The popular reality TV show “Big Brother” plans to expand into virtual reality with a new edition in the online world of Second Life, the Dutch unit of television programmer Endemol said on Monday.
Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual world with more than 1 million registered users and its own economy and currency. It was created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab.
Endemol will select 15 international Second Life contestants to spend at least eight hours a day inside a specially constructed glass-walled house for one month. As in the real-world version of “Big Brother,” the contestants will be voted off until only one remains.
What a pity – there’s some paint drying over here that needs watching, so I guess I’m going to miss this.
A top Bush administration official on Friday said the European Union, the United Nations and other international entities increasingly are using international law to challenge U.S. powers to reject treaties and protect itself from attack.
“International law is being used as a rhetorical weapon against us,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, a former federal appellate judge, said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative policy group.
I guess “stop breaking them” isn’t an option, then?
Te lui om alle partijprogramma’s te lezen? Te dom voor de Stemwijzer?
U bent niet alleen hoor, samen met 80% van Nederland bent u perfect geschikt voor de Stom Wijzer:
Voor iedereen die geen snars verstand heeft van politiek, maar wel gaat stemmen!
Het UWV, altijd wel goed voor een relletje hier en daar, gaat consequent door met geld verkwisten. Tegenwoordig proberen ze mensen uit de WW te halen door ze op reïntegratiecursus te schoppen. Niets mis mee, ware het niet dat deze cursus een project is van ex-scientology aanhanger en nu zelf verklaard god Harry Palmer. Harry leert werklozen onder meer dat zij bezeten zijn door astrale geesten die verantwoordelijk zijn voor ziektes, niet goed functionerende organen, dwangmatig gedrag en psychische problemen en dat allemaal voor het lieve bedrag van 11.000 euro per cursist. Inmiddels zijn er al 650 mensen op cursus geweest. Voor dat bedrag had het UWV natuurlijk ook haar directiekantoor opnieuw kunnen inrichten.
Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, a practicing Hindu, was re-elected in District 50 last week. Rather than call, his Christian opponent Rae Hart Anderson offered him an e-mail concession that he said read more like a sermon. The following is the text of that e-mail message.
Congratulations on winning the District 50 senate race. Your phone is “busy”…no doubt with good wishes!
I’ve enjoyed much of this race, especially the people I’ve met…even you! I see your deficits–not all of them, and your potential–but not all of it. Only your Creator knows the real potential He’s put in you. Get to know Him and know yourself…you’ll be more interesting even to you!
The race of your life is more important than this one–and it is my sincere wish that you’ll get to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He died for the sins of the world, yours and mine–and especially for those who accept His forgiveness. His kingdom will come and His will be done–on earth as it is in heaven. There’s more….I love belonging to the family of God. Jesus is the way, the truth and offers His life to you and each human being. Pay attention…this is very important, Satveer. Have you noticed Jesus for yourself…at some moment in time, yet???
God commends His love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Death came upon all and was defeated by the superiority of Jesus’ life and His tomb is empty. God in Christ is reconciling the world back to Himself, with offered forgiveness–this is one choice we get to make nose to nose with the living God–fear Him and you need fear no other. Become His family and know the love of God that passes knowledge. See Isaiah and the Gospel of John…good reading while waiting for fishes to bite.
God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jesus Christ lives in His earth family by His Spirit. He said He’d be back, and He said it first. You could invite Him to make the race of your life ‘eternal’. God waits to be gracious to each person that knows they need to be forgiven. Do you? I think you do. Just ask. Christ won eternal life for you and said so. Take Him at His Word. Take some time to get acquainted with this power-filled Jesus…God with us. You could be a temple of the living God, by invitation—yours, TO GOD. There’s nothing like belonging to Christ…not winning, not money, not degrees…it’s the best.
Good wishes and better wishes…until you wish for the best!
Rae Hart Anderson
I really wonder if American Christians really understand how utterly offensive it is to have any sort of proselytizing tossed off at you, because beneath the veil of “I’m just trying to help you” is an underlying accusation that you’re foolish, ignorant, or callow.
Grace is what is exhibited by those of us who have to put up with this crap, yet restrain ourselves from kicking them in the nuts.
A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.
These are government sponsored guerilla advertising campaign undertaken in London to garner public support on government policies in the U.K.
What a story….
Rapist escapes prison.
Rapist is apprehended by authorities.
I spent 6 hours last week in Omaha with Warren Buffett.
I learned from Warren Buffett that day:
1. Be Grateful -
There are roughly 6 Billion people in the world. Imagine the worlds biggest lottery where every one of those 6 Billion people was required to draw a ticket. Printed on each ticket were the circumstances in which they would be required to live for the rest of their lives.
Printed on each ticket were the following items:
- Place of Birth (Country, State, City, etc.)
- Type of Government
- Parents names, income levels & occupations
- IQ (a normal distribution, with a 66% chance of your IQ being 100 & a standard deviation of 20)
- Weight, height, eye color, hair color, etc.
- Personality traits, temperment, wit, sense of humor
- Health risks
If you are reading this blog right now, I’m guessing the ticket you drew when you were born wasn’t too bad. The probability of you drawing a ticket that has the favorable circumstances you are in right now is incredibly small (say, 1 in 6 billion). The probability of you being born as your prefereable sex, in the United States, with an average IQ, good health and supportive parents is miniscule.
Warren spent about an hour talking about how grateful we should all be for the circumstances we were born into and for the generous ticket we’ve been offered in life. He said that we should not take it for granted or think that it is the product of something we did – we just drew a lucky ticket. (He also pointed out that his skill of “allocating capital” would be useless if he would have been born in poverty in Bangladesh.)
2. Be Ethical & Fair
Continuing on the analogy above, consider this scenario:
Imagine that you were selected as the one person (out of 6 Billion) to create the systems of the world. This includes the type of government, social programs, tax systems, military systems, job markets, laws, regulations, etc.
The only catch was this: You had to come up with systems that you believed were fair and that you wanted to live with, before you were allowed to look at your ticket.
When Warren talked about this it made me reconsider the definition of ethical behavior – what type of system would you create if you didn’t know what ticket you had drawn? Would you take a different position on some of the programs you are for or against if you were surrounded by a different set of circumstances?
Because, remember, there are some very wrong tickets you could draw.
This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the “Contract with America” Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.
Really, it’s just a simple thesis: The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. Together, they comprised one of the oddest legislative power cliques in our history. And for 12 years, the media didn’t call a duck a duck, because that’s not something we’re supposed to do.
No fuckwit, that is exactly what you are supposed to do. Waiting until it’s ten days after an election that changes things make you an irrelevant coward, not worthy of any further attention. Fuck off.
Of course, if I were a cynical bastard, I’d predict that the media will suddenly become incredibly diligent in ferreting out all corruption and waste in government. Enough for the Republicans to sweep back to power on a platform of “Look at what happens when you put Democrats in charge: the most corrupt Congress ever!”
Oh, wait, I am a cynical bastard.
The controversial agreement between Microsoft and Novell stinks to high heaven. Look, for example, at the contradictory statements.
Take this quote from the Novell FAQ on the agreement:
Novell makes no admission that its Linux and open source offerings infringe on any other parties’ patents.
How does that jibe with the following quote from Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith?
“We addressed the proprietary issues through the net up-front payment. The open-source we addressed through the percentage of revenue.”
The “percentage of revenue” to which Brad Smith is referring is Novell’s payment to Microsoft so that Microsoft will not sue SUSE customers for patent infringement.
Wait. Didn’t we just read that no such infringements exist? If Novell is paying Microsoft a percentage of its revenue from sales of SUSE Linux as part of a covenant from Microsoft not to sue SUSE customers for patent infringement in open source code, then is this not a tacit admission that Novell’s Linux and open source offerings infringe on other parties’ patents, particularly Microsoft’s patents? How can one interpret this any other way? Why would Novell pay Microsoft not to sue its customers over patent infrigements Novell says do not exist?
Furthermore, if Novell is obliged to pay Microsoft a percentage of its revenue from Linux in order to prevent Microsoft from suing its customers based on patent infringements, how does this fail to break section 7 of the GPL?
From section 7 of the GPL:
If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
Or, as stated by Eben Moglen, the attourney for the FSF:
“If you make an agreement which requires you to pay a royalty to anybody for the right to distribute GPL software, you may not distribute it under the GPL.”
Obviously, the GPL is the reason why Novell must go on record with the assertion that neither Linux nor its other open source offerings infringe upon any Microsoft patents. To say otherwise would be to admit Novell is violating the GPL.
However, if its assertions were true, there would be no reason to pay Microsoft royalties on the sales of Linux and open source products in order to protect its customers from patent infringment lawsuits. Here, Novell’s actions speak much louder than its empty words. No, Brad Smith’s words speak even louder, because his statement is pretty clear that Novell is paying royalties to Microsoft in order to prevent Microsoft from suing its customers. Once again, we must conclude that one of the two explanations above must be true. Only in this case, either Novell is paying Microsoft FUD money, or Novell is violating the GPL.
For five full years, Microsoft says it will promote SUSE. For five years, Novell will guarantee its customers immunity to patent lawsuits by Microsoft.
What happens after the five years pass? I seem to recall Microsoft made five year (or similar length) deals with Sybase, Symantec, Corel, Borland, Citrix, and other companies that thrived before the deals only to be reduced to insignificant gnats afterward. All of these deals involved giving the company a bundle of money and promising them they’d prosper. All of these companys were promptly discarded as partners once Microsoft gained what it needed to eliminate them as serious competition.
Microsoft has once again suckered a company. It dangled pretty, shiny short-term gains in front of Novell/SUSE while, at worst, planning their long-term extinction, at best, planning to use the success of Novell/SUSE to bleed its customer base. If Novell/SUSE becomes the king of Linux in five years, you can bet Microsoft will send its thugs over to Novell and raise its “no-sue covenant” protection payments through the roof.
This means you have five years to dump Novell/SUSE. Dump all MONO development for any of the many excellent alternatives, and abandon your investment in all Novell-based open or closed source tools. Ditch Evolution for one of the many great alternatives. Deep-six anything that has the smell of Novell/SUSE on it. That way, when (not “if”!) Novell goes down, it won’t hurt you.
“I play ice hockey and my understanding is that it is very similar”
New Yorkers proud of the city’s role in abolishing slavery may be disturbed to find that history reveals a more complex and racist narrative.
A New York Historical Society exhibit opening on Friday shows that political sentiment in the city remained heavily pro-slavery and anti-black through much of the 19th century.
“New York Divided,” which will run until September 2007, chronicles events from the abolition of slavery in New York state in 1827 until the end of the Civil War in 1865. It completes the story begun in a previous installment, “Slavery in New York.”
Tony Blair’s outgoing chief strategy adviser fears the internet could be fuelling a “crisis” in the relationship between politicians and voters.
Matthew Taylor – who stressed he was speaking as a “citizen” not a government spokesman – said the web could be “fantastic” for democracy.
But it was too often used to encourage the “shrill discourse of demands” that dominated modern politics.
“The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands.
“If you look at the way in which citizens are using technology and the way that is growing up, there are worrying signs that that is the case.
“What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.
Well, Matthew, there’s a simple way for politicians to answer that one: stop being venal, stupid and mendacious. Blaming the messenger isn’t going to do very much.
On the other hand, it is our (as in “voters”, not “weblogs”) own fault. People get the government they deserve and right now, the people don’t want a government that really does things that would change society, they don’t want a government that will be truthful to them, they want a government that will lie to them and give lip service towards solving their pet issues like gay marriage, while not actually doing anything.
They want a government they can kick around for being weak, indecisive and venal, which is why they keep voting for a government with those qualities. Voting for a real government might actually mean having to take some responsibility as a citizen and people cannot handle being responsible.
The recent surge in e-mail spam hawking penny stocks and penis enlargement pills is the handiwork of Russian hackers running a botnet powered by tens of thousands of hijacked computers.
Internet security researchers and law enforcement authorities have traced the operation to a well-organized hacking gang controlling a 70,000-strong peer-to-peer botnet seeded with the SpamThru Trojan.
The botnet stats tracker even logs the version of Windows the infected client is running, down to the service pack level. One chart commandeered by Stewart showed that Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) machines dominate the makeup of the botnet, a clear sign that the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system is falling prey to attacks.
Another sign of the complexity of the operation, Stewart found, was a database hacking component that signaled the ability of the spammers to target its pump-and-dump scams to victims most likely to be associated with stock trading.
Stewart said about 20 small investment and financial news sites have been breached for the express purpose of downloading user databases with e-mail addresses matched to names and other site registration data. On the bot herder’s control server, Stewart found a MySQL database dump of e-mail addresses associated with an online shop.
“They’re breaking into sites that are somewhat related to the stock market and stealing e-mail address from those databases. The thinking is, if they get an e-mail address for someone reading stock market and investment news, that’s a perfect target for these penny stock scams,” Stewart said in an interview with eWEEK.
All SpamThru bots—the botnet controls about 73,000 infected clients—are also capable of using a list of proxy servers maintained by the controller to evade blacklisting of the bot IP addresses by anti-spam services. Stewart said this allows the Trojan to act as a “massive distributed engine for sending spam,” without the cost of maintaining static servers.
With a botnet of this size, the group is theoretically capable of sending a billion spam e-mails in a single day. “This number assumes one recipient per message, [but] in reality, most spams are delivered in a single message with multiple recipients at the same domain, so the actual number of separate spams landing in different inboxes could be even higher,” Stewart said.
Bridgeport is an unwelcome addition to the music world: the “sample troll.” Similar to its cousins the patent trolls, Bridgeport and companies like it hold portfolios of old rights (sometimes accumulated in dubious fashion) and use lawsuits to extort money from successful music artists for routine sampling, no matter how minimal or unnoticeable. The sample trolls have already leveraged their position into millions in settlements and court damages, but that’s not the real problem. The trolls are turning copyright into the foe rather than the friend of musical innovation. They are bad for everyone in the industry—including the major labels. The sample trolls need to be stopped, either by Congress or by court rulings that establish sampling as a boon, not a burden, to creativity.
George Clinton is otherwise known as the King of Interplanetary Funk and, along with the late Rick James, the world’s most famous funk musician. In the 1970s, Boladian and Bridgeport managed to seize most of the copyrights to Clinton’s songs. How exactly they did so is highly disputed. However, in at least a few cases, Boladian assigned the copyrights to Bridgeport by writing a contract and then faking Clinton’s signature (as described here). As Clinton put it in this interview, “he just stole ‘em.”
The world’s largest music group is suing MySpace.com, alleging the website lets its users upload copyrighted music and videos without authorization.
In a suit filed on Friday at a U.S. District Court in California, Universal Music Group alleges that the News Corp.-owned social networking website has participated in copyright infringement by formatting videos in a way that lets members play and redistribute the content.
“Businesses that seek to trade off on our content, and the hard work of our artists and songwriters, shouldn’t be free to do so without permission and without fairly compensating the content creators,” UMG said in a statement e-mailed to CBC News Online.
“The foundation of MySpace is its so-called ‘user-generated content,’ ” says UMG’s statement of claim filed in the Central District of California, Western Division court. “However, much of that content is not ‘user-generated’ at all. Rather, it is the ‘user-stolen’ intellectual property of others, and MySpace is a willing partner in that theft.”
Next up, they’ll sue every upload tool in existence.