No WMDs?

Everyone seems upset that we’ve found no WMDs — for instance — Philip Greenspun points to some UK news.

Seems to me our government set too tight a definition for WMDs. Didn’t September 11 demonstrate that the worst WMDs by far are people and organizations of people? With trivial technology, just people can cause all kinds of harm.

If I was in charge of the case for the war, I would have included people and organizations within the definitions of WMDs; particularly people and organizations that foment and export hatred of our culture/society (or really any culture/society, as it is the hatred and the actions that hatred bring on that we want to target).

But then, no one asked me.

Switch to DST sucks.

The switch to Daylight Saving Time sucks. Losing an hour on a Sunday is no fun. C had a great point — why doesn’t the switch happen on a monday late morning or early afternoon? Would any of us regret giving up an hour on monday? Why does it need to be taken out of the weekend?

Online Federal Tax payment. Tong

Online Federal Tax payment. Tong points towards this site as the new age way to pay your taxes. But what is with the big disclaimer to not bookmark the site???? Are we supposed to remember this URL by heart? If we can’t bookmark it, am I allowed to write down the URL or blog it? Strange.

National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace

National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Finally read this over the weekend. One glaring hole I saw was the lack of treatment of vendors of cyberspace equipment as a class separate from enterprises/businesses.

A motivating example: I have, on my Windows XP system, software and hardware created by the following vendors: Microsoft Corp, Award Software, Intel, ATI, Creative, Voxware, DSP Group, Sipro Lab Telecom, Fraunhofer Institut, Radius, Toshiba, HP, Buslogic, SCM Microsystems, Lotus, Adobe, AOL, Macromedia. These are just the vendors I could identify. This is just the software and hardware that comes on the PC as I bought it.

Additionally I have installed software (sometimes downloaded, sometimes purchased at retail) from the following vendors: Microsoft, Symantec, PersonalBrain, Xteq, Panterasoft, Lavasoft, RIM, Caesius, tamosoft, EasyDesk, Macromedia, Paramind, Apple, Dummysoftware, Winzip. Alkonost, Izymail, Groove. And probably two dozen more that I have uninstalled and no longer have a memory of.

In each of these cases, the corporations that created the software may or may not be located in the US, and if outside the US, may be located in countries whose interests are not aligned with those of the US. Even if located in the US, the companies may very well use foreign development offices, or may subcontract development to organizations located in other countries..

How are we insuring that all this software and hardware is performing the functions they are intended to perform, and don?t include some functionality hidden away to be accessed illicitly by some third party? Is there any inspection of this technology before it is made available in our markets? Who is doing the inspecting, do they have adequate access to source code and source design documents? Once inspected, how do we know that changes aren?t made by vendors ? is there any digital signing of executable content to permit detection of changes later?

There are a ton of issues here. Not at all sure what I think the right strategy is. But this is a hole you can drive a truck through.

How Others See Us

The World’s View of America. This looks like an interesting read — Granta: Granta 77: What We Think of America. What I’d really love to find tho is a collection of high school history/social studies text books from around the world. I’d love to see exactly what is being taught in other countries to their kids. I know there is a lot of bias in what I was taught.

Baruch Lev's testimony to Congress

Baruch Lev’s testimony to Congress

A worthwhile read about corporate accounting and auditing, presented to Congress recently as part of Enron hearings. Per Baruch, our financial reporting is too narrow, our auditing is too cozy, and our enforcement is too late and opaque. And we have the best systems in the world.