The former President of Kaupthing Bank, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson has been arrested in Reykjavik, accused of criminal malpractice.
Police arrested Sigurdsson on the orders of Iceland’s Special Prosecutor into the banking crisis, Olafur Thor Hauksson. Hauksson and his team continue to work closely with international white-collar crime investigator, Eva Joly.
The Special Prosecutor put in a request for two weeks’ police custody to the Reykjavik District Court today, but the judge decided to adjourn the case for a day. This means that Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson will stay in police cells until tomorrow at the earliest, and possibly longer if he does not receive bail, Visir.is reports. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in jail.
Just outside Brighton, on England’s south coast, Sarah Pearson watches people watch television. She has almost 100,000 hours of video showing utterly banal scenes—people channel-surfing, fighting over the remote control and napping. Her findings are astonishing. There turns out to be an enormous gap between how people say they watch television and how they actually do. This gap contains clues to why television is so successful, and why so many attempts to transform it through technology have failed.
In the past few years viewers have gained much more control over television. Video-cassette recorders have been replaced by DVD players and digital video recorders (DVRs), both of which are easier to use. Cable and satellite firms offer a growing number of videos on demand. TV has gone online and become mobile. As a result, viewers’ expectations have changed dramatically. Katsuaki Suzuki of Fuji Television, Japan’s biggest broadcaster, says nobody feels they need to be at home to catch the 9pm drama any more.
But a change in expectations is not quite the same as a change in behaviour. Although it is easier than ever to watch programmes at a time and on a device of one’s choosing, and people expect to be able to do so, nearly all TV is nonetheless watched live on a television set. Even in British homes with a Sky+ box, which allows for easy recording of programmes, almost 85% of television shows are viewed at the time the broadcasters see fit to air them.
“People want to watch ‘Pop Idol’ when everyone else is watching it,” says Mike Darcey of BSkyB. If that is not possible, they watch it as soon as they can afterwards. Some 60% of all shows recorded on Sky+ boxes are viewed within a day. Often the delay is only a few minutes—just enough to finish the washing up or to make a phone call. For the most part, internet video is used in the same way. Matthias Büchs of RTLNow, a video-streaming website, says online viewing of a programme peaks within a day of that programme airing on TV.
Efforts to improve the TV-watching experience have often gone wrong because they took people at their word. The past ten years have seen a parade of websites and set-top boxes—Apple TV, Boxee, Joost, Roku—offering a huge range of content and interactive features. All promised to deliver TV the way people (that is, individuals) really want it. Because they failed to take account of the social nature of television, not one has caught on. Efforts to turn TVs into personal e-mail devices and home-shopping outlets have fared no better. “The killer application on television turns out to be television,” says Richard Lindsay-Davies, CEO of the Digital TV Group.
TV is indeed a social thing – but a vapid one. Amongst my readers are no doubt quite a few who – just like me – never bother to turn the damn thing on. Tell me – do you ever run into a situation where not having watched the latest fad is in any way an inhibition to your social interactions?
“We thought [smartbooks] would be launched by now, but they’re not,” Drew told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. “I think one reason is to do with software maturity. We’ve seen things like Adobe slip — we’d originally scheduled for something like 2009.”
So let me get this clear… a software dependency outside your control delayed your platform? Now where did I hear about this potential problem recently? And didn’t that also involve flash?
British Petroleum and government disaster-relief agencies are using a toxic chemical to disperse oil in the Gulf of Mexico, even though a better alternative appears to be available.
A few scientists think dispersants are mostly useful as public relations strategy, as they make the oil slick invisible, even though oil particles continue to do damage. Others consider Corexit the lesser of two evils: It’s known to be highly toxic, adding to the harm caused by oil, but at least it will concentrate damage at sea, sparing sensitive and highly productive coastal areas. Better to sacrifice the deep sea than the shorelines.
BP: Let’s make it invisible!
President Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria, whose chronic ill health sapped initial promises of reform and led to a constitutional crisis in his country, died Wednesday night, the information minister said in a brief interview. He was 58.
If you’re related, you can expect some e-mails…
Even a cynic can find Washington’s hypocrisy shocking at times. The Wall Street Journal reports today a House bill that would force lawmakers to make greater disclosures on financial transactions and disallow them from trading on nonpublic information is going nowhere fast.
That’s right. Members of Congress are currently allowed to profit on insider trading!
The bill, which has been languishing in the House for four years, would require elected officials “to make their financial transactions public within 90 days of a purchase or sale” and “prohibit lawmakers from trading in financial markets based on nonpublic information they learn on the job,” the WSJ reports.
It seems they’re above the transparency they’ve been calling for on Wall Street.
What really went on at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen? Secret recordings obtained by SPIEGEL reveal how China and India prevented an agreement on tackling climate change at the crucial meeting. The powerless Europeans were forced to look on as the agreement failed.
Today the first three production non-Latin top-level domains were placed in the DNS root zone. This means they are live! Here is one newly enabled domain with a functional website that works right now: وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر
If your software does not have full IDN support, this might not work exactly as expected. You may see a mangled string of letters and numbers, and perhaps some percent signs or a couple of “xn--”s mixed into the address bar. Or it may not work at all.
The three new top-level domains are السعودية. (“Al-Saudiah”), امارات. ( “Emarat”) and مصر. (“Misr”). All three are Arabic script domains, and will enable domain names written fully right-to-left. Expect more as we continue to process other applications using the “fast track” methodology.
The BBC points out that [s]ome countries, such as China and Thailand, had already introduced workarounds that allow computer users to enter web addresses in their own language. However, these were not internationally approved and do not necessarily work on all computers.
In a decisive and vulgar 7-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court once again upheld the constitution’s First Amendment this week, calling the freedom of expression among the most “inalienable and important rights that a motherfucker can have.”
“It is the opinion of this court that the right to speak without censorship or fear of intimidation is fundamental to a healthy democracy,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. “Furthermore, the court finds that the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, is not only a founding tenet, but remains essential to the continued success of this nation.”
Added Ginsburg, “In short, freedom of speech means the freedom of fucking speech, you ignorant cocksuckers.”
“I don’t know what kind of bullshit passes for jurisprudence down in the 4th Circuit these days,” Thomas wrote. “But those pricks can take their arguments about speech that ‘appeals only to prurient interests’ and go suck a dog’s asshole.”
The mammoth clock-to-wire-to-gasoline-to-propane car bomb that the authorities said Faisal Shahzad hoped would claim many lives in Times Square has been analyzed, diagrammed, prodded and examined. But not long before his arrest, Mr. Shahzad was also equipped with a less-eccentric — and yet more dependably lethal — weapon. And he owned it legally.