Friday, October 20, 2006

McAfee, Symantec and vested interests

I found this to be an interesting article, as I do find it strange they want to hide the kernel so to speak and I'm really not sure why this guy supports that. It's my opinion that having something open makes it more secure, because more people get a chance to attack it and find ways to fix it.

Is it just me or does anyone see the irony in that Microsoft has had years of lax security that helped create the industry's that help protect those breaches, now late into the game Microsoft comes out with it's Onecare product line. So you have a company that is selling something that is flawed, and now are selling you the product to fix those flaws, anyone see a conflict of interest there?

McAfee, Symantec and vested interests Posted by John Carroll @ 9:25 am
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Vested interests often force governments to continue with policies that are counter-productive, if not downright negative. Examples aren't hard to find. Even if congress had the will to confront the vested interests that protect all the various deductions in the US tax code and create something that is clean and simple, truckloads of lobbying dollars would be spent by tax preparation companies to block the changes. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws are strongly supported by the private companies that build and maintain many of America's prisons, even as those laws swell America's prison population to levels not typically found in nominally "free" nations. Likewise, the DEA and companies that support them can be expected to fight against any attempts to stop America's futile war on drugs, a war that sends Bolivian leaders into the arms of Hugo Chavez, funds both sides in Colombia's civil war (think Al Capone times 1 million) and provides a steady stream of cash to Afghani insurgents through sale of poppies - the raw material used in heroin.

Though Symantec and McAfee lobbying the EC on behalf of their ability to hook the Windows kernel doesn't wreak as much havoc as these other vested interests, as an instance of business interests using government to warp policy in selfish directions, it falls into the same category. This smells of companies trying to preserve the flaws in a product upon which they have built their businesses. Really, does anyone in these forums WANT third parties to have access to the Windows kernel? The fact that no one does is why McAfee/Symantec aren't trying to defend the inherent value of such access and opt instead for the "futility" argument. The core of the argument is that PatchGuard won't work and that hackers will find workarounds that McAfee will have to ride in and fix for Microsoft. Essentially, there's no point in Microsoft trying to protect the kernel because they will never make it bulletproof, anyway. Following that reasoning to its logical conclusion, Microsoft shouldn't bother to alter its software development processes so as to emphasize secure coding techniques, given that perfection is impossible, and from a business standpoint, deprives Symantec and McAfee of the opportunity to protect consumers from the consequences of those flaws. As noted, I'm not seeing many in ZDNet Talkbacks rushing to defend McAfee and Symantec in their quest, probably because they DON'T WANT Symantec and McAfee to have that kind of access.

If McAfee and Symantec want to do something useful, they should build products that help to to enforce the kernel protections represented by PatchGuard. What they should NOT be doing is trying to prevent Microsoft from locking down the kernel in the first place. People really should read this blog post by Stephen Toulouse, a program manager in Microsoft's Security Technology unit, as it clarifies considerably the situation as it pertains to kernel hooking past, present and future.

Some useful excerpts…

Regarding Microsoft's past encouragement of kernel hooks: Wrong. For the implementation of the 32 bit kernel of Windows, there existed undocumented and unsupported system hooks into the kernel. Their use was frowned upon, even inside Microsoft. It's simply not a safe practice to utilize these interfaces into the kernel. Regarding the termination of support for kernel hooks being something that is "new:" Wrong.

Kernel Patch Protection was implemented almost 2 years ago in Windows XP x64 edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 edition. Regarding supposed "insecurity" resulting from a ban on kernel hooks: What security vendors are misrepresenting, is that only through unrestricted access to modify the kernel at the highest level of privilege can they protect you.Of course, the referenced blog predates Microsoft's decision to enable in some as of yet undetermined fashion a means by which to enable kernel hooking "in a secure fashion."

On that note, consider the perils of such an approach as explained at the end of Mr. Toulouse's blog. First, you grant one, pretty soon you have to grant thousands. That's how many people are out there using these undocumented, unsupported interfaces into the kernel.

Second, the more exceptions you grant, the more you dilute the protection. Attackers will simply morph their attacks to try and mimic the "safelist" to get an exception – this may be as simple as malicious software “bundling” third party software in order to disable the protection.

Third, because the OS was still designed to be run with the unmodified kernel, you still have the problem of code running at highest possible privilege crashing the system or causing performance problems.

Fourth, by granting an exception list you introduce a huge performance problem into the kernel, as you force it to check a safelist with every single operation.

Fifth, how would the logistics for adding and removing exceptions work? Would it only be done in software updates? Service Packs? Would someone sue because we weren't fast enough implementing them into a safelist?

That last issue is particularly worrisome for Microsoft, and constitutes the problem with selectively allowing people to have access to the kernel. If McAfee and Symantec get access, you can expect most security companies to want comparable access, and once that happens, the question becomes: how big do you have to be to have access? Pandora's box, truly.

Like prison construction companies encouraging policies that lock up as many people as possible (let's not call them prisoners; let's call them "customers"), McAfee and Symantec are trying to encourage an architecture that "needs" the fixes of a McAfee and Symantec. In so doing, they show how self-interest and government controls over software design collide to create "solutions" that have little to do with benefitting consumers.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Big Brother Double Double Plus Good

For awhile in Canada some ISP's have been keeping records on their own. I'm not really sure how I feel about this issue, as I can see the reasons for wanting to combat crime, yet I'm very worried that in the effort to do this we become what we are trying to combat and civil rights that people courageously fought for sometimes losing their life for could be compromised in this well meaning attempt.

In the end this is the question I'm struggling with I the act of fighting terrorism and cyber-crime/crime are we becoming what we are fighting against? Basically in the act of trying to prevent actions from happening do we create the circumstances in which they can thrive?

I look forward to any comments people have on this issue.

FBI director wants ISPs to track users

By Declan McCullagh

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday called on Internet service providers to record their customers' online activities, a move that anticipates a fierce debate over privacy and law enforcement in Washington next year. "Terrorists coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent sexual predators prowling chat rooms," Mueller said in a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Boston. ISP snooping time line

In events that were first reported by CNET, Bush administration officials have said

Internet providers must keep track of what Americans are doing online.

June 2005: Justice Department officials quietly propose data retention rules.

December 2005: European Parliament votes for data retention of up to two years.

April 14, 2006: Data retention proposals surface in Colorado and the U.S. Congress.

April 20, 2006: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says data retention "must be addressed."

April 28, 2006: Rep. Diana DeGette proposes data retention amendment.

May 16, 2006: Rep. James Sensenbrenner drafts data retention legislation--but backs away from it two days later.

May 26, 2006: Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller meet with Internet and telecommunications companies.

June 27, 2006: Rep. Joe Barton, chair of a House committee, calls new child protection legislation "highest priority."
"All too often, we find that before we can catch these offenders, Internet service providers have unwittingly deleted the very records that would help us identify these offenders and protect future victims," Mueller said. "We must find a balance between the legitimate need for privacy and law enforcement's clear need for access." The speech to the law enforcement group, which approved a resolution on the topic earlier in the day, echoes other calls from Bush administration officials to force private firms to record information about customers.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for instance, told Congress last month that "this is a national problem that requires federal legislation." Justice Department officials admit privately that data retention legislation is controversial enough that there wasn't time to ease it through the U.S. Congress before politicians left to campaign for re-election. Instead, the idea is expected to surface in early 2007, and one Democratic politician has already promised legislation.

Law enforcement groups claim that by the time they contact Internet service providers, customers' records may have been deleted in the routine course of business. Industry representatives, however, say that if police respond to tips promptly instead of dawdling, it would be difficult to imagine any investigation that would be imperiled. It's not clear exactly what a data retention law would require. One proposal would go beyond Internet providers and require registrars, the companies that sell domain names, to maintain records too. And during private meetings with industry officials, FBI and Justice Department representatives have cited the desirability of also forcing search engines to keep logs--a proposal that could gain additional law enforcement support after AOL showed how useful such records could be in investigations.

A representative of the International Association of Chiefs of Police said he was not able to provide a copy of the resolution. Preservation vs. retention At the moment, Internet service providers typically discard any log file that's no longer required for business reasons such as network monitoring, fraud prevention or billing disputes. Companies do, however, alter that general rule when contacted by police performing an investigation--a practice called data preservation.

A 1996 federal law called the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act regulates data preservation. It requires Internet providers to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity." Because Internet addresses remain a relatively scarce commodity, ISPs tend to allocate them to customers from a pool based on whether a computer is in use at the time. (Two standard techniques used are the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol and Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet.)

In addition, Internet providers are required by another federal law to report child pornography sightings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is in turn charged with forwarding that report to the appropriate police agency. When adopting its data retention rules, the European Parliament approved U.K.-backed requirements saying that communications providers in its 25 member countries--several of which had enacted their own data retention laws already--must retain customer data for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two years.

The Europe-wide requirement applies to a wide variety of "traffic" and "location" data, including: the identities of the customers' correspondents; the date, time and duration of phone calls, VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls or e-mail messages; and the location of the device used for the communications. But the "content" of the communications is not supposed to be retained. The rules are expected to take effect in 2008.

CNET's Anne Broache contributed to this report.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Big Brother 1984 Double Plus Good

I don't know about you, but I find this a bit scary, it seems like in response to our fears we see enemies everywhere, is it just me or does it feel like Big Brother maybe just maybe might be making a comeback, and folks it's not 1984.

OTTAWA - Federal government departments are profiling some access requesters, a veteran Ottawa researcher charged Monday.

Testifying before a parliamentary committee, Ken Rubin revealed that he learned recently he has been the subject of just such a profile.

Documents Rubin obtained from the Canadian Border Services Agency revealed a memo prepared in January 2004 for then-public safety minister Anne McLellan outlining an access request that Rubin had filed for information concerning the department's Advance Passenger Information project. In the memo, which the department told Rubin was never transmitted all the way to the minister, the department outlines details of telephone calls officials had with Rubin, other access requests he had filed and the fact that he had volunteered to help Maher Arar and his wife get information about their case.

At the time, Arar was still under suspicion by the government of being a terrorist and was on a watch list along with his wife and children.
The memo was released to Rubin earlier this month under the Access to Information Act after he filed a complaint.
''This is unacceptable,'' Rubin told the committee. ''Matching up my background data and work and separate access requests should not be used to create a profile and discuss my access usage or that of other requesters. I do not consider this kind of data being prepared and shared internally or going, or potentially going, to a minister, a positive part of, or within the spirit of the Access to Information Act.''

New Democrat MP Pat Martin said he was shocked to learn that a government department had prepared a profile of an access requester.
''I think it is an absolute bombshell that they are not only asking the identity, which I think undermines the integrity of the whole system, but they are asking about confidential personal information.''

Jason Kenney, parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Rubin's testimony about being profiled corresponds with some of the testimony that the committee has already heard about the way the privacy of some access requesters has been treated in the past.
''This would be, I guess, the third concrete instance that we know about. There seems to be sufficient evidence to conclude that this practice of furnishing names to political staff has happened in the past. Just how widespread or how frequent, we just don't know.''

The comment came as the committee wrapped up another day of hearings into reports that the government appears to have broken the privacy law by disclosing the name of Canadian Press reporter Jim Bronskill during a telephone conference call in which public servants from several departments discussed which reporters were working on stories related to security and to pandemic preparedness.

The information was then sent to several officials in the prime minister's office who had not participated in the call, including communications director Sandra Buckler. None of those officials reported a possible violation of the privacy act.
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart is investigating.
Kenney could not say Monday whether the government has reviewed the minutes of the weekly security conference call to ascertain whether there were other instances of the names of access requesters being discussed.

Act Of War ?

Well, this is becoming very interesting and maybe not in a really good way. This brings about a few questions, is this just rhetoric? Or are they serious and do they mean to go to war?

I Don't know the answers, yet I do know the world just become much more unstable and dangerous, and this is more dangerous than the old cold war days at least then the people who had control, it could be argued were somewhat rational.

N. Korea: Sanctions are war declaration By JAE-SOON CHANG, Associated Press Writer

North Korea said Tuesday it considered U.N. sanctions aimed at punishing the country for its nuclear test "a declaration of war," as Japan and South Korea reported the communist nation might be preparing a second explosion.

The North broke two days of silence about the U.N. resolution adopted after its Oct. 9 nuclear test with a statement on the official state news agency, as China warned Pyongyang against stoking tensions.

"The resolution cannot be construed otherwise than a declaration of a war" against the North, the statement said. North Korea is known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The chief U.S. nuclear envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, said the North's response was "not very helpful."

"I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding about what the international community feels about its actions," Hill said in Seoul after a meeting with his South Korean and Russian counterparts.

Hill said he could not confirm South Korean and Japanese reports that the North may be preparing another nuclear explosion, but said a second test would force the international community "to respond very clearly."

North Korea "is under the impression that once they make more nuclear tests that somehow we will respect them more," Hill told reporters after a meeting with U.S. and Russian counterparts. "The fact of the matter is that nuclear tests make us respect them less."

In its statement, North Korea said it would not be intimidated.

The communist nation "had remained unfazed in any storm and stress in the past when it had no nuclear weapons," the statement said. "It is quite nonsensical to expect the DPRK to yield to the pressure and threat of someone at this time when it has become a nuclear weapons state."

Chun Yung-woo, South Korea's top nuclear envoy, dismissed the statement as "the usual rhetoric that they have been using at the time of the adoption of the Security Council resolution."

China has long been one of North Korea's few allies, but relations have frayed in recent months by Pyongyang's missile tests and the nuclear explosion last week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao warned Pyongyang against aggravating tensions, saying the North should help resolve the situation "through dialogue and consultation instead of taking any actions that may further escalate or worsen the situation."

The United States pressed on with a round of diplomacy in Asia aimed at finding consensus on how to implement U.N. sanctions on the North. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to go to Japan on Wednesday before traveling to South Korea and China.

Hill stressed that the international community should make the North pay a "high price" for its "reckless behavior."

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said his government had "information" about another possible blast, and a senior South Korean official said there were signs that the North could be preparing a second test — but emphasized that it was unlikely to happen immediately.

"We have yet to confirm any imminent signs of a second nuclear test," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

China, whose support for the measures is key to whether they will have any effect on neighboring North Korea, has begun examining trucks at the North Korean border to comply with new U.N. sanctions endorsed over the weekend.

South Korea has said it would implement the U.N. sanctions, but also has been cautious about allowing sanctions to shake regional stability. Seoul has also indicated that it has no intention of halting key economic projects with the North, despite concerns that they may help fund the North's nuclear and missile programs.

"Sanctions against North Korea should be done in a way that draws North Korea to the dialogue table," South Korean Prime Minister Han Myung-sook said Tuesday, according to Yonhap news agency. "There should never be a way that causes armed clashes."

In Washington, U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte's office said Monday that air samples gathered last week contain radioactive materials that confirm that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion.

In a short statement posted on its Web site, Negroponte's office also confirmed that the size of the explosion was less than 1 kiloton, a comparatively small nuclear detonation. Each kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tons of TNT.

It was the first official confirmation from the United States that a nuclear detonation took place, as Pyongyang has claimed.


Associated Press writers Bo-Mi Lim and William Foreman in Seoul, Audra Ang in Beijing and Kana Inagaki in Tokyo contributed to this report.

All I can say is it's about time, in some ways I still think it's not enough.

I would like to see sex offenders and those who commit violent crimes put away for a long time, with no chances to come back out into society so they can hurt more people, and their friends and family's.

That have to deal with the aftermath, that these criminals create in their wake.

Ottawa to introduce dangerous offender bill

The federal government is expected to introduce on Tuesday a bill that would make it easier to have criminals designated as dangerous offenders.

The proposed legislation would call for tougher sentences and stricter conditions on repeat offenders — those convicted of a third sexual or violent offence.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the proposed legislation last week in Toronto, saying: "We will work to ensure that those who are truly dangerous will be put in jail for an indefinite period of time."

The onus would be put on offenders instead of the Crown to prove they should not be declared dangerous offenders. Failing to do so means they would be designated as dangerous and be given an indeterminate jail sentence, with no eligibility for parole for seven years.

Currently, the Crown must show at a hearing why an individual should be declared a dangerous offender.

Under the proposed legislation, the person would not be given the benefit of the doubt and would have to prove why the designation should not apply.

It would also increase the maximum duration of peace bonds from 12 to 24 months, allowing additional restrictions and conditions to be placed on released criminals.

At the news conference announcing the proposed legislation, Harper said: "By putting criminals on a tighter leash after release, we hope to better facilitate their reintegration into the community."

Merged Worlds

I found this interesting, it seems our worlds are merging more everyday, from our cyberspace persona to our real world ones, it gives a somewhat newer meaning of Freuds and Jung's ideas of Innerlife.

By Eric Auchard and Kenneth Li

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reuters Group Plc is opening a news bureau in the simulation game Second Life this week, joining a race by corporate name brands to take part in the hottest virtual world on the Internet.

Starting on Wednesday, Reuters plans to begin publishing text, photo and video news from the outside world for Second Life members and news of Second Life for real world readers who visit a Reuters news site at:

Created by Linden Lab in San Francisco, Second Life is the closest thing to a parallel universe existing on the Internet. Akin to the original city-building game SimCity, Second Life is a virtual, three-dimensional world where users create and dress up characters, buy property and interact with other players.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lorraine ( Music)

Lorraine Biography

Lorraine are Ole Gundersen (24, vocals), Anders Winsents (24, guitar) and Paal Myran-Haaland (23, keyboards, programming). Their drummer is a little black box which does exactly what it's told. Between them the members' personal influences range from New Order, Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode to Kasabian, The Smiths and The Stone Roses, so it's no surprise that Lorraine's own music sounds like it should come with 'Your new favourite band' stamped across every CD.

Melodically breathtaking with a lyrical touch that recalls the flamboyant nervousness of Neil Tennant at his most miserably optimistic, Lorraine's songs are finished off with a unique modern twist. After a brief period knocking about with friends in a Prodigy-influenced electro metal outfit, Anders and Ole set their sights elsewhere and, on their way back from a jam session in a local pizza parlour, chanced upon Paal.

He was at a bus stop, drunk and shouting. It was not long before he became Lorraine's third member, his (oddly immaculate) bedroom doubling as the band’s first recording studio.In the summer of 2000 the band, now in their late teens, decided not to go back to school. Paal's bedroom was traded for a work space, 45 minutes outside Bergen, in a decaying factory building. The units surrounding Lorraine's studio were filled with either crackheads or car mechanics. The heating didn’t work.

It's cold anyway in Norway, but in this ice-pocket it was often so cold that floppy discs would freeze in the band's sampler. Then, one day, everything clicked. "Our songs mix reality and unreality," Paal explains. Many of Lorraine's songs are based on dreams; Ole believes that only in dreams are we completely honest and unfettered by often unfairly imposed moral and social codes. "It's about articulating the thoughts in your head," Ole adds. "Thoughts which wouldn’t come out in conversation. Hopes, dreams, a dark positivity. I don't know if our songs are happy or sad – we can be quite melancholic. ." He thinks for a little while. "There is happiness, but it might only be temporary.""We've had some kind of trip into another world making this album," Paal smiles. "We're all about big atmosphere, big sounds, big songs. We always wanted everything to be very big." It's hard to believe these particular dreams won't become a reality in 2006. It is, after all, about defining your own destiny.

George V (6 May 1910 - 20 January 1936) Coinage and History

This is a Crown for George V it's from his Jubilee year of 1935 and the device of St George was done in an art deco style that was popular at the time. I have also posted above a picture of a George V Farthing from 1932.


George V (6 May 1910 - 20 January 1936)
- born 3rd June 1865 - one marriage with five offspring

Second son of Edward VII, George Duke of York was a fine naval officer and pushed his career until the death of his elder brother Albert made him heir to the throne. He married Mary of Teck in 1893 who bore him four sons and one daughter. George saw Britain through the crises of World War I and even visited the front, one occasion at which he broke his pelvis after falling from his horse, the injury would pain him for the rest of his life.

George suffered badly from Bronchitis in the early thirties and spent a lot of time in Bognor on the south coast of Britain to take in the good air, and henceforth the town has been known as Bognor Regis. The King was still in ill health by the time of his Silver Jubilee in 1935, and it was bronchitis that eventually killed him in January 1936 aged 70.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Zero Day

Here is an article about even more security flaws in XP. I really don't understand how Microsoft can come out with operating systems that are so prone to problems like this.

Microsoft releases 6 patches for flaws

October 12, 2006 - 12:16PM

Microsoft has released six patches to fix software flaws that carry its highest threat rating, including three for defects that attackers were already trying to exploit.
The company said all six of the critical flaws could allow an attacker to obtain some access to other people's computers.

The software maker also released four other patches to fix vulnerabilities that the company deemed less severe.
Customers can download all the patches for free on Microsoft's security website and also can sign up to have them automatically delivered to their computers. The automatic update system went down for several hours on Tuesday, but the problem was later resolved.
Microsoft said last month that it knew attackers were already trying to take advantage of defects in its Windows operating system, Microsoft Word software and PowerPoint presentation program.

Christopher Budd, a program manager with the Microsoft Security Resource Centre, said that the company had seen limited attacks exploiting the flaws, but were nevertheless recommending that users apply those and other patches immediately.
Such vulnerabilities are rare. In most cases, security experts quietly provide Microsoft evidence of a security flaw, allowing the company to fix the problem in secret and release a patch before attackers can take advantage of it.
But recently, the company has been hit with a number of so-called "zero-day" attacks, in which flaws are targeted before Microsoft is aware of them or can release patches.
Such attacks have prompted some security researchers to release their own interim fixes. Microsoft also has occasionally taken the unusual step of releasing patches outside of its normal monthly fix schedule, so users can be safeguarded more quickly.

Budd said Microsoft isn't seeing any specific pattern to the burst of zero-day attacks. But he said the company is seeing more focus on attackers trying to infiltrate computers through applications - such as Word or PowerPoint - rather than the Windows operating system.
Microsoft software is a constant target of internet attackers, in part because the company's products are so widely used.
Microsoft has yet to release a patch for one other publicly known flaw - one affecting the Internet Explorer browser that is part of its Windows operating system. Budd said the company was seeing very few attacks as a result of the flaw.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Victoria (20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901)

Here is an example of a Jubilee Shilling from 1887 of Queen Victoria Spink Number 3926 Small Head some additional information can be found below.


Victoria (20 June 1837 - 22 January 1901) - born 24th May 1819 - one marriage with nine offspring

Victoria was granddaughter of George III, the daughter of his fifth son Edward. Her father Edward died while she was in infancy, but her mother Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld brought her up under a strict regimen that stood her in good stead to be Queen upon the death of her Uncle William. A Royal wedding took place on 10 February 1840 to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, with whom she had four sons and five daughters, all of whom married into some of the finest Royal families in Europe. Victoria was devastated by the death of her beloved Albert in 1861 from typhoid and never really recovered, known as the “Widow of Windsor” in seclusion for 25 years until she emerged for her Golden Jubilee. During the seclusion Victoria also became Empress of India in 1878.

Victoria enjoyed the longest reign so far of any monarch and saw her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, the only time this has occurred in British history so far. The Industrial Revolution was now in full force, the zenith of which was the Great Exhibition of 1851. Victoria built up the greatest Empire ever seen since the days of the Ancient Romans. There were many technological revolutions with the harnessing of electricity perhaps most significant, also the invention of the telephone and motor transport, as well as the massive growth of railways and shipping and science. Magnificent architecture from the Victorian era not only transformed London, but also cities as far apart as Sydney and Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Victoria died aged 81 with her family gathered around her at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight after a 63 year reign, her body was brought back to the Capital by the Royal Train. Her long reign produced some fascinating coinage and many different busts were used for the various Colonial coinages. Branch Mints opened in Australia, first in Sydney then Melbourne, and much later at Perth. There were attempts at decimalization during her reign and the biggest successful move towards this was the introduction of the Florin or one tenth of a pound in 1848.

Some of the finest designs were by William Wyon for the 1839 gold Five Pounds coin used in that year’s proof set and later for the 1847 Gothic Crown. The Wyon family dominated coin and medal production for the earlier part of Victoria’s reign, J E Boehm engraved the Jubilee coinage of 1887, and Thomas Brock the “widow” old head coinage of 1893.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Word Cut UP's in The Footsteps Of Burroughs

A Red Pill, A Blue Pill.
One to make you happy, one to make you sad.
A Blue Pill, A Red Pill.
One to make you forget, The other to numb the pain.
A Red Pill, A Blue Pill.
One to Create an Altered State, The other to change what has been altered.
A Blue Pill, A Red Pill.
Nothing Remains the same, sometimes nothing seems sane.
A Red Pill, A Blue Pill.
The colours are all that remain.

North Korea Nuclear Test Successful

Last May in my other Blog I posted a story about North Korea's Missile tests, now it looks like they have gone Nuclear. It is really hard to predict what will happen next, Yet I don't think it will be good.

This test will put a lot of pressure on North America and Europe to do something, as Japan and other countries can not have this go unchecked, Yet the politics of the region is intertwined. With China having issues with their claim to Taiwan, Japan having military restrictions from The Second World War, and the United States and NATO committed as an Allie to protect them because of post world war two treaty's.

In addition The Korean War never really ended, there was just an armistice that was signed no peace treaty was signed technically North and South Korea are still in a state of war even though very little has happened since the armistice. All in all, this makes for even more Interesting Times.

North Korea says nuclear test successful

By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer

North Korea said Monday it had performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test, setting off an underground blast in defiance of international warnings and intense diplomatic activity aimed at heading off such a move.

The North Korean statement said there was no radioactive leakage from the test site.An official at South Korea's seismic monitoring center confirmed a magnitude-3.6 tremor felt at the time North Korea said it conducted the test was not a natural occurrence. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition his name not be used, because he was not authorized to talk about the sensitive information to the media.

Australia also said there was seismic confirmation that North Korea conducted a nuclear test.However, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that information still needs to be collected and analyzed to determine whether North Korea truly conducted its first nuclear test.Japan's top government spokesman said if confirmed, the North Korean test would post a serious threat to the stability in the region and a provocation.

China, the North's closest ally, said Beijing "resolutely opposes" the North Korean nuclear test and hopes Pyongyang will return to disarmament talks.U.S. and South Korean officials could not immediately confirm the report.South Korea's Defense Ministry said the alert level of the military had been raised in response to the claimed nuclear test.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss the reported North Korean test on Monday, and the United States and Japan are likely to press for a resolution imposing additional sanctions on Pyongyang.

A resolution adopted in July after a series of North Korean missile launches imposed limited sanctions on North Korea and demanded that the reclusive communist nation suspend its ballistic missile program — a demand the North immediately rejected.The resolution bans all U.N. member states from selling material or technology for missiles or weapons of mass destruction to North Korea — and it bans all countries from receiving missiles, banned weapons or technology from Pyongyang.

The North said last week it would conduct a test, sparking regional concern and frantic diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading Pyongyang from such a move. North Korea has long claimed to have nuclear weapons, but had never before performed a known test to prove its arsenal.The North's official Korean Central News Agency said the underground test was performed successfully."It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the ... people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability," the KCNA statement said."It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it."

South Korean intelligence officials said the seismic wave had been detected in North Hamkyung province, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. It said the test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (9:36 p.m. EDT Sunday) in Hwaderi near Kilju city on the northeast coast, citing defense officials.North Korean scientists "successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions," the KCNA report said, adding this was "a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great prosperous powerful socialist nation."

The U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected no seismic activity in North Korea, although it was not clear whether a blast would be strong enough for its sensors.On Sunday night, U.S. government officials said a wide range of agencies were looking into the report of the nuclear test, which officials were taking seriously.South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has convened a meeting of security advisers over the issue, Yonhap reported, and intelligence over the test has been exchanged between concerned countries.

Kyodo News agency reported that the Japanese government has set up a taskforce in response to reports of the test.The North has refused for a year to attend international talks aimed at persuading it to disarm. The country pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 2003 after U.S. officials accused it of a secret nuclear program, allegedly violating an earlier nuclear pact between Washington and Pyongyang.Speculation over a possible North Korean test arose earlier this year after U.S. and Japanese reports cited suspicious activity at a suspected underground test site.

Edward IV (4 Mar 1461 - 6 Oct 1470) Coinage And History

This is a typical Edward IV second reign halfgroat
Initial Mark Rose, C
on Breast, trefoils on all cusps ( Blunt and Whitton
XVIII ) reverse with
nothing in centre also with Initial mark Rose, (Blunt
and Whitton XIX) and
is also DIG no 1/6 Unfortunately it's worn and has been clipped, but still a nice example given it's age some more history follows below.


Edward IV (4 Mar 1461 - 6 Oct 1470) deposed: restored (11 Apr 1471 - 9 Apr 1483) - born 28th April 1442 - one marriage with ten offspring

In 1461 the Yorkist claimant Edward, seized the throne with the help of his cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick who was also known as the powerful ‘Kingmaker’ for his decisive actions in determining who sat on the English throne. Unwisely, he married Elizabeth Woodville and English politics became dominated by her ambitious family, much to the distaste of Edwards’ brothers and their allies.

The powerful but treacherous Warwick later proved to be trouble when he briefly restored Henry to the throne in 1470. However Edward reassembled an army from Burgundy, and after killing Warwick at the Battle of Barnet (1471) he destroyed the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury (1471), finally sentencing Henry VI to death in the tower of London. His reign was prosperous despite the brief interregnum, and planted the seeds and blossoming of the Renaissance in England. Edward died suddenly in 1483 aged only 40 leaving two young sons and a daughter, with a troubled legacy.

In order to increase the bullion supply the weight of the penny was reduced in 1464 and the face value of the gold noble went up. A new gold coin the Ryal or Rose Noble was issued at ten shillings, but the old noble was missed so the Angel was also introduced later. Royal Mints were also opened at Canterbury and York to help with re-coinage and other short-term mints were Bristol, Coventry and Norwich.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'M Back

I'm Back, Finally. Had some troubles going over to the Blogger Beta on Google. I'm still not sure what went wrong, but with some tinkering here and there, I was able to sign in. I hope that's the last I see of that kind of trouble, but then again everyone and everything has growing pains, I know I'm certainly on a steep learning curve here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Treasure Trove Warning Over E-Bay

Treasure Trove Warning Over E-Bay

This story I found to be interesting as it could have a very big effect on what we may see for auction in the future, as I'm not sure how many people knew of the law and I don't think it was really being enforced.

People who find treasure may be breaking the law if they do not report it to the authorities, eBay and the British Museum are warning.
The museum has set up a specialist team - under its Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) - to make sure antiques are legally sold by eBay sellers.
Some traders in archaeological finds are unaware they may have to be declared under the Treasure Act.

Illegal listings will be reported to specialist Met Police detectives.
English, Welsh and Northern Irish archaeological finds which constitute "treasure" must be reported to the local coroner or the PAS under the Treasure Act.
Metallic objects made up of at least 10% gold or silver which are at least 300 years old are classed as treasure.

"There are definitely some people who know perfectly well what they're doing" British Museum

Some coins with lower amounts of gold or silver could also be classed as treasure.
Failure to report finds deemed to be treasure is a criminal offence under the act.
Items spotted by the PAS being sold on eBay illegally have included gold and silver Roman rings.

Staff from PAS - which is run by the British Museum on behalf of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) - will contact sellers to make sure they have reported items and are entitled to offer them for sale.

The British Museum's Roger Bland told BBC News: "There are definitely some people who know perfectly well what they're doing. They're selling finds on a regular basis all the time.
"But when we contact people who are selling objects we think should be reported as treasure there's quite a few more who I think genuinely do it out of ignorance because they don't know about the law."

'Valuable insights'

Chris Batt, chief executive of the MLA, said the partnership would mean illegal listings could be stopped and action taken.
"Doing so is vital because such activity is not only illegal but could also damage the archaeological record as, without effective reporting, valuable insights into our past could be lost forever," he said.

An eBay spokesman said educating its customers "on what to look out for when buying antiquities on eBay and informing sellers of their obligations is of paramount importance".
As part of the joint initiative, the site has created a guide to buying and selling antiquities which offers advice on reporting obligations.

Under the Treasure Act, metallic objects made up of at least 10% gold or silver which are at least 300 years old must be reported to the local coroner or the PAS.
Some coins with lower amounts of gold or silver could also be classed as treasure.
Items spotted by the PAS being sold on eBay illegally have included gold and silver Roman rings.

Story from BBC NEWS:http://