When an opinion on sociological trends or a critique of a group ideology results in criminal charges of hate speech, liberal democracy is in danger.
The Danish supreme court has just highlighted that danger. While deciding to acquit Lars Hedegaard, president of the Danish Free Press Society, of intending to speak hatefully for public dissemination, the court emphatically affirmed a statute according to which anyone who “publicly or with the intent of public dissemination issues a pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation is liable to a fine or incarceration for up to two years.”
File-sharing site The Pirate Bay must be blocked by UK internet service providers, the High Court has ruled.
The Swedish website hosts links to download mostly pirated free music and video.
Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must all prevent their users from accessing the site.
“Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists,” the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.
A sixth ISP, BT, requested “a few more weeks” to consider their position on blocking the site.
BPI’s chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “The High Court has confirmed that The Pirate Bay infringes copyright on a massive scale.
“Its operators line their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them.
Well…. if the ISPs have to block sites from “operators lining their pockets by commercially exploiting music and other creative works without paying a penny to the people who created them” they’ll have to block all the RIAA and MPAA members as well, right?
Their killing power is immense and the surveillance possibilities are endless. Perhaps it’s no wonder that the awesome potential of unmanned aerial vehicles is now being so energetically explored – from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the London Olympics.
The world’s first glimpse of a killer drone in action was over the English Channel: a Royal Navy patrol boat reported “a bright horizontal flame” in the sky. The device emitting the flame had stubby wings and was shaped like a rocket, and was travelling from the French coast at more than 200mph. Too small and too fast to be intercepted, it arrived in England’s Home Counties without warning; as it plunged earthwards the low drone of the motor cut out and there were three seconds of silence before the massive explosion. Where it exploded, the human beings at the epicentre simply disappeared, vaporised.
Sex workers in the Bolivian city of El Alto have gone on hunger strike to demand a solution to the month-long doctor’s strike which has forced the closure of public hospitals across the country.
About a dozen male and female sex workers, many with their faces covered, crowded into the lobby of a neighbourhood health centre on Sunday, vowing to continue their action until the situation is resolved.
Organisation of prostitutes to force legislators to act. Interesting.
Austrian police say former Libyan oil minister Shukri Ghanem was found dead in the Danube river near Vienna.
Police spokesman Roman Hahslinger told Al Jazeera his corpse was found on Sunday morning floating in the river and showed no external signs of violence.
Did he jump, fall or was he pushed? Answers on a postcard to: SNC-Lavalin, 455 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
A billionaire in Australia has announced plans to build an “unsinkable” version of the Titanic, 100 years after the original ship sank after hitting an iceberg.
The Titanic II, announced on Monday, is expected to retrace the steps of its predecessor with a maiden voyage from England to North America in late 2016.
“It is going to be designed so it won’t sink”, Clive Palmer, a mining and tourism tycoon told reporters.
“It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Oh, this is too easy…c`mon help me out with a snarky comment here!
Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets.” In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.
The only way for a state to keep that 90% promise, is to keep pot illegal.
The Federal Election Commission has fined Sen. Marco Rubio $8,000 for accepting more than $210,000 in improper contributions during his 2010 run for the Senate.
In a negotiated settlement finalized last month but only publicly released now, Marco Rubio for Senate acknowledged taking in more than $210,000 in “prohibited, excessive and other impermissible contributions” during his Senate campaign and failing to refund or “redesignate” the funds within the allowed time frame.
$8k fine for receiving $210k. That makes it more than worth it to simply do it again. And again.
As reported here on Friday, a lawsuit filed April 20th in the US District Court For The Middle District of Florida is targeting fans of American metal band All Shall Perish.
Up to a point it’s a familiar story. A total of 80 IP addresses are listed having been harvested from a BitTorrent swarm sharing the album “This Is Where It Ends”. The plaintiff, a company called World Digital Rights, wants to discover the real-life identities of the alleged file-sharers so they can be hauled into court or, as is almost guaranteed, settled with for a few thousand dollars instead.
After the news broke, predictably the band started to receive negative feedback. But according to All Shall Perish’s manager, Ryan Downey, neither he nor the band know anything about the legal action.
“The band wasn’t consulted whatsoever and none of us have ever heard of this company,” Downey told TorrentFreak. “I spoke to the US label manager and German label president who both are as confused as we are. We are digging deeper and looking into the legality of it all. We are thinking it’s perhaps a sublicensor or some digital aggregator or something?!”
If you read the full article, you see that a better title would have been “Band Wonders WTF they signed.”
Heathrow Airport has been ordered by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to stop handing out to passengers leaflets acknowledging the “very long delays” at immigration, which have become a serious government concern in the runup to the Olympics.
Passengers flying into the airport at the weekend reported having to wait for up to three hours before clearing passport control. But after leaflets apologising for the problem were handed out by BAA, which owns Heathrow, the UKBA warned that they were “inappropriate” and that ministers would take “a very dim view”.
When small start-ups I’ve spoken with do make money, they often find it difficult to recruit additional investment because most venture capitalists — and often the entrepreneurs they finance — are not interested in building viable long-term businesses. Rather, they’re interested in pumping up enough hype and valuation to find a quick exit through an acquisition at an eye-popping premium.
Getting acquired while producing no revenue is like performing a card trick without the deck of cards: the magician simply explains how magical the trick is, never actually showing it. (And we are supposed to step back in sheer awe.)
For start-ups, fewer numbers in the equation mean a projected valuation can be plucked out of thin air.
Look how well this worked for Instagram, which had zero in revenue and was bought for $1 billion.
Although most companies are not acquired for 10 figures, there have been dozens of multimillion-dollar acquisitions of start-ups that make no money whatsoever. The acquisitions of YouTube, FriendFeed, Zite, Hot Potato, Beluga, GroupMe, TweetDeck and Dodgeball are just a few samples involving companies with little to no revenue.
The term often used behind closed doors with this no-revenue formula is mark-to-mystery. This is a play on the common term for a more logical investment practice called mark-to-market, which is used to create a realistic appraisal of a company’s financial assets.
“V.C.’s can create this mark-to-mystery valuation because as long as there are no numbers, I can have whatever mark I want for an external valuation of a start-up,” Mr. Kedrosky said.
So why does the lunacy of building companies with no revenue or business model work?
Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, used that dirty word that investors scoff at: bubble.
Professor Pfeffer said that through “the hideous recession” that America has suffered in the last several years, the Valley has applied increasingly incoherent valuations to companies.
“This is 1999 all over again, but this time, it’s gotten worse,” he said, referring to the last technology bubble to burst. “We’re back to companies throwing around funny money. The economic values don’t add up.”
He added: “These companies are simply being founded to be bought. With the exception of a select few, Silicon Valley has spawned no real companies over the past decade. Even now, as the value of eyeballs has gone down, people are buying concepts, not companies.”
Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall: President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.
Give it up everybody. David Koch.
Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.
Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million. That’s kind of cheap, Dave.
Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room. I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.
I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke.
By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.
The Ministry of Defence says it is evaluating sites for surface-to-air missiles for the Olympic Games, and could place them at residential flats.
Residents at an estate in east London have received a leaflet saying soldiers could be placed there during the Games.
It says part of an air defence system might be based at a water tower on the estate, where 700 people live.
A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the Games.
“It’s a staggering figure,” Milton says. “All the more staggering when you realize that more people were killed in the rehearsal for the landing at Utah Beach than were killed in the actual landing at Utah Beach.” Utah Beach was one of the beaches in Normandy that Allied troops charged on D-Day.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has come under a scathing attack from a former head of Israel’s internal security service over his handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear programme.
Yuval Diskin, the country’s former head of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service, said in a voice clip played on Israel Radio on Saturday that the country’s leaders were “messianic” and unfit to tackle the Iranian nuclear programme.
Doesn’t it seem odd that America’s security services seem to be run by idiots and the president seems thoughtful and concerned about the future, while Israel appears to be the reverse?
A Portland City attorney argued in court that a Portland police officer was justified in brutally tasing a non-violent man with no criminal record because it was later discovered that the man owned a classic kung fu film collection. The jury didn’t agree, and the taxpayers now get to pay a $250,000 settlement. Naturally, Officer Benjamin J. Davidson remains on the force.
Microsoft is no longer as enthusiastic about a controversial cybersecurity bill that would allow Internet and telecommunications companies to divulge confidential customer information to the National Security Agency.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved CISPA by a 248 to 168 margin yesterday in spite of a presidential veto threat and warnings from some House members that the measure represented “Big Brother writ large.” (See CNET’s CISPA FAQ.)
In response to queries from CNET, Microsoft, which has long been viewed as a supporter of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, said this evening that any law must allow “us to honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers.”
Microsoft added that it wants to “ensure the final legislation helps to tackle the real threat of cybercrime while protecting consumer privacy.”
That’s a noticeable change — albeit not a complete reversal — from Microsoft’s position when CISPA was introduced in November 2011.
Tens of thousands of students in the Canadian province of Quebec have been protesting against a government move to raise higher education costs by 50 per cent over five years.
The demonstrations involving 181 student groups representing more than 170,000 students have sustained class boycotts, demonstrations and occasional angry confrontations with police for three months.
Jean Charest, Quebec’s premier, offered on Friday to stretch out the planned tuition hike over seven years instead of five in a bid to appease the students.
When you`ve been on strike for 3 months and then the government wants to talk, it seems like you`re winning.
Yesterday, according to Slashgear, Samsung publicly denied they were not responsible for the stunt. So who is behind it?
James Croft, from our own Mactalk Podcast, looked through the source code of the Wake Up page and spotted something interesting:
This bit is relevant:
That SRC value is a Doubleclick account identifier. Throw that back into Google:
In those search results there’s also a single forum post on AppleInsider from a guy who also spotted this source code.
So it appears* it’s Poor Old RIM who put together this embarrassing campaign. It’s heartbreaking that even when RIM try something cool, they end up screwing it up so badly that no-one even imagines it could be them.
“I stopped to take a photo and the cop came up to me and arrested me. I asked, ‘why am I being arrested?’
“’Because you’re a dick,’” the officer responded.
Instead of simply repeating his previous response — in which he noted that his government has every intention of continuing its policy of bringing “military missions” to the House of Commons — Harper accused one of Mulcair’s predecessors of insufficient opposition to Hitler.
Mr. Speaker, I have made myself very clear. Unlike the NDP, we are not going to ideologically have a position regardless of circumstances. The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler.
Not surprisingly, the NDP benches erupted in outrage over the drive-by retro-slur, although Hansard records the words of just one unnamed MP who tried to draw the PM’s attention to a potential flaw in his analogy:
There was no NDP.
And thus, a satirical hashtag was born.