And another thing...

DUEL MEANING. 'This leaves me with no alternative but to challenge you to a public duel.' How many times a day do you wish you could say that? (Say, when a plumber hands you a bill that's twice the estimate.) Robert David Steele has a different game in mind. A leading proponent of open-source intelligence, he laid that challenge on director of national intelligence John Negroponte, and not entirely in jest. But it's not an Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton re-creation. The duel in question would involve a 21st century weapon: information. In an open letter reported by PR Newswire, Steele, a former Marine officer and CIA operative, claimed he could gather more useful information than the intelligence community on threats to America, using a cell phone, notebook computer and open-source'or publicly available'information. Steele said he and Negroponte should square off for 11 successive days, each day competing to gather information on a specific question. His point? He contends that intelligence agencies concentrate on clandestine operations and ignore a wealth of information available through documents (many of them on the Web), market analyses, experts, private investigations and other public sources. He wants Congress to create an Open Source Agency to operate outside the intel community. As for his challenge to Negroponte''Got game? I don't think you do,' his letter taunts'we doubt it will come off. But at least now we know what to say to the plumber.

YOU DON'T TEL. Need to get in touch with an old friend but don't know what her new job is? New cell phone number? New e-mail address? The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is considering creating a .tel domain that would make it a lot easier to keep up with people who switch jobs, gadgets or locations. The idea is that .tel would be a place where people can regularly update their contact information. You'll only have to remember a friend's .tel address to stay in touch. We think a dynamic, online, nationwide phone book is a great idea'just keep telemarketers out of it.

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