Although this image of a Greek police officer punching a news photographer at an Athens street protest was shot last fall, it didn’t come to our attention until yesterday. But the passage of several months makes it no less dramatic or shocking. And it remains timely for what it represents: the tensions between police and media all over the world, including the US, where Occupy protests show signs of stirring once again. In this image, shot by Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis, a police officer punches veteran photojournalist Tatiana Bolari, co-owner of the Greek photo agency Eurokinisi. The incident occurred at an anti-austerity protest on October 5 when police moved against a group of photographers and journalists covering the event, Behrakis told PDN.
In a desperate attempt to save face for the TSA, CNN has run a propaganda piece that literally justified the grope down of a wheel chair bound 3 year old toddler.
NSA chief General Keith Alexander faced tough — and funny — questions from Congress Tuesday stemming from Wired’s story on the NSA’s capabalities and warrantless wiretapping program.
Congressman Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, asked Alexander whether the NSA could, at the direction of Dick Cheney, identify people who sent e-mails making fun of his inability to hunt in order to waterboard them.
Alexander said “No,” adding that the “NSA does not have the ability to do that in the United States.” Elaborating, Alexander added: “We don’t have the technical insights in the United States. In other words, you have to have [...] some way of doing that either by going to a service provider with a warrant or you have to be collecting in that area. We’re not authorized to do that, nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information.”
Even though the ACTA text is now finalized, getting details from national governments about what exactly happened during the negotiations is proving extremely difficult, with information still trickling out slowly.
For example, as the Netzpolitik blog explains (German original), the European Commission tried to counter accusations that the negotiations were lacking in transparency by pointing out that the German government had a representative present during all the sessions (that’s transparency?). This was news to people, since the German government had somehow omitted to mention this fact.
A natural question was therefore: who exactly took part? A German freedom of information request was put in to find out, and refused on rather remarkable grounds: that it might place the German officials who had been present during the negotiations at risk, because of the “emotional discussions” about ACTA that have taken place recently. The German government even claimed that threats of physical violence had been made against those who had taken part in ACTA, and so it couldn’t endanger the persons involved by naming them.
This all seems pretty far fetched. I don’t recall hearing about anyone threatening ACTA officials with physical violence, but I suppose it’s possible that someone, somewhere in Germany, say, wrote something to this effect. However, the Germany government is really missing the point here.
The fact that such “emotional discussions” have taken place demonstrates how deeply frustrated people are at the continuing lack of transparency surrounding the ACTA negotiations. Using that previous failure to provide information to justify further withholding of details is only likely to exacerbate things. It’s time for the German government, and the other signatories, to stop playing these bureaucratic games and to start engaging with their citizens through the release of more details about what exactly happened behind ACTA’s closed doors.
“Einstein could not patent his celebrated law that E = mc2; nor could Newton have patented the law of gravity,” he wrote.
The basis for Prometheus’s invention, Justice Breyer said, was also a law of nature — “namely, relationships between concentrations of certain metabolites in the blood and the likelihood that a dosage of a thiopurine drug will prove ineffective or cause harm.”
The question for the court was whether the use that Prometheus made of this relationship was eligible for patent protection. In general, Justice Breyer wrote, an inventor must do more than “recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’ ”
“Einstein, we assume, could not have patented his famous law by claiming a process consisting of simply telling linear accelerator operators to refer to the law to determine how much energy an amount of mass has produced (or vice versa),” he wrote.
I wonder if Obama understood him, or was just being kind. Someone needs to sign “My hovercraft is full of eels” to him and see if it gets the same response. For science.
When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.
Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.
Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information.
The horror, the horror!