Welcome to The Funny/Alerts Newsletter. As you know, Anne and I spent the weekend of March 23-24 "riding the rails" in Oregon. One of the first surprises that we got was to find out that our beloved 4449 was THE Freedom Train! That's right... the engine that carried the Olympic Torch around the country was OUR engine!
The 4449 is the last of over 250 steam engines that were built by Southern Pacific in the 1940s and it's currently owned by the city of Portland. It was chosen to be the Freedom train in 1976 and, in her new Red-White-&-Blue colors, transported some of this countries original historical documents to cities across the nation for people to see!
The Northwest Rail Museum does the maintenance and restoration of equipment. The excursions operated by the museum are designed to commemorate rail history events and educate the public about rail travel.
Everywhere we went there were people waiting to see us and chasing the train seemed to be one of their favorite pastimes as packs of vehicles sped down the road (paved or not) trying to keep up. It didn't matter what the weather was, either. People would be gathered around every railroad crossing, standing along the tracks and even camped out in the middle of nowhere, rain or shine, just to wave as we passed by. They cheered and we cheered back. All of us on the train felt proud and honored to be taking part in this unique experience.

Signed,
Co-Conspirator To Make The World A Better Place

www.4449.com
http://www.northwestrailmuseum.com/

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GRINS & GIGGLES:
I AM A FATHER 

A little boy got on the bus, sat next to a man reading a book and noticed he had his collar on backwards. The little boy asked why he wore his collar that way. 

The man, who was a priest, said, " I am a Father." The little boy replied "My Daddy doesn't wear his collar like that." The priest looked up from his book and answered "I am the Father of many." 

The boy said, "My Dad has 4 boys, 4 girls and two grandchildren and he doesn't wear his collar that way. 

The priest getting impatient said "I am the Father of hundreds," and went back to reading his book. The little boy sat quietly... but on leaving the bus he leaned over and said, "Well. maybe you should wear your pants backwards instead of your collar."

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CYBERSPACE ALERT:
IE's Handling of Cookies Flawed
By Dennis Fisher

A newly discovered flaw in the way that Internet Explorer handles Web site cookies could enable an attacker to view and edit a user's personal data contained in the cookies. 

The vulnerability affects all versions of IE but is mitigated by several factors, according to a bulletin released Thursday by Microsoft Corp. 

Under normal operation, Web sites are only able to access the cookies for their site on a given user's machine. By crafting a URL with specific contents, an attacker could gain access to cookies for other sites and edit the contents of the files by injecting a script. 

Many sites store personally identifiable information in their cookies. 

However, to execute the attack, the victim must either visit a Web page or open an e-mail containing the malicious URL. Still, Microsoft has given the vulnerability a "high" severity rating for all affected systems. 

The Redmond, Wash., company does not yet have a patch available but said that disabling active scripting will prevent the problem. Also, users who have either applied the Outlook Email Security Update or have set Outlook Express to use the Restricted Sites Zone are not vulnerable to the HTML mail portion of the attack. 

Also on Thursday, Microsoft issued a warning that the patch it issued last week to fix a denial-of-service vulnerability in the Universal Plug and Play component in Windows ME contained a regression error that causes affected machines to become erratic and hangs some applications. 

Similar patches for Windows 98 and XP are unaffected. Microsoft has removed the Windows ME patch from its Web site and is working on an updated patch. 

This is the second time in less than three weeks that Microsoft has had to retract a patch because of a regression error. In late October the company had a similar problem with a patch to repair a vulnerability in the terminal services component of Windows 2000. Instead of fixing the flaw, the patch prevented the service from working at all. 
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Warning: Any User Can "Root" Windows NT and 2000
By Brett Glass

A serious hole in Windows NT and Windows 2000 allows any user (even "guest") to gain complete control of the machine. This bug -- called a "privilege escalation" vulnerability -- is particularly worrisome, because it does more than open the system to attacks from its own users. It also amplifies the dangers associated with other security holes that Microsoft has dismissed as not being serious. Why? Because an intruder who gains entry to a system as an unprivileged user can obtain administrator privileges and take over. 

http://www.ntcompatible.com/article.php?sid=9313
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Pair of Office XP Bugs Uncovered
By Dennis Fisher

A well-known security researcher has released an advisory about--and exploit code for--two new unpatched flaws in portions of Microsoft Corp.'s Office XP application suite.

The two bugs are closely related and, if used in concert, could enable an attacker to gain complete control over a vulnerable machine. 

The first vulnerability is a problem with the way that Outlook 2002 handles active content objects that are embedded in HTML mail messages. If a user replies to or forwards a message with such an object in it, the active content would automatically execute on the user's machine, according to an advisory released Sunday by Georgi Guninski, a Bulgarian security consultant famous for finding dozens of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products over the past several years. 

The second flaw is a problem with the Host () function of the spreadsheet component in Office XP. The vulnerability allows users to create files with arbitrary names, regardless of their content. An attacker using the Outlook 2002 flaw in conjunction with this vulnerability may be able to place an executable file on the user's machine, which could give him control over the PC. 

Guninski said in his advisory that on March 17 he notified Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., of the vulnerabilities. He decided to release his advisory after the company failed to produce a patch after two weeks. Microsoft security officials in the past have criticized Guninski for going public too quickly with his findings and for over-hyping problems that they don't feel warrant much attention. 

Last week, Guninski released information on another Microsoft vulnerability, this one in Internet Explorer. The flaw involves a problem in the way that the OLE DB Web publishing tool interacts with IIS 5.0 and Exchange 2000, and in specific circumstances could allow an attacker to see the IIS directories of arbitrary Web servers. 

Guninski posted his advisory, complete with a sample exploit, to the Bugtraq mailing list, and it also appeared on at least one other list over the weekend. 

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MEATSPACE ALERT:
Intel to Cut Chip Pricing by 57%
By Ken Popovich

Intel Corp. is set to slash prices on its top-performing Pentium 4 chips by as much as 25 percent this month and up to 57 percent this spring, according to sources close to the company.

In one example of the potential savings awaiting customers, Intel will slash the price on its top-speed, 2.2GHz Pentium from $562 to $241 in just six weeks, a savings of more than 57 percent. 

The price cuts will be welcomed by users, who are focusing more on the cost of the chips than on their performance. 

"We have reached a point with desktop computers that unless there is a real massive increase in software demands for processing power—which I don't see any time soon—just buying a faster PC won't increase your ability to do your work," said Sam Avera, technology manager for the state of Washington's Aging & Adult Services department, in Seattle. "Price is now our driving factor." 

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TRUE STORY:
The Class Jock
By Sylvia Nablo de Vasquez

It was grade eight and I was the class scapegoat. People have been scapegoats for any number of reasons; for me it was that I was new to the school and very naive. I was brainy, much too trusting, bad at sports, didn't care about wearing the latest styles and couldn't afford them even if I had. Quite simply, I didn't know how to be cool.

The only kids who were nice to me were so just because they wanted something. In one case, it was a science project in which I did all the work and my partner shared in the good grade. It was a miserable year.

It was Winter in Regina, Sask., Canada, and gym was held inside. The class was playing basketball and I played it as poorly as I did any other sport. I didn't know the rules and nobody explained them. If I somehow managed to get my hands on the ball, inevitably the referee would call "Traveling!" Then the ball would go to the other team, though I didn't know what I had done wrong.

I liked sports, even though I wasn't good at them, so I'd eagerly run up and down the court with my team. By doing this one day I found myself at the other team's basket, across the hoop from my teammate, the class jock, Kelly Serge.

Kelly and I hadn't held a single conversation the whole year. The class jock would have had no reason to talk to the class scapegoat. I never imagined he was any different from the kids who had been humiliating me all year. So I stood waiting for him to make the easy shot.

He didn't. Instead, he tossed the ball to me.

I caught it -- stunned. Then I got myself together and willed myself to make the basket. I threw the ball. Too high. Kelly caught it on the other side. I was so disappointed, but I waited for him to make the shot. The class looked on as he again tossed the ball to me.

I couldn't believe it. True, he didn't need to prove his skill, but he'd know that being nice to me wouldn't increase his popularity. I determined to do better this time. I eyed the basket, felt the ball in my hands, and sent it up. It went in. Kelly grabbed the ball under the basket, gave me a grin of approval and threw the ball back into play.
It was such a little thing. Kelly gave me two chances to make a basket when he could've easily gotten the points himself. He risked embarrassing himself and losing the game. For me, a lonely 13-year-old, it was everything.

Kelly and I never became friends, but now, 19 years later, I still wish I could tell him: "Kelly, from the bottom of my heart, thanks."

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FUN SITE:
Women Of America
Do you know an outstanding woman? Point her to this site and show her that you think she's among an elite group.

http://www.wtv-zone.com/BVD/WomenOfAmerica.html

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Another interesting site is "Cats In The News" and if you're a cat person you should definitely check this site regularly. After all, cats need all the good press that they can get. ;)

http://catsinthenews.com/

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Also, one of my American Sign Language (ASL) friends has sent me a link to a web page that really impressed me. A lady named Lowanna made a very special quilt that was raffled off as the Grand prize during the Northwest Bowling Association of the Deaf (NWBAD). Go see it for yourself, it's really beautiful.

http://community-2.webtv.net/@HH!56!3D!1C04177D587E/jackflora/LOWANNASHANDMADE/

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TRIVIA:
Useless Facts

Did you know...
·The Muller-Lyer ( <-> >-< : Which line is longer?) illusion doesn't work on Zulus.
·Lazy Susans are named after Thomas Edison's daughter. He invented it to impress a gathering of industrialists and inventors.
·New Zealand was the first country to give woman the vote, in 1890.
·Gilligan of Gilligan's Island had a first name that was only used once, on the never-aired pilot show. His first name was Willy.
·At McDonalds in New Zealand, they serve apricot pies instead of cherry ones.
·At McDonalds in India, they serve mutton burgers because the cow is considered sacred. [DP]
·The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
·Pinocchio is Italian for "pine eyes."
·The infinity sign is called a lemniscate.
·If you stretch a standard Slinky out flat it measures 87 feet long.
·The pupil of an octopus' eye is rectangular.
·Sylvia Miles had the shortest performance ever nominated for an Oscar with "Midnight Cowboy." Her entire role lasted only six minutes.
·The average person swallows three spiders annually.

·If your senses are working normally you can:
··Feel on you fingertips or face a pressure that depresses you skin .00004 inch.
··See a small candle flame from 39 miles away on a clear, dark night.
··Smell one drop of perfume diffused through a three room apartment.
··Taste .04 ounce of table salt dissolved in 530 quarts of water.
··Feel the weight of a bee’s wing falling on your cheek from less that .5 inch away.
··Distinguish among more than 300,000 different color variations.
··Gauge the direction of a sound’s origin based on a .00003 second difference in its arrival from ear to ear.

·Men can read smaller print than women.
·Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
·In the 40’s, the FCC assigned Ch. 1 to mobile services which is why there is no channel 1 on the TV.
·Rubber bands last longer if refrigerated.
·Peanuts are an ingredient in dynamite.
·200 people in West Virginia returned their license plates to Motor Vehicles Bureau because the plates began with the letters OJ. 
·James Doohan, who plays Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott on Star Trek, is missing the entire middle finger of his right hand.
·Captain Jean-Luc Picard's fish was named Livingston.
·A full moon always rises at sunset. 
·If you are locked in a completely sealed room, you will die of carbon dioxide poisoning first before you will die of oxygen deprivation. 
·If Texas were a country it's GNP would be the fifth largest of any country on earth 

Want some more?
http://www.batteryb.com/webmaster/funny_stuff/fs268.html
http://home.fuse.net/willdot/useless2.htm

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QUICK WIT:

Truth has the power to dispell the darkness of ignorance -- just as a candle has the power to light a cave that has been dark for a million years.

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