the nail that sticks up/gets hammered down

opiate of the masses Ever since the day or so immediately following the attack, I've pretty much been avoiding TV news sources. They didn't seem to have much actual information to share, and I was having trouble dealing with the information I had, so I pretty much switched over to newspaper and web-based sources, where it was easier for me to ignore what I already knew. But last night, I was watching some Tivo'd stuff while eating dinner and compiling kdelibs, and the Tivo'd stuff and food ran out before the compile finished. I knew it was only ten minutes or so to go, so I flipped over to live TV and found myself watching Dateline NBC.

Great Ghu, has it gotten this bad, already? Schwarmy broadcasters, really cheesy metaphors, and absolute tons of paralogical thinking. No critical evaluation of anything. A wide-sweeping under-current of "watch out for them Arabs".

Like Lyn, I'm grumpy and angry...

crap to be pissed about, part I People in old guard print media doing dismissive pieces about the Internet's response to the attacks without mentioning a single positive word about the way webloggers and other voices of the Independent Web pulled together to get real news out when major media sites couldn't handle the load.

(Registration is required for that URL to work, but bunging 'genehackreader' and 'password' into the obvious spots might produce some results.)

crap to be pissed about, part II Larry Ellision, CEO of Oracle, wants you to have to carry a "national ID card", which, oh yeah, could be driven by the software his company sells. Presumably the card would have a "Powered by Oracle" sticker on it, or something. No word on how this would have prevented the attacks, or prevent others in the future.

(Maybe because it wouldn't have, and it can't.)

crap to be pissed about, part III Yesterday, the Post had an article which described how the US military used disinformation during the Gulf War. It contains the following quote, which I reproduce here (emphasis is mine):
"This is the most information-intensive war you can imagine. . . . We're going to lie about things," said a military officer involved in the planning. "If it is an information war, certainly the bad guys will lie."
(For those of you in the audience who retain some critical reading and thinking skills: I am almost positive that the above military officer did not mean to imply the syllogism: "We lie. Bad guys lie. Therefore we are bad guys." But I might be lying.)

I realize the value of properly placed misinformation in ensuring operational security, but damn, is it to much to hope that they could just tell the media "no comment" rather than out and out lie?

Random observation #1: any statement by any government official now (well, 'still', really) has to be assigned some sort of reliability measurement before it can be used in any sort of planning.

Random observation #2: Webloggers, and other people who are swimming in the deep end of the media stream and who can consequently put together disparate pieces of info, are really in a better position than others to do the above sort of evaluation.

Those ideas combine in a very unpleasant way when considered in the light of the Rand "Infowar" document that was widely linked not too long ago (and which I can not find a link to this morning -- props to anyone who can help out with that) -- webloggers function as aggregating nodes, and are therefore prime targets for disruption and misinformation attacks. Imagine the effect if Scripting News had been DDOS'd on the 11th, or if Dave had been targeted (intentionally, I mean) with some misinformation-ladden mail.

crap to be pissed about, part IV
Why oh why have none of the many stories I've looked at about Bush's order to freeze terrorist assets actually listed the organizations and individuals whose assets are being frozen?

Oh, and while we're on the topic of "obvious follow-up questions that ain't gettin' asked", how the hell come the promised evidentiary document is taking so long to put together? How can be we be making decisions to go forward if people aren't informed? How can they be informed without seeing this document?

crap to be leery of, part I
Under the rather severe new "anti-hacking" law, basically any sort of computer intrusion related crime has the potential to put you in jail, "married to the guy with the most cigarettes" (to borrow a phrase from Stephenson). So, I wonder -- does that include all that jackasses that have been pounding the network with nimda and CodeRed worms from their unsecured Windows boxen?

crap to be happy about, part I
Rep. Goodlatte of Virginia is saying all the right things about strong crypto. Let's see if he can put his money where his mouth is, and how well he can convince his colleagues.

I'm almost positive those last two categories should be larger, but I've got to go to work right now. If anybody out there wants to send some stuff in, that would be appreciated.