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Slashback: Blender, Pictures, Servitude 294

Tonight, the updates and addenda continue apace, with more on the Anti-Unix Unix server, the possible future of Blender, Steve Mann's treatment at the hands of Air Canada, and an interesting consequence of Linux's popularity in Russia. Read below to enjoy.

Is your Blender still under warranty? Myriad writes: "NaN, the publishers of the free cross-platform 3D modeling and rendering package Blender, may not be as dead as was previously reported here on Slashdot. While Blender remains unavailable for download, some of the websites functionality has returned along with the notice "NaN is currently undergoing a re-organization of the company...and are working to restore wider operations as soon as possible." Hopefully they will manage to bring back Blender!"

"I only read Computerra for the pictures." Natalie Shahova writes: "As the translator of Just for Fun, I had to contact Linus by email in order to clarify some issues. This way we got virtually acquainted, and Linus agreed to give me an interview. Its Russian version was published in Computerra on March 26, but the original is - as you might guess - in English. As far as I know, Linus Torvalds has never given an interview to a Russian journalist before. Knowing from Just for Fun that Linus is tired of questions about Linux and open source, I chose some other subjects that interest me as a professional translator: languages, emigration, fiction, etc." A fun interview, with some amusing pictures, too (only in the Russian version). Thanks, Natalie!

Wasn't Windows NT 'More UNIX than UNIX'? thelizman writes: "C|Net is reporting that the joint Microsoft and Unisys website attacking Unix has been experiencing problems all day. Now, normally I would venture an evil laugh, but in light of yesterdays revelation here on /. about the site being FreeBSD powered, could this merely reinforce Microsoft's point? Not likely, since it was quickly switched over to IIS running on Windows 2000, and that's when the problem seems to have started."

What time is it when an elephant dances on your computer? Tom Veil writes: "Minor editorial changes have been made on the article "When Elephants Dance" (referenced earlier by Slashdot). The most interesting change adds one more step to the solution, suggesting that the DMCA must be repealed. A comment is also made as to how fair use is already protected, and thus 'there is no need for additional action in this area.'"

And thanks for flying Air Canada -- Have a nice day. steveha writes: "Linux Journal has more on cyborg Steve Mann's troubles with Air Canada. Over $100,000 in equipment damage, and possible... brain damage?!? Not good."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Blender, Pictures, Servitude

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    From the article:
    "NaN is currently undergoing a re-organization of the company...and are working to restore wider operations as soon as possible."
    Didn't Loki say the same thing after they filed for Chapter 11? Look how that turned out...
  • by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:05PM (#3273810)

    Can we be really sure that they are really running IIS on Win* now? They could be a bunch of 31337 h4x0rz running IIS over Wine. I bet Bill would be upset if he found out that was what was really going on...

    • by thrillbert ( 146343 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:10PM (#3273832) Homepage
      Can we be really sure that they are really running IIS on Win* now?

      It's down.. what more proof do you need that it truly is an IIS server on Win?
      • "It's down.. what more proof do you need that it truly is an IIS server on Win?"

        No no, if it's down, it could simply be Slashdot affecting it. For proof that it's IIS, go to that site again and see if it tries to send you a virus.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We have the way (404: Forbidden)
  • not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vectus ( 193351 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:10PM (#3273835)
    the site [wehavethewayout.com] still allows you to download the /bin/ls program, which indicates it is running *nix or bsd (on an improperly configured server).

    Someone pointed this out in a previous discussion on the matter.
    • Wow, cool. I just grabbed it:

      $ file ls
      ls: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (FreeBSD), statically linked, stripped

      So I guess they still are running FreeBSD.
    • Re:not quite (Score:3, Informative)

      I believe it is a decoy. Running nmap, you'll get this:

      Host www.wehavethewayout.com ( appears to be up ... good.
      Initiating SYN Stealth Scan against www.wehavethewayout.com (
      Remote OS guesses: Windows Me or Windows 2000 RC1 through final release, MS Windows2000 Professional RC1/W2K Advance Server Beta3, Windows Millenium Edition v4.90.3000</pre>
      • Re:not quite (Score:2, Insightful)

        by normiep ( 68432 )

        Maybe there was a bin a directory (with ls in it) on the original server and they just zipped the whole web html directory and unpacked on the new server.

      • Re:not quite (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:57PM (#3274044) Homepage Journal
        Maybe they're packet filtering or proxying through a Windows machine "Routing and Remote Access" or Microsoft Proxy service, thus allowing the site to remain hosted on the FreeBSD. All the problems that are occuring could be the result of this

    • is /bin/ls normally world readable? why would their FreeBSD web server process be able to read files in /bin?
      • yes..it is! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ghack ( 454608 )

        >is /bin/ls normally world readable? why would
        >their FreeBSD web server process be able to read
        >files in /bin?

        Yes! /bin/ls is used to list the contents of directories! having a world readable /bin/ls is something that ftp sites have been doing for, well, ever.

      • Re:not quite (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @09:12PM (#3274131) Homepage
        It is likely a copy or hard-link of the system /bin/ls in the chroot environment in which ftpd runs. It needs that copy/hard-link to provide directory listings since it cannot access anything outside the chroot environment (this is done for security).

        The /bin you see then isn't /bin on the system it is /path_to_ftpd_chroot_directory/bin

      • Many ftp daemons chroot to ftp's home directory
        when an anonymous user logs in. Subdirectories of
        ~ftp are then pub/, incoming/, etc/, bin/, etc.
        bin/ and bin/ls are there so that the server can
        run ls when the user asks for a directory listing.
        etc/passwd is there so that ls can translate
        numeric UIDs into usernames.

    • As some people have pointed out, the web server has http://www.wehavethewayout.com/bin/ls [wehavethewayout.com] available, and it's the FreeBSD version.

      My guess for this is that they had copied a complete directory structure over from the FreeBSD box, including the web server's /bin/ directory.

    • Re:not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by naasking ( 94116 ) <naasking.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:29PM (#3273944) Homepage
      They probably just copied the whole httpd directory to the new machine without changing anything. If the original httpd on freebsd chroot'd, /bin/ls would have been there. That way they're running IIS on Win*, but they still have /bin/ls, et al. because they didn't bother to get rid of the directory contents that IIS didn't need.

      • Yeah, they just copied it. I did a traceroute on the two servers earlier and (from memory) one is *ca.verio.net and the other *va.verio.net. So unless they have a Windows box in California acting as a proxy for a FreeBSD box in Vaginia, they just copied the contents over.

    • Re:not quite (Score:2, Informative)

      by B1 ( 86803 )
      Interesting... Reportedly, they changed the DNS records for their web site to point it at a Win2K box instead of their FreeBSD box. Maybe DNS the change hasn't replicated itself yet, so if you got an error, maybe your DNS hasn't been updated yet?

      I went to their site [wehavethewayout.com] and I got the following standard IIS 404 error:

      The page cannot be found The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

      Please try the following:
      • If you typed the page address in the Address bar, make sure that it is spelled correctly.
      • Open the www.wehavethewayout.com home page, and then look for links to the information you want.
      • Click the Back button to try another link.
      HTTP 404 - File not found
      Internet Information Services

      Even from the IIS site, I *can* download /bin/ls. It's about 285K, and is apparently an ELF binary from a FreeBSD box (based on a couple of strings I found in it).

      I can't figure out why you'd want to have /bin/ls anywhere on your web site. Maybe some 31337 h4x0r cracked their site and tried to upload a trojaned 'ls' command?
      • Re:not quite (Score:2, Interesting)

        And the more important question: why is ls 285K?
        • Most ls implementations are ridiculously overengineered. Consider that it must be compatible with practically every other implementation of ls out there, so as not to break shell scripts written long ago. Thus, it contains a whole lot of legacy code that no one even wants to consider touching, for fear of hurting backwards compatability. As I understand, xterm is like this also: the older code is more or less marked: "Here be dragons and all manner of foul beasts."
          • Most ls implementations are ridiculously overengineered. Consider that it must be compatible with practically every other implementation of ls out there, so as not to break shell scripts written long ago. Thus, it contains a whole lot of legacy code that no one even wants to consider touching, for fear of hurting backwards compatability.

            Perhaps it is just statically linked, so that if the libc is damaged, a core set of utilities still functions? This seems more likely than a lot of extra code. This is from my /usr/src/bin/ls directory:

            ozma:/usr/src/bin/ls$ wc *.c *.h
            101 450 3116 cmp.c
            751 2785 19142 ls.c
            598 1881 13568 print.c
            166 645 4587 util.c
            62 409 2763 extern.h
            82 518 3249 ls.h
            1760 6688 46425 total

            1760 lines of code to provide all of the features that ls provides sounds about right.

    • by spoonist ( 32012 )
      sure, you can download /bin/ls but have you tried http://www.wehavethewayout.com/etc/passwd yet?

      note: i didn't try :-)
  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:11PM (#3273841)
    When I click on the link, I get:
    Directory Listing Denied
    This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.
    I guess they must have hired some MCSEM's (Microsoft Certified System Engineer Monkeys) to set up their site.

    I also tried /index.htm,html,asp and nothing worked.

    Should have stuck with the leaders, I guess, instead of following Microsoft.
    • I also tried /index.htm,html,asp and nothing worked

      Except that in the MS world* it's default.htm,html,asp. They're not there either, though.

      * This has always pissed me off. There seems to be no reason to switch from the time-honored index.html to default.htm, except MS having their way. And why is the official extension .htm? What happened to long filenames? I'm nauseous at the sight of 8.3 filenames (and MS still uses 8.3 for damn near everything).

      • There seems to be no reason to switch from the time-honored index.html to default.htm, except MS having their way.

        As much as I despise Microsoft, I have to admit that "default" makes a lot more sense than "index". When I access a website without supplying a specific page, I expect the default page in that directory. "index" seems to carry with it some meanings that don't really apply.

  • Sounds like "Final Exit" - someone call Dr Kervorkian!
  • Cyborg? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jhaberman ( 246905 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:13PM (#3273859)
    I'm confused. Now, what the airline did to this guy sounds awful. Pretty much the worst nightmare for anyone. However, I guess I just don't understand his situation if his brain can be damaged by rebooting this system he's attached to. Truly bizzare. Is he a "cyborg" for medical reasons? Is he like that kook in the UK who sees himself as half machine?

    What a strange and wonderful and horrible time we live in...

    • Re:Cyborg? (Score:3, Interesting)

      Because he's been living with these enhancements for so long, they've become a neccesary part of him for functioning normally. He's basically handicapped without them.

      As far as brain damage is concerned, maybe that has to do with the improper handling of the equipment while it was hooked up to him. It says he was bleeding from where they ripped electrodes from his skin. If they were that careless, they could easily have done something that would give him an electrical shock or something somewhere sensitive to that sort of thing.

      The airlines have really gone too far. The last time I tried to board a plane, there was a man putting his hands down my pants and up my shirt TOUCHING CERTAIN SENTSITIVE AREAS OF MY BODY. I did nothing to provoke this (in fact, I had already passed through a security checkpoint a few minutes earlier where I was frisked), other than having steel toed boots that set off the metal detector.

      It's one thing to increase security, but most of the things they're hassling people about really make no sense. What about Dr. Mann's gear gave any sort of indication that it could have been a bomb? I think they're just harassing people so it looks to everyone else like they're doing a good job.
      • Re:Cyborg? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        I have become extremely accustomed to my sense of sight. Am I brain-damaged in the dark? Would I be brain-damage if I were permanently blinded?

        I really sympathize for the guy (there was no reason for the airline to do what they did) but as an ignorant outsider, I find the whole brain damage thing to be implausible.

        • Let's see someone yank out an eyeball, cause bleeding, and then shut down your other eye with an iron brand, and see if you can imagine yourself complaining of brain damage.

          To be fair, we'll administer anesthetic, as I'm sure yanking an electrode and power cycling is nowhere near as painful as pulling an eyeball or burning your cornea.

          He didn't say there *was* brain damage, if you read the report, only that it was *possible* if he didn't reconnect quickly/soon.

          Not necessarily brain damage in the mental retardation sense, but brain damange in the 'neural stimulus has been removed, neurons and neural connections will die and wither due to lack of use/stimulus/feedback' damage, which is still damage.

          Another analogy, a better analogy:

          You have become very accustomed to your normal eyesight. Imagine someone giving you very powerful glasses to wear for years (akin to his implants), and then Canadian airport security ripping them from your face, tearing the skin off your noise and brow.

          Will you suffer brain damage? You will certainly suffer visual problems, and until your brain becomes accustomed to not wearing glasses (if possible) or if you regain your glasses, your brain, body, coordination, and vision will most certainly be affected.
        • I have become extremely accustomed to my sense of sight. Am I brain-damaged in the dark? Would I be brain-damage if I were permanently blinded?

          If you were to stay in total darkness for an extended period of time, conservatively, three or four days, yes, you would experience what could be called brain damage.

          Like muscles, nerves atrophy. (pedants note: I am oversimplifying immensely; at least I know it.) Normally we think of that in terms of skills like "playing the guitar" and we'd never call someone who has forgotten how to play the guitar through lack of practice "brain damaged".

          However, it is quite plausible that we'd call someone who hasn't seen in several years "brain damaged"; we would certainly prescribe "therapy" to correct the damage. Literally, your brain forgets how to see. Blind people do have increased sensitivity to the other senses, especially hearing; with a series of MRI scans, you can literally watch as the parts of the brain formerly dedicated to seeing slowly reconfigure themselves to work on sound. (Neurons like to work.) Obviously, once that happens, those parts of the brain can't be used for seeing, until they are reconfigured again, which can only happen if sight is restored. Look up case histories if you don't believe me. This does sometimes happen.

          That said, is this a little overblown? Probably at the present time. However, in the forseeable future, no, it's probably not. Extended disconnection from the cybernetics could cause many problems, even if they seem noncritical. This is something to seriously consider beofre getting implants yourself. (I'm quite serious about this; while I like the idea in general, I can assure you I will not be the first person to be implanted.)
          • As someone who has worked extensively with patients who actually *are* brain damaged, I can assure you that the brain is very adept at compensating for radical changes. People who suffer traumatic brain injury (I'm not talking about losing a pair of fancy glasses here, I mean things like bullets in the head), can literally rewire their brains to compensate for the damage. Other parts of the brain take over from the nonfunctioning parts.

            Now for something as relatively benign as the modification of sensory inputs, people are able to readily adapt to these changes. Others have mentioned the image-flipping glasses, and there have been many other experiments showing the same type of results. Blindfold someone for an extended period of time and their hearing will become more sensitive to compensate. Remove the blindfold and their hearing will return to normal. The brain is a remarkably adaptable organ.

    • Re:Cyborg? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tntt ( 261188 ) <slashdot@tntt.com> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @09:41PM (#3274330)
      Steve Mann could see perfectly well with no glasses of any kind when I met him. Sounds like a stunt to promote his book. Perhaps he should lean to unplug his toys for a while and learn to enjoy not being on a electronic leash.

      Just because he is a mad visionary doesn't mean we need to tolerate his stupidity. He can't be the one deciding when he should or should not be following the rules the rest of us have to follow. He basically chopped up a laptop in such a way as to make it wearable. If the pieces are hiding in various parts of his clothing then that is his problem not that of the security staff. In fact his home made jury-rigged devices are likely far more dangerous in terms of radio interference than a laptop that follows standards.

      His mind may operate at a visionary level but that doesn't excuse the fact that he is lying about being handicapped and that he knew perfectly well that his gear should be treated as a laptop. Guess he wants to re-define society in his image. Fine line between being a visionary and being insane.

      What? I will not remove my 'Wearable Gun' it is attached to my heart monitoring device! I'm handicapped, as I suffer from a fear complex. I need the cold blue steel against my chest in order to feel comfortable and have self-esteem.
      • Re:Cyborg? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Artifex ( 18308 )
        In fact his home made jury-rigged devices are likely far more dangerous in terms of radio interference than a laptop that follows standards.

        This is a good point. And even conforming laptops are supposed to remain off during portions of the flight. I wonder if Mr. Mann follows regulations then, and what kind of "disorientation" he gets, then? Or does he blithely put all of his fellow passengers at potential risk by not following FCC regulations?
  • Brain Damage (Score:4, Informative)

    by meggito ( 516763 ) <npt23@drexel.edu> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:19PM (#3273895) Homepage
    It doesn't seem as though his 'brain damage' was exactly what we think of. The first thing that pops into my head is ratardation and the lack of ability to think. It seems, however, that the abilities were more related to his brain being able to control his body. For example, if you damaged part of your brain you would no longer be able to see, or move your arm, or feel your pinky toe. It appears that the brain damage was more realted to his ability to interact with his devices, most specifically the vision items, then his ability to formulate thought.

    Either way, AirCanada really fucked this guy over. What they did was simply wrong, and they deserve what they get, and then some. This is some fucked up shit, and though the part about the knives is fairly irrelevant, it does throw their safety procedure excuse out the window.
    • Re:Brain Damage (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kwishot ( 453761 )
      Actually, since he has worked with this equipment for 20+ years, his actual train of thought might be screwed up. I remember something from when the original story was posted that talked about how, without his vision equipment, he was disillusioned and had a hard time using his natural senses.
      His dependency on the equipment makes him a true cyborg, I suppose..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't get what changes Dr. Mann had. We've got people in the technology/medical field for whom implanting a tiny little chip into their skin is major international news yet this guy his stuff wired into his brain and eyeballs and vital organs and stuff to the extent that removing it would cause brain damage and possibly death?

    Or is this all blown out of proportion and the "health risk" and "damage" we're talking about is nothing more than his "shock" at no longer looking at images with a little targeter on a pair of glasses and no longer knowing what his pulse rate is, from little patches on his chest? And what's this about a hard drive? In his brain? Recording what?! Jesus, think people - think.

    And no i'm not trying to troll. His website is really sparse and I dont' see any "hey here's what I've done to myself - check it out!" page or anything.
    • Hitting his head on the fire extingushers (see the NY Times article) sounds like a more likely cause of brain damage than having his "cyborg" systems shut down and damaged.

      If he was dependent on the technology to the point where it would be injurious to be removed from it - I would say that is an over-dependence on technology he should have NEVER let himself get into.

  • Two things: (Score:5, Funny)

    by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoi@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:20PM (#3273907) Journal

    Microsoft putting up an Anti-Unix site is like going to Sturgis on your Vespa Scooter, poking a Hell's Angel in the chest, and saying, "Hey, Fatass! My Vespa totally kicks ass over your American-Made pile of crap."


    Exactly how much crap did Steve Mann have embedded in him? Come on, did he have a wire going into the center of his brain, or what? I'm certainly not a fan of 'go to the airport - forfeit your rights', but last time I checked his site (before Air Canaduh), he just had some VR gear and some wireless network thing. Not a pacemaker or anything. (Idea: send Dick Cheney to Canada via Air Canada)

    • "Microsoft putting up an Anti-Unix site is like going to Sturgis on your Vespa Scooter, poking a Hell's Angel in the chest, and saying, "Hey, Fatass! My Vespa totally kicks ass over your American-Made pile of crap.""

      OK so you're saying that UNIX users are the equivalent of Hell's Angels? ;-)

  • by zurab ( 188064 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:25PM (#3273922)
    1. Unisys and MS start a $25+ mil PR campaign against Unix and set up a web site as a part of this wehavethewayout.com.

    2. The website is running on Apache and FreeBSD and the campaign receives criticism.

    3. Next day they move the hosting of the above to MS' domain and the server's IP address changes and software seems to be Win2k/IIS 5.

    4. In no time after this move, the Win2k server gets cracked and started serving an empty HTML page and then getting 403 errors, campaign gets more bad PR.

    Just a curious question. How in the hell are they spending this $25+ mil that has so far not gotten any positive coverage and only generated bad PR? Funny that the FreeBSD site seems to be still up and running at
  • Brain Damage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:32PM (#3273958) Journal
    Since the Brain is self rewiring, etc. I actually doubt physical brain damage.

    But I can believe disorientation. Similar to losing hearing or some other input channel.

    I recall experiments from many years ago where the people were wearing glases that flipped everything upside down. At some point the people completely adjusted.

    in a similar fashion, space shuttle jockeys take about two weeks to get used to weightlessness, especially for tasks like throwing balls, etc. both throwing and catching are pretty hard wired.

    Loss of an electronic input should not be any more damaging than any of these things.

    Unless he is counting electronics as part of his brain.

    Which I disagree with.

    Now the reality check might be an issue as far dealing with non-electronic reality goes.

    • as spotted elsewhere:

      The only way that it would be brain damage is if any and all stressful activity causes brain damage.

      which it doesn't. This is called learning.

      You do not have to be an expert nuerologist to have a firm grasp of the basics. Brian damage is not caused by external events. The may be emotional trauma, but that is another issue.

      Otherwise we get into the issues of a person giving themselves brain damage merely be the thoughts they think alone. Now if you are talking about someone like bill gates or george bush, opr bill clinton, i would have to think about it.

    • Re:Brain Damage (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jheinen ( 82399 )
      "I recall experiments from many years ago where the people were wearing glases that flipped everything upside down. At some point the people completely adjusted."

      Just so. There have been a number of experiments that have shown the human body is remarkably adept at adjusting to changes in primary sensory input. The flipped vision thing you metioned is just one of them. Subjects wearing glasses with prisms that flip everything upside down eventually begin to see everything as normal. Take them off and the recovery period is even quicker. Same with auditory senses. Expose people to a constant background noise and people eventually filter it out until, for them, it's no longer there.

      I am highly skeptical of Dr. Mann's claims in this case. Certainly he may have been a little disoriented without his gear, but it shouldn't be anything that he wouldn't recover from in a few hours at most. As for the "implants," I think that's pure bull. My understanding was he had some electrodes taped to his skin and he suffered some skin damage when the tape was removed. Certainly nothing like the image of invasive torture the original article conjures up. Of course the airlines shouldn't have forcibly removed anything from his person (and were probably committing assault in doing so), but nothing was ripped out of his body.

      Also, if he wears this stuff constantly, I have to ask why the latest picture from his continuously updated "eyecam" is dated August 14, 2001?

      He may be suffering from depression at the thought of having his equipment damaged (I can only imagine the state I'd be in if someone broke into my house and trashed all of my computers), and may even be having symptoms of withdrawl, assuming his attachment to his equipment was something like an addiction. However that's a pathological condition that could be argued is not very healthy in the first place.

      I also have to question the quoted figure of >$100,000 in damage. I simply can't believe he was wearing half a million dollars worth of equipment. In fact I strongly doubt you would have to pay more than a few grand to put together an identical system. If you look through his site, all the documentation seems to indicate that his sytems are made out of easily available off the shelf components. I see nothing referencing any piece of exotic or outrageously expensive equipment.

      Finally, let's not forget that Dr. Mann is the same guy who came up with the "shooting Back" project wherein people take cameras into places that have video surveillance and "shoot back" by filming the filmers. Principles notwithstanding, this is designed from the outset to elicit confrontational situations.

      So ultimately I'd have to chalk this up as a fine publicity stunt that perhaps went a little too far.

  • by carpe_noctem ( 457178 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:37PM (#3273974) Homepage Journal
    Regardless of what wehavethewayout.com is running, that webserver has probably had a hell of a day. Besides being slashdotted, I would speculate that hundreds of curious slashdotters have portscanned, banner-scanned, and run all sorts of scripts against this server. No wonder it's offline right now. :)
    • I ran a neutrino scan that came up some interesting results, but I'll know more when I complete the graviton scan I have running in the background. I plan to start a tachyon scan some time yesterday.

      As soon as I finish my analysis I'll submit it as a Slashdot article.

  • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:39PM (#3273978)
    i don't know how nataliya translated the text but sometime linus' sentences are given a different meaning. the best example is imho the last sentence.

    the english one:
    I don't think I have any special messages at all. I think the only "message" in my book was the tongue-in-cheek "Party on, Dude!"

    and here is the russian one:
    I definitely don't want to give a message to anybody. The most important thing in my book is its cool ending: "Let's rock, pal?"

    this is just one of many examples.
    A small info: i am a native russian speaker although i live in germany since 1993.

    • by glwtta ( 532858 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @09:14PM (#3274152) Homepage
      The question which you quote the response to is literally translated as "do you have something to say to your russian readers" which is a common enough expression in interviews, akin to the english "Do you have something to add?" when the interviewer gives the interviewee a chance to speak about something that's not necessarily on the "agenda"

      Of course it's presented to Linus as this "special message" which he ovbiously takes as "messages" in his book. But then the russian translation of his response, can once again be taken (especially in view of the question) simply as "I don't want to say anything to anyone at all" which I found rather odd when I read it.

      I am curious though, why you translated "Saegraem, paren'?" as "Let's rock, pal?" It's an idiom that literally means "Shall we play, you man?" (for lack of a better word), but I'd say that it has the same general meaning as "Party on, dude"

      But then again, I haven't lived in a russian speaking country for some time, either; and yeah the translation is not exactly stellar.

    • by achurch ( 201270 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @10:37PM (#3274599) Homepage

      The important question is whether the Russian text imparts the same meaning and nuances to a native Russian reader as the English text does to an English reader--not whether the words happen to match up. I don't know any Russian, so I can't speak for this particular case, but I do speak fluent Japanese, and I have seen far too many "translations" that rely too heavily on dictionaries and end up missing critical points because of it. (Those who have played console games, particularly in the 8/16-bit era, will probably remember the frequency of unnatural English text [planettribes.com] in those games; one good example is "it's dangerous", which is a literal--and incorrect--translation of the Japanese word used to mean "look out!".) The better translation is not the one with the most word-for-word matches, but the one that causes readers in both languages to think the same thing. And with all due respect, I think it's difficult to judge that without a fluent knowledge of both languages involved.

      It's also worth noting that it simply isn't possible to express some concepts in some languages, because the culture/society the language is used in simply doesn't have the concept in the first place. For example, Japanese has numerous words for expressing interpersonal relationships (such as nearly a dozen first-person singular pronouns, each with a different connotation); while you can approximate the meaning of those in English by playing games with sentence structure and the like, you can't get exactly the same nuance because English simply doesn't use the same concept set as Japanese does. So there will always be some inaccuracies in any translation, especially with colloquialisms like "party on, dude!"; the object is to keep them as few and as small as possible--again. in terms of the effect on the reader.

      Of course, translating a Russian translation back into English is going to result in even more inaccuracies, like converting an MP3 file to Ogg Vorbis and then back to MP3 again; just because the final result sounds bad doesn't necessarily mean that the original or intermediate result are also bad.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by bonch ( 38532 )
    http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph/?host=www.linu x64.com
  • by Seth Finkelstein ( 90154 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:52PM (#3274026) Homepage Journal
    Calling it "brain damage" is not really accurate, but the effect is real. Think of what happened in this way:

    Imagine you wear special, expensive, contact lens. You wear them all day, every day, for a long time. Then an airline security guard decides the contact lens might be the next thing in terms of smuggled terrorist weapons (after all, given a bomb hidden in shoes, and plastic explosives, well, better safe than sorry). So security rips the contact lenses out of your eyes (scratching your corneas in doing so), and ruins your lens with their grubby fingers in the process of examining them.

    Suddenly, you're back to pre-contact lens vision, with some "damage" (not dramatic in the overall scale of things, but still painful) to your eyes.

    Now imagine you can't get easily get new contact lenses, or even replacement glasses, because they're specially-made.

    Stripped of the cyborgness, this is the sort of experience we're talking about. It's clear it's not a pleasant one.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • by Christopher Thomas ( 11717 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:52PM (#3274027)
    See the previous article re. Prof. Mann for testimony from myself and other students who have worked with him.

    As far as any of us have been able to tell, he has absolutely no medical requirement for any of his equipment, or any actual physical or psychological dependence on his equipment. He has been observed working fine without it on several occasions.

    This is a publicity stunt, plain and simple. Prof. Mann has an agenda to push and is pushing it as hard as he can.
    • As far as any of us have been able to tell, he has absolutely no medical requirement for any of his equipment, or any actual physical or psychological dependence on his equipment. He has been observed working fine without it on several occasions.

      Thanks for sharing some closer insight to the guy... Judging from his website, he seems to have been more than a bit eccentric to begin with, and also has done previous publicity stunts which seem to focus more on him than on his "cause."

      I can't believe he didn't prepare himself for the possibility that all of the equipment might have to be removed - especially in light of the "standard" security precautions. And again, you're right - none of it was medically necessary. However, I could see him possibily being psychologically distraught over its forcible removal - though more from the shock of being questioned and examined and refused than from a real dependence on the equipment as a crutch (your comments leave little room for that, assuming you are telling the truth, which we also can't verify). So I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that his original account of being disoriented, etc., was not embellished. That doesn't take away from the fact that he caused the confrontation himself.
  • by splorf ( 569185 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @08:59PM (#3274049)
    if it's real, though I think it's bullshit.

    The only way he could be damaged is if his VR stuff caused some kind of permanent change to his brain by replacing part of its normal function, sort of like (imagine) if you lived in a weightless environment for long enough, you might lose your ability to walk in normal gravity. That change of course would be a very slow, gradual process that came from wearing the electronics for years.

    The electronics are bound to fail sooner or later. If they were really causing some physical change in him, then if they ran for a few more years before failing, the change would have progressed that much further and the damage would have been worse. So if removing the stuff caused damage, it's good that he found out about it now while the effects aren't as bad.

    But I agree with the Linuxjournal comment from the guy claiming to be a doctor, saying Mann is probably just looking for an excuse to sue. If that VR removal really caused brain damage, two things should happen:

    1. Medical researchers should be swarming all over Mann, examining him to figure out exactly what happened.
    2. The VR stuff should be regulated by the FDA, installed only under medical supervision, and nobody should be allowed to wear it for such extended periods.
    • There have been experiments where people were given 'prism glasses' that reversed the image. After some weeks (?) of great awkwardness, their brains ALTERED to see in reverse too, and they saw out of the glasses as normal.

      Then when the experiment ended and the glasses came off...

      That's right. ANOTHER couple weeks of helplessness, this time to re-adapt to the natural condition.

      This guy may be exaggerating but it's not totally ludicrous. Perhaps his techie stuff really did remap his visual fields and brain functioning to a significant extent. We only have his opinion on that, and it might not be honest.

      The question then becomes- do you allow people to do harm to their brains to adapt to cybernetic enhancements?

      What is NOT up for debate is that this adaptation happens- to more or less of an extent. If you can remap the visual cortex to reverse images, that tells you a lot about what's possible for unceasing exposure to an unnatural situation- just like this guy's been inflicting on himself.

  • "...the following words from your mother: "I still don't think Linus has any 'special' talent and certainly not 'for computers' - if it weren't that, it would be something else. In another day and age he would focus on some different challenge, and I think he will. (What I mean is, I hope he won't be stuck in Linux maintenance forever)."

    No matter how big, how bad, how high your IQ your mom will always be there to ground you.

    "MOM! I've just won 5 Noble prizes and been elected president of Earth for Life!"

    "That's nice dear. Take out the garbage and then don't forget to wash your hands."

  • I bet some expensive UNIX system administrators could get a web page installed on a UNIX box in less than a day and a half. Something to think about next time you're in the market to buy some trained monkeys to run your Windows network.
  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @10:31PM (#3274567)
    A spokesman for Air Canada issued a statement concerning Steve Mann's latest claims, "Take off, eh? We didn't cause no brain damage! He was brain damaged before, eh? Why else would he got on our plane to start with? Now, let's go get a beer and a jelly donut, eh?"
  • Given M$ recently delared push to fix the security of their OS, this makes a fiendishly clever move. The single most valuable resource for fixing security problems is to know EVERY exploit currently in use.

    Try this for a plan... So they get the security problems fixed, kinda sorta they think. The truly evil plan would be to TROLL the entire net. With some sort of nasty unfounded lie about UNIX. It would generate millions of hits, and have every cracker, script kiddie and real Security Geek on the planet spend the next few days trying to take down that system. Log it. M$ would now have a comprehensive database of every known method for breaking windows because thousands of enemies just showed them their favorite exploits!

    From now on, we can assume that M$ actually has the most knowledge about methods of cracking windoze. Here is the ultimate panic point. Now that M$ has this information, it is quite possible that they WILL soon have the most secure system. With this quality of information about holes, and legions of code drones spending ALL of their time fixing them, they just might actually fix them ALL. What happens to *NIX if M$ really does end up with the most secure system?

  • This whole air canada story sounds like a nightmare, but the simple fact is that that guy could have rented a car and drove home, he was in no way trapped into taking a flight, the fact that he submitted to the airlines demands seems very suspicious to me. It takes about a day or two to drive from St. John to T.O. and would probably have cost a couple of hundred dollars, much cheaper and easier than having you implants ripped out if you ask me.
    • Well someone hasn't been to the rock recently ;)

      It's 3 days of hard driving from St. John's to TO (I'm talking 12 hours per day here) plus your choice of a 6 or 14 hour ferry ride (depending on where you get it from) through Newfoundland waters.... in the middle of march ...

      On a windy day that kinda punishment can make an air canada strip search look pretty attractive in comparison.

      As to cost ... the difference is probably less than 200$... well worth it to avoid the inevitable holdups when dealing with the weather, marine atlantic and newfoundland driving in March.

      Canadians, particularly those of us down east where Air Canada is pretty much the only game in town, are very well aware of the problems at that airline. However, it seems to me that Mr. Mann must not have been completely co-operative with security personnel in St. John's. I find it hard to believe that they would have gone to these lengths without some kind of a reason.

    • Oh yeah, just what we need. Some guy behind the wheel of a car with his vision filtered through a camera strapped to his head.

  • Hey, at least they didn't have to hire expensive experts to run their simple static one page web site.

  • What is *up* with this guy, anyway? Does he have a suite of disabilities or something, or is he just a nut? (From what little I could piece together of him from various sources, the "nut" theory seems more plausible.)

    Does anyone really believe he had half a million bucks of wearable computers on him that he really needed? And that he suffered brain damage from having them rebooted? Was this supposed to be posted on April 1st or something?

    Anybody who is trying to board a plane in this day and age with a whack of unnecessary electrodes and hardware placed all over his body, is just looking for trouble (or more likely, publicity).

    I've travelled many Airlines, and Air Canada is luxurious and incredibly careful as compared to any of the others I've used (never lost a bag, never damaged anything, for me). And any increased level of security (for a rather suspicious whack of hardware) is solely due to attempts to protect Canada's neighbor to the south from terrorist activities.

    Getting this guy any press at all for his supposed problems is just ludicrous.

  • Steve Mann... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @12:31AM (#3275064) Homepage
    I can understand how removal of Mann's equipment would cause him something of a form of "brain damage". What we all tend to forget is how long Mann has been doing this sort of thing - his first rig (IIRC) was a TV attached to an Apple IIe back in the 80's!!!

    His latest rigs are much more compact - others here have noted the research done using special glasses that flipped the image - in those researches the volunteers got used to it, but when they were taken away, they were "disoriented" again (if I have it right, the brain starts to reinterpret everything normally, but take away the special glasses, and the user sees things wrong, until the brain readjusts - someone posted that some of the volunteers NEVER readjusted, which is scary).

    Furthermore, you have to realise that Mann's devices were a form of brain/memory augmentation - he literally had a system where he could look at locations/faces and "tag" them with reminders, so that he didn't have to remember names/places/items - he could just look at them again, and if he had tagged them before, the tag would appear - in true augmented reality "magic". Anything from names to reminders about events ("milk on sale", etc).

    So, without the system, one could effectively say he had lost a portion of his memory (and he has been doing this so long, almost two decades now, that one could say his augmentation is normal for him - he seems to be truely a walking experiment). While I am sure some of his antics are publicity stunt type material, I don't really think this was the case here. It would be more akin to someone who had chopped their arm off intentionally to use a "bionic" replacement (custom designed, of course), but had it taken away because it could be a "bomb"...

    As far as the comment about Mann's system being "wires and pc boards" and looking like it could be a bomb - the last version I remember Mann working on (and supposedly had a prototype of) was contained in the "lining" of a large suit sport coat, with the boards spread out among the coat's inner surface, maybe a bit of kit in a fanny pack (batteries likely), and a very small vision/camera system (can't remember the company that was developing it, but it looked like an ordinary set of glasses, with a very small prism mounted on one lens, with the projection system mounted on the earpiece of the frame projecting in from the side) - the whole thing was mostly "invisible". I suppose the camera and such made for a slightly more visible system, but I don't think (if this was the system he was wearing at the time) that it would be a "shocking" looking system. Of course, I could be wrong, and he might have been testing out something more recent...
  • by Multics ( 45254 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @12:43AM (#3275096) Journal
    As luck would have it, Unisys was already scheduled to come talk today. "Our senior management has decided that we'll be an all-Microsoft company."

    So they're migrating all their mainframe customers to Win2k running on their very expensive up-to-32-way Wintel 'mainframe' (caugh).

    me: So there are no plans for Linux then?
    them: No. We don't think it scales and besides Unix is proprietary.
    me: www.osdl.org has it on a 16cpu (4x4) NUMA and it appears to scale just fine.
    them: We don't know. Nearly everyone we talk to asks us what our Linux plan is and we just tell them "senior management has decided we'll run Windows."

    So I finished with the FreeBSD server stuff and they went 'oh yeah, we got some internal mail on that stuff'.

    Unisys is just being their normal closed, proprietary self. They make zillions doing this by being kissy-face with governments all over. I hope this round bites them squarely since Windows does not make an enterprise O/S no matter how much wishful thinking is done on Bill's or Unisys's part.

    -- Multics

  • by shaka ( 13165 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @08:15AM (#3276138)
    Both the DOS box (www.wehavethewayout.com) and the FreeBSD box ( have anonymous FTP open. Both of them contains a file in the root directory, called 10k.html.
    Both of these files are filled with the string "10k" repeated hundreds of times, ended with a </BODY> tag - the size is exactly 10000 bytes.
    Did they put them there just to make /. readers wonder why, or what the heck is this!?

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!