monday morning outrage

Nothing starts the work week off better than staggering off to the salt mines with that half blind murderous rage, half it's-just-all-totally-fuxx0red-so-why-bother feeling in the pit of your queasy, rumbling, half-hungover, no-time-for-breakfast-i'll-just-have-a-snickers-at-work stomach, so the crack GeneHack staff has carefully crafted a set of links specially selected to take you to your Happy Place. (Actually, that's all a lie; these are just the largest crap nuggets I happened to run across in my morning's travels around the web. And they probably won't make you happy. Rage is good too, though.)

  • Down in good ole Texas, the book burners "concerned citizens" are crawling out from under their rocks, just in time for Banned Book Week.
  • The IEEE is trying to develop some standards for electronic voting machines, which is all-in-all probably a Good Thing. Unfortunately, it sounds like the process has been totally hijacked by the electronic voting machine makers and for some strange reason, they don't particularly want to have a strong electronic voting machine standard in place. (Hmm, I wonder why?) The EFF is trying to do something about it. Look, people, when a Russian newspaper is telling us that our evoting-machine-based election system is totally fucked in the hands of unscrupulous and corrupt people with their own questionable agenda, things have gotten just a bit out of hand.</understatement>
  • The White House is actively undermining the EPA's global warming research, and may have gone as far as helping a conservative, oil-industry funded lobby group to sue the government over another climate study.
  • A legally married Canadian couple was recently denied entry to the US, because they weren't willing to fill out individual customs forms, instead insisting on filling out the joint "family" form. Since the couple consists of two gay men, they were blocked from entering, apparently on the basis of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. (Thank you, Clinton administration!)
  • Budget airline JetBlue gave a defense contractor the personal info for over five million of its customers, violating its own privacy policy. The data were apparently used in a DHS-sponsored study into airline passenger profiling.
  • Several hundred thousand houses in my immediate vicinity are still without electricity in the wake of last week's hurricane. I heard a electric company (NoVEC, to be specific) talking head doing a "we're doing our best" bit on a local talk station, and a caller phoned in and asked a very good question: Why is it that anytime there's a significant storm, we see widespread and often lengthy power outages, but phone service is rarely, if ever, interrupted by the weather? Since the two services are transmitted via the same methods (cables on poles and cables in the ground), you'd naively expect about the same number of weather-related outages, wouldn't you? Mr. Talking Head didn't have an answer ("I don't work for the phone company" was the best he could do, as I recall), but if anybody out there knows anything, I'd love to hear it.
  • And there's yet another worm crawling around on MicroSoft systems, and bugging the hell out of the rest of us. This one depends on a TWO-GODDAM-YEAR-OLD INTERNET EXPLORER HOLE! Come on, people, it's not that hard: open up Internet Explorer and go to Follow the instructions, and just install whateverthehell it tells you to install. Do it once a week, once a month -- hell, doing it ONCE A YEAR would have prevented the current infestation from spreading. Now, if you'd asked me last week, I would have said that a two-year-old completely-unpatched Microsoft system wouldn't be able to stay up long enough to send a 2000 line email. I'm unpleasantly surprised to find that I'm wrong. Patch those boxes or get 'em off the net. Thank you.

In the headlong rush to death, devastation, and utter living Hell for each and every one of you represented by the above collection of material (yes, I'm in an especially perky mood this morning, thanks), there is one tiny glint of sunshine: it appears that VeriSign might yet get its ass handed to it over the whole SiteFinder fiasco. Here's hoping it becomes so.