Saturday, May 17, 2008

China Counterfeits Cisco

China has managed to copy and counterfeit just about everything under the sun. Now the FBI says they have made knock-offs of Cisco Systems routers, switches, gigabit interface converters and WAN interface cards. The G-men have intercepted 400 fakes worth $76 million.

The Chinese may be using the equipment to penetrate public and private sector networks. "Among the purchasers of the fake equipment were the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center, U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, U.S. Air Base at Spangdahelm, Germany, the Bonneville Power Administration, General Services Administration, and the defense contractor Raytheon, which makes key missile and weapons systems."

The FBI report concedes the motives of the Chinese could have been simple profit because the counterfeit operation possibly extends to PCs, printers, and other IT equipment.

I sure hope so. I have a personal connection to this story. The co-inventor of the router and co-founder of Cisco Systems, Sandy Lerner, is a friend of mine from high school. She and her then boyfriend, Len Bosack, invented the router (at least, they got the credit) so they could e-mail one another across the Stanford campus.

I met Len at a high school class reunion. He got a big kick out of pretending he was the classmate no one remembered. I made the biggest mistake of my life that night. Leonard asked if I would like to invest in the new computer device, all they needed was $500. I said no thanks. That was in 1982, and two years later, they started Cisco Systems. DOH!

Anyway, Sandy was just a kid when she became an anti-war nut and that continues today. From her Virginia organic farm, she oversees many peaceful, academic, and animal rescue causes - she rescues mules. She would probably not be happy to know that her co-invention is being used for possibly nefarious purposes. I know I'm not.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Another Child Used as Suicide Bomber

An eight year old girl, now believed to have been 16 years old, was used as a suicide bomber in Youssifiyah, Iraq Wednesday. However old she was, it is inarguable that she was too young, and was not a legitimate combatant.

A teenage girl strapped with explosives has blown up and killed an Iraqi army captain.

An Iraqi soldierThe bomb was detonated by remote control, injuring four soldiers in addition to the one who died, an Iraqi Army spokesman said.

Local authorities imposed a curfew in the area and American troops launched a search for those responsible.

US soldiers originally said an eight-year-old girl was used in the attack, which took place near Youssifiyah, south of the capital, Baghdad.
Allahpundit reminds that this event is not new and gives several examples, including articles of when the original news reports had the facts wrong.

Thursday morning, there was a story about Iraqi forces flushing bad guys from Mosul. In that story, reported by my AP reporter friend, Chelsea J. Carter, from the Mameluke Desert. In that story was this:
In an attack that bore the group's hallmarks, a suicide bomber Wednesday blew himself up in a funeral tent in a village west of Baghdad, killing 22 people and wounding 40, according to police Col. Faisal al-Zubaie.

The funeral for Taha Obaid, a primary school principal killed the previous day by gunmen, was attended by local U.S.-backed Sunni tribesmen fighting al-Qaida militants. It was not known how many of them were among the killed and wounded.

Obaid's 3-year-old son was among those killed, said al-Zubaie.
By evening, that had been replaced with:

In an attack that bore the group's hallmarks, a suicide bomber Wednesday blew himself up in a funeral tent in a village west of Baghdad, attended by many local U.S.-backed Sunni tribesmen fighting al-Qaida militants. The attack killed 22 people and wounded 40, according to police Col. Faisal al-Zubaie. The U.S. military on Thursday put the death toll at 14; there was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.
There was no explanation for the discrepancy. Perhaps later, it was determined the death of the child was wrong, so the story was corrected. Or, maybe the news of the child's murder just didn't fit the purpose. Usually a note is included as to what is being corrected and why.

Either way, the Muslim practice of child killing is digusting.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obama, Democrats, and a Guilty Conscience

President George Bush said:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
Senator Barack Obama responded in a statement:
"It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack.... George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."
Sounds to me the Senator has a guilty conscience.

There are people on both sides of the aisle who have advocated talking with our enemies without strings attached. In the President's speech, Obama was never mentioned. In fact, he didn't mention by name any living politician or statesman in relation to appeasement. He could have been speaking of a hypothetical individual for all we really know.

Bush could have been talking about Carter. Just two weeks ago, former Pres. Jimmy Carter travelled to the Middle East to confer with our enemies. He returned with the announcement, "Peace in our time." OK, that was Neville Chamberlain. What Carter said was, "Hamas indicated... that if Israel is willing to have a mutual ceasefire and a renunciation of violence in Gaza and in the West Bank, they will accept it, and as a first step they would even accept just limiting that to Gaza."

That's not substantially different from what Chamberlain said. Chamberlain just said it better. However, Chamberlain was the head of government and could talk to a potential enemy (England and Germany were not yet at war.) Carter, on the other hand, despite his addled desires, is no longer the head of a government and the US has a law called the Logan Act that makes private citizen diplomacy a federal crime. We ought to use the Act once in awhile.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The McCain Mutiny

Captain Queeg: "Ahh, but the strawberries that's... that's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with... geometric logic..." that global warming does exist.

Investor's Business Daily
Michael Ramirez

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Great Tits Adjust to British Warmth

The bird, for heavens sake! Parus major.

Ornithologists have found that great tits in England are laying eggs earlier in the spring than previous years, keeping up with their favored food. The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) caterpillars make up 90% of the chicks' diet for the first two weeks of life.

Great tits are laying eggs about two weeks earlier than in 1961. This is critical for survival because the winter moth larvae, caterpillar, is making its appearance two weeks earlier. The caterpillar stage of the winter moth is triggered by ambient temperature. Needing an abundant food source in the first two weeks, the birds have adjusted their breeding habits to coincide with the larval stage of the moth.

The researchers note that the same species of great tit in the Netherlands are not faring as well. Their breeding cycle is advancing, but not fast enough to keep pace with the caterpillars arrival which is advancing three times faster. The birds lay broods of eight to nine chicks each year. If the caterpillar's metamorphosis is too early, then the birds starve to death.

The research results show that some species are flexable to change and individuals within that species may not be behaviorially flexable. The researchers said they want " try and understand why some species are flexible and others aren't - it's the ones that aren't flexible that are going to be at risk."

And they leave us with one very important observation: this is not evolution.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Three Little Pigs Really Only One Pig

Shawn Forgaard, a California software company project manager, bought ten homes, one for his family and nine as investments. In 2004, he started buying properties using $800,000 in stock options putting 10-40% down on negative amortization loans (payments don't cover the interest, balance increases over time.)

Now Forgaard has defaulted on nine of the properties, the banks will foreclose, forcing him into bankruptcy. He told Reuters, "Everyone stumbles. I'm not going to hide or run or live in denial, or with regrets. On the surface it looks like total devastation, but it's just the opposite. I'm confident our lives will be much, much richer as a result."

That's all very well and good. But, who is going to pick up the tab for your stumble Mr. Forgaard? Who is going to pick up the tab for all the other real estate investors who bought into multiple properties for which they couldn't pay, subsequently stumbling? How many of the foreclosed properties belong to the same borrower?

Nearly everyday, we are told about the zillions of homes in foreclosure and the families about to be thrown out on the street. Last January, RealtyTrac reported 153,745 foreclosure postings. That's a lot.

Nearly 250,000 California properties were in some stage of foreclosure in 2007. One in 52 residential units are involved, that's 1.9%of homes. It's worse in Nevada where 1 in 30 homes, 3.4%, are in the foreclosure range.

As alarming as the figures are, not everything is disclosed in the numbers. We have been led to believe that each foreclosed property equals one family. During the real estate boom, many people like Shawn Forgaard, entered the market as investors and purchased multiple properties. Now those properties are in foreclosure. How many Shawn Forgaards are out there?

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

FBI: Al-Qaida Groups in US

FBI Director Robert Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee recently that the Bureau has uncovered al-Qaida terror cells in the United States. For security reasons, he did not elaborate in open session. The FBI has been developing intelligence gathering capabilities in the US with cooperation from the Muslim, Arab, and Sikh communities.

"As to your first question as to whether we have found affiliates or, as you would call them, cells of Al Qaida in the United States, yes, we have. Again, I cannot get into it in public session, but I would say yes, we have."

"And every opportunity I have, I reaffirm the fact that 99.9 percent of Muslim-Americans or Sikh-Americans, Arab-Americans are every bit as patriotic as anybody else in this room, and that many of our cases are a result of the cooperation from the Muslim community in the United States," Mueller said.
In a rare public statement in London, Mueller said in early April that al-Qaida could be defeated. Al-Qaida presents a three-tiered threat and it's his belief AQ can be beaten within three and half years.

The top tier was the core of the organisation which had established new sanctuaries in Pakistan's tribal areas.

The middle tier was the most complex, consisting of small, self-directed groups like the London bombers of 7/7 who had some ties to al-Qaeda's leadership.

The bottom tier, said Mr Mueller, was made up of homegrown extremists who met on the internet instead of in foreign training camps.
The key to countering the threats, Mueller believes, is human intelligence sources, wiretaps, and international coordination. Most of the terror cases the FBI works originated with intel from foreign sources, especially Britain. The FBI meets with their British counterparts face to face more than 20 times a week for tea and to compare notes.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.