For lack of a better word and space to put these, this space will be home for the handful of very odd, yet interesting things I've seen which, in some cases, may radically change the way people live.





The SSSCA is bad. I don't want my computer to be a toaster and I don't want my alarm clock to tell me I can't copy the time from my wristwatch to it. Of course, if this crap becomes law (this is its second attempt at becoming such), then it will be a FELONY to.. well, at least make, maybe sell, possibly even own a "digital device" without "copy controls". Whee. Isn't legislation fun? What are senators selling for nowadays... *counts pennies*



Copy protection? Copy control!

Great. Do you enjoy having one multi-purpose tool at your disposal for all your word-processing, accounting, emailing, instant messaging, artistry, multimedia, and entertainment needs? Do you like the idea of absorbing information that you and you alone are intertested in looking at? Well, I hope you did, because the multi-purpose PC now seems to be on the endangered species list. For years, the entertainment industry (notably the RIAA and MPAA) has tried and failed to enforce "digital rights management" through software. As with any piece of code, there are always ways for the clever person to break it. Even their bought-and-paid-for legal whack-stick, the DMCA, hasn't been the big deterrant it was hoped to be. Alarmingly, even when innocent bystanders have their constitutional rights threatened, such as the scientists who attempted to publish their SMDI findings, the US Justice system drops the issue on a technicality: the fact that the scientists were not *actually* sued, merely threatened, even though the mere hint of a lawsuit is enough to squash all but the deepest pockets.

Unfortunately, the "E entity" has not laid down and died. They now realize that they can't control what people do with information with mere software alone, not even at the operating system level, because other operating systems (i.e. Linux) won't bow to the whims of power-hungry money-grubbers. No, they've now turned to the withered hardware industry as the answer to support their scheme to turn the PC into another form of cable TV. The scary thing is, bad hardware is a lot harder to deal with than bad software. The Register has some detailed information on what the "E entity" is doing to attempt to force their DRM into the ATA *standard*, meaning that it will become a rare thing to find a hard drive akin to what we have today, one that allows you to use the information on it as you wish. If IBM couldn't give consumers a server-class hard drive that could be physically set read-only at the consumer's whim, why should the consumers pay for hardware that will not allow them to write to their own physical media?
So far, it looks like only the high-performance, low-cost ATA hard drives are at immediate risk for this gruesome future. The high-performance, high-cost SCSI drives may be a costly alternative for those who still wish to manipulate their data as they see fit, but rest assured, it won't be long before all types of PC drives are infected with this media control. Make it clear to drive manufacturers like IBM that we, the consumers, will not allow this to be forced on us, and will not buy drives with DRM. Me? I'm counting my pennies and considering stockpiling cheap, high capacity DRM-less ATA drives should this thing actually come to life. That's actually the reason the "E entity" might actually pull this thing off; the hardware manufacturers are just not making money. Hardware is cheap, and profit margins low, at best. If the RI/MPAA can convince the hardware folks that this will bring them magic profits, they'll likely grasp at it like a dying man.

This basically comes down to one thing: do you want to watch what you want to watch? Or would you rather let someone else tell you what you want to watch? If you spend more time in front of a PC than in front of a TV, then this should scare you. Vote with your wallet.

Looks like Big Brother isn't a relative of Uncle Sam; he's just a rich neighbor.



This is a tidbit of info most everyone in the UK has heard about by now, but those of us in the good ol USA may not know: genetic testing is now possible, and is happening *now* in the UK. Why is this such a big deal? It allows for genetic discrimination. On the surface, this allows for such major annoyances as no insurance coverage because your genetic makeup is more succeptable to cancer, CTS, bad spelling, or any number of possible ails, even though this is through no fault of your own! This would basically allow the insurance companies to become a risk-free money making business, as a large chunk of the people who would be drawing money from the insurance companies are cut out of the loop. If this was allowed in the US, there is not a single reason, other than ethics, for a company not to genetically screen applicants.
Finding further abuses of this is left as an exercise to the reader.
Here's the link.



Okay, so maybe this isn't 'new', but it certainly has the potential to impact lives in a profound way. Cloning. In case you've missed it, this procedure is now possible and has been performed successfully on animals. Now, that right there doesn't have any negative consequences that I can see; the danger comes when humans begin to clone... humans.
There are organizations which support the cloning of humans. However, there are strong ethical matters at hand, which are quite visible or not, depending on your own viewpoint. Take this, for example. Pay special attention to the paragraph entitled 'Spare Parts'. If you believe that every human has a God-given soul, as I do, then imagine the horrible wrongs that could be done should this technology be used in cases like this. The author of this essay outlines the extremes quite nicely.
Cloning does not create something from nothing; it is used to make a perfect genetic copy of something. While a human clone's genetic makeup may be idential to the donor, they are two separate persons. Perhaps an even more 'dangerous' approach to this would be the mindset that since cloned humans were manufactured in a manner of speaking, they are to be considered property. I leave you with that.



They're watching you! Again, here's an older tidbit about a system codenamed Echelon. (Also see Carnivore.) Echelon has apparently been in business for some time now, (for you email fanatics, remember that nearly all communications done via the Internet are both easily copied and in plaintext), collecting and sorting information over a wide variety of media, *not* limited to just the Internet, for 'official purposes'. Security for the masses, or massive invasion of privacy? You decide.



Here's the first link, with a musing on the subject to come later. (... or not.) Pay attention and see if you can pick up the little details which makes this both an awesome and very scary bit of information: when blind men see.