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FBI closes Ameritrax murder cases too quickly

An eminent and respected microbiologist analyzes the FBI investigation into the 2001 Ameritrax murders, and finds it should not have been closed before the National Academy of Sciences report, plus many other suspicious actions on the part of the Bureau. Worth your time to read, if you wonder what the Feebs are up to.


Make Ubuntu Linux look like XP, Win7

is a highly subversive web page.

You can't buy Windows XP at retail any more, yet not everyone is gung-ho about scrapping their functional machines and replacing them with brand new (the point of new versions of Windows, y'know; the new programs need the new OS which needs new hardware, so Microsoft gets lots of love from software developers and hardware manufacturers).

However, is this in the best interest of the consumer? Want to shell out for a new PC every three years?  Instead, you could learn Linux which runs much faster (as well as being much more secure and stable); but will Aunt Minnie want to?

If you're reading this blog, you're probably an early adopter, out on the bleeding edge of computing, but because of that you run the risk of being sucked into supporting your less-PC-saavy kin and friends; those folks want anything new to look like XP, yet could care less about what's under the hood.

Hence the link to http://ubuntu.online02.com/xpgnome which explains how to make Ubuntu Linux look like XP. Learn Linux and the WINE emulator which lets you run earlier versions of Office and quite a few other Windows programs (including, yes, indeed, World of Warcraft), and with XP GNOME you can keep older machines running well for years to come.


Prey protects your laptop (somewhat) from theft for free

http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1525&tag=nl.e101 shows you in a web video (transcript also available) how to configure a free program, Prey, to holler at you when your computer is stolen, then used on the web.  As a free service, which works for Windows, Linux and Mac, I can't see how anyone would not want to use Prey or something like it.  Now, Lojack for Laptops is a more robust service and would survive a wipe-and-reload (unlike Prey), but, well, it isn't free.

Prey needs either a service for you to alert the laptop is gone, or it can watch a web page; when that web page is missing, Prey assumes the laptop is stolen, and starts e-mailing to you. Being me, well, I prefer using both, and find google.com/sites to be a very good place to create a web page for each computer you want Prey to watch.

Firefound is another free tracker for laptops gone astray, but relies on Mister Perpetrator using Firefox; if he uses Chrome, Safari or IE, Firefound is silent.

And, a lagniappe: Prey now works with Android phones, too!


Why donating money, not goods, is essential to remote disaster operations

http://blogs.redcross.org.uk/emergencies/2010/01/help-not-hinder-haiti/ is an incredibly excellent explanation of why small penny-parcel lots of donated goods hinder, not help, relief efforts. If you have anything less than a semi-trailer full to donate, please consider donating it to a local charity where it can do the most good, instead of trying to send it overseas. There's even more good reasons why, but the blogger certainly provides enough for one day's thought.

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TSA training aid


Two centuries of warming leads to forest growth in northeastern states

Looks like the two centuries of warming that's documented in the US has also led to Northeastern US forest growth which is capturing carbon. Some like it hot, some like it cold, but Nature may just have a balancing mechanism to offset our recovery from The Little Ice Age.



Is there a secret Toyota Prius accelleration problem

UPDATE: A NY Times blog discusses Toyota's failure to document test procedure as a problem. Engineering and testing requires documenting _everything_.

Steve Wozniak, one of the most influential engineers of our time, has reported a problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius that Toyota denies. Anyone else experience this?

And, Transportation Secretary LaHood admits Toyota is a little 'safety-deaf' and resistant to the idea of, well, problems with their products.