Hard News by Russell Brown


Bad Skillz

The Dominion Post's story about the hacking of New Zealand government computer systems -- resulting, it appears, in actual theft of sensitive information -- is a good scoop.

It comes as the French are complaining about Chinese attacks on their government systems, and The Guardian's Richard Norton-Taylor reports yet more organised poking around at Whitehall and the Pentagon, and The Times reports on an apparent Chinese government plan to achieve "electronic dominance" over its rivals. In May, Foreign Policy magazine's blog highlighted a Pentagon report claiming a shift in Chinese government strategy towards a "first-strike capability" in cyber-war.

It's likely the all major powers are doing something of the kind -- here's a 2003 story about the Pentagon "drawing up guidelines for cyber attacks against countries such as Iraq," which seems a bit farcical in retrospect -- and have been for some time. Also, that the boundaries between official activity and "patriotic hacking" are fuzzy. But clearly, the Chinese aren't standing on ceremony.

Riverbend has reappeared, with her first post since April, relating her family's escape from Baghdad to Syria.

Talking Points Memo compares the numbers on Iraqi civilian deaths presented by General Petraeus yesterday with those compiled by Associated Press and Iraq Body Count. They don't match, and government won't explain its methodology.

Yesterday's casualty news from Iraq Today.

On a lighter note, No Right Turn reports: "I see that the blogosphere is now redundant. We don't need to throw rotten fruit at each other; instead there is now a site which will do it for us. And it can even replace comments." That really is rather good.

A motif of the age: a villain in Marvel's Fantastic Four series, made of pure living sound, is brought back from the dead with the aid of BitTorrent. That should so totally be in the next movie. Perhaps after this anti-piracy parody has screened.

My friend Paul came over on Friday for lamb shanks, wine, talk and the Warriors game (the first three were all most pleasing; the last, not so much). He used the Maxx Journey Planner to work out how best to get from Three Lamps to somewhere near Pt Chev by bus. Hence …

His quickest option took 14 mins for a fare of $3.20 - and the next quickest option took 43mins for a fare of $0.00. Yes, that's right, it was the walk, you fat lazy bastard option. I should point out that Paul has indeed walked from Three Lamps to our place in the past, but the map makes me giggle.
PS: Congratulations to Paul Brown winner of the $2000 Microsoft prize pack and tickets to Home Show. There were a lot of entries.

PPS: Could Ihug customers on the Public Address mailing list let me know if they're still getting our emails? There seems to be a problem.

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