Bob's Junkmail (important stuff.)

Junkmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo

My baby sister complained that she and the rest of her family didn’t get the last few Junkmails I sent out. I checked the last one to see if hers bounced. It didn’t. So I figured her spam filter ate it.

Then, out of curiosity, I sent a Junkmail to my Hotmail address. It gets LOTS of spam, but it did not get my Junkmail. And the Junkmail did not bounce. It just disappeared. The same thing happened at Yahoo. It went through just fine to my Gmail account.

Then I tried a small text message, and it went through. Weird. I guess Hotmail and Yahoo are censoring my mail. So if you have a Hotmail, Yahoo, or some derivative email address, you might not have gotten some recent Junkmails. Consider yourself lucky.

Now I’ll try sending out a short text message with a link to the Junkmail site. You can get the latest Junkmail at the main Junkmail site now:


I’ve finally reorganized the Junkmail site. Let me know of you can’t read something. If you want to read something interesting, however, you’ll have to go to some other site such as slashdot orbadastronomy….

The Ubiquitous Camera

It seems like everywhere I go, I notice a security camera taking my picture. Sure, I’m paranoid, but I should be. They’re after me.

Who looks at the video from these cameras? In many cases, it’s anybody who wants to. A lot of people set up a security camera with a public IP address so they can watch and control it from home or on the road, and neglect to give it a password. The result? It’s the random cyberwalk.

Fact 1. These cameras frequently have a web interface.
Fact 2. Google frequently indexes these web addresses.
Fact 3. The Java code in many of these cameras is standard.

Conclusion: You can use Google for a random cyberwalk. Just search for one of these java snippets and see what you can see.

      inurl:LvAppl intitle:liveapplet

      intitle:"WJ-NT104 Main"

      inurl:indexFrame.shtml "Axis Video Server"


It’s a really odd feeling to be looking at some unknown location that could be anywhere in the world. It’s a little like a science fiction novel I once read about people looking through wormholes at random locations around the earth. Not all the camera sites will work and some are private, but you can find and control a lot of cameras that are open to the public.

Learn to Fly Here

This plane landed in a Colorado Springs tree last December 7.


The pilot climbed down with minor injuries. The plane may have lost power due to carburetor icing.

From the NTSB Report:

The pilot was established on a base leg for runway 15 (6,000 feet by 60 feet, asphalt) when the engine lost power. The pilot lined up with an adjacent road and continued for a forced landing. Prior to the landing he checked his carburetor heat, mixture, throttle, and magnetos in an attempt to troubleshoot the power loss. He stated that he observed car lights and "swerved into [the] tree." The airplane became lodged in the tree, crushing both wings aft and wrinkling the vertical stabilizer.


Last December 15, a Continental 737 was flying along, minding its own business, on a trip from Houston to Portland OR. A passenger was sitting in seat 23a. This was not unusual. The passenger was wearing a personal air purifier around his neck. This was a little unusual, but not unheard of. It’s nowhere near as dangerous as getting onto a plane without taking your shoes off.

Over Colorado, the air purifier blew up. Well, it didn’t really blow up, but there was a bang, a flash of light, and it caught on fire. The purifyee took the purifier off his neck and dropped it between the seats, where it smoked for a while. People poured water on it, and someone blasted it with a fire extinguisher. Then the plane landed at Colorado Springs. It missed the tree with the Piper Cherokee in it.


In Denver, one airliner almost landed on another plane on January 5. A disoriented plane, or a plane with a disoriented crew, was sitting on the runway when they thought they were on a taxiway. Visibility was about 1/2 mile in blowing snow. A Frontier Airbus missed them by about 50 feet on the go-around.


No-Fly Zones

Before the Iraq War, there were no-fly zones in Iraq where Iraqis were not allowed to fly. Since the Iraq War, the no-fly zones have come to the USA. When the President travels around the country, he takes with him a "temporary restricted area" that is substantially larger than the entire controlled airspace for Los Angeles. Special occasions merit even larger restricted airspace. During the President’s State of the Union Address, the Washington DC "no-fly" zone expanded to more than 3000 square miles.

When you’re flying around the US, how can you keep track of these moving, temporary no-fly zones? Look on the internet, of course!


Or you can fly IFR, under air traffic control. The controllers do a good job of keeping you clear of places you’re not supposed to be. Except in Brazil.

Since 2001 more than 6,600 airplanes have "busted" the temporary restricted areas. About a quarter of those were the President’s no-fly zone, and about half were in the Washington DC restricted areas. Approximately zero were terrorist attacks.

What happens when you bust into a no-fly zone? Usually, you get a warning letter from the FAA. You might lose your pilot license, you might be intercepted and forced to land, and you might get to visit with some nice agents of the US Secret Service.

Most of these temporary restricted areas do not affect airliners, for one reason or another. Airliners have to follow the same rules, but the rules often allow them to go places that ordinary earthlings cannot. Private planes carrying politicians also get special treatment.

They seem to have forgotten that the crashes that started all this in 2001 were airliners. And who could be more dangerous in the skies than politicians? So far this millennium, there have been zero people killed by terrorists flying, riding in, or blowing up private planes.

But that doesn’t stop politicians from promoting fear of private airplanes. After all, people can get into and fly small planes without removing their shoes! It’s a travesty!!  It’s heretical!!!

Senator Jay from West Virginia intends to put a stop to this lackadaisical behavior. He intends for small private planes to enjoy the same security checks as commercial airliners. So before I go out and fly my Aircam, Jay thinks I should have to have my shoes x-rayed. I think Jay is an idiot.



If you have a pilot license, you can take an online course on how to steer clear of bad airspace:


Illegal Computing

If Sports Illustrates uses the word Barbie to advertise their swimsuit issue, they might be guilty of felonious behavior. Next year, if John McCain’s law is passed, if you have a blog and someone uploads a photo into the comments section of their fully clothed daughter in a suggestive pose, you may go to jail if you don’t report it to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Even if you don’t know about it. And after you report it, you’ll be required to keep it for 6 months.

There’s a big campaign going on against child abuse. I think that’s a pretty good thing. (The campaign, not the abuse). Some people are accusing the government of taking action without considering the full implications of their actions. But you just have to understand what’s going on behind closed doors.


McCain:  We’re going to pass a law to require every social networking site, chat room, message board, or blog to report suspected child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Alberto:  Good deal! Those cowardly villains are hiding in the shadow of the internet! I’ve gotta put this in my blog.

McCain:  And furthermore, we’re going to ban all convicted sex offenders from using these sites. And we’ll kick them off email, if I can sneak it into the bill when nobody’s looking.

FBI Bob:  Pfantastic! What about child murders and kidnappers? What about suspected terrorists? What about Democrats?

McCain: We’ve got laws against those already, except for the Democrats. That’s genetic defect we’ll have to live with.

Alberto: Hey, don’t we have laws against child pornography already?

McCain: Yes, but it’s a lot worse on the internet. That’s why we’ll tack on 10 years to a child-abuse sentence if the child was abused on the internet. It’s just not that bad when you abuse a child in person.

The beauty of this law is that you won’t have to enforce it, Al. We all know you’re more inept at computers than I am. Heck, you can’t even enforce the measly Can-Spam law, you farmer!  So we’ve got the internet gurus enforcing this law.

Alberto: Huh? How’d you do that?

McCain: It’s easy. If they don’t enforce the law, they go to jail.

FBI Bob: Is there any chance we can get these internet gurus to work the Mexican border?


I think that McCain’s law is really dumb, even if his intentions are good. The law would be largely unenforceable and almost impossible to comply with, even if you’re not involved in pornography. It’s obvious that he and his helpers don’t know much about computers. But the law will get people 10 more years in jail for molesting a child on the internet. I guess molesting a child in real life is not as bad?

There are other laws in the works that seem weird to me. One law would make it illegal for a convicted sex offender to use a social networking site such as Flickr or Myspace or Youtube. Convicted child murderers and kidnappers would be welcome, though. All social web site operators would be required to make sure (somehow) that they don’t have any sex offenders as customers.

There are already laws against this kind of deviant behavior on and off the internet. Maybe they should enforce those laws already on the books without imposing all kinds of new regulations on the rest of us. Then, after they do that, they could enforce the anti-spam laws.


Attorney General Alberto said, "We must do all that we can to protect our children from these cowardly villains who hide in the shadows of the Internet." Now, I may be a cowardly villain, and I may have a warped mind (as demonstrated by Junkmail), but I am not a purveyor or a consumer of child pornography. I would prefer not to be convicted if some lamebrain uploads a bad picture onto my web site without my knowledge.


The Alberto and the FBI want to require all ISPs to keep logs of all web browsing done by their customers. In other words, the government wants to require internet companies to spy on their users. Next they’ll require newspapers to keep track of what stories everybody reads.



Isn’t spamming a federal offense? Why isn’t the law enforced?



The Defense Department got so much phishing and other html email "threats" that they banned html email altogether, at least for a while.


It’s Gonna Be Bad!"

The bird flu fizzled. No hurricanes hit the U.S. last year. The press can’t cover much in Iraq and people are tired of hearing about it. The news media is lost! There’s nothing to scare people with.

The best they can do is "just wait."  We’re gonna have bird flu, hurricanes are headed for New York, Iran’s going to nuke Wichita, and Iraq is going to explode in one giant IED.  


GPA Hacker

Montana only has one US Representative. That’s because not many people live in Montana. The US Representative has a communications director named Todd. Todd may not be a mental giant, but he’s from Montana. And while it may not be a glowing endorsement, Todd does seem to know more about computers than John McCain, Alberto Gonzolez, or FBI Bob.

Todd had a problem. His grades at Texas Christian University were not very good, and he wanted to get into grad school. So he decided to improve his grades. Most people would do this by retaking courses, or by taking additional courses. Todd contacted the web site http://www.attrition.org that he thought was a hacker site. In fact, attrition.org reports hacks, but is not where you would go to talk to hackers.

Todd emailed the site asking for someone who could hack into TCU’s computer and change his GPA. Todd was referred to "Security Curmudgeon". Security Curmudgeon strung Todd along, exchanging email for weeks, making fun of him. Then he posted the conversations on attrition.org. This is really funny, at least to my warped sense of humor. Here are Todd’s emails. (Warning: there might be some naughty words in this.)


Here’s a news article:


Todd will have some time for grad school now. He got fired.


2006 Science Breakthroughs

It’s final: Grigori Perelman has proved the Poincaré conjecture. Most people, including me, don’t understand it, though. It’s taken four years for the world to confirm the proof, and there is still some fussing going on among the mathematicians studying the topic.


The also-rans are also pretty interesting.


TSA Privacy

About two ago, the Transportation Safety Administration instituted the Secure Flight program. The TSA determined, after years of research and millions of squandered well-spent dollars, that shoe removal alone will not deter determined terrorists. So they ordered the personal records of all individuals flying domestically to be turned over to the company EagleForce for statistical processing.

The TSA assured privacy fans and Congress that any identifying information would be removed from the data.


Last month the TSA said, "Oh, that? We were just joking!"


I really don’t care whether the TSA has my information or not, but I don’t think they should lie about it or break the law in the process. I also don’t think I should have to take my shoes off to get onto an airplane, boat, car, or interplanetary spacecraft. Maybe I’ll run for President on the platform of stopping spam and allowing shoes.


The web site http://allofmp3.com is a site where you pay to download music. The music comes in mp3 format, so you can play it on your computer, burn a CD, or play it on an mp3 player. It doesn’t have any copy protection or "digital rights management."

The prices are really good on allofmp3.com. For example, Lilly Allen’s song Alfie is 13 cents. The entire album Alright Still is $1.63. Brahms’ 4th Symphony (Berlin Philharmonic) is $2.78. The download speed is pretty fast.

What’s the catch? Allofmp3.com might not pay royalties to the U.S. Recording Industry or performers. It’s also kind of hard to figure out how to pay them.

The RIAA has sued allofmp3.com for the paltry sum of $165,000,000,000,000. I did not add too many zeros. They sued for $165 trillion dollars. I think this is some kind of record. (Pun intended.)

The Russian company says they operate in Russia and are not breaking any Russian laws. The Russian government, well paid by allofmp3, agrees. The U.S. government, well paid by the RIAA, is threatening to block Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organization until they shut down allofmp3.com.

All this made me mad so I bought some music from allofmp3.com. That’ll teach those greedy lawyers at the RIAA!


Good Photos from Russia


Connection Speed

How fast is your internet connection?


Ellesmere Island Ice

If a 25 square mile, 100-foot thick ice shelf broke off Ellesmere Island, and nobody was around to hear it, would it make any noise?


On August 13, 2005, the 3000+ year old Ayles Ice Shelf detached from Ellesmere Island in northern Canada. Low frequency "rumbling" and tremors were picked up on Alert’s earthquake monitors. But nobody noticed at the time.

It broke off because of temperatures 3C higher than normal in 2005, and because the wind blew the pack ice offshore and exposed the Ayles Shelf to waves and open water. Contrary to some news accounts, this probably does not signify the end of the world.



Volcano on Kamchatka

The Shiveluch volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula (the eastern end of Russia) is erupting. It’s around 10,000 feet high. At least it used to be.

December 27:


January 16:



Feinsteinian Ethics

Senator Dianne from California is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. They are the ones in charge of what little ethics there are in the Senate. Her appointment to this post illustrates the standards of that esteemed institution.

From 2001 to 2005, Dianne supervised the over $1,500,000,000 (no, I did not add too many zeros. That is a billion and a half dollars) going to URS Corporation and Perini Corporation for military construction projects. Dianne’s husband was a majority owner of both companies at the time. That’s even more money than the RIAA and MPAA paid Congress!


But Congress now has stiff new ethics rules. They outlaw things like meals and trips from lobbyists. However, they forgot to cover $1000-a-plate fundraising dinners and other corporate contributions in the new rules. Must have been an oversight.


Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is spreading knowledge all around the globe (this one). Foremost in that knowledge is how to spell "Reconnaissance." It also takes great pictures. Here are some ground layers exposed at the Chasma Boreale canyon on northern mars.


"This false-color subframe of an image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows the north polar layered deposits at top and darker materials at bottom, exposed in a scarp at the head of Chasma Boreale, a large canyon eroded into the layered deposits.

"The polar layered deposits appear red because of dust mixed within them, but are ice-rich as indicated by previous observations. Water ice in the layered deposits is probably responsible for the pattern of fractures seen near the top of the scarp. The darker material below the layered deposits may have been deposited as sand dunes, as indicated by the crossbedding (truncation of curved lines) seen near the middle of the scarp. It appears that brighter, ice-rich layers were deposited between the dark dunes in places. Exposures such as these are useful in understanding recent climate variations that are likely recorded in the polar layered deposits."

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter orbits Mars in a little less than two hours at altitudes of 160 to 200 miles. It was launched in August 2005, arrived at Mars last year, and started its primary science mission last November. It has cameras, a spectrometer, radar, and quite a bit of etc.




Space Station and the Sun

Here is a great photo of the Space Station and the shuttle Atlantis in front of the sun. It was taken in Normandy, France, which is on earth.


As Written

"If I belong to a tradition it is a tradition that makes the masterpiece tell the performer what he should do and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the composer what he ought to have composed."

Alfred Brandel, piano player

I agree. Play it as written!  When is the last time you heard the US National Anthem sung as written, without changing the rhythm or adding a single note?

When Congress passes a law, sometimes the White House does a little interpretation of its own.

The White House writes a signing statement when the President signs a bill into law. The signing statement clarifies the understanding the Administrative Branch has of the law being enacted. For example, the President can sign a bill to make it illegal to rob convenience stores, and interpret this law in the signing statement to allow drilling for oil off Cape Cod. Well, that might be a stretch, but you get the idea.

The President did a little of this last month, in the signing statement for the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act." He provided for the FBI to open and read mail without a search warrant, "to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."

Some people say the FBI should have a warrant in all cases, and that the FBI can now read everybody’s mail at will. (Maybe they’ll pay my bills, too.) The White House says this won’t happen; that the FBI will not violate the privacy of US citizens.


Stem Cell Research

I think we need it.


Sea of Stones

Last April, Frederik and his Uncle Hakan from Sweden took off from San Francisco for Australia in a 36-foot sailboat Maiken.


This was their intended route:


Somewhere along the way, Hakan was traded for Jenny and Fred. I think Hakan had to go back to the real world. 166 days after they left Brisbane Marina in San Francisco, they docked in Brisbane, Australia.

Down around Tonga, the Maiken ran into a pumice raft, a whole lot of floating rocks that come from a volcano. They tried to figure out where it came from, and found a brand new island. They estimated it was about a mile in diameter.



The new island is called Home Island, because it rose from a volcano on Home Reef. In case you’re in the neighborhood and would like to visit, it is located at 18°59.4S 174°45.4W. But don’t delay. The island made mostly of pumice and is eroding fast.

The Royal New Zealand Airforce took these photos on December 7, the day the Piper Cherokee landed in the tree in Colorado Springs. The island was about 1/4 mile in diameter and 250 high.

      AK06-104-079.jpg      HomeIsland-797695.jpg

Here is a satellite photo. The new island is mostly under the smoke or clouds.

     a2006222013200.homereeferuptiona.jpg      a2006222013200.homereeferuptionb.jpg

More Satellite Photos:

More information:



Home Depot

Home Depot got a new boss named Robert in 2000. Now he as been "asked to leave." That’s understandable. The company has been doing badly financially and is under investigation for illegal stock options. What’s not understandable is that he’s getting $210 million for leaving. I wonder why they didn’t give me that much when they asked me to leave Learn2?

Actually, they reported that he’ll get $210 million. He’ll really get more because Home Depot stock went up after they fired him, so his severance package is worth more now. That is ironic. New boss Frank will only get $8.9 million per year, compared to Robert’s $39.7 million compensation. I think I like Lowes better.


Scientific Facts

What do you do if you don’t like proven scientific facts? You have three choices.

1. Accept them as the truth.
2. Pretend they don’t exist (the governmental philosophy).
3. Pay off people to "change" the truth.

Some lawyers, doctors, and researchers in England got in trouble for paying (and receiving) 4.3 million pounds to falsely link autism to the measles, mumps and rubella shot. I wonder how many kids got sick because of this.


Flash Drives

Sandisk announced a 32gb flash drive that can be used in place of a hard drive. It’s 100 times faster and uses well under half as much power as a hard drive. At $600 it’s a little expensive, but it seems like flash drives should be cheaper than hard drives before too long.


Perth Birds

Some birds have been dying in western Australia.


Typists are Everywhere!

Disaster in St. Louis was narrowly averted after a Walmart was almost blown up by a typewriter.


In unrelated news, a post office in Westchester, NY was almost blown up by a package of cookies addressed to Bill Clinton. Clinton denied participating in the plot, depending on the definition of "is."


An American Eagle plane getting ready to take off from Toledo was stopped after a bomb threat was called in. They held the passengers on the plane for an hour just in case there really was a bomb.


Antarctic Kites

How do you cross Antarctica? Pull a sled on skis, and use a kite to pull yourself.


Space Wars

It seems like about 20 years ago the US shot down a satellite using a missile launched from an F15. I think that was OK.

Last year, President Bush unveiled a new US space policy in which the U.S. reserves the right to use weapons in space, and promises to deny the rights of its adversaries in space. I think that was not so good.

This year, China has successfully tested an new anti-satellite missile and shot down an old satellite.



Online Gambling

The US Justice Department has ordered the worlds largest investment banks, law firms, and accountants to turn over documents related to online gambling.


No word on anti-spam prosecutions.

Guard the World

Unguarded chlorine and anhydrous ammonia are the single biggest terrorist threat related to US railroads, according to the Department of Homeland Security. If that’s the case, I think US railroads must be pretty safe against terrorists, tourists, and typists. Chlorine and ammonia are poisonous to breathe in high concentrations, but we apply anhydrous ammonia directly into the ground for fertilizer, and we use chlorine in water treatment. Next, the Department of Homeland Security will be demanding armed guards around gas stations.


Nigerian Scammers

Last Junkmail I wrote about former Iowa Congressman Ed who lost over $3 million dollars to Nigerian scammers.

Yet another politician fell for the rather obvious scam. Thomas, an Alcona County, Michigan public treasurer, embezzled over a million dollars to contribute to the Nigerians. Actually, Thomas was only accused of embezzling. He has not yet been convicted of terminal stupidity. Thomas’s bail was set at one million dollars.


Hit List

Six 9th-grade girls at a small school in Tennessee made a "hit list" of 300 names, including some classmates, teachers, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and the Energizer Bunny. The school principal found out about it and figured it was no big deal, just one of the funny things that kids sometimes do. He was right.

But the "authorities" found the word "kill" on the kids’ Myspace pages. The six 14 and 15-year-old girls were charged with the conspiracy to commit murder and sent away to a juvenile detention facility. The girls had no weapons, no plans, and no clue. They were yanked out of their homes and sent away.


GoDaddy, Myspace, and Seclists

The web site http://seclists.org is a site where you can find the latest security holes, fixes, and maybe even some tools or info that could be used for hacking. Seclists.org archives a bunch of email lists and discussion groups in one place.

Recently, someone made a phishing site to collect Myspace usernames and passwords. They sent out the associated phishing email, and acquired about 56,000 usernames and passwords. This information was posted in many places around the internet, including seclists.org.

Myspace went to GoDaddy.com, the domain name registrar for seclists.org, and asked them to shut down the seclists.org domain. GoDaddy called their contact at seclists, got a voicemail message, and then shutdown the site. GoDaddy was not hosting or DNS-ing seclists. They just assigned the domain some invalid name servers.

Seclists.org got a little irate, saying they’d have been happy to remove the offending data had they only been notified. Instead, they only got a voice mail saying their site was disabled and no explanation why. GoDaddy is entitled to do this under their terms of service.


The moral of this story? Even if you host and DNS your own web site, the domain registrar can shut you down for any or no reason. GoDaddy got some criticism for jumping when Myspace said to jump without verification, but they are entitled to under their terms of service. I’m not sure whether other registrars do this too, but I am sure that seclists.org is looking for another registrar.

I’m not sure evil deeds you can do with a Myspace username and password, but the same thing happened about a year ago when 34,000 Myspace usernames and passwords posted around the internet.



Maher Arar

Maher Arar is the Canadian guy who thought he was changing planes in New York to return home to Montreal. The FBI grabbed him at immigration, handed him over to the CIA, who put him on a plane to Jordan, who put him in a van to Syria for several months of torture.


The Canadian Government is paying Maher $8.9 million for his trouble. The US government is keeping Maher on its no-fly list. I guess I could see how someone like that might hold a grudge. I wonder how many other innocent people enjoyed the same free vacation.


Pictures of Today!

Northstar Island, near Deadhorse Alaska. I didn’t take this picture.

De-snowing the PC12 at Leadville International

Cold Birds on Cape Cod

Norfolk Naval Base

Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The Shuttle Assembly Building is connected to the two launch pads near the beach on the right. Another launch pad it just to their left.

Shuttle Launch Pads

Sleepy Birds


White Flower

Confused Lizard

Confused Tree

Florida Highways


The Ocean

Red Sky at Night


The Birds!  Geese in Arkansas


Sunday, January 28, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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