Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Apple Hides Account Info in DRM-free Music, Too!


With great power comes great responsibility, and apparently with DRM-free music comes files embedded with identifying information. Such is the situation with Apple's new DRM-free music: songs sold without DRM still have a user's full name and account e-mail embedded in them, which means that dropping that new DRM-free song on your favorite P2P network could come back to bite you.

Ken Fisher and others at started examining the files this morning and noticed their names and e-mail addresses in the files, and they found corroboration of the find at TUAW, as well. But there's more to the story: Apple embeds your account information in all songs sold on the store, not just DRM-free songs. Previously it wasn't much of a big deal, since no one could imagine users sharing encrypted, DRMed content. But now that DRM-free music from Apple is on the loose, the hidden data is more significant since it could theoretically be used to trace shared tunes back to the original owner.


Apple Debuts Unprotected Songs Online

Excerpts from
Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store started selling thousands of songs without copy protection Wednesday, marking the trendsetting company's latest coup and a model for what analysts say will likely become a pattern for online music sales.
Launching initially with songs from music company EMI Group PLC, iTunes Plus features tracks that are free of digital rights management, or DRM, technology _ copy-protection software that limits where songs or movies can be played and distributed. The unrestricted content means some songs purchased from iTunes will work for the first time directly on portable players other than Apple's iPod, including Microsoft Corp.'s Zune.
The inaugural batch of iTunes Plus songs includes music from Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd and more than a dozen of Paul McCartney's classic albums. The DRM-free tracks feature a higher sound quality and cost $1.29 apiece _ 30 cents more than the usual 99-cent price of other, copy-protected songs at the market-leading online music store. If available, users could upgrade existing purchases to DRM-free versions for 30 cents a song or $3 for most albums, Apple said.
London-based EMI, the world's third-largest music company by sales, and Cupertino-based Apple announced their partnership in April to deliver the industry's first major offering of DRM-free songs, sharing a vision of what both companies say their consumers want: flexibility and CD-audio quality. Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the world's four major record companies to start selling songs online without copy-protection software. "We definitely think it's the right thing to do," Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes, said Wednesday. "In this case, EMI's a leader and we think others will follow."

In a statement Wednesday, Jobs reiterated Apple expects that more than half of the 5 million songs on iTunes will feature a DRM-free version by the end of the year. In the meantime, Apple's iTunes Store will continue to offer songs in the same copy-protected format as today at 99-cents-per-download and encoded at 128 kilobits per second. The iTunes Plus versions are encoded at 256 kbps, which Apple says makes the audio quality on par with original recordings. Apple also will continue to encode its songs _ including EMI's DRM-free content _ in the AAC audio format, which could force some users to go through an extra step of converting tunes into a version that would be compatible with their players., by comparison, said it plans to sell songs online later this year in the DRM-free MP3 format _ the popular unrestricted audio standard that is supported by virtually any device, including Apple's best-selling iPod.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Benzene in Soft Drinks? More Information...

EDITORIAL: I have to admit that I drink my share of diet colas -- mostly Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper. Therefore, I decided to do a little more research on this topic. There are THOUSANDS of hits for keywords related to the topic. Two articles, in particular, caught my eye (but others are quite pertinent as well). One (previously linked) deserves further discussion.

The other, provides a 2006 statement from the American Beverage Association saying it will address the benzene problem with soft drink makers. But, don't think the ABA is a champion for the American consumer. Their website now clearly sides with the soft drink makers by claiming benzene levels in soft drinks is not a hazard. It looks like the ABA and soft drink makers are trying CYA tactics due to lawsuits being filed against them. BTW, smaller makers are already paying out on such suits.
There have even been questions raised by an ex-official from the FDA.
The source told (11/2006) it was "embarrassing" the Food and Drug Administration had failed to eradicate benzene residues from all drinks.

"Big companies are very powerful. If you're a regulator with a tight budget, it could have been one of those closets with skeletons in that you don't want to open," the ex-FDA enforcement official said.

The FDA agreed in 1991 for firms to "get the word out and reformulate" privately, without an official guide or limit drawn up. But isolated drinks samples continued to show elevated benzene levels in later FDA Total Diet Surveys. There is little health risk linked to the levels of benzene found in drinks, according to both the FDA and soft drinks industry. "There is a difference here between a small and unavoidable risk, and a small but avoidable risk," the ex-agency source said.

"The FDA seems to think the risk is quite low here. On the other hand, it's in a [non-essential] product nobody needs, and it doesn't have to be there. They claim they can reformulate." That's right -- sodium benzoate or its equally harmful cousin, potassium benzoate, are NOT necessary to the production of soft drinks. They are needed only for the cold-bottling process, which is what the big three (Coca-Cola, Cadbury Schweppes and PepsiCo) use to produce their products. Heat pasteurization would preserve the taste and freshness without the risk of cancer.

So, why don't the soft drink makers use it? MONEY, plain and simple. They cold-bottle drinks now. If the total effects of benzene were widely known, soft drink makers would be forced to remove the substance from their formulas -- causing them to retool for heat pasteurization. Technically, it would be a large and expensive task. So, they continue to feed us carcinogens in order to save their bottom line. Gives you a warm fuzzy, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Report: Soft Drinks May Seriously Harm Your Health

Article from
You may want to put that soda can down. A common preservative found in drinks such as Coca-Cola, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Fanta and Diet Pepsi and may cause serious cell damage, according to a report in Britain's The Independent. Sodium benzoate has the ability to switch off vital parts of a person's DNA, according to research from a British university. The problem is usually associated with aging and alcohol abuse, but new findings show that drinking soda with the preservative can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.
"The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."
Sodium benzoate, which derives from benzoic acid, has been used for years by the carbonated drinks industry to prevent mold from developing in soft drinks. The ingredient has been the subject of concern on cancer, because when mixed with Vitamin C, it turns into a carcinogenic substance called benzene, The Independent reported. Last year, a Food Standards Agency survey of benzene in drinks found high levels in four brands that were removed from store shelves. "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether," said Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Junk Science: Hot Air Study Melts Global Warming Theory

By Steven Milloy
Global warming alarmists may want to expedite their efforts to hamstring the global economy with greenhouse gas regulation.
A new study touted as showing that we’re not sufficiently panicky about manmade carbon dioxide emissions actually supports the exact opposite conclusion. “Warnings about global warming may not be dire enough, according to a climate study that describes a runaway-train acceleration of industrial carbon dioxide emissions,” USA Today shrieked this week. The study authors reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the rate of manmade carbon dioxide emissions was three times greater during 2000 to 2004 than during the 1990s.
Since increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels allegedly are causing global warming, the new study must mean that global temperatures are soaring even faster now than they did during the 1990s, right? Wrong, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Climatic Data Center.
By overlaying the atmospheric carbon dioxide trend onto graphs of near-surface temperatures, surface temperatures and ocean temperatures, it is readily apparent that ever-changing global temperatures aren’t keeping pace with ever-increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The bottom line is that while we may be burning more fossil fuels than ever beforerelatively inexpensive coal, oil and gas are facilitating steady global economic expansionthat activity isn’t having any sort of discernible or proportionate impact on global temperatures.

Not surprisingly, the study authors don’t seem to want you to know that fact since nowhere in their study do they even mention the word “temperature,” let alone do they present a graph comparing trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide with global temperature. Are such increasing rates of carbon dioxide emissions grounds for future worry? Study author Michael Raupach of the Center for Marine and Atmospheric Research in Canberra, Australia, told the Orange County Register that, “If emissions continue to increase at the rate of 3.1 percent a year, carbon dioxide concentration would rise to 560 parts per million in 2050 and soar to 1,390 parts per million in 2100.” That sure sounds scary, but what would such increases really mean for global temperatures? No one knows for sure. But it could easily be a non-event and there’s no scientific basis for pressing the panic-button.

First, despite all the carbon dioxide emitted by man since the industrial revolution, manmade carbon dioxide is an exceedingly small part of the total greenhouse effect — on the order of about 0.11 percent. Remember that we’re talking about atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in parts per million. You may choose to believe that a 3 percent annual increase in manmade carbon dioxide emissions — releases that represent way less than 1 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions — is something to worry about, but the numbers seem to speak for themselves.

Next, we’re not even really sure of the true relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. While the alarmists want us to believe that rising carbon dioxide levels necessarily increase global temperatures, scientific data from Antarctic ice cores indicate the exact opposite — increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide appear hundreds of years after increases in global temperature. If the temperature-carbon dioxide relationship indicated by the ice cores is correct, then Raupach’s concern is entirely backwards and misplaced. On the other hand, even if it were true that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels discernibly increased global temperatures, temperatures wouldn’t likely increase by very much.
Based on the physics of the greenhouse effect, a doubling of carbon dioxide levels from the pre-industrial period (supposedly around 280 parts per million) to 560 parts per million (about 48 percent higher than present levels), might lead to an increase in average global temperature on the order of less than 1 degree centigrade — and we’ve already experienced about 60 percent of that increase.
A further doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 1,120 parts per million would result in even less of an increase in temperature because of the energy absorption properties of carbon dioxide. Essentially, the Earth only radiates so much energy back into the atmosphere that is available to be absorbed by carbon dioxide. Once all that energy is absorbed, superfluous carbon dioxide will not add to the greenhouse effect.

Study author Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution made the bizarre comment in the press release that we must “shift more of the economy toward activities like service industries and information technology” — as if the ever-expanding global population won’t require even more goods like food, energy, housing, clothing and transportation in the future. We should, of course, strive for energy efficiency and new energy technologies to an extent that’s reasonable. But we shouldn’t condemn conventional energy sources based on dubious reasoning, risk harming the global economy for no good reason and deprive poor nations of their right to develop — all in the misguided hope of manually adjusting the global thermostat.

Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, and advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tech Support Needs To Improve Or Bloggers Will Report You

A new Accenture survey shows a disconnect between consumers that feel stuck and Help Desk managers focused on the bottom line.
By W. David Gardner, InformationWeek
A new customer service study by Accenture that includes tech support finds most top managers in firms with service support don't have a clue. Don't have a clue, that is, about the real benefits of good customer service and the damage lousy support can cause their companies.
The report also highlights a new and growing problem for companies that have poor customer support -- irritated customers may blog them or, worse, publicize their anger over online outlets.

"Companies that don't deliver superior service run the risk of incurring the wrath of bloggers, creative "YouTubers," and even regular customers who post their experiences on a host of 'review sites' such as,, and," according to the Accenture report.

Drawing on different surveys, including one of 1,200 consumers completed in March, Accenture found that a high percentage of users are becoming ever more annoyed at poor customer service. In another survey, consumers were asked to compare their customer service experience with driving in traffic. Fifty-four percent likened it to "driving in city traffic: slow and often requiring alternative routes to reach their destination." Another 24% said customer servic e was like "being stuck in traffic gridlock with no chance of moving forward or going back."

With top executives, the story was different and inherently troublesome for their companies. Accenture found the two top priorities of company executives were "increasing revenue creation opportunities from service and support" and, second, "increasing customer self-help capabilities via the Web." Accenture cited the differences as evidence that many executives were focused primarily on increasing direct benefits to their companies while focus on actually aiding customers would be more beneficial to their firms in the long run. Accenture noted that BEA Systems, Lexus, and Oracle Corporation have moved against the grain and have instituted effective customer service programs. By taking upfront corrective action, Accenture said, "Oracle is able to offer automated secure notifications that identify potential risks to a customer's IT environment and provide proactive advice and corrective actions to avoid loss of service."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Trooper Suspended After Porn Star Claims He Dropped Drug Charges in Exchange for Oral Sex

UPDATED: 5.25.07

Article from
A porn star claims a state trooper who stopped her on a highway let drug charges slide in exchange for oral sex.
And she says she's got proof — the trooper's own video images of the roadside tryst. The allegations have led to a Tennessee Highway Patrol investigation and the trooper's suspension. The trooper, James Randy Moss, declined to comment Tuesday. Highway Patrol spokesman Mike Browning confirmed investigators have interviewed the porn star, who is identified on a citation by her real name, Justis Richert (aka Barbie Cummings).
Richert, 21, who lives in Knoxville, did not immediately respond Tuesday to messages left on her cell phone or e-mail requests for an interview. But on her blog, written under the screen name "Barbie Cummings," she goes into explicit detail about the encounter. She says she has photos and video footage (definitely NSFW) of the encounter sent to her by the trooper, as well as a speeding ticket, to back up her story. The blog had been taken down by Tuesday afternoon, with a note saying the Web site was under construction. [The cached copied of website (NSFW) and the video (definitely NSFW) are available for review here (NSFW). The Bad Cop News Blog and Jen's Fun Little Place have more pics (NSFW), etc.]
Moss stopped Richert's pink Honda Accord for speeding outside Nashville on May 7, according to the citation. Cummings wrote that when the officer, whom she does not name, asked her if she had drugs in the car, she admitted to having some "happy pills."
"I sometimes have these pills as I may take one or two before going to a club," Cummings wrote in an entry dated May 7. "It was a small amount of pills, nothing major." Moss' citation does not mention finding any illegal narcotics in the car. When the officer told her a drug charge would mean she could not leave the state, Cummings replied that would be a problem because she frequently travels from Tennessee to Los Angeles for her work. "I tell him I make dirty movies," Cummings wrote. "He says he wished he had gotten into that industry."
The pair then watched sex videos from her Web site using Moss' laptop computer in his patrol car, she wrote. He took the pills and scattered them in the brush beside the highway. "Then he asks me, what does it cost for someone like me to get anything like you," she wrote. She describes performing oral sex on the officer outside his car in a secluded area. Photos that appear to be video stills she said he took during the incident and posted on her blog show her face but nothing that identifies the man as a trooper.
Browning said he could not confirm whether Richert gave the Highway Patrol pictures or video, but he said Moss did have a video camera in his car. Cummings blames the officer for making trouble for himself. "This police officer went ahead and told (all) of his co-workers, other police officers, and was bragging about it," she wrote. "He isn't in trouble because of the act itself, but that he chose to let it happen while he was on duty. There was no bribing, no (coercing) or convincing."

EDITORIAL: This is yet another example of those sworn to uphold the law acting in a criminal manner themselves. Law enforcement is fast loosing its status as protectors of peace and enforcers of the law. Trooper Moss seems like the lowest of the low -- making his own little porn video while taking advantage of a young girl with low moral character and breaking the law -- by not arresting Richert for drug possession or drinking while driving and most likely solicitation -- ALL at the same time. Moss should loose his job and be charged. Richert, well she should learn some morals and get her life straightened out. She's an attractive woman who could do better than the sorted life of a "porn star".

UPDATE: 5.25.07: reports: A state trooper (Randy Moss) has been fired over allegations that he disregarded a drug possession charge in exchange for oral sex from a Knoxville porn star, the Tennessee Highway Patrol announced Thursday.
James Randy Moss, 40, was suspended over the allegations earlier this week while the THP investigated the claims from the woman, who goes by the stage name
Barbie Cummings. The state now plans to file criminal charges against Moss related to her claims that he threw away her bottle of prescription pills before their encounter, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
We'll be aggressively pursuing a charge that he destroyed narcotics," Department of Safety spokesman Mike Browning said. "There could be other charges." The department received an internal complaint about the allegations that were described on a blog kept by Cummings.
[A cached copied of website (NSFW) and the video (definitely NSFW) are available for review here (NSFW).]

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Technology History: Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Windows 3.0 was released on May 22, 1990. Independent software vendors began developing Windows applications with vigor in response its increased memory addressing and a more powerful user interface. The powerful new applications help Microsoft sold more than 10 million copies of Windows, making it the best-selling graphical user interface (GUI) in the history of computing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Videotape the Key in Deputy's Trial

Photos from
The grainy videotape shows a disturbing scene: A sheriff's deputy shoots an Iraq war veteran who appears to be obeying an order to get up off the ground. A judge overseeing the trial of the deputy got a hint of how powerful the footage is when he asked prospective jurors if anyone had seen it and nearly 400 raised their hands.
Opening statements are scheduled for Monday. The video was taken by a bystander and aired repeatedly on national TV after the Jan. 29, 2006, shooting in Chino, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Former San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Ivory Webb Jr., 46, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. If convicted, he could face more than 18 years in prison.
A jury of eight men and four women was sworn in May 16 after undergoing two rounds of questioning and filling out a detailed, 26-page questionnaire that asked about their exposure to the tape, views on law enforcement and whether they owned guns.
The man who was shot, Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion, now 23, was a passenger in a car that crashed while being chased by Webb. Carrion testified at a preliminary hearing that he had been drinking at a barbecue to celebrate his recent return from Iraq. On the 40-second video clip, he can be heard swearing at Webb before the deputy tells him to "get up! get up!" [Webb is also heard swearing at Carrion.] Carrion was then shot three times in the chest, left leg and left shoulder. Webb's lawyer, Michael Schwartz, has previously suggested that his client might actually have shouted "don't get up!" [Which is a LIE!] He has also argued that Webb may have believed Carrion was reaching for a weapon in his jacket pocket as he stood up. [Which is another LIE!] Carrion was found to be unarmed.
During a preliminary hearing, Schwartz played an FBI-enhanced copy of the videotape frame by frame to show Carrion's hand going toward his jacket, a movement that is almost imperceptible when the footage is seen at real speed. Carrion is expected to testify at the trial. He has recovered and is working light duty at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La. He has also filed a civil claim against San Bernardino County.

EDITORIAL: I personally hope that Ivory Webb, Jr. spends EVERY DAY of the possible 18+ years in prison. He was out of control -- and he attempted to murder Elio Carrion in cold blood. That is 100% evident in the video -- and there's little rational room for dispute of what is seen and heard on that tape. Webb lost his temper due to the car chase and then took it out on the passenger in the car -- Elio Carrion. Ivory Webb should be charged with attempted murder, not attempted manslaughter, dereliction of duty, assault with a firearm, and wreckless endangerment (to bystanders).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Google Research Finds 10 Percent of Web Pages Hold Malware

According to research from Google, 10 percent of web pages contain malicious code. Google closely analyzed 4.5 million web pages over the course of a year and found that approximately ten percent, or 450,000, had the capability of installing malware without users' knowledge. An additional 700,000 pages are believed to be infected with code that could harm users' computers. The company says it has "started an effort to identify all web pages in the Internet that could be malicious."
Most entice users to visit the dangerous pages through tempting offers, and exploit holes in Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to install themselves on users' computers. Google also examined the vectors used by attackers to infect these web pages; most malicious code was located in elements beyond the control of website owners, such as banner advertisements and widgets.

Google Searches Web's Dark Side
The Ghost in the Browser: Analysis of Web-based Malware
[ Editor's Note (Skoudis): This is a very good piece of research, and contributes significantly to our understanding the malware threat better. I recommend that you read it. Also, it shows that today's Internet is a cesspool of malware. Using mainstream browsers with patches that often follow weeks after exploits are in the wild is an increasingly dangerous proposition.]
Source: SANS NewsBites Vol. 9 Num. 39

CORRECTION: 05.21.07
From -- Regarding the story we ran in the last edition of NewsBites about Google's Web-Based Malware study: The researchers identified 450,000 URLs launching drive-by downloads from a set of 4.5 million, which in turn had been culled from a larger set of 7 billion URLs, giving a much lower rate of malware incidence than we indicated. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

May 17 is World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

Article from
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today is marking the 142nd anniversary of its establishment in 1865 as "World Telecommunication and Information Society Day." The ITU says it's dedicated 2007 to making available the benefits of the digital revolution to young people everywhere. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said, "The key to achieving the development aspirations of the world's inhabitants lies in investing in the future generation, especially by improving access to communication among today's children and enhancing their capacities."
In his message on World Telecommunication and Information Society Day -- focusing on the 2007 theme "Connecting the Young" -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,
"Young people are among the most prolific and knowledgeable users of ICT [information and communication technology]. I urge policy-makers and industry leaders to put their minds together and to work cooperatively with children and youth to produce suitable technologies, applications and services to facilitate access to information and communication technologies."
The ITU says the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) "recognized the young as the future workforce and the earliest adopters of ICT and called for their empowerment as key contributors to building an inclusive Information Society." Since 1969, May 17 has been celebrated as World Telecommunication Day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Motorola Introduces RAZR 2 and Other New Phones

Press release, May 16; Eric Mah, DIGITIMES
Motorola presented its 2007 mobile devices collection, which included the RAZR 2 series, MOTO Z8, MOTO Q 9 and ROKR Z6 handsets.

The RAZR 2 features a slimmer exterior than its RAZR predecessor, along with new features designed to facilitate communication, according to Motorola. Select models of the RAZR 2 series feature CrystalTalk technology for better call clarity, up to 2GB of on-board memory, external texting with the phone closed and full HTML Web browsing and email access. The RAZR 2 V8, V9 and V9m will offer GSM, 3G HSDPA and EVDO CDMA connectivity, respectively. The phones will be available worldwide starting in July, according to Motorola.

Motorola's Z8 is a HSDPA-enabled handset which offers an ultra-high resolution mobile screen that operates in both portrait and landscape modes and can capture and playback video at speeds of up to 30 frames-per-second. Select versions of the Z8 features ROKR-like music capabilities and and up to 32GB of expandable memory. The phone allows for mobile TV access to streamed content from select content providers as well as mobile gaming with access. The Z8 will launch across Europe and Asia in June.

Motorola also introduced the Q 8 (GSM/EDGE) and Q 9 (HSDPA) to its MOTO Q series of phones. The Q 9, a global quad-band 3G QWERTY, based on the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system, couples a new sleek form factor with a dual-processor HSDPA/UMTS engine, enabling broadband over-the-air at up to 3.6Mbps . The Q 9 will hit shelves in Italy this week, according to the company.

Motorola announced that its newest ROKR, the Z6, will roll into Europe and Asia, following the success of the touch-screen ROKR E6 in China and India. The Z6 is a slider phone with a focus on music playback functions. The Z6 has dedicated music keys and a navigation wheel for instant access to the music library and allows for the transfer of songs using a USB 2.0 connection. The Z6 supports up to 2GB of optional removable memory and supports Stereo Bluetooth wireless technology for wire-free listening on stereo Bluetooth headsets such as the recently available ROKR S9.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prosecutors Want MySpace Sex Offenders Exposed

Article from
Top prosecutors in eight US states have asked MySpace to expose convicted sex offenders who have posted their profiles on the youth-oriented social networking website. The state attorneys-general have sent the News Corporation-owned website a letter saying: "We are gravely concerned that sexual predators are using MySpace to lure children into face-to-face encounters".

Prosecutors inked the missive after getting word that an investigative company hired by MySpace in December of 2006 has ferreted out thousands of convicted sex offenders with profile web pages. "Perhaps thousands more sexual predators - not registered or using fictitious names - are lurking on your website," stated the letter signed by the attorneys-general. "We remain concerned about the design of your site, the failure to require parental permission, and the lack of safeguards necessary to protect our children."

They gave MySpace until May 29, 2007 to reveal the names and addresses of registered sex offenders found at the website and to explain what its doing to remove their profile pages and help police uncover wrongdoing. MySpace says it is in the initial stage of checking its membership roster with a Sentinel Tech Holding company database of registered sex offenders and removing profile pages of those that match. "We agree with the attorneys-general that keeping bad people out of good places on the Internet is a challenge and a priority," MySpace security chief Hemanshu Nigam said in a statement. "It requires a commitment to develop new technologies and build tight collaborations between companies, law enforcement and policy makers."

MySpace this month launched software that identifies known sex offenders and deletes their accounts. MySpace is lobbying for a US federal law requiring convicted sex offenders to register their email addresses to make it easier to screen them from membership websites used by young people. US law requires people convicted of sex crimes to register their addresses with local police after they are released from custody.

Friday, May 11, 2007

LEARN Demands Full Investigation of Michigan Planned Parenthood Abortions

From staff @
Pastor Clenard H. Childress Jr, Northeast Regional Director of LEARN (Life Education And Resource Network - appearing at Planned Parenthood of South East Michigan and joined by members of Operation Red Sea, local pastors and Michigan State director of American Family Association issued the following statement:

We are standing here today because there have been strong indications of the possibility of crimes of the worst sort being committed at this facility.
We are standing here today demanding a proper and thorough investigation of under aged girls who have been denied protection and whose bodies have been violated for others selfish gain.
When girls under the age of 12 are brought into a Planned Parenthood and has her child aborted, that is a crime under the states current law. If there has been a cover up of these egregious acts, the citizens, and especially the authorities of Kalamazoo, need to act responsively and with all diligence.
Planned Parenthood has had numerous investigations and lawsuits filed against them in other cities regarding performing abortions illegally. Life Dynamics taped over 800 conversations with Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation clinics all across America. Those tapes prove that Planned Parenthood and NAF fail to comply with the law. They ignore the law even in cases of child sex abuse where child rape is disclosed and acknowledged - not just suspected. These tapes have already been used in court by one state to defend the parental involvement law against a Planned Parenthood lawsuit. Yet even more repulsive is the gross injustice done to these young girls.
Don Imus was fired for calling the Rutgers' Girls Basketball team "hoes". I then must ask the question, what should be done to Planned Parenthood's who treats young girls from our community like one [a prostitute]? They [Planned Parenthood] profited from those young girls sexual abuse and pain and sought no remedy for the girls' dire situation. They received their money and sent them back to the abuse and the abuser - like a piece of property a "thing' with no concern for their safety or well being. Ironically Planned Parenthood would perform the same service again, if called on, without remorse. Are they working in cooperation with sexual predators? These calloused acts only can be perceived as willingly endangering the well fare of minors and protecting sexual predators from justice.
We are calling upon all elected and appointed officials to uphold the law and hold Planned Parenthood and all parties accountable. We are asking that all information be forwarded to the [Michigan] attorney generals office and all parties in question would comply with the investigation. The citizens of this city depend on our police and their motto to "serve and protect". I ask the clergy, the shepherd's of this community, to hold its sitting officials responsible and bring this to a just conclusion.
EDITORIAL: When are people going to realize that Planned Parenthood (PPFA) is not about rights, but about monetary gain? They perform abortions, in almost ANY instance, because it makes money for them. They could care less about the well fare of the girls/women involved. Planned Parenthood could care less about the legality in many situations. Planned Parenthood is a money making machine, started by an atheist Communist (I know, that's redundant) and run by people who do not and will never value ANY life -- be it born or unborn.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Militant "Mickey Mouse" Shows Islamists True Nature

Hamas militants have suspended a TV program that featured a Mickey Mouse lookalike urging Palestinian children to fight Israel and work for global Islamic domination, the Palestinian information minister said Wednesday. Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the character - a giant black-and-white rodent with a high-pitched voice - represented a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. He said that the program was pulled from Hamas-affiliated Al Aqsa TV at his ministry's request and "placed under review."

The character, named "Farfour," or "butterfly," but unmistakably a copy of the Disney character, preached against the U.S. and Israel each Friday on the show called Tomorrow's Pioneers. "You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," Farfour squeaked on a recent episode. "We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers." Children called in to the show, many singing Hamas anthems about fighting Israel.

A spokeswoman for Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. did not return phone calls seeking comment, and the Gaza TV station had no comment. The program was opposed by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp., which is controlled by the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Hamas rival that shares power with the militants in the Palestinian government. Barghouti is an independent aligned with neither Hamas nor Fatah.

Loyalists of Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, launched the Al Aqsa satellite channel last year. Bearded young men read the news and Islamic music is layered over footage of masked militants firing rockets into Israel. The channel also broadcasts talk shows, programs about the disabled and cartoons. Hamas loyalists also run at least five news Web sites, a newspaper and a radio station.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Immigration Laws Should Be Enforced

Throughout the United States on Tuesday, “immigration rights” groups staged demonstrations demanding, in effect, that the nation tell 12 million people who broke our laws that all is forgiven — that they should be given the same rights as citizens who came to this country legally and obeyed its laws before going through naturalization proceedings.
That is objectionable enough to many Americans — but another demand of the protesters this week is even more outrageous, in a way. Along with insisting on citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States, many of the demonstrations also demanded an end to enforcement of current immigration laws. Specifically, the protesters want federal agencies to stop conducting raids on businesses that employ large numbers of illegal aliens.

President Bush and some members of Congress have indicated that they indeed do want to offer citizenship to those already in the United States illegally. Public outcry may be the only thing that has prevented such action. But, Bush and most members of Congress, to judge by their actions in providing more tools to enforce current immigration laws, are not in favor of simply throwing our borders open and doing nothing to regulate immigration in the future. In that, they are in agreement with the vast majority of Americans. Many of the protesters on Tuesday made it clear that they do not agree with enforcement — period.

That is unfortunate, but it also indicates that the open borders crowd will be satisfied with nothing less than scrapping each and every law on the books concerning immigration. Citizenship for the 12 million illegal aliens already here might well be a first step toward that — and as such, is not acceptable.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Technology History: SONY

Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita established Sony on May 7, 1946. The company began modestly as the maker of a rice boiler. The Sony name was derived as a mix of the Latin word sonus, the English word "sunny," and from the word "Sonny-boys" which is Japanese slang for "whiz kids."

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cell Biology: Assumption Of Function Not Always Correct

Science Daily A protein called RecQ takes on a totally opposite function in the bacteria Escherichia coli to the one it fulfills in yeast and in humans, indicating that people seeking to understand the role of different forms in human cells and disease need to consider both possibilities, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report in Molecular Cell.

Humans have five forms of this particular protein, and three are associated with syndromes that predispose people to cancer, said Dr. Susan Rosenberg, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Two of the forms are not associated with cancer syndromes. Other organisms have forms of this protein in varying numbers, said Rosenberg. For example, E. coli has only one. All forms appear to be very similar, no matter what the organism. When proteins are found in a variety of organisms, they are called conserved. "It was thought that because these were so well conserved, they should do more or less the same thing," said Rosenberg. However, research in her laboratory showed this was not the case.

In yeast and one of the human forms of a protein called RecQ actually works to help unzip DNA strands when chromosomes repair DNA damage using a process called genetic recombination. In this kind of repair, one chromosome aggregates with a partner chromosome--usually its twin chromosome following DNA replication--and then disaggregates following repair. If the repair aggregates are not unzipped, the chromosomes can't separate for reproduction. The yeast and human Werner syndrome enzymes helps prevent the buildup of unwanted intermediates of aggregated chromosomes that can actually kill the cells if not unzipped. When that protein is lacking, the intermediates buildup and the cells die. However, while many people think all such proteins work similarly in repair, recent work by Rosenberg and others in her laboratory demonstrates that the protein works in exactly the opposite manner in E. coli.
In yeast, she said, the protein's job is to get the two chromosomes apart. One form of the protein does this also in humans, and when this protein is mutated or missing, a premature aging and cancer-predisposition disease called Werner syndrome results. Cancer results from destabilizing the chromosomes. "When people knock out Werner (protein), they see these intermediates piling up and the cells die from failure to resolve this," she said.

Daniel B. Magner and Matthew D. Blankschien, both graduate students in Rosenberg's laboratory, found that E.coli/RecQ promotes the accumulation of these intermediates, actually promoting the cell's death by this method. When scientists begin considering the possible of effects of other relatives of RecQ in humans and other organisms, they should be aware of this finding and consider both possibilities when seeking to link mutations in the protein to disease, said Rosenberg.

Others who took part in the research include: Drs. Jennifer a. Lee, Jeanine M. Pennington and James R. Lupski, all of BCM. Support for this work came from the U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the Baylor College of Medicine Mental Retardation Research Center and National Institutes of Health.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Baylor College of Medicine.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pistachios May Take Bite Out of Cholesterol

Article from HealthDay News
Pistachios could help lower cholesterol, according to an industry-funded study presented Monday at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C.
"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.
The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
The researchers also said that a handful of pistachios provide the same antioxidants found in dark, leafy vegetables and brightly-colored fruit. "Our study has shown that pistachios, eaten with a healthy heart diet, may decrease a person's CVD risk profile," primary investigator Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

More Information
The American Heart Association offers tips on how to lower your cholesterol.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Glass Houses: Which House Belongs to the Environmentalist?

Source info: Email received 4/30/07 and
HOUSE # 1: A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house), along with a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR.
The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It is located in the South.

HOUSE # 2: Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid, high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks, and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

And just whom do these homes belong to?

HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, TN. It is the abode of that renowned "environmentalist" and filmmaker Al "Big Mac" Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

From This e-mail comparison between the homes of President George W. Bush and former vice-president Al Gore began circulating on the Internet in March, 2007 (shortly after the latter's film on the global warming issue, An Inconvenient Truth, won an Academy Award as Best Documentary). Short and sweet, there's a fair bit of truth to the e-mail: Al Gore's Nashville mansion is something of the energy-gobbler the e-mail depicts, while President Bush's Crawford ranch is more the model of responsible resource use the juxtaposition portrays it to be.

According to the Associated Press, the Gore's 10,000 square foot Belle Meade residence consumes electricity at a rate of about 12 times the average for a typical house in Nashville (191,000 kwh versus 15,600 kwh). While there are mitigating factors, this is still a surprising number, given that the residence is approximately four times the size of the average new American home.

The ranch home owned by George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, (dubbed "the Texas White House") was designed by Austin architect David Heymann, an associate dean for undergraduate programs at the University of Texas School of Architecture. While its precise size isn't known, scuttlebutt has it that it's about 4,000 square feet, all on one floor. The ranch utilizes an efficient geothermal heating and cooling system that pumps ground water through a heat exchanger to warm the house in the winter and cool it in the summer, a system that expends roughly one-quarter the energy of a conventional heater/air-conditioner. Water used by the house is reclaimed, treated, and reused, and rainwater funnels from the home's gutters into a large cistern, which holds the water for garden irrigation.

This is yet another story you won't hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in The New York Times or The Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Al Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

FCC Suggests Framework for Regulating Violence on TV

Article from the AP / FOX News
Congress could regulate violence on cable, satellite and broadcast television without violating the First Amendment, the Federal Communications Commission said in a report released Wednesday. The report, which had been requested by Congress, contains suggestions for action by lawmakers, but it stops short of making specific recommendations.
A correlation exists between bloodshed on television and violence in real life, the commission said. Concluding that "exposure to violent programming can be harmful to children," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a statement accompanying the report that "Congress could provide parents more tools to limit their children's exposure to violent programming in a constitutional way." Among those tools, Congress could require cable companies to sell their programming on a per-channel or family tier basis, rather than only in pre-bundled packages. As for broadcast television, the report cites Supreme Court precedent to suggest the agency could regulate violent programming much as it regulates sexual content and profanity — by barring it from being aired during hours when children may be watching. Or it could create a family-viewing hour. It also says that technology intended to help parents shield their children from objectionable programming, such as the V-chip, is inadequate.
The report indicates that Congress could develop a definition of excessively violent programming but that such language "needs to be narrowly tailored in conformance with judicial precedent." Martin has been joined in his push for cleaning up the airwaves by Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps, who wrote: "It is not an easy challenge to develop rules that pass constitutional muster, but given what amounts to a public health crisis at hand, I believe it is a challenge that must be met."
Word of the report, which has been circulating around the agency for months, has alarmed executives in the broadcast and cable industries as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Their concern is how the agency would define violent programming and what would qualify for sanction — for example, how violent news programming would be treated. Martin suggested Wednesday there may be a special exception for news, saying the context and content of the message should be considered.
The ACLU had harsh words for the report, calling the FCC's recommendations "political pandering," in a statement attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, the organization's director of its legislative office in Washington. "There are some things the government does well, but deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them," she said.
Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, while approving the report in part and concurring in part, said he was disappointed with it because of a lack of clarity. "We punted to Congress the difficult questions that Congress asked us to answer," he said, such as coming up with a definition for excessively violent programming.
The report was requested by a bipartisan group of 39 House members nearly
three years ago and is well past its Jan. 1, 2005, due date. The lawmakers asked whether the FCC could define "exceedingly violent programming that is harmful to children." It also asked whether the agency could regulate such programming "in a constitutional manner." Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he will file legislation that may incorporate some of the commission's recommendations.