Thought Gallery October 2002

October 1
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In a test to the effectiveness of the current dvd encryption. I completed a case study, where from the installation of a dvd burner to playing a identical copy of a encrypted dvd took 3 days. I utilized a slower AMD-400 Mhz processor with 128 MB ram running WinXP.  It takes about 3 hours for the process from ripping the dvd to the computer and burning it back onto a blank dvd. I don't understand why a larger encryption key is not used if protection of intellectual property is the real goal of the encryption. It only took about 3 hours to find freeware decryption software on the Internet that is plug-n-play with a nice gui interface.  This is almost easier than trading mp3's over Napster's network.
A multi-purpose electric vehicle developed by Japan Science and Technology Corp. and Keio University speeds along a street during a demonstration in downtown Tokyo. Developed at a cost of 300 million yen (2.4 million dollars), the eight-wheel- drive vehicle, called KAZ, is capable of reaching a top speed of 311 kmh (192 mph), its developer Prof. Hiroshi Shimizu of Keio University says. The 6.7-meter (14.7 feet)-long KAZ uses 84 lithium-ion batteries, which once charged enables the car to run for about 300 kilometers (186 miles).
October 2
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An unidentified man holds a unique synergy of digital photography and nostalgia, which is presented by the German Minox company in form of a miniaturized Leica M3 classic camera of the fifties with digital interior at the photokina fair in Cologne, western Germany. The camera has a 1.3 Megapixel chip and can store some 99 images on a 32 Megabyte flash memory and shall cost 299 Euro (US$ 292). It weights 95 grams and can transfer its images to a computer by USB link cable.
October 3
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For all that unions effectively gain from their employers, I see too many instances of more harm & cost being incurred by society from those gains.  Just as businesses should be allowed to over inflate prices of goods, unions should not be allowed to over inflate salary levels against the health of a specific marketplace. I think enemies of the state need to concentrate on taking over union councils not high-rise commercial office building, as they could be much more effective in disrupting the regular flow of supply chains and the marketplace. Find the union in charge of food chain distribution and have them go on strike for a month arguing a pay increase.  Once the grocery store shelves go bare, it won't matter how much money you have if you can't eat, chaos ensues shortly thereafter.
Armed Guards Spook Dock Negotiators
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - West Coast ports weren't the only thing shut down. So were contract talks between dockworkers and their employers after efforts to bring in a federal mediator collapsed. The mediation session ended before it began after the presence of armed guards hired by the port operators association spooked union negotiators. The collapse comes just as businesses across the country, from toy manufacturers to auto makers, are beginning to feel squeezed by the shutdown of all 29 West Coast ports, which handled more than $320 billion worth of imports and exports in 2001.
       The Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and terminal operators, locked out about 10,500 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, claiming workers had engaged in an illegal slowdown after failing to extend their expired contract. Union representatives stormed out of a mediation session, accusing their employers of sabotaging the session with "gun-toting security guards." "Thug tactics will not work with this union," said Jim Spinosa, the union's president and chief negotiator. Peter Hurtgen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said the armed guards were a breach of bargaining protocol.
       The shipping association said the two plainclothes guards, both off-duty police officers, were there to protect its president, Joseph Miniace. The conflict further soured the contract dispute that has effectively closed all West Coast ports and paralyzed the flow of billions of dollars worth of cargo headed for all 50 states. Spinosa said the union will not meet with the current set of association negotiators they need to be replaced with the associations' executive board, he said. Shipping lines vowed to keep all 29 major West Coast ports closed until the longshoremen agree to extend their expired contract as the talks continue. The union has refused to budge until the lockout ends. The two sides are at odds over pensions and other benefits, as well as the union's demand to control any new jobs that would come with the introduction of modern cargo handling technology.
       Under the expired contract, full-time longshoremen earn an average salary of $80,000 a year, while the most experienced foremen average $167,000. If the standoff drags on, "things are not going to be arriving on shelves when they are supposed to," said Erik Autor, international trade counsel at the National Retail Federation.
       Many merchants have protected themselves by shipping some holiday goods in advance by aircraft. But air shipping is expensive and stores could pass the costs along to customers. "This is the two minute warning for the Christmas season. We got hit at the most vulnerable moment," said Charlie Woo, founder and chief executive of Megatoys in Los Angeles, which has $750,000 worth of toys in transit. "The customer wants my stuff, but it's on the water."
       In a letter to President Bush, the West Coast Waterfront Coalition, which represents retailers and transportation firms, urged the White House to take "whatever steps are necessary" to reopen the ports. Even if the ports reopened immediately, it would take a month for companies to get their supply chains working normally again, said the group's executive director, Robin Lanier. The port shutdown has also begun to pinch Asian shippers whose container vessels are stranded in and outside North American ports, and a protracted shutdown could ripple throughout the regional economy hurting manufacturers, transport and other related industries. "This is not only affecting West Coast ports, it's having a chain effect," Sunny Ho Lap-kee, executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers Council, said Wednesday. "This could result in a disaster. If there's no sign of a compromise it will affect the whole global economy."

October 4
Image of the Day
Artist rendition of the "AZ Island" project designed by French architect Jean-Philippe Zoppini. The 400 meter (1320 feet) long and 300 meter (990 feet) large vessel could host 4,000 cabins on 15 stories, its own port and facilities to be like a moving city on the sea. No price was available for the project but a model could be presented at the Sea Trade exhibition of Miami in March 2003.
October 5
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Here's an interesting picture I came across of James Buchanan from 1848. It's interesting as most images of the president are from the 1860's.
October 6
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Another house almost bites the dust, seems like people need to be more cautious as to what flood plains their properties are in, and or build up the houses a little higher like this one appears to be
October 7
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During the rain in the evening I did some last minute touch-ups for the final inspection tomorrow. Seems I need to get an extension piece for my toilets to remount them, as the tile raised the height about the seal of the p-trap.
October 8
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Awaiting another round of inspections today. Atlas the inspectors did not show up today.  Erin & I finished the grout in the bathroom, and I caulked the door frame on the stairs landing area.  I'm sick today, been feeling that way for the last few days, sniffling away at work.
October 9
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It's amazing to see how such a small workforce in our economy can cause it to shutdown.
Container and cargo ships sit anchored in San Francisco Bay, as the Bay Bridge can be seen in the background, in San Francisco. President Bush decided Tuesday to seek a court injunction to reopen West Coast ports, intervening in a bitter labor dispute that has cost the economy as much as $2 billion a day.
October 10
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The space shuttle Atlantis moves closer to its docking
with the International Space Station. Atlantis carries a 45-foot truss segment, the second to arrive at the station, that will eventually become part of a 350-foot structure, the longest ever built in space, supporting massive arrays of solar panels that will power the life support and science activity on the station throughout its life.
October 11
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This is the type of damage a hurricane with 165 mph winds can do to a platform offshore Gulf of Mexico. This is close to where my dad used to work about 20 years ago off the coast of Louisiana.


October 12
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MoonPies ride on the chocolate coating assembly line at Chattanooga Bakery in Chattanooga, Tenn.. The sticky-sweet confection of marshmallow-stuffed graham cookies is 100 years old and its makers are asking consumers for nostalgic recollections of the southern treat. 
October 13
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Kirk Mombert, of Harrisburg, Ore., gives a thumbs-up after his giant pumpkin was the big winner at the annual Half Moon Bay World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif. Mombert's pumpkin weighed 1,173 pounds, a record for the Half Moon Bay event. He also won $5,865 in prize money.
October 14
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A man puts packing hooks through his cheek in Phuket province, 690 kilometers (428 miles) southwest of Bangkok, Thailand, to celebrate the annual Vegetarian Festival. Every year around early October devout Buddhists in the overseas Chinese community celebrate the nine-day festival, during which some perform acts of self-mortification including body-piercing, although such acts are not part of mainstream Buddhist faith.
October 15
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At McDonald's, a customer saw on the menu that you could have an order of 6, 9 or 12 Chicken McNuggets. He asked for a half dozen nuggets. 
"We don't have half dozen nuggets," said the girl at the counter. 
"You don't?" the customer in front of me replied. 
"We only have six, nine, or twelve," was the reply. 
"So I can't order a half dozen nuggets, but I can order six?" 
"That's right." So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets. 
October 16
Image of the Day
The paragraph above doesn't amaze me because of what happened a couple of months ago. I was checking out at the local Foodland with just a few items and the lady behind me put her things on the belt close to mine. I picked up one of those "Dividers" that they keep by the cash register and placed it between our things so they wouldn't get mixed. After the girl had scanned all of my items, she picked up the "Divider" looking it all over for the bar code so she could scan it. Not finding the bar code she said to me "Do you know how much this is?" 
I said to her "I've changed my mind, I don't think I'll buy that today."  She said "OK" and I paid her for the things and left. She had no clue to what had just happened 
October 17
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Pumpkin carving is a dangerous sport for me it seems. I cut 2 on my tendons on my left hand while pumpkin carving this evening.  I am unable to move my left pinky finger.  After seeing a local clinic and the local South Austin hospital I got home about 2:00am. My $30 pumpkins are increaing in maintainancve expenses.
 Montgomery County police officer Joyce Utter, left, and Corporal Robert Moroney of the Maryland State Police, right, steady a composite of a Ford van being sought in possible connection with the sniper shootings during a press conference, at Montgomery County police headquarters in Rockville, Md. The assassin favors shopping malls and gas stations, knows his way around five counties in two states, and if composite photographs are correct, likes a certain style of getaway vehicle. Knowing that, how does the killer slip free?
October 18
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I took the day off work to relax and sleep off some painfrom my injuries.
 A mother prepares her daughter for a souvenir photo next to a giant shoe prior to its formal unveiling in a ceremony in Marikina, east of Manila. Organizers hope this will be declared the world's biggest shoe by the Guinness Book of World Records. Two Guinness representatives were supposed to witness the unveiling but cancelled their trip due to the series of bombings in the country. The giant shoe, measuring 5.5 meters in length, 2.25 meters in width and 1.83 meters in height, took 77 days to make and can fit in 30 people inside. The Guinness title of the World's Biggest Shoes was formerly held by Marty Snortum of El Paso, Texas and Zahit Okular of Turkey, according to the organizers.
October 19
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Lebanon Taps River at the Center of Israel Row
WAZZANI, Lebanon - Lebanon started pumping water Wednesday from a southern river that also supplies Israel -- a project that has drawn Israeli ire and U.S. mediation to avoid a regional flare-up. Israel has said it takes a "grave view" of the project to pipe water from the Wazzani river to parched southern villages. But Lebanese guerrilla group Hizbollah has warned it would retaliate "within seconds" to any Israeli attack on the new pumping station.
      Amid tight security, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud officially opened the project on the Wazzani, a tributary of the Hasbani river that feeds the Jordan river and the Sea of Galilee -- Israel's biggest freshwater reservoir. Lebanese security forces stood guard as Lahoud sent water gushing through the pipe at the center of the row, which has prompted Washington to dispatch envoys to cool tensions and drawn U.S. calls for Lebanon not to begin pumping. Hundreds of red and white balloons were released as the water began to flow, and revelers splashed around in the water. Lebanon says the amount of water it plans to use -- up to an extra 140 million cubic feet a year -- is within its rights under international law. It now pumps seven million cubic meters a year. Lebanon has also said it would not be talked out of plans to tap water from the Wazzani for irrigation, following suggestions that it limit use of the river to drinking water.
      A report by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) this month said Lebanon had not broken any international agreements but said the row should be resolved diplomatically. "It is a duty of the Lebanese government to supply local residents with water for domestic and other use," said a copy of the report obtained by Reuters. "We consider that the Lebanese government has not breached any international agreement and that United Nations (news - web sites) mediation is necessary." Thousands of people, waving Lebanese flags, turned out to watch the ceremony as Lebanese and Israeli security forces patrolled the border area near the Wazzani, witnesses said. Israeli jets have circled over the area in recent weeks as workers put the finishing touches on the project. 
October 20
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Kilimanjaro's already skimpy glaciers are melting so quickly that they will be gone by 2020, U.S. researchers reported. Trekkers are shown approaching Mount Kilimanjaro's Kibo crater July 22, 2001. 
October 21
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I visited a hand surgeon today about my finger, I am scheduled for surgery tomorrow to reconnect my tendons and repair the damages. The hand splint is almost as uncomfortable as the cut finger.
Powerful Attack Cripples Servers 
WASHINGTON (AP) - Nine of the 13 computer servers that manage global Internet traffic were crippled by a powerful electronic attack this week, officials said. But most Internet users didn't notice because the attack only lasted an hour. Its origin was not known, and the FBI  and White House were investigating. One official described Monday's attack as the most sophisticated and large-scale assault against these crucial computers in the history of the Internet. 
       Seven of the 13 servers failed to respond to legitimate network traffic and two others failed intermittently during the attack, officials confirmed.  The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center was "aware of the denial of service attack and is addressing this matter," spokesman Steven Berry said. Service was restored after experts enacted defensive measures and the attack suddenly stopped. 
       The 13 computers are spread geographically across the globe as precaution against physical disasters and operated by U.S. government agencies, universities, corporations and private organizations. "As best we can tell, no user noticed and the attack was dealt with and life goes on," said Louis Touton, vice president for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet's key governing body.  "We were prepared, we responded quickly," said Brian O'Shaughnessy, a spokesman for VeriSign Inc., which operates two of the 13 computers in northern Virginia. Computer experts who manage some of the affected computers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were cooperating with the White House through its Office of Homeland Security and the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. 
October 22
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I had hand surgery today. The process took about 4 hours, although the surgery was only 1 hour long.  My finger is now more swolen and sore than before.  It seems the doctor had to go hunting for my tendonds and I have a z-shaped ccut all the way up and down my finger, with a nice bruise on my hand where he went searching for the bottom half.  The pain killers dont seem to do much at 2 every 4 hours, so I hasve a constant throbbing pain to get used to until it heals. 
October 23
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I went to physical therapy today for my finger, seems it will take at least 6 weeks for the tendonds to heal strong enough for me to start strengthening them again.  I'll have my nice cast/splint until then.  At least the cast makes it look close to as painful as it really is.
October 24
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Meet Payton Helen Monson born today, 10/24/02 at
9:39pm weighing 7 lbs, 14 ozs. 21 " long. to my second-cousin on my mother's side Holly and Mark Monson. The proud grandma Gayla May is on her way to Idaho to see the new addition to the family...
October 25
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A dog body-surfs at Saquarema, about 70 km (43 miles) east of Rio de Janeiro. The dog caught a wave as some of the world's top surfing men competed in a World Championship Tour event.
October 26
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Briton Majed Nawaz, one among 26 men including three Britons, charged of belonging to an outlawed group and aiming to overthrow the Egyptian government, flashes an English
slogan saying ' Charged for carrying idea peacefullly' as he enters a Cairo court. The defendants are standing trial on charges of attempting to revive Hizb-ut-Tahrir, or the Islamic Liberation Party, suppressed by the government after an alleged failed coup in 1974. They have claimed innocence and said they weremade to confess under duress.
October 27
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October 28
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October 29
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Cheer up, Americans. The economy may be weak and war may be on the horizon, but you can finally buy the dream product of the digital age: the Internet refrigerator. For years, Internet zealots and digital hucksters have dreamed aloud about kitchen appliances that could be made smarter by connecting them directly to the Internet. Endowed with the power of the Net, these appliances would supposedly help cook and preserve your food, diagnose their own malfunctions and more.
Well, as of this month, thanks to the Korean giant LG Electronics, you can have the king of these Internet appliances: the 26-cubic-foot, titanium-clad, LG Internet Refrigerator.
At $8,000, this behemoth, with a built-in Windows PC on top
and a 15.1-inch color flat-panel screen in the door, is probably
the largest, least-mobile digital gadget in the world. But it might be worth considering -- especially if you're sick of spending your money on Porsches and summer homes in the Hamptons, and you've promised your live-in chef a kitchen upgrade.
October 30
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October 31
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