A phrase you don’t usually see in a news item: unusually mild Ebola
The controlled detonation of a cache of unexploded ordnance, in Iraq, by U.S. Air Force airmen with the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal team. (click for full size)
MTV Networks plans to make every clip from every episode of hit animated comedy “South Park” available for free online next year as part of a strategy to reach consumers everywhere.
The decision from the biggest division of media conglomerate Viacom Inc follows on the heels of the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” whose popularity online has helped boost television viewership.
MTV Networks’s Comedy Central network began offering in October some 13,000 “Daily Show” videos dating back to 1999.
Offering versions of TV shows online has not hurt television ratings, and may have actually helped. “One does not diminish the other by any stretch of the imagination. That is kind of our hat trick,” MTV Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Judy McGrath said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.
On Moneymaking argues that it’s a good thing that Amazon’s Kindle is ugly:
6. You Can Be Pretty Later
The Kindle is ugly. It’s nothing like the iPhone, where people
bought it just to show off the slick interface to their friends.
Instead, Amazon focused on creating a product that does exactly what
it’s supposed to do: give you nationwide access to over 80,000 books
in the palm of your hand. They can make it pretty later.
For the retort, I’ll hand the mic over to Mr. Steve Jobs:
“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
At first, an epidemic of absent-mindedness seemed to have broken out.
One purse was found just sitting on a display shelf in the shoe department at Macy’s. Another one turned up downstairs, in Macy’s Cellar. Yet another rested on a chair in a Midtown McDonald’s, left by a woman who had stepped into the restroom.
In fact, all three items had been planted by police officers in plainclothes during the previous six weeks. And the three people who picked them up were arrested, and now face indictment on charges that could land them in state prison.
Nine months ago, a similar police decoy program called Operation Lucky Bag was effectively shut down by prosecutors and judges who were concerned that it was sweeping up the civic-minded alongside those bent on larceny. Shopping bags, backpacks and purses were left around the subway system, then stealthily watched by undercover officers. They arrested anyone who took the items and walked past a police officer in uniform without reporting the discovery.
Is there a sudden glut of empty prison cells or something?
update, I found a solution.
I think every person in NYC should report every found object they come across to the police – I mean, who knows what might be valuable, you know?
“Officer, I found this half-empty can of Coke – it might belong to someone!”
“Officer, I found a filthy ripped backpack with two mismatched sneakers, a torn-up magazine, and an old syringe in it – it might belong to someone!”
A £125,000 campaign to replace Scotland’s Best Small Country In The World tag has been unveiled.
And the exciting new catchphrase dreamed up by top advertising brains is…”Welcome to Scotland”.
Cellphone users could soon tell when their handset is running low on juice or laden with new messages simply by reaching into their bag or pocket and giving it a quick shake.
A new system uses a phone’s speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound like it contains liquid when it is running out of power. The same technique can be used to indicate when new messages have arrived, by simulating the sense of balls rattling around inside a box.
Homeland Security Agent: “How much liquid is in that phone?”
You: “None. It’s virtual liquid.”
Homeland Security Agent: “It sounds like at least a few ounces.”
You: “Virtual liquids have neither volume nor weight.”
Homeland Security Agent: “Do I look stupid to you?”
You: “Can I take the fifth on that?”
Homeland Security Agent: “That’s Mistake Number Two, bub. Quoting from documents concerning the governance or liberties of American citizens is suspicious activity Level Blue. Ever heard of Ron Paul?”
You: “Uh, sure.”
Homeland Security Agent: “You’re under arrest.”
Ruim elf procent van de Nederlanders denkt dat de Kerstman een personage uit de bijbel is. Dat blijkt woensdag uit een onderzoek van de website Vergelijk.nl onder ruim 2700 respondenten.
Commercieel concurrent Sinterklaas vindt zijn herkomst volgens bijna twee procent in de bijbel.
Meer dan de helft van de ondervraagden meent dat de Kerstman oorspronkelijk is gebaseerd op Sinterklaas. Een kwart heeft geen idee waar de Kerstman vandaan komt en de rest zegt dat hij is verzonnen door Coca Cola.
Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Tuesday it would take a $1.4 billion fourth-quarter charge largely related to losses on home equity loans as the nation’s housing market deteriorates.
The company, which is also the fifth-largest U.S. bank, said it also was significantly scaling back making home equity loans through brokers, citing a need to tighten lending standards and reduced demand from investors to buy the loans.
“Wells is one of the most conservative and strongest lenders,” said David Olson, co-founder of Wholesale Access, a Columbia, Maryland firm that tracks the mortgage industry. “If Wells is taking this big a writeoff, others will need even more serious writeoffs.”
Vice President Dick Cheney was back at work Tuesday after doctors administered an electrical shock to his heart and restored it to a normal rhythm after he experienced an irregular heartbeat.
“He feels fine. He is not in any pain,” said press secretary Megan Mitchell. Cheney was in his office by 7:15 a.m. and met with President Bush. He planned other meetings during the day and was to meet Tuesday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Telling people what they want to hear to win elections is nothing new.
But advances in technology have taken it to new levels. Because computers and polling have made it so much easier to gauge public opinion, candidates race to tell us what we “want” to hear.
They load us down with spin, tip toe around issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn’t a change at all – that somehow what we thought they believed back then is just the opposite of what they believe now.
My bet is not many people believe any of it because frankly, we’re not that dumb.
What annoys me is these candidates must think we are.
What should annoy you, Mr Schieffer, is that mainstream journalists, like yourself are letting them get away with it.
Out of the sunny southern hemisphere comes an illustration of the radical message of Jesus. Baptist churches in inner-city Sydney have put up signs saying “Jesus Loves Osama” and quoting Matthew 5:44:
The reaction from other clergy and even the Australian Prime Minister has been overwhelmingly negative, as other groups have tried to distance themselves from a church that would go so far as to say Christ the living son of God could actually find it within himself to love Osama Bin Laden, Terrorist #1:
“I’m hesitant about it frankly, it’s a bit misleading,” Dr Jensen [head of the Anglican church in Australia] has said on Southern Cross radio.
“If I were a relative of one of the victims of Osama’s activities, I might take affront at this.”
Dr Jensen has said Jesus Christ did preach universal love, but there is a difference between love and approval.
“There is a truth in it (the message of the billboard),” he said.
“(But) what we’ve got to say is, Jesus doesn’t approve of Osama. It makes it sounds like, ‘Oh, Osama’s doing the right thing’,” he said.
Prime Minister John Howard has said churches displaying such a message might have their priorities askew.
“I understand the Christian motivation of the Baptist church,” Mr Howard has said.
“But I hope they will understand that a lot of Australians, including many Australian Christians, will think that the prayer priority of the church on this occasion could have been elsewhere.” link
What a fabulous illustration of how confronting the message of Jesus is. Nobody denies Jesus said it, but everyone wants to qualify the sentiment and distance themselves from the presentation of the sign.
At long last, prize-winning Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein may get his day in court. The trouble is, justice won’t be blind in this case — his lawyer will be.
Bilal has been imprisoned by the U.S. military in Iraq since he was picked up April 12, 2006, in Ramadi, a violent town in a turbulent province where few Western journalists dared go. The military claimed then that he had suspicious links to insurgents. This week, Editor & Publisher magazine reported the military has amended that to say he is, in fact, a “terrorist” who had “infiltrated the AP.”
We believe Bilal’s crime was taking photographs the U.S. government did not want its citizens to see. That he was part of a team of AP photographers who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for work in Iraq may have made Bilal even more of a marked man.
In the 19 months since he was picked up, Bilal has not been charged with any crime, although the military has sent out a flurry of ever-changing claims. Every claim we’ve checked out has proved to be false, overblown or microscopic in significance. Now, suddenly, the military plans to seek a criminal case against Bilal in the Iraqi court system in just days. But the military won’t tell us what the charges are, what evidence it will be submitting or even when the hearing will be held.
Greenpeace adopted a whale, and now wants to find a name for it:
More than 11,000 possible whale names were submitted but we are now down to the last 30 possible whale names…which ones will be given to the wonderful humpback whales currently travelling on the Great Whale Trail?
Choose your favourite name from among the 30 below and hit the submit button at the bottom of the page. You can only vote once but you can ask as many friends to vote as you like.
The voting ends on the 30th of November 2007 at 17:00 Amsterdam time. So vote now and get all your friends to vote too.
Just about all the names are ancient gods and such. And then there’s “Mister Splashy Pants”
So: go and vote for “Mister Splashy Pants”!!
When [Universal Music Group CEO] Morris is asked why the music business didn’t work harder, in the early days of file-sharing, to build its own (legal) online presence, there’s this exchange:
“There’s no one in the record industry that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”
Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn’t an option. “We didn’t know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn’t be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.”
Newsflash for you, Morris: people with a good bullshit story did get past you. That’s where all the non-working DRM crap comes from, and that’s why your own online store is failing.
Privacy, data protection, freedom of expression, universal accessibility, network neutrability, interoperability, use of format and open standards, free access to information and knowledge, right to innovation and a fair and competitive market and consumers safeguard.
On these principles the Internet Bill of Rights will have to be set up, an idea produced by our country and supported by the Italian delegation, led by the Communications’ Undersecretary, Luigi Vimercati, during the UN internet Governance Forum concluded today in Rio de Janeiro.
Convened at the Forum liked the idea which roused also the Brazilian government members. So formally, Italy and Brazil endorsed a joint declaration committing themselves to reach as soon as possible a shared and planned resolution of network rights, a theme that, in the next 2008 Internet Governance Forum of New Delhi, will have to be prioritized.
Today the administration released a fact sheet declaring “Principles for Friendship and Cooperation” between the US and Iraqi governments. Included among these principles is that the US will “provide security assurances to the Iraqi Government to deter any external aggression and to ensure the integrity of Iraq’s territory.” Essentially, the document lays the groundwork for a long-term US military presence in Iraq without actually signing a treaty, which would require the ratification of Congress. Looks like all those crazy people who thought the administration was lying when it said we would have no permanent bases in Iraq were right after all.
Apple may have knowingly shipped its latest Tiger operating system update with a bug that could cause complete data loss on Macs with Apple’s Boot Camp installed. Echoing a growing support thread in Apple’s forums, a report by Macworld UK suggests that older Macs with Boot Camp partitions may suffer a system error on restart when users install the Mac OS X 10.4.11 update: although the problem affects unknown number of users, it is reportedly acknowledged by Apple support as a known issue and requires affected users to completely reformat their drives. The consequences not only include complete data loss in some cases, but also the inability to re-install Boot Camp, as the software — bundled with the newest Leopard operating system — is no longer available to Mac OS X Tiger users.
What a way to get people to upgrade. This is the second time Apple ships an upgrade that they know bricks computers – first the iPhone, now your Mac. Stop buying their crap, people!
In UMG v. Lindor, Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy has partially granted the defendant’s motion to compel discovery into the RIAA’s expenses-per-download, which the RIAA had opposed, giving the record companies two weeks to submit a further response to Ms. Lindor’s interrogatory, and authorizing a telephone deposition of the plaintiffs thereafter.
Damages of “$750 dollars for downloading a song” will likely be “$0.05 dollars for downloading a song” after this… or, since it’s deliberate, let’s multiply it by 10, and get to $0.50 per song. And that 10 times is probably unconstitutional:
In response to judges and juries which award high punitive damages verdicts, the Supreme Court of the United States has made several decisions which limit awards of punitive damages through the due process of law clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In a number of cases, the Court has indicated that a 4:1 ratio between punitive and compensatory damages is broad enough to lead to a finding of constitutional impropriety, and that any ratio of 10:1 or higher is almost certainly unconstitutional.
The Net’s most adored lawyer brings together John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights, and the “ASCAP cartel” to build a case for creative freedom. He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you’ve ever seen.
(I hate his slide-show technique where every word he speaks has its own slide, though)
One of my favorite bits of movie dialog is from The Great Mouse Detective, in which one animated character named Basil says to another, “no one can have a higher opinion of you than I have, and I think you’re a slimy, contemptible sewer rat!”
That’s pretty much my opinion of the Republican Party of Orange County. Imagine my surprise today when I learned of a Republican Party entity that is apparently more contemptible.
For your consideration: the 2006 platform of the Oregon Republican Party. Click on the link and then do a ctrl-F and search for “7.5″, or just scroll down until you find it. Or just take my word that item 7.5 says
“Inter-jurisdictional agency cooperation shall be improved for more effective joint action against organized crime, drug cartels, terrorist networks and the Oregon Democratic Party.”
That’s right. The Oregon Republican Party equates their Democratic counterparts with organized crime, drug cartels, and terrorist networks.
One by one the leaders on the world stage who put their faith in Bush and thoughtlessly did his bidding have fallen in disgrace, usually rejected by their own voters. The first to go were Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and Spain’s José María Aznar. Then Britain’s Tony Blair was forced to surrender 10 Downing Street to his Chancellor of the Exchequer, to give Labour a fighting chance to hold a majority in the next election. In the last week, Jarosław Kaczyński, a conservative ally in Poland fell, and over the weekend, Bush’s most faithful follower in the entire pack, the veritable boot-licker John Howard of Australia. In each case, the association with George W. Bush was electoral cyanide to voters back home.
Says former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a man close to Bush’s father and to Henry Kissinger, in a recent interview with Die Zeit, given the choice between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, he’ll opt for the man in the Kremlin. Bush 43 is just “too dangerous.”
When Bush’s presidency is written up for the history books, one aspect will merit a special chapter, and that is the amazing alchemy by which Bush turned America’s staunchest allies around the world into disaffected onlookers, if not in fact enemies. He is gifted with the opposite of the diplomatic Midas touch.
The Puritans were religious radicals being driven into exile out of England. Since their story is well known, I will not repeat it here. They settled and built a colony which they called the “Plymouth Plantation”, near the ruins of a former Native village of the Pawtuxet Nation. Only one Pawtuxet had survived, a man named Squanto, who had spent time as a slave to the English. Since he understood the language and customs of the Puritans, he taught them to use the corn growing wild from the abandoned fields of the village, taught them to fish, and about the foods, herbs and fruits of this land. Squanto also negotiated a peace treaty between the Puritans and the Wampanoag Nation, a very large Native nation which totally surrounded the new Plymouth Plantation. Because of Squanto’s efforts, the Puritans enjoyed almost 15 years of peaceful harmony with the surrounding Natives, and they prospered.
At the end of their first year, the Puritans held a great feast following the harvest of their new farming efforts. The feast honored Squanto and their friends, the Wampanoags. The feast was followed by 3 days of “thanksgiving” celebrating their good fortune. This feast produced the image of the first Thanksgiving that we all grew up with as children. However, things were doomed to change.
Until approximately 1629, there were only about 300 Puritans living in widely scattered settlements around New England. As word leaked back to England about their peaceful and prosperous life, more Puritans arrived by the boatloads. As the numbers of Puritans grew, the question of ownership of the land became a major issue. The Puritans came from the belief of individual needs and prosperity, and had no concept of tribal living, or group sharing. It was clear that these heathen savages had no claim on the land because it had never been subdued, cultivated and farmed in the European manner, and there were no fences or other boundaries marked.
The land was clearly “public domain”, and there for the taking. This attitude met with great resistance from the original Puritans who held their Native benefactors in high regard. These first Puritan settlers were summarily excommunicated and expelled from the church.
In 1641, the Dutch governor of Manhattan offered the first scalp bounty; a common practice in many European countries. This was broadened by the Puritans to include a bounty for Natives fit to be sold for slavery. The Dutch and Puritans joined forces to exterminate all Natives from New England, and village after village fell. Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches of Manhattan announced a day of thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. This was the 2nd Thanksgiving. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets of Manhattan like soccer balls.
The killing took on a frenzy, with days of thanksgiving being held after each successful massacre. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape. Their chief was beheaded, and his head placed on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained for 24 years. Each town held thanksgiving days to celebrate their own victories over the Natives until it became clear that there needed to be an order to these special occasions. It was George Washington who finally brought a system and a schedule to thanksgiving when he declared one day to be celebrated across the nation as Thanksgiving Day.
Let’s focus in on just one chunk of that $2 trillion: food additives. Our friend Carol Tucker Foreman, one of the nation’s top food safety advocates explained to me, “Those businesses have completely left the United States.” At what cost to our safety? We don’t know. We do know that 5,000 deaths a year or so come from actual foods adulterated with microbiological contamination. But we don’t have any hard data on deaths from additives. The Clinton administration, in 1996, Carol told me, “issued an impressive report” on moving toward gathering that data. “Then Clinton left office, and it was all rolled back.”
But have no fear. The Bush Administration promises now to ride to the rescue. The new report’s very first recommendation is this panacea: “Creation of mandatory and voluntary third-party certificate programs for foreign producers that are based on product risk, to verify compliance with U.S. safety standards.”
Let’s skip over the fact that the report contradicts itself on this crucial point: another part claims “[a]ny private entity that seeks to benefit from access to the U.S. market” already has the same responsibility domestic producers have to ensure their products meet all applicable U.S. safety standards.” Dwell on that inane solecism, and your head will explode. So we’ll move on. “Third party inspectors” are the answer. What does that mean?
Cronyism, for one thing. Just how many “third-party certifiers” would their have to be? And just how lucrative would these contracts be? Bonanza! Watch for Joseph Allbaugh to set up a consulting shop dedicated to the proposition.
The whole idea, by the way, is a giveaway to big multinationals. That’s because, as Carol explains, “If you’re General Mills or Kraft, you can do that. But what about these little companies that don’t have that kind of economic power?” They won’t be able to import—much to the delight, of course, of General Mills or Kraft. Your free market at work.
Not to fear. Explain these noble Bushies: “Industry has a financial interest to sell safe products to its consumers.” No, they don’t: They have a financial interest to produce their products as cheaply as possible, even at the expense of safety, so long as they don’t get caught.
“Likewise, the federal government can learn and benefit from the experience of the private sector.” That’s rich. I’m sure there are plenty of Bush administration agencies who would love to learn how to better pass off defective product on the public, then mobilize the dark arts of public relations to stanch the damage when the truth outs.
This is not how Mary and Joseph came into Bethlehem, but this is how you enter now. You wait at the wall. It’s a daunting concrete barricade, three stories high, thorned with razor wire. Standing beside it, you feel as if you’re at the base of a dam. Israeli soldiers armed with assault rifles examine your papers. They search your vehicle. No Israeli civilian, by military order, is allowed in. And few Bethlehem residents are permitted out—the reason the wall exists here, according to the Israeli government, is to keep terrorists away from Jerusalem.
Bethlehem and Jerusalem are only six miles apart (ten kilometers), though in the compressed and fractious geography of the region, this places them in different realms. It can take a month for a postcard to go from one city to the other. Bethlehem is in the West Bank, on land taken by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967. It’s a Palestinian city; the majority of its 35,000 residents are Muslim. In 1900, more than 90 percent of the city was Christian. Today Bethlehem is only about one-third Christian, and this proportion is steadily shrinking as Christians leave for Europe or the Americas. At least a dozen suicide bombers have come from the city and surrounding district. The truth is that Bethlehem, the “little town” venerated during Christmas, is one of the most contentious places on Earth.
If you’re cleared to enter, a sliding steel door, like that on a boxcar, grinds open. The soldiers step aside, and you drive through the temporary gap in the wall. Then the door slides back, squealing on its track, booming shut. You’re in Bethlehem.
Boise Town Square 1AM
Best Buy Line
Whipped-up crowds of consumers trampling each other for frivolous luxury items frighten me more than Osama bin Laden…