Monday, May 30, 2005
  Feelings are always local
One of the people who wrote the book of the above title is a biologist. I have not read the book, i was just surfing to refind Cinema Rex, because of some stories connected to it, in the sense of how to overcome war-nasties, within, or with-after.

On a day, some years ago i met Radovan Popovic from Belgrade at the Expo-Cartoon in Rome. I was invited there by some friends of the Roman Sciatto group.
Radovan is a very tall guy, and although i am not so short and was wearing high heeled shoes, i remember myself jumping up some higher steps of the street inside the festival revenue, in order to get myself at the same hight, to look him in the eyes while talking. It was his first trip out of former Yugoslavia, after years of narrowing minds and ideas, soaked in the violence of the war in the Belgrade settings. We talked a lot.

He told about a night many people do remember, but very probably the people of Belgrade more than others. Popovic: "It was the night of the bombardments on Belgrade. I went to a bar, where friends of me also came. We were the only ones and we started a jamsession, i played the drums. A famous musician from Belgrade came in, and jammed with us. We have been making some hellish music, and it became a mix with the sounds of the exploding bombs. Early in the morning i went home, where my junky neighbor knocked on my door to tell me that the street of my girlfriend had been hit. I run off, to find out that she was allright, so i returned home and went to bed. Then i heard a rumbling sound, as if other attacks and explosions took place. It took some while before i understood that it was an eartquake."

I met Radovan again by coincidence, in Amsterdam, where he had been invited to a conference. That was the night of the Otpor students!

->Otpor! (Cyrillic: ОТПОР! In English: Resistance. Is a pro-democracy youth movement in Serbia which has been widely credited for leading the eventually successful struggle to overthrow Slobodan Milošević in 2000. <-

And exactly that night he was in Amsterdam! So we talked a lot again, until very late, and as a consequence i arrived too late at work the next day. (My then-times Greenpeace colleagues didn't show any sympathy for these coincidences in my life, nor for the latest information from Belgrade. Since we were working environmental problems.)
In fact i didn't work there much longer...
Saturday, May 28, 2005
  Stripburger: Xer-files stories

by Zlatko Milenkovic - mailto: zmcomics@neobee.netwww.zmcomics.co.yu/zm

What can you say about the Yugoslav comic art scene since the previous Stripburek in 1997? Since it seemed to be in a state of deep – if restless – sleep for the better part of the last decade, we might call this latest period an awakening.
The situation really was bad. /.../
The 1998 'XER meeting of comics and fanzine authors from the whole of ex-Yugoslavia got its epilogue in July of 1999 with the publication of the comic anthology 'XER FILES. The promotion events took place in Cinema REX, which used to play an important part in our comic scene until the previous regime confiscated its property. After that they moved into cyberspace – http://www.cyberrex.org/.
The promotion for the anthology »Novi autorski strip v Srbiji« (New Comic Strip in Serbia) was also done through the Net, at the same time Projekat Rastko (Project Rastko) did an extremely interesting segment on comix. Many comic authors took advantage of the Internet to find their way to a wider, world audience. It is no exaggeration to say that the internet technologies represented the most important form of communication for Yugoslavian comic artists in the last couple of years. Cyberrex's site also provides its visitors with a list of links to other Yugoslavian web sites dedicated to comic art. /.../
Thursday, May 26, 2005
  Corporate social responsibility: perspectives from the South
More on that same theme:

What does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mean in a country like Angola for instance, where large oil companies operate in a society dominated by inequality, violence and poverty? Publication from the CSR Worldwide Week where 18 experts from all over the world met to share their knowledge and experience on CSR. Edited by India Committee of the Netherlands, NiZA, Novib (Oxfam Netherlands), SOMO, MVO Platform and Red Puentes. In English, French and Spanish.www.mvo-platform.nl

CSR-Perspectives_from_the_South_20050510.pdf (2380 Kb)
Internationaal, Angola , DRC , Europa , West-Afrika
Themes: Conflict, Economy, Human rights, NGO's (African), NGO's (North)
Read, download, or order: Corporate social responsibility: perspectives from the South

60 pages PDF
Author: Karolien Bais - SOMO - 2005-05-10
Friday, May 20, 2005
  Holidays in the Danger Zone: America Was Here
This month to you too through BBC-World:

From the Vietnam War to the invasion of Panama, America's actions abroad have had a major impact across the globe. For many the U.S. has become a figure of hate – but why?
Ben Anderson takes another 'Holiday in the Danger Zone' in the footprints of American soldiers and politicians to find answers and perhaps a curtain-raiser to the challenges faced today, in America Was Here.

Saturday 4 June @ 14:10 GMT
The Americans may no longer be fighting the communists in South East Asia, but the mark they left there is indelible. Ben Anderson travels to Vietnam, where he meets the “Amerasians” – abandoned children of GI’s and Vietnamese women. He also witnesses backyard crocodile farming, meets would-be capitalists and hears from a third generation suffering the effects of Agent Orange.

Saturday 11 June @ 14:10 GMT
Cambodia will always be synonymous with Pol Pot and the Killing Fields. Ben Anderson discovers that the country is still ravaged by the effects of war and genocide. Law and order is failing and not a single Khmer Rouge leader has been brought to justice.

Nicaragua and Honduras
Saturday 18 June @ 14:10 GMT
The successful left-wing coup in Nicaragua that brought the Marxist Sandinista guerillas to power led to the US sponsoring anti-Sandinista contra-guerrillas throughout much of the 80s. Ben Anderson now finds a democratic Nicaragua where coffee exports are worth millions, but farmers are starving while millions of dollars of cocaine are washed up on the coastline every week. Nobody remembers General Noriega anymore. Why did the U.S. invade to get one man? Honduras was Reagan's base for the Contra war, a C.I.A. funded insurgency that led to the Iraq-Contra scandal. Today the country's trying to crush the street gangs, most of them deportees from the U.S.. Even a tattoo can land you in jail for years.

El Salvador and Panama
Saturday 25 June @ 14:10 GMT
A gun-carrying ex-gang leader from Los Angeles is reporter Ben Anderson’s guide through the Central American country of El Salvador which is riven by gang warfare. The war ended over a decade ago and he meets both right-wingers and leftist guerrillas to hear what peace has brought to the country. When he visits the resort island of Panama, chemical weapons await him. Whose are they?
Friday, May 13, 2005
  Homo Siemens
Yes, i have learned another word for the Homo Nokiens, in a speach from cultural critique to cultural fatique. And after watching Code 46 of Michael Winterbottom i was already seeing the world through this nice after-movie-mood filter. However, the movie and the speach brought me back again to 'some people are more shared than others', Helsinki style.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  Gymnastics: up + down + up + down + up ...
Streamtime.org was up again in a very short while, and from soon on it will become tough to get us into that down modus again. Traaalalaaalalaaalalaaalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

So let's talk some Swedish pirates, and sing the Pirates Anthem, good old Shabba Ranks song.

"More than 800 pirates and filesharers demonstrated in Stockholm on Sunday May 1st.
Among the speakers were broadband industry figure Jonas Birgersson and representatives from the free art/culture scene and The Pirate Agency. It was perhaps one of the largest gatherings ever of Internet pirates, copyright-critics and other believers in free culture.
The demonstration was held under the paroles "freedom to copy" which was manifested through a successful physical copy swap.

The speakers included Palle Torsson from Artliberated, Jonas Birgersson, a Swedish Internet-figure and CEO of Bredband2, and finally Sara Andersson from The Pirate Agency who spoke about the importance of copying and the urgent need of privacy in digital communication.

Photos from the demonstration
The Artliberated Network
The Pirate Agency
The Pirate Agency (Piratbyran) was founded in 2003 in support of the global movement against copyright and in defense of the idea that information and culture should remain free. With more than 40 000 community members we are one of the largest movements in the world supporting filesharing and piracy."

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
  Streamtime down again
Once again www.streamtime.org seems to be under attack and gives Error messages all over the place:

Exception message: mysql_pconnect(): Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' (2)Error code: 2-- Backtrace
Exception message: Fatal error: could not connect to the database!Error code: 0-- Backtrace --

We are busy with some new organization of the site, work is in progress, so i hope these complications will be over in a short while. (Which i hope of all the other complications too, btw)
Saturday, May 07, 2005
  Spying the spyware makers
Ben Edelman may be spyware's most dangerous enemy.

The 25-year-old researcher has spent years analyzing how spyware and adware programs work and publicizing his findings. That often results in red faces and, occasionally, lawsuit threats from companies like WhenU and Claria, formerly known as Gator.

When testing spyware and adware, Edelman isn't about to sacrifice his own Windows XP computer. So he uses the VMware utility to create a virtual Windows box.
"I infect the hell out of it," he says. "It destroys the infected machine."
A law student at Harvard University, Edelman is also working on a doctoral degree in economics. CNET News.com caught up with him after he spoke at a conference in San Francisco sponsored by News.com's sister site, Download.com.

Q: What got you interested in spyware in the first place?
Edelman: I took a call from the plaintiffs in the Washington Post case against Gator. They thought what Gator was doing was absolutely destructive to the availability of free content on the Web. After all, if advertisers could buy ads from Gator to reach the Washington Post's audience, who would buy ads from The Washington Post?
I happened to think they were right. But the case settled out of court on the eve of trial, so we didn't find out for sure whether Gator's business was legit.

It's absolutely fascinating to watch Symantec and McAfee struggle with this.

How much time have you spent since then on spyware-related topics?
Edelman: It's scary. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning right now, more so than classes, more so than my dissertation research. I probably spend 30 hours a week. It's been nonstop for the past 15 months. Before that, it was quite a bit less intense.

What was the most interesting thing you've discovered?
Edelman: There's just a huge amount of money changing hands here. The biggest, richest American companies are buying advertising through spyware. The biggest, richest venture capital firms are investing in those who make this kind of unwanted software. That's names like American Express, Sprint PCS, Disney, Expedia, Guy Kawasaki's firm.

You're using the word 'spyware.' But you also mean the advertising-based networks with pop-up ads, right?
Edelman: Absolutely right. My claim is that each of the so-called adware networks has obtained installations and is still obtaining installations in ways that offer such poor notice and obtain such limited consent--sometimes none at all--that users can't fairly be said to have consented. If they didn't consent, and their activities are being monitored or transmitted, then that's spying.

Have you ever been threatened by spyware makers or adware makers?
Edelman: Yes. Some vendors have challenged the permissibility of my methods. For example, Gator was awfully angry when I posted a Web service that let any Web site operator see how Gator was targeting their site with competitors' pop-ups. They sent a series of legal papers, complaints, threats to me and my then-bosses at Harvard's Berkman Center.

I seem to remember that you had written some controversial software that tested what one adware program was doing--I think it was WhenU.
Edelman: I can't comment about that.

Ask Jeeves seems to be an above-the-board company. What's your complaint with them? Edelman: The core problem is Ask Jeeves' installation practices. Sometimes their software gets installed without any notice or consent at all through security hole exploits. When they do ask for permission, they don't always tell users everything they need to know to make an informed choice. For example, when installing a Web browser toolbar, they use euphemisms like "directly accessible from your Web browser" instead of the obvious and natural word "toolbar."

You don't have any objection to pop-up applications like WhenU or Claria as long as the user knows what they're getting?
Edelman: I have no comment on any matter pertaining to WhenU. As to Claria, their core business seems to me to be troubling because it's so parasitic. They can only show ads thanks to users requesting other sites, which get no share of the revenues from those ads.
Suppose a site spends a million dollars on a Super Bowl ad or $3 on a Google pay-per-click ad. Claria's pop-up then siphons away the resulting users. This undermines the incentives for sites to promote themselves through legitimate advertising.
Ask Jeeves has a search engine that nobody really wants to go to. To get users to come, they push these toolbars.

What's the latest in terms of threats to anti-adware companies who label certain software "spyware"?
Edelman: The background here is that historically users have been tricked into getting all manner of unwanted software into their computers. Their computers become slow, unreliable. Companies step in to help by offering detection programs.
From the perspective of the spyware makers, these detection programs are bandits: They take the spyware off the users' computer after the spyware makers have gone to such lengths to infect the computers in the first place. So the spyware companies have been attempting intimidation tactics to force the removers to omit removal of particular advertising software.

Name names. Who's been the most litigious?
Edelman: One of the few companies to file suit is Claria, which sued PC Pitstop in 2003 alleging unfair business practices when PC Pitstop told its users its view of Claria's software. And New.net took the novel approach of suing Lavasoft in federal court.
Mostly, these threats don't lead to litigation. Either the spyware vendors give up or they succeed in their intimidation tactics without having to go to court. There have been at least half a dozen examples just in the past few months.
It's absolutely fascinating to watch Symantec and McAfee struggle with this. It's a very different problem from what they're used to. Virus writers don't fight back

You've been on the attack against Ask Jeeves recently. Why?
Edelman: They're getting installations from kids' sites. I've been trying to figure out how these programs have such a large installed base: Who in their right mind would agree to have their computer become a vehicle for pop-up ads? It turns out that many of these programs target kids. They advertise their software at kids sites. They bundle it with video games. They use advertisement images like smiley faces.
Ask Jeeves has a search engine that nobody really wants to go to. To get users to come, they push these
toolbars. But if the toolbars are installed without proper notice and consent, then the entire business collapses. They have no legitimate business source of any substantial traffic to their Web site.

Ask Jeeves just tries to get people to download their toolbar. Does that make it spyware or adware?
Edelman: It's not exactly spyware like the others. It doesn't show pop-up ads. As far as I know it doesn't track and transmit to its servers every Web site you visit. Yet it uses equally tricky installation tactics. (Editor's note: This week, CBS MarketWatch calculated (story is here; free registration required) that Ask Jeeves is valued at $1.8 billion and receives up to two-thirds of its search traffic from sources that also distribute adware.)

How much money have you made by consulting for anti-adware companies so far?
Edelman: I've made enough to pay for law school.

What next?
Edelman: I don't know. I might end up teaching. I can see myself practicing law, and potentially serving as some sort of a professional consultant.
Friday, May 06, 2005
  Ghost detainees inna democragame
According to the February 16 New York Times, the CIA, under its new director Porter Goss, is worried about how it can extricate itself from indefinitely holding in secret jails "high value" detainees, who no longer have worthwhile intelligence to give. The Agency is worried about the erosion of legal pretexts for its secret prison system and harsh interrogation methods, and fears its agents may some day face prosecution. The Associated Press on February 18 reported that "ghost detainee" Manadel al-Jamadi died in November 2003 under CIA interrogation at Abu Ghraib. He had been suspended by his wrists, which were handcuffed behind his back in a position called "Palestinian hanging."


While thousands of government documents detailing the use of torture continue to be released to the ACLU as part of its FOIA lawsuit, the Pentagon says it takes revelations of torture at US detention facilities "very seriously." At the same time, it makes sure that senior officers do not face charges.


In Middle Eastern elections, no one bats an eyelid when the leader gets 110 per cent of the vote
Even the worst dictatorships - usually supported by us, the 'democrats' - want to play the game
Long live our democracy. Let’s hope the Arabs embrace our glorious traditions.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
  DOW releases "ACCEPTABLE RISK" Program at Banking Conference
please visit: http://www.dowethics.com/risk/

Risk Calculator helps ensure sound business practice.
When government is made to take the back seat in regulatory matters, corporations must rely on their own judgment to determine what is, and what isn't, acceptable where human lives are at risk.
Doing this has until now been more of an art than a science. With Acceptable Risk, business finally has a risk standard of its own, reflecting its values and allowing us to reliably factor human and environmental casualties into business decisions in accordance with the soundest of economic principles.

Last Thursday in London, Dow representative Erastus Hamm unveiled Acceptable Risk, the Acceptable Risk Calculator, and the Acceptable Risk mascot--a life-sized golden skeleton named Gilda--to an audience of about 70 banking professionals, including some from Dow's largest investors. Many of the bankers in attendance excitedly signed up for licenses for the Calculator, which helps businesses scientifically determine the point where casualties start to cut into profit, while suggesting the best regions on earth to locate dangerous ventures.

Hamm told the bankers how Acceptable Risk would have applied to some famous "skeletons in the closet" of big business: IBM's WWII sale of technology to the Nazis for use in identifying Jews; Dow's production of napalm and Agent Orange for use in Vietnam; and the plight of Dursban, a Dow pesticide whose main ingredient came out of Nazi nerve agent research, was tested on student volunteers as recently as 1998, and was finally banned two years later.

Each of these cases entailed heavy casualties, Hamm noted, and yet each was immensely profitable and therefore consistent with sound business practice. Hamm said the case of the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984 was slightly more complicated -- but so long as so-called 'socially responsible' investor groups do not get away with forcing Dow to spend too much time on the matter at the May 12 AGM and elsewhere, that case could end up being a "golden skeleton" too.
Please visit http://www.dowethics.com/risk/ to try out the Acceptable Risk Calculator for yourself, and for text, photos and video of the London announcement.

Contacts: Erastus Hamm <mailto:ehamm@...>
Vikram Banarjee <mailto:vbanarjee@...>
Sunday, May 01, 2005
  MayDay MayDay MayDay MayDay!
Videomakers and media activists unite in a single chorus: Streaming TV - No to the precariousness of life!

The Italian word for 'Precariato' stands for the people who can't have any labour security, because of the latest 'flexible' style of working contracts, in which all the risks are for the worker, and less for the industries they work for.

Today on May 1st 2005, from 16.00 hours (CET) live from the MayDay parades in Milan and Naples a new astonishing TV will be visible in streaming and in the ether by all the Italian Telestreets and not only. There will as well be connections with the Forte Prenestino in Rome that is partying is its 19 years of squatted existence.

If you 'have good connections' you can connect yourself to the site www.ngvision.org and follow the open source and free software instructions in favor of free information. The march of the precarious of the last year was completely obscured by the mainstream media, this year it is possible to follow it through radiostreaming over the web at www.radiogap.net or www.radio.autistici.org like every year and with video through www.ngvision.org

Connect yourself, look, spread the news and write your eventual comments to ngv@ecn.org
You know Stone's 'Hidden History of the Korean War'?

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