Wednesday, January 30

Aww mothers with instincts

They know everything about parenting and their mothers
are not there to help.
Maternal instinct in humans? I have my doubts.

Monday, January 28

Kiss nightclub fire: Brazil is mourning

Most Brazilians are in shock with the death of 232 people in the Kiss Nightclub. It's absurd that the cause of death is asphyxiation.
I'll update later.

When I was a teenager two tragedies had a huge impact on me. The Andreas building fire in 1971 and in 1974 the Joelma fire.
For a period of time before going to sleep I kept thinking how would I escape the building in case if fire.

There has been tragedies like the one in Santa Maria in other cities of the world. I hope that the death of these students brings security measures in nightclubs.

We live in a world where security is related to
US defense: attacking Iraq and other measures were to defeat the axis of evil; arresting US citizens and other strange measures that has little to do with real threat.
human beings x human beings: your neighbor that smokes; immigrants that are taking your jobs; your neighbor's gun...

The real problems are taken seriously after killing many.

You in my shoes?

Image :Anonymous.

Sunday, January 27

245 deaths in Brazilian Nightclub: owner and security responsible

The main cause of death was asphyxiation because security thugs didn't open the emergency exit.They wanted to prevent people escaping without paying
According to the law emergency doors must never be locked.
The pyrotechnical show that caused the fire was not rehearsed and there was no professional with skills to work with a risky situation.

We are mourning and we demand investigations. We also demand that the laws of security must be always taken seriously in all the Brazilian states because we are tired of tragedies like this one that happens from time to time because of a traditional disrespect for the human life due to numerous factors.
Some safety standards are ot taken seriously
There were students who had 80* of their body fired.

Image: GloboNewfactirs.

My deviantArt account

I finally started uploading some of my stuffs to deviantArt.
I just want to have a place to have these attempts together.
Click to watch full-screen.

Monday, January 21

Marge Simpson in Playboy Magazine

We love when Marge wears a new dress and I'm sure that most of the Simpsons fans
remember the episode, it was in 1989, where she bought the pink channel suit she
resewed to go to the Country Club.
Marge was at Playboy cover in 2009 and the news was all over the media.
She was the only cartoon character in Playboy's history.
These two pictures are from the magazine.

Friday, January 18

Émile Durkheim' Four types of suicide

I was discussing somewhere about suicide and someone said that "Only mentally ills commit suicide." which is a strange argument for me.
To my surprised when we search for suicide the psychiatric bible is the definition that is everywhere. I also searched in French and Portuguese and the articles are all the same.
The American Psychiatric Association - APA - is responsible for the definition of suicide.

Those Indian farmers, nearly 200.000, Vandana Shiva reported that committed suicide due to the "policies of trade liberalization and corporate globalization" will have to find a label.
I did read some articles and found a lot of problems and confusion when  the biological explanation for suicide is the only posibility.

But I remembered about Emile Durkheim and his study about suicide that I did read a long time ago.
Published in 1897, more than a century ago, The Suicide is still being printed in numerous languages.

The Four types of Suicide
1. Egoistic Suicide. This is the type of suicide that occurs where the degree of social integration is low, and there is a sense of meaningless among individuals. In traditional societies, with mechanical solidarity, this is not likely to be the cause of suicide. There the strong collective consciousness gives people a broad sense of meaning to their lives. Within modern society, the weaker collective consciousness means that people may not see the same meaning in their lives, and unrestrained pursuit of individual interests may lead to strong dissatisfaction. One of the results of this can be suicide. Individuals who are strongly integrated into a family structure, a religious group, or some other type of integrative group are less likely to encounter these problems, and that explains the lower suicide rates among them.

The factors leading to egoistic suicide can be social currents such as depression and disillusionment. For Durkheim, these are social forces or social facts, even though it is the depressed or melancholy individual who takes his or her life voluntarily. "Actors are never free of the force of the collectivity: 'However individualized a man may be, there is always something collective remaining – the very depression and melancholy resulting from this same exaggerated individualism.'" Also, on p. 214 of Suicide, Durkheim says "Thence are formed currents of depression and disillusionment emanating from no particular individual but expressing society's state of disillusionment." Durkheim notes that "the bond attaching man to life relaxes because that attaching him to society is itself slack. ... The individual yields to the slightest shock of circumstance because the state of society has made him a ready prey to suicide." (Suicide, pp. 214-215).

2. Altruistic Suicide. This is the type of suicide that occurs when integration is too great, the collective consciousness too strong, and the "individual is forced into committing suicide." (Ritzer, p. 91). Integration may not be the direct cause of suicide here, but the social currents that go along with this very high degree of integration can lead to this. The followers of Jim Jones of the People’s Temple or the members of the Solar Temple are an example of this, as are ritual suicides in Japan. Ritzer notes that some may "feel it is their duty" to commit suicide. (p. 91). Examples in primitive society cited by Durkheim are suicides of those who are old and sick, suicides of women following the death of their husband, and suicides of followers after the death of a chief. According to Durkheim this type of suicide may actually "springs from hope, for it depends on the belief in beautiful perspectives beyond this life."

3. Anomic Suicide. Anomie or anomy come from the Greek meaning lawlessness. Nomos means usage, custom, or law and nemein means to distribute. Anomy thus is social instability resulting from breakdown of standards and values

This is a type of suicide related to too low a degree of regulation, or external constraint on people. As with the anomic division of labour, this can occur when the normal form of the division of labour is disrupted, and "the collectivity is temporarily incapable of exercising its authority over individuals." (Ritzer, p. 92). This can occur either during periods associated with economic depression (stock market crash of the 1930s) or over-rapid economic expansion. New situations with few norms, the regulative effect of structures is weakened, and the individual may feel rootless. In this situation, an individual may be subject to anomic social currents.

4. Fatalistic Suicide. When regulation is too strong, Durkheim considers the possibility that "persons with futures pitilessly blocked and passions violently choked by oppressive discipline" may see no way out. The individual sees no possible manner in which their lives can be improved, and when in a state of melancholy, may be subject to social currents of fatalistic suicide. (read this good review here)

I don't think that this is the explanation that must be used for everything. The big problem is having only one branch of human  sciences  explaining everything related to human beings and this is what is being done for two decades. The consequences are evil.

A bathroom is not a bathroom, is not a bathroom, is not a bathroom

This is a photography by CEA and it's title is Coming Home.
It dazzles me in two ways: I look at each detail and think about the person who did it with care choosing the fabrics and creating the room piece by piece.
Then I look at the bathroom but it loses it's function and become a place of poetic appeal. I ask myself who lives there, the tiles... my mind keeps going.

Tuesday, January 15

Jonathan James: 24 years-old hacker committed suicide in 2008 after being prosecuted

We are still mourning Aaron Swartz and many people are trying to understand what led a brilliant man to take his life.
What I could not imagine is that five years ago Jonathan  James,  the hacker who invaded NASA, also committed suicide after being prosecuted by the same attorney Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann, who works in the office of Carmen Ortiz.

In his suicide note Jonathan says:

"I have no faith in the 'justice' system. Perhaps my actions today, and this letter, will send a stronger message to the public. Either way, I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control. [...] sitting in jail for 20, 10, or even 5 years for a crime I didn't commit is not me winning. I die free."

This is an interview he did for Frontline:

What is it about the computer that makes it become such an obsession for young guys?

Well, it's power at your fingertips. You can control all these computers from the government, from the military, from large corporations. And if you know what you're doing, you can travel through the internet at your will, with no restrictions. That's power; it's a power trip.

Why is that so important?

Well, everybody likes to feel in control.

In my time, they did it by playing hockey or football. How does the computer compare?

It's intellectual. It stimulates my mind. It's a challenge.

How hard was it for you to get into some blue-chip locations?

The government didn't take too many measures for security on most of their computers. They lack some serious computer security, and the hard part is learning it. I know Unix and C like the back of my hand, because I studied all these books, and I was on the computer for so long. But the hard part isn't getting in. It's learning to know what it is that you're doing.

And how do you learn that?

Oh, by reading, by talking to people. And by spending so much time on the computer, learning how it works, learning the source code and the programs and the commands.

I gather that there's quite a network of hackers out there. Do you guys share information and secrets over the internet?

Of course.

If someone told me that a 16-year-old could crack into NASA or into the U.S. Department of Defense, I'd say, "Sure. In the movies, maybe." How long did it take you to do that?

I was learning about computers and Unix and programming for two years. I was learning how to program in C for about a year. If I were targeting a computer, it would take between a few hours to a few weeks of looking around to find the way.

So is it just the rush of getting in there, of doing something smarter than they do? Or did you find anything there that was of interest to you?

Generally, the thrill is over once you've realized that you're on the computer and that you can do whatever you want--but it's not downloading their information, because usually it's pointless, bureaucratic stuff you don't need to know. . . .

When you start out, you sort of poke at various cyberfences and walls. You're just looking for the soft spots. You don't target a place because it's got something that you want--it's just that it's a challenge?

I would target a place because it looks like a challenge. Like, if I say, "The navy has a computer network in Jacksonville, maybe that would be fun to poke around." And then I'd target them. I'd look at their computers and I'd see what I can do there.

That doesn't sound like mischief. Sometimes I think you guys are like the graffiti spraypainters.

Not at all. Well, first of all, I was just looking around, playing around. What was fun for me was a challenge to see what I could pull off. But then there's other people that go into corporate web sites, government web sites, and change it. That's closer to what you're talking about-- that's mischievous. But I didn't do stuff like that.

You could have, though.

Oh, yes. I could have gotten a lot of recognition. . . .

A lot of attention was given to the fact that you downloaded software relating to the international space station. Could you have done anything with that?

No. It was for the environmental control program. Who wants that-- you can play with the air conditioner, or what? . . . The code itself was crappy . . . certainly not worth $1.7 million like they claimed. The only reason I was downloading the source code in the first place was because I was studying C programming. And what better way to learn than reading software written by the government?

Was it a big shock to you that the government was using such inferior code for such important work?

Yes, but you get used to it. I'm not surprised anymore when I see the failures of the government.

When did you first suspect that they knew you were snooping around?

Well, I never knew that they would actually come to my house. That was a total shock to me. Sometimes I would get kicked off a computer. and I'd figure, "Oh, great, the admin figured something was up and re-installed the software, added a little security, and forgot about it, because they don't care that I'm here. They just fix it and move on," which is reasonable. Nothing happened to me in the weeks following, so, great. They realized that all it takes is five minutes at the keyboard and they can make a computer secure. And they didn't care. I would email the system administrators sometimes and tell them that their computers were vulnerable. I would tell them how to break in, and how to fix the problems. I'd give them advice, and they would never follow it. Three weeks later I would go in and I still had access to their computers.

Even after you told them that there's a hole in the fence?

Oh, more than that. I told them how to fix the hole in the fence, and they didn't respond, so I figured that they didn't care.

But meanwhile, they've got all the resources of the government out looking for this guy.

And they should have been spending those resources on computer security.

How did they catch you?

They haven't told me exactly how they caught me. They sealed the affidavit for the search warrant. They said it was sealed for national security or some BS reason, but from what I understood, they probably called one of my friends, who gave information about me. Then they came to my house. My mom woke me from bed and said that the FBI was at the door. It's kind of unnerving. . . . I walk out and I see everybody with vests that say Federal Agents and NASA and DOD on the back with guns and all that good stuff.

. . . Were you scared?

No, I was just wondering what was up, and then I saw that their shirt said NASA.

And they walked out with all your computers?

They took me into a room in the back and questioned me for a few hours. And I admitted everything that I did, and I said, "Yes, I'm sorry. I won't do it again." I told them how I did it, what I did. They told me not to do it again, and if I do it again, I'll leave in handcuffs, but for now, they don't consider me a criminal, and that I just shouldn't do it again. And then they told me that they're taking my computers for investigative reasons. They said they don't need to read me my Miranda rights because they're not making an arrest. They're just investigating,

So what did they take out of there?

They took five of my computers. I had a nice little network going. They took my Palm Pilot, my CDs, my "Star Trek" book.

Your "Star Trek" book?

My "Star Trek" book, yes. Don't ask me why.

And when did it get serious?

. . . I didn't hear from them for another three months. Then, three months later, they had a little meeting. I talked to the prosecuting attorney. They said they might press charges. He said that I might get probation . . . but that they were unsure of what they're going to do. Then, in July, over the summer, I was in Israel. And I got a phone call from my father, who said that they wanted to put me in jail for six months.

Let's think about it from the other side's point of view. They don't know that it's some nice guy from a nice neighborhood. . . . It could be a real bad guy in Baghdad, or wherever. What are they supposed to do when they find somebody snooping around inside their systems?

Well, first of all, they should be responsible enough to provide adequate security from the start. But once they find out that it's some harmless kid . . . I think the appropriate response would be perhaps to take my computers away like they did, and leave it at that. They could tell me that I can't use the internet for a while, to teach me a lesson, teach me that they actually do care about what I'm doing, and that I shouldn't do it again. But they shouldn't put the youth of America in jail.

How does the prospect of sitting in jail for six months affect you?

First of all--six months. While it's not as long as some other sentences, it's still a long time. And that's six months of me being surrounded by people that did these actual crimes, did bad things to other people, to humanity. And I'm surrounding myself with these people that are lower than myself. Not to sound arrogant, but they lack morals, and it would be degrading to my character . . . and I'm worried.

Are you trying to tell me that you don't think the crime you committed is on the same order? . . .

Not at all. This is just harmless exploration. It's not a violent act or a destructive act. It's nothing.

They say that, at one point, you took possession of $1.7 million worth of software, and that you made them shut down and spend weeks with 13 or 14 important government computers down. That sounds serious.

Well, I think the price of the software is irrelevant, because the government overpays for everything. But it was source code that wouldn't even compile. The computer people know what I'm talking about. It was source code that wouldn't even compile without the proper equipment, or maybe it was just bad coding, I don't know. But the only reason I downloaded it was for the sake of learning what it is that they're doing, how they program, their techniques.

And you learned basically that it was no good?

Yes. They did stupid, stupid things that an experienced programmer would know not to do. But as for claiming that the addition of computer security is damages? That demonstrates a serious lack of responsibility on the government's behalf. The failure to put adequate security up from the start, from as soon as they turn the computers on, is a lack of responsibility. And then they cover up their mistakes. They call it damages when a computer enthusiast such as myself demonstrates their ineptitude.

What did that teach you about the state of computer security, and about the ability of public authorities and government people to police the security of the computer systems out there?

I certainly learned that there's a serious lack of computer security. If there's a will, there's a way, and if a computer enthusiast such as myself was determined to get into anywhere, be it the Pentagon or Microsoft, it's been demonstrated that it's possible and they will do it. And there's next to nothing they can do about it, because there's people with skill out there, and they'll get what they want.

How would you assess the skill levels of the law enforcement people who eventually came knocking at your door?

Okay, they got lucky, because I didn't take any measures whatsoever to hide myself. I didn't cover my tracks at all, and had I done that, they would not have been able to catch me. If I wanted to, I could have hidden myself, but I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, so, why bother?

You could have escaped detection?

I could have.

You could have done a lot of damage?

If one was so inclined, you could have deleted files, or put a virus up or sell information to foreigners. You could perform a denial of service attack and cause the computers to stop performing. Someone could do any number of things that I did not do.

Could you have done those things?

I could have.

They couldn't have stopped you? And they couldn't have caught you?

No. They could not have caught me.

What are you going to do now? People of my generation would ask if you've learned your lesson.

I've learned my lesson. I shouldn't do stuff like that.

But it seems to me that the big lesson is just how vulnerable everybody is to this technology.

It's a lesson to us all.

What are you going to do about it? Are you going to try and fix it?

Yes, maybe I'll start a computer security company.

Read more about Jonathan story here.
He was under surveillance:

"In an eerie epilogue to James’ death, 10 days afterwards a family friend spotted two men messing with the hacker’s car; one of them was underneath the vehicle, his legs sticking out. The friend confronted them.

It was the Secret Service, Robert James says. “They took back the tracking device.”"

Read about Jonathan James a hacker that took his life after being prosecuted by the same Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann;

Sunday, January 13

Steve Lambert's Drawings for 3 Rooms in Your Home

"I work too hard on this stuff. Simply paying for it and hanging it on a wall is too easy. I don’t want anything I do becoming another inanimate object that decorates someone’s home. I want more. I want ramifications!

So I came up with this. This feels more like a real transaction. Yes, you get to own something I made, but you also accept some responsibility. Put this on your wall and you have to be more honest as a result. It’s more than just an image, it becomes a point of interaction with everyone who comes into your home. It’s simple ink on paper, but wherever it hangs, there’re social implications.

It’s not for everyone."
Steve Lambert

It is fair, isn't it? You can buy them here.

I discovered Steve Lambert today and I'm loving his work. Visit  his site and be sure I'll make another post about him.

Saturday, January 12

R.I.P. Aaron Swartz and thank you for your accomplishments

Aaron Swartz died yesterday. I'm having difficulty in finding a way to talk about it because he committed suicide and people start discussing about suicide usually condemning because "where there is life there's hope, and if he was depressed he should have done this or that"... Suicide is part of human condition. Period.

The other reason is the trial he was facing and some people are saying that he took his life because "he was afraid of the sentence blah, blah. blah".
I don't understand some people. Seriously.
I'm visiting the sites of those who were close to Aaron and talk about him.

"Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so."
Cory Doctorow in the great post about his friend

"Aaron had literally done nothing in his life “to make money.” He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if  you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you"

Lawrence Lessig at this post.

Cory also wrote about one of Aaron's project a "next-generation electioneering tool that could be used by committed, passionate candidates who didn't want to end up beholden to monied interests and power-brokers."

In September 17, 2012 Aaron wrote at his blog "Cherish Mistakes" and this is the quotation I've chosen for now:

"Mistakes are our friend. They can be an exasperating friend sometimes, the kind whose antics embarrass and annoy, but their heart is in the right place: they want to help. It’s a bad idea to ignore our friends."
Aaron Swartz

Update: January, 14

Aaron's family released a public statement last Saturday where they claim that MIT is partially responsible for his suicide. This is the entire statement:

"Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.
Aaron’s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable—these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We’re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.

Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He
was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.

Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.
Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost."

Read about Jonathan James a hacker who also took his life after being prosecuted by the same Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.
There is something very strange in this stories.

Friday, January 11

What to blog?

I believe that most bloggers have second thoughts during some activities:
"Is it blog material?"
I just hope nobody ends a friendship: "You know... the truth is you're not blogworthy. Sorry."

Image: kagoumaruwolf.

Wednesday, January 9

Ashley Smith: commits suicide under police surveillance

I just visited Mark's blog and his last post is about the story of Ashley Smith a 19 years old girl who has spent five years incarcerated.

crime: throwing an apple at a postman
sentence: 30 day spread to 4 years

Update: January, 10
"Please don't taser me. I'm scared!"

This post was at my draft collection and only yesterday I decided to publish.
The images are shocking but... they are at a mainstream media channel.
It means that we can expose it and also discuss about the case.

Unfortunately this is not an exceptional case. It happens all over the world mostly in prisons and mental institutions.
She was a teenager and was going through her rebellious period. She needed to be understood but was sentenced and tortured by  people whose work is torturing people forgetting they're dealing with human beings.

They destroyed Ashley's body, soul and mind. That's what they are taught to do.
Useless to cry over this "story":  that's the work of the media: using cases not to raise awareness about these crimes but to make people believe it is an exception.

No. It is not exception.
R.I.P. Ashley Smith

Sunday, January 6

The Simpsons by Matt Groening

I was going to post Marge Simpson but came across with this .gif animated. I loved it! I'm a huge fan of The Simpsons and I've been watching it daily.
I'm always amazed by the creativity and quality of each episode.
I have to watch from the beginning because the couch gags of the opening credits are extremely good.  I love when they depict or make references to masterpieces.

Some people say that it is a series for adults but I believe it is for the whole family. It's rare to unite humor and all the elements The Simpsons do. I want to congratulate Matt Groening for this achievement.