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In Japan, Small Children Take the Subway and Run Errands Alone

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 15:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


What accounts for this unusual degree of independence? Not self-sufficiency, in fact, but “group reliance,” according to Dwayne Dixon, a cultural anthropologist who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Japanese youth. “[Japanese] kids learn early on that, ideally, any member of the community can be called on to serve or help others,” he says.

This assumption is reinforced at school, where children take turns cleaning and serving lunch instead of relying on staff to perform such duties. This “distributes labor across various shoulders and rotates expectations, while also teaching everyone what it takes to clean a toilet, for instance,” Dixon says.

Taking responsibility for shared spaces means that children have pride of ownership and understand in a concrete way the consequences of making a mess, since they’ll have to clean it up themselves. This ethic extends to public space more broadly (one reason Japanese streets are generally so clean). A child out in public knows he can rely on the group to help in an emergency.

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  1. And even if you don’t understand a single word of the language:

Room 8

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 13:49 by John Sinteur in category: News

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The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 13:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


Ad blockers, which Apple first allowed on the iPhone in September, promise to conserve data and make websites load faster. But how much of your mobile data comes from advertising? We measured the mix of advertising and editorial on the mobile home pages of the top 50 news websites – including ours – and found that more than half of all data came from ads and other content filtered by ad blockers. Not all of the news websites were equal.


We estimated that on an average American cell data plan, each megabyte downloaded over a cell network costs about a penny. Visiting the home page of Boston.com every day for a month would cost the equivalent of about $9.50 in data usage just for the ads.

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Moore’s Law of Mad Science

Posted on October 4th, 2015 at 10:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Google’s Cute Cars And The Ugly End Of Driving

Posted on October 3rd, 2015 at 20:29 by John Sinteur in category: News


The main thing you should know about autonomous vehicles is that they are utterly inevitable.

Leaving aside technical, financial, and cultural issues for the moment, the question I’d really like to see us thinking about now—before we really need the full answers—is how we’re going to prevent mass government abuse of these vehicles.

The amount of video and other data these vehicles will be collecting will be immense. You can bet governments will want it, both in individual cases and en masse. Governments will want to know where every car is or was, every moment. They will make license plate scanners totally obsolete.

They will want remote control capabilities. Whether or not vehicles can be started. Whether they will keep running or automatically pull over to the side of the road to await a police vehicle (or drive into the nearest police station, with the windows and doors locked?) if they believe a suspect is inside. Whether or not you can drive if you haven’t been paying your bills or are having a legal dispute. They will want the ability to block all vehicles from areas where they don’t want to be observed, and shoo all vehicles already there out of the area. This means individual and en masse
remote control. Pretty powerful stuff.

And remote control is likely to come irrespective of law enforcement, because it’s the most practical way to deal with situations beyond the scope the car’s AI (unusual weather or road conditions, accident and construction sites with authorities giving voice instructions to drivers, etc.), assuming a human driver capable of taking over in such situations is not present.

Remote control capabilities for authorities are also likely to be mandated at some point due to LEO concerns (already being widely discussed) of unoccupied vehicles (the “vehicle on demand” scenario) being used in criminal or terrorist plots.

Most of these issues have already been covered quite convincingly by prescient science fiction for many decades.

Autonomous vehicle proponents would do well to consider how they’re going to respond to government demands along these lines. ‘Cause you can be sure that there are teams already in governments around the world brainstorming about their side of this equation.

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Vatican Observers: It’s Likely That The Pope Will Shitcan The Guy Who Sprung Kim Davis On Him

Posted on October 3rd, 2015 at 13:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


According to a report published today by the New York Times, Vatican observers expect US Papal Nuncio Carlo Vigano to be removed at the “first respectable opportunity” for his “grave misstep” in secretly orchestrating the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis.

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  1. If all the gay priests come out (let’s assume Mr. V. can stay closeted for a bit longer) they’ll have a serious human resources problem.


Woman makes app that lets people rate and review you, Yelp-style. Now SHE’S upset people are ‘reviewing’ her

Posted on October 3rd, 2015 at 10:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


Julia Cordray, of Calgary, Canada, landed herself and her company a ton of publicity this week, appearing everywhere from the Washington Post to ABC News, talking about how the app – due to be launched next month – would enable people to rate others.

“The Peeple app allows us to better choose who we hire, do business with, date, become our neighbors, roommates, landlords/tenants, and teach our children,” the company pitches. Cordray and co-founder Nicole McCullough feel it is a “positivity app for positive people.”

Except of course it took the rest of the world about two seconds to figure out that filtering the world to only include those with positive feelings was not exactly realistic, and all the app was likely to do was invite an endless stream of abuse, bullying, and stalking.

Right on cue, the internet popped up to make that point.

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  1. What a cesspool the internet and social media has become.

  2. @Mykolas: Sort of like a failed state with fewer guns?

  3. @SueW – Yep, and words can do as much damage as guns at times.

Americans dead from gun violence

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 12:21 by John Sinteur in category: News


“News organizations, tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade, and the number of Americans who have been killed by gun violence,” Obama said. “Post those side by side on your news reports.”

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  1. It is a unique cultural phenomenon. Perhaps we should call these “lifestyle deaths”, like deaths on the roads, or from smoking etc.

    If the full remedy (e.g. banning all cars) is unacceptable to the public, then the deaths will continue.

    Harm reduction (e.g. making the roads safer, banning drunk driving) helps but there are still 30K deaths per year in U.S.

  2. I know guns frequently get the blame, but there is something wrong in our society. We discuss it frequently, but I don’t see any solutions.

    I do know that gun owners seem to vote simply on who the NRA endorses, and that is a problem. A big problem.

  3. I may be wrong but I thought that the deaths associated with the 9/11 attack had grown because of the consequences of people breathing in the particulate laden dust the falling of the towers created. I gather that the total death toll has now nearly doubled. This is, of course, still less that the gun deaths total and does not in any way minimise the argument against gun control. I do not understand the weird fetish Americans have for gun ownership and how that came to be confused with notions of liberty and freedom.

  4. The original point was why are people fearful of one unlikely thing when a more obvious danger is apparent?

    Although we clever people might say that “people are stupid”, I don’t think it’s that easy.
    People actually want to be other-phobic, it is part of our nature. Over and over we see this.
    Getting away from that is a struggle.

    @will: I think you’re right. Perhaps if a gun buyer was obliged to take out insurance? NRA could sell it :-)

    @pete: And the road deaths I mentioned don’t include premature deaths because of vehicle emissions.

  5. It’s weird the Oregon shooter claimed to be against organized religion. Usually, the organized religions kill each other

Apple introduces us to the Apple Ring in all its Glory

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 12:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of their next wearable computers in the form of a ring that incorporates touch-sensitive surfaces, gesture sensors, and/or voice-input recognition, a camera, microphone and more. Apple ring could be used with a smart TV, according to Apple, be wirelessly charged in your car wireless via a smart steering wheel and much more.

Okay… tune in Jony Ive’s voice… the Apple Ring is in a sense and extension of yourself, how often does one stop and think about what’s on our fingers. A single piece of aluminu, it is one of the first things people see when they look at you. The most efficient design possible, located in your hand the apple ring will revolutionize the way you interact with others..

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Virginia Republicans Admit They Rigged The State’s Congressional Districts To Elect GOP Lawmakers

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 11:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


In a court filing offered by the Republican members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, the lawmakers who benefit most from these gerrymandered maps admitted that the GOP intentionally rigged the state’s congressional districts in order to produce a lopsided delegation. The state legislature’s “overarching priorities” in drawing the maps, according to the court filing, was “incumbency protection and preservation of cores to maintain the 8-3 partisan division established in the 2010 election.”

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Alabama Demands Voter ID–Then Closes Driver’s License Offices In Black Counties

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 9:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


Archibald also noted that many of the counties where offices were closed also leaned Democrat.

“But maybe it’s not racial at all, right? Maybe it’s just political. And let’s face it, it may not be either.” he wrote. “But no matter the intent, the consequence is the same.”

Top comment on that article, from wiscojoe, is just perfect:

Republican strategy:

-We should require photo ID at the polls. Photo IDs are super easy to get, so it’s totally not a problem.

-On a totally unrelated note, we no longer have the money to make photo IDs accessible to all citizens.

-We don’t need to regulate corporations, because people can just file civil lawsuits to address malfeasance.

-On a totally unrelated note, we need to pass tort reform which will make it more difficult for people to file civil lawsuits against corporations.

-We don’t need to worry about discrimination within the private sector, because the government already provides enough public services to all citizens.

-On a totally unrelated note, we need to privatize most public government services and let religious charities fill in the gap.

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‘Let the little homo sue’: TN official bashes teen who wanted to bring boyfriend to homecoming dance

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 8:43 by John Sinteur in category: News


A Tennessee public official has taken to Facebook on Monday to make some troubling remarks about a gay high school student who was not allowed to bring his date to a school dance and the LGBT community in general, Towleroad reports.


It’s a Christian school so i you don’t like the rules don’t go there. As usual you have one person trying to change the rules just for himself. I’m told by the alumni the gay kid is looking for publicity. I hate the term gay. It makes them sound like they are happy and ‘Gay’ And they want to call people that criticize them homophobes to make them sound mean. As a whole, gays are mean, cruel spiteful people with an axe to grind.

The kids love the school a hate their school is in the limelight over a gay kid and his gay boyfriend….This is not about a homo and his rights it’s about a school that is loved by thousands and their memories and their right to keep their history and Christian values intact.

I would say let the little homo sue all he wants. The alumni of CBHS will meet him dollar for dollar and lawyer for lawyer. This is a threat to our values, our Christian values. Everyone shudders when the homosexuals say the word sue. They are vicious spiteful people.



Sanderson responded gracefully, according to Towleroad.

I have been shown a few intolerant comments that were made against myself and other LGBT people. I have nothing but forgiveness for the people who wrote or agree with these comments. I recognize that we all have different beliefs and were taught from varying viewpoints. I hope that individuals and the community as a whole will use this as an opportunity to learn about other people’s beliefs. I know that through education and acceptance, we will move forward as a stronger community.

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According to a new study

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 at 8:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

11% of Americans Think HTML Is an STD

23% thought an “MP3” was a “Star Wars” robot.

18% identified “Blu-ray” as a marine animal.

15% said they believed “software” is comfortable clothing.

2% said “USB” is the acronym for a European country.


And 100% of Time editors think a markup language is a programming language.

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How Pope Francis Undermined the Goodwill of His Trip and Proved to Be a Coward

Posted on October 1st, 2015 at 12:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


After first refusing to confirm nor deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis’ attorney — who made the news public after the pope’s trip ended — said Francis told her to “stay strong.” And that simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying “the gay issue” on his U.S. trip.

The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. As I noted last week, he’s an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality. He did that in Argentina as a cardinal — railing against gay marriage when the Vatican expected him to do so — and he’s done that since becoming pope, striking a softer tone on the issue after Benedict’s harsh denunciations were a p.r. disaster for the Catholic Church in the West. But this news about Kim Davis portrays him as a more sinister kind of politician. That’s the kind that secretly supports hate, ushering the bigots in the back door — knowing they’re an embarrassment — while speaking publicly about about how none of us can judge one another.


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  1. Blimey. Now we have confirmation of the identity of the Whore of Babylon.

    Yup, it’s the End of Days, people. I think only the Trump of the Lord can save us!

  2. The pope has no reason to change as long as the money continues to flow. It’s not about god folks.

How to get TWO articles in the NYT

Posted on September 30th, 2015 at 13:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


Two top Army generals recently discussed trying to kill an article in The New York Times on concussions at West Point by withholding information so the Army could encourage competing news organizations to publish a more favorable story, according to an Army document.

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  1. The Public Relations division of the military should get more respect. They got friends with drones.

    “Please do not bomb my country.”

Cell phone video shows man didn’t assault cops — even though phone mysteriously disappeared

Posted on September 29th, 2015 at 11:06 by John Sinteur in category: News


Video of his booking at the police station allegedly showed him asking to get his phone back. When he was finally released, the police gave him his belongings back. Skeik-Qasim’s phone, however, was not among them, according to the Star.

When Sheik-Qasim got home, there was an email waiting for him. It was from Google and contained the 10-second smartphone video of his encounter with police. Sheik-Qasim had enabled a feature on his phone that automatically uploads video files to his Google account.

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  1. I’m not a terribly smart fellow but even I know there’s no “mystery” here…

Apple Updates And Expands Privacy Page With iOS 9, OS X Information

Posted on September 29th, 2015 at 10:49 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here’s the gist of the news: Apple is updating its privacy site with new information about iOS 9 and the latest version of OS X. It’s also expanding the page with additional sections and information about a wide array of Apple services and features provided to users.

Compare that to how Microsoft is publishing details on their policy

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‘The Soaring Price of Political Access’

Posted on September 28th, 2015 at 19:28 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote – comments on NYT and WP items:

“…the two national parties reported to be planning tenfold increases in the rates V.I.P. donors will be charged to secure the right to attend exclusive dinners and presidential convention forums with candidates and party leaders. This means that top-tier Republican donors will pay $1.34 million per couple for the privilege of being treated as party insiders, while the Democratic Party will charge about $1.6 million…”

There was a time when unions provided a bit of countervailing influence over politicians, and hence provided a way to consolidate the political power of individual workers. That influence has faded over time, in no small part due to the very imbalances in political power that unions helped to overcome. Unfortunately, no new institutions have risen to take their place. Until that happens, until the power of individuals is magnified through collective coordination, if ever, it’s hard for me to see how the problem of inequality of income, and the problem of inequality of political influence will be overcome.

As in that old country saying, if you wanted to go there, I wouldn’t start from here.

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  1. I never knew Democracy was so expensive. I guess money is a substitute for patriots’ blood.

Christian group honors Kim Davis with award

Posted on September 28th, 2015 at 17:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who became a hero to conservatives after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was compared to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks as she was awarded a prize by a prominent Christian organization Friday evening.

Okay, recap: Rich, powerful Christian lobbist organization (Greed) gives a fat (Gluttony, Sloth) four-times-married (Lust) Christian an award (Pride) for her hatred of gays (Wrath).

And here I thought her biggest problem was Envy. She can’t just be happy for someone else’s relationship. She envies the love gay people have for each other.

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  1. Brilliant comment, John. Thanks.

  2. Not that we’re judging or anything, but I can envision the awards ceremony:

    “Ladies and Gentlemen! May I present to you an entrant for that all important role at the End of Times, a big hand for the Whore of Babylon!”

  3. There are credible stories that Lincoln was gay. I am amused by that comparison.

Where the children sleep

Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 13:27 by John Sinteur in category: News


One is missing his bed. Another, her doll with the dark eyes. A third is dreaming himself back to a time when his pillow was not an enemy.

The war in Syria has continued for almost five years and more than two million children are fleeing the war, within and outside of the country borders. They have left their friends, their homes, and their beds behind. A few of these children offered to show where they sleep now, when everything that once was no longer exists.

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  1. I’m sorry to say it but I think this is going to get a lot worse. I hope I’m wrong.

  2. We spend billions to start and fight these wars, but nothing to rectify the problems created. Aid money usually goes to the 1% or directly into campaign funds.

Parental advisory: Explicit lyrics

Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 10:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


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The Decline And Fall Of American Political Debate

Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 9:40 by John Sinteur in category: News


But we’re also separated, increasingly, by the news and commentary we read and watch. To the extent that it informs us of what’s going on, and why, and what to expect, our fragmentation and insularity has reached a dangerous tipping point: we no longer agree on what’s real.

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  1. Seriously? Linking to the Federalist, a blatantly anti-liberal website? Take note of this article’s faux framing of “both sides do it”, only to then follow with “examples” of how liberals just refuse to see reality, with conservatives sometimes having a nasty temper, kinda. In another article, the Fiorina video debacle is laid out as being a prime example of how LIBERALS don’t see reality. Pure c-r-a-p.

Apple investigated by Russia for ‘homosexual propaganda’ over its emojis featuring same-sex couples

Posted on September 27th, 2015 at 9:32 by John Sinteur in category: News


Russian police have launched an investigation into US tech giant Apple on charges of “homosexual propaganda” over emojis featuring same-sex couples used on its iOS operating system.

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More Truth About British Torture

Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 20:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


The reason Shaker has been detained longer than any other British resident is that he was tortured with MI6 personnel directly in the room, as opposed to waiting outside. If the British establishment were not totally corrupt, his return to the UK would finally make it impossible to avoid prosecutions over torture, up to and including Dearlove, Straw and Blair.

The one thing we know for certain about the stinking cesspit of the British political system, is that justice is not possible.

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  1. Well we have a new female Bush, Fiorina believes torture is needed to keep Americans safe.

Researchers Could Have Uncovered Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheat If Not Hindered by the DMCA

Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 14:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


The legal uncertainly created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act also makes it easier for manufacturers to conceal intentional wrongdoing. We’ve asked the Librarian of Congress to grant an exemption to the DMCA to make it crystal clear that independent research on vehicle software doesn’t violate copyright law. In opposing this request, manufacturers asserted that individuals would violate emissions laws if they had access to the code. But we’ve now learned that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency [PDF], Volkswagen had already programmed an entire fleet of vehicles to conceal how much pollution they generated, resulting in a real, quantifiable impact on the environment and human health.

This code was shielded from watchdogs’ investigation by the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA. Surprisingly, the EPA wrote in [PDF] to the Copyright Office to oppose the exemptions we’re seeking. In doing this, the EPA is asking the Copyright Office to leave copyright law in place as a barrier to a wide range of activities that are perfectly legal under environmental regulations: ecomodding that actually improves emissions and fuel economy, modification of vehicles for off-road racing, or activities that have nothing to do with pollution. The EPA is undermining its own ability to issue nuanced regulation in this space, as well as its ability to learn about large-scale violations of the law committed by manufacturers.

When you entrust your health, safety, or privacy to a device, the law shouldn’t punish you for trying to understand how that device works and whether it is trustworthy. We hope the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress agree when they rule on our exemptions next month.

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Obama group quietly explored ways to bypass smartphone encryption

Posted on September 26th, 2015 at 14:06 by John Sinteur in category: News


An Obama administration working group has explored four possible approaches tech companies might use that would allow law enforcement to unlock encrypted communications — access that some tech firms say their systems are not set up to provide.


The task force had solicited ideas from federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The first potential solution called for providers to add a physical, encrypted port to their devices. Companies would maintain a separate set of keys to unlock devices, using that port only if law enforcement had physical access to a device and obtained a court order to compel the company’s assistance.

The necessary hardware changes could be costly for U.S. manufacturers, but the physical access required by this method could limit some of the cybersecurity risks.

The second approach would exploit companies’ automatic software updates. Under a court order, the company could insert spyware onto targeted customers’ phones or tablets — essentially hacking the device. However, this could “call into question the trustworthiness of established software update channels” and might lead some users to opt out of updates, and would later leave devices less secure.

A third idea described splitting up encryption keys, a possibility floated by National Security Agency director Michael S. Rogers earlier this year. That would require companies to create a way to unlock encrypted content, but divide the key into several pieces — to be combined only under court order.

Under the final approach, which officials called a “forced backup,” companies under court order would be required to upload data stored on an encrypted device to an unencrypted location. But this might put significant constraints on companies, as it would require that they design new backup channels or “substantially” modify existing systems.


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Pope Francis Is Ready to Put the U.S. in Its Place

Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 19:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


This condemnation of “exclusion” – from power, from economic security, and, now, from the political ability of people to govern themselves – is central to the pope’s overall belief that gulf between rich and poor is more than a matter of money. That a material world of haves and have-nots encompasses not merely those who have money and those who do not, but those who have safe drinking water and those who have not, and those who can afford medical care and those who cannot, and those who have the ability to face the consequences of the climate crisis, and those who have not. He seems not to understand people who lecture to the barefoot about bootstraps.

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Student accused of being a terrorist for reading book on terrorism

Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 12:21 by John Sinteur in category: News


A postgraduate student of counter-terrorism was falsely accused of being a terrorist after an official at Staffordshire University had spotted him reading a textbook entitled Terrorism Studies in the college library.

And once you see the guy’s name you’ll see it’s just simple racism.


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  1. The trouble with dog whistles is that all kinds of dogs respond. If a government starts ranting off about how huge is the “Threat to Our Way Of Life”, are we surprised what idiots do?

U.S. drug company sues Canada for trying to lower cost of $700K-a-year drug

Posted on September 25th, 2015 at 12:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


A U.S. drug company is taking the Canadian government to court for its attempt to lower the price of what has been called the world’s most expensive drug.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals has filed a motion in Federal Court, arguing that Canada’s drug price watchdog has no authority to force the company to lower its price for Soliris.

Just wait until TTIP is ratified. This will be a monthly occurrence you won’t hear about because it’ll go through a private company controlled ‘court’.

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‘Happy Birthday’ Song Copyright Ruled to Be Invalid

Posted on September 23rd, 2015 at 8:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


The world’s most popular English language song is potentially free from copyright after a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that filmmakers challenging Warner/Chappell Music’s hold on “Happy Birthday to You” should be granted summary judgment.

According to the opinion on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge George H. King, “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”

The ruling means that Warner/Chappell will lose out on $2 million a year in reported revenue on the song. Unless something happens at an appellate court or unless someone else comes forward with a valid claim of ownership to the song, filmmakers like director Jennifer Nelson — who sued in 2013 over demands as much as six figures to license — will no longer have to pay to feature “Happy Birthday” in motion pictures and television shows.

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  1. How nice. Happy Birthday everyone!

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