Like most writers who are prolific only in their dreams my mind this week has been whelmed by a swarm of post ideas, yet I’ve only managed to write one pithy little thing. What do I do when there’s too much to write about, I don’t write anything, which is pretty much my strategy regarding all too muchess, except for beer.
Topics of note this week who’s screams to be discussed have fallen on all too apathetic ears.
- The last public appearance of James Doohan, famous for his role as Lt Cdr Montgomery Scott on Star Trek. Doohan was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and will be retiring from public life. Best wishes to Scotty and his family as they struggle with his diagnoses.
- Yesterday marked the beta launch of Microsoft’s online music sales service. See this USA Today article for more information. “Microsoft doesn’t ‘look to make any money of note’ from the service, said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsofts’s corporate vice president in charge of its MSN online division. Instead, Mehdi said, Microsoft is hoping the service will serve as a vehicle for drawing more users to its MSN Web site, helping garner more advertising dollars.” (Associated Press, September 3, 2004). Or….Microsoft might just be trying to find another way to crush Apple.
- Chechnyan Rebels seize a school in Russia with horrifically tragic consequences and a death toll in the hundreds. I would like to write a longer piece on societal failings in understanding and grappling with terrorism and “terrorism” from a philosophical and socio-historical perspective, however, I won’t do so if it will bother the other site moderators an members. I would like supercrime to remain apolitical and simply be a sounding board for news of, ideas about, and attempts to understand our world, so if the readership thinks something like this is inherently political, I won’t post it and will just write it and email it to those who are interested. Please comment about this.
- The end of the Athens Olympics. Congratulations to Greece for hosting such a spectacular games and to the many athletes who demonstrated the sportsmanship, class, and honor their mother countries so often lack.
“A gang of Russian cybercriminals has helped accomplish what antitrust regulators couldn’t: reduce Microsoft Corp.’s share of the market for Web browsers, if even just a bit.” - From today’s Wall Street Journal
For those of us who remember, the browser wars of the mid-nineties bear a strange and disturbing resemblance to the Clone Wars of Star Wars infamy. Following the destruction of Netscape, Emperor Gates assumed total dominance over the galactic web of surfdom with the help of Darth Anti-trust violation.
But now, a new hope. In 1998, the remaining rebels from Netscape and others formed a resistance, and they called it Mozilla. Now, six years later the rebel Mozilla team has delivered the first blow in a new battle before the Longstar becomes fully operational in 2006.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer’s market share fell for the first time since analysts at WebSideStory began tracking it. You can find the article in today’s edition of the WSJ in the marketplace section. (Subscription or “free” trial required). However, here’s a link to a transcript of the article from some dude named Bart’s weblog. You can read more about the story here.
Although the actual decline in IE’s webshare is small it is still extremely significant because it represents the first tracked shift away from IE over security concerns.
Firefox is the official browser of the Supercrime team.
Bless those Russian hackers,
Supercrime alert: Today two masked robbers with guns stole The Scream and Madonna, both painted by Edvard Munch.
The trick was they used guns in Oslo. The paintings are worth millions of dollars. The only problem is that they are soo high-profile, they should be extremely hard to sell–unless you own a separate copy, then you could sell that one at a far increased price…
Found this great photo below in this article on why stealing art is a tough business–not the wisest of supercrimes. Although in my opinion, one of the sexiest. The picture shows the supercrimers escaping with the two Munch paintings and the get-a-way driver in broad daylight. How sexy is that?
Check out Toogle. Although “supercrime” comes up empty, they do have and entry for “super crime.” I still can’t figure out what it means. Any suggestions?
Maybe I am being too picky, but I always felt true ASCII art was just black text on white background and did not involve all of this superfluous color. For example what came up when you used to
>> finger topper
at Rice before symon graduated. Sorry I could not find the original artwork. Maybe symon still has it.
Until last night’s sleep of 16 hours, I had worked 100 hours of the previous 122. I am shocked and amazed that I didn’t light the school on fire, thus inadvertently destroying it in the process. Like Neo, I’m beginning to believe in this whole cyborg thing…
And I have 371 emails to catch up on. *sigh*
Everyone should be around a bit more now that summer is winding down. Rest assured, more content of the quality you’ve come to know and love is on the way…
In keeping with the trend of writing about Supreme Court cases I thought that I would post about the three momentous decisions the Court handed down today related to Executive orders permitting individuals designated as “enemy combatants” to be held indefinitely without charge or trial.
The decisions are very long and I have not read them completely yet, most of my information about the rulings comes from the half hour NPR broadcast I listened to today about the Court’s decisions. If you care to read any or all of the rulings you can find them here. The three relevant cases are Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Rasul vs. Bush, and Rumsfeld vs. Padilla all issued today June 28th, 2004. You can find relevant news stories from the New York Times (registration required) here, or from CNN here.
In order to maintain some semblance of brevity in a post for once all I will say is that rulings represent either a major defeat for the White House or a major victory for those concerned about stripping American’s of their right to judicial oversight. The Court ruled that, most importantly, U.S. Citizens have the right (and foreign nationals have the privilege) of judicial review of claims made by the executive that they are “enemy combatants.” In essence the ruling states that anyone being held as a prisoner by the United States Government has the right (or privilege) to a judicial review of the Executive’s claims. The ruling does not challenge the right of the executive to hold person’s–U.S. citizens or otherwise–indefinitely without trial, rather it dictates that there must be a judicial process whereby prisoners are allowed to challenge the contention that the are “enemy combatants,” i.e. that there is justified cause for their imprisonment. This provides legal power to those who feel they are being held because they are enemies of the government rather than legitimate prisoners of war.
The legal questions surrounding the detention of U.S. and foreign citizens was not fully settled because the Court did not rule on the Padilla case stating that it was filled in the wrong jurisdiction. However, the rulings today should be viewed as a victory for both champions of liberty and security because they insure a continuing check on the power of the Executive by the Judicial branch without damaging the ability of the Executive to ensure the safety of America’s citizenry.
A belated response to probablyjeff’s post on the Supreme Court ruling in the Hiibel case:
Before reading this post I would strongly recommend reading the Court’s ruling with particular reference to Justice Kennedy’s statement that a 5th Amendment appeal does not apply in Hiibel vs. Sixth Judicial Court of Nevada and Justice Steven’s dissenting opinion related to 5th Amendment protections. Those interested in the potential “slippery slope” implications of this ruling should also pay particular note to Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion. Also, remember that the Nevada law under question in this case only stipulates that an individual provide their name to the investigating officer and makes no requirement for production other identification, namely a driver’s license or “the papers.”
As additional background, the basic details of this case are well treated by New York Times articles here (a general description of the ruling) and here (a slightly longer discussion of the opinions).
Finally, I would recommend viewing Hiibel’s personal site, reading his account of the facts and viewing the video of the arrest (a Bit Torrent link is available on the site). Regardless of the Court’s opinion, the police work evinced by the video is disheartening. The situation could have likely been diffused without argument or arrest if the officer at the scene had acted in a more professional and courteous manner. In the same way that a request by an officer for a suspect to identify himself by name may be viewed as reasonable, the counter provision that an officer answer basic questions about their investigation and intent should also be upheld. The video introduces problems into my evaluation of the Court’s majority opinion specifically because it demonstrates the clear possibility for abuse and overextension of Terry Stop provisions that the Hiibel ruling may allow, and which Justice Breyer warns of in his dissent.
A recent 5-4 ruling by the supreme court upheld a Nevada law which makes it a criminal offense to refuse to give your name to a police officer. The supreme court is tiptoeing on giving up a persons sense of privacy. Beware!