Will Pat Robertson Be Extradited?

Christian radical Pat Robertson provoked outrage last week when he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The Bush administration, who seems to have close ties with Robertson has since been trying to distance itself from the TV evangelist by playing down the statement but has thus far, failed to renounce it publicly.

This lack of action by the US Federal government has prompted calls from Mr. Chávez for the extradition of Robertson to Venezuela, where he would be tried as a terrorist. The Rev. Jesse Jackson offered support for the for Venezuelan President on Sunday, saying a recent call for his assassination was a criminal act.

Chávez said:

His government would take legal action against Pat Robertson, stressing that “to call for the assassination of a head of state is an act of terrorism.”

Robertson is known for throwing out corrosive, Christian fundamentalist propoganda. For instance, in 2003, he earned the disdain of the State Department after suggesting:

“Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off … to shake things up” in US diplomacy.

In 2001, as America reeled from the September 11 attacks, Robertson got into trouble after agreeing with comments by Christian right sidekick Jerry Falwell that

“America’s tolerance for lesbians, gays and abortionists had drawn God’s wrath.”

Earlier this year, he angrily commented on the ABC News “This Week” show.:

“I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings”

Personally, I believe that he should be extradited. This is clearly a person that is out of control, and so blinded by the irrationalities of the religious right that he is beyond the sway of reasoned argument.

I’m also excited to see how Bush dances around this fire. Given his clear ties with Robertson, I have no doubt that he will be reluctant to act, however, should Chávez Formally seek extradition, Bush’s hand will be forced, and he will have to either defend Robertson or renounce him. Given Bush’s past allegiance to the Bin Laden family despite Osama’s acts of terrorism against the US, I have every reason to believe Bush will go to the end of the Earth to defend Robertson.

Thanks to Jon Emmons for pointing this story out to me >

Recovering From a Stuck Symantec Ghost Virtual Boot Partition

It seems that when you manage a bunch of machines with Symantec Ghost, you always end up with one or two that, for whatever reason, get stuck in the Ghost Virtual Boot Partition, and can’t boot back into windows. This can be really frustrating because you usually know what went wrong, and need to get back into Windows to fix the problem.

The good news is that setting the machine is really easy once you know how. I went through years of booting into DOS, and running fdisk from a floppy whenever this happened to me before I realized that fixing it is just a simple command that exists on the Ghost Virtual Partition.

Here is how it is done:

  • Stop Ghost and go to a DOS prompt:
  • If running the Ghost DOS client, NGctdos.exe, type Ctrl+X
  • If running the Ghost executable, Ghost.exe, type Ctrl+C
  • Change to the Ghost directory.
  • Type cd Ghost
  • Type ngctdos -hide


This last command hides the Ghost Boot Partition, makes the Windows partition active, and restarts the computer. You can then move on to fix the problem with minimal fuss, and get on with distributing the virus known as “Windows”.

Robertson and the Christian Right Crusade

I got this e-mail from Jim Dean at Democracy For America this morning, and while I usually hate to just republish content, I think this one is worth putting out there for more to see.

Not only has Robertson called for the assassination of the president of Venezuela, he has repeatedly prayed for vacancies in the Supreme Court, which pretty much amounts to him praying for the death of our most respected judges, since they are appointed for life terms. It looks like this guy is looking to start a neo-conservative crusade of Christian fundamentalists.

As far as I can tell, Pat Robertson is a terrorist!

From DFA:

The Bible tells us “thou shall not kill.” And we consider it a key value to live by. It’s a shame that Rev. Pat Robertson, self-appointed leader of America’s so-called Christian right, does not.

Robertson’s fatwah, calling for the assassination of the president of Venezuela — in the name of keeping access to a “huge pool of oil,” among other excuses — exposed the warped values of many religious radicals with the ear of the president of the United States.

From efforts to squelch the teaching of sound science in our schools, to the “Justice Sunday” rallies trying to impose religion on the courts, to the quixotic jihad against SpongeBob SquarePants, fundamentalist power grabs make the news and have a huge impact.

But they don’t have the teachings of any religion we know of — and they don’t have us. That’s why we’re sending Robertson a message: “Thou shall not kill.” Join your voice with ours, and we’ll print your name in Robertson’s local daily newspaper:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/robertson

Even Donald Rumsfeld — a man we hardly ever agree with — had the sense to play down the statement. “Certainly it’s against the law,” he told the press. “Our department doesn’t do that type of thing.”

But this calls for more than an offhand comment, because the allegiance that Republicans owe to Robertson and his Christian Coalition allies lets them influence the Bush agenda. Bush and company need to condemn Robertson’s outrageous statement.

Rather than wait on the White House though, we’ll set an example: we’ll reject Robertson ourselves. Join Americans across the land in telling Robertson it’s time he learned to love his neighbor as himself:

http://www.democracyforamerica.com/robertson

Your feedback — and your name — will go into an ad in the Virginian-Pilot, the Norfolk area’s leading newspaper. We’ll put you on record with thousands of Americans rightly — and righteously — angry that Robertson keeps twisting our values to serve his petty political agenda.

“I don’t want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore,” Howard Dean once told us. We don’t have to.

UPDATE: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez calls for Robertson’s extradition.

Fish Supposedly Washed Up By Asian Tsunami

Last December one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history (measuring 9 on the Richter Scale), struck just off Sumatra, Indonesia, in a fault line running deep under the water. The rupture caused massive tsunamis, that hurtled away from the epicenter, reaching shores as far away as Africa.

A few days after the disaster, a friend and fellow fishkeeper sent me an e-mail containing a number of images depicting strange, deep-water fish that were supposedly washed up by onto shore by the huge waves and cataloged by scientists.

Although these are, in fact, genuine images of some very strange deep-sea creatures, these photographs have nothing to do with the Indian Ocean tsunami. They date from mid-2003 and were taken by researchers on the NORFANZ voyage, a joint Australian-New Zealand research expedition conducted in May-June 2003 to explore deep sea habitats and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea. These photographs can be viewed on Australia’s National Oceans Office web site.

While I hate to see these creatures dragged up from the abyss, I am very much a “deep junky”, and take great delight in learning more about marine life from the murky depths. Mostly, it is for this reason that I have developed such a strong interest in both powered and unpowered DIY ROV technology.


Matt Writes Internet Deletion Script

Matt over at BorkWeb has cleverly written a script that will:

traverse the ENTIRE internet (regardless of security) and delete everything. We’re talking images, video, text documents, pdfs, security files, EVERYTHING. It took me a while to code, but I believe it will work.

Since I work in IT, I’m always laughing about the interesting way people put things. We’re always hearing questions phrased in ways that convey the point, but utterly fail to demonstrate a complete understanding of computing technology.

  • “I can’t log onto the Internet… Is the server down?”
  • “Can I download this Internet to my floppy disk?”
  • “How many megahertz is this hard disk drive?”
  • “Can I install the Internet onto this computer?”
  • “Could my computer be clogged up with too many files?”
  • And so on.

I really like Matt’s script, because it will give people yet another amusing thing to add to this list.

More Fun With DIY ROVs

Ever since I discovered the article about the $99 home made ROV, I’ve been all excited about building my own and using it to attach decent lines onto wrecks that are below 300 feet. In other words, wrecks that are deep enough to dive on technical scuba, but too deep to spend bottom time searching for. Since the $99 ROV does not have thrusters, I set out about finding a way to build some when I discovered Doug Jackson’s article about his adventures building this ROV named BOB. I have say, I really like his design! Not only does it use reasonably priced parts, but he’s been very clever in how he has used modified vintage Atari video game controllers and relays to drive the thing.

Here is a quick overview of what he has used:

  • Five, 500 gpm Johnson Bilge Pumps as thrusters. He got them for $10 each, but they now cost about $20 when you buy them from Boater’s World.
  • Atari vintage joysticks from eBay
  • PVC pipe, epoxy, wire ties, and Cat 5 cable from the local hardware store.
  • A 9V battery to power the relays
  • A 12V battery to power the pumps
  • An Atlantisâ„¢ Guide View Underwater Camera System
  • A television to serve as the monitor

Doug provides very detailed directions on how by constructed BOB, and even talks about how a person might modify the pumps to be fitted with propellers, thereby making the ROV more effective in areas of heavier current.

In BOB’s lake trial, it was tested to 60 feet and performed well. A neutrally buoyant tether cable was obtained by attaching 1 foot sections of foam pipe insulation every 6 to eight feet. Telling how close the ROV was to objects was apparently difficult, and Doug mentions that it either needs better lighting or lasers that cross 6 feet in front of the device might be of help.

Here are some direct links to areas of interest on Doug’s site:

Again, I really like Doug’s design. I think the most challenging improvements would be to increase the thrust by using propellers and to prevent the pumps from flooding under greater pressure. I’m also not sure about how one could manage the voltage drop over a longer tether cable. I don’t believe the design, as it is, can make it 400 feet down to the S.S. Tahoe, but I do see it making the dive with some HID light, tighter seals, and a little more thrust.

99 Dollar ROV

It’s not remotely operated, so you can’t really call it an ROV, but the guys over at engadget.com and divester have posted stories about this nifty little 99$ creation last week, and I think it’s pretty cool. Apparently it was made for under $100 in just two weeks. It has two cameras, an IR illuminator, some cleverly bent PVC pipe, one heck-of-a-lot of zip ties, a glow stick, and a 100 foot tether by which it receives power, and sends a video feed to the surface. I especially like the clamps that hold the camera housing together.

They didn’t mention the depth rating, but assuming that the tether could be extended, and the housing could take the pressure in deeper waters, this might really be a great technical diving tool for finding wrecks, and attaching decent lines to them. Of course the lack of thrusters would be problematic for working in waters with current, but I can think of one primed-to-dive wreck in Lake Tahoe that sits in 400 feet of water with no line on it that this baby might just be able to lend a hand with. Can you say S.S. Tahoe?

I’m actually thinking about making one of these for myself. If I do, here is a list of things that I would add to it:

  • Two Sartek HID Underwater video lights
  • An arm for attaching lines to underwater wrecks
  • A longer tether (400 Feet)
  • A stronger lexan housing if needed

I guess I’m pushing the price point up a little over the $99 mark, but what why not? I can use the lights on my video camera (when I get one), and I might just hook onto a nice shipwreck.