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In Which I Fix My Girlfriend’s Grandparents’ WiFi and Am Hailed as a Conquering Hero (McSweeney’s)

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 21:23 by Desiato in category: Funny!


The people did beseech the warrior to aid them. They were a simple people, capable only of rewarding him with gratitude and a larger-than-normal serving of Jell-O salad. The warrior considered the possible battles before him. While others may have shirked the duties, forcing the good people of Ferndale Street to prostrate themselves before the tyrants of Comcast, Linksys, and Geek Squad, the warrior could not chill his heart to these depths. He accepted the quest and strode bravely across the beige shag carpet of the living room.

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  1. Copyright will soon be extended to works of 6000+ years old (and any derivatives, including satire), sold to the highest bidder on the planet, and the unknown originator will have his posterior sued off.

Sarah Ferguson will not be extradited to Turkey

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 20:57 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


There is no prospect of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, being extradited to Turkey to face criminal charges over her undercover reporting for a TV documentary on Turkish orphanages, a British interior ministry source said on Friday.

Turkey sought Ferguson’s extradition after a Turkish court accused her of “breaking the law in acquiring footage and violating the privacy of five children” while making the documentary in 2008, Turkey’s Anatolian news agency said.

The charges carry a maximum jail term of 22 years six months.


A ministry source said there was no question of the Duchess being extradited to Turkey. “It has to be an offence in both the countries’ laws. It’s not an offense in U.K. law, so the duchess won’t be extradited,” the source told Reuters.

Obviously, this won’t be a problem in the case of Richard O’Dwyer, who is being extradited to the US for copyright infringement for posting links – not an offense in the UK.

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  1. I guess Mr. O’Dwyer isn’t a washed-up, fat, fading, minor celebrity who’s bonked some of the British Establishment? (Did I say that out loud?)

  2. Well, can’t give up double standards, that’s our main weapon. Or was that surprise?


Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 16:32 by Paul Jay in category: News

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  1. You gotta hand it to Bill Clinton, he is a game changer. The man made adultery (and nearly made sexual harassment) politically correct.

Snarky tweets

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 15:11 by Desiato in category: Commentary, Funny!


Newt Gingrich [was] asked what he’d have done with Terry Schiavo. Well, duh! He would have divorced her!


Romney paid the Mormon Church 15% of his income. Paid America only 13.9%. There are no LDS leaders living in poverty. Any questions?


Mitt Romney’s tax rate = 13.9%. Obama = 26%. That a Kenyan Muslim Socialist loves America twice as much as Romney? Priceless!

Love this guy.

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  1. The GOP believes the best way to support the troops is to keep them in places where they are shot at.


  2. “Only in John Boehner’s America is talking about income inequality worst than actual income inequality.”

    “A Tea Partier calls Elisabeth Warren a “Socialist Whore.” There they go again with phrases they don’t understand. A whore is a capitalist!!”

    “Phil Collins isn’t his real name. That’s just a pseu pseu pseudonym.”

    “I wish I invested in poverty. It’s up 53% since 2000.”

Metric Jesus

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 15:10 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News

I think most people will stick with the Imperial system, where you get twelve Disciples to one Jesus.

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  1. Funny. But to quote Wikipedia, “Most critical historians agree that Jesus existed and regard events such as his baptism and his crucifixion as historical.” So this seems like a lot of multiplying by 0… :-p

  2. If you believe everything allegedly said by Mr. Christ, I’ve got some Lost Scrolls and some Pieces of the True Cross that I can swap for money…

Health care

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 15:05 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself

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Why was MegaUpload really shut down?

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 14:59 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


In December of 2011, just weeks before the takedown, Digital Music News reported on something new that the creators of #Megaupload were about to unroll. Something that would rock the music industry to its core. (http://goo.gl/A7wUZ)

I present to you… MegaBox. MegaBox was going to be an alternative music store that was entirely cloud-based and offered artists a better money-making opportunity than they would get with any record label.

“UMG knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called Megabox.com, a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations directly to consumers while allowing artists to keep 90 percent of earnings,” MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz told Torrentfreak

Not only did they plan on allowing artists to keep 90% of their earnings on songs that they sold, they wanted to pay them for songs they let users download for free.

“We have a solution called the Megakey that will allow artists to earn income from users who download music for free,” Dotcom outlined. “Yes that’s right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works.”

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  1. That is an *excellent* story to have ready when your piracy-heavy site gets shut down…

Ruling could force Americans to decrypt laptops

Posted on January 24th, 2012 at 13:46 by John Sinteur in category: News


American citizens can be ordered to decrypt their PGP-scrambled hard drives for police to peruse for incriminating files, a federal judge in Colorado ruled today in what could become a precedent-setting case.

Judge Robert Blackburn ordered a Peyton, Colo. woman to decrypt the hard drive of a Toshiba laptop computer no later than February 21 — or face the consequences, presumably including contempt of court.

So much for the 5th.

Any worthwhile amendments left?

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  1. Hopefully this’ll go to the Supreme Court. They just unanimously ruled that placing a GPS on someone’s car constitutes a search/invasion of privacy.

    The article has some good discussion about arguments on both sides. I think the comparison with a key to a safe holding incriminating documents (which it claims a defendant can be compelled to give up) seems like a very close analogy. Similarly, being required to give blood to check if one was driving drunk seems pretty close, too.

  2. The safe holding documents is simple: dear police, just use force to open it. Encryption? Just use force to break it. Oh, you can’t? Your problem.

    The blood check sample is more interesting. Indeed, it should go the the SC.

  3. Well, we’ve already trashed the 10 Commandments. Why should the Constitution be exempt from the depredations of hypocrites and poltroons?

  4. @John: you’re saying that the police can just open the safe without action by the defendant. That’s not the scenario addressed in the article–it says there are precedents for forcing the defendant to surrender the key.

    You can also take a blood sample without the defendant cooperating–hold them down while you draw some blood. (Is this materially very different from holding a suspect in custody while you wait for them to poop out the cocaine-balls they swallowed? I’m not sure.)

    So the safe key situation actually seems like a closer analogue to me.

    The key indeed seems to be whether the 5th Amendment protects a defendant only from being forced to communicate, or whether it frees the defendent from having to cooperate. The examples I cited suggest that courts have not deemed defendants safe from coerced cooperation.

Lessig on Obama

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 19:53 by Desiato in category: Commentary


Any liberal (or sane moderate for that matter) would be crazy to say that we’re not better off today than we would have been had Obama not been elected. Of course we are. But that fact doesn’t negate the (still ignored by Sullivan et al.) criticism of the President: That he baited us with the reform rhetoric, and then switched to the administration promised by H. Clinton.

^ This.

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  1. Hold your nose and vote?

  2. As much as I’ve been disappointed on a lot of things, he’s done the best he can with the power he has. For example, health care: the bill that got passed was pretty crappy. But it passed by exactly one vote, which means he pushed it as far as he possibly could. One iota further, and it would not have passed.

    The key problem is he doesn’t have the political support to do the kind of reform that he talked about.

    Maybe if the Left here would get organized, he could get that kind of power. Unfortunately, it’s not happening.

Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure – Glenn Greenwald

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 13:00 by Desiato in category: Commentary


But just as the celebrations began over the saving of Internet Freedom, something else happened: the U.S. Justice Department not only indicted the owners of one of the world’s largest websites, the file-sharing site Megaupload, but also seized and shut down that site, and also seized or froze millions of dollars of its assets — all based on the unproved accusations, set forth in an indictment, that the site deliberately aided copyright infringement.

In other words, many SOPA opponents were confused and even shocked when they learned that the very power they feared the most in that bill — the power of the U.S. Government to seize and shut down websites based solely on accusations, with no trial — is a power the U.S. Government already possesses

Has anyone other than Glenn Greenwald made any fuss about this? I don’t see any blackouts on the Wikipedia or Google sites…

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  1. I think the ‘owners’ of the site will make a lot of fuss, quite a few million $$$ worth. I also wonder if the FBI has thought this through well enough, the massive display of power could easily backfire on them when there’s even the slightest doubt as to the ‘evil’ nature of the site and it’s purpose.

    Then again, if the rumors are true that employees of the site openly discussed how to best aid piracy for the site’s own benefit (profit), the owners will have a hard time convincing anyone of their good intent.

  2. The thing that I think is most likely to backfire is the anger of people who were using the site for legitimate purposes, e.g. to sync files between machines or to store backups and who’ve lost their legitimate infrastructure. Imagine if the same thing happened with Dropbox. Dropbox is so widely loved and used in the tech world for legitimate purposes; if the cops took it down overnight with no warning, there’d be a shitstorm of protest. (I’m not claiming that Dropbox is a piracy hub; I have no idea.)

    The feds may be perfectly happy with this side effect–that anyone looking for legitimate cloud storage services is now going to look twice to see if the provider they’re using is also likely to be seen as serving copyright infringers. The more the two worlds stay apart, the easier it is for them to claim they’re just cleaning up bad guys.

  3. Here’s a fun question: what is the technical difference between dropbox and megaupload?

  4. Technical difference? What’s the technical difference between a U-Store-It unit full of old furniture and one full of heroine?

  5. Someone will kill you for the old furniture?

  6. Sue, that’s a practical difference, not a technical difference. 🙂

Irish journalist humiliates EuroBank technocrat who won’t stop ducking hard questions

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 5:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


In this video from a European Central Bank press-conference in Ireland, journalist Vincent Browne demands that the ECB representative explain why the ECB required the Irish people to bail out a bank’s uninsured creditors. The bureaucrat mouths bland reassurances, then asserts (despite all appearances to the contrary) that the question has been resolved. Browne doesn’t let up. It’s quite a stirring spectacle.

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  1. Doublespeak. Nuff said.

    Note: this should probably be listed under robber barons as well.

Poor Chris Dodd

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 5:22 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


The former senator and now CEO of the MPAA can’t catch a break: “You’ve got an opponent who has the capacity to reach millions of people with a click of a mouse and there’s no fact-checker.” Must be terribly hard to represent the largest media empires in the world, who collectively own all the major newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, billboards, record labels and studios. How will they ever get their side of the story out?

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SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 5:21 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


As a rough analogy, since antipiracy crusaders are fond of equating filesharing with shoplifting: suppose the CEO of Wal-Mart came to Congress demanding a $50 million program to deploy FBI agents to frisk suspicious-looking teens in towns near Wal-Marts. A lawmaker might, without for one instant doubting that shoplifiting is a bad thing, question whether this is really the optimal use of federal law enforcement resources. The CEO indignantly points out that shoplifting kills one million adorable towheaded orphans each year. The proof is right here in this study by the Wal-Mart Institute for Anti-Shoplifting Studies. The study sources this dramatic claim to a newspaper article, which quotes the CEO of Wal-Mart asserting (on the basis of private data you can’t see) that shoplifting kills hundreds of orphans annually. And as a footnote explains, it seemed prudent to round up to a million. I wish this were just a joke, but as readers of my previous post will recognize, that’s literally about the level of evidence we’re dealing with here.

In short, piracy is certainly one problem in a world filled with problems. But politicians and journalists seem to have been persuaded to take it largely on faith that it’s a uniquely dire and pressing problem that demands dramatic remedies with little time for deliberation. On the data available so far, though, reports of the death of the industry seem much exaggerated.

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U.S. economy unlikely to fully recover: Carney

Posted on January 23rd, 2012 at 3:48 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Canada needs to look beyond its southern neighbour for markets because the United States economy is unlikely to ever fully recover, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said Sunday.

In an interview with CTV’s Question Period, Carney said that it is vital for Canada to look for new trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere to prevent the economy from being dragged down by the U.S.

That’s banker-speak for “Sorry boys, it’s been fun but we got a better offer.  See you around.”



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  1. He seems to confirm that tariffs need to be put on cheap Asian goods coming into the US. Surely, 10% would be adequate to shore up social security.

  2. Hey Sue (or other Canada-savvy readers), Carney also says:

    “Remember the ultimate speed limit in the Canadian economy is a little over two per cent, so we’re not that far off it,”

    What does that mean? Is it national policy to keep economic growth under 2.5%?

    @itspast@1: that tariff would hit the pockets of the low income Americans shopping at WalMart and the like. There must be better ways.

  3. @Desiato: I believe the target inflation rate is meant to be about 2%; that is considered to be healthy. How exactly growth and inflation are measured is one of those tricky questions that keep economists and bloggers employed.

    Canadian economic well being depends on the U.S. economy and will do for the foreseeable future; however a lot of “irritants” lately in the form of increasing border controls, your economic disaster, your inability to implement policy, and the pipeline thing have rankled. The Canadian government appears annoyed that, however far they bend over, they don’t get enough special considerations from the U.S. (They also snubbed the Chinese quite badly over human rights and haven’t really been forgiven. Beginner’s diplomatic mistake #1.)

  4. @Desiato: I don’t buy that cheap Asian goods are necessary for the well being of WalMart shoppers. The 10% tariff would probably not be completely passed on anyway. If you have a better idea, let’s hear it. I have not been able to figure another way out of this mess. Unless you want to drop American salaries to make us more competitive.

Do Drones Undermine Democracy? – NYTimes.com

Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 21:48 by Desiato in category: Commentary


There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. In 2011, unmanned systems carried out strikes from Afghanistan to Yemen. The most notable of these continuing operations is the not-so-covert war in Pakistan, where the United States has carried out more than 300 drone strikes since 2004. Yet this operation has never been debated in Congress; more than seven years after it began, there has not even been a single vote for or against it. This campaign is not carried out by the Air Force; it is being conducted by the C.I.A. This shift affects everything from the strategy that guides it to the individuals who oversee it civilian political appointees and the lawyers who advise them civilians rather than military officers . It also affects how we and our politicians view such operations. President Obama’s decision to send a small, brave Navy Seal team into Pakistan for 40 minutes was described by one of his advisers as “the gutsiest call of any president in recent history.” Yet few even talk about the decision to carry out more than 300 drone strikes in the very same country. I do not condemn these strikes; I support most of them. What troubles me, though, is how a new technology is short-circuiting the decision-making process for what used to be the most important choice a democracy could make. Something that would have previously been viewed as a war is simply not being treated like a war.

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  1. What democracy?

  2. Sue may be going farther than I would, but honestly, this just sounds like what the CIA has been doing for the last 50 years. What does drone warfare have to do with it?

  3. I consider drone warfare to be the beginning of the end. I think killing with drones is similar to murder, and it’s likely to encourage further military adventures. I guess one could consider bombs in the same way. Maybe, we should just stop the killing.

So rong Harry Potter!

Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 20:57 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!, Great Picture

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  1. Isn’t that the former leader of North Korea on his way to Heaven?

Nokia ringtone

Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 15:48 by Paul Jay in category: News

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Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 15:35 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class – NYTimes.com

Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 15:09 by Desiato in category: Apple, News

This article is about Apple and iPhone manufacturing, but it explains in general why people say “nothing is made in America anymore”. I’m quoting more extensively than we usually do, but I think it’s worth it. What that means, of course, is that I think you should read the whole article.


Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”


“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.”


In part, Asia was attractive because the semiskilled workers there were cheaper. But that wasn’t driving Apple. For technology companies, the cost of labor is minimal compared with the expense of buying parts and managing supply chains that bring together components and services from hundreds of companies.

For Mr. Cook, the focus on Asia “came down to two things,” said one former high-ranking Apple executive. Factories in Asia “can scale up and down faster” and “Asian supply chains have surpassed what’s in the U.S.” The result is that “we can’t compete at this point,” the executive said.


It is hard to estimate how much more it would cost to build iPhones in the United States. However, various academics and manufacturing analysts estimate that because labor is such a small part of technology manufacturing, paying American wages would add up to $65 to each iPhone’s expense. Since Apple’s profits are often hundreds of dollars per phone, building domestically, in theory, would still give the company a healthy reward.

But such calculations are, in many respects, meaningless because building the iPhone in the United States would demand much more than hiring Americans — it would require transforming the national and global economies. Apple executives believe there simply aren’t enough American workers with the skills the company needs or factories with sufficient speed and flexibility.

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  1. Just to make sure this doesn’t devolve into an “Apple is evil” comment thread, here is a list of Foxconn customers. Among them Acer, Amazon, IBM, Lenovo, Logitech, Microsoft, Motorola, Netgear, Nintendo, Nokia, Asus, Cisco, Panasonic, Dell, Sharp, HP, Intel, Toshiba

  2. Oh, and I would happily pay $65 more for my phone if I knew it would go to higher wages.

  3. Yeah. I was going to say I’d happily wait another 6 (or 12…) weeks for a new iPhone model if it meant people wouldn’t get pulled out of bed at midnight and got to work reasonable shifts.

  4. Suppose good wages were a given, and suppose it wouldn’t be “wake up at midnight” but 8:30 the next business day – where in the US would you be able to get 8000 assembly line workers that fast?

  5. I read the entire article. While I agree it is largely about the money, I did not miss the piece on the glass factory. The Chinese government funded the development of the factory before the contract was awarded. That is industrial policy in action. In the U.S. , “industrial policy’ is a dirty phrase. Imagine in the current polarized environment, the Obama administration funding a factory build out in “anticipation” of a contact? Never happen. Without solid industrial policy, the 1% will continue to sell out as they are citizens of no country and have no loyalty to workers or country (to loosely quote a commenter to that article). This is the result of “leave it to the market” that everyone screams is so great. While free markets have benefits, they need to be tempered by industrial policy. That is what the Chinese government is doing and the world is see the results.

  6. “where in the US would you be able to get 8000 assembly line workers that fast?”


  7. Hopefully, there is an accounting some day and the executives, the live ones anyway, end up living in China.

  8. Something like that will eventually happen, itspast. We’ve seen it in the automotive industry. Most of the Toyotas, Nissans, BMWs, Mercedes, etc that are sold in America are built in America. There will be some pressure on Apple and others to start providing some of the high wages needed to purchase their products.

Family Values

Posted on January 22nd, 2012 at 10:57 by John Sinteur in category: Indecision 2012

Using daughters from your first wife to convince everyone that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

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  1. Well, it worked on his now-girlfriend.

  2. According to the exit polls Gingrich scored 44% with Born-Again or Evangelical Christians.

    The only explanation I can think of is that they go all gooey eyed for a redemption story. He’s saved! Praise Ja-He-Sus! Can I get a hallelujah?!?

  3. In the grotesque reality tv show that is US politics, this is just ensuring a goodly supply of future on-screen squabbles that viewers love.

  4. He also scored best with married women. You gotta wonder.

In Soviet Russia, audience plays you!

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 22:41 by John Sinteur in category: awesome


During a visit to Moscow in the 80’s, Dave Brubeck met the faculty and students in Moscow Conservatory. While he was improvising on a “Ei, uhnem”, a Russian folk song, a young man downstage stood up to play Stéphane Grappelli-style violin jazz with him. .

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  1. Wonderful! Brubeck was obviously getting a kick out of the interaction. It probably made his day!

  2. Anyway, jazz musicians are mostly always open to improvisational sessions with musicians they don’t yet know. I imagine that Brubeck and the young violinist kept in contact for as long as Brubeck was still with us. My sister, a classical violist, did a lot of jazz session work in Europe with such as Toots Thielemans and Stéphane Grappelli (she has credits on a number of their albums). One of the stories she told me was that at a dinner one evening with Grappelli after a day of recording sessions she told him some day she would like to be known as the “Stéphane (or Stéphanie) Grappelli” of the viola, and he replied (paraphrased – I don’t remember the exact words) simply, “You CAN!”… 🙂

  3. A funny story.

    One day some years ago I was browsing the web and decided to Google my sister to see what the net knew of her. One of the things it came back with was a link to the credits on a Thielemans album (available at Amazon.com – I bought a copy for me and one for her) where she was credited as the trumpet player! I chuckled, and called her (she lives in Mexico now) about the credits, asking her, with tongue somewhat in cheek, “Hey Barb, when did you learn to play the trumpet?”. “Trumpet?” she said. I replied, “Well here it is in black and white!”, mentioning the Album. She remembered the recording session for the album, back in the early 80’s, and said, “Well, unless you play a trumpet with a bow and it has 4 strings on it…”. On the album itself she is properly credited as the violist. When it was transcribed the mistake was made. Now, forever, she will be known as the trumpet player with Toots Thielemans!

Never underestimate 1500 horse power turbine engines

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 17:27 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. I don’t think it’s made in China yet.

  2. Their “Type 96” main battle tank has only an 1000 hp engine, but it’s also a lot lighter. And, it’s a plain diesel, so a lot more fuel efficient.

Why isn’t Dodd in jail?

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 15:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


Okay. But why doesn’t that NYT news story have the word “Dodd” in it? This story the NYT put up last night had “Dodd” in it. Have you noticed the role of the former Senator in the SOPA fight? He’s kind of a lobbyist (for the movie industry), except that he can’t actually be a lobbyist, because it’s illegal for a former Senator to lobby Congress in his first 2 years out of office.

Hired as the consummate Washington insider to carry the film industry’s banner on crucial issues like piracy, Mr. Dodd ended up being more coach than player.

He’s more of a coach, less of a player, because it’s illegal to be a player — if in this ridiculous sports metaphor, a “player” is a lobbyist — so he’s less of a player.

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Former BP boss earns £12m from Iraqi oil venture

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 14:29 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Former BP boss, Tony Hayward will pocket more than £12m in a first tranche of payouts less than a year after he set up his own company and then bet on Kurdistan being the next big province for the oil industry.

But remember: all those soldiers and civilians died in Iraq because we had to disarm those WMD’s.

And spread democracy.

And regime change.

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  1. Well, at least Tony has his life back. That’s worth something.

    Next time the oil industry needs regime change, maybe they can just hire Blackwater/Xe/NewnameCorp directly.

Rule #1

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 13:17 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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  1. There’s a “hey baby. Are you horny” joke in there somewhere.

Investment Firm Y Combinator Goes on Offensive Against Hollywood

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 11:03 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Y Combinator, an early stage investment company, announced on its Web site that it planned to finance start-up companies that would go after Hollywood and the movie industry.

Referring to Hollywood, Y Combinator wrote: ”The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.”

The blog post, which was titled “Kill Hollywood,” also offered advice to start-ups and entrepreneurs who wanted to help to hasten its demise. Suggestions included developing start-ups that created new ways to produce and distribute shows, and games that were similar to traditional shows but were more interactive.

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The ability to recreate an entire movie is insignificant next to the potential of the Force.

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 10:16 by John Sinteur in category: News


Back in 09′, Star Wars Uncut (previously) asked people to recreate 15 second chunks of Star Wars: A New Hope however they wanted, using live action, animation, text adventure screens, SCUMM interfaces, costumed pets, and more. Now they’ve been edited together to recreate the entire movie as a homemade, constantly shifting media experiment. (Vimeo link)

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  1. Amazing! Is this “authorized” by Lucas Films, or is it going to be yanked from YouTube sometime soon? Even if authorized, given the number of bogus takedown requests that remove perfectly legitimate content from the web, it will still probably be removed because some pinhead who doesn’t have the authority, issues a takedown request anyway… 🙁


SOPA Is Dead: Smith Pulls Bill

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 9:46 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Lamar Smith, the chief sponsor of SOPA, said on Friday that he is pulling the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith (R-Texas) said. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

Yes, because only american thieves, like MPAA and RIAA, are allowed to steal and sell American inventions and products.

Anyway, let me translate: “we will try again once people have forgotten these silly protests”

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  1. Let’s fight back. How about a “property” tax on intellectual property. $100 for the first year. $100 to the power of the year for every year after that, until the property owner releases it into the public domain.

  2. Now there’s a great idea!

  3. I see bumper sticker/Occupy meme potential here…

    “I’ll start believing in intellectual property when they start imposing property taxes on it.”

    ($100/year seems prohibitive to the “little guy” like a band starting up and wanting to copyright their material so another band (or a record company) can’t rip it off. I’d sugggest $2 ^ (year-2).)

  4. Make IP rights non-transferable. Exploit it yourself within a reasonable time frame or it’s freed. No more corporate accumulations of dead-authors’ works still collecting rent decades afterwards.

    But what will we do with all the consequently unemployed law graduates? Public spaces will be overflowing with tent cities of these unfortunates!

  5. Heck, I’d even start at $10 / year ^ years in effect. Most would be in the PD within 5-6 years, and at 9 years it would cost the holder $1Billion… Not much IP out there is worth that much.

    In any case, Smith and his ilk are just waiting until the unwashed masses have switched their attention to something else, and then they will make sure that the bill passes without public scrutiny, completely in the dark… They came pretty close to doing that this time. Fortunately, there were some “in the know” who were a bit worried where this all would end up, and blew the whistle on the perpetrators of this crime.

Students’ math scores jumped 20% with iPad textbooks, publisher says

Posted on January 21st, 2012 at 9:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


On the heels of Apple’s e-textbook announcement in New York City this week, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced the results of its “HMC Fuse: Algebra I” pilot program at Ameila Earhart Middle School in California’s Riverside Unified School District. The Algebra I digital textbook is touted as the world’s first full-curriculum algebra application developed exclusively for Apple’s iPad.

In its test run, the “HMH Fuse” application helped more than 78 percent of students score “Proficient” or “Advanced” on the spring 2011 California Standards Test. That was significantly higher than the 59 percent of peers who used traditional textbooks.

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  1. Nice anecdote. Let’s see what happens as usage spreads. There definitely should be a degree of skepticism from the whole “act of observing changes that which is being observed” bit going on. Definitely justification for wider testing but let’s not be too hasty about the benefits.

  2. I was just listening to an interview with a neuroscience researcher who was commenting on some odd gender effects. She described an experiment where if a math teacher started a quiz by saying it was a geometry test, the boys would do better than the girls, and if the teacher said it was a drawing and design test, the girls would do better than the boys… for the very same quiz. So yeah, there can be a lot of placebo effect.

  3. One of the interesting things about all this is that students can be strongly motivated to succeed by many different strategies. In the experiment above the subjects know they are doing something new and interesting. This is almost always going to lead to better effort, and better results.

    However I think this is great. It’s long past time that there was more automation and data collection in schools (which is what this is all about).

Goldman Sachs Bonus Day Is a ‘Bloodbath,’ But Not Literally

Posted on January 20th, 2012 at 19:58 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


DealBook called the occasion traditionally “tense,” as employees “are called one by one into a managing partner’s glass-walled office, where they are informed of their bonus numbers, as well as any stock awards or deferred cash payments they will get.” Afterward, “employees return to their desks, where some celebrate, others sulk and still others trade gossip via the firm’s internal instant-messaging system.”

Luckily for us, a few also reach out to reporters. A trader told Carney, “One girl was actually crying, I think.” Another said, “My number was so low I thought I was fired.

Must be nice to work somewhere where you think you’re getting fired because you received a bonus.

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