Friday, April 27, 2007

Whatever ahppened to Ashleigh Banfield?

Long story short?
She's now a co-anchor on a Court TV show.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Guess who WON'T be giving a eulogy at Yeltsin's funeral?

Matt Taibbi, that's who!
Finally, let's not forget perhaps the most ironic victims of Yeltsin's reign. Few today remember that the make-or-break moment for Yeltsin as a "democratic" leader came when coal miners in places like Cherepovets and Vorkuta went on strike in support of the revolution. Yeltsin rewarded those same miners by telling them to go fuck themselves when ruthless mine owners in his newly capitalist "reform Russia" turned them into slave laborers and left them unpaid for months and years on end. I visited Vorkuta in 1998 and found the same people who had protested in favor of Yeltsin's "democratic" revolt years before now living off tiny daily rations of rotten eggs and bacon fat. I was with one miner who brought home a single package of a boiled egg, a piece of sausage and a hunk of cheese given to him in lieu of salary at the mine, and solemnly divided it up with his wife and his two kids at dinner. The food came from past-due stocks of old food that the mine owners had traded for with a local store in exchange for coal.

Those same steam-boiler-bellied mine executives -- Yeltsin lookalikes -- proudly showed me a new slate pool table they had had imported from St. Petersburg that day and which they kept in the mine's newly-furnished executive lounge, where they hung out boozing all day while everybody else worked in dangerous prehistoric conditions. I visited that mine in June of 1998; 37 people had already died in mines in Vorkuta that year.

That was Boris Yeltsin's Russia. It was a place where pigs got fat and everyone else sucked eggs.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How the world works, according to Bill O'Reilly

I never realized how much power Media Matters had!


Monday, April 23, 2007

The full details of Vista's DRM lock-down insanity

The worst thing about all of this is that there's no escape. Hardware manufacturers will have to drink the kool-aid (and the reference to mass suicide here is deliberate) in order to work with Vista: “There is no requirement to sign the [content-protection] license; but without a certificate, no premium content will be passed to the driver”. Of course as a device manufacturer you can choose to opt out, if you don't mind your device only ever being able to display low-quality, fuzzy, blurry video and audio when premium content is present, while your competitors don't have this (artificially-created) problem.

As a user, there is simply no escape. Whether you use Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 95, Linux, FreeBSD, OS X, Solaris (on x86), or almost any other OS, Windows content protection will make your hardware more expensive, less reliable, more difficult to program for, more difficult to support, more vulnerable to hostile code, and with more compatibility problems. Because Windows dominates the market and device vendors are unlikely to design and manufacture two different versions of their products, non-Windows users will be paying for Windows Vista content-protection measures in products even if they never run Windows on them.

Here's an offer to Microsoft: If we, the consumers, promise to never, ever, ever buy a single HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc containing any precious premium content, will you in exchange withhold this poison from the computer industry? Please?


Friday, April 20, 2007

More funny

Socialized medicine horror story

Sounds like a real nightmare...
He was first diagnosed by our pediatrician, a private sector doctor, who sent us to the (public) specialised pediatric hospital in Paris for additional exams. We did a scan and a MRI the same day, and that brought the diagnosis we know. He was hospitalised the same day, with surgery immediately scheduled for two days later. At that point, we only had to provide our social security number.

Surgery - an act that the doctor that performed it (one of the world's top specialists in his field) told us he would not have done it five years before - actually took place the next week, because emergency cases came up in the meantime. After a few days at the hospital, we went home. At that point, we had spent no money, and done little more than filling up a simple form with name and social security number.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why I haven't been blogging...

I promise I'll get back to it soon...
Perfect Pair

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The New York Sun

Taking out-of-touch GOP bootlickery to a whole new level...


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You've probably seen this by now...

Monday, April 02, 2007

EMI to offer DRM-free music

Well, it costs more, but you get 256Kbit AAC, so all-in-all - not a bad deal. Hopefully EMusic will get in on this.
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