Social Services.


After interviewing the Cherrixes and the doctor, authorities proceeded with charges of medical neglect, which, according to the Virginia statute, is "the failure by the caretaker to obtain and or follow through with a complete regimen of medical, mental or dental care for a condition which if untreated could result in illness or developmental delays."


In July, Abraham, his parents, the oncologist and seven other witnesses testified in a closed hearing in family court. The issue before the juvenile judge was whether the Cherrixes had neglected their son.


The couple did not fit the standard picture of mistreatment or disinterest. Rose Cherrix homeschools the five children, while her husband operates a kayaking business. They were at Abraham's side throughout his chemotherapy.


On July 21, however, the judge ruled that the Hoxsey Method alone constituted neglect. He gave social services joint custody of Abraham and ordered him to report to the hospital to begin chemotherapy within four days.


His parents immediately exercised the right of parties in family court to have their cases heard anew in a higher court. A county circuit court judge, Glen Tyler, stayed the lower court's order of chemotherapy until he could hear evidence.


In a trial expected to last two days, Tyler will hear from the oncologist, social services workers, a woman who claims the Hoxsey Method cured her ovarian cancer, and of course, Abraham.


In a previous hearing, the teenager recalled the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and his decision to pursue the herbal treatment. The judge can consider his opinion, but also disregard it because he is a minor. Story continues Story continues Advertisment Parco


According to Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, judges asked to compel medical treatment of a minor normally are guided by the standards accepted by the medical establishment.


"Courts decide based on what mainstream medicine says are the appropriate treatments. They are not interested in Mexican licorice-stick treatments," he said.


Courts also consider the rate of success of a treatment and do not order experimental or risky treatments.


The Cherrixes' defense plans to contest the efficacy of chemotherapy in Abraham's case, saying it is no guarantee of restoring his health. Stepanovich said he will call an oncologist to testify that Abraham's resistance to the first course of chemotherapy indicates additional courses may not help him.


Survival rates of those diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease are in excess of 80 percent, but the rates drop for those whose cancer returns after a first round of chemotherapy.


According to studies compiled by the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for those who undergo a second round of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant is between one-third and one-half, depending on the treatment facility.


"It would be different if he had a broken arm or a heart ailment that could be rectified by surgery. There's medical treatment that could fix that problem definitively. In this case, he's got cancer and there's no definite cure. Chemotherapy is a treatment. It's not a cure," Stepanovich said.


Caplan, the University of Pennsylvania bioethicist, said it seems likely the judge will order Abraham back to the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation, but said "the reality-check question" is whether a tall 16-year-old can be made to cooperate.


"Are they going to shackle him? There is a physical reality that has to be grappled with here," he said.


Jay Cherrix echoed that skepticism. He said that while his family would comply with the order of the court, he has trouble imagining a doctor violating his son's wishes.


"I personally don't think there is a Dr. Mengele in the United States who would pump this stuff into a 16-year-old who didn't want that. I personally don't think we've reached that point in our civilization," he said.






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Woman finds 'God's water' gurgling from tree



SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) -- Is it an artesian spring, a broken water pipe or an abandoned well?


Lucille Pope's red oak tree has gurgled water for about three months, and experts can't seem to get to the root of the problem.


Pope, 65, has sought answers from the Texas Forest Service, the Edwards Aquifer Authority and nurseries.


They have taken pictures and conducted studies, but none have arrived at a firm answer.


"I got a mystery tree," Pope said in Friday editions of the San Antonio-Express News.


"What kind of mystery do I have where water comes out of a tree?"


Her son, Lloyd, 47, discovered water leaking from the tree in April. He said it was cool, like it came from the tap.


The only damp spot around the tree trunk is where the water lands.


Mark Peterson, a regional community forester from the Texas Forest Service said he believes it could be a spring, but pointed out that would be rare with the drought conditions this summer.


"If it is a burst pipe their monthly bill would be enormous," Peterson said.


Lucille Pope has started to wonder if the water has special properties.


Her insurance agent dabbed drops of the water on a spider bite and the welt went away, she said.


"I just want to know if it is a healing tree or blessed water," she said. "That's God's water. Nobody knows but God."






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Cops pose as cabbies to tackle Indianapolis killing spree



INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) -- Police officers will be driving taxis as part of an effort to halt a wave of violence that has claimed 15 lives in 10 days -- including that of a cab driver.


The announcement Friday by Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson came on the day when two more men died.


A police officer found a man dead inside a car Friday afternoon just two blocks from the scene of a deadly shooting outside an under-21 club last week. Police did not immediately release details about the death, but called it an apparent homicide.


One of the victims of the August 5 nightclub shootings, Billy Isaac Jr., 18, died Friday from his wounds. Jack Berry, 16, who was also shot, died that day. A 19-year-old man was being held without bail in the shootings.


Mayor Bart Peterson has declared the crime spree an "extreme emergency" and called for an extra $54 million increase in public safety and criminal justice spending in 2007.


Cab drivers have been the targets of several robberies during the recent crime wave, the sheriff said. One cabbie was shot and killed on August 2 in what detectives believe was a robbery.


Anderson said officers, some uniformed and others in plain clothes, will patrol in cabs and also pick up customers.


"These good citizens that are driving these cabs, they are not going to be prey, easy prey for people who intend to do wrong," Anderson said.


Even before the rash of killings stunned the city of about 863,000, Indiana's capital already was on track for its bloodiest year since 1998, when 162 people died. So far this year, 95 people have been slain.


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Bloggers On The UK Terror Story




The aftermath of a number of arrests in the United Kingdom, and the revelation of a massive plot to destroy US-bound airliners with explosives, may be the point where New and Old Media begin to work in cooperation instead of competition.


Political theories abound on the Internet regarding the audacious terrorist plot uncovered in England, with Heathrow nearly the setting for the launch of the worst attack on civilians in five years. No matter what beliefs one subscribes to, there is probably a blog or three, from Malkin to Kos and in between, that hosts people who think the same way.


Those are out there for anyone with a few minutes to spare on Technorati or Sphere to find. We're going to look at something many probably missed (myself included) as the situation at Heathrow developed.


Dave Winer made the observation on his Scripting.com site that the first inklings of the news came not from a blow-dried talking head on one of the 700 or so cable channels, but from a notable tech figure and blogger, Doc Searls.


Our readers who followed coverage of Searls' Syndicate Conference earlier in 2006 may not know the breadth and depth of his technology acumen (long-time Linux Journal subscribers excepted). It's not surprising in retrospect that he was the one to first break the news by blogging it live while at Boston's Logan Airport as the story trickled in from across the ocean:


Something bad happened (they won't tell us), and now the TSA won't let you carry any liquids, gels, pastes or fluids of any kind (pens?) through security checkpoints. Gotta check your medicines, sunblock, water bottels, whatever. This directive went down this morning (it's 4:30am here at Logan in Boston) and has caused a huge backup at the ticket counters and the security checkpoints. I'm sure it's just as bad everywhere, though I haven't looked at any of the news sources yet. (I think I'm at the leading edge of the news, sort of, right here.)


I'm writing this now while standing in line, waiting for the checkpoints to open. Been here awhile. The line is getting longer and the checkpoints still aren't open (now almost 5am). My flight to LAX is at 6:45am and I'm near the front of the line; so I'm one of the lucky ones. I can see that, for most folks flying in the U.S. (and maybe elsewhere), it's going to be a long day today.


(To give some perspective on the long travel day, our Mike McDonald and Doug Caverly arrived from SES 2006 at the San Jose airport at about 5 am PDT that day. They made it to Cincinnati and a cab ride to Lexington almost 30 hours later.)


Winer commented on Searls's blogging and took it from there with his observations:


(B)logging is just beginning to come into its own. Yesterday we got the scoop on the news of the terrorist threat from a blogger, Doc Searls. He beat the mainstream reporters, who were (presumably) waiting for official word from the governments, because he was there, at Logan Airport, experiencing the event first-hand.


And as the day went on, bloggers posted their accounts of the human view of the events, the eye witnesses, while the pros were (importantly) reporting on the governments. See how the two complement each other? We need both views, and it would do us all good if the pros would stop predicting the demise of blogging, and get busy learning to use blogging in their reporting.


Blogging even helps spread some nuggets of information that might otherwise be lost in the onrushing torrent of news. Paul Kedrosky borrowed a phrase in calling the thwarted attacks a "tipping point" for air travel. Why fly when you can video-conference?


Later in his post, Kedrosky linked to a video demonstrating the effect of one scenario should it have taken place on an aircraft:


Relatedly, while this plot seems have centered on liquid nitroglycerin, there is ample reason to believe that would-be airborne suicide bombers's use of Semtex (a kind of explosive Silly Putty) would be even more difficult to detect -- and even more catastrophic. See video here of a mere 200g of Semtex detonating on a pressurized Boeing 747.


Safe travels, everyone.






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Future of business travel unsure?



A human tragedy of epic proportions was averted yesterday. I can barely fathom the outcomes if the police hadn't made their arrests, but now I think we have a small problem. Security restrictions are beginning to make air travel very inconvenient. From what I've heard on TV the no liquids no gels policy might be permanent. No key fobs? Don't know. But at this time in the U.K. (don't know about the U.S.) electronic devices are also banned on board. No cell phones, no laptops, no MP3 players. Checking my laptop and cell phone with my luggage? I think not. Sorry, the chances of it getting damaged or stolen are way, way too high. An underpaid baggage handler could make a mint stealing electronics and fencing them. The same baggage handlers are also not known for careful handling of said baggage. So what does this mean? Business travel where you leave your computer and phone at home? Use a borrowed machine at your destination and a disposable cell phone? You know these don't really seem like practical solutions to me. Sure, some enterprising person is going to do something smart. How about a basic, cheap laptop that has GoToMyPC already installed and you use that to connect to your machine at home. Big money for Citrix there. How about sales of the FAA approved locks for laptop bags? Good. Laptop bags and laptops with tracking devices so if your machine doesn't turn up on the baggage carousel you punch in a number and a wailing banshee goes off and the police are pinged.


But, you know all of these things aren't in place right now. Maybe the solution is really to say, yes you can bring it on, but it has to be locked and sealed on the plane for the duration. Long flights? There are these cool things called books.


What do you think?







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Questions raised about airport staffing




WASHINGTON - The ban on carrying liquids and gels onto airliners will continue indefinitely, raising questions about whether there are enough airport screeners to do the added work.



The restrictions are part of tighter airline security ordered by the Transportation Security Administration Thursday in the wake of a foiled terror plot. The alleged conspirators planned to blow up as many as 10 planes flying from Britain to the U.S. using liquid explosives — which the

TSA's security equipment can't detect in carry-on luggage.


Since Thursday, screeners have searched more carry-on luggage by hand. They also randomly checked passengers at airport gates to make sure that they hadn't bought toothpaste or drinks at airport shops after going through a security checkpoint.


The TSA, though, is limited by law to have 45,000 screeners. That's not enough to do the job right at the 450 commercial airports the agency protects, according to congressional Democrats.


Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said there are enough screeners.


"The experience in the last 24 hours has showed that TSA has managed to deal with its workload and its workflow quite effectively," Chertoff said on Friday, the day after the new security rules took effect.


But at airports in Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego, National Guard troops were helping to screen passengers a second time at departure gates and helped herd crowds through security checkpoints.


The ban on liquids and gels also forced the TSA to increase the number of screeners scheduled to work at airports.


"We have all hands on deck and we've brought all our resources to bear on the threat," TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said Saturday.


Screeners at San Diego International Airport were put on a mandatory six-day work week, said Cris Soulia, a screener at the airport and union representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents TSA screeners.


Soulia said passengers are checking more bags because of the ban on liquids and gels, which has doubled the workload for TSA employees who screen the checked bags for bombs.


"We're stretched kind of thin as it is," Soulia said. "We can't sustain it."


They may have to.


TSA chief Kip Hawley on Friday made it clear that the ban on liquids may well continue after the terror threat alert — now at orange — is reduced.


"As to the liquid ban, there is no timetable," Hawley told The Associated Press. "We're going to take as long as it takes for us to be satisfied with our total security system."


Soulia said the screeners couldn't have done the gate checks in San Diego without the National Guard's help. He said it was fortunate that security was tightened during a lull in the travel season.


"If this had happened a few weeks early during Fourth of July, or a few weeks later during Labor Day, I don't know how we could have pulled it off," he said.


Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has tried to get the cap of 45,000 screeners lifted.


On July 12, the Senate approved his amendment to lift the cap as part of the Homeland Security spending bill for 2007. The House kept the limit in its version of the bill, and the two versions must be reconciled.


"It's time to put safety first and remove this arbitrary limit," Lautenberg said.


The TSA will be refining its security procedures in the next few days, Hawley said.


The agency is updating its Web site as it clarifies which liquids and gels are banned and which aren't.


On Saturday, the TSA added mascara, but not lipstick, to the list of banned items. Gel shoe inserts are not allowed, but shoes with gel embedded in the heel are.


Also banned: Baby teethers with gel or liquid inside, children's toys with gel inside and gel candles.


A Newsweek poll released Saturday showed that almost half, 45 percent, definitely favor banning liquids and another fourth, 24 percent, probably will favor that step.


But the poll found that a majority, 54 percent, oppose banning carry-on baggage on commercial flights.








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Reputation monitoring 101 - Pronet Advertising



Over the last couple of years social media has really taken off and participation is growing at a super fast rate. At any given time there are millions of people writing blog posts or content to put on the web. The minute these people write something and post it, an audience is already there and waiting to read it. That is why reputation monitoring is so important. You need to be alerted when something is said about you or your company so you can respond and manage the situation. It's not just limited to companies either; individuals need to monitor their own reputation as well.


There are a number of tools available for monitoring your buzz. The more obvious ones being blog search engines that are used to find blog posts related to a specific search.


Some of the better blog search engines include:




Google Blog Search

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Blog Pulse


There are also conversation tracking tools that should be used to track comments left on blogs once something is posted. These include:






You should also be tracking message boards and forums where it's possible that people could be talking about you.


The things that you should be watching for might include:


your company name,

company url,

product names,

public facing people,

blogs or sites that follow your company,

competitor names, and

your industry as a whole.


Most of the tools I mentioned have RSS feeds available, so take advantage of these. The benefit of using RSS feeds is that you will be notified instantly when something happens or is updated. RSS feeds also save you a lot of time. It takes a lot longer to check each individual tool for updates than it does to check your feed reader.


It's important to track your buzz intensely. The last thing you want is for some nasty rumors to start about your company only to find out about it once it is too late. These are things you need to know about immediately so you can control the effect. You also need to know about good things that have been said so you can respond to those as well.


**All this information is fresh on my mind from a presentation I recently gave at SES. If you would like to view the slides from the presentation they are available at this location.


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Armstrong urges Landis to lay low




INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Lance Armstrong believes Floyd Landis has said too much in public in his attempt to disprove the positive drug test that cost him the Tour de France title.


"In this day and age, you're not going to get a fair shake in the media," said Armstrong, who rode his bike for charity Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


"And the more you get out there and talk about it, I have to talk about it. The best is just to let the process play out and get out of the media. ... I would have encouraged him just to lay low."


Landis, a Pennsylvania native who once competed on Armstrong's team, appeared on the Tonight Show this week and has given interviews on all four major network morning shows.


Landis has cited a variety of possible reasons for his failed test: ingesting something that raised his testosterone, cortisone shots for pain in his degenerating hip, drinking beer and whiskey the night before the test, thyroid medication, his natural metabolism and dehydration.


Armstrong, who overcame testicular cancer to win the Tour a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, faced constant doping allegations toward the end of his career.


Landis has tested positive for elevated testosterone and synthetic testosterone, leaving Armstrong to answer more questions about performance-enhancing drugs. The Tour de France said it no longer considers Landis its champion.


"It's obviously not a good situation for cycling," Armstrong said. "Everybody would admit that. Floyd would admit that. It's certainly not a good situation for American cycling. But I am a fan and supporter of Floyd Landis. I believe in him."


Armstrong said cycling's testing policies are among the strictest in sports.


"That's why so many people are out there getting caught, or supposedly getting caught, because we're really aggressive," he said. "If the NFL had the same policy that cycling has, we'd be talking about something different than Floyd Landis right now. It would be a huge story."







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'Key terror leader' held in Iraq





Exclusive: Suspects' lawyer criticizes police



Police say they are unaware of any complaints


Sunday, August 13, 2006; Posted: 4:45 a.m. EDT (08:45 GMT)


LONDON, England (CNN) -- The lawyer for two of the suspects rounded up in a possible plot to bring down as many as 10 trans-Atlantic flights on Saturday criticized their treatment at the hands of British police.


In an exclusive CNN interview, attorney Mudassar Arani listed a series of complaints, including the allegation that one of her clients had not received food and water for 26 hours.


Police arrested 24 people in connection with the alleged terror plot, although one man was released after it was determined he was an innocent bystander, Rivers said.


Although the names of many of the detainees have been confirmed by the Bank of England, which has frozen their accounts, Arani was unwilling to confirm the identities of her clients, referring to them by letters of the alphabet assigned by police.


Both of the men are from the Walthamstow area of East London. They are 22 and 23 years old.


She complained she was able to meet with her clients for only five minutes on Friday.


The men told her they are being held in cold cells and that requests for blankets were refused.


Arani said she was able to brief the men only on events surrounding their arrests and the legal process.


One of the men alleged that police pushed him and targeted him with racial abuse, the lawyer said.


CNN has been unable to corroborate Irani's allegations. The Metropolitan Police tell CNN they have not been made aware of any official complaint about the detainees' treatment.


Arani said that the men were upset and had been crying.


She said her clients are shocked at what is happening, and were concerned about their families, whom police have moved from their homes into hotels. The men, she said, have not been allowed to call their families, contrary to their rights.


"She had not had any indication from the police as to what was going to happen next," Rivers said.


Police were preparing to move the men, who can be held for up to 28 days without charges being filed, from London's Paddington Green police station to Belmarsh prison, the lawyer said. Belmarsh is a maximum security facility regularly used to hold terrorism suspects.


Rivers said Walthamstow, where most of the men were arrested, is a fairly quiet, middle-class suburb where many Asians and Muslims live. A man who knows Irani's clients said they were polite and have jobs.


U.S. and British sources said one of the men in custody in Pakistan, Rashid Rauf, had a key operational role in the alleged plot. Rauf appeared in a local court before a magistrate Saturday, according to Pakistan's Interior Ministry.














New terror attempt on UK 'likely'





LONDON, England (CNN) -- Terrorists are "highly likely" to mount another attack on Britain, the country's interior minister warned Sunday as police were questioning 23 men held over a suspected plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners.


Home Secretary John Reid said that although he believed the main suspects in the latest plot to smuggle liquid explosives on board jets had been apprehended, it was feared other potential attackers were at large.


"It is highly likely there will be another terrorist attempt," he said. "The threat of a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom is still very substantial."


Reid said that Britain has foiled four major terrorist plots since the July 7, 2005 bombings on London's transit system, adding that police were conducting at least 24 anti-terrorist investigations.


Britain's terrorist threat remained at "critical" -- its highest level -- with new security measures wreaking havoc at major airports where flights were being delayed or cancelled four days after the latest plot was made public.


Police, meanwhile, were still probing the homes and backgrounds of the 23 suspects, young British-born Muslims, who can be held for up to 28 days without charges under tough anti-terror laws.


At Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, almost one third of flights were cancelled as tough new screening for passengers and luggage caused problems. (Full story)


As a result, passengers are banned from bringing liquids on all flights -- domestic and international -- in the United States and Britain. Passengers in Britain are also forbidden from carrying any hand luggage onto their flights.


With airlines struggling to get passengers to their destinations days after the new measures were introduced, several have hit out at airport operator British Airports Authority for failing to provide adequate facilities.


Budget carrier Ryanair, which has its British base at Stansted Airport, northeast of London, said it had complied with BAA orders to cancel more than 60 of its Stansted flights on Saturday and Sunday -- about 20 percent of the total.


It demanded that the overloaded security situation be fixed by Monday.


BAA's chief executive for Heathrow, Tony Douglas, defended the airports' efforts.


I think the aviation community has actually come together remarkably well. We will continue to work closely with the government because public safety and security is important to us," he told CNN.


As police widened their investigation into the bomb plot suspects, detectives raided a series of Internet cafes, including one near Heathrow, where the plotters were believed to be planning to start their operations.


Meanwhile, a lawyer for two of 23 suspects in custody accused police of denying her full access to her clients. The attorney, Mudassar Arani, said British suspects' families had been moved to hotels.


Detectives are known to be investigating the links between the detainees and suspected terror suspects apprehended in Pakistan.


Pakistani authorities said that the arrests of two British citizens and five Pakistanis last week directly contributed to terror arrests made Thursday in Britain.


One of the arrested men, Rashid Rauf, appeared before a Pakistani magistrate Saturday. U.S. and British sources said he had a key operational role in the alleged plot.


In London, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Dan Rivers, attorney Arani listed her complaints on behalf of her clients.


She said she was only allowed to meet with them for about five minutes Friday. She complained that they were prevented from calling their families, were being held in cold cells without blankets and warm clothes, and had been denied some food and water. (Full story)


CNN has been unable to corroborate the attorney's allegations. The Metropolitan Police tell CNN they have not been made aware of any official complaint about the detainees' treatment.


Tensions between British authorities and the Muslim community have suffered in recent months following a bungled raid in which a Muslim man was accidentally shot by policeman. The man has not been charged with any terror-related offences.


According to a British intelligence official, the planned near-simultaneous attacks -- which one top U.S. official said were intended to be "a second September 11th" -- were foiled when a member of the country's Muslim community contacted authorities after noticing an acquaintance acting suspiciously.


An undercover British agent then infiltrated the group to gather information, U.S. government officials told CNN.


After the arrests were made in Pakistan, one of the alleged terrorist operatives there gave the "go" signal for the plot to go forward, a British official said.









Day four of chaos for UK airports




LONDON, England (AP) -- Airlines canceled almost a third of flights from Britain's busiest airport Sunday, plunging travelers into a fourth day of travel chaos triggered by the foiling of an alleged airplane bomb plot.


British Airways said it had scrapped 30 percent of flights from London's Heathrow Airport on the instructions of the airport operator British Airports Authority, or BAA.


The airport operator said 70 percent of flights on all airlines at Heathrow were expected to operate, but warned that tough new screening measures for passengers and luggage meant delays were inevitable.


BAA's chief executive for Heathrow, Tony Douglas, said the airport was doing its best, but that delays "will go on until the security threat level is reduced."


Home Secretary John Reid acknowledged that the security measures would have to be altered.


"The present regime is time limited," Reid said in a British television interview. "We know it is not indefinitely sustainable."


After the foiled plot, authorities introduced tough new security measures, including individual searches of all passengers and a ban on carry-on luggage except clear plastic bags containing travel documents and a few essential items.


Reid said Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander had asked U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to ease the restrictions imposed by the United States, which include a ban on passengers carrying liquids aboard flights.


On Sunday, British Airways canceled almost 100 flights to Europe from Heathrow and scrapped all its domestic flights from London's second airport, Gatwick. Most long-haul flights were operating, although 10 BA services to the United States were canceled.


Scores of flights from Britain to Europe and the United States also were canceled Saturday. Passengers were delayed so long by the strict new security measures that many missed their flights.


British Airways said in a statement that it "cannot rule out the possibility that flights will once again depart without all their passengers because of ongoing problems with BAA's security search process and baggage operation at Heathrow Airport."


Some airlines accused BAA -- which operates seven of the country's major airports -- of failing to cope with tough new anti-terror security requirements brought in after police said they had foiled a plot to blow up as many as 10 trans-Atlantic jets in mid-air.


"The airport's baggage system cannot process all of the passengers' bags and where passengers have been able to check their bags in, the lengthy queues in the airport security search area means that passengers are unable to get to the departure gate in time for their flight," BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh said.


Budget carrier Ryanair appealed to the British government to use police and army reservists to speed up searches at overloaded airport security checkpoints, and said the requirement to search all passengers should be eased.


Ryanair, which has its British base at Stansted Airport, northeast of London, said it had complied with BAA orders to cancel more than 60 of its Stansted flights this weekend, about 20 percent of the total.


"We don't need to be body searching young children traveling with their parents on holiday to Spain," chief executive Michael O'Leary told Sky News television.


"If we the industry and the government don't work together to have sensible security ... we are going to hand these extremists a terrific PR success," he added.












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His Ruling Violates Promise of Anonymity To Hundreds in Ky.



Promised anonymity in an $84 million settlement with a Kentucky Roman Catholic diocese, men and women sexually abused by its priests are opposing a state judge's order to reveal their identities and details of the alleged crimes to prosecutors.


The dispute, prompted by the judge's view that egregious cases of abuse may warrant criminal charges, raises complex privacy questions, and highlights the delicate balance between victims' rights and the responsibility of legal authorities to punish lawbreakers.


Stanley M. Chesley, a Cincinnati attorney for more than 300 men and women abused by priests in Kentucky as long ago as the 1950s, said the order from Special Judge John Potter came "out of the clear blue," several months after Potter approved the settlement. Chesley called the ruling "very callous, very broad and very frightening."


One of Chesley's clients said he thought hard before reporting the sexual abuse he suffered as a Catholic school student nearly 30 years ago. Until he filed, he had told no one -- not his wife, not his mother or siblings, not his best friend who attended the school with him, and certainly not his colleagues or his children.


"It took me forever to do it, because I can't afford to have my name or my identity exposed," said the man, who spoke in return for a promise of anonymity. "As a victim, I would be mortified if this were to happen. Put yourself in my shoes. I would be abused all over again."


Even now, his wife does not know the details of his experiences with a disgraced priest.


"It's something I basically buried for 25 to 30 years," he said.


In a hearing last month, Potter noted that the Diocese of Covington, which settled the lawsuit in January, is already sending information to prosecutors, who can then decide whether to seek further details, including the identities of the victims.


His order -- on hold for 60 days to allow time for an appeal -- requires the settlement supervisor to report "every act of suspected abuse" against a minor. The document must describe the circumstances, name the suspect and the victim, and provide the victim's address and telephone number.


The information is to remain private, the judge ruled, "except as necessary to investigate or prosecute a crime."


Prosecutors assured the judge that any investigative information delivered to them will be kept confidential.


"The judge's concern for innocent, vulnerable kids today is praiseworthy," said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "But there's a critical difference between prodding and compelling. I worry tremendously about the potentially chilling effect."


The Covington settlement was designed to end several years of litigation amid deepening recriminations about the behavior of priests in dozens of Kentucky counties. About 350 men and women have presented evidence that they were abused between the 1950s and 1990s.


Victims, many now in their sixties and seventies, have come forward. They are expected to receive $5,000 to $1 million each, with amounts of more than $450,000 reserved for individuals seriously and repeatedly abused.


Cases are reviewed by two special masters: former E.W. Scripps Co. chairman William R. Burleigh and former chief U.S. district judge Thomas D. Lambros.


Before the diocese pledged $84 million to settle the class action, it had paid $10.8 million to settle 58 previous cases.


"Whatever is the worst sexual abuse you can think of, it occurred," Chesley said. "I'm not going to get into the gory details, but you name it, it happened. Unfortunately, some of it happened over a long period of time."


An August 2003 report ordered by Bishop Roger J. Foys found "reasonable cause to believe" that, in the previous half-century, 30 of 372 priests in the Covington diocese had sexually abused at least one minor. The diocese tracked 158 allegations, including 67 against a single priest.


In the intervening years, nine of the priests died, four were removed from the priesthood and 17 were shifted from active duty, according to the report, which was sent to the 89,000 Roman Catholics in the diocese. Foys apologized, asked for forgiveness, and announced that priests and others who work with children would undergo background checks.


Attorneys for the victims contend in court documents that Potter has no authority to make demands that go beyond the settlement agreement. They also maintain that he signed off on a critical confidentiality pledge that was delivered to class-action members and was published and broadcast widely.


The notice, intended to spread the word around the region and the nation, said the court "has ordered the parties to keep the identity of Class Members confidential to the extent reasonably possible," and says, "Names of Class Members are not currently a matter of public record."


If prosecutors file a case against an abuser, the attorneys believe, the victim's identity will become public.


William F. McMurry, who negotiated a settlement with Louisville's Roman Catholic archdiocese on behalf of 243 victims, said Potter has considerable discretion. He believes the lawyers made a confidentiality promise that was beyond their ability to deliver.


"Judge Potter is no stranger to doing things his own way," McMurry said. "Every lawyer should know when they make promises to their client, they've got to preface that comment with a statement that the court has the supreme authority to make the decision."


To some plaintiffs, however, the promise of anonymity was crucial to their participation, and they believe it should be irrevocable.


"I guarantee you, I would never have come forward unless I knew there was going to be extreme privacy in this matter," said the Chesley client, now in his late thirties, who was abused in parochial school.


"I have clients. I have colleagues. If my name were to be put out in some public record to where any Tom, Dick or Harry could access my records, it would severely tarnish my career.


"And," he added, "I definitely don't want my kids to know about this."








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List of Forum Hacker/Spammers




Our forum gets assailed on a daily basis by various sundry script kiddies, hackers, spammers and miscellaneous riffraff. Each and every day I add to the list of domains and IP addresses that I ban from our forum/servers/network.


Today it occured to me that I should also just go ahead and publish the info I'm banning so that any of you operating a blog, forum, or some other spammer/hacker/delinquent magnet type of site could have a heads up.


Now, I'm not advocating, directing, calling for or promoting that anybody else should ban the following domains/IPs from their network, I'm just letting everybody know that I have.


Not really wanting to dig thru old stuff (because there is so much of it) I will just start from today's round of miscreants and move forward from there, updating this post as necessary.


Starting with:





Examples of the URL's they're creating links to in sig lines:





Created many many accounts -all under different IPs too. But there they are.




Any email address at














































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Is our government allowing our troops to be exposed to DEPLETED URANIUM? IF TRUE, This could be the biggest SCANDAL since Watergate!!!!!!


DOD Depleted Unranium Wreaks Havoc On US Troops




Sickened Iraq Vets Cite Depleted Uranium



Sickened Iraq Vets Cite Depleted Uranium



New York - It takes at least 10 minutes and a large glass of orange juice to wash down all the pills - morphine, methadone, a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant, a stool softener. Viagra for sexual dysfunction. Valium for his nerves.


Four hours later, Herbert Reed will swallow another 15 mg of morphine to cut the pain clenching every part of his body. He will do it twice more before the day is done.


Since he left a bombed-out train depot in Iraq, his gums bleed. There is more blood in his urine, and still more in his stool. Bright light hurts his eyes. A tumor has been removed from his thyroid. Rashes erupt everywhere, itching so badly they seem to live inside his skin. Migraines cleave his skull. His joints ache, grating like door hinges in need of oil.


There is something massively wrong with Herbert Reed, though no one is sure what it is. He believes he knows the cause, but he cannot convince anyone caring for him that the military's new favorite weapon has made him terrifyingly sick.


In the sprawling bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, he has many caretakers. An internist, a neurologist, a pain-management specialist, a psychologist, an orthopedic surgeon and a dermatologist. He cannot function without his stupefying arsenal of medications, but they exact a high price.


"I'm just a zombie walking around," he says.


Reed believes depleted uranium has contaminated him and his life. He now walks point in a vitriolic war over the Pentagon's arsenal of it - thousands of shells and hundreds of tanks coated with the metal that is radioactive, chemically toxic, and nearly twice as dense as lead.


A shell coated with depleted uranium pierces a tank like a hot knife through butter, exploding on impact into a charring inferno. As tank armor, it repels artillery assaults. It also leaves behind a fine radioactive dust with a half-life of 4.5 billion years.


Depleted uranium is the garbage left from producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and energy plants. It is 60 percent as radioactive as natural uranium. The U.S. has an estimated 1.5 billion pounds of it, sitting in hazardous waste storage sites across the country. Meaning it is plentiful and cheap as well as highly effective.


Reed says he unknowingly breathed DU dust while living with his unit in Samawah, Iraq. He was med-evaced out in July 2003, nearly unable to walk because of lightning-strike pains from herniated discs in his spine. Then began a strange series of symptoms he'd never experienced in his previously healthy life.


At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C, he ran into a buddy from his unit. And another, and another, and in the tedium of hospital life between doctor visits and the dispensing of meds, they began to talk.


"We all had migraines. We all felt sick," Reed says. "The doctors said, 'It's all in your head.' "


Then the medic from their unit showed up. He too, was suffering. That made eight sick soldiers from the 442nd Military Police, an Army National Guard unit made up of mostly cops and correctional officers from the New York area.


But the medic knew something the others didn't.


Dutch marines had taken over the abandoned train depot dubbed Camp Smitty, which was surrounded by tank skeletons, unexploded ordnance and shell casings. They'd brought radiation-detection devices. The readings were so hot, the Dutch set up camp in the middle of the desert rather than live in the station ruins.


"We got on the Internet," Reed said, "and we started researching depleted uranium."


Then they contacted The New York Daily News, which paid for sophisticated urine tests available only overseas.


Then they hired a lawyer.


Reed, Gerard Matthew, Raymond Ramos, Hector Vega, Augustin Matos, Anthony Yonnone, Jerry Ojeda and Anthony Phillip all have depleted uranium in their urine, according to tests done in December 2003, while they bounced for months between Walter Reed and New Jersey's Fort Dix medical center, seeking relief that never came.


The analyses were done in Germany, by a Frankfurt professor who developed a depleted uranium test with Randall Parrish, a professor of isotope geology at the University of Leicester in Britain.


The veterans, using their positive results as evidence, have sued the U.S. Army, claiming officials knew the hazards of depleted uranium, but concealed the risks.


The Department of Defense says depleted uranium is powerful and safe, and not that worrisome.


Four of the highest-registering samples from Frankfurt were sent to the VA. Those results were negative, Reed said. "Their test just isn't as sophisticated," he said. "And when we first asked to be tested, they told us there wasn't one. They've lied to us all along."


The VA's testing methodology is safe and accurate, the agency says. More than 2,100 soldiers from the current war have asked to be tested; only 8 had DU in their urine, the VA said.


The term depleted uranium is linguistically radioactive. Simply uttering the words can prompt a reaction akin to preaching atheism at tent revival. Heads shake, eyes roll, opinions are yelled from all sides.


"The Department of Defense takes the position that you can eat it for breakfast and it poses no threat at all," said Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Resource Center, which helps veterans with various problems, including navigating the labyrinth of VA health care. "Then you have far-left groups that ... declare it a crime against humanity."


Several countries use it as weaponry, including Britain, which fired it during the 2003 Iraq invasion.


An estimated 286 tons of DU munitions were fired by the U.S. in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. An estimated 130 tons were shot toppling Saddam Hussein.


Depleted uranium can enter the human body by inhalation, the most dangerous method; by ingesting contaminated food or eating with contaminated hands; by getting dust or debris in an open wound, or by being struck by shrapnel, which often is not removed because doing so would be more dangerous than leaving it.


Inhaled, it can lodge in the lungs. As with imbedded shrapnel, this is doubly dangerous - not only are the particles themselves physically destructive, they emit radiation.


A moderate voice on the divisive DU spectrum belongs to Dan Fahey, a doctoral student at the University of California at Berkeley, who has studied the issue for years and also served in the Gulf War before leaving the military as a conscientious objector.


"I've been working on this since '93 and I've just given up hope," he said. "I've spoken to successive federal committees and elected officials ... who then side with the Pentagon. Nothing changes."


At the other end are a collection of conspiracy-theorists and Internet proselytizers who say using such weapons constitutes genocide. Two of the most vocal opponents recently suggested that a depleted-uranium missile, not a hijacked jetliner, struck the Pentagon in 2001.


"The bottom line is it's more hazardous than the Pentagon admits," Fahey said, "but it's not as hazardous as the hard-line activist groups say it is. And there's a real dearth of information about how DU affects humans."


There are several studies on how it affects animals, though their results are not, of course, directly applicable to humans. Military research on mice shows that depleted uranium can enter the bloodstream and come to rest in bones, the brain, kidneys and lymph nodes. Other research in rats shows that DU can result in cancerous tumors and genetic mutations, and pass from mother to unborn child, resulting in birth defects.


Iraqi doctors reported significant increases in birth defects and childhood cancers after the 1991 invasion.


Iraqi authorities "found that uranium, which affected the blood cells, had a serious impact on health: The number of cases of leukemia had increased considerably, as had the incidence of fetal deformities," the U.N. reported.


Depleted uranium can also contaminate soil and water, and coat buildings with radioactive dust, which can by carried by wind and sandstorms.


In 2005, the U.N. Environmental Program identified 311 polluted sites in Iraq. Cleaning them will take at least $40 million and several years, the agency said. Nothing can start until the fighting stops.


Fifteen years after it was first used in battle, there is only one U.S. government study monitoring veterans exposed to depleted uranium.


Number of soldiers in the survey: 32. Number of soldiers in both Iraq wars: more than 900,000.


The study group's size is controversial - far too small, say experts including Fahey - and so are the findings of the voluntary, Baltimore-based study.


It has found "no clinically significant" health effects from depleted uranium exposure in the study subjects, according to its researchers.


Critics say the VA has downplayed participants' health problems, including not reporting one soldier who developed cancer, and another who developed a bone tumor.


So for now, depleted uranium falls into the quagmire of Gulf War Syndrome, from which no treatment has emerged despite the government's spending of at least $300 million.


About 30 percent of the 700,000 men and women who served in the first Gulf War still suffer a baffling array of symptoms very similar to those reported by Reed's unit.


Depleted uranium has long been suspected as a possible contributor to Gulf War Syndrome, and in the mid-90s, veterans helped push the military into tracking soldiers exposed to it.


But for all their efforts, what they got in the end was a questionnaire dispensed to homeward-bound soldiers asking about mental health, nightmares, losing control, exposure to dangerous and radioactive chemicals.


But, the veterans persisted, how would soldiers know they'd been exposed? Radiation is invisible, tasteless, and has no smell. And what exhausted, homesick, war-addled soldier would check a box that would only send him or her to a military medical center to be poked and prodded and questioned and tested?


It will take years to determine how depleted uranium affected soldiers from this war. After Vietnam, veterans, in numbers that grew with the passage of time, complained of joint aches, night sweats, bloody feces, migraine headaches, unexplained rashes and violent behavior; some developed cancers.


It took more than 25 years for the Pentagon to acknowledge that Agent Orange - a corrosive defoliant used to melt the jungles of Vietnam and flush out the enemy - was linked to those sufferings.


It took 40 years for the military to compensate sick World War II vets exposed to massive blasts of radiation during tests of the atomic bomb.


In 2002, Congress voted to not let that happen again.


It established the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses - comprised of scientists, physicians and veterans advocates. It reports to the secretary of Veterans Affairs.


Its mandate is to judge all research and all efforts to treat Gulf War Syndrome patients against a single standard: Have sick soldiers been made better?


The answer, according to the committee, is no.


"Regrettably, after four years of operation neither the Committee nor (the) VA can report progress toward this goal," stated its December 2005 report. "Research has not produced effective treatments for these conditions nor shown that existing treatments are significantly effective."


And so time marches on, as do soldiers going to, and returning from, the deserts of Iraq.


Herbert Reed is an imposing man, broad shouldered and tall. He strides into the VA Medical Center in the Bronx with the presence of a cop or a soldier. Since the Vietnam War, he has been both.


His hair is perfect, his shirt spotless, his jeans sharply creased. But there is something wrong, a niggling imperfection made more noticeable by a bearing so disciplined. It is a limp - more like a hitch in his get-along.


It is the only sign, albeit a tiny one, that he is extremely sick.


Even sleep offers no release. He dreams of gunfire and bombs and soldiers who scream for help. No matter how hard he tries, he never gets there in time.


At 54, he is a veteran of two wars and a 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department, where he last served as an assistant warden at the Riker's Island prison.


He was in perfect health, he says, before being deployed to Iraq.


According to military guidelines, he should have heard the words depleted uranium long before he ended up at Walter Reed. He should have been trained about its dangers, and how to avoid prolonged exposure to its toxicity and radioactivity. He says he didn't get anything of the kind. Neither did other reservists and National Guard soldiers called up for the current war, according to veterans' groups.


Reed and the seven brothers from his unit hate what has happened to them, and they speak of it at public seminars and in politicians' offices. It is something no VA doctor can explain; something that leaves them feeling like so many spent shell rounds, kicked to the side of battle.


But for every outspoken soldier like them, there are silent veterans like Raphael Naboa, an Army artillery scout who served 11 months in the northern Sunni Triangle, only to come home and fall apart.


Some days he feels fine. "Some days I can't get out of bed," he said from his home in Colorado.


Now 29, he's had growths removed from his brain. He has suffered a small stroke - one morning he was shaving, having put down the razor to rinse his face. In that moment, he blacked out and pitched over.


"Just as quickly as I lost consciousness, I regained it," he said. "Except I couldn't move the right side of my body."


After about 15 minutes, the paralysis ebbed.


He has mentioned depleted uranium to his VA doctors, who say he suffers from a series of "non-related conditions." He knows he was exposed to DU.


"A lot of guys went trophy-hunting, grabbing bayonets, helmets, stuff that was in the vehicles that were destroyed by depleted uranium. My guys were rooting around in it. I was trying to get them out of the vehicles."


No one in the military talked to him about depleted uranium, he said. His knowledge, like Reed's, is self-taught from the Internet.


Unlike Reed, he has not gone to war over it. He doesn't feel up to the fight. There is no known cure for what ails him, and so no possible victory in battle.


He'd really just like to feel normal again. And he knows of others who feel the same.


"I was an artillery scout, these are folks who are in pretty good shape. Your Rangers, your Special Forces guys, they're in as good as shape as a professional athlete.


"Then we come back and we're all sick."


They feel like men who once were warriors and now are old before their time, with no hope for relief from a multitude of miseries that has no name.








The Question of Online Privacy Again






The recent AOL debacle involving the publication of hundreds of thousands of users’ search queries has, yet again, brought the issue of online privacy to the forefront. So the question remains, should search engines and other online outlets store sensitive data for an extended period of time? Or, should users simply accept the fact that whatever they do online might become public knowledge?


Earlier in the year, several major search engines, including Yahoo, Google, MSN, were served with subpoenas from the U.S. government, requesting the hand-over of millions of users’ online searches. Yahoo and MSN complied, while Google fought it tooth-and-nail, asserting the privacy rights of the individuals who conducted the searches.



Many web users conduct what is known as “ego” searches, in other words, they search for information about themselves. They might look up their full name, social security number, or other personal information. Exposing such search results to governmental agencies, commercial groups, or other private parties could expose the individual behind the searches. Does the government or anyone really need to know that Joe Smith at such and such location was searching for information about treating genital warts, or that Suzy Jackson is in debt up to her ears? Imagine the embarrassment of individuals that could potentially result if the information were to be exposed.


Simply storing the information, whether it is intended for analysis or not, opens up the potential for abuse. A rogue Yahoo employee could, potentially, take those search results and do with them what he pleases. AOL could accidentally publish the results on the web for everyone to see. Google could print the list out, and have it stolen by some random stranger. Imagine the information at the hands of whoever could get ahold of some of these searches.


Most people who conduct online searches, or any kind of online activity for that matter, recognize the potential for interception of their data by a third party. Most people know that this could happen. But there’s also a large group of people who don’t think this would happen to them, and when it does, it is shocking to them. They recognized that the potential was there, but they thought themselves to be immune or safe from such things.


Often times when you use an online service, in doing so, you agree to their terms of service. You may not have read the terms of service, but using the service constitutes an agreement to the terms. The terms may include such provisions as the company being allowed to store or even share your information, or it may not. It really just depends on the company and their policies.


While storing sensitive personal data may raise a question of ethics, in many cases it does not violate any laws. So if MSN decides to keep a backup of your online queries, or maybe even your emails, and you agreed to their terms of service, they may legally disclose such information to a third party, or law enforcement if requested to do so. There’s nothing that you can really do if you agreed to the terms.


The internet should come with a warning label, or maybe, when you purchase internet access through whoever your internet service provider is, they should read you your “Internet Rights” or issue some kind of warning such as that below:


“You have the right not to use the internet. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. Anything you do may be tracked or traced, and may, at any time, be intercepted by a third party. Anything you do online may become public knowledge.”



When using the internet, expect that anything you do online may become public knowledge. It is difficult to control the actions of millions of internet users around the world. At any time, your information could be exploited. Therefore, don’t do anything online that you wouldn’t want your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to know about. Online privacy doesn’t exist.




































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RIAA to grieving family: We depose your children in 60 days



RIAA to grieving family: We depose your children in 60 days - Boing Boing



UK Terror Bust Caught With Wiretapping




What's Spreading "the AJAX Wildfire"?



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The Original Open Source Company




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Samsung Develops World's First three-inch VGA LCD



SAMSUNG Electronics Develops World's First LCD Screen of 3 inch VGA Quality for Digital Still Cameras




Samsung Develops Three-inch VGA LCD




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Perseid meteor shower to peak this weekend






OLGA offline




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This whole terrorism scare appears to be mostly propaganda




NBC: U.S. Rushed Terror Bust, Brit Source Says



Physicists make first 'molecular movie' of light




Physicists make first 'molecular movie' of light - Physorg





Researchers zero in on why western diet makes children fat.



Childhood Obesity Caused By 'Toxic Environment' Of Western Diets, Study Says



A UCSF researcher has determined that a key reason for the epidemic of pediatric obesity, now the most commonly diagnosed childhood ailment, is that high-calorie, low-fiber Western diets promote hormonal imbalances that encourage children to overeat.


In a comprehensive review of obesity research published in the August edition of the journal Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism, Robert Lustig, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at UCSF Children's Hospital, says that food manufacturing practices have created a "toxic environment" that dooms children to being overweight.


"It will take acknowledgement of the concepts of biological susceptibility and societal accountability and de-emphasis of the concept of personal responsibility to make a difference in the lives of children," Lustig says.


According to the National Institutes of Health, the number of children who are overweight in the United States has doubled during the past three decades. Currently one child in five is overweight. The increase is true for children and adolescents of all age groups and races and for boys and girls.


Diseases that once were only seen in adults, like type 2 diabetes, now are occurring in increasing numbers in children, according to Lustig. Overweight children tend to become overweight adults, which also puts them at greater risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Children who are obese also are socially ostracized and teased, putting them at risk for depression and other psychiatric conditions, he adds.


"Our current Western food environment has become highly 'insulinogenic,'" Lustig says, "as demonstrated by its increased energy density, high-fat content, high glycemic index, increased fructose composition, decreased fiber, and decreased dairy content."


"In particular, fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin," he adds.


Lustig says that it has long been known that the hormone insulin acts on the brain to encourage eating through two separate mechanisms. First, it blocks the signals that travel from the body's fat stores to the brain by suppressing the effectiveness of the hormone leptin, resulting in increased food intake and decreased activity. Second, insulin promotes the signal that seeks the reward of eating carried by the chemical dopamine, which makes a person want to eat to get the pleasurable dopamine "rush."


Calorie intake and expenditure normally are regulated by leptin, Lustig says. When leptin is functioning properly it "increases physical activity, decreases appetite, and increases feelings of well-being." Conversely, when leptin is suppressed, feelings of well-being and activity decrease and appetite increases -- a state called "leptin resistance."


Changes in food processing during the past 30 years, particularly the addition of sugar to a wide variety of foods that once never included sugar and the removal of fiber, both of which promote insulin production, have created an environment in which our foods are essentially addictive, he adds.


Lustig also notes that children cannot be blamed or expected to take personal responsibility for their dietary behavior in an environment when the foods they are offered -- especially cheaply prepared "fast foods" that are full of sugar and devoid of fiber -- are toxic.


"The concept of personal responsibility is not tenable in children. No child chooses to be obese," he says. "Furthermore, young children are not responsible for food choices at home or at school, and it can hardly be said that preschool children, in whom obesity is rampant, are in a position to accept personal responsibility."


"If we don't fix this, our children will continue to lose," he emphasizes.


One of the nation's top children's hospitals, UCSF Children's Hospital creates a healing environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the edge of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond.


UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care.






From this journal



I found this

Nanomachines power up with piezoelectricity



and this

Terror plot sparks frenzied speculation about liquid explosives



I can hardly believe all the free information I can enjoy at RSC!!!! :)


I originally discovered the RSC Journals here, at the bottom of this page:



This was the original link I explored:

Lab on a Chip Journal!!!! :)




I am in Science Heaven now!!!! EVEN MORE science to explore and learn!!!! :)



Molecular BioSystems



Quick PCR microchip (Chemical Biology)


Click the link at the bottom of the page will lead you here:

A FULL HTML ARTICLE, all about the PCR Microchip!!! :)




Chemical Technology




Soft Matter



Why does jelly wobble?



Here is the full HTML jebbie article!!!

Colloid science of mixed ingredients



Micronit Microfluidics BV (Informative website!)




PCCP Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Themed Issues

Nanoscience Hot Papers



PCCP Nano Hot paper: Biosensing with conically shaped nanopores and nanotubes



Full HTML Paper:

Biosensing with conically shaped nanopores and nanotubes























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Refugees stream back to southern Lebanon



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Your e-mails: 'Confiscated snow globes'




(CNN) -- CNN.com asked readers to tell us how the foiled terrorist plot to blow up passenger jets flying from Britain to the U.S. has affected their lives. We asked you to share your travel stories, or give us your thoughts and opinions. Here are more of your responses, some of which have been edited:


My family and I just came back from a Disneyland vacation today. We were flying from Santa Ana, California (John Wayne Airport), to San Jose, California (SJC airport). I got stopped at the security check point because I had little snow globes in one of my carry on bags. They had the nerve to send me back to check my bag and put these fragile ornaments under the plane! I found that to be utterly ridiculous! Snow globes from Disneyland?! Are you kidding me?!

Tamika Byer-Young, Mountain View, California


My family and I flew home from London Gatwick on Friday. It took us a full 24 hours to travel from London to West Palm Beach, Florida! Our flight left 4.5 hours late from Gatwick -- about 2.5 hours were spent on the plane at the gate. We arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, several hours late for our connection. We arrived home in Lake Worth, Florida at 1 a.m. Remember, no carry-on bags and three kids! It was pretty horrible, but we're safe and alive!

Megan Wiston, Lake Worth, Florida


I, for one, don't quite understand the new restrictions. From what I've read nothing was actually taken on board a plane and the entire plot was stopped by the security measures which are already in place. Why then must we add more to the mess when what we have now has proven itself to be effective in stopping these plots?

Marc Schlaf, Des Moines, Iowa








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TSA 'tweaks' list of banned carry-on items

Passengers, airlines cope with latest terror threat



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three days after banning fliers from carrying liquids, gels and lotions past security checkpoints and onto airplanes, the Transportation Security Administration announced Sunday several "tweaks" that would allow passengers to board with small doses of liquid medications.


In addition, the agency said it will now demand that all passengers remove their shoes so they may be X-rayed.


Under the new rules, travelers can take up to four ounces of non-prescription medicine, glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick and baby food, the agency said.


All aerosols are prohibited.


"The refinements we are announcing are based on feedback from our security officers, the public and our partners," said TSA Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley in a written statement. "We are maintaining the same level of security while clarifying interpretations in the field. These tweaks are aimed at making a smoother process at the checkpoint."


TSA first ordered the ban on liquids, gels and lotions after the overseas arrests of people allegedly involved in a plot to blow up planes flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.







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UK hand baggage restrictions eased




LONDON, England (CNN) -- Hand baggage restrictions for passengers traveling from British airports are being eased to try to reduce the chaos caused by increased security checks -- but flights continue to be disrupted.


The British Airports Authority, which operates seven of the country's major airports, said passengers would be allowed to carry one small bag on flights effective Tuesday morning.


CNN's John Vause said that some UK airlines were easing the restrictions from Monday but they would not apply at London Heathrow until Tuesday and disruption there was likely to continue well into the week.


The size of bag being allowed as hand baggage was approximately half the size of that previously, he said.


An item of hand luggage must not be more than 45cm long, 35cm wide and 16cm deep including wheels, handles and side pockets, the UK Department of Transport statement said.


Liquids other than prescription medicines and baby milk will continue to be banned, authorities said.


Passengers continued to be asked to consult individual airline Web sites to check on flights.


And the British Airports Authority (BAA) said that passengers arriving Monday should assume the existing restrictions banning hand baggage apart from documents in plastic bags were still in place, as changes would take time to implement.


Thomas Cook Airlines, which fly from 14 UK airports, said it was asking its passengers not to bring hand luggage to airports for the rest of this week.


A spokesman added: "We know some hand luggage is now being allowed on board flights, but we think it will help get flights away with fewer delays if our passengers do not arrive with hand luggage."


The British government downgraded its terror threat level from critical to severe on Monday, saying intelligence suggested that an attack was not imminent.


Home Secretary John Reid said the downgraded terror threat level was not a response to airport congestion and flight cancellations.


Some airlines have accused the BAA of being unable to cope with new anti-terror security requirements following the discovery of an alleged plot to blow up airliners mid-Atlantic.


Budget carrier Ryanair appealed to the British government to use police and army reservists to speed up searches at overloaded airport security checkpoints.


Almost a third of flights out of Heathrow were canceled Sunday -- the airport handles about 1,250 flights a day.


A BAA Heathrow spokesman told PA on the easing of luggage restrictions: "This is the beginning on the steps back to normal and we are looking at the best way to implement the changes across our airports."


But he added the changes would take time to implement.


"As of today passengers should not show up with hand luggage. They should continue to operate as they are now operating," he said.


Meanwhile flights continued to be canceled Monday.


Virgin Airways chief executive Steve Ridgway said he was "very unhappy" that it was being asked by BAA to cut the number of flights from Heathrow by a fifth Monday, although the company had reluctantly agreed.


"It's not an ideal situation," said a spokeswoman for British Airways, which has had to cancel 44 Heathrow flights Monday as well as axe 26 London Gatwick services.


Virgin Atlantic Airways' director of communications Paul Charles said: "We are obviously rather frustrated by this. We have concerns about the whole question of resourcing at Heathrow."


He went on: "There is a danger of inconsistency here. On the one hand, the Department for Transport is saying that hand luggage will be allowed on board and then there is BAA saying the ban remains in place at Heathrow today.


BMI chief executive Nigel Turner said its Heathrow flights would also be cut by 20 percent Monday but he hoped the situation would have returned to "pretty much as normal" by the end of the day.


Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander told PA: "I realize the present difficulties at our airports may continue for some time".


These are the new luggage arrangements applying at UK airports:


# Each passenger is permitted to carry ONE item of cabin baggage through the airport security search point. The dimensions of this item must not exceed: a maximum length of 45cm, width of 35cm and depth of 16cm.


# Other bags, such as handbags, may be carried within the single item of cabin baggage. All items carried by passengers will be X-ray screened.


# No liquids of any type are permitted through the airport security search point, other than the following items: Prescription medicines in liquid form sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g. diabetic kit), as long as verified as authentic; baby milk and liquid baby food (the contents of each bottle or jar must be tasted by the accompanying passenger).


# To help their progress through search points, passengers are encouraged not to include items capable of containing liquids (e.g. bottles, flasks, tubes, cans, plastic containers etc.) in their cabin baggage.


# All laptops and large electrical items (e.g. large hairdryer) must be removed from the bag and placed in a tray so that such items neither obscure nor are obscured by the bag.


# Pushchairs and walking aids are permitted but must be X-ray screened. Wheelchairs are permitted but must be thoroughly searched.


# In addition to the above, passengers boarding flights to the U.S. and items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, will be subjected to secondary search at the gate. Any liquids discovered will be removed from the passenger.


# The Department for Transport will work closely with operators to introduce these new arrangements, seeking to keep disruption to passengers to a minimum. The department will keep these measures under review.


# If passengers have any questions on their travel arrangements or security in place at airports they should contact the airport or their airline.






UK lowers threat level to 'severe'




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Flight evacuated at LAX after reports of suspicious item




LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Police evacuated an Alaska Airlines flight Monday after a "suspicious item" was found on board that no one claimed, Los Angeles International Airport officials said.


Bomb-sniffing dogs later determined the item did not contain explosives, airport spokesman Harold Johnson said.


A Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad and the FBI still planned to search the plane, officials said.


Airport police were notified at 8:20 a.m. that there was a suspicious item on board a plane that was in the air after leaving Guadalajara, Mexico, said airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.


The plane landed without incident just before 9 a.m., Castles said, and all 125 passengers and crew were taken to a terminal in buses after the plane stopped in a remote area of the airport. Castles said she did not know what the item was and did not release any additional details.


Johnson said the crew became alarmed when no one claimed the item.


"The flight attendant discovered an item and she said, 'Is this yours?' And all the passengers said, 'No," Johnson said.








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Old Methods Used to Detect Liquid Explosives



We Can Detect Liquid Explosives






BOSTON -- While the process isn't perfect, scanning machines do exist to detect liquid explosives like the ones purportedly at the heart of the terrorist plot broken up this week.


But don't expect the machines to be rushed into airports soon. Cost and logistical issues present challenges for these devices.


Consider work that's been done at Rapiscan Systems, part of OSI Systems. Rapiscan is developing four kinds of devices -- some based on technologies more than 10 years old -- that can detect liquid or gel-based explosives. Two that would work on carry-on bags already have been tested by the Transportation Security Administration and "could be deployed this afternoon," said Peter Kant, the company's vice president for government affairs.


But none are being used in the United States. Some are in place overseas, though Kant said those aren't in airports.


One big reason is that it is not easy to integrate the explosive-detecting machines, some of which can cost $250,000, into existing security checkpoints. Because each briefcase, purse or other carry-on bag has to be put in a special drawer for analysis, using the detectors could significantly bog down passenger screening.


Homeland security analyst Brian Ruttenbur of Morgan Keegan also points out that the technology still produces a relatively high number of false alarms.


For those reasons -- and because there still has not been a successful attack using liquid explosives -- Ruttenbur believes the TSA won't be pressed to overhaul the current screening regimen.


That would mean a continued reliance on systems not designed to stop liquid explosives. Metal detectors figure to remain the primary method, with the main secondary screening coming from "puffer" technology that blows air on people and sniffs the particles that emerge for suspicious materials.


For a machine to detect explosives in liquid or solid form, it bombards an object with energy -- such as radio waves or neutrons -- and in seconds measures the reaction, a response that differs depending on the material's chemical properties. Software in the machine is programmed to alert screeners if it detects chemical signatures known to match those of dangerous materials.


A key question, though, is whether this kind of detection system can realistically block terrorists from bringing seemingly innocuous liquids past security and combining them later to deadly effect.


Certainly, some common ingredients in liquid explosives can be programmed into the detector. But Kant, at Rapiscan, said he would not discuss the vulnerabilities of that approach. "Whether it detects the components of explosives and which ones, there's no way I'm putting that in print," he said.


Sean Moore, vice president of sales at a rival maker of explosive-detection systems, HiEnergy Technologies, said future screening machines could be linked so that they might let a person through with one kind of liquid -- but stop another traveler carrying another type of liquid that reacts explosively with what the previous person was carrying.


This list of liquids to watch for, he acknowledged, would have to be constantly updated as "terrorists become more ingenious."


That scenario, however, remains a ways off. Not only are security checkpoints not networked, but HiEnergy has not sold a single device for U.S. airports. Its main project so far involves field tests on unattended packages in Philadelphia with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.


A different kind of scanning technology that already has begun to emerge -- backscatter screening -- has no automated ability to detect explosives. But its backers say it nonetheless could go a long way to halting plots like the one apparently thwarted this week.


Backscatter screening is much like traditional X-rays, except that the system sends more, but weaker, X-rays at an object. It can't penetrate skin, but it can reveal items under someone's clothes -- such as a hidden bottle of liquid.


A major problem is that the view is so powerful that an individual's private parts can be seen, which forced the TSA to delay tests while vendors tweaked the machines' programming to distort or mask bodily images. And backscatter systems still leave it up to a human screener to recognize a suspicious item.


But Joe Reiss, vice president of marketing for backscatter vendor American Science and Engineering, says it makes more sense to invest in $50,000 systems like his -- which might help catch a wide variety of suspicious behavior -- than to zero in on liquid explosives, the technique of the moment.


"The name of the game is to provide enhanced methods of detecting what people want to conceal," he said. "If you get too focused on a perfect solution for yesterday's problem, you might be missing the bigger picture."






The (Mis)use of Research Assistants




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links for 2006-08-14

Check out Steve Rubel's links; He is the God of the Entire Internet



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False death information survives for a month in baseball biographies - Wikipedia Signpost





How to Create Feeds for Sites That Don't Have Any



An emerging category of tools has popped up that create RSS feeds for those sites that don't have any. This one: http://feeds2.be/ is powered by humans. This is Feeds2Be's BLOG:

http://blog.feeds2.be/ They offer a directory of feeds. If it's not in the directory you can alert them and they will build a feed for the site you submit.


This one: http://feed43.com/ takes a different approach by creating them through HTML scraping.


Thank you very much, Steve Rubel, You're a Gentleman and one heck of a first-class Web 2.0 Scholar! :)








Sorry for the interruptions



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Surviving teen describes ID mix-up



GAYLORD, Mich. - It was "strange to find out my family and friends had a funeral for me," says Whitney Cerak, the young woman who was wrongly identified as a dead college classmate after a van crash.



Writing on her family's online journal for the first time, Cerak described her experiences after reawakening from a near-comatose state following the crash and then learning about the mix-up.


"It is so hard to believe that this story is all over the news and so many people know about me," Cerak wrote. "Even though I don't know many of you who are reading what I am writing about my life, I am so thankful to have had your prayers."


Cerak, 19, of Gaylord, was with eight students and staff from Indiana's Taylor University when their school van collided with a tractor-trailer on April 26. Five people died in the crash, including Laura VanRyn, a 22-year-old Taylor senior.


VanRyn's mother and father mistakenly were told she was alive, while Cerak's parents were told their daughter was dead. VanRyn's family and boyfriend kept vigil at the badly injured Cerak's bedside for five weeks before realizing the error.


Cerak wrote in the journal posting Saturday that she remembers her life before the crash but doesn't recall anything during the five weeks that followed it.


"Some people came to visit me at the hospital, and a few of those were the VanRyns," Cerak wrote. "I know they were with me constantly during the first five weeks, but their visit was all I can remember.


"They are very nice people, and it was funny to hear how I acted when I first came out of my coma. When I found out that five other people were killed in the accident I was really sad."


Cerak, now home after spending months recovering at a center in the Grand Rapids area, said she is excited about resuming her education at Taylor in a few weeks and living a normal life again.


"I AM FINALLY HOME," she wrote at the end of the posting, signed, "Whitney."





















































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Social Media Sites Dominate Top Web Brands



Online Advertising Continues Growth in U.K.




Leaked AOL Data Reveals One Man's Embarrassing Problem



AOL leaked search query



From a slashdot post:


Love browsing the data. As I noticed yesterday [kiobi.com], a nice trace for user 14109288 (stripped a bit for readability):


sexual positions 05-22 21:57:18 www.sexualpositionsfree.com/

sexual positions 05-22 21:57:18 www.askmen.com/

sexual positions 05-22 21:57:18 www.condoms.au.com/

premature ejaculation 05-22 22:20:23 www.webmd.com/


Note the timestamps of the last two lines. Sounds like he had, well, an evening that did not go as planned.






eBay Users Petition Google to Start Auction Site




Matt Cutts Warns About SEO Friendship Claims



SEO Mistakes: Matt Friendship



PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?



Bah! Top "usability" sites are old, Sifting Google



A few questions for the experienced, A couple questions for the experts



TSA Explains It All for You




Does anyone know the exact quote?, What did Matt Cutts say?



The 7 Ways That People Search the Web




You Are What You Search

AOL's data leak reveals the seven ways people search the Web.








AOL recently released more than half a million customer search records. These search logs were collected from over 650,000 users. This data is not leaked or confidential in any way - it was publically released by AOL, and subsequently pulled, but we at Splunk'd have managed to preserve it for your viewing pleasure.





Jimmy Wales, the smartest kid on earth





AOL creepy user watch: Volume 10




Continuing Valleywag's tireless coverage of the AOL users whose search records were exposed to the world last weekend:


* Reader Aleks found User 22646185, who looked for "latinas laughing at little white dicks." They probably won't be tapped for an "AOL, fun for families!" commercial any time.

* Reader Georgia says, "Does Ted Turner use AOL? User 20853699 is a classic with only 5 searches to his name: 'why you shoudnt drink after surgery,' 'why you shoudnt drink after surgery,' 'can you drink alcohol after surgery,' 'does alcohol thin your blood,' and 'time warner cable.'"

* Slate's Paul Boutin IDs the seven types of searcher, and the subspecies of the Pornhound. [slate]

* Speaking of search habits, has anyone noticed that even the dirtiest searchers will eventually take a break to search for food? It's all like "rape porn," "tentacle," "bdsm," "steak sandwich."








AOL creepy user watch: volume 9




Get over it already, There is ZERO privacy on the Modern Internet.


If you can't deal with it, TOUGH!


Take my advice: Jump off a bridge or a tall building.


Only thing I ask is, Don't go doing it during our fracking rush hour LOL!



Your Privacy Is An Illusion





Yet ANOTHER Fake image scandal?



Bloggers Smell Fake Castro Images




UH-OH, CSI: Blogosphere Division's gonna find out who faked those photos.


There are always brain-deficient people on the Net who think they are too smart for the rest of us, who truly believe they can doctor graphics with Photoshop and pull the so-called wool over all our collective eyes. Something really stinks in Denmark concerning these Castro pics.



Conflicting images????

Castro's picture by AP (and they do not admit to any authenticity on this one) show Castro holding a newspaper, showing him alive, well and recuperating.





US Satellite Plan Could Knock Out GPS and Radio



US satellite plan 'will knock out Pacific radio links'



4.00pm Monday August 14, 2006

By Kent Atkinson


Pacific Island nations -- and airline pilots around the globe -- could lose high frequency radio links for up to a week if the US goes ahead with a plan to protect its satellite network, Otago University researchers said today.


They warned the Americans plan to protect its satellites from both natural radiation and "airbursts" of nuclear weapons posed a global communications threat.


The US Air Force and the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have proposed using very low frequency radio waves to flush particles from radiation "belts" above Earth and dump them into the upper atmosphere over either one or several days.


This deluge of dumped charged particles would temporarily change the ionosphere from a "mirror" that bounced high frequency radio waves around the planet to a "sponge" that soaked them up, Dr Craig Rodger of Otago University's physics department, said today.


The ionosphere is one of the highest layers of the Earth's atmosphere, starting at about 70km and continuing out to about 640km, and contains ions created when solar radiation tears electrons off atoms in the atmosphere. It is important for reflection of some radio waves.


Dr Rodger, lead researcher on a multinational study also involving scientists from Finland and Britain, said plane pilots and ships would lose radio contact and some Pacific Island nations could be isolated for up to a week, depending on the system's design and how it was operated.


He said GPS services would also likely suffer large-scale disruptions, if signals between ground users and satellites were scrambled in the ionosphere.


The US "radiation belt remediation" was intended to protect hundreds of low earth-orbiting satellites from having their onboard electronics ruined by charged particles in unusually intense radiation belts "pumped up" by powerful solar storms -- or small nuclear weapons deliberately exploded in the atmosphere to disrupt communications.


"Earth's upper atmosphere would be dramatically affected by such a system, causing unusually intense high-frequency (radio) blackouts around most of the world," Dr Rodger said.


The researchers, whose work is published work in August edition of the international journal Annales Geophysicae, called for policymakers to carefully consider the implications of the US scheme.


"If the intense radiation belts resulted from a rogue state detonating a nuclear-tipped missile in the upper atmosphere, using such remediation technology would probably be acceptable to the international community," they said.


But the case for using the system to mitigate the lesser risk to satellites from charged particles injected by naturally-occurring solar storms needed to be considered more closely and weighed against the impact of the disruption to global communications.


Many developed countries use HF radio for communicating with aircraft and ships, international broadcasting, amateur radio, and fixed long-distance communications, and developing countries use it for domestic links - national broadcasters and both mobile and fixed point-to-point communications.


The researchers also considered whether the changes to atmospheric chemistry would harm the ozone layer, but found that ozone depletion would be short-lived.









Biometric Terrorist Detector





Which Travelers Have 'Hostile Intent'? Biometric Device May Have the Answer






At airport security checkpoints in Knoxville, Tenn. this summer, scores of departing passengers were chosen to step behind a curtain, sit in a metallic oval booth and don headphones.


With one hand inserted into a sensor that monitors physical responses, the travelers used the other hand to answer questions on a touch screen about their plans. A machine measured biometric responses -- blood pressure, pulse and sweat levels -- that then were analyzed by software. The idea was to ferret out U.S. officials who were carrying out carefully constructed but make-believe terrorist missions.



The trial of the Israeli-developed system represents an effort by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to determine whether technology can spot passengers who have "hostile intent." In effect, the screening system attempts to mechanize Israel's vaunted airport-security process by using algorithms, artificial-intelligence software and polygraph principles.


Neither the TSA nor Suspect Detection Systems Ltd., the Israeli company, will discuss the Knoxville trial, whose primary goal was to uncover the designated bad guys, not to identify threats among real travelers. They won't even say what questions were asked of travelers, though the system is generally designed to measure physical responses to hot-button questions like "Are you planning to immigrate illegally?" or "Are you smuggling drugs."


The test alone signals a push for new ways to combat terrorists using technology. Authorities are convinced that beyond hunting for weapons and dangerous liquids brought on board airliners, the battle for security lies in identifying dangerous passengers.


The method isn't intended to catch specific lies, says Shabtai Shoval, chief executive of Suspect Detection Systems, the start-up business behind the technology dubbed Cogito. "What we are looking for are patterns of behavior that indicate something all terrorists have: the fear of being caught," he says.

[The Israeli-developed system combines questions and biometric measurements to determine if a passenger should undergo screening by security officials.]

The Israeli-developed system combines questions and biometric measurements to determine if a passenger should undergo screening by security officials.


Security specialists say such technology can enhance, but not replace, existing detection machines and procedures. Some independent experts who are familiar with Mr. Shoval's product say that while his technology isn't yet mature, it has potential. "You can't replicate the Israeli system exactly, but if you can incorporate its philosophy, this technology can be one element of a better solution," says Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, chief executive of Asero Worldwide consulting firm and a former senior official in Israel's security service.


To date, the TSA has more confidence in people than machines to detect suspicious behavior. A small program now is using screening officers to watch travelers for suspicious behavior. "It may be the only thing I know of that favors the human solution instead of technology," says TSA chief Kip Hawley.


The people-based program -- called Screening Passengers by Observation Technique, or SPOT -- began undergoing tests at Boston's Logan Airport after 9/11 and has expanded to about a dozen airports. Trained teams watch travelers in security lines and elsewhere. They look for obvious things like someone wearing a heavy coat on a hot day, but also for subtle signs like vocal timbre, gestures and tiny facial movements that indicate someone is trying to disguise an emotion.


TSA officers observe passengers while consulting a list of more than 30 questionable behaviors, each of which has a numerical score. If someone scores high enough, an officer approaches the person and asks a few questions.


"All you know is there's an emotion being concealed. You have to find out why the emotion is occurring," says Paul Ekman, a San Francisco psychologist who pioneered work on facial expressions and is informally advising the TSA. "You can find out very quickly."


More than 80% of those approached are quickly dismissed, he says. The explanations for hiding emotions often are innocent: A traveler might be stressed out from work, worried about missing a flight or sad because a relative just died. If suspicions remain, the traveler is interviewed at greater length by a screener with more specialized training. SPOT teams have identified about 100 people who were trying to smuggle drugs, use fake IDs and commit other crimes, but not terrorist acts.


The TSA says that, because the program is based on human behavior, not attributes, it isn't vulnerable to racial profiling. Critics worry it still could run afoul of civil rights. "Our concern is that giving TSA screeners this kind of responsibility and discretion can result in their making decisions not based on solid criteria but on impermissible characteristics such as race," says Gregory T. Nojeim, associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington legislative office.


Mr. Shoval, the Israeli entrepreneur, believes technology-based screening is the key to rolling out behavior-recognition techniques in the U.S. With experience in counter-terrorism service and the high-technology industry, Mr. Shoval developed his Cogito device with leading former Israeli intelligence officials, polygraph experts and computer-science academics.


Here is the Cogito concept: A passenger enters the booth, swipes his passport and responds in his choice of language to 15 to 20 questions generated by factors such as the location, and personal attributes like nationality, gender and age. The process takes as much as five minutes, after which the passenger is either cleared or interviewed further by a security officer.


At the heart of the system is proprietary software that draws on Israel's extensive field experience with suicide bombers and security-related interrogations. The system aims to test the responses to words, in many languages, that trigger psycho-physiological responses among people with terrorist intent.


The technology isn't geared toward detecting general nervousness: Mr. Shoval says terrorists often are trained to be cool and to conceal stress. Unlike a standard lie detector, the technology analyzes a person's answers not only in relation to his other responses but also those of a broader peer group determined by a range of security considerations. "We can recognize patterns for people with hostile agendas based on research with Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and other nationalities in Israel," Mr. Shoval says. "We haven't tried it with Chinese or Iraqis yet." In theory, the Cogito machine could be customized for specific cultures, and questions could be tailored to intelligence about a specific threat.


The biggest challenge in commercializing Cogito is reducing false results that either implicate innocent travelers or let bad guys slip through. Mr. Shoval's company has conducted about 10 trials in Israel, including tests in which control groups were given terrorist missions and tried to beat the system. In the latest Israeli trial, the system caught 85% of the role-acting terrorists, meaning that 15% got through, and incorrectly identified 8% of innocent travelers as potential threats, according to corporate marketing materials.


The company's goal is to prove it can catch at least 90% of potential saboteurs -- a 10% false-negative rate -- while inconveniencing just 4% of innocent travelers.


Mr. Shoval won a contract for the Knoxville trial in a competitive process. Next year, Israeli authorities plan to test Cogito at the country's main international airport and at checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank, where the goal will be to catch genuine security threats while testing the logistics of using the system more broadly. The latest prototype costs about $200,000 a machine.


Even though his expertise is in human observation, U.S. behavior-recognition expert Dr. Ekman says projects like Cogito deserve a shot. He expects technology to advance even further, to devices like lasers that measure people's vital signs from a distance. Within a year, he predicts, such technology will be able to tell whether someone's "blood pressure or heart rate is significantly higher than the last 10 people" who entered an airport.























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