Internet



I’m one of those strange non-senior citizens who watches 60 Minutes on a regular basis (having a TiVo helps). So due to the controversy over a 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil that affected over 3 million people, I was expecting an update from 60 Minutes this week. They are sticking with their original story, still calling it “cyberwar”, and no mention that it might be due to poorly-maintained infrastructure, as WIRED and other sources say. My favorite part of the WIRED story is that the Brazilian government says their electric control systems aren’t connected to the internet.

PowerOutageBrazilHere’s the counter-story from Marcelo Soares at WIRED:

A massive 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil has been newly blamed on computer hackers, but was actually the result of a utility company’s negligent maintenance of high voltage insulators on two transmission lines. That’s according to reports from government regulators and others who investigated the incident for more than a year.

In a broadcast Sunday night, the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes cited unnamed sources in making the extraordinary claim that a two-day outage in the Atlantic state of Espirito Santo was triggered by hackers targeting a utility company’s control systems. The blackout affected 3 million people. Hackers also caused another, smaller blackout north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005, the network claimed…


ChocolateSoulP.J. Huffstutter and Jerry Hirsch writes in the LA Times:

On most days, Andrea Deckard can be found in her home office, digging through stacks of coupons and grocery receipts for money saving tips and recipes that she can share with readers of her Mommy Snacks blog.

That is, when the stay-at-home mom isn’t being wined and dined by giant food companies. Earlier this year, Frito-Lay flew her to Los Angeles to meet celebrities such as model Brooke Burke and the Spice Girls’ Mel B, while pitching her on its latest snack ad campaign.

More recently, Nestle paid to put her and 16 other so-called “mommy bloggers” — and one daddy blogger — up at the posh Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena, treated them to a private show at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and sent packages of frozen Omaha Steaks to their families to tide them over while the women were away learning all about the company’s latest product lines.

In return, Deckard and her virtual sisterhood filed Twitter posts raving about Nestle’s canned pumpkin, Wonka candy and Juicy Juice drinks.

“People have accused us of being corporate shills,” said Deckard, a Monroe, Ohio, mother of three whose junkets have also included a free trip to Frito-Lay’s Texas headquarters. Deckard, noting that she is up front with her readers about such trips, said they are educational for her and her fans, and “just fun.”

Besides, she added, “it’s not like I sold my soul for a chocolate bar.”


From Boing Boing via Bytestyle.tv:

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama’s administration refused to disclose due to “national security” concerns, has leaked. It’s bad. It says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn’t infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet — and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living — if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.





Andrew Smith writes in the Guardian:

I couldn’t have been more surprised to find Josh Harris in Ethiopia. In Manhattan in the mid-1990s, he had been “the Warhol of the Web” — one of the first internet multimillionaires, who took the $80m fortune he’d made and started to explore the possibilities and implications of this new technology, to the point of self-destruction. In the process, he became the focal point of the downtown New York scene that, for heady extravagance, rivalled anything from the 1960s or 1970s.

His Millennium Eve party, called Quiet: We Live in Public, ran for over a month, during which an ad-hoc community of human subjects lived in pods in a six-storey Broadway warehouse, each pod wired up and effectively functioning as a TV channel, streamed live to the web via Harris’s online TV portal at Pseudo.com. It was 1,000 times more vital and acute than the still-nascent Big Brother. “Don’t bring your money,” Harris said. “Everything here is free.”

Quiet featured a shooting range you could hear from the street, a banquet hall, theatre, temple, club, giant game of Risk, and a public shower area, all covered by cameras. But more than anything, it offered its residents complete freedom. There were drugs and public sex — at one point, Harris, in the guise of a clown called Luvvy, attempted to coordinate simultaneous orgasms between three couples.

Just about anything that could happen did happen, and many people have called it an experiment. But Ondi Timoner, director of We Live in Public, a Sundance-winning documentary about Harris that opens in the UK next week, shrewdly calls it a metaphor. My feeling is that Harris wasn’t saying, “This could happen” but “This will happen”. This is where the technology is taking us; and what’s more, it’s where we want to go.

More in the Guardian. Here’s the trailer:




Interesting little story behind the first actual message sent between two machines over a data connection: (CNN) — It was 1969 and a busy year for making history: Woodstock, the Miracle Mets,…