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Wikileaks says Australia warned of ‘dirty tricks’

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 20:23 by Paul Jay in category: News

[Quote]:

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Australian intelligence services had warned WikiLeaks of “dirty tricks” before Swedish authorities issued a short-lived arrest warrant for founder Julian Assange over a rape claim, he said Monday.

“We were warned on the 11th (of August) by Australian intelligence that we should expect this sort of thing,” Assange said in a telephone interview with broadcaster Al-Jazeera from a secret location in Sweden.


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‘Zombie ants’ controlled by parasitic fungus for 48m years

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 20:04 by Paul Jay in category: News

[Quote]:

We now present it as the first example of behavioural manipulation and probably the only one which can be found. In most cases, this kind of control is spectacular but ephemeral and doesn’t leave any permanent trace,” Hughes said.

“The question now is, what are the triggers that push a parasite not just to kill its host, but to take over its brain and muscles and then kill it.”

He added: “Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host’s behaviour.

related: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8


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Fringe’s funniest joke prize awarded to Tim Vine

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 18:48 by John Sinteur in category: Joke

[Quote]:

"I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again."


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Outrage at UN decision to exonerate Shell for oil pollution in Niger delta

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 14:00 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)

[Quote]:

A three-year investigation by the United Nations will almost entirely exonerate Royal Dutch Shell for 40 years of oil pollution in the Niger delta, causing outrage among communities who have long campaigned to force the multinational to clean up its spills and pay compensation.

Before you click through – take a guess who funded the investigation.


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Comments:

  1. Looks suspicious, but if Shell were mostly innocent and offered to fund an investigation to prove it, they couldn’t succeed in your book.

    Here’s the bike of Mike Cowing, the guy who led the UNEP investigation:
    http://www.unep.org/documents.multilingual/default.asp?documentid=585&articleid=6151&l=en

    Doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who’s in it for a buck, eh?

    (I’m not claiming this proves anything, of course, but in my mind his bio goes a fair way to balance the fact that the study was paid for by Shell. Unless there’s some really deep corruption going on (not impossible in the UN, but not the trend, I’d guess), Cowing wouldn’t be bothering to lead a sham investigation.)

  2. Looks suspicious, but if Shell were mostly innocent and offered to fund an investigation to prove it, they couldn’t succeed in your book.

    Correct. For things like this, they should have avoided everything that makes it even look improper. And come on, Shell isn’t stupid, they should know that a favorable outcome of sponsored research would be questioned – why are they still doing this?

  3. “And come on, Shell isn’t stupid, they should know that a favorable outcome of sponsored research would be questioned – why are they still doing this?”

    Paid for by Shell, not sponsored by Shell – I pay for the blood test if I cause an accident, but I don’t sponsor it.

    Why do this? I don’t know. One possible reason is because they were told: And you gonna pay the expenses of this investigation, we won’t waste “public” money on it.

    I don’t say that’s what happened, but “paid for by” can be involuntary too.

The Sofa Wars – Plenty to Watch Online, but Viewers Prefer to Pay for Cable

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 13:19 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

[Quote]:

These are confusing times in the living room. The proliferation of Internet video has led to much talk of “cord-cutting” — a term that has come to mean canceling traditional pay TV and replacing it with programming from a grab bag of online sources.

But so far Americans are not doing this in any meaningful numbers. “Nor is there any evidence of it emerging in the near future,” said Bruce Leichtman, the president of Leichtman Research Group, which studies consumer media habits.

This is all the more remarkable, industry analysts say, because it seems to defy the way the Internet has disrupted and challenged virtually every other major form of media — from music to newspapers to books.

In part that is because the television business took action to avoid the same fate. Heavyweight distributors and producers have protected their business models by ensuring that some must-see shows and live sporting events cannot legally be seen online.

Apparently it’s still easier to dump TV altogether than to replace it with an online version..


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Comments:

  1. Yeah, if you’re attached to watching specific shows on HBO or live sports games that aren’t available online, then switching isn’t going to work so well.

    I can say though that even if you just want to watch an occasional movie, and not get it from a torrent, it’s a mixed bag. About a year ago we had several experiences of flipping through Netflix’s streamable catalog and not really seeing anything we were excited about. (So I killed that subscription.)

    And Hulu has its problems too: the episodes get dropped after a few weeks, so if you miss the start of a season you’re out of luck. It’s like insisting on bringing the worst of broadcast TV (the fact that one (or one’s DVR) has to catch it when it’s on) to internet TV.

Population

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 12:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. Can we get a “land mass area by lat/lon” side by side with that, and/or normalize for it?

  2. I looked at http://www.worldmapper.org but they don’t have one…

Faith requires no grammar

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 12:46 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


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Flip a coin

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 12:39 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Assange claims ‘smear campaign’

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 11:58 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, has said the now-dropped charge of rape levelled against him in Sweden was "a smear campaign".

Assange told Al Jazeera on Sunday that while he had been forewarned by Australian intelligence on August 11 to expect a campaign against him, it was unclear who was behind it.

"It is clearly a smear campaign … the only question is who was involved.

"We can have some suspicions about who would benefit, but without direct evidence I would not be willing to make a direct allegation."

Assange said that the accusations were completely untrue and expected all charges to be dropped on Monday, adding that his lawyers were in the process of arranging a meeting with the prosecutors.

He also said that this was just one of many attempts to discredit him.

"This is the first sexual related we’ve had, but we have seen 14 fabricated

documents, for example, that have appeared in various places about this organisation which have been shown to be clear fakes," he said.

"So there are significant forces pushing to perceive things in a particular way".


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Cartoons

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 9:17 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Discovery of ancient cave paintings in Petra stuns art scholars

Posted on August 23rd, 2010 at 8:11 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Spectacular 2,000-year-old Hellenistic-style wall paintings have been revealed at the world heritage site of Petra through the expertise of British conservation specialists. The paintings, in a cave complex, had been obscured by centuries of black soot, smoke and greasy substances, as well as graffiti.

Experts from the Courtauld Institute in London have now removed the black grime, uncovering paintings whose "exceptional" artistic quality and sheer beauty are said to be superior even to some of the better Roman paintings at Herculaneum that were inspired by Hellenistic art.


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Cartoons

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 at 11:20 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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North Carolina Crime Lab Buried Blood Evidence

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 at 10:48 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)

[Quote]:

Greg Taylor was wrongfully convicted of killing a prostitute in 1991 in North Carolina. Taylor proclaimed his innocence, but the evidence against him seemed insurmountable: blood from the victim found on his SUV.

The catch is that there was never any blood in the car. Taylor was convicted after crime lab technicians reported traces of blood on his SUV near the crime scene. Those same technicians buried the results of additional testing that showed there was never any blood.

Taylor wrongly served 17 years in prison until being released in February.

[..]

Cooper said that the investigators pored through 15,000 lab files from the period between 1986 and 2003. Of those, they identified 230 instances where a lab report did not clearly reflect the totality of information in the lab notes.

[..]

Of the 190 cases that will now be reviewed, four people are sitting on death row, three have already been executed and five died in prison.


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Twitter

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 at 10:46 by John Sinteur in category: Quote

[Quote]:

1860-Conservatives accused Lincoln of being Catholic; in 1940,Roosevelt of being Jewish;Now,Obama of being Muslim. Fear-mongers never change


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The “Ugly face” of the ECI

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 at 10:45 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)

What happens if you expose the fact that voting machines can be tampered with?

You are arrested.


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Blackwater/Xe founder relocating to UAE

Posted on August 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)

[Quote]:

Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious security company Blackwater/Xe, has left the United States and is settling with his family in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

There is no extradition treaty between the USA and the UAE.

What a proud patriot….


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Medieval Copy Protection

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 18:14 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

[Quote]:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the one thousand two hundred twenty-ninth year from the incarnation of our Lord, Peter, of all monks the least significant, gave this book to the [Benedictine monastery of the] most blessed martyr, St. Quentin. If anyone should steal it, let him know that on the Day of Judgment the most sainted martyr himself will be the accuser against him before the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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Intel buys security software firm McAfee for $7.68B

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 17:16 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Intel announced today that it will acquire McAfee, maker of anti-virus and other security software, for $7.68 billion in cash, or $48 per share.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and there’s only one scenario where this makes sense. Somebody in the upper reaches of Intel wanted to be a player, get on the cover of the WSJ and advance their career into CEO at the next company.

He looks around for somebody to buy that won’t annoy the regulators. He his now the mover and shaker behind a $7bn buyout, and by the time it turns out to be a bust he will have moved on.


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Comments:

  1. I think they are going to do security in hardware. (Their security, not ours.) As a side effect we probably won’t be able to replace Intel hardware when it breaks. God help us nerds.

  2. nVidia tried that, security added to their chipsets, and failed miserably. I fear John’s analysis will turn out to be spot on; it’s like Holmes said: if you illiminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

  3. A Senior VP may dream up something like this, but it still requires the CEO, CFO, and the board to buy the idea. John’s theory assumes all those people have been hoodwinked. It’s happened before, of course, but you have to assume there’s a pretty good story on the table, because by easily available numbers it doesn’t make sense; MacAfee doesn’t generate the kind of cash flow necessary to justify this.

    So what’s the story? Intel thinks that the Internet will become an even bigger cesspool of phishers and malware? Intel thinks Macafee can sell software for the iPhone. (???) Intel knows that Win7 security is fundamentally flawed and Macafee sales will rise? Intel is coming out with its own desktop OS and wants to kill off the best security software available for Windows?

  4. You are still looking into logical explanations, and can’t find any. I agree with you it doesn’t make sense, that McAfee doesn’t generate the kind of cash flow to justify this. But take profit and cash-flow out of the equation, and you are left with a CEO, CFO and board who can all say: mine is bigger.

How To Report The News

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 15:02 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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HTTP error

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 14:59 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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A typo more accurate than the intended text

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 13:50 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, Pastafarian News


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They were told to expect dirty tricks. Here’s the first.

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 13:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Wikileaks founders Julian Assange sought by Swedish police.
He is wanted on suspicion of rape in Stockholm.


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Comments:

  1. I strongly suspect that this is the first strike in a media blitz, dirty tricks campaign attempt to discredit Assange and Wikileaks, probably instigated by some black-bag US government, or government-associated organization. Unfortunately, barring some insider whistleblowing, these people often never get exposed for who they are, or who is calling the shots that they are firing.

Cartoons

Posted on August 21st, 2010 at 11:12 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Amulet advert banned over claim of ‘divine protection’

Posted on August 19th, 2010 at 12:05 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

The magazine advert, placed by The Circle of Raphael (CoR), promised that the ‘seven angels amulet’ would bring its owner ‘angelic blessings, guidance and peace’ – and bring them luck at ‘games of chance’ at the casino.

The talisman – the size of a 10p piece and which features an array of mystic symbols – is available in silver for £29 or nine carat gold for £120.

[..]

But the ASA ruled that the advert should not be used again, stating that it had breached honesty, truthfulness and substantiation clauses of the advertising code.

A spokesman for the ASA said: “The ASA noted CoR did not send evidence that showed the efficacy of the talisman.

“We reminded them that the Code required them to hold documentary evidence to support the claims made in their advertising.

“Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated that the talisman would protect wearers from physical danger, bring luck in love and relationships, financial security, good health and happiness, good fortune in games of chance and help in career and work, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and the ad was therefore misleading.”


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Comments:

  1. By this logic, all religions should be banned from advertising as well. “Jesus Saves” is kind of hard to prove…

The Unsettling Truth About Life

Posted on August 19th, 2010 at 11:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. Yup! Great video. B.t.w., your page was down yesterday, messed my rhythm up. ha

  2. Alan Watts is awesome. Lots of audio material of him to be found.

John McCain

Posted on August 19th, 2010 at 10:05 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

[The Onion]:

"President Obama deserves zero praise for this borderline accomplishment," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters. "After all, if it weren’t for President Bush ordering the initial invasion of Iraq and making it his central foreign policy initiative, we wouldn’t be here right now awkwardly celebrating the muddled outcome of whatever the hell it is we’ve been doing over there for the past seven years."

[Twitter from the real McCain]:

Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory.


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Last US combat brigade exits Iraq

Posted on August 19th, 2010 at 9:43 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia

[Quote]:

The last US combat brigade in Iraq has left the country, seven years after the US-led invasion.

The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, began crossing by land into Kuwait in the early hours of Thursday, a military spokesman said.

Some 50,000 US troops will remain until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi forces and protect US interests.

A further 6,000 support troops will be in Iraq until the end of the month, when US combat operations will end.


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Comments:

  1. So here we are full-circle. We started off the Viet Nam war with troops called “advisors.” I don’t think anyone was fooled that time around either.

  2. The last combat troops have left, but combat won’t end until the end of the month and is apparently being carried out by “support troops”? Buh?

The very hungry (and carnivorous) caterpillar

Posted on August 19th, 2010 at 7:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

At first, you might think the weirdest thing about this little caterpillar is its body—long and skinny, with a patch of legs at the front and a patch at the back, it does a lot of rearing up and strategically falling onto things. That last bit becomes important later.

See, this little Hawaiian caterpillar is a killer.


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Plastic Surgeon Was Texting in Car Before Fatal Crash

Posted on August 18th, 2010 at 18:51 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Dr. Frank Ryan, plastic surgeon to Heidi Montag and other celebrities, was sending a Twitter message about his border collie just before his fatal car accident, his ex-girlfriend tells PEOPLE.

"He lived up in Malibu on a tiny street and he was texting while driving and he accidentally went over the cliff," Charmaine Blake says.

Evolution in action


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Comments:

  1. Any idea if he’d spawned before the accident? That would help us know whether this is truly evolution in action.

Texas Pastor Randy Scott Arrested After Posing As Teen To Meet Boys On Craigslist For Sex

Posted on August 18th, 2010 at 12:12 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

Pastor George Randall "Randy" Scott, of the Bethel Temple Assembly Of God Church in Bryan, Texas, was arrested after returning from a trip to Sweden with his wife on for allegedly pretending to be a teenager online to meet other minor boys and then blackmailing them into having sex.


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Comments:

  1. That quote comes from queerty, not the original (cited by queerty) news story, which makes no mention of the pastor targeting boys. Rather, the story says he was blackmailing men into having sex with him after he posed as a minor on craigslist. Basically “to catch a predator” but with sex in mind rather than justice. I think someone over at queerty got confused, because there really isn’t anything on kbtx’s article that says minors were a target.

    Not that I’m defending what he did. Sexual assault against men is very bad and he’s a hypocrite and I’m not surprised because this kind of thing keeps happening. Just pointing out the inaccuracy.

    http://www.kbtx.com/news/headlines/100500214.html?ref=214


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