UN calls for single child helpline • The Register

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/17/single_childline_number/

If the global community cannot agree something as simple and uncontroversial as this, then we’re well and truly stuffed…

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Woman gets $7.7M in false arrest case – Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-federal_jury_verdictjun13,0,4630555.story

there is rarely good news to report on the Police State of America but this recognition by the Jury of the reality of the police abuse qualifies at least as a welcome candle in the dark. Nice one People.

Kaspersky Lab reports a new and dangerous blackmailing virus

http://www.kaspersky.com/news?id=207575650

I don’t know how seriously to take this.

I’m finding it difficult to imagine a situation where someone would be dumb enough not to have multiple backups of anything valuable enough to consider paying a ransom for. And it would have to be a very intelligent virus to find those few files on a typical system and either to verify that they weren’t backed up, or to find and encrypt the backups as well. So I’m having a hard time believing in the potential victims here.

Which makes me start wondering about other potential motiviations. Like building support for the criminalisation of encryption, and using stories like this to illustrate the “problem”. Now who might have the desire to do that sort of thing?

BBC NEWS | UK | Previous cases of missing data

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/7449927.stm

worth tagging this one, in light of the most recent example, as a quick reference to the many instances of security breaches by the “professionals”

BBC NEWS | UK | More secret files found on train

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7455084.stm

more evidence of incompetence from our “rulers” and their quislings. One interesting question is: Why do senior intelligence officials feel so hard pressed that they need to carry such materials around with them in the first place? If they are that oppressed by the workload it suggests we need a significant infusion of resources. If they are not, then they have no excuse for the breach in security…

Sign in to read: Rats feel peer pressure too – life – 11 May 2008 – New Scientist

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/mg19826554.500-rats-feel-peer-pressure-too.html

this begins to explain the sheep like tendencies we see in humans. After all, if the pressure to conform exhibits itself this far down the food chain, it must be pretty powerful by the time it manifests itself in homo sapiens sapiens…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080613/sc_afp/spacesciencebiochemistrybiology_080613180404

looks like more convincing evidence for the Hoyle-Wickramsinghe panspermia hypothesis. And it implies a high probability of the ubiquity of dna based organic lifeforms. On planets in the “comfort zone” with the same approximate chemical mix, mass and atmosphere as Earth, Venus, Mars, Life might be viable on 10-40% – which in turn implies trillions of life bearing planets throughout the universe. Among which it would extremely surprising if there were not at least millions, possibly billions of lifeforms at or above our own level. Think about that…