A US Senator is calling

A US Senator is calling for the creation of a National-Guard-like organization for techies, called the National Emergency Technology Guard, or NET Guard. NET Guards would be the people who re-wired the warzones, brought IT back online. I really like this idea -- I've followed various high-tech volunteerism organizations like Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and Geek Corps with disappointment, as they failed to materialize large and dedicated groups of nerd activists who made it their business to bring high tech to the world. With the tech economy collapsing, an opportunity to turn one's high-tech skills to the commonweal seems well-timed. Link Discuss (via MeFi)

The Cold War Era Civil

The Cold War Era Civil Defense Museum is chock-a-block with the history of Civil Defense, from images to stories to bomb-shelter tours to audio files of radio ads. Link Discuss (via Memepool)

Haunting first-person account of the

Haunting first-person account of the events of 9.11 from a firefighter, published in a firefighter's newsletter.
I am pulling a heavy six-inch hose through the muck when I see Mike Carter, the Vice-president of the firefighters union, on the hose just before me. He's a good friend, and we barely say hello to each other. I see Kevin Gallagher, the union president, who is looking for his son who is unaccounted for. Someone calls to me. It is Jimmy Boyle, the retired president of the union, the man who gave us such great leadership in my time in the job. "I can't find Michael," he says. Michael Boyle, his son, was with Engine 33, and the whole company is missing. I can't say anything to Jimmy, but just throw my arms around him.
Link Discuss (via Making Light)

New Yorkers are seeing the

New Yorkers are seeing the ghosts of the Twin Towers, and they're glad of it. Link Discuss (via Making Light)

Real-world butter-bombing: the Pentagon has

Real-world butter-bombing: the Pentagon has a parallel humanitarian relief effort planned:
The Pentagon is considering several ways to provide assistance, including dropping supplies by air and using military bases in the region as staging areas for humanitarian relief. Russia gave permission this week for the United States to use its airspace for humanitarian missions. Japan also offered help.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Jay!)

Viagra has a new application:

Viagra has a new application: Preventing breathlessness in mountain climbers. Link Discuss (Thanks, Timothy!)

The circumstances under which the

The circumstances under which the USAF can shoot down a civilian airliner have just been substantially relaxed. It used to take a direct order from the President, but after today, either of two USAF generals can order military pilots to shoot down airliners that they believe are in danger of crashing into a populated area. Link Discuss

Are you smarter than Miss

Are you smarter than Miss America? Take the Miss America quiz and find out which states fared better and worse than you. I got a six, but I plead Canadianness. Link Discuss (via 24-hour drive-thru)

British scientists unveil "Magic Trousers"

British scientists unveil "Magic Trousers" -- tight pants that naturally treat angina by contracting and releasing, forcing blood northwards.
It squeezes them like a tube of toothpaste," said Amal Louis, clinical lecturer in cardiology at the Royal Infirmary. "The blood bypasses blockages and makes its way through other, narrow blood vessels round the heart muscle. It's really like having a natural heart bypass."
Link Discuss (Thanks, kimages!)

MacOS X.1 is out. Kinda.

MacOS X.1 is out. Kinda. The update to OSX will turn Apple's next-gen operating system into something genuinely functional, as opposed to a penance that the Mac faithful endure in the service of getting involved with the new new thing.

The update is free. As it should be. X.0 - X.0.4 aren't even betas (a beta is feature-complete -- the previous OSXs are missing key features that are provided in X.1), and the Mac faithful paid cash for them. We have a right to expect our faith to be rewarded.

Free it may be, available it ain't. There are currently three ways of getting the update. You can go to Seybold, you can give Apple $20 and wait an unspecified number of weeks for them to ship you the CDs, or you can get it free from a Mac dealer on Saturday (except that what few Mac dealers remain after Apple squeezed their retail channel dry have no idea how they're expected to get the free discs to distribute).

You can't download it. Granted, it's a big, big file -- 500MB! -- but isn't that why Apple bought such a huge stake in Akamai? Apple's not even permitting its faithful users to redistribute the file. If Apple has its way, no one, anywhere, will be allowed to distribute the update over the Internet.

Computers got valuable about 15 years ago when they got really good at converting bits (page layouts) to atoms (paper). Apple led that charge. Now, the real value of computers comes in their ability to move bits from one place to another -- to exploit the Internet and live on it like a real peer. Apple usually understands this: That's why we've got a new MacOS built around Unix, and why Apple brought 802.11 networking to the world. So why is it that Apple has been so clueless on the distribution of the OSX update? Even if Apple opted not to make the update available online, keeping their users from doing so -- bearing the costs on Apple's behalf -- seems like sheer mailice.

I'm stymied. And I want my update, dammit.

Here's a MacSlash discussion of the issue: Link Discuss

NASDAQ has suspended its $1

NASDAQ has suspended its $1 minimum share price so that it won't have to de-list all the companies whose shares have fallen in the wake of 9.11. Link Discuss

The grassroots response of the

The grassroots response of the Internet to the Current Situation -- Websites, newsgroups, etc -- is being archived and stored for posterity. Link Discuss

Bomb them with Butter: Kent

Bomb them with Butter: Kent Madin's inspirational rant calling for a humanitarian response to the Current Situation, on the grounds that feeding and propagandizing the Afghanis will do more to undermine the Taliban than any amount of military intervention. Link Discuss

Costume and prop-shop TotalFab has

Costume and prop-shop TotalFab has released a line of outsized foam novelty masks just in time for Hallowe'en! I'm personally very fond of the giant tiki "Witch Doctor" mask, in case anyone out there missed my birthday. Link Discuss

Security guru Bruce Schneier gave

Security guru Bruce Schneier gave a speech a few days ago in which he stated that a reliance on surveillance is the failure of security. In other words, good security relies on keeping people out, not catching people at breaking in. With claims that the authors of the Current Situation used the Internet to organize their villainy, Internet surveillance technologies that government agencies have deployed ahve come under great scrutiny. Here's a good article that describes the sheer volume of intercepts that intelligence agencies accumulate, and the intractability of making sense of them. Link Discuss (via On Lisa Rein's Radar)