Saturday, December 30, 2006
Let me remind you we spend 200 billion a year to tell young adults not to have sex till marriage when studies show that 90 percent of those young adults are having sex before marriage.
We spend hundreds of billions on the war on drugs, when studies show that there has been no decrease, only an increase in drug use.
Study Finds Club Music Fans Biggest Drug Users
Dance fans are the biggest drug takers, commit the most crimes and have the most sexual partners, according to a new survey.
Psychologist Dr Adrian North quizzed 2500 people across the UK for the study, which is about to be published in the scientific journal Psychology of Music. The survey included questions on living arrangements, political affiliation, newspaper choice, education, work and pastimes.
Fans of dance and DJ-based music came out tops in most drug categories, including use of ecstasy, cocaine, LSD, amphetamines and cannabis. The only drug category where dance was trumped was solvents.
Over one in ten hip-hop and rap fans have taken solvents.
In other findings, 12.3% of opera fans like to indulge in magic mushrooms and one in five aficionados of musicals such as Phantom of the Opera are in fact marijuana smokers.
The survey revealed that nearly one in three dance fans had more than five sexual partners during the past five years, beating out all competition. Only one country music fan could boast the same.
Dance fans have it over hip-hop fans in terms of crime with 56.9% of dance music fans and 53.1% of hip hop fans admitted to having broken the law.
Almost half of classical and opera aficionados admitted breaking driving laws.
Dance fans were also the least likely to be religious, the least likely to recycle, the least likely to favour raising taxes to improve public services, and the least likely to favour the keeping a National Health Service.
At the other end of the scale, rich people with higher university degrees are more likely to enjoy opera, jazz and classical music.
Dr. North heads the music research center at Leicester University. His research includes topics such as 'The effect of physical attractiveness on responses to pop music performers and their music' and 'The influence of in-store music on wine selection.'
Monday, December 25, 2006
First, though, he was directed to a page where he was supposed to re-enter his password. Rogers realized that someone was trying to steal his information, and he didn't take the bait. At best, he would be spammed with junk e-mails; worse, the Web thief might steal his real-life identity.
"I immediately went back and changed my password," said Rogers, 29, a network analyst for Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss.
MySpace bills itself as a "place for friends." Increasingly, it is also a place for unfriendly attacks from digital miscreants on the prowl, luring users to sexually explicit Web sites, clogging mailboxes with spam messages and playing on the trust users have when speaking to "friends" to obtain passwords that could lead to identity theft.
Managing the risks that come with rapid growth is an enormous challenge for MySpace, now part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media conglomerate. The site can't afford to drive away users, who might defect to one of a growing number of alternative sites, or advertisers, who pay top dollar to reach the growing MySpace audience.
Last month, MySpace inched past Yahoo Inc. in U.S. page views, recording 38.7 billion, according to comScore Media Metrix.
A key reason behind the popularity is its ease. Simply by adding a few lines of computer code, users can create elaborate profiles and personalize them with photos, music and video. A host of communication tools makes it easy to send messages to one person or a whole list of friends, who number into the thousands for some of the more popular MySpace users.
Those same tools can be used by vandals to make it look like an innocent user has sent spam to the same long list of "friends."
Programmers are writing scripts that take advantage of specific features on MySpace, including "friend request," where one user asks to be added to another user's list of buddies.
One recent scam works this way: A spammer posts a number of phony profiles featuring pictures of cute women, often promising nude photos. A "friend request" with the woman's photo is sent to hundreds of users.
Once the fake profile loads, a blue screen descends, saying the profile is protected by the "MySpace Adult Content Viewer." Unsuspecting users who try to download the viewer instead get a worm that installs adware on their computers.
Social-networking sites make good targets because of the implicit level of trust users have when they're interacting with "friends."
"The ongoing interaction lowers your reservations and security barriers," said Marc Gaffan, an expert in online fraud and security at RSA, the security division of EMC Corp.
MySpace, which News Corp. bought last year for some $580 million, has recognized the threat and is stepping up security efforts, said Hemanshu Nigam, its chief security officer.
The company is rapidly expanding its team of software engineers, lawyers and other experts who look for suspicious activity, educate users on how to prevent attacks and go after the worst offenders.
Under Nigam's direction, the company recently formed a Content Assurance Team. Employees post fake profiles on the site, pretending to be vulnerable teens or clueless adults. The profiles are designed to keep tabs on everything from sexual predators to spammers.
MySpace also is preparing to launch a more aggressive education campaign, urging users to take care and use tools that restrict the viewing of their profiles to only trusted sources.
When all else fails, the company is also files civil suits and is increasing cooperation with law enforcement officials.
"We're trying to take away the 'cool' factor of trying to attack us," Nigam said.
Nigam came to MySpace after stints as a federal prosecutor specializing in child pornography and computer crime cases. He also led security efforts at Microsoft Corp. and the Motion Picture Association of America. (MSNBC.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)
MySpace hired him in May to strengthen security and safety efforts at the site and other Internet properties owned by Fox Interactive media.
"Security is a top priority because it's critical for our community of users and for our business partners," Nigam said. "If advertisers feel uncomfortable being on a site that is seen as not as secure, not as safe, then we lose revenue."
So far, no major damage has been done on the site, although some users, increasingly annoyed by the fake friends and messages, are seeking other social networking alternatives.
"I don't have this problem on Facebook," Rogers said, referring to another popular site.
The Internet has weathered several threats over the years, but as users move on, so do the attackers.
Writers of malicious software used to count primarily on e-mail recipients to click on attachments to spread their wares. As e-mail recipients got more savvy, the writers looked to automate the process by exploiting vulnerabilities in e-mail programs, browsers and the Microsoft's Windows operating system.
As those security holes get closed, virus writers are looking elsewhere, including social-networking sites — attractive in part because of their size.
"It's where the activity is and the attackers play the percentages," said David Cole, director of security response at Symantec Corp. "They go after the largest market share where there is the most activity."
WASHINGTON - The tally for Hurricane Katrina waste could top $2 billion next year because half of the lucrative government contracts valued at $500,000 or greater for cleanup work are being awarded without little competition.
Federal investigators have already determined the Bush administration squandered $1 billion on fraudulent disaster aid to individuals after the 2005 storm. Now they are shifting their attention to the multimillion dollar contracts to politically connected firms that critics have long said are a prime area for abuse.
In January, investigators will release the first of several audits examining more than $12 billion in Katrina contracts (PDF). The charges range from political favoritism to limited opportunities for small and minority-owned firms, which initially got only 1.5 percent of the total work.
“Based on their track record, it wouldn’t surprise me if we saw another billion more in waste,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general from 2003-2004. “I don’t think sufficient progress has been made.”
He called it inexcusable that the Bush administration would still have so many no-bid contracts. Under pressure last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency director David Paulison pledged to rebid many of the agreements, only to backtrack months later and reopen only a portion.
‘Laziness, ineptitude ... nefarious’
Investigators are now examining whether some of the agreements — which in some cases were extended without warning rather than rebid — are still unfairly benefiting large firms.
“It’s a combination of laziness, ineptitude and it may well be nefarious,” Ervin said.
FEMA spokesman James McIntyre said the agency was working to fix its mistakes by awarding contracts for future disasters through competitive bidding. Paulison has said he welcomes additional oversight but cautioned against investigations that aren’t based on “new evidence and allegations.”
“As always, FEMA will work with Congress in all aspects to ensure that we are carrying out the agency’s responsibilities,” McIntyre said.
The Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane swept ashore in southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, leveling homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast. Its storm surge breached levees in New Orleans, unleashing a flood that left more than 1,300 people dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.
A series of government investigations in the storm’s wake faulted the Bush administration for underestimating the threat and failing to prepare by pre-negotiating contracts for basic supplies in what has become the nation’s costliest disaster.
$1B estimate ‘likely understated’
Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office said its initial estimate of $1 billion in disaster aid waste was “likely understated,” citing continuing problems in which FEMA doled out tens of millions of dollars in fraudulent housing assistance.
Democrats in Congress called for more accountability. When they take over in January, at least seven committees plan hearings or other oversight — from housing to disaster loans — on how the $88 billion approved for Katrina relief is being spent.
Among the current investigations:
- The propriety of four no-bid contracts together worth $400 million to Shaw Group Inc., Bechtel Group Inc., CH2M Hill Companies Ltd., and Fluor Corp. that were awarded without competition.
The contracts drew immediate criticism because of the companies’ extensive political and government ties, prompting a promise last year from Paulison to rebid them. Instead, FEMA rebid only a portion and then extended their contracts once, if not twice — to $3.4 billion total — so the firms could finish their remaining Katrina work.
The four companies, which have denied that connections played a factor, were among six that also won new contracts after open bidding in August. The latest contracts are worth up to $250 million each for future disaster work.
- The propriety of 36 trailer contract awards designated for small and local businesses as part of Paulison’s promise to rebid large contracts.
‘It’s who you know’
“It’s not what you know, what your expertise is. I don’t even believe it’s got much to do with price. It’s who you know,” contends Ken Edmonds, owner of River Parish RV Inc. in Louisiana, a company of 9 people whose application was rejected.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
|Striking new images of the Red Planet have raised hopes life could be found on Mars after all.|
Scientists say they have photographic evidence that suggests liquid water may have been on the planet as little as five years ago.
Experts last night said Mars now appears more active than previously thought and the latest study shows why it is vital to continue to search for life on our planetary neighbour.
The first images of Mars' surface were taken in the 1960s and they suggested it was a dusty, cratered world rather like our Moon.
Now a new set of photographs has suggested that liquid water may have flowed on the planet a mere five years ago.
The discovery resulted from images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor which first recorded gullies and trenches that could have been made by fast-flowing water coursing down cliffs and crater walls.
Scientists in the USA decided to retake images of the gullies to search for any sign of recent activity.
Two of those originally photographed in 1999 and 2001 then photographed again in 2004 and 2005 showed changes consistent with water having flowed down the side of the crater. The discovery was made by scientists at the San Diego-based Malin Space Systems which operated a camera aboard the spacecraft.
Writing in the journal Science, the researchers led by Michael Malin said the properties and settings of the deposits in the gullies are consistent with water flow.
Expert Bruce Jakosky, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, said the study "underscores the importance of searching for life on Mars, either present or past.
"It's one more reason to think that life could be there," he added.
However Oded Aharonson of the California Institute of Technology urged caution over the findings.
He said the interpretation of the images as water activity was 'compelling' but only one explanation.
Until now the question of liquid water has mainly focused on ancient Mars and on the Martian north pole, where water ice has been detected.
Water along with a stable source of heat is essential for life to emerge.
Mars formed more than 4.5 billion years ago and scientists generally believe it went through an early wet and warm era that ended after 1.5 billion to 2.5 billion years, leaving the planet extremely dry and cold.
Water cannot remain a liquid for long because of subzero surface temperatures and low atmospheric pressure that would turn water into ice or gas.
But some studies have pointed to the possibility of liquid water flowing briefly on the surface through a possible underground water source that periodically shoots up.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
- Benjamin Franklin
Monday, December 04, 2006
- Did you Inhale?
- That's the point!
Unfortunetly Barack called smoking pot "a mistake" - Oh well, Marijuana legalization will have to wait for 2012.