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March of the Penguins

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 20:36 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

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  1. Genial…


Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 18:55 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


This ad was published January 11 in the New York Times.

Visit the ‘The America I believe in‘ website.

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  1. Ya know, just like the ads the ACLU was running last year, I don’t see the point of printing this stuff in the NYTimes. Anyone who reads that paper already knows what’s going on. They’ve got to get this stuff into newspapers in red states.

  2. Thinking a bit more about this, I realize why you’re wrong – your assumption is that the goal of the ad is to create awareness of the issue.

    Now engage your cynical mode, and try again with the assumption that the goal of the ad is to gain donations for amnesty. Where would you publish?

Alzheimer t-shirt

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 18:53 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



I guess this confrontating t-shirt is for volunteers from the Singapore Alzheimer’s Disease Association.


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Privately, Hollywood admits DRM isn’t about piracy

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 14:53 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


For almost ten years now I have argued that digital rights management has little to do with piracy, but that is instead a carefully plotted ruse to undercut fair use and then create new revenue streams where there were previously none. I will briefly repeat my argument here before relating a prime example of it in the wild.

Access control technologies such as DRM create “scarcity” where there is immeasurable abundance, that is, in a world of digital reproduction. The early years saw tech such as CSS tapped to prevent the copying of DVDs, but DRM has become much more than that. It’s now a behavioral modification scheme that permits this, prohibits that, monitors you, and auto-expires when. Oh, and sometimes you can to watch a video or listen to some music.

The basic point is that access control technologies are becoming more and more refined. To create new, desirable product markets (e.g., movies for portable digital devices), the studios have turned to DRM (and the law) to create the scarcity (illegality of ripping DVDs) needed to both create the need for it and sustain it. Rather than admit that this is what they’re doing, they trot out bogus studies claiming that this is all caused by piracy. It’s the classic nannying scheme: “Because some of you can’t be trusted, everyone has to be treated this way.” But everybody knows that this nanny is in it for her own interests.

Like all lies, there comes a point when the gig is up; the ruse is busted. For the movie studios, it’s the moment they have to admit that it’s not the piracy that worries them, but business models which don’t squeeze every last cent out of customers.

In a nutshell: DRM’s sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you.


So given the windfall generated by the VCR, which was followed by an even greater explosion in revenue thanks to DVD, why aren’t popular services like the iTunes Store being embraced? At a time when TV networks are seeing ratings boosts and fattened profits thanks to downloadable video, how come Disney is still the only movie studio to sell new releases on iTunes?

If we believe Ronald Grover’s sources in his BusinessWeek article of last week, the problem is liberal DRM and not piracy, and this is a startling admission. According to him, an unnamed studio executive said that a major reason why studios weren’t jumping on board with the iTunes Store and other similar services is that their DRM is too lax. “[Apple’s] user rules just scare the heck out of us.” It’s not piracy that’s the concern, it’s their ability to control how you use the content you purchase.

As it turns out, five devices authorized for playback is too many, and the studios apparently believe that this is “just as bad” as piracy. Hollywood believes that iTunes Store customers will add their buddies’ devices to their authorization list, and like evil communists, they’ll share what they have purchased. This makes little sense, because the way iTunes works, you can only issue so many device authorizations at a time. You could share with a friend, but then your friend would have to be authorized to play all of your purchased content, taking up an authorization. Inconvenient, huh? But is it a big problem?

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The Mystery of Picasso.

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 14:14 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

In 1955, Henri-Georges Clouzot filmed Picasso as he painted – the result is a time-lapse photography of the fantastic way Picasso created his artworks.

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European Commission endorses open source

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 13:51 by John Sinteur in category: Free Software


The European Commission has issued a ringing endorsement of open source software, producing a confidence-boost for businesses considering the deployment of Linux and other free software.

In a lengthy report into business deployments of open source software, published in full late last week, the Commission said that in “almost all cases” savings would be made by switching from proprietary to open source software.

The bold findings come in stark contrast to assertions by Microsoft that Linux savings are a myth.

The Commission’s work is based on detailed analysis of open source projects in six European Union countries.

“Our findings show that, in almost all cases, a transition towards open source [produces] savings in the long term cost of ownership,” said the report, which was authored by academics at the United Nations University in Maastricht, Netherlands.

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First pirated HD DVD movie hits BitTorrent

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 13:42 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


The pirates of the world have fired another salvo in their ongoing war with copy protection schemes with the first release of the first full-resolution rip of an HD DVD movie on BitTorrent. The movie, Serenity, was made available as a .EVO file and is playable on most DVD playback software packages such as PowerDVD. The file was encoded in MPEG-4 VC-1 and the resulting file size was a hefty 19.6 GB.


Now that the genie is out of the lamp, so to speak, what will the reaction be from the content industry? CyberLink, the makers of PowerDVD playback software, have already stated that the title keys were not obtained through their software, although this has yet to be conclusively proven. As for the content providers themselves, they have already said that they reserve the right to invalidate known pirated keys in the future. But to be of any use, they’ll first need to determine which software application is responsible for giving up the volume keys. If it is something like PowerDVD, future titles can require that the user upgrade their software in order to play discs—this can be made to happen automatically when new discs are first inserted.


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Adultery could mean life, court finds

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 12:54 by John Sinteur in category: News, What were they thinking?


In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan’s second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

“We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today,” Judge William Murphy wrote in November for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel, “but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion.”

“Technically,” he added, “any time a person engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship, he or she is guilty of CSC I,” the most serious sexual assault charge in Michigan’s criminal code.

No one expects prosecutors to declare open season on cheating spouses. The ruling is especially awkward for Attorney General Mike Cox, whose office triggered it by successfully appealing a lower court’s decision to drop CSC charges against a Charlevoix defendant. In November 2005, Cox confessed to an adulterous relationship.


The Attorney General’s Office got a whole lot more than it bargained for. The Court of Appeals agreed that the prosecutor in Waltonen’s case needed only to prove that the Oxycontin delivery and the consensual sex were related. But Murphy and his colleagues went further, ruling that a first-degree CSC charge could be justified when consensual sex occurred in conjunction with any felony, not just a drug sale.

The judges said they recognized their ruling could have sweeping consequences, “considering the voluminous number of felonious acts that can be found in the penal code.” Among the many crimes Michigan still recognizes as felonies, they noted pointedly, is adultery — although the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan notes that no one has been convicted of that offense since 1971.


But Chief Court of Appeals Judge William Whitbeck, who signed the opinion along with Murphy and Judge Michael Smolenski, said that Cox’s confessed adultery never came up during their discussions of the case.

“I never thought of it, and I’m confident that it was not something Judge Murphy or Judge Smolenski had in mind,” Whitbeck told me Friday. But he chuckled uncomfortably when I asked if the hypothetical described in Murphy’s opinion couldn’t be cited as justification for bringing first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges against the attorney general.

“Well, yeah,” he said.

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  1. Welcome to the 14th century.

    Well, sharia is coming along nicely without the Quran I see. 🙂

Russian Tank Recovered from the Lake After 50 Years

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 12:42 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture, News



14 September 2000, a Komatsu D375A-2 pulled an abandoned tank from its archival tomb under the bottom of a lake near Johvi, Estonia. The Soviet-built T34/76A tank had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years. According to its specifications, it’s a 27-tonne machine with a top speed of 53km/h.

From February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the narrow, 50 km-wide, Narva front in the northeastern part of Estonia. Over 100,000 men were killed and 300,000 men were wounded there. During battles in the summer of 1944, the tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the German army. (This is the reason that there are German markings painted on the tank’s exterior.) On 19 September 1944, German troops began an organised retreat along the Narva front. It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake, abandoning it when its captors left the area.

More great pictures at the link…

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Starbucks to open new branch every fortnight for the next decade

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 12:31 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Starbucks is to open new coffee shops in London at the rate of one a fortnight for the next decade.

The firm has outlined a relentless expansion plan, and says it can foresee no limit to the number of branches in and around the capital.

Phil Broad, the firm’s managing director for Britain and Ireland, said: “We don’t think we’ve reached saturation point and we certainly don’t see London as finished yet.?


And, as usual, The Onion knew it first

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Officials are asking for help after a mother misplaced her baby

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 12:24 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


A search is underway for a missing two-month-old baby boy, after his mother forgot where she left him.
Houston FBI agents and San Antonio police are working together to find the infant. According to authorities, Veronica Francine Ramirez from San Antonio traveled to Houston on Sunday, January 14, with her two-month-old son, Isiah Ramirez. When she returned to San Antonio, reportedly under the influence of drugs, she did not have the child and could not remember what happened to him.

Veronica told San Antonio police investigators that she may have given Isiah to two unidentified females in an unidentified truck stop restroom somewhere between San Antonio and Houston. She told authorities she stopped in Columbus, but does not recall if she had the child then or not. She also said she stopped at several rest areas. Veronica may have been driving a maroon 2005 Nissan Maxima.

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Lockheed Martin – Defense Contractors

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 10:22 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture, News

If you read Playboy magazine for the articles, read this one.

If you read Playboy magazine for the pictures, check this one:


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MLK day

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 10:10 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 9:57 by John Sinteur in category: Quote

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.

Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)

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Hold the Freedom Fries.

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 9:29 by John Sinteur in category: News


Driving home this evening I listened to Bush’s long-awaited speech on Iraq. Pondering the ramifications (and beating my head against the steering wheel with each iteration of “nukular”), I happened to glance up at the lit sign at the Burger King to my right. I had to look twice to be sure of what I saw.

The special of the day was the “Texas Double-Whopper.”

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FFRF to Appeal Veteran Affairs Religion Ruling

Posted on January 16th, 2007 at 6:45 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


The Freedom From Religion Foundation will appeal this week’s unfavorable ruling by a federal district judge, approving the pervasive integration of religion and spirituality into all aspects of taxpayer-supported healthcare for veterans. VA policy now dictates that religious and spiritual needs go “hand-in-hand” with medical care.

U.S. District Judge John Shabaz, for the Western District of Wisconsin, ruled on Jan. 8 that the policy change at the Department of Veteran Affairs, integrating religion and “spirituality” into all aspects of medical care, is permissible because it is “voluntary.”

“We believe it is unconscionable that vets are being told that they must have a ‘spiritual assessment’ as part of routine health care, that such an assessment must take place, for instance, simply in order to be referred to an eye doctor!” responded Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the 8,200-member, Madison, Wis.-based national association.

The Foundation’s federal lawsuit challenged chaplaincy changes at the VA, which went from the traditional accommodation of the free-exercise rights of hospitalized veterans to full-scale, obtrusive chaplaincy services and assessments upon all patients, including outpatients who have no free-exercise burden.

The Spiritual Assessment Inventory, provided by the government to all VA chaplains, includes four categories: (1) Organized Religious Activity Scale, (2) Subjective Religious Scale, (3) Non-organized Religious Activity Scale, and (4) Spiritual Injury Scale. A score of 15 or lower indicates the patient should be referred to chaplain services.

The assessment form includes the following language: “completing this assessment questionnaire will help us to better understand your spiritual care needs. We believe that faith plays an important role in a person’s sense of health and wellness.”

“When the government writes and distributes such an assessment, how can this not show government endorsement and preference for religion?”asked Dan Barker, Foundation co-president.

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