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Global warming, hydroponics and yet more frogs

Yes, frogs

Letters Plane delayed? To kill some time, just check out the public access terminals while you're waiting for your flight to board. Apparently people have been treating them just like their home PCs. Goodness only knows what you might find....

It seems members of our Management hierarchy have recently read your article "Airport PCs stuffed with meaty goodness" and it's now a cause for concern - shame it takes an article such as this and not continued warnings/education from our Security Department to highlite the risk!

I've been tasked with finding a possible solution to use these Terminals securely - Not sure how we can achieve this as apart from the obvious "Do not under any circumstances use Public Terminals for accessing/discussing Company resources/information" I'm not sure what else we can do?

However, It's been mentioned to me that the US and/or UK Government have a "technical solution" to allow user's to securely access Corporate resources using these terminals - are you aware of this? if so can you direct me to the resources where I can find more info?

I don't expect to find anything worth while, I believe educating the users to not utilise these terminals is the only mitigation to the risk here under these circumstances.

Your help, or comments would be appreciated.



Having worked in IT for a major Unnamed AirLine, I frequently was asked by the lost and found group to figure out how to turn on left hardware and determine who owned it. All of your story rings true, my own personal observation was the high frequency of gay porn on company laptops.

If you left your laptop with a dead battery, it's likely never to be seen again, most have no ID on the outside. If I couldn't get it to boot and find a contact, it went to Lost Luggage Heaven.

The other common issue was floppies left everywhere, security, in lounges, on planes and at check-in counters. 8 out of ten were virus ridden, most had personal/company confidential info on them, a lot had porn, virtually none of them had an owner's contact on them.

Sticky labels with a name, email and phone may seem low tech, but they work.

Name withheld

Actually, virtually all -non-owned PCs should be used with extreme caution by anyone handling something confidential. Not only can you not be sure if the machine isn't recording keystrokes and logins, the way that popular corporate "user friendly" facilities like Outlook Web Access work is that any attachment is downloaded *in full* before it is opened and such a download stays on the system.

The 'temp' directory of any Cybercafe (and most certainly airport PCs) is thus likely to be a veritable goldmine of files with interesting content.


A well respected British scientist lashed out at climate sceptics in the US recently, pointing to increasingly strong hurricanes as evidence of global warming. Lots of thoughts from the floor:

If "Global Warming" is the cause of the increased number of hurricanes, then is the reverse also true? The multi-decade cycle (as noted in your article) has been observed for many cycles - back to the 1700s. Given Mr Lawton's Correlation, Global Warming only exists half of the time.

I think there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in Mr Lawton's philosophy. The 1000-year-old ruins of farming colonies in Greenland are evidence of "Global Warming" prior to the Industrial Revolution. There was a "Little Ice Age" in 1700s North America, after the Industrial Revolution started. Could we be on the upside of a 1400-year solar oscillation?

All of that fossil fuel that we're burning today was once in the atmosphere - the plants took it out of the air and deposited it in the huge coal, oil, and gas beds we see today. All of that coal, oil, and gas was atmospheric carbon dioxide at one time and Earth seems to have survived just fine without human intervention.

I'm far more concerned about the ill effects of Mr. Lawton and his ilk than I am about carbon dioxide.


You say that "some" climate scientists say hurricanes and global warming aren't linked. In fact the majority say so, and it's also the official position of the International Panel on Climate Cchange. Is Sir John calling the IPCC a bunch of loonies too? I'd urge you to make a correction to the effect that Lawton is advocating a minority position against all available evidence.


Graham Dawson

It really doesn't matter what the loonies think right now. All summer I've been hearing about Florida being hit by YAHs (Yet Another Hurricane), now it's Texas and Now Orleans. Maybe another one or two will hit before the winter comes to calm it all down. Next year, the world will be counting them, and comparing with this year and last year. It might even become a betting event (how many will hit, how many level 5, how much damage in billions, etc). Meanwhile, US coasts will continue to be battered regularly, until Florida becomes a human desert and all US refineries in the Gulf are relocated to Alaska. But global warming ? Nonesense, of course, don't be daft. When you believe in Intelligent Design, you're not going to let a few stiff winds ruffle your hair, now are you ?


Naw...your Brit boffin has it all's all the fault of the Yakuza. For proof see this story.

Cheers, John

PS: Maybe you should check and make sure it isn't the Lizard People, at it again!

Copyright detection. Always going to be a popular subject this one.

I hope Limewire's copyright detection routines are at least ten orders of magnitude more accurate than whatever it is that is used by Nero (from Nero invariably states that whatever you want to burn to CD or DVD is copyrighted - even if it's a blank AVI or MPEG file that you've just created, without any content whatsoever.

However, I don't honestly expect Limewire will do better. They are, after all, merely trying to avoid a lawsuit by the RIAA. Actually serving their users might be a bit much to expect.


So that means we should stick with the version we have rather than upgrading then!! Thanks for the heads up.


Chinese authorities are clamping down on blogs. Now, as much as we have not been blogging's biggest fans, we suspect their motives are not entirely wholesome. You thought so too, we think. But who is Great Aunt Martha?

"any organisation or individual must register with the authorities before providing news or operating an email distribution list"

since this site can be accessed in China, have you registered with the Propaganda Department of the Peoples Republic of China permission to publish this particular story?

or are you hoping to establish a reputation of fair, unbiased, journalism so you can have the honour of joining other reputable news organisations (namely, the bbc) in being blocked by the Great Firewall?

or yet again, is this yet another law that means there is one law for Chinese nationals, and one law for us lovely rich foreigners?


"smokeless war" my Great Aunt Martha. China has been waging war on the Western Internet for years, by knowingly, deliberately, and maliciously providing "Safe haven" for spammers' Web sites within Chinese Web space. China Railway and CNC Group are the two most popular Web hosting forms for spammers looking for a "bulletproof" host, and the government of China damn well knows it.

The spammers use those sites to gather responses from idiots who will buy from spammers, while stealing millions of dollars in bandwidth from ISPs worldwide to deliver their spam; and China gathers dollars from the spammers.

Name withheld

Hurrah. The crazy frog is banned. At least, he is banned before the 9pm watershed. You feel that the ASA ruling does not go far enough, however:

Sod the kids, what about protecting the rest of us from this irritating little frog?


Shame the ASA couldn't have banned it for just being $%"%^ing annoying. SHOOT THE BLOODY FROG!!


Can't they ban that Coke ad as well, for making you think that it's something to do with Morecambe and Wise ?

Regards, Mike

"think of the children".....

What about the rest of us? Surely the little rug rats that run up large bills on parents phones are the ones who don't mind this ad. Its the adults who find it annoying and tedious... couldn't the ASA have banned the ad AFTER 9 pm so that we can enjoy 'all that filth' without interruption from a 'ring ding ding ding.. etc'


I am still utterly bewildered that this craze is floating around. In my thoughts 9pm is far too early, and believe the hour between 4am and 5am to be far more suitable.

Further more, ASAs argument should be edged towards the torture factor of this particular TV ad and that 9pm is a better time purely because a larger population of the country are doing more interesting activities at this time, such as getting drunk (probably because they have previously witnessed said advert)

And finally, a shade off topic, why do the publishers of the `crazy frog` trademark (The inadequate bunch of dirty hemorrhoids they are) not realise they are advertising an utter abomination and give up entirely? It nauseates me.


And no-one complained that the frog is, um, anatomically correct? I mean, I know it's only an animation, but having some amphibian waving his wang in your face as your trying to eat is not my idea of fun!


Actually, the frog is anatomically incorrect. No weeners on frogs or toads.

Not to be contradictory or anything, but my 9-year-old daughter and her friends have already had a ball imitating the tune and the antics for tens of minutes at a time. Apparently, they now know how to start a motorbike. Of course, it all breaks down into unintelligible whisperings and giggling at the end, then they pass on to something else. Although she did ask me to find the video, she thankfully has not insisted that I run it twenty times.


You have been brainwashed by the help.

We liked your thoughts on the anthrax shopping the US military has been engaging in:

"if other countries...built large biological production facilities at secretive military bases..."

Similarly, if I order a bunch of high-end hydroponics equipment, suitable for growing high-quality tomatoes and peppers, and set it up in a locked room in my basement, is some government agency going to assume that I'm growing something illegal instead? Of course not! So we can't just assume that the military are up to no good, just because they're (in the early stages of) buying all the equipment needed to create horrifying biological weapons.

The sarcasm is unnecessary, but I really liked the hydroponics analogy. Peace!


And lastly, a complaint:

Dear sir/madam

Sorry for bothering you, but while reading the latest, and consistently excellent episode of BOFH I was disappointed to discover that popping "Dutch lobster" into Google did not elicit the expected torrent of smutty web sites...

Keep up the excellent work.

Nick L

More on Friday. ®

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