Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Eating chocolate may halve risk of dying - Breaking News

I think I extended my life by a few years over this last year.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Zappa in the Crossfire

WFMU is hosting an amazing quicktime video from 1986 of Frank Zappa facing down Robert Novak and John Lofton over government censorship of music.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A modest proposal to the tech industry

Spend a couple billion dollars are put the DRM-pushing losers running Hollywood out of business.

And this doesn't have to be a "lose a couple billion on entertainment to sell hardware" proposition. There are a lot of non-DRM-based business models out there that are waiting for someone with guts and deep pockets to try them.


Where the Grass Grows Black comes out today!

Friday, February 17, 2006

New "A Scanner Darkly" trailer

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Good news or bad news?

You make the call. I think Luntz is brilliant, but he is one of the most powerful forces behind the "marketing-ization" of politics in this country. Do we want him on our side?


Moronic German chef wants to bring IP "protection" to recipes

What a horrible idea. Food, and cooking have always been exempt from the obnoxious regimes of intellectual property protection, and for pretty obvious reasons: Huge amounts of prior art, inexactness of measurements, and of course, the fact that it is FOOD, for chrissakes. Do we want to have to ask permission (or, god forbid, PAY A ROYALTY) to make a dish? Of course we don't.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

"It is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth"

Don't you mean "truthiness?"


Monday, February 06, 2006

Hitch - The case for mocking religion

The innate human revulsion against desecration is much older than any monotheism: Its most powerful expression is in the Antigone of Sophocles. It belongs to civilization. I am not asking for the right to slaughter a pig in a synagogue or mosque or to relieve myself on a "holy" book. But I will not be told I can't eat pork, and I will not respect those who burn books on a regular basis. I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species.

The IT Crowd

This is a so-far hilarious new British comedy. The only problem is the same horrendous canned (I think) laugh-track that nearly ruined Coupling. I'm not sure why some British shows still use a laugh-track. They've had success without them for years.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Torvalds argues against GPLv3

Basically, he's saying that hardware companies can choose to use DRM if they wish. If Linus were to re-license Linux under GPLv3, a lot of companies would be screwed.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

More details on pre-war deception

Mr Sands' book says that the meeting focused on the need to identify evidence that Saddam had committed a material breach of his obligations under the existing UN Resolution 1441. There was concern that insufficient evidence had been unearthed by the UN inspection team, led by Dr Hans Blix. Other options were considered.

President Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."

He went on: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated."

And, showing his usual uncanny prognosticative abilities...
President Bush said that he: "thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups."


Made me chuckle

"A comet is, of course, frozen bodies of ice and dust formed over 4.6 billion years ago---or created 6,000 years ago, depending on whether or not you're wrong."
---Jon Stewart

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Larry Ellison needs to rein it in

At the bottom of a document that detailed Ellison's 2000 debt load, Simon had scrawled a rough accounting of Ellison's lavish spending, according to deposition testimony:

"1) Life Style -- annual $20m

2) Interest Accrual -- annual $75m

3) Villa in Japan -- $25m

4) New Yacht -- $194m -- over 3 yrs

5) America's Cup -- $80m -- over 3 yrs

6) UAD -- 12m over 3 yrs."

It's not clear what UAD refers to. Since this rough budget, Ellison has reportedly spent $200 million building a Japanese-style estate in Woodside, which includes a reproduction of a 17th-century Kyoto teahouse. He has also bought multiple properties in Malibu -- $180 million worth, by one report.

Does "Life Style" = Hookers and blow?


Why bother with government propaganda...

when you have Fox News?


How the phone companies ruined broadband and stole 200 billion dollars

Starting in the early 1990’s, with a push from the Clinton-Gore Administration’s “Information Superhighway”, every Bell company — SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest — made commitments to rewire America, state by state. Fiber optic wires would replace the 100-year old copper wiring. The push caused techno-frenzy of major proportions. By 2006, 86 million households should have had a service capable of 45 Mbps in both directions, (to and from the customer) could handle over 500 channels of high quality video and be deployed in rural, urban and suburban areas equally. And these networks were open to ALL competition.

In order to pay for these upgrades, in state after state, the public service commissions and state legislatures acquiesced to the Bells’ promises by removing the constraints on the Bells’ profits as well as gave other financial perks. They were able to print money — billions of dollars per state — all collected in the form of higher phone rates and tax perks. (Note: each state is different.)

  • ADSL is not what was promised and paid for. It goes over the old copper wiring, can’t achieve the speed, has problems in rural areas and is mostly one-way.
  • 0% of the Bell companies’ customers have 45 Mbps residential services.


The real danger of "signing statements"

Should we dismiss these statements just because President Bush is so brazen in his claims? So willing to take legal positions that are undefended because they're legally indefensible? Will all this just go away someday, when a court dismisses these statements as excessive and unfounded? No. Because President Bush isn't trying to win this war in the courts. Thus far, he has faced each legal setback as though it never happened; or—more often—he's recast it as a victory. He doesn't care what the courts someday make of his signing statements, just as he didn't care what the courts made of his enemy-combatant claims. He views the courts as irrelevant in his pursuit of this war. These signing statements are dangerous because they repeat and normalize—always using seemingly boilerplate language—claims about the boundless powers of a "unitary executive." By questioning the principle of court review in the McCain statement, Bush again erodes the notion of judicial supremacy—an idea we have lived with since Marbury v. Madison. When he asserts that he—and not the courts—is the final arbiter of his constitutional powers, he is calling for a radical shift in the system of checks and balances.

It's so tempting to laugh off Bush's signing statements as puffed-up, groundless claims that he is all-powerful, all-knowing, and also devastatingly handsome. But this is the president talking and instructing his subordinates—and also outlining a broad legal regime that may not technically be constitutional, but that hardly makes it laughable. These declarations promote a view of the law that may have no merit in the courts but may never have the chance to be resolved there in the first place.


Scariest meth-head EVAR!

The way this guy keeps shouting "oncoming" makes me think he played a bit too much Burnout before going on this car-stealing spree.


Olbermann teases O'Reilly

Just watch it.

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