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Slashback: Python, Giveaway, Collection 194

Slashback tonight with more on poseable Python figures (sorry Guido, the other Python -- your turn will come), Brian K. West (sigh), preserving transient websites for historical purposes, and giving away Free software.
Bulk order from CheapBytes, perhaps? GigsVT writes: "From CD reserves getting very low: If you have been thinking about contributing CDs, it is the best time to do so. We are running dangerously low on our reserves. With the best of luck we will only be able to go one more week after which we will have to pause until the next batch of contributions comes in. Please consider giving back to the Linux, Open Source and Free Software communities that has helped you in many ways in the past so that we can keep taking Linux, BSD and other Free Operating Systems to people who will have their lives changed by them."

Let's make this a closed collection, please. gmr2048 writes "In the WashTech section of the Washington Post there is a story about organizations (working with the Library of Congress) trying to catalogue and store web pages from the attacks of Sept 11, 2001. Towards the end of the article is this request for help: "...are developing a cataloguing system to help navigate the terrorist attack archives, and they are seeking the public's help in identifying Web pages that should be included. Their Web site is at

I thought slashdot'ers could lend a hand. I know I got most of my info the day of the attacks from /."

Hopefully, they will include Robert Liedlein's site. Lieblein writes: "Quick backstory, 4 or 5 years ago I shot footage for an IBM commercial down in the World Trade Center area. It was actually one of my favorite days that I ever spent in New York, just me and a camera. I kept thinking about that day after the tragic event. 5 years in New York city and only once was I right directly in the area that is ground zero, and I happened to have a camera and an objective of the day was to film the people, the energy, the life. A few days ago I finally found an old VHS tape that had about an hour of transfers of the footage. I knew I had that tape somewhere. I wanted to watch just for the reason of being able to go back there, to understand what it was like and what had happened. I realized that I had footage that was refreshing from the devastation we are all viewing and cut it into a 4 1/2 minute video. I hope the memory of the WTC alive and breathing life gives hope to a new day when that energy and vitality can thrive again."

Outliving the presumption of innocence. Keefe writes "I am sure that we all remeber the name Brian K. West. He is 24 year old sales and support employee for an internet service provider in SE Oklahoma. Mr. West alerted a local business to a serious security flaw in their website. The business had him investigated by the Justice Department for helping them fix a website security hole. The online community cried out to help him because of his innocence. It turns out that he actually was intending to modify the newspaper's Web applications -- written in the Perl language -- and modify them and market his own versions."

Patsy! Patsy! Patsy! (It's only a model.) Shere Ermilio wrote to point out that if you're interested in the Monty Python action figures hemos posted about not long ago, this could be your lucky month -- here's the link to Sideshow Toys' Monty Python giveaway for October. Those with spare cash and less hope can buy them the usual way. (And No, I'm not getting any free dolls ;))

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Slashback: Python, Giveaway, Collection

Comments Filter:
  • Brian West (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:03PM (#2361531)
    He's not guilty. He's just pining for the fjords!
  • i was storing page screenshots on the 11th -- [] -- just for history's sake. nothing groundbreaking, and based on when i got up on the west coast, but still interesting.

    it's a nice complement to the newspapers i also saved.
  • Gee I've had several "transient websites" that (at the time) were never meant to be...

    I'd rather not have anyone backing them up!

  • Speaking of WTC (Score:3, Offtopic)

    by Pope ( 17780 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:07PM (#2361554)
    While just about everyone else was watching "Enterprise" on Wednesday, I was out seeing "The French Connection" (came out in 1971) at a local rep cinema. One interesting shot: a WTC tower under construction, with cranes on the roof and everything. Pretty weird in light of recent events...
    • Re:Speaking of WTC (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The French Connection just came out in a special edition DVD. I highly recommend it; the features, transfer quality, and story are exceptional.
    • Re:Speaking of WTC (Score:2, Interesting)

      by J4 ( 449 )
      See also "The Hot Rock".
      Not quite as good a movie, but there are some good shots of the towers under construction when the thieves are
      trying to fly the chopper they stole.
      I saw that shit go up, never thought I'd see it come down.

    • Re:Speaking of WTC (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Kimble ( 17437 )
      Another weird thing: had a feature in their baseball section about the National League pennant race of 1951. They included excerpts of Don DeLillo's novella "Pafko at the Wall," which was the framework for his novel Underworld. ESPN had a link to selling "Pafko at the Wall," which I clicked because I didn't know it was available separately. It didn't have any reviews, so I looked to see what the readers had to say about Underworld.

      Since I've read that book, I probably should've remembered its cover. But, I didn't. Here it is []. Compare to this [], which got a 2-page spread in Time's special 9-11 issue.

  • Free CD's you say? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aerog ( 324274 )
    Donated CD's, you say? Well judging by the speed that my current 100-pack is diminishing, the idea of giving them away is going to send me into the red before you know it.

    But that brings up a good question: How much does one donate to something like that, and what cost is that looking at? I got a deal with 100 CD's and cases for $0.50CDN apiece, but that was a deal. How much do you usually send? and where can I get some of those free CD's in the neverending quest to archive the internet (another noble pursuit)
    • donate used (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2001 @09:17PM (#2361800)
      I don't think they are asking for you to go out and mass-produce Linux CDs. Usually, the idea is to pass on CDs that you have used and no longer need, so that they can be spread to others. Sort of the same idea as donating to a charity. Most charities will take used clothes. They don't expect you to go out and buy a new wardrobe and put it in one of those collection bins. (I realize some charities only take new clothes, but just work with me here.)

      I, for instance, have tons of Linux CDs sitting around collecting dust, which I am going to package up and send out.
      • Re:donate used (Score:3, Informative)

        by baptiste ( 256004 )
        They also need shipping materials and other stuff if you don't have any CDs. From their FAQ:

        Q: I like what you are doing and want to contribute. But I don't have any CDs. How else can I contribute.

        A: We are willing to pay for the shipping of these FREE CDs as long as we can. So, you can donate shipping material, stamps and the like. Please contact us for the details.
  • by mj6798 ( 514047 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:16PM (#2361585)
    I'm sorry, but I don't see why taxpayer money should be wasted on investigating or prosecuting cases like West. This kind of activity should not be a felony or misdemeanor. If the paper wants to collect its own information and file a civil lawsuit for damages, that's fine.

    Unlike "real world" theft, it is pretty easy for a company to protect itself against these kinds of problems, and it is pretty easy for it to collect and present its own evidence. And even in the real world, if you left your front door unlocked and put your cheap, fake diamond necklace out there for everybody to see (roughly the equivalent of having a Perl script on an IIS server), I think a prosecutor would see the sillyness of wasting lots of resources on your case.

    As for guilty pleas in such cases, I think they are pretty meaningless. Faced with the threat of lengthy prison sentences, I suspect many people will plea guilty to minor offenses, whether they committed them or not. Do you really think West "intended" to modify someone else's messy Perl script and make a business out of it? Seems pretty unlikely to me.

    • > And even in the real world, if you left your
      > front door unlocked and put your cheap, fake
      > diamond necklace out there for everybody to see
      > (roughly the equivalent of having a Perl script
      > on an IIS server), I think a prosecutor would
      > see the sillyness of wasting lots of resources
      > on your case.

      s/prosecutor/defense attorney/

      IANAL, and neither are you, but if you steal that necklace it's pretty obvious you're guilty of a crime.

      • True. the REAL WORLD, if you steal a dime-store necklace, you're charged with petty theft. If you steal a diamond necklace, you're charged with grand theft. The difference is a misdemeanor and a felony conviction.

        In this case, Mr. West got away with a misdemeanor charge, but what if the prosecutor had decided the damages were $50,000? $100,000? What's the value of a PERL script? What's the value of a closed security hole? Dunno...but I can see how easy it would be to twist a small breakin into looking like a large one. This is scary stuff.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          That's why breaking into computer systems [and houses] is illegal. The assumption is you're there to steal something. If you don't intend to steal something, don't break in.
        • What's the value of a PERL script? What's the value of a closed security hole? Dunno...but I can see how easy it would be to twist a small breakin into looking like a large one.

          Uh, not really. It's really easy to determine the value. What did the server and the scripts do for the company's business? You can put a price tag on that very easily. Hard to twist that around.
          • That's exactly my point. If I break into a business, I can't steal the whole business. If I break into a server, by your logic, if the company is dependent on the server, I have potentially caused damage or stolen information equivalent to the value of the entire business. If the script cost $1,000 in consultant time to produce but has generated $1,000,000 in sales but has been obsoleted by a competitor's script that cost $100,000 to produce, then what's the value of the script?
            • obsoleted by a competitor's script that cost $100,000 to produce

              That's quite a script! :-)

              Your argument was that it's easy to twist the value of the script into a much higher figure. But I say it's not really possible, because all you have to do is look at financial statements for the company and you have rock-solid proof of the ACTUAL value of the servers and scripts in question. And if you don't have that information, anything stated will be proven as pure conjecture by the defense and won't count towards the sentencing.

              Comparing the value of the script to a competitor's product may work, but they'd have to have the SAME script in question and be in the SAME business and use it for the SAME purpose, which is highly unlikely. Therefore, your theory that the prosecutor could twist figures to his liking to get a higher sentence is unfounded. Lawyers live in the world of facts (just like us nerds) and don't live by the rules of Public Relations of Marketing.
        • are you kidding? The prosecutor most likely DID threaten a felony charge using trumped up software value and offered the misdemeanor charge as a plea bargain. Given the choice of financial ruin, even if you win, and the prospect of a felony conviction (almost certain in this case), OR plea to a misdemeanor and get probation and community service, almost everyone would take the plea bargain. It's easier on everone, even if it's not necessarily "just."

          Welcome to the world of the US federal criminal justice system.


          • good call...I figured they used the scripts to catch him "red handed" and why didn't the defense attorney explain to the DA that his sole piece of incriminating evidence was a text file on a computer controlled by the prosecutor. This ain't a bloody only takes a few seconds to plant a log file and NO ONE can tell the difference.
            • Uh, wrong. The incriminating evidence was what the FBI found on the defendent's computer. That, my friend, definitely IS a bloody glove. Plus, you've got a confession of guilt. Justice was done.
    • by hetfield ( 129762 )
      Isn't that kind of like saying "stealing a Playstation 2 from Toys R Us shouldn't be a misdemeanor. Toys R Us should just sue every shoplifter."

      It is just as easy to protect against "real world" theft as it is "virtual" theft. Security cameras, secret shoppers, employee training, and theft tags: the "real world" equivalent of firewalls, IDS, honeypots...

      Shoplifting these days is a lot harder than it used to be. Just like with computer security, though, any system can be cracked, real or vitual. Theft is theft, and companies have relied on the law to help when their own systems fail. The same should apply in cases like this.

      West didn't "intend" as in pre-meditated, but when the opportunity magically presented itself, he went for it. If you see that the owner of a store accidentally forgot to lock the deadbolt on the front door, does that mean it's ok to go inside a take a few things, hide them, and then call the police? Sure, the owner was a dolt, but that doesn't excuse stealing.

      Then again, maybe all that Catholic school education has gotten to me :)
      • Re:government waste (Score:2, Interesting)

        by awol ( 98751 )

        Isn't that kind of like saying "stealing a Playstation 2 from Toys R Us shouldn't be a misdemeanor. Toys R Us should just sue every shoplifter."

        Well no, since stealing a Playstation 2 from Toys R Us deprives TRU from the benefit of that object. Hence there is a social policy issue that the state has an interest in prosecuting. That is, the "chaos" resulting from people going around and depriving people of their goods is contrary to public policy and so crimes are mandated. (I am not validating this position, just stating that it is the theory behind criminalising of certain acts. In the property case I find the justification straightforward, in the case of personal injury [battery, murder GBH] the justification is trivial. The criminalisation of economic wrongs is a development that disturbs since the justification is harder and many would argue [eg Nader] that it is more evidence of the socialasiation of corporate costs, but I digress)

        It is important to note that the "criminality" of these property crimes is a function of the development of jurisprudence in England in the 18th century. Prior to that the only remedy for proprty related "wrongs" was a civil action. Clearly in this case, there was no "depravation" of utility since the company still had theor website _and_ they have the knowledge of the security flaw. So in fact they have a net utility gain out of this.

        The fact that the guy was working on his own version of the code to remarket it, well, even if it is true, I don't believe in IP so good luck to him, once he publishes (or not if he too has security flaws) he is subject ot people taking his code and "improving" it themselves, so goose and gander my friend, goose and gander.

        • by Hard_Code ( 49548 )
          Yeah, I hate when corporations complain to government that profits have been *STOLEN* from then. When the fsck did profit become a *right*?? Oh no, technology is outmoding your business - run to government and cry. Oh no, every person in America is depriving you of profit - get Congress to call them "criminals". And now we're giving how many millions or billions just to "bail out" airlines?? Just as a gift? (ok, in that case it could be argued that airlines provide a greater public infrastructure good, but it's not like we don't bail all sorts of other things). Corporate profit is now becoming a right in this country, and new laws are being invented (*cough* Anti-Terrorism Act *cough*) to criminalize and harshly penalize any behavior which seems to go against the "American Way". Granted that this guy was probably some freeloading fool, but what's next? If I circumvent television ads am I now depriving corporations of their right to mindshare?
          • and new laws are being invented (*cough* Anti-Terrorism Act *cough*) to criminalize and harshly penalize any behavior which seems to go against the "American Way"

            sigh... If only this were true. We could throw Ashcroft, Cheney, and everyone who supports the DMCA in jail, throw away the key and live happily ever after.

  • by mutantcamel ( 213431 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:17PM (#2361588) Homepage
    I remember a story on /. a while back that expressed concern that there would be no electronic records from the 20th/21st century because of our reliance on computer technology (and the fact that things can be deleted/degrade over time) is a catalogue of webapages (I know they're not supposed to be a definitive record of eventss, but...) a little redundant?
  • WTC video (Score:4, Interesting)

    by christurkel ( 520220 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:26PM (#2361641) Homepage Journal
    I found this video very moving and powerful. Kudos to the filmmaker! The towers bustled with so much life now its all gone, for what? for nothing. Someday, life will return to that area and when it does we will be all better for it!
    • My favorite part of the video was at about 2:44.5 when a gentleman going through the revolving door appears to flick off the camera man. Seems pretty approriate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:38PM (#2361674)
    If you have been thinking about contributing CDs, it is the best time to do so. We are running dangerously low on our reserves. With the best of luck we will only be able to go one more week after which we will have to pause until the next batch of contributions comes in.

    Anyone else struck buy the similarity of this plea and request for donations by the Red Cross?

    Due to the recent terrorist atacks by Nimda and Code Red, hospitals and server farms are running dangerously low on Linux. If you are type Root negative, you are considered a universal superuser, and your donation is needed most. Please sign up with your local donation center and give a pint of Linux. The box you save may be your own.

    P.S. I am NOT mocking blood donation. If you haven't yet, give blood.

    • by carleton ( 97218 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @09:11PM (#2361784)
      Keep in mind, a lot of areas have enough blood for the time being, but the length of time blood is viable is less than the length of time between when people can give blood. Because of this, some areas are encouraging people to wait a little while so that there isn't a shortage down the road when everyone who can give blood has already done so and therefore can't until their body replaces the blood they gave.

    • Sorry, I just have to post to correct my moderation error - it was supposed to be +1 funny, but somehow came out -1 offtopic. -Sorry
  • by asolipsist ( 106599 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:40PM (#2361682)
    I was searching for sites (don't ask) and this article came up. []

    coincidence? stenography? idiocy? you decide

    Transcript of Osama Bin Ladin interview by Peter Arnett The first-ever television interview with Osama Bin Ladin was conducted by Peter Arnett in eastern Afghanistan in late March 1997. Questions were submitted in advance. Bin Ladin responded to almost all of the questions. CNN was not allowed to ask follow up questions. The interview lasted just over an hour. ARNETT: Mr. Bin Ladin, could you give us your main criticism of the Saudi royal Family that is ruling Saudi Arabia today?

    Osama bin Ladin

    MR. BIN LADIN: Regarding the criticisms of the ruling regime in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian peninsula, the first one is their subordination to the US. So, our main problem is the US government while the Saudi regime is but a branch or an agent of the US. By being loyal to the US regime, the Saudi regime has committed an act against Islam. And this, based on the ruling of Shari'a (Islamic jurisprudence), casts the regime outside the religious community. Subsequently, the regime has stopped ruling people according to what God revealed, praise and glory be to Him, not to mention many other contradictory acts. When this main foundation was violated, other corrupt acts followed in every aspect of the country, the economic, the social, government services and so on.

    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, if the Islamic movement takes over Arabia, what kind of society will be created and will Saudi Arabia, for example, return to the laws of the Qur'an at the time of the Prophet?

    BIN LADIN: We are confident, with the permission of God, Praise and Glory be to Him, that Muslims will be victorious in the Arabian peninsula and that God's religion, praise and glory be to Him, will prevail in this peninsula. It is a great pride and a big hope that the revelation unto Muhammad, Peace be upon him, will be resorted to for ruling. When we used to follow Muhammad's revelation, Peace be upon him, we were in great happiness and in great dignity, to God belong credit and praise.

    REPORTER: Mr. Bin Ladin, if the Islamic movement takes over Saudi Arabia, what would your attitude to the West be and will the price of oil be higher?

    BIN LADIN: We are a nation and have a long history, with the grace of God, Praise and Glory be to Him. We are now in the 15th century of this great religion, the complete and comprehensive methodology, has clarified the dealing between an individual and another, the duties of the believer towards God, Praise and Glory be to Him, and the relationship between the Muslim country and other countries in time of peace and in time of war. If we look back at our history, we will find there were many types of dealings between the Muslim nation and the other nations in time of peace and in time of war, including treaties and matters to do with commerce. So it is not a new thing that we need to come up with. Rather, it already, by the grace of God, exists. As for oil, it is a commodity that will be subject to the price of the market according to supply and demand. We believe that the current prices are not realistic due to the Saudi regime playing the role of a US agent and the pressures exercised by the US on the Saudi regime to increase production and flooding the market that caused a sharp decrease in oil prices.
    • What about a Slashdot interview with Bin Laden?

      Would the Slashdotters be able to get something interesting out of him?
  • by mrpull ( 112590 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:51PM (#2361717)
    I thought to myself, "If they had a paypal account, I could send 'em ten bucks. That would be easier than running to the local computer store and buying cd's and sending them in the mail. Also, they could prolly make that ten bucks stretch further by making bulk purchases."

    SO, I did some research and found

    I'll send my ten bucks and you can too.

  • by xonker ( 29382 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @08:58PM (#2361742) Homepage Journal
    The CD-giveaway thing was a great thing once, because Linux was still relatively experimental and there was a need to find inventive ways to distribute Linux to anyone who might try it.

    At this point, I think Linux has been around long enough, maybe it's time that people with slowband connections actually shell out for at least a CheapBytes CD or actually keep the companies that make distributions alive by buying a $40 box once a year. Is that really so much to ask?

    Several companies still sell the cheap CDs, and I can't imagine too many people who can afford a computer that can't afford six bucks for the CD-ROM plus shipping. (Or whatever the total cost is...) Granted, there may be some "under-developed" countries who could use them, but the average teen or LUG member can afford to actually shell out a few bucks to help support the commercial efforts that support the software development.

    It's one thing to buck insane licensing fees and want access to source code, it's another just to be a cheap-ass who is out to get everything for free. (This isn't a dig on the Free CD effort itself, they're trying to do the Right Thing. But I'd bet a lot of people sucking up the CDs could afford to buy one but instead take advantage of the generosity of others.)

  • Remember the WTC? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maniac11 ( 88495 )
    This is my first post about the events of the past weeks. Not because I didn't have anything to say; rather there was (and is) just so much being said that I didn't feel a need to contribute to the noise.

    That said, this bit of video brings up an interesting question that has crossed my mind: What will be the fate of the Center itself? While the focus has been on the destruction of the two main towers, the site itself is very large [].

    I have heard various suggestions: the owner/developer of the property is considering putting up four new 50-story buildings; some are calling for the twin towers to be rebuilt exactly as they were. NYC officials have been quoted as saying that this is an opportunity for New York to rethink not only its skyline but its vision of itself.

    I hope that whatever happens, it is something more interesting that another corporate filing cabinet. Of course there will be an extensive memorial (as well there should be), but doesn't the site deserve something at least as interesting as the twin towers were in the 60s? How about an arcology []? Ideas?

    • FYI the buildings were owned by The Port Authority.
      What I'd like to see is the bronze plaque memorializing the first attack (it was in the parking garage where the bomb went off) incorporated into a memorial.
  • WTC Life (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sulli ( 195030 )
    that's really sweet. brings back some good memories of my days in lower Manhattan (walking thru the WTC plaza to work near City Hall). Everyone should download, watch, and save this. Also Robert: send it to one of the news stations, I bet they'll play it at the end of a news broadcast.
  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <> on Thursday September 27, 2001 @09:42PM (#2361863) Homepage
    Here's mine [].

    ...stupid lameness filter.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Internet Archive is not an archive.

    An archive must collect and preserve information.

    The Internet Archive has failed to preserve most of what it has collected. Preservation does not get them attention and so they don't do it.

    The early years of the archive are on the cheapest DLT's made and are stored on the floor of a basement that floods. And we're talking several years stored this way.

    Cheap tapes plus moisture means bit rot. Enormous amounts of the archive are gone because of this.

    So anyone with the means of doing an archive shouldn't say "oh, I don't need to do this because the archive is already taking care of it."

    Don't believe it. They've lost much of what they claim to have preserved.

  • I don't know why it's so difficult for people to grasp this:

    Do not intrude into or modify systems unless it's been made explicitly clear that you're allowed to do so.

    You think you should be allowed to do something? You have some silly-ass analogy regarding doorknobs and windows to explain why you're doing a public service? It doesn't matter. You're going to get yourself in trouble. Is that really so hard to comprehend?

  • by t ( 8386 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @10:51PM (#2362038) Homepage
    I can't believe no talks of this. What if all images had this kind of copy-protection built in? No one would have been able to save any images. Not to mention that none of this mirrors would have existed.

    I think we should have a public archive law. All media that is distributed with copyright protection desired must make an archivable version of it available after N years. If the big money can shove stupid laws at us, we don't we shove some useful laws right back at them.


  • Okay, so we're all shocked by the WTC disaster (and the Pentagon attack too, although all media channels seem to blissfully ignore it for lack of terrible images to broadcast, but I digress). We've all donated blood and $$$, everybody is angry at the terrorists, Laden or someone else, America and its allies are determined to squash all terrorism (but the IRA) and everybody agrees with this.

    Now, can we PLEASE do away with footages with shitty violonist music over it and stop pretending it's moving ? When will video and cinema people realize that a bland piece of tape isn't turned into a piece of art just because they slap a Schinlder's list soundtrack on top of it ?

    • Do you live in New York? Did you used to walk through the Trade Center every day? Or see it from your office window? Or work on one of it's floors? Do you have any connection to it at all? If you did, you might understand that even "shitty" videography and "sappy" music can really have an impact, especially on those of us who had a close connection with a place that is now totally gone.

      Have some respect.
    • by crulx ( 3223 )
      Only when we realize that every little scrap of something that people put there heart and love into is art, will anything change in this world. Maybe this wasn't great art, (there were some interesting camera shots), but you need a serious attitude adjustment to say that this wasn't even artistic. I know only this one thing. Until we understand and believe that every little thing that people create with their emotions, time, passion and love is art and respected for the effort the artist made, and until we all wake up and realize that the only thing worth doing is art, will we never be free of all of our hate, prejudice, intolerance, wars, poverty, and destruction.

      May you find the way.

      • That's an awfully weak definition of art. How do you define 'heart' or 'love'? If I take a baby and, with much heart and love, carve it up on video, is that art?

        I think what the previous poster was referring to is people's tendency to mistake mawkishness for profundity, which, I admit, is tiring. For example,


        how I
        love your bold bravitude
        and the ideals
        that make you the gratest [sic]
        country in the world
        May you live

        Now, that's a shite poem. But, by virtue of being patriotic in this time of national fragility, it's beyond criticism.

        Wanker: Um, dude. That poem sucks.
        Me: Apparently you don't realise the heart and love I put into that poem. Maybe it's not great art, but you need a serious attitude adjustment to say that it's not artistic. I know one thing... Until we understand and believe that every little thing that people create with their emotions, time, passion and love is art and respected for the effort the artist made, and until we all wake up and realise that the only thing worth doing is art, we will never be free of all of our hate, prejudice, intolerance, wars, poverty and destruction.

        • There is no love in torturing babies, and don't even pretend that there is. You tread perilously close to Godwin's Law.

          Critisim is great! Yes, bad art exists. And as reasoning entities we must decide what we like and what we do not like. Critisize it all you want. It is your right to. And I fully respect and am a proud member of people who think that just because we have entered whatever we have entered here, we still have the right and the duty to criticize what we feel is wrong with the world.

          But you said the video was NOT art. And let me be blunt here. I say, Fuck that!

          You mistake the finger for that which is being pointed at.

          • I never said that the video wasn't art. I just said that the criteria presented above for what makes art didn't work very well. That is to say, commenting that heart and love are necessary and sufficient conditions for art to be produced is specious.

            If we were to discover that Edvard Munch's "The Scream" [] were not made with heart and love, but rather a smothering dread and intense claustrophobia, would that mean that it wasn't art? Of course not. Therefore love and heart aren't necessary. On the other hand there are plenty of people who claim that Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" [] isn't art simply because it's an image of a crucifix submerged in his (then pregnant) wife's urine. Interviews with him indicate that he wasn't attempting to be blasphemous -- the extra chemicals in his wife's urine due to her gravid condition produced a colour that Serrano found appealing. So, it's arguable that love and heart aren't sufficient. If they are neither necessary nor sufficient, they are simply not meaningful. It's just as appropriate to say that giraffes and bananas are needed for art.

            And, incidentally, infant sacrifice has been with us for a long time. In Tunisia, around the time of the Roman Republic, the natives worshipped a pair of gods named Baal-Hamon and Tanit. They put their first born children in the arms of large statues of Baal-Hamon and lit a fire underneath the statue. When the metal heated up, the arms separated and the infant was dropped into the fire. There's a long standing connection between art and the divine -- in fact, many artists and philosophers use divinity, rather than heart and love, as the defining criterion for art.

            Finally, if you use 'love and heart' as the defining criteria for art, then, since there's no empirical way of determining whether something possesses those antecedent qualities, there's no way of determining whether something is art. The only recourse is to admit everything into the realm of art. At this point, the term 'art' ceases to be meaningful since it's just a synonym for 'everything'.

        • "...bold bravitude..."

          For a moment there I thought it was from one of shrub's speeches, or one of SNL's takeoffs.

    • > and the Pentagon attack too, although all media channels seem to blissfully ignore it for lack of terrible images to broadcast

      Many fewer people were killed there, there may be security reasons for keeping detail quiet, AFAIK there hasn't been any suggestion the damaged section should be redesigned, and when you're trying to unite the world behind you concentrating on the victims who weren't connected with the American military looks better.
      There were civilian casualties at the Pentagon too, of course, and all the victims' families suffered just as much as the WTC victims' families, but it still doesn't generate the same outrage.
      I'm cynical enough to suspect that's the main reason. On the other hand I care more about the WTC because my sister-in-law worked near there. She's ok, but the building she worked in has since come down too. I don't know anyne who worked in the Pentagon. Given the relative numbers of people in or close to the two buildings, lots of other people are going to be in similar situations.

      See y.htm to see the relevent areas, before and after.
    • I found it quite moving, because I'd been there so frequently, and because now the images of the location are so completely different (and so awful). Having seen the skeleton of that one tower repeatedly for two weeks now, it's very meaningful to see them whole again, full of life.

      What's most interesting about this piece is that it's totally accidental. The author was never intending to make it a tribute - when he shot it, it was just footage of a place he liked. But now, because it's gone, it suddenly means a lot more.

      For another example, next time you're in NYC, take a train to Pennsylvania Station. As you walk around that low-ceilinged, crowded, user-hostile concourse, look around for the B&W photos on some of the pillars. This [] used to be there, until they tore it down in 1963.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @11:16PM (#2362154) Journal

    I wanted to watch just for the reason of being able to go back there, to understand what it was like and what had happened

    A few days ago, I walked by a local picture-framing store. They were selling a large framed picture of the skyline with the WTC towers intact and distributing profits to charity. As people walked by many of them, myself included, stood there transfixed by the image. Otherwise busy people stared at it for as long as 5 minutes. It seems like when you look at it, you can almost live in the yesterday for just a few more minutes.

  • by nels_tomlinson ( 106413 ) on Friday September 28, 2001 @12:14AM (#2362315) Homepage
    West pled guilty to a misdemeanor, rather than risk getting a felony conviction. For poor folks without a lawyer (or without the money to keep the lawyer on the case month after month after month), this is the normal thing to do when one is innocent and wrongly accused of a felony. It is also the normal course of action for crooks who are rightly accused. He pled guilty, but we still haven't a clue whether this is a case of a crooked DA trying to avoid looking bad, or a crooked cracker getting off easy.

    The biggest problem here is that we really don't know who to believe. Given the choice between believing a U.S. district attorney and some slightly scummy small-time crook, we really don't know which to take. The U.S. government has a long history of bad behavior. (Think about the secret experiments [] (also here [] and here []) in the '50s, in which people were exposed to radiation ... the ones for which the government began making restitution recently, when reports began to emerge. Think about J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Think about the entire Justice Department over the last eight years. Think abou the IRS since its inception.) There just isn't any room to automatically assume that a responsible government employee isn't trying to cover up a mistake at West's expense, just because he can.

    The good scenario here is that West is a petty crook who's getting a break because it's his first offence. The bad scenario is that the DA realised that if he dropped this, he'd look like an idiot, so he's threatened a poor innocent guy into pleading guilty to a crime he didn't commit, just to save the DA some embarassment. And it looks as if we'll never be sure.

  • Sydney Morning Herald online [] had plenty of images of the wtc, including the accident itself, the rescue effort, international reactions, etc.. l []

    these images REALLY bring out the feeling of the whole event.

    b.t.w. the photos are in the far right column.
  • The government frequently coerces individuals into plea bargains for actual crimes not committed.

    I suspect, and we have not hear from Brian in this case since the legalese, but it certainly could have stemmed from a converstation such as:

    FEDS: "Did you download the PERL code?"

    BKW: "yes, by clicking on the link i was able to view the code and save it to disk as proof of the security hole"

    FEDS: "could you have modified that code?"

    BKW: "yes, anyone could have?

    FEDS: "the plaintiff contends that the PERL code in question is worth at least $5000. Could you have modfied that code and profited from such modfications?"

    BKW: "i could have, but my intention was to notify the newspaper and let them know of the security breach"

    FEDS: "no further questions"

    How easily this crowd is swayed from one side to the other. For once, think about your own actions. The concept of "downloading" and "accessing" a password file and then "logging into unauthorized areas" of a website -- give me a break. "Authorization" is based on who as the password, however it may have been obtained. If you have a hole in your security, fix it. "proper access" is another matter, but even there, it is amorphous. A trusted employee one day can become a "non-trusted" ex-employee the next. There are no "tangible trust tokens" to speak of. Its all a matter of perspective.

    Did Brian actually *MODIFY* or DEFACE the site? Does it really matter what his *INTENTIONS* or *CAPABILITIES* were?

    In this country our rule of law is based on evidence, not "possible evidence" -- I think about setting off fireworks in the state of Minnesota every Fourth of July -- i have access to "illegal" fireworks over the border in Wisonsin year-round. I have "intention" to set them off -- but I don't actually do it. Am I guilty?

    When I contacted the Poteau Daily News after this story broke, they categorically denied that Mr. Burchett contacted the FBI, but rather stated that the hosting ISP had initiated the prosecution, a copy of that letter follows:

    My point? If you're going to light the torches and burn someone to the stake, at least make sure you're not a pyromaniac.


    Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2001 09:27:26 -0500
    From: Poteau Daily News & Sun <>
    To: Team BPSI <>
    Subject: Re: Confirmation please

    [ The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set. ]
    [ Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set. ]
    [ Some characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]

    The Poteau Daily News does not own or manage the web server that is in
    question and did not contact any authorities in this case. The sever is
    located, owned, and managed by the local ISP.

    At the time of this incident there was some propieritary software being used
    in conjuction with this site (the software is NOT the property of the Poteau
    Daily News). What the story posted by Brian West, does not talk about is
    that the propiertary software was downloaded from the server and at the time
    of the FBI investigation, it was found in the possesion of Mr. West.

    Mr Burchett did not contact any authorities, they were contacted by the
    local ISP. And at this time Mr. Burchett is no longer at the Poteau Daily
    News, not for any thing concerning this matter.

    The Poteau Daily News is not involved in this case at all.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Team BackPack" <>
    To: <>; <>
    Sent: Saturday, August 18, 2001 11:03 PM
    Subject: Confirmation please 4. html

    please confirm/comment on the validity of this story
  • So either the press was promulgating lies before, or it's promulgating lies now.

    You choose which to believe from a field of lies. Truth may possibly be present. But perhaps not.

    If Mr. West pleaded guilty, then it was likely to be the result of plea bargaining. This doesn't seem to have any relationship to what he did, or didn't do. Merely to how much he was threatened, and how capable he felt of defending himself. And what the DA felt he could get away with.

    I accept that he might be guilty. I also accept that he might not. And I have no reasonable basis on which to choose between those two positions. Plea bargaining has thoroughly corrupted our legal system. The best bet is that everybody's lying.
  • If you have been thinking about contributing CDs, it is the best time to do so.

    I have a large number of AOL CDs, back to version 5.0. Will these work?

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger