Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 21, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page B-2

Mac users were forced 
to admit that their world 
is becoming a much more 
different place than it used 
to be. Apple fans are wont 
to (and probably still can) 
boast that their OS has been 
basically immune from the 
attacks that Windows users 
have weathered as a fact 
of life online. But now a 
spike in security threats has 
made it abundantly clear 
that the online bad guys are 
no longer ignoring the Mac 
OS platform. Earlier this 
month computer security 
researchers had detected 
a version of malware 
called “Trojan Backdoor.
Flashback” that had formed a 
botnet comprised of 600,000 
infected Macs. 

 In this case, the malware 
targeted vulnerability in the 
Java component of the Mac 
OS. Oracle. The makers of 
the Java software platform 
released a fix for the infection 
and Apple included the fix 
in a subsequent software 
update package for users 
of OS X versions 10.6 and 
10.7. Users of older versions 
of Mac OS were advised to 
disable Java in order to avoid 

 The latest Mac security 
threat, a variant of the 
“LuckyCat” attack, takes 
advantage of an exploit in 
Microsoft Word documents, 
giving a remote attacker the 
ability to plunder infected 
systems, and steal data 
remotely. This exploit has 
been around for almost three 
years now, and is completely 
preventable if the system 
is kept up-to-date with the 
latest security updates. 

 The fact that these threats are 
only now getting widespread 
publicity indicates how 
historically lackadaisical 
Mac users have been toward 
security; it might be time for 
this attitude to change. In the 
past, malicious attacks on the 
Mac platform have been few 
and far between. More than 
90 percent of the desktop 
market share used to go to 
Windows, so that’s where 
cybercriminals focused their 
time. But in recent months, 
OS X adoption has been 
rising, and similarly the 
number of threats (like last 
year’s MacDefender Trojan 
Horse) have also been rising. 

 The main point to consider 
is that the bad guys haven’t 
really created any new ways 
of breaking into your system, 
but have increasingly come 
to exploit cross-platform 
programs like Microsoft 
Office, Adobe PDF products, 
Java, and Flash and in the 
process are reaping more 
“rewards” for their efforts by 
creating malware that affects 
both Windows and Mac 
platforms. As the efforts by 
the bad guys to find better 
ways to target the Mac OS 
platform increase, Mac 
security researchers would 
do well to take advantage of 
the road already travelled by 
the Windows guys. 

 Regardless of the Apple 
strategy for dealing with the 
increased attention from 
the online bad guys, keep 
in mind that this is only 
beginning. When it rains, it 



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 21, 2012 

Music of the Spheres: Zinta & The Zoots, Starring Cassiopeia A

A British musical group named “Zinta & The Zoots” recently gave a most unusual concert at Canturbury 
College, England. Joining the band for the live performance was an enigmatic musical contributor, 
whose part was originated some 11,000 years earlier—the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A.

 Thanks to radio astronomer Jan van Muijlwijk and his team of astronomers and amateur radio buffs, 
the historic 83-foot radio telescope at Dwingeloo in Holland was pointed at Cas A, a powerful source 
of radio-frequency emissions in the constellation Cassiopeia, in order to relay the live signal to the 
stage in Canterbury during the performance. These electromagnetic waves, on arrival at Earth, were 
morphed with Zinta’s live vocal using a Vocoder, creating a synthesis of two temporally distinct sound 
sources, fusing human and cosmic “voices” across time and space. 

 Zinta & The Zoots, led by Ms. Zinta Egle, made their debut performance in Canterbury, England, 
in 2008. The band embodies a refreshing disregard for genre limitations and expectations. Their 
focus is on creating melodic, characterful, stand-alone songs and the arrangement ethos is to express 
each piece in a pure, inventive and authentic way using whatever comes to hand or mind. Whether 
it’s electric, acoustic, or electronic - from radios to harmoniums to Max/MSP - anything that makes a 
noise may become part of the backdrop for Zinta’s vocals.


 The group recently revisited the radio dish at Dwingeloo to conduct some additional musical 
experiments - this time treating their song to a “moonbounce.” Zinta sang an a capella version of the 
song, phrase by phrase, into a hand-held radio transmitter; and this was sent to the Moon via the radio 
telescope dish, to be returned to Earth as an echo with a 2.5 second delay. The resulting recordings of 
this event are currently being developed into a new, remixed version of the song.

 The Dwingeloo Radio Observatory (near Dwingeloo, m. Westerveld, in the northeastern part of 
The Netherlands), is a single-dish radio telescope with a diameter of 25 meters (83 feet). Construction 
started in 1954, and the telescope was completed in 1956. At that time it was the largest radio telescope 
in the world. As of the year 2000, it was no longer in operation in an official capacity, and since August 
2009 it is officially a Dutch industrial heritage monument.

 The C.A. Muller Radio Astronomy Station Foundation (“CAMRAS” for short) restored the telescope 
to working order, with the consent of ASTRON, the owner of the telescope. At the present time, 
manager Paul Boven (JIVE, CAMRAS) and teams of radio amateurs and amateur astronomers use the 
Dwingeloo telescope for a variety of projects, one being EME (communications). EME, also known 
as “moonbounce,” allows people on different parts of Earth to communicate via the Moon. In this 
technique, radio wave signals are aimed at the Moon by one location, bounce off the Moon’s surface, 
and detected by an antenna at a different location on Earth.

 For more information about the band, Zinta & The Zoots:

 You can contact Bob Eklund at:



We here in Southern California have an accent. 

We don’t think we have, but we do. Our accent is 
essentially a whitewashing that removes all unique 
pronunciations found in other areas of the country. 
People spend millions of dollars each year undergoing 
accent reduction, usually in an effort to advance 
their careers. Some of this is understandable. If you’re going to do 
power point presentations or deliver the traffic report, you want people 
focusing on what you’re saying rather than how you’re saying it. 

 Yes, nearly everything sounds good in our native So Cal tongue. But it sounds even 
better with a British accent (or any accent from the U.K. for that matter). A British accent 
will instantly make you sound twice as smart and sexy as you really are. Stereotypically 
speaking, that’s probably how the British got away with having bad teeth. Everyone’s too 
enthralled with their voice to notice where it’s coming from. Mastery of the British accent 
will make your stories more riveting, your jokes funnier, and people will take your threats 
more seriously.

 Sounding British will imbue whatever you’re saying with knowledgeable authority. Think 
of all the documentaries you’ve seen. I swear every movie about the Romans has them 
speaking like members of Parliament. Imagine if they used people from the Bronx or Boston. 
Caesar would say, “I came, I sar, I conquhd.” Doesn’t have the same ring. I bet even a BBC 
production on Neanderthals would have the cavemen grunting with classic British vowels. 

 Even if you can’t swing a British accent all the time, knowing a few helpful phrases will 
go a long way in getting what you want. Case in point. We had a family friend over for 
Easter. We’ll call him Wayne. Wayne remarked that he usually receives mediocre service 
at a popular coffee establishment. The people working there aren’t rude, per se, but flagging 
their attention is nearly impossible. For example, Wayne was tempted to carry the long-empty 
pitcher of half & half to the fridge and swapping it out with a new one, instead of waiting for 
the servers to notice him. Then he got the idea of asking for it in a Scottish accent! Wayne 
isn’t from Scotland, but he knows a lot of British people, and is constantly honing his Scottish 
accent. “Ave yuh got a bit o’ crream?” he asked. Wouldn’t you know it that two girls behind 
the counter looked up and Wayne had his half & half in a jiffy. While any So Cal native could 
be fooled by his artificial accent, actual British expats happily correct Wayne’s attempts at 
Scottish. “Ow, about this on’, eh?” he would question them. “More like London,” a friend 
would say. “East end.”

 So, even if you can’t speak British all the time, try to master a couple key phrases relevant 
to situations you frequently find yourself in. Sounding British will make you come off as less 
offensive (“Pardon me”), more intelligent (“In point of fact...”), and more persuasive (“Are 
you doing anything tonight?”). And if you get really good at it, you might not have to worry 
about poor dental care!



PETA’s Precarious, Hilarious ‘Wild Animal Agent’

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

 If you’re at all like me, more 
often than not, after viewing 
an advertisement by an animal 
advocate group such as PETA 
(People for the Ethical Treatment 
of Animals) or an animal rescue 
organization such as The Humane 
Society, you end up in tears, and 
unable to even finish watching, 
because it makes you so depressed. 
There are reasons why they make 
their ads so emotionally engaging, 
and I am one who will always 
support such groups as much as I 
can, but I could do without some 
of the sad, tear-jerking graphics 
they display in their ads. I mean 
let’s face it, anyone who will 
donate to these worthy causes 
already knows about the horrific 
things that happen to animals at 
the hands of cruel humans, and 
those who are not inclined to 
donate to begin with most likely 
will not be prompted to do so 
by viewing grueling graphics of 
animal cruelty.

 Fortunately, PETA has recently 
switched gears a bit, in terms 
of how they solicit interest and 
support from their viewers. Now, 
thanks to the creative cast & crew 
employed by PETA’s promotional 
department, their ads give me 
a good gut laugh rather than a 
tortured tear, and I am left feeling 
even more enthusiastic about 
supporting their efforts. A recent 
PETA promotional campaign 
pin-pointing the inappropriate 
exploitation and neglectful 
treatment of wild animals 
on Hollywood movie sets 
features the unique technique 
of humor versus remorse, as 
a means of prompting positive 
responses from their audience.

 Devon Dentler, a cute and 
crazy comic (and I mean crazy 
as an endearing term) who just 
happens to reside relatively local 
to our community just up the 
road in Glendale, has made it 
his mission to incite positive 
responses from the general public 
on behalf of wild animals who 
have way-too-long been exploited 
by the entertainment industry. 
Here’s a guy who could get a good 
gut giggle out of the crustiest 
crowd that would otherwise 
rather frown and be down, and 
has chosen to focus his talents 
and time on helping prevent wild 
animal exploitation in Hollywood. 
His hilarious ad antics have 
recently become an icon among 
animal rights activists, including 
myself. When I first saw one of 
Devon’s ads, I was enamored by 
his charming way of making an 
important point while making 
me laugh my ‘you-know-what‘ 
off at the same time! It was so 
refreshing to see an animal rights 
promotional ad that succeeded 
in cutting to the chase without 
leaving me emotionally depleted. 
I have always thought that humor 
is an amazing medium that can be 
used to convey thoughts that are 
typically difficult to convey, and 
in my opinion, Devon (aka: “Wild 
Animal Agent”) is the master 
of this rather new animal rights 
advertisement comedy genre.

 If you’ve never caught one 
of PETA’s ads featuring Devon 
Dentler, ‘Wild Animal Agent‘, I 
highly recommend it. Even if you 
are not in a position to donate 
to the cause right now, you will 
definitely benefit from the laughter 
these ads will bring, and it can‘t 
hurt to be reminded of what goes 
on behind the scenes with animals 
in entertainment. There are at 
least 8 commercials in the PETA 
“Wild Animal Agent” campaign 
series that I know of, and each one 
is focused on a particular type of 
animal. There is one with a bear, 
one with an elephant, a couple 
featuring a lion, one with a gorilla 
and even one with a bat. These 
animal advocate ads make full fun 
of the ‘average’ Hollywood talent 
agent using simply side-splitting 
satire that is guaranteed to hit 
the nail on the head regarding 
the inappropriate use of wild 
animals in film. Of course, there 
are no wild animals in the PETA 
ads themselves, as that would be 
somewhat of a conflict of interest, 
so instead of including a real 
animal, they use sound effects, and 
panning techniques that turn the 
viewer into the animal. Brilliant 
stuff, I think!

 Be sure and check it out at the 
PETA website link:

 And don’t forget to live, love, 
laugh and let live!