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Lighten Up 9 February 2001 Edition
Previous Edition

Time to scrape up a little more road-kill from the Information Superhighway and marvel at the silly, sublime, wierd and downright sad stuff that people put on the Web.

Moms Insisting on Licensed Tools
While governments continue to try and clamp down on the rights of gun-owners, one enterprising group has discovered that other evil devices threaten the lives of our children!

The Ice Cube Phenomenon
Here's a rather strange phenomenon -- but check out the hypothesis as to exactly why it happens -- they're even stranger!

Alien Resistance.org
If last week's lighten-up section got you worried about alien abductions then relief is at hand -- you can fight back by joining the Alien Resistance at this site.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

Evidence of Misinformation... - Peter

Government Tactics... - Brian

Have Your Say

Is The IRD Watching YOU?
A local auction site has reported to me that their server logs show an entry for a webcrawler identifying itself as:

IRD-WebCrawler/0.00 testing

I haven't had a chance to contact the IRD and ask whether they are perhaps attempting to crawl local auction sites in the hope of identifying people who are regularly trading through such services but who aren't registered for GST or might not be declaring the income.

If this is the IRD at work then, given that they have grabbed a full list of all locally registered domains in the .nz namespace, I suspect we'll see a lot more web-scanning by those who are charged with the job of filling the politician's trough.

I'd actually advise everyone who has a webserver with a .nz domain name to check their logs regularly -- it could be that the IRD is going to use that list of domain names and a web-crawler to automatically identify those which are e-commerce enabled or which are engaged in trading products or services.

If anyone else encounters evidence of this webcrawler's visits then please let me know.

Now, given that (in the name of the mighty dollar) the government has already vested the IRD with more power to ride rough-shod over the rights of citizens than do the Police, the SIS, Customs, the Army, Navy or the Air Force -- who's to say they aren't already gearing up to take full advantage of the proposed crimes ammendment bill.

Still Chasing That R&D Grant
As I've mentioned previously, I'm applying for one of those great government R&D grants to further my research into the application of modern materials and fabrication techniques to the design of low-cost jet engines.

I have now completed the paper-work and this should be submitted for consideration shortly.

The total time spent to date is somewhere in the vicinity of 20 hours -- and I'm sure I'm not done yet.

Meanwhile, the existing designs are selling like hotcakes and I currently have over 50 orders to fill. The Weekly Is Downloadable
If you haven't received your Aardvark Weekly by email, you can download it here. Subscribers to the emailed version will get each version several days before it appears here.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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Security Alerts
Group Warns Against E-Mail Wiretap (AP - 6/02/2001)

Multiple Vulnerabilities in BIND (CERT - 29/01/2001)

Windows Media Player 7 opens system for hackers (IDG - 18/01/2001t)

Net worm hobbles Linux servers ZDNet - 18/01/2001)

Interbase Server Contains Compiled-in Back Door Account (CERT - 10/01/2001)

AIM Flaw Could Open Users' Computers to Attack (InternetNews)

Virus Alerts
Melissa-X disguised as Mac doc (ZDNet - 22/01/2001)

Kriz virus makes return appearance (ZDNet)

Tool to beat killer Xmas virus promised (IDG)

Virus: Snow White not so innocent ZDNet

Wild Worm With Pro-Linux Message (Wired)

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The Day's Top News
4 = open in new window
New Zealand

4  Govt cash for computer catchup trial
The Government has committed $10.4 million to secondary schools in a series of pilot programmes aimed at bridging the "digital divide" that hinders the progress of students without sufficient computer and internet access...
NZ Herald

4  Ecommerce team being finalised
Information Minister Paul Swain is finalising the membership of his Ecat (E-commerce Action Team), with announcements expected within the next few weeks...


4  Getting to Domain Argument
Exactly how and why were those new top level domains -- you know, dot-coop, dot-museum, dot-info -- approved by ICANN last fall, and why were others that paid a non-refundable $50K fee rejected?...

4  Wireless Web Set For Exponential Growth
The wireless devices industry got some good news with the results of an adoption and usage of wireless devices study by the interactive products and services group of Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch...

4  Hobby industry looks to sew up thieves' loose ends online
Fed up with pirates who download and distribute intellectual property ranging from needlepoint patterns to stencil designs, the crafts industry is fighting back...

4  Netscape browser ratchets up to version 6.01
AOL Time Warner quietly releases a minor upgrade to its Netscape 6.0 browser, which has been criticized for performing more like beta software than a finished release...

4  What if E-Books Cost Less?
Who wants to pay for an e-book that costs just as much in print? One publisher is trying to lure consumers by selling cheaper e-titles. But will it work?...


4  Wild West or IT heartland?
It's a region considered by many to be socially and economically disadvantaged. But Greater Western Sydney is shaping up as a major IT&T hub, with one of the highest concentration of IT workers in Australia...

4  Telstra and PCCW Finalise Alliance
Telstra has completed its alliance with Hong Kong’s Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW), after almost a year of negotiations and amendments to the deal...

4  ABC, SBS digital bans must be lifted: Labor
Bans on the ABC and SBS showing sport, comedy and drama on their new digital channels must be lifted to boost take-up of the new technology, Labor said today...


4  Report: Top Sites Prove Online Advertising Works
The majority of the top 25 newcomer Web sites in 2000 attracted visitors through word-of-mouth and direct marketing, sweepstakes and promotions, Jupiter Media Metrix said in a report released on Thursday...

4  Symantec reveals software-updating patents
The company is attempting to apply the patents covering its method for updating virus software to the antivirus industry and also to the software industry as a whole...

4  BT's broadband 'disgrace'
BT is facing legal action from rival firms over the rollout of high-speed net connections across the UK...

4  To Be or Not to Be? Still the Napster Question
Many people thought the clock started ticking for Napster in October after the renegade song-swap service squared off in federal appeals court against music giants seeking to shut it down...

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Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request

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