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The Borg wants to control…

The Borg wants to control your PC

Respected InfoWorld colunist Brian Livingston on how Microsoft service pack upgrades to Win 2K can disable other programs on your system without your knowledge.

One thing you can’t get around, however — and a big reason for the latest fears — is Microsoft’s DRM (digital rights management) scheme. This built-in XP feature silently downloads and installs “revocation lists.” These lists prevent “revoked” programs from playing DRM-encoded content.

The idea of giving any outside company the ability to remotely turn off something that previously worked on your computer strikes many as lunacy.

Aside from fair-use issues, users fear silent upgrades because Microsoft has pumped out many buggy patches that themselves needed patching. Just this June, Microsoft shipped the Nimda worm in its Korean edition of Visual Studio .Net.

Naomi Klein on why the…

Naomi Klein on why the WSSD will fail

The World Summit on Sustainable Development started today in Jo’burg, South Africa.

So do you want the summit to fail?

At Rio, a deal with the devil was made.

In many ways corporations funded the summit, but they funded with strings attached. And the strings were, you can’t regulate us, we’re going to have this voluntary partnership model.

Now, corporate involvement in the summit has vastly escalated. So success for this summit is failure. When you have a failed model, its failure is a success.

Is the United Nations compromised?

It’s a tragic situation – the UN is now acting like the World Trade Organisation.

Secure food is healthy food!

Secure food is healthy food!

The Rand Corporation reports that our meat supply chain is vulnerable to disruption (either accidental or terrorist), and that the reason is the sloppy, under-regulated, over-corporate way that meat is produced and processed.

Jeez, this report sounds more like radical Greens than a plan for food security!

Agriculture and the food industry are key elements of the U.S. economic and social structure. Unfortunately, the sector remains highly vulnerable – both to deliberate and to accidental disruption for several reasons. Critical considerations include the following:

1) Husbandry practices that have heightened the susceptibility of animals to disease. These practices, designed to increase the volume of meat production, include the routine use of antibiotics and growth stimulants in animal diets.

2) The existence of a large number of microbial agents that are lethal and highly contagious to animals. The bulk of these diseases are both environmentally hardy – able to exist for long periods of time in organic matter – and reasonably easy to acquire or produce. Vaccination is no panacea, because it poses risks to animals, and there are no vaccinations for some diseases.

3) The ease and rapidity with which infectious animal diseases can spread, owing to the extremely intensive and highly concentrated nature of U.S. farming. Models developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest that foot and mouth disease, for example, could spread to as many as 25 states in as few as five days through the routine movement of animals from farm to market.

4) The proliferation of food processing facilities that lack sufficient security and safety preparedness. Several thousand facilities exist nationwide, many of which are characterized by minimal biosecurity and surveillance, inadequate product recall procedures, and highly transient, unscreened workforces. These facilities represent ideal sites for the deliberate introduction of bacteria and toxins such as salmonella, E. coli, and botulin.

Hold on for this shocker

Hold on for this shocker

You didn’t really think some silly new law would stop our politicians from bellying up at the money trough, did you?

Despite The Ban, Soft Money Is Back. “Some of the biggest names in Republican and Democratic circles are establishing new groups to collect and spend the unlimited political donations that are supposed to be curbed by the recent campaign finance law,” the Washington Post‘s Thomas Edsall reports. “Political activists on both sides are frantically creating new groups to fill the gap, using provisions of the tax code that allow the creation of tax-exempt organizations that they say are not covered by the new law. These groups can raise and spend soft money as long as they do not coordinate their efforts with the political parties or candidates.”