Today’s entry is a collection shared by photographer Peter Carr, from an event in Liverpool, England last year. Said Peter: “As part of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year, the French group La Machine were commissioned to create a large piece of street theatre, on the scale of their earlier work, the Sultan’s Elephant. Many were expecting to see something using the iconic Liverbirds, the symbol of the city but instead we got a spider. The total cost of the event was £1.8 million and caused some complaints about how the funds could better be used. It also attracted protests from arachnophobe groups about how it would terrify some people. Despite these complaints the event drew in over 200,000 people in the few days it was on and produced something wondrous that got everyone in the region talking.”
Taking the drug ecstasy is no more dangerous than riding a horse, a senior advisor has suggested.
Professor David Nutt, chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), outlined his view in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
The council, which advises the government, is expected next week to recommend that ecstasy is downgraded from a class A drug to a class B one.
Ministers have outlined their opposition to any such move.
Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume next month in Morocco, but as the discussions drag on, details on the proposed treaty are beginning to emerge. Obtaining information through official channels such as Freedom of Information requests has been very difficult; however, there is little doubt that lobby groups have been privy to inside information and so reliable sources have begun to sketch a fairly detailed outline of the proposed treaty.
There is some good news from the details that have started to emerge. First, the treaty is far from complete as there are six main chapters and some key elements have yet to be discussed. Moreover, it is clear that there is significant disagreement on many aspects of the treaty with the U.S. and Japan jointly proposing language and many countries responding with potential changes or even recommendations that the language be dropped altogether.
If that is the good news, the bad news is that most other fears about the scope of ACTA are real. The proposed treaty appears to have six main chapters: (1) Initial Provisions and Definitions; (2) Enforcement of IPR; (3) International Cooperation; (4) Enforcement Practices; (5) Institutional Arrangements; and (6) Final Provisions. Most of the discussion to date has centred on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights chapter. As for the other chapters, the U.S. has supplied some proposed definitions and Canada supplied a “non-paper” on the institutional arrangements once a treaty is concluded that calls for the creation of an “ACTA Oversight Council” that would meet each year to discuss implementations, best practices, and assist other governments who are considering joining ACTA.
The Criminal Enforcement proposals make it clear that the U.S. would like ACTA to go well beyond cases of commercial counterfeiting. Indeed, their proposal would extend criminal enforcement to both (1) cases of a commercial nature; and (2) cases involving significant willful copyright and trademark infringement even where there is no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. In other words, peer-to-peer file sharing would arguably be captured by the provision. The treaty would require each country to establish a laundry list of penalties – including imprisonment – sufficient to deter future acts of infringement. Moreover, trafficking in fake packaging for movies or music would become a criminal act as would unauthorized camcording.
The industry wants to make it a criminal offense so they don’t get to bear the costs of prosecution, the tax payer is. And they can maintain their buggy-whip business model thanks to the vague definition of “significant infringement”. Basically this would allow random seizures of music players on the street. “Prove ownership of these songs, or spend years in jail”.
“A tabloid published a picture of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps at a party taking a huge hit from a bong. I think there’s an important lesson to be learned here: Kids, never share your pot with someone who has the lung capacity of a dolphin.”
If you are having trouble reading the fine print: The blue line shows job losses in the 1990 recession; the red line is 2001, and the green line is the path we are on now.
And in his speech, he says atheists and terrorists are basically the same:
Today, religion is under attack from without and from within. From within, it is corroded by extremists who use their faith as a means of excluding the other. I am what I am in opposition to you. If you do not believe as I believe, you are a lesser human being.
From without, religious faith is assailed by an increasingly aggressive secularism, which derides faith as contrary to reason and defines faith by conflict. Thus do the extreme believers and the aggressive non-believers come together in unholy alliance.
As I was reading the article, I thought of all the guys who used to listen to Rush Limbaugh while driving to or from work but are now tuning in from their living rooms because the benefits of the G.O.P.’s right-wing, tax-cutting ideology never trickled down to them and they are now jobless.
“Since the start of the recession,” as Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, points out, “the U.S. economy has shed more jobs than the total population of Chicago.”
The Republicans still don’t get it. Most act as if they don’t understand that in this radical economic downturn the demand for goods and services has fallen off a cliff, and that government spending is needed — and needed quickly — to replace a large portion of that lost demand.
The goal is twofold: to alleviate some of the enormous suffering (something that is easily understood if you have a heart), and to revive the battered economy (equally easy to understand by anyone with a brain).
Senator John McCain echoed many of his Republican colleagues on Friday when he indignantly asserted, “This is not a stimulus bill; it is a spending bill.”
It was an objection that had been addressed by an incredulous President Obama on Thursday night. “What do you think a stimulus is?” the president asked, his voice rising. Spending, he said — to laughter from his audience — “is the whole point.”
Common Windows problems could soon be solved by clicking a “Fix It” button.
Microsoft has started putting the button on its web-based support pages that detail the most common problems hitting PC and Windows users.
Clicking the button kicks off a download that, once run, carries out the series of steps needed to fix a specific problem or remove a bug.
Doesn’t anyone there actually think beyond the ‘oh, this looks cool’ stage? Support teams already have enough problems caused by users simply clicking on anything in sight, the last thing they should be doing is encouraging that behaviour!