March 2004

Savages mutilate bodies in Falluja [BBC]

by Limbic on March 31, 2004

These Iraqi Sunnis are acting like Palestinians.

Four contractors working for the US army have been killed and their bodies mutilated in the Iraqi city of Falluja.

The group were shot and burnt in their cars, before a cheering crowd dismembered the corpses and hung two of them from a bridge.

…The corpses were dragged from the wreckage and television pictures showed one burnt body being kicked and stamped on, while at least two were tied to cars and driven through the city, witnesses said.

Adults and children hacked the bodies to pieces, before lynching two of the charred remains from a bridge spanning the Euphrates River.

Maybe the solution is to throw a wall around them too? Maybe cordon them off from civilisation and let the rest of Iraq get on with it.

If you want to horrify yourself, check out these pictures from the attack. Be warned, they involve children playing with mutilated corpses.


Metal Storm (as in metal hailstorm) have developed “a hand gun that speaks several languages, broadcasts the conversation to the police, fires lethal and non-lethal bullets and is activated only by the grip of the registered owner…

The law-enforcement gun can tell the police station when an officer has drawn his weapon, where he is and how many rounds are fired…can tell both the user and the bad guy what it’s doing – it can say I’m on stun or I’m on lethal, and it can speak in different languages…If (the officer is) in an incident, he can switch the audio on so that the people at the station or the squads on the way to back him up can hear what’s going on.” MORE

See also “ULTIMATE FIREPOWER” from Popular Mechanics

Sound and looks like something out of Drudge Dredd, but the future is now.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Aerogel [Nasa]

by Limbic on March 29, 2004

Nearly as light as air solid which does not conduct heat well (i.e can be a heat shield).

Aerogel is a solid, but it is 99.8% empty space. In fact, it very closely approaches the density of air. It practically IS air. It’s still a solid, though, and you can even pick it up or set things on it.

Since it’s very porous, if you throw something at it, it will bury itself within the material.

This substance was recently used aboard the Stardust spacecraft, which flew through through the trail of a comet and collected dust particles. Since the dust in the comet’s trail was traveling at about 6 times the speed of a rifle bullet, the only way to collect them without altering their shape or destroying them was to use this substance. As an added benefit, objects embedded in the substance leave that nice little trail, so no matter how small the particle is, it’ll still be pretty easy to find and retrieve. And also, it doesn’t conduct heat very well…


Oil running low…

by Limbic on March 29, 2004

Following on from my recent post on Life After The Oil Crash, here is a new book by Kenneth S. Deffeyes called “Hubbert’s Peak : The Impending World Oil Shortage”.

You have to wonder about the judgment of a man who writes, “As I drive by those smelly refineries on the New Jersey Turnpike, I want to roll the windows down and inhale deeply.” But for Kenneth S. Deffeyes, that’s the smell of home. The son of a petroleum engineer, he was born in Oklahoma, “grew up in the oil patch,” became a geologist and worked for Shell Oil before becoming a professor at Princeton University. And he still knows how to wield a 36-inch-long pipe wrench.

In Hubbert’s Peak, Deffeyes writes with good humor about the oil business, but he delivers a sobering message: the 100-year petroleum era is nearly over. Global oil production will peak sometime between 2004 and 2008, and the world’s production of crude oil “will fall, never to rise again.” If Deffeyes is right–and if nothing is done to reduce the increasing global thirst for oil–energy prices will soar and economies will be plunged into recession as they desperately search for alternatives.

It’s tempting to dismiss Deffeyes as just another of the doomsayers who have been predicting, almost since oil was discovered, that we are running out of it. But Deffeyes makes a persuasive case that this time it’s for real. This is an oilman and geologist’s assessment of the future, grounded in cold mathematics. And it’s frightening. Deffeyes’s prediction is based on the work of M. King Hubbert, a Shell geologist who in 1956 predicted that U.S. oil production would peak in the early 1970s and then begin to decline. Hubbert was dismissed by many experts inside and outside the oil industry. Pro-Hubbert and anti-Hubbert factions arose and persisted until 1970, when U.S. oil production peaked and started its long decline. MORE


Just checked out Chomsky's new blog

by Limbic on March 29, 2004

He is way crazier than I thought. Check out this latest post of his:

All opponents of the invasion of Iraq — at least, all those who bothered to think the matter through — took for granted that there would be beneficial effects, as is often the case with military interventions: the bombing of Pearl Harbor, for example, which led to the expulsion of Western imperial powers from Asia, saving millions of lives. Does that justify Japanese fascism and its crimes? Of course not: there is far more to consider, and I’ve never had any question that these other considerations amply justify condemning Japan’s aggression as a war crime — the “supreme crime” of Nuremberg.

What the funk? This promises to be fun!


Googledorks proliferate

by Limbic on March 29, 2004

Google is stimulating the growth of possibly the easiest form of hacking on the internet. It involves using google’s advanced search to find files containing passwords, hidden databases, images and other materials people have placed on web servers, but did not necissarily want people to see.

Examples range from companies putting their sensitive financial information in spreadsheets on their websites to people who have left the default settings in place on web authoring programs like FrontPage (so people know where their private information is kept.)

The Register has the story – “The perils of Googling“. See also Johnny I Hack Stuff , the best online repository of Google attacks and searches.

For those who need to get either cached or private information off Google’s various archives, see

Removing Your Materials from Google – How to remove your content from Google’s various web properties.

Some people are more than thrilled to have Google’s properties index their sites. Other folks don’t want the Google bot anywhere near them. If you fall into the latter category and the bot’s already done its worst, there are several things you can do to remove your materials from Google’s index. Each of Google’s properties—Web Search, Google Images, and Google Groups—has its own set of methodologies.


…and she is concerned about the number of ladies committing suicides. The huge question is – what about men Cherie? Women receive more lenient sentences from the courts already and the male suicide rate is 6 times that of women.

We have no Minister for Men to point this out, so people like Mr Blair can get away with this sort of spurious and sexist appeal.


Superb article from Victor Davis Hanson :

The recent assassination of Sheik Saruman raises among some Americans the question—at what point should we reconsider our rather blanket support for the Israelis and show a more even-handed attitude toward the Palestinians? The answer, it seems to me, should be assessed in cultural, economic, political, and social terms.

Well, we should no longer support Israel, when…

Mr. Sharon suspends all elections and plans a decade of unquestioned rule.

Mr. Sharon suspends all investigation about fiscal impropriety as his family members spend millions of Israeli aid money in Paris.

All Israeli television and newspapers are censored by the Likud party.

Israeli hit teams enter the West Bank with the precise intention of targeting and blowing up Arab women and children.

Preteen Israeli children are apprehended with bombs under their shirts on their way to the West Bank to murder Palestinian families.

Israeli crowds rush into the street to dip their hands into the blood of their dead and march en masse chanting mass murder to the Palestinians.

Rabbis give public sermons in which they characterize Palestinians as the children of pigs and monkeys.

Israeli school textbooks state that Arabs engage in blood sacrifice and ritual murders.

Mainstream Israeli politicians, without public rebuke, call for the destruction of Palestinians on the West Bank and the end to Arab society there.

Likud party members routinely lynch and execute their opponents without trial.

Jewish fundamentalists execute with impunity women found guilty of adultery on grounds that they are impugning the “honor” of the family.

Israeli mobs with impunity tear apart Palestinian policemen held in detention.

Israeli television broadcasts—to the tune of patriotic music—the last taped messages of Jewish suicide bombers who have slaughtered dozens of Arabs.

Jewish marchers parade in the streets with their children dressed up as suicide bombers, replete with plastic suicide-bombing vests.

New Yorkers post $25,000 bounties for every Palestinian blown up by Israeli murderers.

Israeli militants murder a Jew by accident and then apologize on grounds that they though he was an Arab—to the silence of Israeli society.

Jews enter Arab villages in Israel to machine gun women and children.

Israeli public figures routinely threaten the United States with terror attacks.

Bin Laden is a folk hero in Tel Aviv.

Jewish assassins murder American diplomats and are given de facto sanctuary by Israeli society.

Israeli citizens celebrate on news that 3,000 Americans have been murdered.

Israeli citizens express support for Saddam Hussein’s supporters in Iraq in their efforts to kill Americans.

So until then, I think most Americans can see the moral differences in the present struggle.

If the Palestinians wish to hold periodic and open elections, establish an independent judiciary, create a free press, arrest murderers, subject their treasury to public scrutiny, eschew suicide murdering, censure religious leaders who call for mass murder, embrace non-violent dissidents, extend equal rights to women, end honor killings, raise funds in the Arab world earmarked only to build water, sewer, transportation, and education infrastructure, and pledge that any Jews who choose to live in the West Bank will enjoy the same rights as Arabs in Israel, then they might find Americans equally divided over questions of land and peace.

But all that is a lot of ifs. And so for the present, Palestinian leaders shouldn’t be too surprised that Americans increasingly find very little in their society that has much appeal to either our values or sympathy. If they continually assure us publicly that they are furious at Americans, then they should at least pause, reflect, and ask themselves why an overwhelming number of Americans—not Jewish, not residents of New York, not influenced by the media—are growing far more furious with them.


“According to the new research, even the most laid-back people can erupt into furious rants when debating online, and it’s all part of an effort to distinguish themselves from the next user. Some even take on multiple personalities in a bid to outsmart their online acquaintances, while others adopt menacing usernames.

Gordon Fletcher, an information systems lecturer at Salford University, revealed his findings to the British Sociological Association meeting this week. His paper, entitled “Fight Club: culture, conflict and everyday life amongst an online community, focussed on a sociological study of an online finance forum”, describes conflict as “a unifying social force that shapes individual participant’s relationships with one another”.

The research’s abstract explains: “Conflict is an important social force among online communities, as it assists in the construction of hierarchies and social orders without the need for prior knowledge of individual participants or other forms of verification or trust in relation to the claimed identity of others.” MORE


“Researchers say they’ve found more evidence of a link between a rapid rise in obesity and a corn product used to sweeten soft drinks and food since the 1970s.

The researchers examined consumption records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 1967-2000 and combined that with previous research and their own analyses.

The data showed an increase in the use of high-fructose corn sweeteners in the late 1970s and 1980s “coincidental with the epidemic of obesity,” said one of the researchers, Dr. George Bray, a longtime obesity scientist with Louisiana State University System’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center. He noted the research didn’t prove a definitive link.” MORE

If you are in a nutritionally minded mood, check out “The Trans Fat Solution: Cooking and Shopping to Eliminate the Deadliest Fat from Your Diet”.