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Over the last few months I have noticed an increasing number of computers infected with the virut family of viruses.

Some of these are very unpleasant. They can cripple your anti-virus software, replicate in various places on your hard drive, disable Windows updates, disable internet access, and delete or modify key Windows system files to the point where your computer becomes so unstable it cannot be used, or will not start at all.

According to viruslist.com, four of the top twenty malicious programmes infecting personal computers in April were members of the virut family. Nimda, a worm which disables your Windows desktop, is also high on the list.

I have also seen donwadup (conficker) infections, and script downloaders (also known as drive-by downloaders) which can infect your computer when you visit a malicious or infected website.

Some of these infections are extremely difficult to remove, because they make hidden copies of themselves. If even one is missed, the computer will be re-infected. Also, they can infect needed Windows system files in ways that cannot be disinfected without destroying the Windows files, so you can end with a clean computer , but a computer that will not start.

Once you are infected by one virus, the chances are that your computer security will be weakened and your computer will quickly have multiple infections.

Prevention

Use a good anti-virus/anti-spyware programme. For ordinary home use, the free versions of AVG or Avira are quite adequate. If you visit porn or gambling sites, or use p2p (file sharing) software, you will need a high end commercial anti-virus like Kaspersky or Vipre.

Keep your anti-virus software up to date. I have just fixed a computer infected with virut ce. This version of virut was only found in the wild for the first time in February. The computer had a good anti-virus programme, but it had not been updated since early February, so the computer had no protection against viruses developed since then.

Keep Windows up to date by allowing Windows Update to run automatically. Computers running automatic updates were at no risk from conficker.

No anti-virus software can protect your computer all the time, from every attack. The highest rated anti-virus products achieve detection rates of up to 97%.

You can still be safe on the internet if you are cautious.

Do not open files or run programmes if you do not know what they are or where they have come from. This includes email attachments. Take care with files from friends, school, and even commercial suppliers. Infections can come from CDs and flash drives as well as the internet.

Do not use p2p software. Or if you must, run a full virus scan after every download. Do not visit porn or gambling sites. Some people will anyway. If you do, make sure your antivirus is up to date beforehand, and run a full scan after you leave the site.

Run a full, deep or maximum security scan every week.

Do not, ever, respond to a pop-up on your screen telling you your computer is infected, and that you need to download or install an anti-virus product. Clicking anywhere on one of those pop-up boxes, including the ‘’No’ button, may give permission to install rogue anti-virus software which will cost you money, slow down your computer, cause lots of dire (but incorrect) warnings and achieve nothing.

Some fake security alerts are very convincing:

Fake Windows Security Alert

Fake Windows Security Alert

More fake alert pictures from Enigma Software.

Do not be fooled! Don’t click anywhere on such an alert. Shut your computer down, restart, and run a full virus scan.

If you are in doubt about whether your computer may be infected, and you still have internet access, visit and run Microsoft’s Onecare Live safety scanner.

And tying penises to women, doesn’t make a man a woman, nor a woman a man.

Andrew Bolt has made some rightly alarmed comments about an Australian court that pretends to help a confused 17 year old girl by ruling she is entitled to have her breasts cut off.

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald tells the story of two people who, confused about their gender as teens, demanded gender re-assignment surgery. Both regretted that decision deeply, and came to feel lasting anger towards the people who allowed their mutilation to proceed.

Teenagers have not yet fully developed their identity, their sense of responsibility, their ability to assess risk and long term consequences. That is why we have laws prohibiting them from drinking, from having sex, from gambling. These laws protect them from abuse, from outcomes and harm which they may not have the ability to foresee.

Yet a court can say that those same teenagers have the right to decide about irreversible mutilating surgery which leaves them neither male nor female.

The Desire for a Sex Change, an article by Dr Richard Fitzgibbons, draws on medical and psychiatric research and catholic theology to explain why gender re-assignment surgery has not been and cannot be a satisfactory solution to what is a psychological problem.

So says Piers Ackermann. And so say all of us.

A couple of excerpts:

One of candidate Kevin Rudd’s big selling points other than that he was not John Howard was his experience as an Australian diplomat.

We now know that his experience was limited and it is now blindingly apparent that he is not in the least diplomatic. In his meetings with President Obama, Rudd has behaved like a star struck schoolgirl. Waving and pushing to be included in the camera shot, he looks like a kid with a crush, but that hasn’t cut much ice with the US which is yet to appoint an ambassador to replace Robert McCallum, who left in January…

According to Zhu Feng, one of China’s most influential experts on security, Beijing is finding it hard to deal with Rudd and was more comfortable with John Howard than this prime minister…

With such inept skills, Rudd shows himself to be admirably equipped for the top UN job, which he is said to covet. Given the general dysfunctional nature of the UN, and its myriad global failures, let no-one stand in his way.

I am not sure that Julia Gillard really has left behind her student socialist ideology, but she has done some interesting things in education, and she would be a lot less embarrassing as Prime Minister than Rudd.

Well why not?

If it is true that there has been no investigation of Joel Fitzgibbon’s relationship with Helen Liu, then senior defense department staff should be sacked. 

Joel Fitzgibbon is Australia’s Minister of Defense. He is the member of the executive branch of government who is charged with responsibility for funding and policy decisions in relation to Australia’s armed forces.

I would have thought some background checking, and checking of contacts, was the standard for government ministers. Not so they could be removed from office, except in extreme circumstances, but so that appropriate advice could be given and care taken.

Even if that minimal level of checking is not done routinely, there is a responsibility to investigate when serious allegations are made about a government minister’s involvement with a person with close ties to the military or intelligence services of a foreign power.

Helen Liu has paid for multiple trips to China, has made substantial campaign donations, has invited Fitzgibbon to functions at which senior Chinese military personnel were present.

There may have been nothing wrong with any of that, though you might wonder why Liu was going to so much trouble.

The problem, or at least the beginning of the awareness there might be a problem, came when Fitzgibbon lied about the extent of his relationship with Liu, and her gifts to him. People who lie usually do so because they think have something to hide. If they think they have something to hide, they probably do.

There should have been some checking before Mr Fitzgibbon was appointed. Maybe that’s just not the Australian way. But once it was clear he had lied about his relationship with Liu, a full investigation became imperative.

Instead, the Defense Department conducted an investigation into whether there had been an investigation.

Questions which should have been asked about Liu’s loyalties and contacts, and about her generosity to Fitzgibbon, and his indebtedness to her, have still not been asked. Not by the people who should be asking them, anyway.

Now business associates of Helen Liu have revealed that Chinese intelligence agents asked them to do just what Helen Liu has done – form a close relationship with Fitzgibbon, including expensive gifts and trips to China.

Why would Chinese intelligence be interested in having someone form a close relationship with Australia’s defense minister?

Maybe they were just being friendly. As a citizen of Australia, I’d like to know.

You’d think that those responsible for Australia’s security and defense planning would also like to know.

Late term abortionist George Tiller has been murdered outside his church in Wichita, Kansas.

The suspect may be a member of the right to life movement.

Left wing blogs have already begun to claim that Christians are delighted, and that this is just the latest in a long series of violent attacks on abortionists.

In fact the reverse is true. Pro life bloggers and leaders of the pro-life movement have been united in condemming the murder of Tiller, as they have been united in condemming any violent attacks on abortionists or their clinics.

I deplore the murder of George Tiller, and any violence against abortionists or their clinics.

I also deplore the far greater number of violent attacks on pro-life people and organisations (despite the fact that the media has a massive blind spot when comes to reporting violent attacks by abortionists and their supporters).

The murder of George Tiller is a tragedy. His family and his community will miss him. The attack on him was wrong, no matter who did it, or why.

That does not mean we should pretend that what he did for a living was OK. What he did for a living was monstrous.

Late term partial-birth abortion means partially delivering a living human baby, inserting a pair of scissors or other implement into its head, then crushing its skull before completing the delivery.

George Tiller’s death was murder, and must be condemmed. What he did for a living was also murder.

Partial Birth Abortion

Partial Birth Abortion

One system of climate modelling has a proven history of correct prediction of weather events.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming.

Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.

From a USA Today article of September last year.

The Almanac certainly got the part about a colder Winter right.

I have both games, and enjoy them both. I have spent a lot more time playing WoW.

Even if you couldn’t care less about either game, or MMORPGS in general, this video is fun to watch. I have no idea how he got his characters to do some of those moves:

Two of the global warming poster stars are declining polar bear populations and shrinking arctic ice.

Disappointingly (for the alarmists) polar numbers have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, and the extent of Arctic ice is increasing.

Another claimed proof of global warming has been that glaciers all over the world are retreating.

Of course even if the world were warming, this would not by itself prove that warming was our fault, or that there was anything we could do to stop it.

Even so, glaciers going backwards, bits dropping off, etc, are pretty dramatic.

But a large number of glaciers have obviously not heard what is expected of them, or are stubbornly refusing to comply. Glaciers from New Zealand to the Himalayas to Greenland are growing.

According to the Global Humanitarian Forum.

But actually no.

Dr Roger Pielke calls the report a ‘methodological embarrassment,’ and notes that the report itself says ‘there is not yet any widely accepted global estimate of the share of weather related disasters that are attributable to climate change.’

If no one knows how many weather disasters are due to global warming, what basis exists for making an estimate of deaths due to warming? Well, none.

And since the world isn’t getting any warmer, probably the best estimate of climate change disaster related deaths is zero.

Deaths amongst the world’s poor are more likely to be caused by pointless attempts to mitigate climate change, such as the conversion of food crops into bio-fuel.

Music producer Phil Spector has been sentenced to 29 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

Phil Spector Wears a Barack Obama Badge

Phil Spector Wears a Barack Obama Badge

Yes I know. Murderers might have voted for Bush as well. I’m sure some did. They just didn’t wear badges announcing the fact to their court appearances.

I am not worried by Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor’s apparent belief that being a latino woman makes her wiser than a white male. That is just par for the course.

Newt Gingrich is right to point out that a white male who said his experiences made him wiser than a latino woman would be decried as both racist and sexist, and forced to withdraw from the nomination.

We all know that’s not going to happen with Sotomayor. Despite the hypocrisy of her remarks, conservatives cannot win that argument.

But I am quite sure that Robert Gibb’s assertion (in response to a question about abortion) that Obama is satisfied that Sotomayor’s view of the consititution is ‘similar to his’ is a coded way of saying she is supportive of his view of abortion rights.

That is the most radical view ever held by an American President. Obama does not even believe that care should be offered to children born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

Sotomayor’s views on abortion are a concern for liberals because she is a catholic by birth. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for justice and for the children of America, that means absolutely nothing.

Two headlines over the last week accusing Australia of being racist. Or at least, lots of Australians.

The first accusation came from Sol Trujillo. Sol  was employed to run Australia’s largest telco. He liked to think of himself as a rebel, encountering resistance at every turn from shareholders, employees and government. Telstra’s share price dived during his incumbency, but he left with a pay packet of $31 million for four years of work. That includes $3 million paid to encourage him to leave early.

Here’s a bit more from the Daily Telegraph:

Trujillo was always at war with the regulators and the Government. He cut more than 8000 jobs in three years and complaints surged almost 250 per cent. And he earned huge sums of cash from shareholders but purchased almost no shares.

When Telstra announced in February this year that Mr Trujillo intended to leave, the company said he would work until June 30. But by terminating his employment during the notice period, not only does Mr Trujillo bring to an early end what presently appears to be the biggest failure of his career, he also increases the size of his payout.

That’s because Telstra is obliged to pay him an additional $3 million severance if he leaves before he completed his notice period.

The fact is, Sol Turjillo was a dud, who could not adapt to life in Australia and did not have the personal or business skills to lead a major corporation. He wanted to be seen as a creative leader, but could not accept advice or creative ideas from others.

Blaming his massive failure at Telstra on a racist culture is nonsense, a pathetic excuse which is unfair to workers and to Telstra shareholders, who employed him and gave him a huge paycheck for stuffing up one of Australia’s biggest companies.

The second accusation came from India’s High Commissioner to Australia. A number of Indian students have been attacked in Australia over the last few weeks.

It is entirely reasonable and appropriate for India to be concerned about the safety of Indian students living in Australia.

But why leap to the conclusion that such attacks are racially motivated?

A senior Victoria police officer said last night that Indian students tended to travel alone, and to carry expensive items like laptop computers and ipods, making attractive and vulnerable targets. That sounds like nonsense to me.

But at least two questions need to be answered before racism is even considered as a possible factor.

First, are Indian students victims of robbery or violence more often than anyone else as a proportion of the population?  Sadly, there are criminals in Australia, just as there are in every country. Any violent crime should be taken seriously. But if Indian students are no more likely to be attacked or robbed than anyone else, the problem is not racism, but law enforcement in general.

Secondly, if Indian students are victims of crime more frequently than other groups as a proportion of population, who is doing the attacking, and why?

I do not doubt that there are racists in Australia. I have seen aboriginal students throwing stones at Sudanese refugees, for example, and ‘youths of middle eastern’ appearance taunting chinese students. I have even heard white people make critical remarks about the fecklessness of some aboriginals, or the number of unassimilated immigrants.

But to claim first up, and without any evidence, that racism by whites is the reason for crime, or for people disagreeing with you, seems to me to be racist in itself. The underlying assumptions are that whitey can’t be trusted, or whitey is stupid, or whitey hates eveyone else.

Those assumptions are racist.

One of the promises made by the Labor party during the last election was that there would be more transparency in government. I guess that means being honest about information sources, advice received, funding, and who will benefit from what.

That was obviously a non-core promise.

Senator Nick Minchin discusses this in relation to the government’s vastly overpriced and already outdated fibre optic broadband plan.

Mr Rudd and Senator Conroy have repeatedly said they are simply following the advice of an expert panel and also the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Yet they have produced no solid evidence to confirm that to be the case. ..

Its refusal to release key advice in relation to this proposal makes a mockery of its pledge to deliver a new age of transparency. And despite the scale of this project and the billions of taxpayer dollars that will be risked on it, the Government arrogantly dismisses the need for a cost benefit analysis.  It claims this network will be commercially viable, yet has also failed to produce a scrap of credible evidence to support these evangelical assertions.

And the key problem with the whole dumb idea:

The Government has no idea how many customers may choose to use this network and how much they will have to pay to do so in order for it to be viable.

It is not as if we have a spare $43 billion floating around that we couldn’t use for hospitals, roads, schools, or research.

How to avoid being ripped off by scammers.

Don’t be greedy. Don’t be dumb. That pretty much covers it.

If an arabian princess emails you telling you she got your name from a friend, and needs you to help her smuggle $20 million out of Egypt, and she’s willing to give you $5 million for your trouble, and you reply, and end up sending her $10,000 to pay bank fees, are you an idiot? Yes. Are you a greedy idiot? Yes.

If you are selling a car and someone sends you a cheque for $2,000 more than the price of the car and asks you to wire $1,000 of that to a friend in Brazil, and you do, are you an idiot? yes. Are you a greedy idiot? Yes.

Also, don’t buy software from anonymous sellers in China.

I don’t think so.

Conservatives less likely to slap their dads, even if dad says its OK? Yes, that I can believe.

Conservatives have less confidence in their own wisdom relative to that of our forebears and fellow citizens. We are also less likely to make exceptions for ourselves – to say ‘ That rule applies generally, but not in my case.’ Consequently we give greater weight to laws and customs, and are generally more law abiding.

Nisholas Kristoff says studies show conservatives ae less likely to act in ways they perceive as disrespectful of authority. That’s a good thing in my view. But then, I would think that.

Kristoff also says studies show conservatives are more likely to experience feelings of disgust than liberals. That I do not believe. Unless it is disgust at liberals’ flouting the rules and disrespecting authority. But I don’t think that’s what he means.

Kristoff says that research show conservatives are more likely to feel disgust than liberals when stepping on a worm, or crawling through a sewer, or skinning an animal. He then extends this to feelings of moral disgust, and draws the conclusion that conservatives are less open minded.

That’s a pretty long draw in any case, but my experience is that it is liberals who are more likely to get upset about things being ‘yucky.’ And as for skinning an animal or working in a meat factory, let alone a sewage processing plant, or anything involving manure, forget it. Conservatives are far more likely to be the ones who roll up their sleeves, get out there and get on with it. That’s why we have red necks.

Can this be extended to moral/intellectual disgust/openness?

I don’t know, but again, my experience is that liberals (I used to be one) tend to talk to each other, and the discovery that people actually exist who do not share their opinions makes them angry. Look at the hate on people’s faces, and the tendency to violence, at leftist demonstrations, for example.

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