28 May 1754: First Blood in The French and Indian War
Portrait of General and President George WashingtonVia The History Channel Online
in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Image source: Wikipedia
In the first engagement of the French and Indian War, a Virginia militia under 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington defeats a French reconnaissance party in southwestern Pennsylvania. In a surprise attack, the Virginians killed 10 French soldiers from Fort Duquesne, including the French commander, Coulon de Jumonville, and took 21 prisoners. Only one of Washington's men was killed.
The French and Indian War was the last and most important of a series of colonial conflicts between the British and the American colonists on one side, and the French and their broad network of Native American allies on the other. Fighting began in the spring of 1754, but Britain and France did not officially declare war against each other until May 1756 and the outbreak of the Seven Years War in Europe.
In November 1752, at the age of 20, George Washington was appointed adjutant in the Virginia colonial militia, which involved the inspection, mustering, and regulation of various militia companies. In November 1753, he first gained public notice when he volunteered to carry a message from Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie to the French moving into the Ohio Valley, warning them to leave the territory, which was claimed by the British crown. Washington succeeded in the perilous wilderness journey and brought back an alarming message: The French intended to stay.
Memorial Day All Weekend: You Are Not Forgotten
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NYC Mayor Advocates U.S. Worker DNA Database
Michael Bloomberg is obviously a Minion of The Devil.
An AP newswire article by Sara Kugler, via Breitbart News, reports that:
Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
The mayor also said elements of the legislation moving through Congress are ridiculous and said lawmakers who want to deport all illegal immigrants are living in a "fantasy."
In an editorial for The Wall Street Journal and two nationally televised interviews, the mayor reiterated his long-standing belief that the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States should be given the opportunity for citizenship, saying that deporting them is impossible and would devastate the economy.
User Friendly: Virtually Rolling Back Prices
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Bulgarian Police Bust Major European Web Pirates
A Reuters newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Bulgarian police charged two men on Saturday for illegally distributing music and films in what officials called one of Europe's largest Internet pirate groups.
They arrested an administrator and systems operator for putting download links to 20 million songs -- or roughly 3 million albums -- and hundreds of films on the web site www.arenabg.com, one of Bulgaria's most popular pages.
Users could download as many of the songs and films as they liked after paying a four lev ($2.50) monthly fee. Authorities estimate the damage to the entertainment industry at around $30 million.
Some Cell Phone Owners Spurn Gadgetry
Even though I own a Moto Razr (and a black one at that), I can relate to this article in a big way. I just want a mobile phone -- I can usually care less about snapping pictures or surfing the web from my cell phone.
And I don't really care to line the cell phone company executive's pockets with any more money by paying for services that I don't want, or need.
An AP newswire article by David Twiddy, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Nathan Bales represents a troubling trend for cellular phone carriers. The Kansas City-area countertop installer recently traded in a number of feature-laden phones for a stripped-down model. He said he didn't like using them to surf the Internet, rarely took pictures with them and couldn't stand scrolling through seemingly endless menus to get the functions to work.
But the wireless industry needs him to be comfortable with advanced features and actively use them. As the universe of people who want a cell phone and don't already have one gets smaller, wireless carriers are counting on advanced services to generate the bulk of new revenue in coming years.
FBI Probes Hacking Incident at Us Weekly
An AP newswire article
, via ABC News
, reports that:
The FBI searched the home of a paparazzi agency's co-owner to determine whether someone tried to hack into the computers of the gossip magazine Us Weekly, it was reported Friday.
FBI agents on Tuesday seized at least one computer while searching Jill Ishkanian's home in the Topanga Canyon area, her spokesman, Glenn Feldman, told the Los Angeles Times.
He said the FBI took Ishkanian's computer to see whether it had been used to access Us Weekly records and promised to return it.
Ishkanian, 41, is a former West Coast editor of Us Weekly. She left the magazine to form Sunset Photo and News with two other investors.
Senate Panel Split Over Questioning Phone Company Executives
A Bloomberg News article by James Rowley, via The Washington Post, reports that:
Members of a Senate committee are divided over proposals to question executives of four telephone companies about whether they gave the government records of millions of calls in the United States to aid anti-terrorist surveillance.
After objections from both Republicans and Democrats, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) yesterday postponed a vote on issuing subpoenas for the chief executives of Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., BellSouth Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc. He scheduled more debate for June 6 after Congress returns from a one-week recess.
Submerged Russian Sub Launches Satellite
An AFP news brief, via PhysOrg.com, reports that:
Russia on Friday put into orbit a satellite carried by a converted ballistic missile launched from a submerged nuclear submarine, the Russian navy said.
The Northern Fleet on Friday at 10:50 pm (1850 GMT) went ahead with the launch of a scientific satellite Kompas-2 from the Barents Sea with the help of a Shtil launcher," a navy spokesman said.
The launch was carried out from the submarine Yekaterinburg commanded by Captain Sergei Rachug, he added.
The satellite will study atmospheric, volcanic and seismic phenomena.
27 May: A Triple Architectural Triumph
Amazingly, these three stunning & world-recognizable landmarks were all unveiled on 27 May, of course, in different years (all pretty close together, however).
All via Wikipedia
Chrysler Building was the world's tallest building from 1930 to 1931.27 May 1930 -- The 1,046 feet (319 meters) tall Chrysler Building in New York (tallest man-made structure at the time) opens to the public.
Image source: Wikipedia
Completed in 1930, the Chrysler Building is a distinctive symbol of New York City, standing 1,046 feet (319 m) high on the east side of Manhattan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Originally built for the Chrysler Corporation, the building is presently co-owned by TMW Real Estate (75%) and Tishman Speyer Properties (25%).27 May 1932 -- The Sydney Harbour Bridge opens.
The Chrysler Building was the first structure in the world to surpass the 1,000 foot (305 m) threshold. Despite being overtaken by the Empire State Building as the tallest building in the world during the 1930s, the Chrysler Building is still the tallest brick building in the world.
Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Image source: Wikipedia
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the major landmarks of Sydney, Australia, connecting the Sydney central business district (CBD) with the North Shore commercial and residential areas, both of which are located on Sydney Harbour. The dramatic water vista of the bridge together with the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The bridge is colloquially referred to as "the Coathanger" on account of its arch-based design, although this usage is less prevalent than it once was.27 May 1937 -- In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County.
The bridge was the city's tallest structure until 1967. According to Guinness World Records, it is the widest long-span bridge in the world. It is the world's largest single-arch bridge, but not the longest (as millions of Australian school children were erroneously taught). The Bayonne Bridge in the United States, opened four months earlier on 15 November 1931, is just 2.3 feet (70 cm) longer.
The design bears a marked resemblance to that of the New York Hell Gate Bridge. Its design was later used as a basis for the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Image source: Wikipedia
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening into the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and a portion of the south-facing Marin County headlands near the small bayside town of Sausalito, and is located at 37°49′12″N, 122°28′43″W.
The entire bridge (including the approach) spans 1.7 miles (2.7 km) long; the distance between the towers ("main span") is 4,200 feet (1,280 m), and the clearance below the bridge is 220 ft (67 m) at mean high water. The two towers rise 746 feet (230 m) above the water. The diameter of the main suspension cables is 36 inches (0.91 m).
The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco.
Gonzales Pressures ISPs on Data Retention
Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday urged telecommunications officials to record their customers' Internet activities, CNET News.com has learned.
In a private meeting with industry representatives, Gonzales, Mueller and other senior members of the Justice Department said Internet service providers should retain subscriber information and network data for two years, according to two sources familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The closed-door meeting at the Justice Department, which Gonzales had requested, according to the sources, comes as the idea of legally mandated data retention has become popular on Capitol Hill and inside the Bush administration. Supporters of the idea say it will help prosecutions of child pornography because in many cases, logs are deleted during the routine course of business.
Judge Orders Review of US-VISIT Virus Papers
Kevin Poulsen writes on 27B Stroke 6:
I was in federal court this morning, where Judge Susan Illston gave Wired News a partial victory in our ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation against the DHS's bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Faithful readers will recall that we're suing CBP for refusing to respond to our FOIA request for information on an August computer failure that crippled the US-VISIT system -- a nationwide network of Windows-based PCs used to perform national security screening on incoming visitors to the US.
DHS has offered the public two conflicting explanations for the failure: first, that it was the result of a computer virus infiltrating a single server in Virginia; second, that it was a random computer glitch with no security implications.
Air Marshal Whistleblower Warned of Investigation
Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz write on ABC News' "The Blotter":
The federal air marshal who went public on ABC News to protest the agency's policies, Spencer Pickard, says he was notified by a supervisor just hours ago that officials are preparing to take action against him.
Pickard said the air marshal service policies had made it impossible for him and other marshals to carry out their duties undercover.
Pickard says he was told his superiors were preparing a "conduct incident report" based on his ABC News interview. He said he was warned he could face action for revealing sensitive security information.
EFF Scores Huge Win for Online Journalists' Source Protection
Via The EFF.
A California state appeals court ruled in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) petition on behalf of three online journalists Friday, holding that the online journalists have the same right to protect the confidentiality of their sources as offline reporters do.
"Today's decision is a victory for the rights of journalists, whether online or offline, and for the public at large," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl, who argued the case before the appeals court last month. "The court has upheld the strong protections for the free flow of information to the press, and from the press to the public."
In their decision, the judges wrote: "We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace."
The case began when Apple Computer sued several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product to online news sites PowerPage and AppleInsider. As part of its investigation, Apple subpoenaed Nfox -- PowerPage's email service provider -- for communications and unpublished materials obtained by PowerPage publisher Jason O'Grady. A trial court upheld the subpoena.
Mona Lisa Smiles
A copy of the Mona Lisa made from hundreds of computer parts is displayed at a high tech exhibition in Beijing, Thursday May 25, 2006. The work is titled Technology Smiling. Images of the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci (1479-1528), have been seen around the world in recent days in promotions for the movie 'The Da Vinci Code'.Via Yahoo! News (with a hat-tip to Gizmodo)
Image source: AP Photo / EyePress
Toon: Net Neutrality -- Web of Deception
Via SlowpokeComics.com.(Thanks, David Isenberg!)
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Toon: Nothing to Fear
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Cingular, Sprint Nextel Tussle Over Ads About Network Quality
Kelly Hill writes on RCR Wireless News:
Inter-carrier tussles over advertising claims have led to a lawsuit, and Cingular Wireless L.L.C. wants an Atlanta court to validate its assertion that its network has the fewest dropped calls among national carriers.
The suit was sparked by Sprint Nextel Corp.’s challenge to Cingular’s claim. According to Sprint Nextel spokesman Matt Sullivan, Sprint Nextel filed a compliant with the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, alleging Cingular does not have the fewest dropped calls. The NAD handles such challenges confidentially, and generally releases information on the issue only when the matter is resolved. However, the NAD closed its review of Cingular’s claim when Cingular decided to take the matter to court.
About two weeks ago, Cingular filed a lawsuit against Sprint Nextel in federal court in Atlanta, Sullivan said, requesting a declaratory judgment from the court that its “fewest dropped calls” claim was not misleading. Cingular also accused Sprint Nextel of hoodwinking customers with its “most powerful network” claim.
FCC Studies Bogus TV News Issue
Via Red Herring.
Television has long blurred the line between entertainment content and advertising, but the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has begun investigating reports that TV networks are blurring the lines between news and advertising.
Two consumer groups have complained to the FCC that TV stations are airing video provided by PR firms representing major corporations such as Intel, Pfizer, Capital One, and General Motors, while disguising the sponsored content to make it appear as their own reporting.
The Center for Media and Democracy, which has been tracking TV’s usage of sponsored video, documented 36 PR-produced video news releases used in the news.
CMD, which has partnered with Free Press to investigate the usage of PR video in news, also identified 77 TV stations that aired the videos without proper identification of their source in 98 separate instances.
File Sharing Operator Settles FTC Charges
An operator who deceptively claimed that membership in his Web site would allow users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs to transfer copyrighted materials without violating the law has agreed to settle FTC charges that his claims were false. The settlement bars misrepresentations about P2P file-sharing products or services, requires that the operator disclose the civil and criminal liability risks of downloading copyrighted material without the owner’s permission, and requires that the operator refund more than $15,000 to the customers he duped into buying memberships.
In September 2005, the FTC filed suit in federal court charging that Cashier Myricks used his mp3downloadcity.com Web site to market and sell a tutorial and referral service that promoted the use of P2P file-sharing software programs to download digital music, movies, and computer games. Unlike a licensed subscription service, the defendant’s service did not provide its paying customers with a license to download and share copyrighted music, movies, or games. Instead, for $24.95, the defendant instructed consumers on the use of free P2P file-sharing software provided by others. According to the FTC’s complaint, consumers were lured to become members by deceptive claims that subscribing to the defendant’s service made P2P file sharing “100% legal.”
Qualcomm Unveils Versatile Mobile TV Chip
A UPI newswire article, via PhysOrg.com, reports that:
Qualcomm unveiled a new chip Friday that supports three major wireless television standards.
The Universal Broadcast Modem will allow handset manufacturers to use a common chip for production of devices geared to different standards.
The standards supported by UBM are FLO, Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld, and Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial. They can be found in North America, Asia and Europe.
The UBM supports the entire UHF bandwidth and works in concert with Qualcomm's Mobile Station Modem baseband chipsets as well as other devices.
Sacred Heart University Data Hacked
Clint Boulton writes on internetnews.com:
Sacred Heart University became the latest school to fall victim to a computer hack, which exposed the personal information of as many as 135,000 students and alumni.
The information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers and 103 credit-card numbers of people affiliated with the school, said Sacred Heart spokeswoman Funda Alp.
Information technology staff for the Fairfield, Conn., school discovered a rootkit had been installed on the server that caused it to crash one of the computer services.
The staff found the virus during a routine maintenance check May 8.
AT&T Accidently Leaks Sensitive Info in NSA Suit
Declan McCullagh writes on C|Net News:
Lawyers for AT&T accidentally released sensitive information while defending a lawsuit that accuses the company of facilitating a government wiretapping program, CNET News.com has learned.
AT&T's attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable.
But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple's OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11.
The deleted portions of the legal brief seek to offer benign reasons why AT&T would allegedly have a secret room at its downtown San Francisco switching center that would be designed to monitor Internet and telephone traffic. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the class action lawsuit in January, alleges that room is used by an unlawful National Security Agency surveillance program.
"AT&T notes that the facts recited by plaintiffs are entirely consistent with any number of legitimate Internet monitoring systems, such as those used to detect viruses and stop hackers," the redacted pages say.
Another section says: "Although the plaintiffs ominously refer to the equipment as the 'Surveillance Configuration,' the same physical equipment could be utilized exclusively for other surveillance in full compliance with" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Remember: It's More Than Just A Three-Day Weekend
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Politics: Big Brother Bugs Portland
Simon Maxwell Apter writes in The Nation:
To George H.W. Bush, Portland, Oregon, is " Little Beirut." Downtown's omnipresent bicycle messengers call the city "Stumptown," and officially, the town is known as the City of Roses. In a move more befitting, perhaps, the presidential Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires circa 1982, and not the Rose City of Portland circa 2006, the FBI has been accused by Portland Mayor Tom Potter of "trying to place an informant inside the offices of Portland's elected officials and employees, in order to inform on City Council and others."
Since the end of the Age of Aquarius, when thousands of Californians began to migrate north to Oregon, Portland has never been particularly welcoming to the executive branch of the federal government--especially when said branch is in Republican control. Portland's two Representatives in Congress are Democrats, and Portland's county, Multnomah, voted for John Kerry over Bush in 2004 by nearly a 3-to-1 ratio. Moreover, in April 2005, the City Council voted, along with the mayor--and with overwhelming support from the citizenry--to withdraw Portland's participation in the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force project.
U.S. DoD: China Fielding Cyberattack Units
Remeber all the hoopla on "Titan Rain'?
Josh Rogan writes on FCW.com:
China is stepping up its information warfare and computer network attack capabilities, according to a Defense Department report released this week.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is developing information warfare reserve and militia units and has begun incorporating them into broader exercises and training. Also, China is developing the ability to launch pre-emptive attacks against enemy computer networks in a crisis, according to the document, “Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2006.”
The Chinese approach centers on using civilian computer expertise and equipment to enhance PLA operations, the DOD report states.
USPTO: Forgent's Broad Claims Against JPEG Standard Invalid
This is amazing. Do you remember that the Public Patent Foundation asked the US Patent Office to take another look at the JPEG patent? Yesterday, the reexamination proceeding initiated by PubPat bore fruit: the USPTO has rejected the broadest claims [Austin, Texas -based] Forgent Networks is asserting against the JPEG standard on the basis that the prior art submitted by PubPat completely anticipated those claims.
Forgent can respond, but it seems they'll have some explaining to do, because PubPat's Executive Director, Dan Ravicher, says that the submitters knew about the prior art but failed to tell the USPTO about it. That is a very big NO. So don't let anyone tell you that efforts to find prior art are not useful.
Would DT Buy BT?
Ray Le Maistre writes on Light Reading:
BT Group plc's stock crept up nearly 1.5 percent Thursday as speculation hit London's trading floors that German giant Deutsche Telekom AG is lining up a takeover bid for the British incumbent.
BT's share price was also helped by news that, in partnership with BSkyB Group plc, the carrier has won the rights to show, from August 2007, time-delayed English Premiership League soccer games as part of its IPTV service, BT Vision, which is set to launch later this year.
But it was the link with Germany's incumbent, which only weeks ago announced its intention to "play an active role in the European consolidation process" and remain Europe's biggest carrier, that caught the eye.
The speculation was prompted by a report in German magazine Wirtschaftwoche that DT is considering such a bid. U.K. newspaper The Independent reported that traders in the City of London believe such a move is possible, but that DT would have to offer up to 300 pence per share, or £25 billion ($46.8 billion) in total, to stand a chance.
Music Industry Says AllofMP3 is Illegal
A hugely popular seller of music downloads is illegal, according to the music industry, and prosecutions are underway. AllofMP3.com, a Moscow-based service that undercuts iTunes by enormous margins, was accused today of paying nothing to artists.
The website, run by MediaServices Inc., has long protested its innocence. Yet the prices are remarkable: a British shopper can download an album from iTunes Music Store for £9.79; or typically about £0.75 from AllofMP3, which prices its downloads by file size. And the choice is enormous. All those Beatles albums that Apple is not allowed to sell can be found at AllofMP3.com for under a pound.
According to MediaServices, everything is licensed by the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society (ROMS) and the Rightholders Federation for Collective Copyright Management of Works Used Interactively (FAIR). MediaServices says that it pays licence fees "subject to the Law of the Russian Federation." It adds that it is not responsible for the actions of foreign users.
Purdue University Student Accused of Grade-Hacking
An AP newswire article, via The Globe and Mail, reports that:
A Purdue University student faces tampering charges for allegedly tapping into a campus computer system to change his grades in a physics class.
Mark B. Schneider, 23, of Batesville was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of computer tampering and computer trespassing. He was released from the Tippecanoe County Jail after posting bond.
Lt. Fred Davis of the Purdue Police Department said Schneider, a senior science student, allegedly gained access to Purdue's instructional support system to retrieve and change his grades in an upper-level physics course.
A professor who noticed that grades for one of his courses seemed incorrect informed Purdue's information technology personnel, who then contacted campus police.
Please Cease-and-Desist From Using 'Web 2.0'
Is this ridiculous, or what?
Nate Anderson writes on ARS Technica:
The blogosphere is currently doing what it does best: buzzing. The source of the buzz is a cease-and-desist letter sent to IT@Cork, an Irish non-profit that plans to host a half-day "Web 2.0 Conference" on June 8. CMP Media, in conjunction with O'Reilly, sent the group a letter that demanded they not use the term "Web 2.0" in their event name.
Sharing, collaboration, and the wisdom of crowds are big parts of the Web 2.0 ethos—but they don't extend to using "Web 2.0" in a conference title. That's because O'Reilly and CMP jointly put on the Web 2.0 conference, and CMP has filed for a trademark on the phrase. They felt that IT@Cork's conference threatened that trademark (which has been sought both in the US and the EU), and so sent them a strongly-worded letter demanding that they cease "making any further use of our mark."
Justice Dept. Clears PanAmSat-Intelsat Deal
A Reuters newswire article, via The Washington Post, reports that:
Intelsat Ltd. said on Friday the Department of Justice is not seeking any conditions on its proposed merger with PanAmSat Holding Corp. and is closing an antitrust investigation on the deal.
Intelsat said the transaction, in which Intelsat is to acquire PanAmSat for $25 per share, or $3.2 billion, remains under review by the Federal Communications Commission.
Quote of the Day (So Far): Peter Hoekstra
"It’s a little unsettling to get a Blackberry message put in front of you that says there’s gunfire in the building."
- Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., commenting on the news that gunshots were heard this morning on Capitol Hill, while conducting a House Intelligence Committee hearing. Hoekstra interrupted a witness to request those attending the meeting to remain in the room and said the doors must be closed.
Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State
An article by Allan Uthman, via AlterNet:
From secret detention centers to warrantless wiretapping, Bush and Co. give free rein to their totalitarian impulses.
Is the U.S. becoming a police state? Here are the top 10 signs that it may well be the case.
- The Internet Clampdown
- "The Long War"
- The USA PATRIOT Act
- Prison Camps
- Touchscreen Voting Machines
- Presidential Signing Statements
- Warrantless Wiretapping
- Free Speech Zones
- High-ranking Whistleblowers
- The CIA Shakeup
Gapingvoid: The Beaches
Via gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
Senate OKs Hayden Nomination as CIA Chief
An AP newswire article by Katherine Shrader, via The Baltimore Sun, reports that:
After hearing assurances he will be independent of the Pentagon, the Senate today easily confirmed Gen. Michael Hayden, a career Air Force man, to head the CIA.
Hayden, a four-star general, currently is the top deputy to National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
Hayden, 61, will be the first active-duty or retired military officer to run the spy agency in 25 years. He was approved by a vote of 78-15.
FBI Lab Scraps Gunfire Residue Testing
Julie Bykowicz writes in The Baltimore Sun:
The FBI is no longer analyzing gunshot residue in its investigations, a blow to once highly regarded evidence used to suggest that a suspected criminal had fired a weapon.
Lawyers, scientists and law enforcement officials across the country said they were astonished by the decision and said it could mean the end of using such evidence.
It also could become a weapon for defense attorneys in pending cases and in efforts to overturn convictions.
UK: Barclays to Offer F-Secure Anti-Virus Software to Online Banking Custimers
Via The BBC.
Barclays is buying every one of its online banking customers anti-virus software in a bid to improve security.
The bank has signed a deal with F-Secure for 1.6 million licences of the Finnish firm's anti-virus program.
The deal also includes two years' worth of updates to ensure the security package keeps customers protected.
At the same time, the bank is bringing in a system that uses text messages to let customers know when money is moved using their online account details.
Amnesty International Sees Red over Yahoo! China
Bruce Einhorn writes on BusinessWeek Online:
Amnesty International is turning up the pressure on Yahoo! to change directions in China. Amnesty International USA, the American branch of the international human rights group, is sending an official to Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting on May 25 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley.
Anthony Cruz, the San Francisco-based Amnesty official who plans to speak at the meeting, intends to use the meeting as a platform to demand action from Yahoo executives. "We're calling on them to take a stand against China," says Cruz.
New FISA Court Judge Appointed
Steven Aftergood writes on Secrecy News:
District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida this month became the newest member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.
Judge Vinson was named by the Chief Justice of the United States to a seven year term on the FISA Court, effective May 4. He replaces Judge Michael J. Davis, whose term on the Court expired this month.
The FISA Court, established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, provides judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical searches that are conducted within the United States for foreign intelligence and counterterrorism purposes.
Judge Vinson's appointment has not been previously reported, but it was confirmed for Secrecy News yesterday by Shelly Snook, media liaison and assistant to the chief judge of the D.C. District Court.
The U.S. Black Budget Bonanza
Nick Schwellenbach writes on the Project for Government Oversight blog:
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments' Steven Kosiak has estimated the "black" or classified defense budget has ballooned to $30.1 billion, or 19%, of the total fiscal year 2007 Department of Defense budget request (via TPMMuckraker). This total is split roughly evenly between research and development (R&D) funding and acquisition programs. The amount spent on classified acquisition has nearly doubled since the mid-1990s--a rate much faster than unclassified acquisition programs.
As Kosiak notes, the record of black programs has been mixed. Though programs like the F-117 stealth fighter have been considered highly successful, the failed A-12 Navy stealth bomber was a massive loss for the taxpayer because of the lack of oversight.
ISPs Warn of Price Increases as Panel Approves 'Net Neutrality' Bill
The US House Judiciary Committee approved a bill yesterday to prevent broadband providers from charging extra fees to websites for delivering their content to users. But the law would be "a direct financial hit to consumers," say internet providers.
The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006 was approved by a vote of 20–13. It articulates concerns that have been expressed by numerous consumer groups as well as content providers including Google, Yahoo! , Amazon.com and Microsoft.
Such companies spend fortunes on hosting web content; they don't want to pay new fees for users to access it. But that is a revenue source that cash-strapped broadband providers are contemplating in the US, forming plans that have been characterised as leading to a 'two-tier internet'.
Financial Firms Attack Child Porn
Wendy Koch writes in USA Today:
The nation's leading banks and credit card companies will soon team with law enforcement in a groundbreaking coalition to catch people who sell child pornography online.
The financial institutions will report child porn sites they discover on the Web to a central tip line, slated to expand next month to receive the information. The companies will block transactions for online child porn or, if law enforcement opens an investigation, help track sellers and buyers.
The Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography represents a new phase in the war against what has become a multibillion-dollar, international business. Internet service providers, including AOL, already report child porn sites they find.
Botnet Pimps Zango Software
Image source: vitalsecurity.org
over on vitalsecurity.org
It's official - we've all gone Botnet crazy. Unfortunately, so have 180 Solutions because today I had an interesting set of links appear - and wouldn't you know it if those links took me to files designed for mass Botnet money-making pimpage?
The description given when you hover over the EXE gives you a subtle hint that there might be 180 Solutions software inside. And (sure enough), file number one contains Zango, Zango Search Assistant helper and Zango toolbar along with Mediagateway.
But hey - let's go back to the start and see how this happened...
F-Secure: The Da Vinci Code Mobile Virus -- Rumor?
Image source: F-Secure
on the F-Secure "News from the Lab" Blog
We are posting information on this topic due to media attention and requests from our customers.
There is a rumor that a new "Da Vinci virus" has been hitting mobile phones. We don't have a single infection report and we have no sample of such malware. However, we will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.
All the discussion on the net on this topic seems to be linking back to one news article posted in an Indian magazine two days ago.
Cambodia: Prime Minister Bans 3G Phones in Anti-Porn Hissy Fit
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has banned 3G mobile phones after a complaint from his wife and her friends about receiving pornography on them.
"I have written to the Minister of Telecommunications to delay the use of certain mobile phones," Hun Sen told an assembly of Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh on Friday. "We can wait 10 more years until we have managed to improve morality in society."
Hun Sen, a one-eyed former Khmer Rouge soldier who has been in charge for the past 20 years, said his wife had signed a petition asking him to act against the phones, which can send video as well as still images.
Earthlink to Build New Orleans Wi-Fi Network
Earthlink Inc., the Internet service provider, said on Friday it has won approval from the New Orleans City Council to build a wireless high-speed Internet network in the city.Link
The company said the wireless network will provide Internet access for residents, businesses and visitors in New Orleans. It will offer a free service for a limited time during the city's rebuilding efforts and a faster paid-for tier service.
Verizon Wireless Passes Mark for 911 Call Location
A Reuters newswire article, via The Washington Post, reports that:
Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. carrier, said on Friday more than 95 percent of its customers had phones capable of identifying their location when they call 911 for help.
U.S. Federal Communications Commission regulations required that by the end of last year at least 95 percent of all wireless handsets be able to give emergency personnel the location of a 911 caller.
Verizon, Sprint Nextel Corp., Alltel Corp. and U.S. Cellular were some of the major providers that sought waivers, but the FCC has yet to act on the requests.
Japan: Former Livedoor Executives Finally Admit to Scandal
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Former executives of the once high-flying Internet firm Livedoor admitted to fraud allegations as they went on trial for a scandal that rocked Japan's financial and political circles.
The four executives, once known for their casual dress and brash ways, wore dark suits and looked humbly at the ground as prosecutors read charges of hiding losses at the company.
"In principle, I acknowledge that the facts in the indictment are correct," Ryoji Miyauchi, Livedoor's 38-year-old former chief financial officer, told the Tokyo District Court.
26 May 1328: William of Ockham Secretly Flees Avignon
William of OckhamVia Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia
William of Ockham (also Occam or any of several other spellings) (c. 1288 – 1348) was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher, from Ockham, a small village in Surrey, near East Horsley. As a Franciscan, William was devoted to a life of extreme poverty.
Ockham has been called "the greatest nominalists that ever lived", and along with Duns Scotus, his opposite number from the realist camp, one of the two "greatest speculative minds of the middle ages", as well as "two of the profoundest metaphysicians that ever lived" (Peirce, 1869). One important contribution that he made to modern science and modern intellectual culture was through the principle of parsimony in explanation and theory building that came to be known as Ockham's razor. This maxim, as interpreted by Bertrand Russell (1946, 462—463), states that if one can explain a phenomenon without assuming this or that hypothetical entity, there is no ground for assuming it. That is, one should always opt for an explanation in terms of the fewest possible number of causes, factors, or variables.
A pioneer of nominalism, some consider him the father of modern epistemology and modern philosophy in general, because of his strongly argued position that only individuals exist, rather than supra-individual universals, essences, or forms, and that universals are the products of abstraction from individuals by the human mind and have no extra-mental existence. Ockham is sometimes considered an advocate of conceptualism rather than nominalism, for whereas nominalists held that universals were merely names, i.e. words rather than existing realities, conceptualists held that they were mental concepts, i.e. the names were names of concepts, which do exist, although only in the mind.
Ockham is also increasingly being recognized as an important contributor to the development of Western constitutional ideas, especially those of limited responsible government. The views on monarchial accountability espoused in his Dialogus* (written between 1332 and 1348) greatly influenced the Conciliar movement and assisted in the emergence of liberal democratic ideologies.
In logic, Ockham worked towards what would later be called De Morgan's Laws and considered ternary logic, that is, a logical system with three truth values, a concept that would be taken up again in the mathematical logic of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Key Portions of Critical Documents Unsealed in AT&T Surveillance Case
Via The EFF.
AT&T has set up a secret, secure room for the NSA in at least one of the company's facilities -- a room into which AT&T has been diverting its customers' emails and other Internet communications in bulk -- according to evidence in key documents partially unsealed today in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against the telecom giant.
"Now the public can see firsthand the testimony of Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee who was brave enough to step forward and provide evidence of the company's illegal collaboration with the NSA," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Today we have released some of the evidence supporting our allegation that AT&T has given the NSA direct access to its fiber-optic network, such that the NSA can read the email of anyone and everyone it chooses -- all without a warrant or any court supervision, and in clear violation of the law."
The Klein declaration and EFF's motion for a preliminary injunction against AT&T's ongoing illegal surveillance were filed under seal last month. But last week, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker instructed AT&T to work with EFF to narrowly redact the documents and make them available to the public.
Time Warner, Others to Pay $23M in Settlement
A Reuters newswire article, via CNN/Money, reports that:
Time Warner Inc. and other defendants including America Online and Ernst & Young have agreed to pay $23 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of defrauding pension and investment funds in Pennsylvania, the state's Attorney General said Thursday.
The suit, filed in 2004 in state court, alleged that the company issued false and misleading statements concerning financial results and used improper accounting practices at its subsidiary America Online.
The conduct purportedly took place before, during and after the 2001 merger between Time Warner and AOL, Attorney General Tom Corbett said in a statement.
Time Warner representatives were not available for comment.
User Friendly: What Path Shall I Tread?
Click for larger image.
Why NSA Spying Puts the U.S. in Danger
Ira Winkler writes on ComputerWorld:
As a former NSA analyst, I'm dismayed by the continuing revelations of the National Security Agency's warrantless -- and therefore illegal -- spying. The case involves fundamental issues related to NSA’s missions and long-standing rules of engagement. What's even more dismaying is the lack of public reaction to this.
Fundamentally, this is an issue of law. FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was established in 1978 to address a wide variety of issues revolving around Watergate, during which a president used foreign intelligence agencies to collect data on U.S. citizens. As part of FISA, the NSA has to get warrants to analyze and maintain collections of data involving U.S. citizens. FISA has withstood all tests until now, and it involves a fundamental aspect of the U.S. Constitution -- its system of checks and balances.
The FISA law allows NSA to request those warrants up to 72 hours after the fact -- that is, after the data has been analyzed. And lest you think that the courts from which such warrants are requested are staffed by a bunch of liberal, activist, criminal-coddling judges, they have reportedly turned down only five warrants in the last 28 years. So when President Bush says, "If Osama bin Laden is calling someone in the United States, we want to know about it," followed by his nervous laugh, he's laughing at the American public, since "knowing about it" is a totally irrelevant issue. FISA blocks no legitimate acquisition of knowledge.
FCC Probing Complaint on Video News Releases
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has begun looking into whether some television stations violated rules requiring them to identify the source of video news releases they use, an agency official said on Thursday.
The FCC is looking into allegations that sponsorship identification rules were not followed and will take action if there were any violations, an FCC official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official declined to elaborate.
Microsoft Muscling Into Mobile Marketing Space
Colin Gibbs writes
on RCR Wireless News
Microsoft Corp.’s MSN is hoping to move onto the mobile marketing playground with the acquisition of Third Screen Media.
MSN is negotiating to buy out the Boston-based company, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Representatives from Microsoft and Third Screen were not immediately available for comment regarding the story.
Expanded Worker Checks Would Use Faulty System
Griff White writes in The Washington Post:
A federal database program with a checkered track record could dramatically expand to affect every U.S. employer and worker under provisions of the immigration legislation being considered by Congress.
The program is intended to keep illegal immigrants from working in the United States and to discourage more from entering, but in nearly a decade of small-scale tests, it has had trouble distinguishing between those who are here legally and those who are not. Fixing it and rolling it out nationwide could cost more than $1 billion.
Red Cross Warns Blood Donors of Possible ID Thefts in Midwest
Todd Weiss writes on ComputerWorld:
About 1 million blood donors in the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross were warned last week that personal information about them could have been stolen earlier this year by a former employee and might have been used in identity thefts.
The former worker had access to 8,000 blood donors in a database she used in her job, all of whom were notified by mail of possible identity theft problems on March 17, according to the agency. But after the original warning letters went out, the Red Cross decided to expand the identity theft warnings to all 1 million donors in the Missouri-Illinois region because of concerns that she may have accidentally accessed other records in the larger group.
The warnings to the 1 million donors are being made through the media and the agency's Web site, not through individual letters.
Two New York Teens Shakedown MySpace
An AP newswire article, via The International Herald Tribune, reports that:
Two teenagers in New York State have been take into police custody on charges of illegal computer access and attempted extortion after they allegedly threatened to shake down the Web site MySpace.com unless its operators paid them $150,000, prosecutors said.
Shaun Harrison, 18, and Saverio Mondelli, 19, of Suffolk County, allegedly hacked into the popular social networking site and stole personal information from MySpace users.
After MySpace banned them from the site, the pair threatened to distribute a foolproof method for stealing information unless MySpace paid them $150,000, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. MySpace is based in Santa Monica, California.
Mondelli and Harrison were arrested Friday when they traveled to Los Angeles, allegedly to collect the payoff. Instead, they were taken into custody by undercover officers from the multi- agency Electronic Crimes Task Force, who posed as MySpace employees. Each was charged with two felony counts of illegal computer access and one count of sending a threatening letter for extortion and attempted extortion. They face more than four years in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.
House Panel Votes for Net Neutrality
Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache write on C|Net News:
A bill that seeks to prevent broadband providers from offering an exclusive high-speed lane for video and other services has taken a step closer to becoming law.
By a 20-13 vote Thursday that partially followed party lines, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require broadband providers to abide by strict Net neutrality principles, meaning that their networks must be operated in a "nondiscriminatory" manner.
All 14 Democrats on the committee (joined by 6 Republicans) supported the measure, while 13 Republicans opposed it.
Veterans' Info Kept in Employee's Home for Three Years
An AP newswire article, via CNN, reports that:
The Veterans Affairs data analyst who lost the personal data of 26.5 million veterans improperly took the information home for three years before the data was stolen, government investigators told Congress Thursday.
In a pair of hearings, VA Inspector General George Opfer detailed a series of missteps leading to one of the nation's largest information security breaches. He noted that his office only became aware of the May 3 burglary through office gossip.
"We were never notified," Opfer told Senate and House panels investigating the breach, explaining that one of his employees first heard about a burglary -- and that VA electronic records may have been stolen -- while attending a routine meeting on May 10.
"It wasn't until we interviewed the employee on the 15th that we knew we had a significant problem" involving a vast cache of Social Security numbers, birthdates and disability ratings, Opfer said. Only then did the VA bring in local and federal law enforcement to investigate.
MPAA Accused of Hiring a Hacker
Ed Oswald writes on BetaNews:
Valance Media, the company which runs Torrentspy.com, has accused the Motion Picture Association of America of hiring a hacker to attempt to collect private information about the Web site. According to the complaint, the group paid a man $15,000 to steal e-mail and trade secrets.
A suit has been filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
"The Motion Picture Association of America willfully and intentionally obtained without authority, conspired to obtain without authority, purchased, procured, used and disclosed private information that it knew was unlawfully obtained through unauthorized access to Plaintiffs' computer servers and private email accounts," the suit reads.
Information allegedly obtained includes a spreadsheet with income and expenses for the first half of 2005, e-mails between employees, server and billing information.
Internet Users in Myanmar Face Third Day Without Connection
An AFP newswire article, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Internet users in Myanmar were experiencing a third day without web access after the military-ruled country's already tenuous links to the online world were cut, service providers said.
Internet service providers were at a loss to explain the problem, and officials could not say if the connection was broken or if it had been deliberately taken down.
Internet users could only access local websites, which are usually government-run.
Symantec Antivirus Software Has Critical Flaw
An AP newswire article by Ted Bridis, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
Symantec Corp.'s leading antivirus software, which protects some of the world's largest corporations and U.S. government agencies, suffers from a flaw that lets hackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs, researchers said Thursday.
Symantec said it was investigating the issue but could not immediately corroborate the vulnerability. If confirmed, the threat to computer users would be severe because the security software is so widely used, and because no action is required by victims using the latest versions of Norton Antivirus to suffer a crippling attack over the Internet.
Gapingvoid: I Used to Read Your Blog...
Va gapingvoid.com. Enjoy!
U.S. Treasury Concedes Telephone Tax Fight, Promises Refunds
An AP newswire article by Mary Dalrymple, via The Washington Post, reports that:
The Treasury Department said today it will eliminate a tax on long-distance telephone calls and refund about $13 billion collected from callers.
Companies have been fighting the tax in court and winning, arguing that the 3 percent excise tax should not apply to some long-distance calls. Snow said the government would stop fighting those taxpayers challenging the tax.
The tax will officially disappear on July 31.
Cablevision Sued Over Planned Digital Service
Steve Gorman writes for Reuters:
Four Hollywood studios and the three major television networks filed a copyright suit on Wednesday seeking to prevent Cablevision Systems Corp. from launching an "on-demand" service that aims to replace the living room digital video recorder.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, says Cablevision would run afoul of copyright law with its plan to allow subscribers to store and play back TV programs through computer servers controlled by the cable TV operator.
House Panel Approves Internet Gambling Ban
Jeremy Pelofsky writes for Reuters:
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday aimed at banning Internet gambling, an estimated $12 billion industry.
The measure would update and expand existing law to cover all forms of interstate gambling in the United States and would bar a gambling business from accepting payment in the form of credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers.
It would also prohibit gambling on an estimated 2,300 Internet gambling sites, many run by offshore companies, and also require banks to block gambling transactions by customers, which the industry has argued would be difficult to identify.
Yahoo, eBay in Alliance That Will Challenge Google
Eric Auchard writes for Reuters:
Yahoo Inc. and Web auctioneer eBay Inc. on Thursday said they agreed to form a broad alliance in the United States designed to boost their positions amid growing competition with Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
Yahoo, the world's largest Internet media company, will become the exclusive provider of graphical advertising on eBay, the biggest e-commerce player and provide some search services within eBay's site to connect buyers to items they seek.
In return, Yahoo will promote PayPal, EBay's popular online payment system, as a way for Yahoo's hundreds of thousands of affiliated Web sites and small business owners to conduct transactions online.
I'm feeling a little under the weather today, so blogging might be a little light.
Cheers, and thanks for your continued readership!
25 May 1977: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Opens in Theaters
This is a double-dose of 00:01. Enjoy.
May the Force be with you.
Star Wars Movie PosterVia Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia / 20th Cetury Fox
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally titled Star Wars, is a 1977 science fantasy film written and directed by George Lucas. It was the first film to be released in the Star Wars saga, but it is the fourth film by chronology of events. Among fans it is sometimes referred to as ANH.
Nineteen years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, Luke Skywalker is thrust into the struggles of the Rebel Alliance when he meets Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has lived in seclusion for years on the desert planet of Tatooine. Obi-Wan begins Luke’s Jedi training as Luke joins him on a daring mission to rescue the Rebel leader Princess Leia from the clutches of the evil Empire. Unlike the later prequel films, this film, along with the two films that follow, mostly focuses on the events of one particular sector of the galaxy, rather than the interstellar perspective that the first three films take.
The film was released on May 25, 1977, and was re-released several times, sometimes with significant changes in its later releases. Most notable were the 1997 Special Edition theatrical re-release and the 2004 DVD version, which were modified with CGI effects and re-done scenes. The original, unaltered version of the film will be released, along with the digitally enhanced version of 2004, in a new DVD set scheduled for September 2006. A 3-D release is planned for 2007.
.Also, Via Wikipedia
Movie Poster for Return of the Jedi.
Image source: Wikipedia / LucasFilm / 20th Century Fox
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi is a 1983 science fantasy film directed by Richard Marquand. It was the third film to be released in the Star Wars saga, but it is the sixth, and last, film by chronology of events. Among fans it is sometimes referred to as ROTJ.
In the epic conclusion to the saga, Luke Skywalker and friends travel to Tatooine to rescue their friend Han Solo from the vile Jabba the Hutt. The Empire prepares to crush the Rebellion with a more powerful Death Star, while the Rebel fleet mounts a massive attack on the space station. Luke Skywalker confronts his father, Darth Vader, in a final climactic duel before the evil Emperor.
The film debuted on May 25, 1983, and was released on VHS and LaserDisc in this form multiple times during the 1980s and 90s. The film was re-released with changes in 1997, and this version was later released on VHS and Laserdisc as well, and finally on DVD in 2004. The original, unaltered version of the film will be released, along with the digitally enhanced version of 2004, in a new DVD set scheduled for September 2006. A 3-D release is rumored for 2007.
Rural Cellphone Firms Pinched by Larger Carriers
Paul Davidson writes in USA Today:
Rural cellphone carriers say their bigger national competitors are squeezing them out of the wireless market by charging them exorbitant roaming rates or by refusing to allow them to roam at all.
The hardships have forced dozens of rural carriers to sell their businesses to larger regional or national rivals the past three years, says Jessica Bridges, who heads the Rural Telecommunications Group, a small-carrier association.
"A whole bunch of these little guys have been selling out," she says. "They just cannot compete in their markets."
The trend diminishes wireless coverage, she says, because the remaining big carriers serving the countryside often neglect sparsely populated pockets, leaving them without any cellphone service.
Bad Idea: Black Frog Picks Up Where Blue Frog Left Off
Greg Sandoval writes on C|Net News:
Spammers beware--hostile amphibians are once again rising against you.
First there was Blue Frog, a community antispam effort that stopped operating last week after Blue Security, the company that started the project, came under a withering denial-of-service attack.
Out of the ashes comes Black Frog, part of a project that is apparently willing to become a flag bearer in the fight against spam. The project, dubbed Okopipi, is developing the Black Frog antispam software and service as an open-source project, according to the group's wiki.
"This project aims to become a distributed replacement of antispam software Blue Frog," the Okopipi wiki states.
This should be quite entertaining. Sounds like a death wish for their service to me, considering what happened to Blue Security
Weed Tech: No Link Between Marijuana and Lung Cancer
Image source: Scientific American
David Biello writes
in Scientific American
The smoke from burning marijuana leaves contains several known carcinogens and the tar it creates contains 50 percent more of some of the chemicals linked to lung cancer than tobacco smoke. A marijuana cigarette also deposits four times as much of that tar as an equivalent tobacco one. Scientists were therefore surprised to learn that a study of more than 2,000 people found no increase in the risk of developing lung cancer for marijuana smokers.
"We expected that we would find that a history of heavy marijuana use--more than 500 to 1,000 uses--would increase the risk of cancer from several years to decades after exposure to marijuana," explains physician Donald Tashkin of the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead researcher on the project. But looking at residents of Los Angeles County, the scientists found that even those who smoked more than 20,000 joints in their life did not have an increased risk of lung cancer.