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Monday, March 29

Kofi Annan

United Nations considering role in Internet administration
Source:CNet News

At an Internet summit at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday,
Secretary General Kofi Annan criticized the administration of the Internet
as concentrated too heavily in the developed world.

The UN is taking a serious look at increasing its influence on the way the
Internet runs, from technical standards to domain names to privacy and spam.

Description of the current and possible future forms of Internet bureaucracy

Saturday, March 27


Congress Moves to Criminalize P2P
Source: Wired News

A draft bill recently circulated among members of the House judiciary committee would make it much
easier for the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecutions against file sharers by lowering the
burden of proof. The bill, obtained Thursday by Wired News, also would seek penalties of fines and
prison time of up to ten years for file sharing.

An estimated 62 million Americans are thought to have used P2P networks as of October 2003, though
it is not known how many have illegally shared music. Globally, two in every five recordings are pirate
copies, according to a former head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Sharman Networks, the owner of popular file-sharing program Kazaa, has recently been making efforts
to convince record companies and movie studios that it's sincere about becoming a legitimate, licensed
distributor of mainstream entertainment content.

Added April 5:
Researchers show file sharing does not affect record sales
"The Internet is really much more like radio than we thought," said Harvard Business School professor
Felix Oberholzer-Gee. "If they like what they hear, they go to the store, and they buy it." Thus, he
added, Internet downloading can promote CD sales just as radio broadcasts do. In other cases, file
downloaders may not buy CDs they otherwise would have bought, leading to a net even effect.

Wednesday, March 24

Condoleezza Rice

"There is a constitutional principle at stake here"
Sources:NBC interview, Gannet News Service

Dr. Rice will not appear under oath before the 9-11 commission, citing executive
privilege and separation of powers.

"We're disappointed that she's not gong to appear to answer our questions,"
said commission Chairman Tom Kean, a Republican former governor of New Jersey.

Rice faces rising anger over refusal to testify in public

Added March 30:
White House caves to pressure: Rice to testify in public under oath;
Bush and Cheney will testify together in private, not under oath

Source: AP Wire

Added April 2:
Focus of administration in Sept. 2001 was missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals
Source:Washington Post

Added April 8: Rice testimony (video | transcript | article)

Added April 11:
August 6, 2001 PDB titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" declassified
(article | full text of PDB| what is a PDB?)
PDB did not speculate on the time or place of attack

Monday, March 22

Drunk Smart Guy

Raving Lunatic Obviously Took Some Advanced Physics
Source: The Onion

"He's definitely had some advanced training, though I'm not surprised
that it went unnoticed for so long," said Stanford theoretical physicist
Carl Lundergaard. "It's hard for the layperson to differentiate schizophrenic
ramblings like 'Modernity chunk where the sink goes flying on the
ping-pang' from legitimate terminology like 'Unstable equilibria lie on the
nodal points of a separatrix in phase space.'"

Wednesday, March 17

bombed Madrid subway

Spanish voter: Anger guided us
Source: The Modern World

"Let me tell you that I honestly think that we voted not guided by
fear, but guided by anger. In the critical hours after the attack, Aznar's
Government confronted and bipolarized the Spanish people lying and
manipulating even when the truth was alreday obvious for millions.* This
caused an automatic reaction in the low and middle classes thinking "they
make wars against our opinion, then it's our blood who pays them, and
furthermore they're lying us and insulting our deads and our intelligence".
Not a good cocktail for a Government seeking re-election, I'm afraid. "

*from a Washington Post article : Despite evidence to the contrary, Aznar and other officials
telephoned journalists immediately after the bombs exploded, stressing ETA's responsibility
and dismissing speculation that Islamic extremists might be involved.

Added April 4:
Police have acted quickly in finding and apprehending suspects of the Madrid subway bombings
Three suspects blew themselves up rather than surrender to police in a Madrid suburb yesterday.
Another 15 suspects are already in custody. Six have been charged with mass murder and nine
with collaborating with or belonging to a terrorist organization. Eleven of the 15 charged are Moroccan.

Saturday, March 13
I am Indian. I am American. I do customer support.

"I work from a cubicle in San Francisco, but I could easily telecommute from Omaha -- or Bombay.
A few subscribers have tentatively mentioned that I have a beautiful name, or that they loved
Bend It Like Beckham, but this was the first caller to call me out on the absurdity of my position.
An American-born Indian doing call-center work in California? "

Added March 17 :
Sec of State Powell assures Indians that outsourcing will continue
Source: Seattle Times

Powell assures Indians in Delhi that outsourcing will continue, but says India should become more
open. Indian students say America should outsource voting because of America's lagging technology.

Wednesday, March 10

Pakistani fans eagerly await the start of the tour.

Rahul Dravid

India's first cricket tour in Pakistan in 14 years starts this Saturday in Karachi.
The tour will consist of five one day matches and three five day tests.
The tour is a positive sign for Pakistani-Indian relations.

Updated scores, news at

Saturday, March 6
In the Realm of Jet Lag

"I often think that I have traveled into a deeply foreign country under jet lag, somewhere
more mysterious in its way than India or Morocco. A place that no human had ever been
until 40 or so years ago and yet, now, a place where more and more of us spend more and
more of our lives. "

Thursday, March 4

Is Kerry a political opportunist?
A Slate article details Kerry's purported switches on such issues as welfare reform,
affirmative action, education reform and the death penalty, just to name a few.

But according to an article on the DLC's website: "the more voters learn about John
Kerry's actual views, the more they will be inclined to say: 'If this is a waffle, bring on the syrup.' "

3/8 GOP sponsored Kerry v. Kerry boxing match

Monday, March 1

Urban quality of life survey (for expatriates)
Source: Mercer Consulting

Zurich #1, Munich #10, Berlin #15, SF #24, NYC #38, Atlanta #66.
Baghdad was last (#215)...

The analysis was based on an evaluation of 39 quality of life criteria for
each city including political, social, economic and environmental factors,
personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services.

US cities have slipped in the rankings this year as tighter restrictions have
been imposed on entry to the country.

(Added April 3):
New US program requires foreigners from allied countries to be fingerprinted and photographed
Source: Wired News

List of countries: Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Canadian citizens are exempt.

Added April 23
Expat Advice | Expat Forum

Cost of Living Index: Argentina's the most expensive place listed. Hungary's the cheapest.