Concerns about consumer privacy have led to unique ways to slow down the adoption and reach of RFID chips. RSA Security is working on "blocker chips" that you are wearable and will block transmissions back to the mother ship.


Chef Laurent Manrique has enjoyed amazing success in his adopted homeland. His San Francisco restaurant Aqua is considered one the finest in America, and he planned to open another high-end eatery in Sonoma. In addition to chicken, beef, and duck, the restaurant serves the French delicacy foie gras. This has some animal rights terrorists up in arms. They severely damaged the planned location of the restaurant, a historical site, in the latest in a string of disturbing incidents.

The attacks began last month when vandals sprayed red paint on Manrique's Mill Valley home and on the Santa Rosa home of Didier Jaubert, a partner in the foie gras venture. Attackers also put acid-based etching foam on their cars and windows, and glued shut locks and garage doors. The Bite Back Web magazine says that etched on Manrique's car windows was "foie gras is animal torture" and "murderer."
A sacred Buddha statue in Manrique's yard was also damaged. Manrique …is a practicing Buddhist.
The perpetrators left a videotape, which Manrique said was shot from his garden and showed his family relaxing inside their home. It was accompanied by a letter warning that they were being watched.

Laurent Manrique’s experience isn’t unique with radical groups seemingly reacquainting themselves with terror as a tool. Yesterday Chiron, a Bay Area biotech company that contracts with a company that uses animals for research, was the target of two bombs. A warning email sent the day before from animal rights groups, and a string of related threats against company executives at home, points in a familiar direction. Shortly after the blasts the Animal Liberation Brigade claimed responsibility and warned, "You might be able to protect your buildings, but can you protect the homes of every employee?" Earlier this month a $50 million arson attack on a real-estate development in San Diego and a similar-styled attack on a Hummer dealership, has led many to question whether these tactics help or hinder the causes they purportedly support. People wonder, how far is this going?
One more music critic coming to terms with Andrew W.K.
Are you a neocon? Take this quiz and find out.


As thanks for liberating their country an Iraqi couple has named their 6-week-old baby boy George Bush. Now that's winning their hearts and minds!


"We have discovered nothing new in art in 17,000 years."- Picasso, on visiting the caves of Lascaux.

What makes man “modern”? This is a question that’s sent much of science on a search for the dawn of modernity. A question explored by Randal White of New York University in his book "Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind".

The discussion about the emergence of modern humans has been going on for close to 100 years, and early in the debate criteria were proposed that might indicate "modern" behavior…(The) suggested hallmarks of modernity included toolmaking, the development of trade and social organization -- and the creation of art.

And it’s art that’s the most vexing. We hardly agree what art is now, let alone what constitutes art from eons past. Artistic discoveries garner more attention than all the other types of archeological finds, which clearly speaks to our fascination with the higher aspirations of mankind. What does our understanding of “representational systems" tell us about our break from Neanderthals?

Many of the techniques of “art” were familiar to ancient man:
"All of the major representational techniques were known at least by the Magdalenian [Period, beginning about 18,000 years ago]; oil- and water-based polychrome painting, engraving, bas-relief sculpture, sculpture in the round, charcoal and manganese crayon drawing, molded clay, fired ceramic figurines, shading, perspective drawing, false relief, brush painting, stamping and stenciling. The Grotte Chauvet even contains the image of a bison colored by dots of paint applied by hand, a technique that White describes as "pointillism -- 300 centuries before Seurat."

But is it Art? It is necessary, cautions White, that "we get away from the 19th- and 20th-century notion that somehow art exists as a universal urge on the part of humans, independent of social, cultural and environmental factors." Much of what we look back on as art may have actually been tools of a different sort. Systems of communication, prayer, maps, ways of warding off spirits, ways of enforcing law.

Adding to the difficulty in assessing what role, if any, ancient art played, is the lack of “artistic” discoveries from places other than Central Europe. Due mostly because of science’s pre-occupation with all things European in the early part of this century, there are relatively few finds from Africa, Southern Asia, and the Middle East, the hotbeds of early human development and the wellspring of modernity. So what does the “art” of the past add to the story of ancient man? And does it offer clues to the path that we have headed down?
Nice article about the fall-out from the dot-com experiment. The main lessons:

• Being a Luddite is bad, but being a technophile can be worse.
• There is a difference between red tape and necessary procedures.
• They are more comfortable dealing with the outside world.
• Speed can connote efficiency as well as recklessness.
• Employee loyalty isn't an outdated concept.
• It is often easy to do more with less.
• The Internet may not be a great business model, but it is a great business tool.
• Managers must value elan and encourage optimism.


"Perhaps the most truly evil aspect of religious terrorism is that it aims at destroying moral distinctions themselves. Its goal is to confuse not only its sympathizers, but also those who aim to fight it’, so writes Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God; Why Militants Kill. The Harvard professor traveled around the world during the 5-year course of her study of violent, religious militants, hoping to decipher what causes people to kill for God. The analysis is remarkably clear sighted and insightful for such an esoteric topic and leads to some very useful conclusions. Perhaps most notably she differentiates between three types of religious-terror organizations. As described in the San Francisco Chronicle’s review:

The Saints of Christ, a violent American anti-abortionist movement, is an example of "leaderless resistance," a type of group whose actions are troublingly insusceptible to penetration or prevention because its members never meet to discuss specific plans, only the overall philosophy.

By contrast, Harkat ul Mujahideen, the Pakistani Islamist group that murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, operates more like a conventional army, with a centralized command-control structure and military training. Al Qaeda has achieved its devastating impact by combining decentralized infrastructure, composed of sleepers and freelancers, with a military-style hierarchy.

Fundamentalism comes across as a desperate, pathetic, violent effort to hold off the future and force change back into the Pandora’s box of globalization. Fueled by definable benefits the misplaced fervor can actually be used to understand, and destroy the terrorists. While America struggles to better understand its role in creating and fighting the disillusionment and dread that feeds violence it’s helpful to have an idea of what causes religious violence.