Monthly Archives: May 2005

Stealth PATRIOT Expansion Stalled – For Now. (EFF)

Stealth PATRIOT Expansion Stalled – For Now. (EFF). Stealth PATRIOT Expansion Stalled – For Now.

The Senate Intelligence Committee failed yesterday to reach agreement on the stealth PATRIOT expansion bill
that would give the FBI expanded power to dig through the private
records of people who aren't accused of any wrongdoing. The New York
Times has the scoop (reg. req.), including a choice quote from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR):

“The committee met in private for two and a half hours amid continuing
complaints from civil liberties advocates and some Democrats that the
proposal would give federal investigators too much power to conduct
'fishing expeditions' in pursuing terrorism leads. Senate Republican
leaders and the Bush administration, who are backing the proposal, say
it provides the F.B.I. with essential tools in fighting terrorism.

'You can fight terrorism ferociously without throwing people's
rights in the trash can,' Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and a
member of the committee, said after emerging from the meeting.”

This is good but not great news: we achieved push-back, but it will
take more than that to stop the bill from moving out of committee.
Committee members will likely reconvene for another mark-up session
next week, so it's vital to keep the pressure on. If you live in a
state with a senator on the committee, write, fax, or call today:

[EFF: Deep Links] [Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)]

New Linux desktop software

New Linux desktop software. #

Jeff Waugh has just arrived in Stuttgart fresh from his eight-leg trip from Sydney, and just pointed me at the SymphonyOS desktop mockups.
This is one of the most exciting set of desktop mockups I've seen in a
long time. I've been spending some time thinking about basic desktop
layout recently and these ideas are pretty cool.

. . .

Jeff also told me about Thunar, a very nice simple file manager being written by some of the Xfce guys.

The shortcut bar on the side matches the shortcuts from
the Gtk file selector. Does the word “duh” mean anything to you? I have
no idea why Nautilus doesn't do this yet.

Also, Thunar provides browser-style navigation, which I think is a lot more usable than the spatial mode that Nautilus uses.

Jeff seemed pretty excited about this; I got the feeling Ubuntu would
be switching to Thunar pretty shortly! If Red Hat and Sun follow, our
hand will be forced.

[nat friedman]

Here's an instantaneous way for lawyers (and others) to find someone's age – – and it's free. You can also immediately find their telephone number and address

an instantaneous way for lawyers (and others) to find someone's age – –
and it's free. You can also immediately find their telephone number and
. Zabasearch is a new people-finding and age-finding search
engine. You can enter someone's name – – and their state if you know it
– – and you will probably (I surmise by my tests) get the year and
maybe the month of their birth. You can probably also get both their
current and some former addresses and telephone numbers. I recently
discovered Zabasearch in a posting in Genie Tybursky's Virtual Chase
TVC Alert email newsletter (highly, highly recommended). (“The Virtual
Chase informs about Web sites and research strategies for finding the
law.”) You can find her site at and even
sign up in her site for her free new issues. Genie has additional
details about Zabasearch in her article entitled “Scary People Search
Engine.” She writes: “[Zabasearch] goes beyond the typical free people
search engine, which provides the names, addresses and telephone
numbers of those with public telephone listings. It also reveals
private phone numbers and birth dates (mostly the year or month and
year).” She cites to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle which
gives even more details. The title of the Chronicle article tells a
lot: “It's impressive, scary to see what a Zaba search can… [Out-of-the-Box Lawyering]

Beta book: Agile Web Development with Rails

Beta book: Agile Web Development with Rails.

The first Rails book is out—in beta. Agile Web Development with Rails
is not scheduled to hit hardcopy before early August, but people need
the information now. What to do? Let people have a peak into the
kitchen and get a taste of the messy reality of pre-editing. So if you
can live with spelling mistakes, bad page numbering, and possibly
technical errors, you can have a taste at the master tome of the first
wave of Rails books.

It’s more than 500 pages of tutorial
and reference on the Rails framework. We build a complete e-commerce
application and go through all the sub-frameworks of Rails. There’s
even a good 30-paged chapter on how to take your application online.
Which web server to pick, how to install FastCGI, and all that jazz.

Buy the beta book now and you get the final polished copy “for free”. We’d be double happy if you bought the combo-pack, which also includes the final hardcopy book—but doesn’t hand all the cash to distributors and Amazon.

Pragmatic Bookshelf has a lot more Rails books lurking under the
surface. The success of this first title will be a good indicator for
how many gets the “go”. I’m sure other publishers are watching this
thing closely too in order to determine their involvement. So let’s
make this the home run title that grows the market above and beyond.  [Riding Rails]

Mandatory reading for any biologist

Mandatory reading for any biologist.

Every time I sit down and read SciAm's “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense”,
I think the same thing — this should be required reading for anyone
embarking on a career in science. Not only is it a terrific resource to
have on hand, but it's a reminder that the arguments creationism claims
to refute are rarely the arguments being made by evolutionary
biologists, but rather are Disney-like simplifications of incredibly
complex observations.

[Q Daily News]