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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Presurfer Branches Out With Unusual Churches Compendium 

Those looking for a way to express their religious devotion have the internet to thank for a rise in the number of denominations available. There are plenty of prayer and worship sites to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, so if you can't get to church it will try to reach you. Other beliefs, like Budhism, Taoism and Hebrew sects, use the net to present their church's aims and philosophy. Even atheists and agnostics now have an international forum to present their case.

Presurfer, a magnificent daily dose of the quirky news by Gerard Vlemmings, has been running a sister blog called Unusual Churches about forms of worship on the internet. Here is what he has found so far:

Churches of People
First Church of Elvis the Divine
First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis
24 Hour Church of Elvis
First Church of Dan Aykroyd
Church of the SubGenius
Church of the Apathetic Agnostic
Church of Buffett, Orthodox
First Church of Tiger Woods
Church of Johnson
Church of the Beholder
Temple of George W. Bush
Church of God Anonymous
Church of Betty
Church of Tina Chopp
Church of Mary
Church of SpongeBob Squarepants
Church of Satan
First Satanglican Church of Wendall Corners
Church of NO MA'AM
Church of Ben

Churches of Food
Potato God Worship Center
Church of the Great Charismatic Pineapple
Church of the Avacado
Amsterdam Cannabis Ministry
Church of Our Lady of Malted Barley and Hops

Churches of Animals
Church of the Lambchop Almighty
Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua
Church of Gerbil
Church of the Swimming Elephant
First Church of Simba
Holy Church of Moo
Church of the Quivering Otter

Churches of the Future
Megachurch
Internet Church of God
Church of the Interactive Network
Holy Church of IP
Church of Now
Church of O
Church of Tetris
First Church of Pac-Man
Church of All Worlds
Church of the Almighty Dollar
Church of Stop Shopping
Church of the Universe
Church of Reality
First Electronic Church of America
First Church of Shatnerology
Church of Spock of Latter-Day Science Officers

Churches of Industry
Church of Craft
Church of Frag
Church of Virus
Church of Transport Tycoon
Church of Volkswagenism
Church of Monday Night Football
Church of the Profit$

Churches of Word
Church of Bullshitology
First Church of the Last Laugh
Church of Fear
Church of the Blinding White Light of Stupidity
Church of Zen Fatalism

Churches of Madness
Church of the Grey
Church of the Spiral Tree
Church of Mez (closed)
Abston Church of Christ
Church of the Heavenly Wood
Church of the Open Heart
Church of Magick
Church and School of Wicca
Church of Light
North Texas Church of Freethought
Church of Reason
Church of Body Modification
Eclectic Movement for Inri Cristo
Church of Gnostic Luminism
Church of the East
Church of Perfect Liberty
Church of Hed
Church of Saturday Night Live
Church of Darwin
Wiccan Church of Canada

Monday, October 27, 2003

SecurityFocus Relates Dismay at Utter Ignorance of Computing Public 

The Register interviews Scott Granneman, SecurityFocus, teacher of technology at Washington University and at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. The article is entitled, "Joe Average User is in Trouble", and Mr. Granneman immediately gets to the point. "Security is just not a concept that "normal" folks focus on. It's not even on the radar screen. It's just not thought about at all."

The average user has not attended to securing his dataport and so will answer in the negative these basic questions:
"Do you update your anti-virus software regularly?"
"Do you run Windows Update regularly?"
"Do you have personal firewall software running on your computer?"

SecurityFocus identifies as adding to the confusion Microsoft's manufacturing missteps like an unending stream of patches flowing from Redmond, Washington including patches that themselves are buggy, requiring further patches and updates to fix these patches. SecurityFocus recommends Microsoft desperately needs to improve the underlying security of their products and improve the way that its operating systems are updated and patched.

Microsoft will probably install patches and updates automatically, by default, to solve the problem of the millions of people who never run Windows Update. Microsoft recently purchased GeCAD, a small Romanian anti-virus software company, to harness the millions of people who never install or update anti-virus software. Microsoft bundled an extremely simplistic "Internet Connection Firewall" with Windows XP, but it is turned off by default and only blocks incoming traffic. Microsoft is making changes to the way attachments open in the corporate email program Outlook, but Microsoft has no plans to improve free Outlook Express any further.

Initial U.S. National Response Plan Issued September 30th 2003 

Condensed version of the United States Department of Homeland Security INITIAL NATIONAL RESPONSE PLAN
September 30, 2003 - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The purpose of a unified National Response Plan is to harmonize the operational processes, procedures, and protocols detailed in such documents as:
- the Federal Response Plan
- U.S. Government Interagency Domestic Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan
- Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan
- Mass Migration Emergency Plan (Distant Shore)
-National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan

The National Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC) is the primary national-level hub for operational communications and information pertaining to domestic incident management. Located at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters, the HSOC integrates and provides overall steady state threat monitoring and situational awareness for domestic incident management on a 24/7 basis.

1. In this capacity, the HSOC serves as the Secretary's primary point of coordination for the following activities:
a. maintaining domestic incident management operational situational awareness, including threat monitoring and initial incident information assessment;
b. facilitating homeland security information-sharing and operational coordination with other emergency operations centers at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels, as well as emergency operations centers managed by nongovernmental entities,
c. disseminating or coordinating the dissemination of homeland security threat warnings, advisory bulletins, and other information pertinent to national incident management;
d. providing general situational awareness and support to and acting upon requests for information generated by the Interagency Incident Management Group discussed in section IV.B. below; and
e. facilitating domestic incident awareness, prevention, deterrence, and response and recovery activities, as well as direction to DHS components.

2. The HSOC will coordinate its activities with the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the Terrorist Screening Center, and other Federal government mechanisms for terrorism-related threat analysis and warning.

3. To perform these functions, the HSOC will establish and maintain real-time communications links to other Federal emergency operations centers at the national level, as well as appropriate State, regional, and nongovernmental emergency operations centers and incident management officials and relevant elements of the private sector.

4. The HSOC comprises representatives from DHS and other Federal departments and agencies as required to support steady state threat-monitoring requirements, as well as domestic incident management activities (see Annex A).

5. DHS component entity operations centers established to support day-to-day operational activities and incident management responsibilities as defined in existing plans will continue to function in accordance with those plans. DHS component operations centers will establish and maintain direct connectivity, or capability for connectivity, with the HSOC on a 24/7 basis and will keep the HSOC apprised of all operational activities conducted in support of incident management requirements.

6. Nothing in this plan impacts or impedes the ability of other Federal departments and agencies to establish their own emergency operations centers and maintain a direct flow of information to these operations centers from government or private sector representatives at the local incident site.

7. Nothing in this plan impacts or impedes the ability of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to develop and disseminate FBI intelligence bulletins and threat warnings to law enforcement.

An Interagency Incident Management Group (IIMG) facilitates national-level domestic incident management and coordination.

1. The Secretary of Homeland Security is the principal Federal official for domestic incident management. Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Secretary is responsible for coordinating Federal operations within the United States to prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

The Secretary shall coordinate the Federal Government's resources utilized in response to or recovery from terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other emergencies if and when any one of the following four conditions applies:

(1) a Federal department or agency acting under its own authority has requested the assistance of the Secretary;
(2) the resources of State and local authorities are overwhelmed and Federal assistance has been requested by the appropriate State and local authorities;
(3) more than one Federal department or agency has become substantially involved in responding to the incident; or
(4) the Secretary has been directed to assume responsibility for managing the domestic incident by the President.

2. To facilitate national-level domestic incident management and coordination of Federal operations and resources when any of the criteria identified above is met or in anticipation thereof, the Secretary may activate a tailorable, task-organized headquarters-level Interagency Incident Management Group (IIMG) comprising senior representatives from 4
Initial National Response Plan DHS components and other Federal departments and agencies and nongovernmental organizations, as required, that is capable of:

a. serving as the focal point for Federal headquarters-level operational coordination of a domestic incident;
b. reviewing and validating threat assessments and making recommendations to the Secretary on actions to take in response to credible threats, including changes in the National Homeland Security Advisory System alert level;
c. synthesizing information and framing issues for the Secretary or other appropriate officials;
d. recommending priorities to the Secretary for the use or allocation of Federal resources in support of domestic incident management;
e. providing general oversight of the application of Federal resources in support of domestic incident management in coordination with existing agency and interagency resource management and private sector entities;
f. providing strategic situational awareness and decision support across the full spectrum of domestic incident management domains, to include awareness, prevention, protection, response, and recovery; and
g. anticipating evolving Federal resource and operational requirements according to the specifics of the situation at hand.

The IIMG replaces the Secretary of Homeland Security's Crisis Assessment Team.

The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security is responsible for interagency policy coordination regarding domestic incidents.

1. The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security is responsible for interagency policy coordination regarding domestic incident management, as directed by the President.

Following an initial assessment by the Secretary of Homeland Security, interagency policy issues framed by the IIMG, particularly those of a time-sensitive or high-level nature, will be considered for resolution by the Deputies and/or Principals Committees of the Homeland Security Council.

The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security will coordinate policy resolution with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs regarding domestic incidents with international implications, including those which may have been perpetrated, in part or whole, by international terrorist organizations or other foreign powers.

2. Nothing in this plan is intended to impact or impede the ability of any Federal department or agency head to take an issue of concern directly to the President, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or any other member of the President's staff.

A Principal Federal Official (PFO) may be appointed to represent the DHS Secretary at the incident.

1. When an incident meeting the criteria set forth in section IV.B.1. occurs, or in anticipation of an incident meeting this criteria, the Secretary may designate a Federal officer to serve as the PFO to act as his representative locally and oversee and coordinate Federal activities relevant to the incident.

The roles and responsibilities of the PFO include the following:

a. representing the Secretary of Homeland Security as the senior Federal official on scene to enable the Secretary to carry out his role as the principal Federal official for domestic incident management;
b. ensuring overall coordination of Federal domestic incident management activities and resource allocation on scene, ensuring the seamless integration of Federal incident management activities in support of State, local, and tribal requirements;
c. providing strategic guidance to Federal entities and facilitating interagency conflict resolution as necessary to enable timely Federal assistance to State, local, and tribal authorities;
d. serving as a primary, although not exclusive, point for Federal interface with State, local, and tribal government officials, the media, and the private sector for incident management; e. providing real-time incident information, through the support of the Federal incident management structure on scene, as detailed in the Federal Response Plan and other Federal incident management and emergency operations plans, to the Secretary of Homeland Security through the HSOC and the IIMG, as required; and
f. coordinating the overall Federal public communications strategy at the State, local, and tribal levels and clearing Federal interagency communications to the public regarding the incident.

2. Required Federal assets and resources will be requested and deployed consistent with the procedures identified in the Federal Response Plan, U.S. Government Domestic Counterterrorism Concept of Operations Plan, and other related plans. Using the protocols detailed therein, the PFO, as designated by the Secretary, will oversee the coordination of the deployment and application of Federal assets and resources in support of the on-scene incident commander.

The PFO will do this in coordination with other Federal officials identified in existing plans, such as the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge (SAC) on scene. The FCO, the FBI SAC, and other Federal incident management officials designated in existing plans will maintain their authorities and responsibilities as defined in the Federal Response Plan and other existing plans, statutes, and Presidential directives. Nothing in this document impacts or impedes the ability or the authorities of the FBI SAC or other designated Federal officials to carry out their duties under the law or to coordinate directly with their department or agency chain of command in the execution of these duties.

3. The PFO and supporting staff will be collocated with other Federal entities established to support incident management activities at the local level, including the Federal Joint Operations Center and the Disaster Field Office. Whenever possible, these entities will be collocated in a single facility, called the Joint Field Office (see section IV.E. below).

4. The Secretary of Homeland Security will publish a generic organizational structure and support requirements for the PFO cell in a separate document. Other Federal departments and agencies with representation on scene shall provide their full and prompt cooperation, resources, and support, as appropriate and consistent with applicable authorities, to the PFO cell in the fulfillment of the requirements identified by the Secretary.

5. The Secretary of Homeland Security will inform the Governor(s) of the affected State(s) and will announce the designation of the PFO via a message from the HSOC to other Federal, State, local and tribal emergency operations centers, as well as through an appropriate media event or press release as soon as practicable after incident notification. In certain scenarios, a PFO may be pre-designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security to facilitate domestic incident planning and coordination.

6. If the PFO cannot arrive at the incident site immediately, the Secretary may designate a Federal officer to serve as an initial PFO in an interim capacity until the PFO is in place. The initial PFO/PFO will have all the responsibilities listed above and may or may not be an employee of the Department of Homeland Security.

7. The PFO and a small staff component may deploy with the Domestic Emergency Support Team (DEST) to enhance situational awareness and facilitate their timely arrival on scene.

The PFO and supporting staff will conform to deployment timelines and other guidelines established in DEST procedures, including, but not limited to, those outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between DHS and DOJ/FBI regarding the DEST program. Nothing in this Initial NRP alters the existing DEST concept of operations or affects the mission of the DEST to support law enforcement operations at the scene of a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat or event.

Federal entities will be integrated into a Joint Field Office (JFO) whenever possible.

1. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal incident management activities, the operations of various Federal entities established at the local level should be collocated in a JFO.
When feasible, the JFO should incorporate existing entities, such as the Joint Operations Center, the Disaster Field Office, and other Federal offices and teams that provide support on scene.
When feasible, the JFO will be collocated with a State, county, or local emergency operations center. State, local, and tribal governments will be encouraged to be integral participants in the JFO to facilitate coordinated resource support to the incident commander(s).

2. The PFO will ensure that adequate connectivity is maintained between the JFO and:
-the HSOC;
-tribal, local, county, State, and regional EOCs;
-nongovernmental EOCs;
-and relevant elements of the private sector.

To the extent feasible, staffing of the JFO will include:
-representatives of State, local, and tribal first responder communities,
-as well as representatives of senior State, local, and tribal government
-and emergency management officials.

3. Detailed procedures governing the interaction and specific membership composition of the JFO will be included as part of the full NRP. The Secretary of Homeland Security will publish interim operating procedures for the JFO.

Requirements

A. Federal Departments and Agencies:
1. As required by HSPD-5, and consistent with section I.D. of this plan, provide cooperation, resources, and support to the Secretary of Homeland Security in the implementation of this Initial NRP;
2. Designate representatives to staff the HSOC (see Annex A) and IIMG (see Annex B) at the request of the Secretary of Homeland Security;
3. As required by HSPD-5, make initial revisions to existing incident management and emergency response plans under their purview, including individual agency continuity-of-operations plans, to reflect the structural and procedural guidance contained in this Initial NRP within 60 days of its approval by the Homeland Security Council. (All other aspects of current Federal incident management and emergency response plans shall remain operative, pending publication of the full NRP.); and
4. Report to the HSOC, according to procedures established by the Secretary of Homeland Security:
a. the initiation of a Federal department or agency plan or action to prevent, respond to, or recover from an incident for which a department or agency has responsibility under law or directive under the criteria established in HSPD-5;
b. the submission of requests for assistance to or receipt of a request from another Federal department or agency in the context of domestic incident under the criteria established in HSPD-5; and
c. the receipt of requests for assistance from State, local, or tribal governments; nongovernmental organizations; or the private sector.

B. Secretary of Homeland Security:

1. In coordination with other affected departments and agencies, develop and publish detailed operational procedures for the HSOC, IIMG, and JFO within 60 days of the approval of the Initial NRP;
2. In coordination with other affected departments and agencies, develop and publish a detailed organizational structure, operational procedures, and support requirements for a standard DHS PFO cell within 60 days of the approval of the Initial NRP; and
3. In coordination with other affected departments and agencies, develop and submit to the Homeland Security Council a plan for development and implementation of the full NRP concurrently with the submission of the Initial NRP.

C. State Governments: State governments and emergency management agencies are requested to report to the HSOC, according to procedures established by the Secretary of Homeland Security in coordination with State governments and emergency management agencies:
1. the activation of State emergency operations centers;
2. the announcement of emergency declarations made under State or local authority; and
3. the activation of State mutual-aid agreements or compacts in response to incidents resulting in emergency declarations or requiring Federal assistance. Additionally, State governments and emergency management agencies are requested to coordinate with the HSOC regarding appropriate procedures for establishing connectivity for domestic incident management purposes.

D. Regional Structures: All existing Federal regional structures will continue to execute incident management responsibilities as detailed in current Federal incident management and emergency response plans, in coordination with the PFO, HSOC, and IIMG.

ANNEX A Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC)

Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP)
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE)
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Department of the Interior (DOI)
Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Labor (DOL)
Department of State (DOS)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR)
Federal Protective Service (FPS)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP)
Office of National Capital Region Coordination (ONCRC)
Office of State and Local Coordination (S&L)
Public Affairs (PA)
Science and Technology (S&T)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
United States Secret Service (USSS)

ANNEX B Interagency Incident Management Group (IIMG)

Border and Transportation Security (BTS)
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS)
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP)
Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE)
Congressional Liaison Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR)
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Department of Commerce (DOC)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Energy (DOE)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Department of the Interior (DOI)
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Labor (DOL)
Department of State (DOS)
Department of Transportation (DOT)
Department of Treasury Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
General Services Administration (GSA)
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP)
International Affairs Office (IO)
Legislative Affairs (LA)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Office of General Council (OGC)
Office of National Capital Region Coordination (ONCRC)
Office of State and Local Coordination (S&L)
Public Affairs (PA)
Special Assistant to the Secretary for the Private Sector Science and Technology (S&T)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
United States Secret Service (USSS)
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

Sunday, October 26, 2003

InfoSpace to Sell Payment Solutions and Focus on Search Directory and Mobile Communications 

Internet giant InfoSpace, Inc. uses the warden-like slogan "Names. Numbers. Now. TM" and has powerful Internet properties that include Dogpile.com (www.dogpile.com), WebCrawler.com (www.webcrawler.com), InfoSpace.com (www.infospace.com) and MetaCrawler.com (www.metacrawler.com). Their unique metasearch technology searches the most popular engines and returns only the best results from each, including Google, FAST, Yahoo!, About, Ask Jeeves, FindWhat, LookSmart, and Inktomi.

The Bellevue, Washington company announced October 20th it is tightening its strategic focus to two businesses: InfoSpace Search & Directory and InfoSpace Mobile, and will jetison their InfoSpace Payment Solutions division and the network of 83,000 reseller partners and leading financial institutions, such as Wells Fargo. InfoSpace Payment Solutions lets merchants authorize, settle and manage electronic transactions through the IP-based payment gateway, Authorize.Net. The InfoSpace, Inc. mobile division was beefed up this week with the acquisition of Moviso from Vivendi Universal Net for $25 million in cash, adding mobile content such as ringtones, video, graphics and games.

InfoSpace also is interested in promoting their Dogpile site and the mascot Arfie, everyone's favorite Net Pet, and have initiated a publicity campaign featuring slogans such as "Search Doggie-Style." Greg Notess, an independent search engine expert, verified that Dogpile's metasearch can retrieve 50% or more additional results, and Dogpile is seeking to spread the word.

"We just started a campaign on and around five college campuses," Leslie Grandy, vice president of product management told internetnews.com. "We're looking to leverage the edginess of the brand name." The five schools initially selected for Dogpile advertising and their mascots are University of Washington (Harry the Husky), University of Georgia (Uga the Bulldog, now Hairy Dawg), Arizona State (Owls until 1922, Bulldogs until 1946, now Sparky the Sun Devil), Florida State (Seminole Tribe), and Ohio State University (Brutus Buckeye).

This is a list of the top results of 200 returned from the InfoSpace business directoryafter a query about Google:
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Googles Ice Cream Shop
2255 34th Street South
Saint Petersburg, FL 33711
Details 727-327-2774
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Google
895 Dove Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
map | driving directions
949-851-6565
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Google Inc
Palo Alto, CA 94301
650-330-0100
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Google Inc
11 Great Oaks Boulevard
San Jose, CA 95119
map | driving directions
408-363-0186
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Google Inc
1501 Salado Drive
Mountain View, CA 94043
map | driving directions
650-318-0200
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Google Inc
1501 Salado Drive
Mountain View, CA 94043
Details 650-930-3500
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Google
1200 Abernathy Rd Ne
Atlanta, GA 30328
Details 770-551-8170
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Google Inc
401 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Details 312-840-8285
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Google
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Details 617-948-2177
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Google
20 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Details 617-948-2670
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Google.Com
39555 Orchard Hill Place
Novi, MI 48375
Details 248-465-8626
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Google Inc
437 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Details 212-624-9600
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Google Inc
7990 Science Applications
Vienna, VA 22182
Details 703-448-0326
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Google Designs - Fun, Functional Childrens Wear
P.O. Box 236
Evansville, WI 53536
608-882-6575
cindy@googledesigns.com

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