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Debconf Update

Systems crashes and hacking tales

I arrived at Manaus airport feeling pretty groggy after I fell asleep listening to some old Bossa Nova music on the radio. I was also *still* feeling the effects of some virus I picked up last week which was unfortunately just like Malaria (thankfully this time however without the hallucinations).


After waiting (and waiting) in the queue to check in, when I arrived at the counter I saw that they were writing the tickets out by hand. Apparently the system was 'in maintenance' although this could just have meant that it had crashed given the amount of head shaking and so on which was going on and it left me feeling a bit nervous about the flight to be honest.

The chaos with the airlines in South America shows no signs of improvement and so all the Brazilian flights into Buenos Aires were delayed. This was OK though. Me and Bdale stood around holding a Debian sign and waited for the rest of the developers to show up. We got talking about his hobby of rocket flying and apparently he has launched one up to 14,000 feet which is pretty impressive I reckon. His latest project will use a different fuel mixture based in part on sugar and he hopes he can get to 18000 feet. Good luck with that.

After Uncle Steve's excellent keynote speech (I found out that all of Debian Lenny will be available on a single Blue Ray disk!!) I bumped into Jacob at lunch. The conversation inevitably moved onto Tor and anonymity online and told me about a book that he is reading. Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier by Julian Assange is about the WANK worm crisis in NASA.

Next to the RTM worm, WANK is the most famous worm in the history of computer networks. And it is the first major worm bearing a political message, in this case against nuclear power (WORMS AGAINST NUCLEAR KILLERS).It was a worm that attacked DEC VMS computers over the DECnet in 1989 and written into the source code were instructions not to propagate in DEC area 48 which is New Zealand (at that time New Zealand was a nuclear free zone). It also greeted NASA's Galileo flight engineers with the words "You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war." as they logged in. (Galileo controversially used 24 kg of plutonium as an energy source)
With WANK, life imitated art, since the term computer 'worm' came from John Brunner's sci-fi novel, The Shockwave Rider, which is about a politically motivated worm.


Can't wait for tomorrow!

_____
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Sunday, August 10, 2008 in LifeThoughts  | Permalink |  Comments (1)
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British humour

Posted by vern at 2008-08-12 18:09
Another explanation for this is that this might be a joke on the British word WANK which is slang for masturbation.