I've been spamtrapped!

I was just trying to add a comment to Harold’s blog entry, below, when the screen suddenly went a horrible blue, and a (probably illegally used, copyrightwise) image of a can of Spam(tm) appeared, along with this message:

You’ve been spamtrapped

we will not tolerate spam Als u menselijk bent en u denkt dat u onterecht wordt beschuldigd van spam activiteiten op mijn weblog, ga dan terug naar de vorige pagina. Mogelijkerwijs bevat uw commentaar een link naar een site welke ik op dit weblog weer. Ook kan het gebruik van verschillende woorden zoals casino u naar deze pagina hebben geleid.

If you are human and you think that you are wrongly beeing accused of trying to spam my blog, please return to the previous page by going back. You’ve been sent here because the original comment contains illegal keywords like casino or links to spamming websites. I will not tolerate these links on my weblog and as a precaution all content is filtered before submitted to the site.

What’s particularly galling this remark is the sentence, “I will not tolerate these links on my weblog:” WTF? Hey, it’s MY GODDAMN WEBLOG, YOU STUPID PIECE OF SOFTWARE! WHO THE BLEEP DO YOU THINK YOU ARE????

Anyway, over the last few weeks we have recieved some email from friends of the site to the effect that they had been prevented from making comments. I put that on my list of things to worry about at some time in the future. Now that it has happened to me & I have experienced first hand just how irritating and insulting it is, let me just say that this problem has gotten my attention for real. I cannot promise how soon we’ll get it resolved, but it will probably be sooner than if I had not been spamptrapped. In the meantime, any of you who have been impoperly spamtrapped, please accept my apology on behalf of my well-meaning but incompetent and rude spam blocker.

By the way, here’s my comment on Harold’s blog entry (below the fold):

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Look Who's Talking 700 MHz: Edwards, Bloggers, and Moveon, Oh my!

[Channeling Our Great Master, Stephen Colbert]
In an obvious attempt to curry favor and win the valuable “Tales of the Sausage Factory” endorsement, John Edwards released a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin the day after I announced I was scoping out his campaign. The Edwards letter endorsed three key policy positions of the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition: open access, network neutrality, and — my all time favorite and beloved of intensly geeky issues no one else gets — anonymous bidding.

That’s right! The Edwards campaign is actually cluefull enough and willing enough to get “into the weeds” to the point of endorsing anonymous bidding. Of course, the Edwards letter does not actually mention “ToTSF” or even PISC by name, but I’m sure that was just an oversight from the amazing speed with which they rushed to endorse the PISC positions after hearing that I was “checking them out.”

So, for all you folks from the Edwards campaign no doubt hanging on these words, all I can say is — well done! A tremendous Tip of the Hat to all of you. Still, in fairness to the other candidates (both Republicans and Democrats), I will need to wait to see whether they chose to endorse the PISC proposals before giving an official ToTSF endorsement.

[End Colbert]

Of course, Edwards isn’t the only one to start talking about the 700 MHz auction and what it means to our broadband future. For who else is talking about PISC proposals and the impact it appears to be having on Washington, see below . . . .

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Intel adapting to OLPC, and graphics accleration on mobiles

My read of this money.cnn.com article, and the linked presentations for investors, is that Intel’s fairly near-term strategy:

  • Includes major specific responses to the OLPC. (E.g., a focus on lower cost and marketing in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.) OLPC has changed the game.
  • Suggests that graphics acceleration must be included in Intel’s products for mobile computing. (E.g., noting that “the most important applications…including Second Life” won’t run on a mobile phone, and that the “uncrompromised” “full Internet” has to run on mobiles without delay from when it is available on desktops.)

Nothing to be surprised at, but this is the first time I’ve seen this officially from Intel.

How is the OECD Different From the FCC? OECD Takes Its Number Seriously.

I must laugh at the recent back and forth on the recent national broadband rankings by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Back in December, OECD released its latest set of statistics for broadband penetration for its 30 member states. While the U.S. had the greatest number of broadband subscribers (defined as speed in excess of 256 KBPS one way), we still ranked 14th overall on number of subscribers as a percentage of population (the traditional way of measuring phone penetration).

What these figures do or do not mean I leave to others to debate. OTOH, if we had this kind of crappy penetration in plain old telephone (POTS) or power, we’d be a developing country. OTOH, broadband deployment is still relatively new and the other countries that have pulled ahead of us all have different circumstances that arguably distinguish it from us. No, my point here is merely to highlight the amusing battle of words between the OECD and a consulting firm called Market Clarity. Market Clarity recently issued a report challenging the validity OECD stats.

So far pretty ho hum. Then the fun begins with this OECD Response. It appears that, unlike our FCC, which can run silent for years about possible funny business in its numbers (until prodded by a change in Congress, it decides to ask for advice on how to suck less), the OECD takes its reporting rather seriously. As a consequence, they wasted no time in explaining to Market Clarity, with all the snark that serious researchers reserve for telling hired guns they are ignorant wankers, that Market Clarity didn’t know what the heck it was talking about.

Not to be outdone, Market Clarity quickly issued its own delightfully snarky response to the OECD response.

I have no idea where this ends up, as it rapidly devolves into a series of exchanges like: “While we welcome serious interest and robust public debate, you couldn’t regress your way out of a paper bag!” “Oh yeah, well for an organization with the 30 most powerfull economies as members, you’d think they’d hire some folks who can do basic math!” All I can say is that the Aussies seem to be having more fun with their public policy. And at that I wish our FCC took as much professional pride in their work product as the OECD.

Of course, the FCC would have to do work to be proud of rather than outcome-driven “research” first. But maybe someday . . .

Stay tuned . . . .

Is Edwards the One? I begin my due dilligence for '08.

I haven’t officially endorsed a candidate here on Wetmachine. At the moment, I lean Edwards-ward, but am still early enough in that I feel a need to do some due dilligence.

So I am hoping to go to a reception for Elizabeth Edwards on June 13 here in DC. You can find details of the event here. I’d be curious if any other readers are going. I’m also curious if any readers have thoughts they’d like to share on possible candidates. I should add that I am limiting myself to candidates actually running (i.e., no Bloomsberg or Fred Thompson boosters), and that I am extremely unlikely to vote Republican (although I try to keep an open mind).

Stay tuned . . . .

Gulf War Syndrome and Sarin: Jake Carelli was right

The plot of my thriller Acts of the Apostles concerns a search to find the cause of the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome reported by so many veterans of the first US war with Iraq.

At the time I was writing the book, from 1995 to 1999, there was no generally-accepted explanation for the syndrome, nor even a universal acceptance that the phenomenon was, quote, “real”, unquote. One of the leading theories of the day was that the culprit was Sarin nerve gas released when the Navy bombed the Iraqi munitions dump at Khamisiyah, and then later when EOD, “explosive ordnance disposal” units of the United States Army further blew up what the Navy missed. Jake Carelli, the Gulf War Vet in Acts who has Gulf War Syndrome, says (page 242), “I know where Gulf War Syndrome comes from”:

“[. . .] It was my job to go into bunkers looking for documents. I saw that Iraqi stuff. They had beaucoup chemical-biological weapons, big time. The Iraqis probably never shot any at us. But EOD just went in there and blew all that stuff up. The sky was black, and it wasn’t just from the oil fires.”

There was ample evidence that the Defense Department believed that that was the cause and was covering it up. Indeed, the evidence of a coverup of the bombing of Khamisiyah figures into the plot of Acts of the Apostles (see pages 165, 166, 231, and 242 in the free PDF of my novel, which you can easily find on this site or by clicking here (warning: large PDF)).

In my book I made up another–outlandish, science-fictiony– explanation for the Syndrome, even though I had a hunch that Carelli (whose character was inspired by a soldier I interviewed when researching the book whose remarks about the bunkers are essentially quoted verbatim by Carelli) was right.

Well, it gives me no pleasure to report that Carelli, indeed, was right. This article by Kelly Kennedy of the Army Times, reprinted in the Seattle Times on May 26, 2007, states,

[. . .] researchers say they have no doubts they have found the root of the problem: sarin gas. [. . .]

Research released in early May showed that 13 soldiers exposed to small amounts of sarin gas in the 1991 Gulf War had 5 percent less white brain matter — connective tissue — than soldiers who had not been exposed. A complementary report showed that 140 soldiers who were exposed had the fine motor skills of someone 20 years older, what researchers called a “direct correlation” to exposure.

The research was the work of Roberta White, chairwoman of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health.

PLEASE follow me after the jump to read more about this important development.

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Here's blooking at you, Harold!

According to this post in the Sydney Morning Herald, books derived from blogs–inevitably given the doubly-condensed appelation “blooks”– are the hippest thing in publishingdome:

blooks – books based on blogs or websites – are beginning to reap returns for publishers. From the moment the adventures of Belle de Jour, the diary of a London call girl, jumped off the computer screen and onto the page, publishers saw the potential in dishing up our favourite on-screen pleasures in book format.

I know that our own Harold “Tales of the Sausage Factory” Feld has been toying with the idea of slapping printouts of his Wetmachine posts between two covers & selling the resultant, umm, blook, at a decent markup. Perhaps this article will inspire him to actually do it. But here’s my little bit of publishing advice, Harold: since “sex sells’, even in the blook world,

whether it’s the slightly grubby thrill of Girl With a One Track Mind (the ”diary of a sex fiend“) or a dip into Frank Warren’s PostSecret (a collection of anonymous postcards on which people reveal a secret), readers seem happy to buy them

be sure to give your blook a title that hints at something having to do with sex and secrets. Might I suggest, ”My Big Sausage, Just For You, Baby!”?