Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday Morning Crabcake

I'm tired of this time vampire! Not the blog -- the slow-speed dial-up.

While in Burlington on Tuesday morning, I dealt with my email at my friend Joe's house in -- I timed it -- 14 minutes.

The same number of emails took over two hours to deal with once I was back home in Marlboro.

Indeed, Yahoo "updated" their email service on Friday morning, further complicating and slowing the process for those of us stuck with dial-up.

I'm working hard to change this, but it's most likely one to two years away, at best. One of the ongoing perverse ironies of this process is how every authority or utility that's a link in the chain immediately refers to websites, links, etc. that will "help," inevitably saying, "It'll just take a couple minutes," at which point I remind them it'll actually take many more minutes -- if the site I'm being referred to loads at all -- and that isn't a help.

I've written at length about the situation on our Marlboro Broadband Committee website, and fellow committee member Jim Mahoney has begun the topographical mapping process necessary to our first steps ahead. If you care to read a bit more about what's happening, visit
  • our committee website
  • and be sure to read my essay on our Verizon woes, if nothing else.

    (Oh, ya, since I'm no longer able to access email on my office computer, thanks to Yahoo's upgrade, my blog cut-and-paste link template is out of reach just now -- hope the link works. If not, sorry. It's getting more complicated by the day around here.)

    End of this morning's crabcake.

    Hmmmm, how to plug a friend's "semi-anonymous" new site that's worth a look?

  • Atomic Surgery
  • is (ahem) "the new blog that bridges the quantum gap between science and pop-culture. If you've enjoyed the pop-influenced reportage on all things dinosaurian and paleontological in Dr. Michael Ryan's
  • Palaeoblog
  • then you'll enjoy the molecularly scrambled take on Art & Science at Atomic Surgery. The site will shortly be posting some of the best pages from Gil Kane's comic adaptation of The Lost World. Don't miss it."

    I won't! You shouldn't either.

    Well, I guess that does the trick.

    Again, hope the links work this morning. If not, I'll fix 'em tomorrow AM.

    Jean-Marc Lofficier sends me the following link for
  • this must-read diary on Kos.
  • In short, "A simple question, really:  what are Navy SEALS doing attending a Christian youth rally in Philadelphia earlier this month?"

    Read it and weep. The militaristic theocracy is here.

    I know at least one of you out there has no problem with this escalating US government spying on its own citizens, but this is getting pretty fucking insane. The ghost of J. Edgar Hoover must be smiling, ectoplasmically tasting the increased reach 21st Century technology provides such covert operations.

    It's impossible to keep up with the various shitstorms -- another time-vampire, really -- but I'm glad Tim Lucas forwarded me this from the Wired News security and privacy blog, providing further info on the ongoing NSA and phone company scandals :


    By Evan Hansen|  WIRED NEWS
    02:00 AM May, 22, 2006

    "A file detailing aspects of AT&T's alleged participation in the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic wiretap operation is sitting in a San Francisco courthouse. But the public cannot see it because, at AT&T's insistence, it remains under seal in court records.

    The judge in the case has so far denied requests from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, and several news organizations to unseal the documents and make them public.

    AT&T claims information in the file is proprietary and that it would suffer severe harm if it were released.

    Based on what we've seen, Wired News disagrees. In addition, we believe the public's right to know the full facts in this case outweighs AT&T's claims to secrecy.

    As a result, we are publishing the complete text of a set of documents from the EFF's primary witness in the case, former AT&T employee and whistle-blower Mark Klein -- information obtained by investigative reporter Ryan Singel through an anonymous source close to the litigation. The documents, available on Wired News as of Monday, consist of 30 pages, with an affidavit attributed to Klein, eight pages of AT&T documents marked "proprietary," and several pages of news clippings and other public information related to government-surveillance issues.

    The AT&T documents appear to be excerpted from material that was later filed in the lawsuit under seal. But we can't be entirely sure, because the protective order prevents us from comparing the two sets of documents.

    This week, we are joining in efforts to bring this evidence to light in its entirety.

    We are filing a motion to intervene in the case in order to request that the court unseal the evidence, joining other news and civil rights organizations that have already done so, including the EFF, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, the Associated Press and Bloomberg.

    Before publishing these documents we showed them to independent security experts, who agreed they pose no danger to AT&T. For example, they do not reveal sensitive information that hackers might use to attack the company's systems.

    The court's gag order is very specific in barring only the EFF, its representatives and its technical experts from discussing and disseminating this information. The court explicitly rejected AT&T's motion to include Klein in the gag order and declined AT&T's request to force the EFF to return the documents."

    In the meantime, for different thrills and chills (the vicarious kind), there's The Last Broadcast cover art I'm working up -- which, coincidentally, I'm doing for the same DVD label releasing my amigo Marty Langford's new feature film!

    For a peek at Marty's cover art and updated info on the upcoming Heretic DVD release of Marty's
  • Magdalena's Brain,
  • click on the title (y'know, five words back, above).

    Marty adds, "the DVD master has been sent to the replication house and we couldn't be happier. The transfer is gorgeous, the extras are super-cool and the menu designs are striking. The best thing of all? We now have an FBI warning... we're legit."

    Just as you should be kicking up a fuss at your local video store for Heretic's fall release of The Last Broadcast (with my cover painting and a way-cool minicomic insert I've got a hand in -- more on that later this spring) and Lance Weiler's new solo feature Head Trauma (featuring a faux Christian comic my son Dan and I drew which figures mightily in the narrative), Marty asks that you "be sure to get your copy [of Magdalena's Brain] reserved. Also, bombard Best Buy and Hollywood Video for the title, so they'll be sure to order extra copies when it's released! That’s July 25, 2006 in case you’ve forgotten."

    Marty concludes, "Thanks to all who lifted a finger, picked up the phone, or nearly killed themselves for us.  We’ll never forget your efforts."

    Gotta run -- 90 minute drive north amid errands (including a food delivery to my ailing son Dan), CCS duties (and maybe a meeting around lunch), paying gig with a Dartmouth-Hitchcock "Psychiatry and Comics" presentation at 1 PM (I was up till 3 AM finishing the scans for the lecture -- and sorry, Heath, can't send it to you; dial-up, too much time and work, and you'd not have my notes and lecture, just images -- besides, I do enough for free!), CCS meeting at 3 PM, Dartmouth meeting at 5:15, and another CCS followup meeting after that -- then, 90 minutes home.

    And to bed.