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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001. Wednesday, September 19, 2001

DaveNet: Getting Back to Work

Saddam Hussein: "In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful." Etc etc. 

Daniel Pipes: "In early February 1995, newspapers around the world featured a photograph taken in Cairo, which showed, for the first time ever, the prime minister of Israel standing side-by-side with the king of Jordan, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the president of Egypt. These gentlemen ostensibly met to discuss the faltering peace process between the Arabs and Israel. Yet this unprecedented event of an Israeli leader in conclave with Arab colleagues sent another signal too: four leaders who share a common problem-fundamentalist Islam-are ready to work together. According to one account of the meeting, Rabin said that Israelis are the target of the fundamentalist attacks. Arafat jumped in and said, 'Me too. They have threatened my life.' At that point, Mubarak and Husayn both nodded their heads and said they too had personally been threatened by the radicals." 

Zaki Badawi: "The atrocity of September 11 is a violation of Islamic law and ethics. Neither the people who were killed or injured, nor the properties that were destroyed, qualified as legitimate targets in any system of law, especially Islamic law." 

Early this afternoon we released a defense for UserLand's server software, against the latest IIS worm, that is still running wild. The defense minimizes the impact on servers running Manila by quickly processing the intrusion, slowing it down, and counting the hits. Thanks to Eric Soroos for providing working code almost 24 hours ago. That UserLand took so long to respond is inexcusable. I apologize, and have made an internal issue of it, we won't be this slow to protect our users and customers next time. 

As you can see, Scripting News now has item-level permalinks. I made the improvement in a general way so that all Manila sites can benefit from the improvement if you use an outliner to edit your home page. I wrote a status report on this for Frontier developers so they can see how it works.  

As far as I know, James Spahr was the first to use this new feature! Coooool. 

BBC: Lost Moon-landing tape found. "The impetus to locate the tape came from Kipp Teague who runs an online resource of data on the Apollo Moon landings." 

Barry Cohen: "I saw a bumper sticker today: 'Forgive your enemies, it drives them really nuts.'"  

WorldLink: "Afghanistan is a paragon of an economic basket case. The country has seen almost no growth in 20 years. There is no industry. There are no crops. There is drought. The national budget is a paltry $82 million, half of which goes to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. The money is said to go toward fighting the civil war. The development budget is a mere $343,000." 

Support tolerance, if only for pragmatic reasons. We need all the friends we can get. Let's keep the friends we have. 

Stan Krute, Emmanuel Décarie and others (including myself) are still pushing news through the Yahoo mail list that started last week. And Yahoo's servers have returned to their previous very fast turnaround, so there's more reason than ever to subscribe. 

NY Times: "In a sharp break with the past, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced today that his country's armed forces would actively support American reprisals for last week's terrorist attacks." 

Seth Dillingham: "I just received an email from a friend. He forwarded it to all of his friends. That's a bad sign. The subject was, 'The worst virus ever!' That's an even worse sign." 

NY Times: "Tourism in New York is reeling a week after the attack. Hotels, restaurants and much of the city's $25 billion tourism industry were already in a slump because of the softening economy. While it is not surprising that business would be bad a week after the attack, the drop was so sharp and the signs are so troubling that people in the industry fear that the problem may go on for weeks, if not months." 

FBI: "The United States Government is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden." 

Credit where credit is due. We have been harsh on the US government for not responding quickly enough. According to this NY Times article (heard elsewhere too) the decision to immediately ground all flights and close US airspace appears to have prevented two more disasters on Tuesday. Good work and thank you. Also note that because the would-be hijackers are still alive, there may be a chance to get clues and evidence that otherwise would have been lost. 

Mike Krus picks up the ball on my invite to use OPML as a syndication format, and I keep it moving. Today's Scripting News is part of the bootstrap. Does this give you ideas on how news can flow from authors to readers? Good. Write code.  

NY Times: "Clear Channel Communications, the Texas-based company that owns about 1,170 radio stations nationwide, has circulated a list of 150 songs and asked its stations to avoid playing them because of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon." 

Esquire, 2/99: My Name is Osama bin Laden

Jane's: "Israelís military intelligence service, Aman, suspects that Iraq is the state that sponsored the suicide attacks on the New York Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington." 

Matt Bivens: "What happens if a suicide bomber drives a jumbo jet into one of America's 103 nuclear power reactors?" 

Two years ago today: Prefs Distribution through XML-RPC.  

Dries Buytaert is working on something similar for Drupal. 


Spent a few hours watching TV last night.

First TV I've watched in nine months. I haven't forgotten how.

The US is self-obsessed. Going to war. Hollywood is leading the way.

Outage note 

I lost access to the Web for six hours yesterday afternoon, so I'm in backlog mode. It'll take a while for me to get caught up.


Jeff Barr is bootstrapping a new syndication community site.

Bootstrapping is a good term to help us understand what infrastructure is, and how the US has an engineering culture that is capable of building things like the World Trade Center and Boeing 757s.

I was talking yesterday, during the outage, with my friend Craig Burton. Like me, Craig is lover of infrastructure. We get off thinking about new ways to string wires between tin cans to create new kinds of communication systems for people. Like any other thoughtful art, we pay attention to what came before, looking for what's unique in a newly framed question, and what's been solved before. When possible, steal from the best. This is bootstrapping. It's creativity with respect.

Now I'm not an aircraft or skyscraper engineer, but I'd bet ten dollars they do it the same way. Was there a little bit of Wright Brothers invention that crashed into an idea from the Woolworth Building on September 11? Of course. Maybe it makes sense to give this a name -- meta-infrastructure -- the infrastructure of infrastructure. How did these ideas spring to life? It was the work of several generations to create the two pieces that went boom on Tuesday.

Now, with a civilization that has enjoyed little or no war on its home turf since the Civil War, we've gotten good at this. The infrastructure of the US is a long-term suspension of disbelief that such things won't be exploded deliberately by people who don't create anything. On both sides, we create revolutions and disruption, it's just that we've become accustomed to the revolutions that engineers create, we seek them out and celebrate them, and the idea that a human being could deliberately destroy so much is foreign to the American mind.

Chicago Public Library: "The Home Insurance Building, erected at the northeast corner of LaSalle and Adams streets (on the site now occupied by the west portion of the Field building), is called the first skyscraper."

The High Rise Site: World's Tallest Buildings.

Google image search query for "Boeing Clipper."


Last update: Thursday, September 20, 2001 at 5:55 PM Eastern.

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