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West of Boston, some good schools find US testing standards unrealistic

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 16:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

“The formula is insane,’’ Ash said. “I just shake my head. When we get to 2014, we’re going to have nearly 100 percent of the schools in Massachusetts not making adequate yearly progress. How can that make sense?’’

This won’t stop until all schools are above average…


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Comments:

  1. “This won’t stop until all schools are above average…” – can you spell “Oxymoron”?

  2. i think it’s more of a race condition than a paradox…

  3. The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average number of legs. They’ll find some numerical trick of that sort :)

Why Are Conservatives Targeting Muslims? And Why Now?

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 15:08 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Now that the so-called Ground Zero Mosque controversy is slipping off the front pages for the first time in weeks, it’s time to ask: Just what the hell was all that about, anyway? Why was it so important that we had to spend all that time discussing it? And why are the conservatives taking out after the Muslim community now — nine full years after 9/11?

By now, it’s pretty obvious that this was never really about sacred ground or respecting the memories of the dead. What it was really about was the future of the conservative movement.

Conservatives can do without a god, but they can’t get through the day without a devil. Their entire model of reality revolves around the existence of an existential enemy who’s out to annihilate them. Take that focal point away, and their whole worldview collapses into incoherence. This need is so central to their thinking that if there are no actual enemies around, they’ll go to considerable lengths to make some (or just make some up).


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Twitter / kelly oxford

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 14:55 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

Christine O’Donnell: ‘If evolution is real why are there still monkeys?’ Well Christine, education is real and there are still morons.


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They prefer meat

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 14:48 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 14:46 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.


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Comments:

  1. What a waste of time.
    People will just end up using strong encryption and preshared keys to transmit messages across compromised mediums. What good is being able to unscramble messages on skype if the unscrambled message is just ASCII armored pgp or, worse yet one-time-pad encrypted data.

Twitter / WikiLeaks

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 10:53 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Burn all the books you want, Nazi punks. We already have a copy. | CNN http://bit.ly/acJnX9


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Pro-life campaigner: Term ‘fertilized egg’ is like using ‘N-word’

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 7:01 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

[Quote]:

Using the term "fertilized egg" is "the same thing as using the N-word," says the pro-life minister behind a Colorado campaign to have fertilized eggs declared legal persons.

Colorado’s Amendment 62, which will appear on the ballot this November, is the second attempt by pro-life groups in the state to have fertilized eggs declared legal persons. The campaign is seen as a direct challenge to pro-choice rights, as a declaration that fertilized eggs are persons would potentially make any case of abortion a homicide.

Since a lot of pregnancies miscarriage in a natural way in the first few weeks, I wonder what crime the mother commits when that happens…


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Comments:

  1. “I wonder what crime the mother commits when that happens…” – an accessory before, during, and after the fact?

  2. I wonder how many people who might actually be sympathetic to the pro-life side of the debate are turned off by shenanigans like this…

  3. So does that mean that unborn fetuses, as legal persons, would qualify for Social Security child’s benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits, or for benefits under AFDC, or as legal tax deductions for the year in which they were conceived (as opposed to the year in which they are born)? Do we need to get an SSN upon conception of the “legal person” in order to qualify for the benefits noted above?

  4. “N-words” are legal persons?

EU may speed up approval of genetically modified food crops

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 23:01 by Paul Jay in category: News

[Quote]:

As America chews over a bid to market “Frankenfish” salmon, Europe wants to drop scientific objections to genetically modified (GM) crops in a move even its backers admit leaves a strange taste.

With the GM industry and its opponents each sharpening their legal claws, European nations will debate a proposed rule change on Monday that would allow officials to accelerate authorizations for 15 new transgenic crops while letting those who want to keep them off their territories do so.


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Iran Fights Malware Attacking Computers

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 13:51 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The Iranian government agency that runs the country’s nuclear facilities, including those the West suspects are part of a weapons program, has reported that its engineers are trying to protect their facilities from a sophisticated computer worm that has infected industrial plants across Iran.

[..]

Stuxnet, which was first publicly identified several months ago, is aimed solely at industrial equipment made by Siemens that controls oil pipelines, electric utilities, nuclear facilities and other large industrial sites. While it is not clear that Iran was the main target — the infection has also been reported in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and elsewhere — a disproportionate number of computers inside Iran appear to have been struck, according to reports by computer security monitors.

Given the sophistication of the worm and its aim at specific industrial systems, many experts believe it is most probably the work of a state, rather than independent hackers.


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10 Years

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 11:53 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


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Comments:

  1. Apple has made progress in ten years time! Let’s all get our dicks out!

  2. Name one other 10 year old computer that is iconic enough that people immediate recognize it. And if you can find one – name one phone the same company produces today.

    In the unlikely case that you can find one, you’ll end up with the same technical comparison. and THAT was the point.

German Catholic bishop resigns in disgrace, church members’ exodus continues

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 11:47 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

The bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, has written a letter to the pope offering his resignation after being accused of using violence against children in his care, and of misusing funds donated to a local orphanage.

[..]

In Germany, many people are official members of their church, and as such, they pay a “church tax” which is deducted directly from their monthly pay-checks.

More and more people have been leaving Germany’s Catholic church this year, and these increases coincide with revelations of a string of sexual abuse scandals and the church’s perceived failure to deal swiftly and openly with the cases.

2,711 Catholics in the city of Freiburg left the church in March this year, compared to 1,058 people a year ago. In Stuttgart the January 2010 leavers’ figure of 1,101 jumped to 2,676 in March. Berlin’s Catholic community lost 929 members in the last quarter of 2009, and 1,323 in the first three months of 2010.


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Cartoons

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 11:41 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Multinational copyright companies will require French ISPs turn over 150,000 subscriber names and addresses per day

Posted on September 26th, 2010 at 8:11 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

[Quote]:

France’s "3-strikes" rule comes into effect this week, and multinational corporations are already flooding French ISPs with more than 10,000 requests a day for the personal information of accused infringers; they estimate that this number will go up to 150,000 users/day shortly.

[..]

ISPs that are not able to turn over 150,000 personal identities per day face a fine of €1,500 per accused infringer.

So the record companies are now trying to bankrupt the ISPs? Or are they trying to disconnect all of France within the year?


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Comments:

  1. I have shame for my own country for letting this happen and this is going to be a lot worse in the near future with loppsi2 and Deep Packet Inspection. This is not for the good of the majority and it is like a governement fighting its own people (and companies fighting its customers). This is sad. This is not what should happen in a free country, in a democraty.

Microsoft’s DRM makes your computer vulnerable to attack

Posted on September 25th, 2010 at 8:22 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property, Microsoft

[Quote]:

The msnetobj.dll library is an ActiveX control used by Microsoft’s DRM; it is intended to prevent the owner of a computer from saving or viewing certain files except under limited circumstances, and to prevent the computer’s owner from disabling it or interfering with it.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it is also vulnerable to three separate attacks — buffer overflow, integer overflow and denial of service — any of which can compromise your computer’s working, leaving your data vulnerable to crooks and vandals.


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Comments:

  1. It is amazing that after so many years, so many failures, they still push and push this DRM thing.
    If it doesn’t work, do some more of it. Typical.

Most smartphoners don’t give a flip about apps

Posted on September 25th, 2010 at 8:20 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

Apple has over 250K offerings in its iTunes App Store, and the Android Market around 80K — but a new survey has shown that only 12.4 per cent of handset users cite the number of available apps as an influence on their decision of which phone to buy.

[..]

In other words, a majority of users purchase mobile phones primarily because — mirabile dictu — they want to make phone calls.

[..]

It also notes that the unlocked Google Nexus One was “not a sales success,” and that its failure “further illustrates that the true demand for unlocked handsets is lower than many believe and relegated almost entirely to a technically savvy audience.”

Translation: expect the rising tide of junkware to continue rising — even though most users don’t care about apps.


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Comments:

  1. People pay the data plan premium because they want to make voice calls? This makes no sense.

    I did recently hear that most iPhone users use only about 7 apps, including the Phone app and Safari.

  2. This was weird… Everyone I know are heavily into apps… Now maybe consumers aren’t loyal to the apps as they could be to a brand – and a lot of similar apps exist on both platforms anyway. And maybe consumers don’t care for the amount of apps, figuring 80K is a bit more than they could experience anyway?

“I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican,” Colbert testified. “I want it picked by an American, sliced by a Guatemalan . . . and served in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.”

Posted on September 25th, 2010 at 6:53 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

This morning comedian Stephen Colbert testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security, where he appeared as a witness on the issue of migrant farm work. He did so in character: “a fake blowhard before a panel of real pontificators. “It’s unclear upon how many members of the committee the joke was lost.” [Video | 05:19].

For any Dutch reading this – this would be like Dik voormekaar and Meneer de Groot testifying for a parlementair onderzoek.


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Apple now world’s second-largest company

Posted on September 25th, 2010 at 6:49 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

[Quote]:

Apple is now the world’s second-largest company, in terms of market value.

In after-hours trading on the US’s tech-heavy NASDAQ market, Apple’s share value hovered around $293 per share. At that level, Cupertino’s market value comes in at over $267bn, surpassing the former number two, PetroChina, which is valued at a paltry $265.5bn.

[..]

Almost exactly 13 years ago, when asked what he would do to fix the then-ailing Apple Computer, Michael Dell famously told a crowd of IT execs: “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”

Dell’s market capitalization is currently $24.6bn.

Oh, and before you ask: Microsoft, $214.4bn; IBM, $169.2bn; Intel, $108.1bn.


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Comments:

  1. I wonder how deep shares would fall if Steve would leave.

  2. Net income for the 12-month period ending 6/30/2010:

    Microsoft $18.76 billion
    IBM $14.014 billion
    Apple $12.237 billion
    Intel $9.467 billion

    What’s wrong with this picture?

  3. Nothing – investors are more optimistic about the future value of Apple than of the future value of Microsoft. If they are right remains to be seen.

  4. They’re so excited about the future value of Apple that they’re willing to drastically overpay for the present value. Seems less like bragging rights (as it is so often used) to me and more like foolhardy chauvinism.

In Good Faith: Texas school board mulls limiting Islam references – In Good Faith: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and World Religions

Posted on September 24th, 2010 at 22:54 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ, Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

The State Board of Education plans to vote Friday on a one-page resolution calling on textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books.

Critics say it’s another example of the ideological board trying to politicize public education in the Lone Star State.

"It’s just more of the same Islamaphobic, xenophobic attitude we’ve been seeing around the country," said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Council of American Islamic Relations of Texas. "It’s not like Muslims are not part of the country. This kind of attitude is not healthy, it’s not even American."

Future boards that will choose the state’s next generation of social studies texts would not be bound by the resolution.

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian beliefs and practices.

"Diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions in social studies texts," reads a preliminary draft of the resolution.

The resolution also claims "more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now."

The measure was suggested to the board this summer by Odessa businessman Randy Rives, who lost his Republican primary bid for a seat on the panel earlier this year.

The only thing worse than ignorance is the insistence that everyone else be just as uneducated.


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New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

Posted on September 24th, 2010 at 22:15 by Paul Jay in category: News

[Quote]:

New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It’s so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being “rich”, or what tax rate is “too much.” But I’ve done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.


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Comments:

  1. Actually, I do agree with him.
    There must be diminishing return on the work you do, so after a while you suddenly should work for free.
    And c’mon, if the government takes away 65% of your earning, that’s ok. It’s not like they took 98%, is it?
    I propose that anyone earning over 50k EUR in Europe, and anyone earning over 250k USD in the US should pay 100% on their income above that limit.
    If their earning goes over 100K and 500K then the tax should be increased to 120%.
    Personal wealth should have an upper limit.

  2. The US govt. taxes the super rich at 15%, while it taxes the middle class at 25%. Maybe we should do something about that.

  3. Tax everyone 20%. No cuts, kickbacks, reliefs,etc. 20% straight. Or 25% or 18%. Pick one and stick to that.

Sell your HP stock now

Posted on September 24th, 2010 at 7:40 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

[Quote]:

This is what happens when a PC hardware company tries to copy an Apple product’s feature checklist without getting it.


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Comments:

  1. -Ctrl-Alt-Delete hardware button.
    -i-want-to-type-something button

    Hilarious.

  2. Seems that most of the complaints are Windows 7 issues/requirements. I would hold off on selling the stock until a WebOS version comes out.

  3. At least he recorded it on an Iphone. The interface does appear clunky. I checked out an Ipad at the store one day and was very impressed…not clunky.

Ain’t No Party Like a Blackwater Party, ‘Cause a Blackwater Party Got Coke, ‘Roids, and AKs

Posted on September 24th, 2010 at 7:28 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

our favorite ballplayers had former bat boy Kirk Radomski get them their steroids. While in Iraq, Blackwater had a Texas businessman named Howard Lowry, who bought steroids “by the case” for juicing security contractors.

And Lowry didn’t just help Blackwater’s guards get jacked. He helped them get deadly as well, buying over 100 AK-47s and ammunition for the company on the black market.

And what goes better with guns and steroids than nudity and drugs? In a sworn deposition for a lawsuit brought by two ex-Blackwater employees, Lowry maintains that he hung out at Blackwater parties in Baghdad where “company personnel had large amounts of cocaine and blocks of hashish and would run around naked.” Addled guards would step onto the balconies of the their rooms at the Hamra Hotel, point their automatic rifles at Iraqi housing complexes and open fire.


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Foreclosure mistakes: Man’s home sold out from under him in foreclosure mistake

Posted on September 23rd, 2010 at 16:46 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

[Quote]:

When Jason Grodensky bought his modest Fort Lauderdale home last December, he paid cash. But seven months later, he was surprised to learn that Bank of America had foreclosed on the house, even though Grodensky did not have a mortgage.

Grodensky knew nothing about the foreclosure until July, when he learned that the title to his home had been transferred to a government-backed lender. "I feel like I’m hanging in the wind and I’m scared to death," said Grodensky. "How did some attorney put through a foreclosure illegally?"

Bank of America has acknowledged the error and will correct it at its own expense, said spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens.

[..]

In Florida courts, which have been swamped with foreclosure cases for several years, mistakes “happen all the time,” said foreclosure defense attorney Matt Weidner in St. Petersburg. “It’s just not getting reported.”

And you’d think it’s not that big of a problem when BoA acknowledged the error and will correct it at its own expense, right?

Grodensky said he spent months trying to figure out what happened, but said his questions to Bank of America and to the law firm Florida Default Law Group that handled the foreclosure have not been answered. Florida Default Law Group could not be reached for comment, despite several attempts by phone and e-mail. Grodensky said he has filed a claim with his title insurance company, but that, too, has not resulted in any action.

It wasn’t until last week, when Grodensky brought his problem to the attention of the Sun Sentinel, that it began to be resolved.


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Men allege sexual coercion by prominent Atlanta pastor

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 21:08 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

[Quote]:

wo Georgia men have filed a lawsuit claiming that prominent Atlanta, Georgia, pastor Eddie Long coerced them into sex.

The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex.

A spokesman for Long told CNN on Wednesday that the allegations are "a case of retaliation and a shakedown for money by men with some serious credibility issues."

Long "categorically and adamantly denies these allegations," said spokesman Art Franklin.

"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," the suits allege.

[..]

A 2007 article in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s magazine called him “one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement.”

From the article, this could simply be a bogus way to retaliate against the pastor for different things. We’ll see when the pictures leak.


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Comments:

  1. Sigh, yes, thats a possibility.

    I remember the 1990s, when the feministic movement painted every male as a potential rapist. In that time, we saw tons of wrong lawsuits, where female students accused their teachers or professors of raping them, but in reality they used it as an easy way of revenge or even for financial gain.

    I don’t say that rape and misuse doesn’t happen, and I don’t want to downplay the problem. But the church scandal might now entail malicious people jumping on the bandwagon, trying to exploit the current situation for their own personal gain.

    This is the worst thing that could happen, because then the real victims might get themselves accused of only pretending abuse and trying to exploit the situation.

    Sometimes, I despair of humanity.

You shall not pass!

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 20:59 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 20:54 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

According to a poll released Tuesday, nearly 20 percent of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water- retaining desert plant since he took office.

[..]

According to the poll, Obama has lost favor among many voters who supported his candidacy in 2008 but have since come to doubt he is a mammal. While these Americans concede Obama may not specifically be a cactus, most believe he is a plant of some kind, with 18 percent saying the president is a ficus, 37 percent believing him to be a grain such as wheat or millet, and 12 percent convinced he is an old-growth forest in Northern California.


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Cartoons

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 20:51 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Comments:

  1. Regarding the third one, sounds like a reason not to study algebra, too…

  2. it would a bitch and a half to do algebra or even basic arithmetic without zeroes. but maybe we could keep them since they’re indian, not arabic.

    (XXIV / VIII) – III = ???

Gallo report adopted: A stab in the back of citizens’ freedoms

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 17:13 by Paul Jay in category: News

[Quote]:

Strasbourg, Sept. 22nd 2010 – The European Parliament has just adopted the Gallo report on copyright enforcement by 328 to 245 votes. This very repressive text is one more step in the entertainment industries’ crusade against their own public. The Members of the Parliament have failed to recognize that the measures called for in this non-legislative text profoundly undermine fundamental freedoms1. For the next steps, citizens must remain on their guard and should continue to inform their elected representatives about the lies of the industry, and the importance of the Internet for the future of our societies.

In the end, the lobbying from the entertainment industries proved extremely powerful, as demonstrated by the nefarious influence of a few members of the ALDE group who helped rejecting alternative approaches and thereby paved the way for a call to ruthless enforcement2. Baseless studies3 and letters signed by dead or unknown movie producers, fake signatures4, or 7 years old singers5 were used among other deceptive techniques to get this vote, against the general interest of EU citizens.


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Feds’ Requests for Google Data Rise 20 Percent

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 12:31 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy

[Quote]:

The number of U.S. government requests for Google data rose 20 percent in the last six months, according to data released by the search giant Monday.

U.S. government agencies sent Google 4,287 requests for data on Google users and services from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2010, an average of 23.5 a day. That’s compared to 3,287 for July 1 to Dec. 31, 2009, the company reported Tuesday in an update to its unique transparency tool.

That rise is just a small part of the newest statistics on worldwide government data requests to Google, which are now paired with a comprehensive tool for viewing government blockages of Google services. The new tool lets you check timelines of traffic to 17 Google services from some 200 countries to see blockages and traffic patterns.


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Eileen Nearne, Wartime Spy, Dies at 89

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 11:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

After she died earlier this month, a frail 89-year-old alone in a flat in the British seaside town of Torquay, Eileen Nearne, her body undiscovered for several days, was listed by local officials as a candidate for what is known in Britain as a council burial, or what in the past was known as a pauper’s grave.

But after the police looked through her possessions, including a Croix de Guerre medal awarded to her by the French government after World War II, the obscurity Ms. Nearne had cultivated for decades began to slip away


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Cartoons

Posted on September 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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