Bruce Sterling | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

I Found The Brain Of Santa Claus Underneath My Bed

  • Superman and Batman spent almost the entire issue about three seconds away from just making out in the Fortress of Solitude. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered where the people who write slash fiction get the idea that it’s something they should be doing, it all starts right here.
  • Kenneth Goff (1915-1972) was a “reformed communist,” Baptist minister and a prolific “anti-Red” pamphleteer during the mid-20th century. The following are some of his greatest literary hits as selected from the CONELRAD book shelf.
  • When Mimi Ash arrived at her mountain chalet here for a weekend ski trip, she discovered that someone had broken into the home and changed the locks.When she finally got into the house, it was empty. All of her possessions were gone: furniture, her son’s ski medals, winter clothes and family photos. Also missing was a wooden box, its top inscribed with the words “Together Forever,” that contained the ashes of her late husband, Robert.

    The culprit, Ms. Ash soon learned, was not a burglar but her bank. According to a federal lawsuit filed in October by Ms. Ash, Bank of America had wrongfully foreclosed on her house and thrown out her belongings, without alerting Ms. Ash beforehand.

  • “The geeks who man the NSA don’t look much like Julian Assange, because they have college degrees, shorter haircuts, better health insurance and far fewer stamps in their passports. But the sources of their power are pretty much identical to his. They use computers and they get their mitts on info that doesn’t much wanna be free.”
  • Public authorities and their staff bear sole responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of legitimately classified information under their control. Other individuals, including journalists, media workers and civil society representatives, who receive and disseminate classified information because they believe it is in the public interest, should not be subject to liability unless they committed fraud or another crime to obtain the information. In addition, government “whistleblowers” releasing information on violations of the law, on wrongdoing by public bodies, on a serious threat to health, safety or the environment, or on a breach of human rights or humanitarian law should be protected against legal, administrative or employment-related sanctions if they act in good faith.
  • a complete and unexpurgated republishing of all 146 issues (including supplements and related ephemera) of The Realist (historic underground magazine)
  • 1500 copies of high quality reproduction Bibles (shown at left) were distributed to delegates at the 2008 DNC, with other copies later distributed via xerox at the RNC.
  • Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

    Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.

  • A career burglar from Pennsylvania is accused of writing a prison letter in which he threatened to kill President Barack Obama and eat his flesh.
    Thanks Patrick Nybakken
  • The researchers decided to investigate the phenomenon and launched a weather balloon with equipment capable of registering the wind speed, the temperature and the air moisture. But the weather balloon soared upwards and immediately disappeared.In a little while, the researchers brought the weather balloon back to the ground with the help of a rope attached to it earlier. They were extremely surprised to see that a chronometer set in the weather balloon displayed the date of January 27, 1965, the same day 30 years ago. The experiment was repeated several times after the researchers found out the equipment was in good repair. But each time the watch was back it displayed the past time. The phenomenon was called “the time gate” and was reported to the White House.

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on December 23, 2010

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Broke Dicks

  • Like everything these days, great care must be taken to ensure that as few people as possible are offended by anything. Google Instant is no exception. Somewhere within Google there exists a master list of “bad words” and evil concepts that Google Instant is programmed to not act upon, lest someone see something offensive in the instant results… even if that’s exactly what they typed into the search bar. We call it Google Blacklist.
  • Oh yes, they did!
  • More than 400 Norwin High School seniors got an eyeful Friday morning when pornographic photos appeared on a giant screen during a presentation on the importance of donating blood, triggering awkward laughter, a police investigation and an apology from school officials. The images — described by students as gay pornography — were on a flash drive belonging to a Central Blood Bank employee who was about to deliver a PowerPoint presentation to the entire senior class. Assistant Principal Tim Kotch plugged the drive into a computer, clicked on a file, and several photos appeared.
  • According to the Justice Department’s report, FBI officials, including the Pittsburgh office’s top lawyer, engaged in distinctly COINTELPRO-style tactics after the American Civil Liberties Union sued for the release of documents relating to the surveillance. Boiled down to their essence, those tactics involved officials generating post-dated “routing slips” and other paper to create a terrorism threat that didn’t exist. Or as the inspector general put it, the FBI’s elaborate, “after-the-fact reconstruction” of the Pittsburgh events, designed to fabricate a counter-terrorism rationale for the rookie’s surveillance mission, “was not corroborated by any witnesses or contemporaneous documents.” It was on the basis of their fabrication, moreover, that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III gave “inaccurate and misleading” testimony to Congress, the IG said.
  • The better option, though, is to use a camera with networking capabilities. We’re increasingly seeing spy movies-come-to-life cameras like this Bluetooth device from Looxcie, which you wear over your ear and lets you instantly email video, but the same technology is also standard now in most smart phones. The ability to store audio or video off site—to email it to friends (or yourself), or to upload it to social networking sites—is becoming more and more accessible. And it’s a pretty powerful check on government, as shown by the Iran demonstrations, the Grant shooting, and the alleged police abuses shown in hundreds of videos uploaded to video sharing sites.
  • The anonymous pro-piracy group 4Chan this weekend propagated a series of denial-of-service attacks against a number of high-profile trade associations and anti-piracy groups in this country and abroad that succeeded in interrupting internet service for long periods of time. The attacks were in retribution for similar DDoS attacks perpetrated by Aiplex, an Indian anti-piracy group that admitted in early September that new, more aggressive tactics were being attempted on behalf of movie industry clients, which include many Bollywood studios but also Fox STAR Studios, which is owned by 20th Century Fox. Those attacks targeted The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing sites.
  • Case in point: evercookie, an open source JavaScript API by developer Samy Kamkar. When implemented by a website, evercookie stores a user ID and cookie data in not two, not three, but eight different places—with more on the way. Among them are your standard HTTP cookies, Flash cookies, RGB values of force-cached PNGs, your Web history, and a smattering of HTML5 storage features. In addition, Silverlight Storage and Java are apparently on the way. So, when you delete the cookie in one, three, or five places, evercookie can dip into one of its many other repositories to poll your user ID and restore the data tracking cookies. It works cross-browser, too—if the Local Shared Object cookie is intact, evercookie can spread to whatever other browsers you choose to use on the same machine. Since most users are barely aware of these storage methods, it’s unlikely that users will ever delete all of them.
  • What exactly is broken penis syndrome? It’s what we call penile fracture. It is a severe form of bending injury to the erect penis that occurs when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears. The tunica albuginea surrounds the corpora cavernosa, specialized spongy tissue in the core of the penis that fills up with blood during an erection. When the tunica albuginea tears, the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other tissues. You get bruising and swelling. What are the signs of penile fracture? Usually there will be a popping sound. If someone has severe pain (in the penis), especially associated with bruising, swelling and loss of erection, he should seek emergency care.
  • By the time I strolled into the emergency department, the young man’s member had come to resemble a hybridized sausage having the shiny, soft capsule of a fine Wisconsin bratwurst and the puffy corpus and purple coloration of a morcilla fresh from the Pampas. By the general standards of blunt penis trauma — from the superficial bruising from forcibly engaging a clarinet to the bleeding urethra of a pincing dresser drawer — this was somewhat unusual.
  • The modern West’s first recorded encounter with the Polynesian practice of tattowing dates from 1769, when Joseph Banks—a naturalist aboard the British ship Endeavour—watched a 12-year-old girl (the “patient,” he called her, though modern aficionados might prefer the term “collector”) being extensively adorned. Banks’ description is brief but harrowing: “It was done with a large instrument about 2 inches long containing about 30 teeth,” he wrote in his journal. “Every stroke…drew blood.” The girl wailed and writhed but two women held her down, occasionally beating her. The agony lasted more than an hour.
  • Rhodes noted that people fear the blast and radiation effects of atomic bombs, but it’s really the fires that are most destructive. The fireball ignites everything far beyond the blast effects. As a result, nuclear winter remains a threat. Former researchers of nuclear winter used sophisticated new climate models to assess what would happen if, say, there was an exchange of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs (1.5 kilotons) between India and Pakistan. The smoke clouds would disrupt the weather long enough to collapse some agriculture, leading to starvation of as many as a bilion people.
  • Leonard Skinner, arguably the most influential high school gym teacher in American popular culture, whose enforcement of a draconian classroom policy against long hair inspired some of his students to name their Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died
  • Be on the lookout, warn the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center, for such “indicators of possible terrorist activity” as “behavior that could indicate participation in surveillance of potential targets,” “travel or interest in traveling overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary camps,” or checking out “websites and reading materials that advocate violence and then initiating action in support of this activity.” See something? Say something!
  • As one Senator, Clarence Dill, noted in support of the ban: In his experience, the dial phone “could not be more awkward than it is. One has to use both hands to dial; he must be in a position where there is good light, day or night, in order to see the number; and if he happens to turn the dial not quite far enough, then he gets a wrong connection.” Is it any wonder that some of us think that it’s not a good idea for elected officials to determine the relative merits of technology?
  • When you’re shopping for stolen credit and debit cards online, there are so many choices these days. A glut of stolen data — combined with innovation and cutthroat competition among vendors — is conspiring to keep prices for stolen account numbers exceptionally low. Even so, many readers probably have no idea that their credit card information is worth only about $1.50 on the black market. Don’t you just hate it, though, when online stores nickel and dime you to death? I started to get that chintzy vibe when I opened an account at rock3d.cc, one of many sites where one can buy stolen Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Amex card information. The purloined card numbers — no doubt lifted from PCs infected with data-stealing malware like the ZeuS Trojan — fetch $1.50 for U.S. accounts, and $4 (USD) for accounts belonging to U.K. residents.
  • The folks over at Open Acta Mexico sent over their report on an open information meeting at the Ministry of the Economy in Mexico about ACTA last week. There were two oddities that they called attention to. The first is that there was an MPAA representative at the meeting, who apparently asked whether or not ACTA could be used to block access to “damaging” sites like Wikileaks. As the Open Acta Mexico people asked, what does Wikileaks have to do with movies? It seems like an interesting question, though, and I’m assuming that the MPAA is using Wikileaks as an example of a site they deem “dangerous” to get the idea across, so that later when they designate other sites (say… The Pirate Bay….) as dangerous, they can use this to make the case it should be blocked. Nice to see the MPAA is so blatant about using copyright for censorship…
  • As Mexicans celebrate the 200th anniversary of their independence from Spain, evoking a history of resistance against colonialism, a disturbing development unfolds on the country’s northern border: a fleet of US Predator B drones has been deployed on constant patrol.
  • Ridge Meadows RCMP today admitted they were helpless in attempting to get a video removed from the internet of what investigators called the appalling gang rape of a 16-year-old girl by seven males at a rave early Saturday.
  • Jews throughout Williamsburg snapped up caffeine suppositories today, hours before the start of the Yom Kippur fast that would deprive them of the jolt — and hunger suppression — that coffee typically provides. The day-long fast is the centerpiece of the holiest day on the Jewish calendar — but some religious Jews see a Talmudic loophole that allows them to ingest their daily dose of caffeine, albeit through a different orifice.
  • The scientists looked for the residue these drugs leave behind in human urine after they have been taken, and which end up in the water. The results showed the presence of eight kinds of drugs, particularly cocaine and ecstasy, SINC said. “The results confirm the presence of drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, codeine, morphine and cannabis in the surface waters … at levels ranging between 0.06 and 78.78 nanogrammes per litre,” said Yolanda Pico, lead author of the study.
  • Italian monetary authorities said Tuesday that they had impounded $30 million from the Vatican bank and placed its top two officers under investigation in connection with a money-laundering inquiry. The announcement amounted to another potential storm confronting the papacy of Benedict XVI, who is struggling with the effects of a priestly abuse scandal.
  • A UN probe said Wednesday there was “clear evidence to support prosecutions” against Israel for “willful killing” and torture committed when its troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May. In a scathing report, it also threw out Israel’s argument that activists on the aid ship were violent thereby justifying the decision by Israeli soldiers to open fire, adding that some were the victim of actions “consistent with…summary execution.”

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on September 23, 2010

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