International — Out of 11,000 submissions in our competition to name the humpback whales we were tracking on their migration to the Southern Ocean, we narrowed it down to the final 30. Over 150,000 people then voted for their favourite name.
Mister Splashy Pants is the winner by a nautical mile!
It seems like the world couldn’t get enough of Mister Splashy Pants with many websites encouraging their readers to vote for ‘Splashy’. And as we all know, once the wonderful world of the internet got hold of Mister Splashy Pants, it was all over bar the final splash.
Mister Splashy Pants got a huge 119,367 votes (over 78 percent of the vote) with his nearest rival being Humphrey at 4,329 (less than 3 percent). The rest of the top ten were Aiko, Libertad, Mira, Kaimana, Aurora, Shanti, Amal and Manami.
To everyone who voted for Mister Splashy Pants, now that you’ve named him, it’s time to save him – he might have a great name but he and his friends are still in danger. The only way to be 100 percent sure that ‘Splashy’ doesn’t get harpooned is to stop killing all whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Minister-president Balkenende heeft als voorzitter van het Innovatieplatform de publieksprijs van € 5.000 uitgereikt aan de meest innovatieve en inspirerende werkplek van Nederland. De organisatie die de hoogste waardering kreeg van het publiek was Innvire- Leverancier van innovatieve producten en diensten uit Woerden. Innvire maakt het mogelijk om op iedere locatie visueel te brainstormen. Het bedrijf stelt de prijs beschikbaar aan een onderwijsinstelling en een zorginstelling in de vorm van een Innvire Innovatiepakket.
En voor de mensen die dat nog niet wisten: Innvire is één van mijn klanten, en ik ben best trots op ze!
Car maintenance chain Kwik Fit is currently tied up in a bitter legal battle with the UK Performing Rights Society (PRS). It’s alleged that Kwik Fit’s mechanics allowed their radios to be played within earshot of the public – a truly heinous crime for which the PRS are demanding £200,000 in damages.
According to a report, the PRS are at it again. The staff at a charity also received a visit from a PRS officer who declared that because a staff radio in the kitchen could be overheard by the public in their tea-room, they would need a license. The charity, Dam House, which was originally set up to save a historic building and offer community and health facilities, had to have a fund-raising event to raise the money for the license.
However, having purchased a license, this wasn’t the end of the matter. The PRS then started asking more questions, and when they discovered that kids sing in a carol concert there at Christmas, they declared that the premises were under licensed. Yes, of course – the PRS wanted yet more money.
98 percent of American women have done it.
37 million Americans are currently doing it.
Most of the GOP candidates oppose it.
What is it?
If you said “sex,” you were close. The answer is “use contraception.” In recent weeks, the GOP candidates have been asked a lot about their views on abortion but not one has been asked his position on contraception (or even prevention in general). Really big oversight. Maybe its because everyone just assumes they all support contraception. After all, who doesn’t?
If their statements and actions are indicators, most of the GOP candidates oppose contraception. Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, and Fred Thompson all define life as beginning at conception or fertilization, in other words when sperm meets egg. (It’s worth noting that there’s no medical way of knowing when sperm meets egg. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a fertilized egg isn’t even considered a pregnancy.) This “life at fertilization” assertion is what is called in the business “dog whistle” politics: a political message only a specific constituency can hear. The reason, of course, to keep the message on one frequency, is that in most cases the issue is deeply unpopular with most of the American people. The candidate’s whistle, in this case, is a pledge to support the anti-abortion movement’s campaigns to roll back access to contraception.
If a candidate pledges to define life as beginning at fertilization, then anything that prevents implantation will end a life. And pro-lifers insist the pill does that. Birth control then becomes abortion, and as we know, abortion gets banned. Why hasn’t the media sunk its teeth into this little curiosity? At the very least, it would make for some really great TV. Someone needs to ask any of the GOP candidates (except Guiliani) whether he supports access to birth control. 91 percent of the American public (the majority of the pro-life public included) does so strongly.
More great pictures here.
A scout leader who once sued the City of Berkeley for challenging a national Boy Scout ban on members who are gay or atheist has been arrested on felony charges that for at least five years he sexually abused young males in the troops he led.
Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley police said the scout leader, Eugene A. Evans, 64, a retired high school teacher and for 35 years leader of the Berkeley Sea Scouts, was arrested at his home in nearby Kensington on Tuesday after investigators identified four youths, ages 13 to 17, who said they had been sexually abused by him.
I’ve come to call this Haggard’s Law: that which a conservative speaks against most loudly is that which they will be found to be guilty of.
Een rechtszaak van Nedap tegen de Staat is aangehouden. De bestuursrechter wacht eerst een oordeel van de Raad van State in een ander beroep in de stemcomputerkwestie af.
De staatssecretaris trok de ‘Regeling voorwaarden en goedkeuring stemmachines 1997’ op 17 oktober in. Alle goedkeuringen op basis van de Regeling kwamen volgens Bijleveld daarmee ook te vervallen. Nedap ging tegen dat besluit in beroep. Het besluit van Bijleveld vormde het einde van de huidige stemcomputers, die geen papieren controlemogelijkheid bieden.
Als Nedap dit wint zouden recente modellen niet meer toegestaan zijn, terwijl veel oudere modellen, van voor 1997, met aantoonbare zwakheden wel zouden mogen worden gebruikt.
De stemcomputerfabrikant toont met deze zet het vertrouwen van de bevolking inderdaad niet waard te zijn.
Last week, I blogged a story about the re-opening of the Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot Center, and the supposed inclusion of a Steve Jobs animatronic in the scene depicting the invention of the Apple Computer — and the omission of Steve Wozniak.
Looks like the rumor had it exactly backwards. Look at these photos of the newly opened Spaceship Earth: the scene in question appears to contain a robotic Steve Wozniak, leaving Steve Jobs out entirely. Where’s Jobs? All around you, I suppose — he’s the largest shareholder in Disney after all.
Award-winning ad exec Rich Silverstein (Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners) who is known for creating the “Got Milk” campaign — among many — has created three posters designed with input from the public to depict “The Bush Years“. The results – Events, Slogans and People. Of the project Silverstein said: “Here is my thinking. What if we could TiVo the last six-plus years and play them back – without comment — for the American people, and let them connect the dots?”* Republicans respond with posters of their own: Posterizing the Democratic Party.
On December 5, the CIA’s director, General Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement disclosing that in 2005 at least two videotapes of interrogations with al Qaeda prisoners were destroyed. The tapes, which the CIA did not provide to either the 9/11 Commission, nor to a federal court in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, were destroyed, claimed Hayden, to protect the safety of undercover operatives.
Hayden did not disclose one of the al Qaeda suspects whose tapes were destroyed. But he did identify the other. It was Abu Zubaydah, the top ranking terror suspect when he was tracked and captured in Pakistan in 2003. In September 2006, at a press conference in which he defended American interrogation techniques, President Bush also mentioned Abu Zubaydah by name. Bush acknowledged that Zubaydah, who was wounded when captured, did not initially cooperate with his interrogators, but that eventually when he did talk, his information was, according to Bush, “quite important.”
Instead, when confronted by his “Saudi” interrogators, Zubaydah showed no fear. Instead, according to the two U.S. intelligence sources that provided me the details, he seemed relieved. The man who had been reluctant to even confirm his identity to his U.S. captors, suddenly talked animatedly. He was happy to see them, he said, because he feared the Americans would kill him. He then asked his interrogators to call a senior member of the Saudi royal family. And Zubaydah provided a private home number and a cell phone number from memory. “He will tell you what to do,” Zubaydah assured them
That man was Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, one of King Fahd’s nephews, and the chairman of the largest Saudi publishing empire. Later, American investigators would determine that Prince Ahmed had been in the U.S. on 9/11.
It was at that point that some of the secrets of 9/11 came pouring out. In a short monologue, that one investigator told me was the “Rosetta Stone” of 9/11, Zubaydah laid out details of how he and the al Qaeda hierarchy had been supported at high levels inside the Saudi and Pakistan governments.
He named two other Saudi princes, and also the chief of Pakistan’s air force, as his major contacts. Moreover, he stunned his interrogators, by charging that two of the men, the King’s nephew, and the Pakistani Air Force chief, knew a major terror operation was planned for America on 9/11.
It would be nice to further investigate the men named by Zubaydah, but that is not possible. All four identified by Zubaydah are now dead. As for the three Saudi princes, the King’s 43-year-old nephew, Prince Ahmed, died of either a heart attack or blood clot, depending on which report you believe, after having liposuction in Riyadh’s top hospital; the second, 41-year-old Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud, died the following day in a one car accident, on his way to the funeral of Prince Ahmed; and one week later, the third Saudi prince named by Zubaydah, 25-year-old Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, died, according to the Saudi Royal Court, “of thirst.” The head of Pakistan’s Air Force, Mushaf Ali Mir, was the last to go. He died, together with his wife and fifteen of his top aides, when his plane blew up — suspected as sabotage — in February 2003. Pakistan’s investigation of the explosion — if one was even done — has never been made public.
Venezuela creates its own unique time zone on Sunday, putting the clock back half-an-hour on a permanent basis.
President Hugo Chavez says that an earlier dawn means the performance of the country will improve, as more people will wake up in daylight.
“I don’t care if they call me crazy, the new time will go ahead,” he said.
But critics say the move is unnecessary and the president simply wants to be in a different time zone from his arch-rival, the United States.
The new time puts Venezuela four-and-a-half hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, and out of step with all its neighbours.
On her first day at Basra University this year a man came up to Zeena, a 21-year-old Christian woman, and three other Christian girls and ordered them to cover their heads with a hijab, or Islamic headscarf.
“We didn’t listen to him, and thought he might just be some extremist student representing only himself,” she said. The next day Zeena and two of her friends returned to class with uncovered heads.
This time a man in the black clothes of the Shia militia stopped them at the entrance and took them aside. “He said, ‘We asked you yesterday to wear a hijab, so why are you and your friends not covering your hair?’. He was talking very aggressively and I was scared,” Zeena recalled.
The girls explained that they were Christians and that their faith did not call for headscarves. “He said: ‘Outside this university you are Christian and can do what you want; inside you are not. Next time I want to see you wearing a hijab or I swear to God the three of you will be killed immediately’,” Zeena recalled. Terrified, the girls ran home. They now wear the headscarf all the time.
The British Army will formally hand Basra over to Iraqi control in less than two weeks, claiming that it had done all it could to stabilise the southern port city during four years in charge.
Heck-of-a-job, Tony, bringing democracy and freedom to the religion of peace.
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA’s overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.
Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.
So that’s why you won’t see much action from Congress on torture – they’d have to look into their own heart and acknowledge the darkness..
Their model was Wal-Mart. Here was a sprawling, bureaucratic monster of an organization — sound familiar? — that still managed to automatically order a new lightbulb every time it sold one. Warehouses were networked, but so were individual cash registers. So were the guys who sold Wal-Mart the bulbs. If that company could wire everyone together and become more efficient, then US forces could, too. “Nations make war the same way they make wealth,” Cebrowski and Garstka wrote. Computer networks and the efficient flow of information would turn America’s chain saw of a war machine into a scalpel.
The US military could use battlefield sensors to swiftly identify targets and bomb them. Tens of thousands of warfighters would act as a single, self-aware, coordinated organism. Better communications would let troops act swiftly and with accurate intelligence, skirting creaky hierarchies. It’d be “a revolution in military affairs unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age,” they wrote. And it wouldn’t take hundreds of thousands of troops to get a job done — that kind of “massing of forces” would be replaced by information management. “For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved,” the pair wrote. “Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war.”
Network-centric wars would be more moral, too. Cebrowski later argued that network-enabled armies kill more of the right people quicker. With fewer civilian casualties, warfare would be more ethical. And as a result, the US could use military might to create free societies without being accused of imperialist arrogance.
And yet, here we are. The American military is still mired in Iraq. It’s still stuck in Afghanistan, battling a resurgent Taliban. Rumsfeld has been forced out of the Pentagon. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and net-centric advocate who led the largely unsuccessful war in Lebanon in 2006, has been fired, too. In the past six years, the world’s most technologically sophisticated militaries have gone up against three seemingly primitive foes — and haven’t won once.
How could this be? The network-centric approach had worked pretty much as advertised. Even the theory’s many critics admit net-centric combat helped make an already imposing American military even more effective at locating and killing its foes. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar were broken almost instantly. But network-centric warfare, with its emphasis on fewer, faster-moving troops, turned out to be just about the last thing the US military needed when it came time to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. A small, wired force leaves generals with too few nodes on the military network to secure the peace. There aren’t enough troops to go out and find informants, build barricades, rebuild a sewage treatment plant, and patrol a marketplace.
For the first three years of the Iraq insurgency, American troops largely retreated to their fortified bases, pushed out woefully undertrained local units to do the fighting, and watched the results on feeds from spy drones flying overhead. Retired major general Robert Scales summed up the problem to Congress by way of a complaint from one division commander: “If I know where the enemy is, I can kill it. My problem is I can’t connect with the local population.” How could he? For far too many units, the war had been turned into a telecommute.
Well, here is the truth. Now it can be told: Another secret plan to stop the distribution of music over the Internet has been foiled.
“They” were using Binary Blanket Chemistry. Alone, the “A” and “B” solutions are only mildly dangerous. But, both are fragrant and they make blankets feel soft. But, rub them together with a little elbow grease and you got a powerful reaction that amplifies the usual static charge that happens in such circumstances and produces a giant Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that frys any electronics within range. Binary Blanket Chemistry does not produce an explosion.
This secret terrorist plot was uncovered by undercover operatives who were working in a blanket mill. They noticed an unusual number of shipments of even-numbered quantities of blankets to the target city.
While the exact formulation of the binary components has been classified, a similar, but much less powerful, binary gives you an idea of how this Binary Blanket Chemistry works:
Only, with Binary Blanket Chemistry, all you have to do to trigger the EMP is to rub the binary blankets together. You don’t have to shoot ’em like you have to do with the tannerite targets at the above Website.
Now, imagine a concentration of binary blanket-rubbers!
So, “they” soaked many red blankets in the “A” solution and many yellow blankets in the “B” solution.
Once the blankets were dry, they distributed them to cooperating pairs of blanket-rubbers. Once safely through the security check point, the blanket-rubbers would have been free to find their other half and merely rub their blankets together on queue – on that fifth note, you know – and Zap!! – Electronics are destroyed.
So, quit disparaging the vicious and opportunistic capitalism of the vendors who were selling blankets and water, and thank your lucky stars that we know about Binary Blanket Chemestry!
Also, there has been a recent development. It seems that there is now confusion about who “they” are. You see, the band has been systematically distributing their music on the Internet, outside of the usual distribution channels. Sources say that “they” are actually music industry operatives who wanted to eliminate the band – they were a bad influence on other bands who use traditional distribution channels for their music.
Proof of this seems to lie in the fact that the first 5 rows of seats were to be filled with alternating red and yellow blanket carriers. On the queue of that fifth note, these blanket-rubbers were to turn toward one another and rub vigorously. And, Zap!! – no more Internet-distributed band music to annoy “them”.
And that’s why blankets are banned during concerts.
Economists may be warning of tough times ahead and homeowners fretting about the state of the property market, but one London nightclub remains undeterred. Today, it will launch the world’s most expensive Christmas cocktail, costing £35,000 a glass.
The Movida nightclub, a hangout of celebrities, footballers and the super-rich, has already taken a small number of orders for the drink, named the Flawless.
The drink will appeal to “the stupid segment of the super-rich”, said the social commentator Peter York. “It is so gauche, so crashingly crass, that everyone else will see the buyers as barely literate, as one step up from a potato.
Wallington has discovered what he believes is the incredibly simple secret of how the ancients managed to build Stonehenge. He demonstrates in this video. Got a couple pebbles?
How many circles can you see in this picture? Keep looking because I assure you there are several!
Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.
The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago. It reflects how quickly the NIE has become politicized, with critics even going after the analysts who wrote it, and shows a split among Republicans.
The “jungle telegraph” in Washington is booming with news of the Iran NIE. I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that “intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary” if the document’s gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media “on the record” to disclose its contents.
So hearings? Sure, bring ‘m on!
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.
Soren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855)
Your dog will need to be a pitbull shaped dog around 65 lbs or I’ll need your dog here in person to get the fit right.
A group of American Douglas Adams fans are seeking to have a street named after him in Portland, Oregon. The chosen street – naturally – is currently called 42nd Avenue.
After six years big business still has no idea what to do with this blog thing.The Blog Council, a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging, officially launched today. Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
Oh, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course, these are the companies that should know right? I mean they’ve been using Trapper Keepers and Daytimers all their lives, so blogs are just like that right? A neat folder system for your mind-thoughts?The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.
Read: We’re going share notes on how we pretend to be fifteen year olds who can’t stop blogging about how great our products are and how to avoid being sniffed out as a fraudlog two hours after the first post. Oh, and we’re going to have a lovely salad with Pacific Northwest farmed salmon for lunch.
(read the rest as well – it’s funny!)
If I couldn’t see the image (left), I wouldn’t believe it. But last week, students in Seminole County, Florida apparently received their report cards in envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald promising a free Happy Meal to students with good grades, behavior or attendance, according to The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a consumer advocacy group that works to protect children from the harmful effects of marketing.
The advertisement appears on report card envelopes for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. The envelopes are used to transport report cards to and from home throughout the school year, says the CCFC.
A teenage suspect who secretly recorded his interrogation on an MP3 player has landed a veteran detective in the middle of perjury charges, authorities said Thursday.
Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in April that the suspect “wasn’t questioned” about a shooting in the Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess – at times with vulgar tactics.
Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.