27 December 2006

How To: Disable Your Passport's RFID Chip

"All passports issued by the US State Department after January 1 will have always-on radio frequency identification chips, making it easy for officials – and hackers – to grab your personal stats. Getting paranoid about strangers slurping up your identity? Here’s what you can do about it. But be careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison. Not to mention the “special” customs search, with rubber gloves. Bon voyage!
1) RFID-tagged passports have a distinctive logo on the front cover; the chip is embedded in the back.

2) Sorry, “accidentally” leaving your passport in the jeans you just put in the washer won’t work. You’re more likely to ruin the passport itself than the chip.

3) Forget about nuking it in the microwave – the chip could burst into flames, leaving telltale scorch marks. Besides, have you ever smelled burnt passport?

4) The best approach? Hammer time. Hitting the chip with a blunt, hard object should disable it. A nonworking RFID doesn’t invalidate the passport, so you can still use it.

– Jenna Wortham"

hmmmm, interesting...
I'll have to think about that a bit more.

Apple ‘iPhone’ could disrupt mobile service distribution channel

Apple ‘iPhone’ could disrupt mobile service distribution channel

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 - 10:32 AM EST

"New hardware isn't the only way Apple can shake things up in the mobile industry. The company has the ability to disrupt the entire distribution channel, which is currently controlled by cellular service providers," Daniel Eran writes for RoughlyDrafted.

"The control maintained by service providers has slowed the advance of hardware features and the emergence of new competition for service," Eran writes.

"Apple's position as a hardware maker with retail stores and software expertise allows it opportunities unrivaled by other phone makers like Motorola, software middleware providers such as Microsoft, and services providers that simply resell subsidized phones in an effort to sell minutes," Eran writes. "In 2007, Apple has the capacity to flip the entire mobile world on its head, with the same quiet speed it has used to reinvent itself as a specialized Intel PC maker. It will be fun to watch."

Eran explains how, once again, Apple could be poised to disrupt the status quo in his full article in the above title. It's a thought provoking and insightful article.

22 December 2006

Der Spiegel Interview with Jimmy Carter

August 15, 2006
"The US and Israel Stand Alone"

Former US president Jimmy Carter speaks with DER SPIEGEL about the danger posed to American values by George W. Bush, the difficult situation in the Middle East and Cuba's ailing Fidel Castro.

Former US president Jimmy Carter: "I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon."

SPIEGEL: Mr. Carter, in your new book you write that only the American people can ensure that the US government returns to the country's old moral principles. Are you suggesting that the current US administration of George W. Bush of acting immorally?
Carter: There's no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unpressured departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

SPIEGEL: For example?

Carter: Under all of its predecessors there was a commitment to peace instead of preemptive war. Our country always had a policy of not going to war unless our own security was directly threatened and now we have a new policy of going to war on a preemptive basis. Another very serious departure from past policies is the separation of church and state, which I describe in the book. This has been a policy since the time of Thomas Jefferson and my own religious beliefs are compatible with this. The other principle that I described in the book is basic justice. We've never had an administration before that so overtly and clearly and consistently passed tax reform bills that were uniquely targeted to benefit the richest people in our country at the expense or the detriment of the working families of America.

SPIEGEL: You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

Carter: No, as a matter of fact, the concerns I exposed have gotten even worse now with the United States supporting and encouraging Israel in its unjustified attack on Lebanon.

SPIEGEL: But wasn't Israel the first to get attacked?

Carter: I don't think that Israel has any legal or moral justification for their massive bombing of the entire nation of Lebanon. What happened is that Israel is holding almost 10,000 prisoners, so when the militants in Lebanon or in Gaza take one or two soldiers, Israel looks upon this as a justification for an attack on the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza. I do not think that's justified, no.

SPIEGEL: Do you think the United States is still an important factor in securing a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis?

Carter: Yes, as a matter of fact as you know ever since Israel has been a nation the United States has provided the leadership. Every president down to the ages has done this in a fairly balanced way, including George Bush senior, Gerald Ford, and others including myself and Bill Clinton. This administration has not attempted at all in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians.

SPIEGEL: What makes you personally so optimistic about the effectiveness of diplomacy? You are, so to speak, the father of Camp David negotiations.
Carter: When I became president we had had four terrible wars between the Arabs and Israelis (behind us). And I under great difficulty, particularly because Menachim Begin was elected, decided to try negotiation and it worked and we have a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt for 27 years that has never been violated. You never can be certain in advance that negotiations on difficult circumstances will be successful, but you can be certain in advance if you don't negotiate that your problem is going to continue and maybe even get worse.

SPIEGEL: But negotiations failed to prevent the burning of Beirut and bombardment of Haifa.

Carter: I'm distressed. But I think that the proposals that have been made in the last few days by the (Lebanese) Prime Minister (Fuoad) Siniora are quite reasonable. And I think they should declare an immediate cease-fire on both sides, Hezbollah said they would comply, I hope Israel will comply, and then do the long, slow, tedious negotiation that is necessary to stabilize the northern border of Israel completely. There has to be some exchange of prisoners. There have been successful exchanges of prisoners between Israel and the Palestinians in the past and that's something that can be done right now.

SPIEGEL: Should there be an international peacekeeping force along the Lebanese-Israeli border?

Carter: Yes.

SPIEGEL: And can you imagine Germans soldiers taking part?

Carter: Yes, I can imagine Germans taking part.

SPIEGEL: ... even with their history?

Carter: Yes. That would be certainly satisfactory to me personally, and I think most people believe that enough time has passed so that historical facts can be ignored.

SPIEGEL: One main points of your book is the rather strange coalition between Christian fundamentalists and the Republican Party. How can such a coalition of the pious lead to moral catastrophes like the Iraqi prison scandal in Abu Ghraib and torture in Guantanamo?

Carter: The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases -- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world -- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them -- which is also a radical departure from past history. So these are the kinds of things that cause me concern. And, of course, fundamentalists don't believe they can make mistakes, so when we permit the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, it's just impossible for a fundamentalist to admit that a mistake was made...

Read the reast of the interview at the link above.

21 December 2006

Dear Supporter of Israel,

Jimmy Carter Attacks Israel -- Help TIP fight back

Jimmy Carter uses the media to attack Israel with distortions and half-truths.

Your generous donation allows The Israel Project to provide facts to the media and the world about Israel. Education works! Please give now.

Dear Supporter of Israel,

As you probably know, former President Jimmy Carter is back on the talk-show circuit demonizing Israel in pursuit of "peace". Here's what he's been saying:

Israel is the primary obstacle to peace in the region
UN Resolution 242 demands that Israel return to Palestinians all land up to the 1967 borders
The West Bank is Palestine
Israel is an apartheid state
The PLO has never advocated the annihilation of Israel
Voices from Israel dominate in the U.S. media
Israel is responsible for the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land
How Carter's Comments Hurt Israel

With Iran's President holding an international conference this week to deny the Holocaust, funding Hezbollah and Hamas' attacks on Israel, and developing nuclear weapons to "wipe Israel off the map", Israel needs positive world public opinion to defend itself. Comments like Carter's help de-legitimize the State of Israel by making it look like a stubborn obstacle to peace without an legal basis for taking defensive action against terrorists.

Former President Carter is weakening Israel in the eyes of Americans and peace-loving people worldwide.

Help TIP fight these inaccuracies and distortions with facts by supporting our work at http://www.theisraelproject.org/donate.

Instead of complaining about comments like Carter’s, The Israel Project (TIP) takes the initiative to:

Research facts and information and email them to 15,000 journalists worldwide every week
Host press conferences with Israeli spokespeople to help journalists learn first-hand of Israeli government positions
Provide access for journalists to Israeli sources for interviews
Fly journalists in helicopters over Israel to view Israel’s tiny size and enormous security threats with their own eyes
Click here to support our work: http://www.theisraelproject.org/donate.

Our staff is efficient, but educating the media before they write their stories costs money:

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Please send your contribution of $250, $180, $100, $60, $36 or even $18 TODAY to help us fight anti-Israel propaganda in the media at http://www.theisraelproject.org/donate. Help us educate the press and the world – before Jimmy Carter gets to them.


Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Founder and President
The Israel Project

P.S. We can’t stand idly by while people like President Carter spread inaccuracies and half-truths about Israel. Give a generous tax-deductible gift today at http://www.theisraelproject.org/donate. Israel and our global Jewish family need you!