Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 48, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.
In the politically-charged and likely protest-filled streets of Tampa, Fla., during the Republican National Convention in August, water guns will be strictly prohibited. Concealed handguns, on the other hand, will be perfectly legal.
On Wednesday, the European Commission published a strategy document aimed at setting up systems to protect children online. In the document (PDF) — but not in the accompanying press release nor the citizens’
summary — the Commission mentioned that it will soon propose a “pan-European framework for electronic authentication”.
A spokesman for digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said the Commission “will have full e-ID proposals on 30 May”.
The document, entitled European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children, gives a rough outline of proposals to harmonise protections across member states for children using online services. It contains many suggestions for the increased use of age classification, as well as the inclusion of “efficient” parental controls “on any type of device and for any type of content, including user-generated content”.
So all EU citizens will lose online anonymity, gain a central attack node for all identity thieves, and all that just to force teenagers to find their porn outside the EU?
Traci Jackson (2nd R) and others help clean up in front of a foreclosed home on May 3, 2012 in Miami, Florida. According to the Miami Workers Center, the home is owned by the Bank of America. The residents of the Liberty City neighborhood came together to clean up the abandoned property and later in the day planned on delivering the collected trash to a Bank of America branch. Trenise Bryant, a member of the Miami Workers Center who organized the event said, ”Banks maintain foreclosed properties in white neighborhoods why can’t they do the same in black communities?” ”It’s bad enough these big banks put families out of their homes, now they just let the houses sit there bringing down the property value for everyone else in the neighborhood.
Even his keynote cue cards are beautiful.
You may recall a few months ago, that we broke the story about how the US government seized and censored the hiphop blog Dajaz1.com for over a year, before suddenly giving it back with no explanation or apology. Among the many problems with the government’s actions, the really crazy part was the fact that despite a legal requirement to either give the “seized property” back by May 15th or file a case for forfeiture against the site, the government appeared to do absolutely nothing. When Dajaz1′s lawyer, Andrew P. Bridges, asked the government about this, he was told that the government had filed for and received an extension, though no one had bothered to inform Dajaz1 or Bridges, or even allowed them to see the filing, the order or to speak to the judge. This “secret” extension process supposedly happened two more times, and all of it was “under seal,” so even when the domain was given back, all we had to go on was claims from Dajaz1 that it had really happened.
The good folks over at Wired, the EFF and the California First Amendment Coalition sprang into action and filed with the court to have those documents unsealed. And while the court agreed to unseal the documents back in March (and then ordered them unsealed “immediately” on April 5th), the documents finally were unsealed yesterday.
In May of 1993, deeply offended by its “blasphemous” content, a priest wrote to Channel 4 and complained about the recent screening of “Revelations,” a recording of Bill Hicks‘s live show at London’s Dominion Theatre some months before (a show which, incidentally, can be seen in its entirety here).
Upon receiving said complaint, Channel 4 passed it on to Hicks himself. Hicks then responded to the priest directly with the following letter. It doesn’t disappoint.
8 June 1993
After reading your letter expressing your concerns regarding my special ‘Revelations’, I felt duty-bound to respond to you myself in hopes of clarifying my position on the points you brought up, and perhaps enlighten you as to who I really am.
Where I come from — America — there exists this wacky concept called ‘freedom of speech’, which many people feel is one of the paramount achievements in mankind’s mental development. I myself am a strong supporter of the ‘Right of freedom of speech’, as I’m sure most people would be if they truly understood the concept. ‘Freedom of speech’ means you support the right of people to say exactly those ideas which you do not agree with. (Otherwise, you don’t believe in ‘freedom of speech’, but rather only those ideas which you believe to be acceptably stated.) Seeing as how there are so many different beliefs in the world, and as it would be virtually impossible for all of us to agree on any onebelief, you may begin to realize just how important an idea like ‘freedom of speech’ really is. The idea basically states ‘while I don’t agree or care for what you are saying, I do support your right to say it, for herein lies true freedom’.
You say you found my material ‘offensive’ and ‘blasphemous’. I find it interesting that you feel your beliefs are denigrated or threatened when I’d be willing to bet you’ve never received a single letter complaining about your beliefs, or asking why they are allowed to be. (If you have received such a letter, it definitely did not come from me.) Furthermore, I imagine a quick perusal of an average week of television programming would reveal many more shows of a religious nature, than one of myshows — which are called ‘specials’ by virtue of the fact that they arevery rarely on.
All I’m doing in ‘Revelations’ is giving my point of view in my language based on my experiences — much the same way religious broadcasters might organize their programs. While I’ve found many of the religious shows I’ve viewed over the years not to be to my liking, or in line with my own beliefs, I’ve never considered it my place to exert any greater type of censorship than changing the channel, or better yet — turning off the TV completely.
Now, for the part of your letter I found most disturbing.
In support of your position of outrage, you posit the hypothetical scenario regarding the possibly ‘angry’ reaction of Muslims to material they might find similarly offensive. Here is my question to you: Are you tacitly condoning the violent terrorism of a handful of thugs to whom the idea of ‘freedom of speech’ and tolerance is perhaps as foreign as Christ’s message itself? If you are somehow implying that their intolerance to contrary beliefs is justifiable, admirable, or perhaps even preferable to one of acceptance and forgiveness, then I wonder what your true beliefs really are.
If you had watched my entire show, you would have noticed in my summation of my beliefs the fervent plea to the governments of the world to spend less money on the machinery of war, and more on feeding, clothing, and educating the poor and needy of the world … A not-so-unchristian sentiment at that!
Ultimately, the message in my material is a call for understanding rather than ignorance, peace rather than war, forgiveness rather than condemnation, and love rather than fear. While this message may have understandably been lost on your ears (due to my presentation), I assure you the thousands of people I played to in my tours of the United Kingdom got it.
I hope I helped answer some of your questions. Also, I hope you consider this an invitation to keep open the lines of communication. Please feel free to contact me personally with comments, thoughts, or questions, if you so choose. If not, I invite you to enjoy my two upcoming specials entitled ‘Mohammed the TWIT’ and ‘Buddha, you fat PIG’. (JOKE)
A top British codebreaker who died a mysterious death in his flat two years ago had just returned from a computer security conference in the United States before his death, according to information disclosed during an inquest this week.
The body of Gareth Williams, a codebreaker with Britain’s MI6 spy agency, was discovered stuffed into a sports bag in his bathtub on Aug. 23, 2010, though he’s believed to have been killed Aug. 15.
Williams had just returned to London on Aug. 11 after spending six weeks in the United States, where he attended the annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas as part of a contingent of British spies, according to witnesses who spoke at the inquest. He attended Black Hat in 2008 as well.
It’s believed Williams may have also attended Black Hat’s companion hacker conference, DefCon, which follows Black Hat and draws many of the same attendees. In 2010, Black Hat was held July 24 to 29, while DefCon ran from July 30 to Aug. 1.
Black Hat is one of the top security conferences in the world, targeting the professional security crowd, while DefCon is geared more specifically to hackers. Law enforcement agents, the military and undercover spies regularly attend both conferences — often undercover — to keep pace with the latest research and learn what hackers are up to. They also recruit hackers for professional work.
DefCon holds an annual spot-the-fed contest to out undercover agents as a good-natured sport. Attendees who spot a fed receive an “I spotted a Fed” T-shirt, while the outed agent gets a trophy T-shirt of his own to take back to his office, sporting the phrase “I was spotted at DefCon.”
Not everyone wants to be outed or plays by the conference ground rules for working undercover. Several years ago, undercover agents believed to be working for Israel’s Mossad spy agency were kicked out of the conference after registering as journalists and posing as a French film crew from Canal Plus.
It’s not known specifically why Williams attended Black Hat or if he and his colleagues attended incognito. A Black Hat organizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Today is remembrance day in the Netherlands, as the dead and victims of World War II and beyond are honoured. Each year at the national memorial service at the Dam square in Amsterdam a poem is read by the winner of the school competition organised by the remembrance committee. This year there was controversy as the winning poem was about a Dutch volunteer for the Waffen SS, which was not appreciated by the Auschwitz survivors organisation, which threated to boycott the procedings. In the end therefore the poem was scrapped, but it had already laid bare a sore spot in Dutch history.
Auke de Vries’ uncle was but one of several tens of thousands of Dutch volunteers fighting for the nazis, most of whom ended up in the Waffen SS fighting on the Eastern Front, in the SS division Wiking, the Freiwillingen Legion Niederlande or the panzer grenadier brigade Nederland. Many of the men that joined up were hardcore fascists, members of the NSB (Nationaal Socialistische Beweging), but quite a few were also genuine “idealists” thinking they could carve out a place for Holland in the new Germanic world order by fighting the Bolshevik menace.
Needless to say, this part of WWII history doesn’t quite fit with the image that us Dutch would like to have as ourselves as innocent victims of the Nazi occupation, where after the war everybody had been in the resistance. Auke de Vries’ poem lies bare this history again, which is one reason it became so controversial.
But for many people just the idea of honouring a collaborator at the national remembrance service, especially one who had fought in the Waffen SS, a criminal organisation responsible for countless war crimes and other atrocities, is an insult to every victim of Nazi Germany.
Something which is hard to disagree with, even though Auke de Vries’ intentions were noble, as he said that “he wanted to show everyone loses during a war, no matter what side they are on”:
‘How can we learn from our mistakes if we are not allowed to name them’, he said. ‘I was born in peacetime. It is hard enough for me to make the right choices, so how must it have been for people during the war?’