URLs du Fear


Be afraid, be very afraid …

  • If you're not alarmed at the Storm botnet now, the Strategy Page will do its best to make you so.
    The most powerful Internet weapon on the planet is hiding in plain sight, and no one can do anything about it. At least not yet, or not that anyone is talking about. The weapon in question is the Storm botnet. This is the largest botnet ever seen, and it is acting like something out of a science fiction story. The Storm network is now believed capable to shutting down any military or commercial site on the planet. Or, Storm could cripple hundreds of related sites temporarily. Or, Storm could do some major damage in ways that have not yet been experienced. There's never been anything quite like Storm.
    There's plenty of blame to go around, but I'd like to extend special thanks to Microsoft for the OS design making this possible. (Via Geek Press.)

  • And if you're not scared by what might be going on with your computer, you might find this a bit disquieting:
    At the federal prosecutor's ffice in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity—say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.

    It would then be up to the junior prosecutors to figure out a plausible crime for which to indict him or her. The crimes were not usually rape, murder, or other crimes you'd see on Law & Order but rather the incredibly broad yet obscure crimes that populate the U.S. Code like a kind of jurisprudential minefield: Crimes like "false statements" (a felony, up to five years), "obstructing the mails" (five years), or "false pretenses on the high seas" (also five years). The trick and the skill lay in finding the more obscure offenses that fit the character of the celebrity and carried the toughest sentences. The, result, however, was inevitable: "prison time."

    Celebrities aren't particularly exceptional as lawbreakers. So the take-home point is: if federal prosecutors decide they don't like even non-celebrity you, it's a relatively simple beer-and-pretzels exercise for them to (at least) make your life miserable. Feel chills up and down your spine yet? (The link is to part one of a Slate series on "the laws we are allowed to break in America and why." It's pretty good so far.)

  • The most creepy of all creepiness is, I'm sure you'll agree, mission creep. Kip Esquire looks at the history of start-small Federal programs and draws an obvious lesson about SCHIP and its supporters:
    … to think that SCHIP will somehow be different, that it will forever avoid mission creep and could never expand even further into a "teaser rate" for socialized medicine, is either unforgivably naive or unforgivably disingenuous.

    Not that it makes much difference which.

  • I'm way too much of a scaredy-cat to go spelunking in the dark caverns of left-wing messageboards and comment threads at "progressive" sites. But Shawn Macomber is made of sterner stuff, and he made it back out alive with a masterful report of how America's Most Deranged reacted to the "right wing hate machine" attack on Air America's Randi Rhodes, which didn't, um, actually happen. After a hilarious quoting of some of the premier members of the reality-based community, Shawn observes:
    There is, however, something bigger going on here, encapsulated in the determination of Rhodes' fans, against all facts to the contrary, to hold-tight to the pipe dream of right-wing fanatics hiring Blackwater agents to beat her as she walked her dog: They so wish it were true. As with global warming alarmism, these sorts of messianic martyr fantasies about neo-Nazi conspirators aligned against liberals' salvation program for the masses are delusions designed to assure people clearly desperate for meaning in their lives that they are historically significant figures living in historically significant times. History, sadly, is not made within the virtual walls of online echo chambers.
    "Read the whole thing."

  • And there's always the space alien menace. I'm glad that a brave resident of Exeter, NH was able to raise this issue in a forum that resulted in national attention.

    [Unfortunately deleted at some point since 2007. Too bad, it was funny.]

    Frankly, I don't think this is being taken seriously enough, and it scares the bejeebus out of me.

  • America's Finest News Source reveals the results of a new poll that (unfortunately) confirms a long-standing Pun Salad theme:
    For a majority of likely voters, meaningless bullshit will be the most important factor in deciding who they will vote for in 2008.
    … aaaand here's the video:

    Yeah, that's scary.

Last Modified 2012-10-16 2:43 PM EDT