Wikileaks has released dozens of new U.S. cables that demonstrate years of behind the scenes lobbying by U.S. government officials to pressure Canada into implementing a Canadian DMCA. The cables include confirmation that Prime Minister Harper personally promised U.S. President George Bush at the SPP summit in Montebello, Quebec in 2008 that Canada would pass copyright legislation, U.S. government lines on copyright reform that include explicit support for DMCA-style digital lock rules, and the repeated use of the Special 301 process to "embarrass" Canada into action. In fact, cables even reveal Canadian officials encouraging the U.S. to maintain the pressure and disclosing confidential information.
The result of Wall Street’s venture into grain and feed and livestock has been a shock to the global food production and delivery system. Not only does the world’s food supply have to contend with constricted supply and increased demand for real grain, but investment bankers have engineered an artificial upward pull on the price of grain futures. The result: Imaginary wheat dominates the price of real wheat, as speculators (traditionally one-fifth of the market) now outnumber bona-fide hedgers four-to-one.
Today, bankers and traders sit at the top of the food chain — the carnivores of the system, devouring everyone and everything below. Near the bottom toils the farmer. For him, the rising price of grain should have been a windfall, but speculation has also created spikes in everything the farmer must buy to grow his grain — from seed to fertilizer to diesel fuel. At the very bottom lies the consumer. The average American, who spends roughly 8 to 12 percent of her weekly paycheck on food, did not immediately feel the crunch of rising costs. But for the roughly 2-billion people across the world who spend more than 50 percent of their income on food, the effects have been staggering: 250 million people joined the ranks of the hungry in 2008, bringing the total of the world’s "food insecure" to a peak of 1 billion — a number never seen before.
“China is raping this country,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the United States has fallen short on technology and innovation.
A funny thing about Japanese business culture is the tendency to apologize profusely for absolutely anything that is beyond the control of the company or its executives. They’ll apologize for traffic, for bad weather, for someone else’s mistake, but if the company or its leaders have actually screwed-up they generally won’t say a thing, which is not at all good for Sony’s global image.
This outage comes in large part because Sony has been so aggressive against hackers, who finally decided to slap-down the electronics giant. This is not to argue that Sony shouldn’t defend itself, but it is to argue that Sony should have expected elevated attacks as a result of its actions. Maybe they did expect more trouble, but the fact that they were so easily compromised shows corporate hubris at a reckless level.
Finally, CJR finds a Royal Wedding angle.
It comes to us all the way from Sydney, Australia, where the national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Network (ABC), has been forced to cancel a planned satirical special covering Friday’s nups.
The special involved a satirical Aussie troupe known as The Chaser boys—a brilliant and celebrated comedic fivesome who once breached APEC summit security with one among them dressed as Osama bin Laden. The plan was for the satirists to commentate the wedding live on ABC2; more regular and respectful coverage would be featured on ABC1.
Then news came in from APTN over the Easter weekend that footage would not be available for The Chaser to use—a set of restrictions about video feed use, agreed to by Clarence House, the BBC, and APTN, would exclude use by The Chaser. And thus the show has been cancelled.
If you’re living in Hell, you may want to put a sweater on, as it’s likely to be getting colder by the second: Apple has now passed Microsoft in both revenue and earnings for the first time since Ronald Reagan was president. On Thursday, Microsoft announced revenue of US$16.43 billion and earnings of $5.23 billion for the March quarter, well behind Apple’s revenue of $24.67 billion and earnings of $5.99 billion.
Apple passed Microsoft on the revenue side in the September quarter of 2010, as you can see in the chart below. It took three more quarters for Apple to pass its erstwhile foe in profits, however, in part because of the disparate nature of the two companies’ business models.
Oh well, at least Microsoft still sales more copies of Windows than Apple sales Macs. That’s something, right?
The more you spend on bureaucracy, the less control you have directly over your Empire. The less you spend on bureaucracy, the more you have to tighten your grip, and the more star systems slip through your fingers.
So, the Emperor and Tarkin focus on making one really huge, high-impact investment: The Death Star. They throw in Alderaan as part of that investment. This doomsday weapon will supposedly free up their resources to spend less on administration, personnel and infrastructure, and continue to function without a Senate. It seems like a big investment until you realize how much they save by not actually having a functioning government.
This is an attractive option even today, as politicians look to pay for tax cuts and handouts to core constituencies by laying off or cutting salaries and benefits for bureaucrats and government workers, as well as by skimping on infrastructure.
The problem, of course, is that it doesn’t work.
Since the TSA “enhanced patdown” experiences started last fall, I’ve heard from a variety of people who came out of the experience feeling seriously violated, with more than a few asking about legal actions they could take after feeling sexually assaulted and molested by the experience. It really is a lot more common than you might think. Many of those I’ve spoken with have decided that they didn’t want to go public with the story of their own experience and their own feelings, because it felt so intrusive and so personal, that having to “relive” it by fighting the TSA would be just horrible. This is part of what I find most nefarious about the TSA groping brigade: like many sexual assault victims, they’re put in a position where after it’s over, doing something about the assault only forces you to relive the experience.
Thankfully, some people are speaking out. The latest is former Miss USA, Susie Castillo, who has posted an emotional video right after being groped by the TSA and feeling totally violated, leading her to break down and start crying.
If you fail to believe you will procrastinate or become idealistic about how awesome you are at working hard and managing your time you never develop a strategy for outmaneuvering your own weakness.
BP had a federally approved Gulf of Mexico spill response plan that explained what it would do for walruses and sea lions—creatures that don’t live in the Gulf of Mexico. Major sections were merely cut-and-pasted from Arctic plans. No one paid attention to them.
In a blow to the Catholic Church’s desire to control all aspects of education in Spain, the Constitutional Court has ruled that the Church unlawfully sacked a religion teacher, Resurrección Galera, for marrying a divorcee.
This brings an end to the bishops’ power to sack teachers who will not live by the Vatican’s ridiculous marriage precepts. It is thought hundreds of teachers have been fired over the years.
“The truly important thing is that these men cannot get away with this and treat people as if they were in the age of the inquisition,” Galera, a practising Catholic who was referring to the country’s bishops, told the newspaper El País.
Biotech companies will soon perform their own studies to determine whether their genetically modified seeds are safe for the environment, according to a new federal plan. That means companies like Monsanto, which provides about 90 percent of the world’s transgenic crops, will help the government decide whether their own products should be approved.
What could possibly go wrong…
A Florida professor was arrested and removed from a plane Monday after his fellow passengers alerted crew members they thought he had a suspicious package in the overhead compartment.
That “suspicious package” turned out to be keys, a bagel with cream cheese and a hat.
Put down the bagel!!
Well this is certainly interesting. Gigaom is reporting that Apple recently purchased the iCloud.com domain from Xcerion for a cool $4.5 million. Indeed, iCloud.com now re-directs to CloudMe.com.
Apple’s track record with cloud based initiatives have been less than stellar to say the least. That said, Apple is reportedly planning a big MobileMe revamp that may be tightly linked with the release of iOS 5 this Fall. Indeed, if the $4.5 million figure is anywhere close to accurate, it’s a good bet that the normally frugal Apple wouldn’t have spent that much money unless it had serious plans for the domain.
Baojun Yuan is a member of China Senior Photographers Association. He is highly respected by Chinese people. Why? In the past nine years, Mr. Yuan has repaired more than 2000 old photos for residents for free. Course it is not surprising enough if you have no idea about this great man. Mr. Yuan is 76 years old now. He didn’t know Photoshop until his was 60 years old. Mr. Yuan learned repairing skills from a teacher and was soon skilled in it. Considering that repairing old photos is too expensive for most of the residents to afford, Mr. Yuan himself bought a computer and a scanner and began service people without any charge. In his words “my teacher just taught me how to repair the photos, but he forgot to tell me how to charge”.
Let’s have a look at Mr. Yuan’s works with respect.
A Filipino Catholic bishop says a pending bill’s supporters are no better than "terrorists."
A former mayor of Manila believes the bill is "worse than martial law."
You might guess the Catholic-majority Philippines is preparing to legalize human sacrifice. But lawmakers are instead considering a "reproductive health" bill that would, in addition to forbidding workplace discrimination against pregnant women, use state funds to distribute condoms and initiate more sex ed in schools.
Third, class arbitration greatly increases risks to defendants. Informal procedures do of course have a cost: The absence of multilayered review makes it more likely that errors will go uncorrected. Defendants are willing to accept the costs of these errors in arbitration, since their impact is limited to the size of individual disputes, and presumably outweighed by savings from avoiding the courts. But when damages allegedly owed to tens of thousands of potential claimants are aggregated and decided at once, the risk of an error will often become unacceptable. Faced with even a small chance of a devastating loss, defendants will be pressured into settling questionable claims.>
Class actions are the way the market corrects for wrongdoing by companies in the absence of effective regulation.
Prepare to start seeing all kinds of new illegal fees on your cell phone bills, cable bills, car loan applications, rent, and so forth. Who cares if it’s illegal if it’s uneconomical for your customers to sue you for it?
Navigation device maker TomTom has apologized for supplying driving data collected from customers to police to use in catching speeding motorists.
The data, including historical speed, has been sold to local and regional governments in the Netherlands to help police set speed traps, Dutch newspaper AD reported here, with a Google translation here. As more smartphones offer GPS navigation service, TomTom has been forced to compensate for declining profit by increasing sales in other areas, including the selling of traffic data.
Nokia has announced that 7,000 will be leaving the company.
4,000 staff will lose their jobs entirely at the world’s largest, but troubled phone manufacturer. Most of the jobs will be lost in Finland, Denmark and the UK. Meanwhile, another 3,000 will be shipped off to Accenture – all of the Symbian software teams.
The idea, according to Nokia’s official statement, is that the outsourced Symbian team will continue to provide mobility software services to Nokia for its future smartphones. Accenture already owns Nokia’s professional services unit for engineering.
Well, that explains why Nokia’s latest devices were utter crap. And Symbian might as well just be gone already…
WASHINGTON–In the continuing controversy surrounding the president’s U.S. citizenship, a new fringe group informally known as “Afterbirthers” demanded Monday the authentication of Barack Obama’s placenta from his time inside his mother’s womb. “All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over,” said former presidential candidate and Afterbirthers spokesman Alan Keyes, later adding that his organization would be willing to settle for a half-liter of maternal cord plasma. “To this day, the American people have not seen a cervical mucus plug, let alone one that has been signed and notarized by a state-certified Hawaiian health official. If the president was indeed born in the manner in which he claims, then where is his gestation sac?” Keyes said that if Obama did not soon produce at least a bloody bedsheet from his conception, Afterbirthers would push forward with efforts to exhume the president’s deceased mother and inspect the corpse’s pelvic bone and birth canal