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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Civilization and Capital Punishment

The Volokh Conspiracy - has a very nice commentary of a "civilized society" and the use of capital punishment, specifically related to the execution of a serial child murderer in Iran.

Spies infiltrate zombie computer networks

This is a REALLY good article. The use of zombied computers to launch DOS attacks is an "old" but effective method of attack.
Before looking at the article, NOTE: ONLY windows based machines are targets of this type of nonsense. If you run a Mac, or, in my case, a Linux box, this stuff will not get you.

It works like this. Some idiot uses a Windows based machine with no firewall, no virus protection, no adware protection, and mindlessly clicks on an email attachment. This is usually something like promised pictures of a naked woman or another teaser. When you click on the executable file (or a .doc file, indicating a Microsoft Word file...., thank you AGAIN, Bill Gates), the attachment inserts a small line of code that sends a quick message out and waits for instructions. Upon command, your machine will either send mail, or (more likely) a "ping" to a specified internet address. When you have tens of thousands of puters sending multiple pings (an internet way of saying "knock knock, are you there?"), the receiving server is so overwhelmed it simply gives up and stops receiving ANY traffic.

Because this is a "swarming" type of attack, it is very difficult to detect and prosecute the source. Using a "honeypot" (honeyNET, in this case), you lure bad code, take it apart, and send in "spy" code to infiltrate the outfit who originally sent it. The original article is here. New Scientist Breaking News - Spies infiltrate zombie computer networks

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Constitution Killers

The recent ruling by Kennedy and the USSC on the death penalty is frightening, not because it is bad Constitutional law, but because it is NOT Constitutional law, and makes no pretense of being such. Instead, they appeal to some "national consensus" and even seem to have made that one up on the spot. Kennedy and company did a shoddy job of lining up this lie, first inventing a national consensus against executing 17-year olds, then conceding that it doesn't exist by whining about America's refusal to ratify international treaties that forbid the practice.

George Neumayr's article in the American Spectator states as follows:

Since the justices maintain the practice of never consulting for the meaning of the Constitution the framers who actually wrote it, they made sure not to include in Roper the number of 17-year-old murderers executed at the time of the country's founding. The Supreme Court has zero interest in the America of the founders, indeed looks longingly to the Europe that the framers left for co-authorship in forming a new Constitution to supplant the framers' one. What Anthony Kennedy calls cultural evolution looks more like regression -- a return to the tyrannies of Enlightenment Europe.

The Supreme Court's judicial activists are cutting off the branch on which they sit. By rejecting the law and putting their personal opinions in its place, the justices invite the people to imitate them and disregard their decrees with the same willfulness they disregard the Constitution. If Anthony Kennedy isn't bound by the framers' words, why are the people bound by his?
The authority of Supreme Court justices derives from the authority of the Constitution: once they deny its authority, they deny their own.


Brave, Young and Muslim

Usually I don't care much for this guy, but today's NYT op ed by Thomas Friedman is pretty good in its basic concept. He immediately segues into a paen for Irshad Manji, who is the darling Muslim "reformer" for the left. I wonder how much an open lesbian/feminist can REALLY represent a muslim reform movement. I see her as more of a Rushdie type, on some death lists and considered kind of an oddball, but not reaching the heart and soul of average folks. Nevertheless, the analysis of the US view of the Middle East as a "gas station" where we did not care what happened as long as the price was low and they were accepting of Israel is a very good one. I also like the concept of the "noise out back" in the Arab world now being stirrings of DEMOCRATIC nationalism, rather that nationalistic impulses for Sharia law and religious fanaticism. I believe the "muslim revolution" which began with the overthrow of the Shah is not so much a religious revival of Islam as it has been a political desire for power. Islam was a defining character of these political entities and many though it sufficient to guide these states to depose corrupt rulers and empower the people. If Afghanistan showed anything, it is that Sharia law is a one way ticket to mediaevalism. The successful elections of Iraq and the ability of the Arab Street to boot Syria out of Lebanon may have just started a ball rolling that wll transform the muslim world in a VERY good way. I hope so.