Archive for September, 2005

Credit card companies biggest threat for credit card security

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Keep in mind that the Citibank story I told you about losing backup tapes via UPS ISN’T the company they’re referring to below that lost 42,000,000 credit card numbers, SSN’s, addresses, phone numbers, etc. – that was a different incident happening a month ago or so.

“Last week, Mastercard announced that up to 40,000,000 credit card numbers may have been compromised by one of their processing companies. Today, the New York Times (registration, along with first born child, required) is reporting that the company in question, CardSystems Solutions, should not have been retaining that data to begin with. John M. Perry, CEO of the processor in question, claims the data was merely being kept for ‘research purposes.’ The number of compromised Master Card accounts has been revised downward to about 68,000, with another 132,000 possibly compromised accounts belonging to Visa, American Express, and other companies.”

It’s nice to see that our credit card companies hold our sensitive, private data in such high regard. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If data in a vendor’s system is compromised, Visa and Mastercard will charge fines upward of a hundred thousand dollars per violation, and by the time a third violation occurs, your place of business may be denied use of credit card services permanently.

That’s a good thing for everyone, but when crap like this happens it ticks me off. Credit Card companies are (correctly) requiring the strictest standards for storing cardholder data by vendors, but at the same time they themselves are losing 40 million cardnumbers, losing unencrypted backup tapes in shipping, etc. What ticks me off is that if I’m a vendor and I screw up and lose a credit card number into the wild, I get fined 100K. If they lose 40 million cards, what are they gonna do, fine themselves?

Then of course you have to worry about “ok, out of the total of a possible 80,000,000 credit card numbers and sensitive data that has been lost – is mine one of them?”. It’s not like they’re going to call you and say “hey, by the way, we screwed up and lost your card number, SSN, home address, phone number, etc….um….oops?”. So basically, no matter how careful you are with your credit card number, the credit card companies themselves seem to have proved themselves your biggest danger for CC fraud. Nice.


Friday, September 30th, 2005

Unsmart – adj.

Displaying a (usually) temporary lack of intelligence, cunning, or wit.

“It was very unsmart of me to do that just now”

Armed flipper let loose by Katrina

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

“It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico. ”

“The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea. ”,6903,1577753,00.html
Cue the obligatory Austin Powers quote…

Dr Evil: You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here! What do we have?

Number Two: Sea Bass.

Dr. Evil: [pause] Right.

Number Two: They’re mutated sea bass.

Dr. Evil: Are they ill tempered?

Number Two: Absolutely.

Dr. Evil: Oh well, that’s a start.

5 Slashdot mod points

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Got 5 more mod points today. 🙂

Hurricanes created by Japanese mafia? WTF?!

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

I thought this was a joke and probably should’ve been posted on The Onion instead, but anyways, apparently this crackpot meteorologist is serious.

Scott Stevens, a meteorologist for the last nine years on KPVI-TV, is blaming the Japanese mafia (Yakuza) for the hurricanes we’ve been hearing about on the news. That’s right, it’s a conspiracy using a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to launch storms against the U.S. mainland.

Apparently New Orleans was in retaliation for Hiroshima and will soon be used to wreak havoc on more American cities.

So you see, it’s not global warming, it’s not God punishing us…oh no. It’s those damn commies!!1!

Steven’s web site:

Stupid Katrina quotes

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Quotes About Hurricane Katrina And Its Aftermath

1) “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” –President Bush, on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina

2) “What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them.” –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 5, 2005

3) “We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do … The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.” (Laughter) —President Bush, touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

4) “Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans, virtually a city that has been destroyed, things are going relatively well.” –FEMA Director Michael Brown, Sept. 1, 2005

5) “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” –President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005

6) “Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?” –House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX), to three young hurricane evacuees from New Orleans at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 9, 2005

7) “Well, I think if you look at what actually happened, I remember on Tuesday morning picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, ‘New Orleans Dodged the Bullet.’ Because if you recall, the storm moved to the east and then continued on and appeared to pass with considerable damage but nothing worse.” –Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, blaming media coverage for the government’s failings, “Meet the Press,” Sept. 4, 2005

8) “What didn’t go right?'” –President Bush, as quoted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), after she urged him to fire FEMA Director Michael Brown “because of all that went wrong, of all that didn’t go right” in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort

9) “I mean, you have people who don’t heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.” –Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sept. 6, 2005

10) “You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals…many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold.” –CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans’ hurricane evacuees, Sept. 1, 2005

11) “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” –Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) to lobbyists, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal

12) “If one person criticizes [the local authorities’ relief efforts] or says one more thing, including the president of the United States, he will hear from me. One more word about it after this show airs, and I…I might likely have to punch him, literally.” –Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), “This Week with George Stephanopoulous,” Sept. 4, 2005

13) “There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works.

14) “I believe the town where I used to come – from Houston, Texas, to enjoy myself, occasionally too much – will be that very same town, that it will be a better place to come to.” –President Bush, on the tarmac at the New Orleans airport, Sept. 2, 2005

15) “I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.” –Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Sept. 1, 2005

16) “Last night, we showed you the full force of a superpower government going to the rescue.” –MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Sept. 1, 2005

17) “We just learned of the convention center – we being the federal government – today.” –FEMA Director Michael Brown, to ABC’s Ted Koppel, Sept. 1, 2005, to which Koppel responded: “Don’t you guys watch television? Don’t you guys listen to the radio? Our reporters have been reporting on it for more than just today.”

18) “Mayor Nagin and most mayors in this country have a hard time getting their people to work on a sunny day, let alone getting them out of the city in front of a hurricane.” –Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), on why New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin failed to follow the city’s evacuation plan and press the buses into service, “Fox News Sunday,” Sept. 11, 2005

19) “Louisiana is a city that is largely under water.” –Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, news conference, Sept. 3, 2005

20) “I also want to encourage anybody who was affected by Hurricane Corina to make sure their children are in school.” –First Lady Laura Bush, twice referring to a “Hurricane Corina” while speaking to children and parents in South Haven, Mississippi, Sept. 8, 2005

21) “It’s totally wiped out. … It’s devastating, it’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground.” –President Bush, turning to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005

22)”But I really didn’t hear that at all today. People came up to me all day long and said ‘God bless your son,’ people of different races and it was very, very moving and touching, and they felt like when he flew over that it made all the difference in their lives, so I just don’t hear that.” –Former First Lady Barbara Bush to CNN’s Larry King, after King asked her how she felt when people said that her son “doesn’t care” about race, Sept.

22) “FEMA is not going to hesitate at all in this storm. We are not going to sit back and make this a bureaucratic process. We are going to move fast, we are going to move quick, and we are going to do whatever it takes to help disaster victims.” -FEMA Director Michael Brown, Aug. 28, 2005

24) “I understand there are 10,000 people dead. It’s terrible. It’s tragic. But in a democracy of 300 million people, over years and years and years, these things happen.” –GOP strategist Jack Burkman, on MSNBC’s “Connected,” Sept. 7, 2005

25) “A young [black] man walks through chest deep floodwater after looting a grocery store in New Orleans…”
“Two [white] residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans…” –captions at Yahoo News, Aug. 30, 2005

Quotes That Didn’t Make the Top 25
“It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that’s seven feet under sea level….It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed.” –House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Aug. 31, 2005

“Judge Roberts can, maybe, you know, be thankful that a tragedy has brought him some good.” –Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, arguing that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts stands to benefit from Hurricane Katrina because “inflamed rhetoric in the United States Senate is just not going to play well now,” Sept. 1, 2005

“You know, Tim, that’s one of the things that will be debated.” –New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, after being asked by NBC’s Tim Russert why he didn’t use buses to evacuate residents in accordance with the city’s evacuation plan

“This is the largest disaster in the history of the United States, over an area twice the size of Europe.
People have to understand this is a big, big problem.” –Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Sept. 6, 2005

“You know I talked to Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi yesterday because some people were saying, ‘Well, if you hadn’t sent your National Guard to Iraq, we here in Mississippi would be better off.’ He told me ‘I’ve been out in the field every single day, hour, for four days and no one, not one single mention of the word Iraq.’ Now where does that come from? Where does that story come from if the governor is not picking up one word about it? I don’t know. I can use my imagination.” –Former President George Bush, who can give his imagination a rest, interview with CNN’s Larry King, Sept. 5, 2005

“I don’t want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl. That’s just not happening.” –Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), in a press briefing from Baton Rouge, Aug. 30, 2005

“Bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of getting the job done for the people.” –President Bush, Sept. 6, 2005

“I’ve had no reports of unrest, if the connotation of the word ‘unrest’ means that people are beginning to riot or, you know, they’re banging on walls and screaming and hollering or burning tires or whatever. I’ve had no reports of that.” -FEMA director Michael Brown, Sept. 1, 2005

“I don’t make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans.” –FEMA Director Michael Brown, arguing that the victims bear some responsibility, CNN interview, Sept. 1, 2005

“Our Nation is prepared, as never before, to deal quickly and capably with the consequences of disasters and other domestic incidents.” –FEMA Director Michael Brown, March 9, 2005

“Outstanding Political Science Professor, Central State University” –description on FEMA director Michael Brown’s resume, which turned out to be false — he was only a student there

“I’m going to go home and walk my dog and hug my wife, and maybe get a good Mexican meal and a stiff margarita and a full night’s sleep.” –FEMA Director Michael Brown, on his plans after being relieved from his role managing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, Sept. 9, 2005

“And in all fairness to the Department of Homeland Security right now, I mean this is a brand new Department that was formed after 9/11. In many ways this is a ‘learn by our mistakes and figure out what to do better’ type of scenario.” -CNN anchor Kyra Phillips, Sept. 9, 2005

“Louisiana’s Senator Landrieu announced on network television, ‘I might likely have to punch him, literally.’ And my question, since ‘him’ is the President, and both punching and threatening to punch the President is a felony, has her qualifying words ‘might likely’ saved her from arrest and prosecution?” -unknown reporter to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Sept. 6, 2005

“As of Saturday (Sept. 3), Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.” –Washington Post staff writers Manuel Roig-Franzia and Spencer Hsu, who didn’t bother to fact-check the blatant lie peddled by the Bush administration as part of its attempts to pin blame on state and local officials, when, in fact, the emergency declaration had been made on Friday, Aug. 26

“Just to get you on the record, where does the buck stop in this administration?” –White House reporter

“The President.” –White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Sept. 6, 2005


Typhoon Longwang

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Where do they come up with these names for storms? Seriously.

Wow…it looks like a big one. I’m sure it’ll only get larger over time as the picture shows. It’s sure to make most of Asia quite wet with it’s devistating burst of force. And to think that someone thought these were erected by the Japanese with Russian technology. That’s quite a tall tale. A big fallacy I think. I’m sure that after it hits, parts of Asia will have felt quite a blow. Wow, that sucks.



Copy-protection of radio? Only the RIAA could come up with this…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Ok, I have no motivation whatsoever right now to adopt any new form of radio, and this further demotivates me.

These people keep thinking they can control everything that we think, do, or say. When the founders of the USA wrote the bill of rights and drafted our first laws, they had no intention whatsoever that they would be abused this way.

Software patents? Now I cannot program an application that is an interface for presenting and displaying playback information on a portable device because Microsoft owns the patent? Come on.

Music? I’m sorry, but I have no realistic alternative to buying the CD if I want to listen to music. Radio sucks (ok, the commercials more than anything else), and I have no good reason to pay 99 cents for a song on iTunes.

I have no doubt that HDTV might have been pushed forth a lot sooner if anyone settled on a standard. Instead, they’ve been debating the different ways to present the media, and most recently the biggest qualm is with the feared broadcast flag. If it weren’t for things like broadcast flag, I’m sure I could have been watching Sonic SatAM in HD 12 years ago.

Need another point? BluRay or HD-DVD? Nope. The biggest debate I’ve seen is piracy control. Encryption schemes, manufacturing processes, etc. The studios are leaning away from HD-DVD because they basically utilize the same technology as existing DVDs, but BluRay didn’t have the must have CSS (Consumer Screwed Severely) version 2.0.

Instead of promoting innovation, this system promotes stagnation. I, for one, am sick and tired of it. And anyone who questions that… I’d like to point out that, while aural recording techniques have dramatically improved over the past 20 years, we’re still using the same basic late 70s/early 80s tech to record most of the world’s CDs. I know there’s nothing wrong with the proven tech, but why do CDs still run $16 a pop?

Midland, Michigan tax dollars hard at work

Monday, September 26th, 2005

For those that don’t know, Midland, Michigan gathered millions in taxpayer dollars for a sewage upgrade throughout the city. The reason for this is because the streets would flood because they claimed the sewers weren’t adequate enough to handle to rain during a heavy rainfall. Well, one of the first heavy rainfalls after the first area of the city is completed and this is what you get:

Yeah, this was worth it…

A picture is worth…a few million dollars?

I trust our local government to spend our tax dollars wisely…

Yeah, right!

Quote of the week: September 26th

Monday, September 26th, 2005

“We trained hard… but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form into teams we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising… and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.”

Petronius (died AD 65)