Monday’s Misgivings

Enough wassail already, it’s news time…
Charles Darwin left on his famous trip to the Galapagos on this day in 1831.

Johannes Kepler was born in 1571. Louis Pasteur was born in 1822.

  1. Chinese security firm XFocus Team identified three “highly critical” Windows flaws over the weekend, warning users to stay away from untrusted web sites and emails from unfamiliar sources. (Yeah like that’s possible.) Two of the vulnerabilities could be used to execute malicious code on your PC. The vulnerabilities are in the Loadimage API used by many browsers and email programs, the Windows Help system (again), and the Windows kernel itself. The kernel flaw would allow a malicious web site to reboot your system with a malformed .ANI file. Microsoft has no comment. No patch either.
  2. Sophos says that 42% of all spam worldwide comes from the US, much of it from hacked computers that are being used by spammers without their owners’ knowledge. The company cites this as proof that the Federal CAN-SPAM act is a failure.
  3. The LAPD is experimenting with portable face recognition units which they say will make it easier to apprehend suspects. LA police have used the software to arrest two men who were riding double on a bike. The computer identified them as gang members which was enough to trigger a probable cause search which turned up amphetamines.
  4. Sony may not be giving up on plasma display televisions, but Toshiba definitely is. The company has announced it will focus future big screen production on SED, surface-conductor electron-emitting displays, in conjunction with Canon. SEDs are low power, faster and brighter than LCD and plasma displays, but are still just inches thick. Samsung and LG have indicated that they’re sticking with plasma.
  5. Yahoo is planning on adding real time traffic reports to its Yahoo Maps.
  6. Your car may be watching you. According to an article in USA Today, 30 million cars on the road today record their drivers’ behavior with black box like mechanisms. The information has been used in court to convict reckless drivers. Most cars from General Motors and Ford, as well as some Toyotas and Hondas, track vehicle and engine speed, acceleration and braking.
  7. Another score for the Golden Palace. The online casino that paid $26,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich bearing an image of the Virgin Mary, has paid $5,300 to a Pasadena man who auctioned his three sons’ Nintendo DSs on EBay because he said they were being bratty. His dad said his son “double-dared” him to do it, so he did.

Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.