Saturday, February 04, 2006

How... when selecting music from your physical sources to listen to, do you prevent the unconscious selection process which can lead to 80% or more of your collection going unlistened to for years? It is very easy to head for... 'favourites', easy choices you know fit the mood you're in, and which will provide certain satisfaction.
posted by Alun , 7:12 PM Þ 

The image ?http://static.flickr.com/37/95363259_cfc6140241_o.jpg? cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
posted by Alun , 5:08 PM Þ 

berStandard 3.1 Specification

A practical community standard for extremely high quality audio archiving

This specification defines the current best practice in high quality audio archiving. Audio CD rips; "berrips" created in compliance with this standard are of virtually guaranteed consistency and perceptual transparency vastly exceeding the poor compromises of so-called "standard" MP3s, WMAs or AACs. berStandard rips feature a choice of outstanding audio qualities, some at very manageable sizes using the de-facto standard MP3 (MPEG I Audio Layer 3) codec in a choice of special (but very compatible) encoding modes, the young but promising open-source upstart Ogg Vorbis codec for the future of transparent lossy compression, or, for truly mathematically lossless and perfect berrips, the leading open-source lossless codec FLAC.

This specification was conceived and compiled by and with the help of the founders, admins and users, past and present, of the community known as the bernet. It is considered roughly canonical and complete; if you have any corrections or improvements, contact us. It may be quoted and distributed freely and you are encouraged to contribute, however as it is a standard, any actual changes should be at the very least via rough agreed consensus among the bernet High Council which agree and set the standard.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 (See also: KeyWordMeanings).
Fundamentals and Common Mistakes

All discs ripped MUST be original and authentic. NO CD-Rs, CD-RWs or pirate silvers (copies pressed by large-scale pirates). NO emulated "image drives". (Generation loss WILL happen, and is VERY not cool.) [...]

http://www.ubernet.org/?p=UberStandard

Men with heart.
posted by Irdial , 1:13 PM Þ 

Read this rather unusual BBQ transmitted piece of text:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4678220.stm

You will find that it is of an abnormally high quality, without the simple minded LCD focus of your regular BBQ writing.

Quite a shock.
posted by Irdial , 10:18 AM Þ 

In the press there is a such thing as "fair comment," which the cartoons lack.

??? Is this a canadian thing? A free press means a free press. Period.

While some of them I would consider not so bad, some are downright unfair and nasty, which is contrary to the role of a newspaper.

What are you TALKING about barrie? There is no 'role of a newspaper'. A newspaper is a printed object made by man. It is tman's right to put whatever he wants in it, and to give it to anyone he wants to read, and THAT IS ALL.

If something lacks fairness then there is no reason to publish it,

Ahhhh....a TROLL!

Don't hold back!

I put in what needs to be put in, and keep out what needs to be kept out. This is not 'holding back', it is staying on topic.
posted by Irdial , 10:05 AM Þ 

After some discussion here and with several other people I have changed much of my mind about the offensive Danish cartoons. While I still wouldn't qualify the publishers as INSANE, I think "careless" and "ignorant" are good words.
In the press there is a such thing as "fair comment," which the cartoons lack. While some of them I would consider not so bad, some are downright unfair and nasty, which is contrary to the role of a newspaper. If something lacks fairness then there is no reason to publish it, I really don't understand the motivation behind the cartoonists or the editor of that paper. Contrary to what I wrote before, they surely must have known how serious some of the depictions were, but were perhaps too ignorant, proud or spiteful to care.
Perhaps the publication of the cartoons in an underground, specialty newsmag or webpage would not be so bad, if it was the publication's intention to be inflamatory - but for several national papers, that's just not kosher.

And I can tell you right now, that the bit above about Russia falling to bits was going to be in my essay below, but I left it out so as not to digress too far

Say whaaaa? I would have liked to have read that. Don't hold back!

Speaking of Russia, I've been reading these crazy as shit essays by one Alexandr Dugin. Crazy, but there is a great deal of entertainment in ridiculous academic papers.
posted by Barrie , 1:32 AM Þ 
Friday, February 03, 2006

This is a new cool tool...or so it seems...

http://www.read.io/public/index.jsp

It takes your RSS, turns it into speech as a podcast....wow, if it works!
posted by Irdial , 7:26 PM Þ 

The image ?http://static.flickr.com/36/88611508_98849a4392.jpg?v=0? cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I saw this and thought of you...
posted by Alun , 7:13 PM Þ 

Condemning Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Is Cheap And Easy
By Mitch Wagner
Feb 2, 2006 at 06:01 PM ET




Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have been acting like grownups recently in their decision to cooperate with the Chinese government in censoring Internet comment. You may not agree with their course of action -- you may even condemn what they're doing -- but you have to admit that they've taken responsibility for their actions and decisions, and not tried to claim that the whole thing is beyond their control.

I wish I could say the three companies' critics are also being grownups. It's easy to be outraged by companies that cooperate with oppressive regimes, easy to post angry blog entries and issue impassioned press releases. But it's harder to work for change.

In the latest developments, as reported in our story by Tom Claburn, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo tried to enlist the U.S. government to work to stop censorship in other countries, such as China. "As a U.S.-based company that deals primarily in information, we have urged the United States government to treat censorship as a barrier to trade," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel, in a statement prepared for a meeting held Wednesday by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

Google was condemned after it launched a Chinese Web presence that censors content deemed unfit by the Chinese government. Last month, Microsoft blocked access to the site of a Chinese blogger, Michael Anti. And Yahoo came under fire in September, following revelations that it supplied information to the Chinese authorities that led to ten-year prison sentence for Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

This week, Google and Microsoft took steps to take responsibility for their actions, and discuss the issue with Internet users.

Microsoft outlined its procedure for taking down blogs. Microsoft will cooperate with censorship only if faced with a legitimate order from a foreign government. That may not sound like much--but still, it's progress.

Likewise, Google explained, in frank and plain language, why it took the action it did, and what it proposes to do to improve the human rights situation in China.

Since the Google story broke recently, I've found myself reaching for the keyboard, ready to write a blistering diatribe denouncing Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo as a bunch of evil greedheads, ready to throw aside principle in the name of profit. It'd be an easy editorial to write, and a popular opinion to have.

But the situation is complex. Google explained that they cooperated with China because they believe the business benefits of Internet access, and the information that will be brought to Chinese people over the Internet, outweigh the harm done by cooperating with censorship.

What Google didn't say is that censoring the Internet is hard to do. It may prove to be impossible. By helping bring the Internet to China, Google might well be helping the Chinese people overthrow the regime of the censors--and enlisting the censors' unwitting help in doing it. Google didn't say that, but some of the people at Google must have believed it; the Internet's inherent resistance to censorship is a commonly held belief among Internet enthusiasts--like, for example, Bill Gates.

While I'm willing to see Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo's side of this issue, and I'm willing to withhold my condemnation, and I'm even willing to applaud them for taking responsibility for their actions, I'm not prepared to go the extra step and condone those actions. It's distressing, to say the least, to think of of U.S. companies cooperating with totalitarian governments in the oppression of their own people.

But, while I'm uncomfortable with Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, I'm not really thrilled with Congressman Tom Lantos and attorney Andrew Serwin, either.

Lantos, o-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, had a perfectly lovely condemnation of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo at the ready. "The launch last week of the censored Chinese Google website is only the latest sign that even companies that make strong and impressive corporate claims, such as Google?s motto, 'Don't Be Evil,' cannot or do not want to respect human rights when business interests are at stake," he said in a statement. Do take the time to read the statement; it's very plain and eloquent.

But, reading further into the statement, we find that Lantos is okay with some censorship. For example, he notes that, in Germany neo-Nazi sites are banned. Lantos (a Holocaust survivor and immigrant who, as a teen, fought in the underground against Nazis) condemns speech by neo-Nazis and terrorists, and carefully separates that kind of speech from pro-democracy advocates.

But what Lantos doesn't get is that neither he, nor the governments of China or Germany, should be allowed to decide what speech is allowed and what is forbidden.

Censorship is wrong. Democracy advocates should be allowed to speak in China, and, sadly, Holocaust-deniers and neo-Nazis also have a right to speak. The right of free speech is absolute, it belongs to everyone. The antidote to bad speech isn't censorship; it's good speech.

Moreover, Lantos is big on talk, but not ready to act. When asked by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to intervene on their behalf, Lantos's spokesman declined, saying that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are big enough to act on their own.

That response completely flummoxed me. I mean, if the Congressional Human Rights Caucus isn't willing to intervene to champion human rights, what, precisely, is its purpose?

Likewise, Serwin thinks that asking companies to uphold basic human rights is darn unfair and downright mean. "It's probably no more proper for us in the U.S. to impose our views on the Chinese than it would be for them to impose their censorship on us," he says. In that statement, Serwin reduces free speech from the fundamental human right that it is, to a local custom, same as driving on the left side of the road or taking long naps in the afternoon.

I could go on like this, ranting and raving against Lantos and Serwin. But I won't. condemnation is cheap and easy. Action is hard.

What can we do -- heck, what can I do -- to help promote free speech and other basic human rights in areas, like China, where they're lacking? What Internet tools, such as anonymizers, are available, and how can we support them? [...]

Information Week

My emphasis.

Google going into China is more like inflitration than it is appeasement or collaboration.
posted by Irdial , 4:02 PM Þ 

The Danish Cartoonists Guild claimed a new lease of life yesterday when its leader Njk Grfn and one of his compadres walked briskly from a press conference, cheered on by half of the charlatans in their peer group which was irreconcilably dismissive to 'others'.

A reprint was confirmed last night by the France Soir, which Mr Grfn praised as an uncensored organ to roars of applause and shouts of "freedom" from 100 editors. Greeted with bouquets of red and white flowers outside Copenhagen City Hall, he deliberately redrew the cartoons printed in the Danish paper and reprinted by a Norwegian newspaper which led to the outcry.

"If the Muslim community feel they must prosecute us for tainting their Truth, we will be here," he told the crowd. "These cartoons have brought us more notoriety than ever before, including a paycheck of ?20,000, the biggest in our history. We've never had such good publicity before."

Mr Grfn, 46, ... distributed caricatures of the Qu'ran to the hacks to back his argument he was parodying a religion not a prophet, and was reminded twice by his editor he was not addressing a hostile crowd.

Extremist walks free,to jeers whilst cartoonists work free to cheers?

I don't think that so many European papers would be so hasty to guard the BNPs 'right to offend', certainly not by reprinting their propaganda, and their crassness in reproducing such cartoons shows a certain hypocrisy in their attitudes to 'libertarianism', not that they should suddenly feel compelled to print extremist propaganda, but that they should realise it is a cheapened form of freedom of speech that relies on denigrating 'the other' to assert itself, whether a marginal political party or a mass circulation newspaper.

I think should also have the credulity to believe a set of people when they say something is offensive and hurts them. Such foresight may prevent unprovoked assaults causing international 'days of rage'.
posted by meau meau , 2:30 PM Þ 

Common sense and courtesy:

The Sun said it "believes passionately in free speech, but that does not mean we need to jump on someone else's bandwagon to prove we will not be intimidated".

The Daily Mail said: "While the Mail would fight to the death to defend those papers that printed the cartoons, it disagrees with the fact they have done so. Rights are one thing, responsibilities are another.

"The papers that so piously proclaim freedom of speech are deeply discourteous to the Islamic view. An obligation of free speech is that you do not gratuitously insult those with whom you disagree."


Such restraint is unusual in the British media these days - and could set an intriguing precedent

In a leader headed "Why we will defend the right to offend", the Daily Telegraph said it had chosen not to publish the cartoons, in the same way it chose not to print pictures of graphic nudity or violence: "We prefer not to cause gratuitous offence to some of our readers," it read.

"However, there might be circumstances in which the dictates of news left us no choice but to publish - and where the public interest was overwhelmingly served by such an act, we would."

It went on to suggest that those Muslims who cannot tolerate the openness and robustness of intellectual debate in the West had perhaps chosen to live in the wrong cultures, ending with a quote from a Jordanian paper: "Muslims of the world, be reasonable."

The Independent, a fierce champion of free speech, said: "There is a right to exercise an uncensored pen. But there is also a right for people to exist in a secular pluralist society without feeling alienated, threatened and routinely derided as many Muslims do now.

"To elevate one right above all others is the hallmark of a fanatic. The media have responsibilities as well as rights."

And the Guardian said: "Newspapers are not obliged to publish offensive materials merely because it is controversial ... the restraint of most of the British press may be the wiser course - at least for now." [...]

From BBQ
posted by Irdial , 2:07 PM Þ 

This site has the perfect icon for the perfect terminal app: Colossus!
posted by Irdial , 12:53 PM Þ 

An interesting diary excerpt from Robert Fripp concerning, amongst other things, the use of downloaded music files. Also available on that page, for a limited time, is an MP3 of a League of Gentlemen song relating to Gurdjieffian metaphysics (I only know this as it's a live track with some commentary explaining this - what I like about it is the all-round grooviness of the music).
posted by captain davros , 12:51 PM Þ 

"I don't understand anything," she said with decision, determined to preserve her incomprehension intact. "Nothing. Least of all," she continued in another tone "why you don't take soma when you have these dreadful ideas of yours. You'd forget all about them. And instead of feeling miserable, you'd be jolly. So jolly,"
posted by meau meau , 10:41 AM Þ 

I have seen comments in the UK press about how it they expect that UK muslims "...are confident enough in their own religion to know that it can survive the slings and arrows of free speech."

This is from the same paper that said of the BrassEye special, that satirised the media and it's attitude to children and paedophilia, that it was 'the sickest tv show evar'.

Proving the point that its ok if they are the ones firing the 'slings and arrows'. Not too unsimilar to US attitudes to democratic elections: fine if they produce the desired result.

----


I am reading a book that was recommended called 'Ishmael' by Daniel Quinn. Thoroughly enjoyable and provocative about how we perceive ourselves as a species fitting into the scheme of things. I'm on the section that explores the laws of limited competition and how our culture is "the world that has been pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth......".

All told from the perspective of conversations with a telepathic gorilla. Ha! It's better than that sounds.

Captain: Knowing then what you do now would mean that you would have missed out on the journey magical mystery tour.
Never get off the bus!
posted by chriszanf , 3:57 AM Þ 
Thursday, February 02, 2006

Last night I was chatting with Mikkel Eriksen (who used to post here) about the Danish Muhammed cartoons. It was interesting to hear a Dane's perspective on this story.
These were cartoons that were meant, to the best of my understanding, to talk about issues specific to Denmark regarding the way Denmark has integrated (or, not integrated) Muslims into its society.


No they were not. they were made to provoke the muslims in denmark, it was Jyllandspostens intension with the cartoons. They knew for a fact that it would provoke - and they thought it would be okay in the name of "freedom of speech". Jyllandsposten is by the way Denmarks rightwing-newspaper. Many of the danish politicians from the extreme Danish Peoples Party express themselfs.

I'm sure the artists realized the controversy of what they were doing, but in the context of what they were discussing I doubt anyone thought it would cause a ridiculous clusterfuck of controversy (which, or course, it did).
What I'm saying is that this was a pebble that caused a sea storm. Sometimes things like this happen and I don't think anyone should expect that these cartoonist knew how powerful what they were doing was going to be. No one can predict how big things can get, least of all the people who create small things.


Yes, in other words, many danes are VERY ignorant...trust me I work in a Danish public library. And no pebble caused any seastorm, this was the drop the filled the cup... and things ran over

I think calling the cartoonists and publishers INSANE is ludicrous, and counterproductive. People should not be afraid of expressing themselves, even if the results will be incredible (and as I said above, hindsight makes it easy to see that what they were doing was big - creators do not have the benefit of hindsight). If everyone worries about how explosive their creations are going to be, it will surely limit the scope of creative output. In short, it breeds fear.

Sorry Barrie, but this thing in Denmark is not about expressing ones feelings/freedom of speech, it is about morals. In Denmark it is absolutly insane to make fun of muslims when you dont even allow them to have a mosque or a muslim graveyard. Where things like, and I quote a danish peopleparty politician: " muslims are like cancer-tissue on society" and MANY MANY more nazi-things under the shield of "freedom of speech".

Ironically I am going to Dubai the next 3 weeks, its going to be interesting...
posted by Alison , 8:30 PM Þ 

Oh, sometimes it's too tempting to just 'state the bleedin' obvious'.

Point to the east, bow and pray that you are not overwhelmed by temptation.

Just in case.
You know how STUPID people can be.

Heh, don't we all; 2+2=5, etc etc, speaking of which, Bertrand Russel spend years writing out the proof that 1+1=2....but that is digression propre. People are REALLY STUPID, anti-cosmopolitan, untravelled, unexposed, insluar, deluded - and these same people all [dr evil]have the frikkin vote[/dr evil].

Chinese interface, go to the dashboard and under the logo, third item down is 'change language' you will see that your poisonos (yes, 'poisonos') post switched you to Chinese. And I spent 5 mins switching the character settings thinking that the post had changed Firecox. It was only when I looked at the page source that I realized that the source itself was in Chinese...eek.
posted by Irdial , 7:50 PM Þ 

Tell me you didn't just post that.

{ahem}

Oh, sometimes it's too tempting to just 'state the bleedin' obvious'.
Just in case.
You know how STUPID people can be.

my entire Blogger interface in Firefox is rendering in.....C H I N E S E
[
我的整个Blogger 接口在Firefox 是rendering 在.....C H I N E S E]

So is mine!
posted by Alun , 7:40 PM Þ 

GAhhhh!!!

I had to edit Alun's post with the google form so that it didnt extend the page width, and since I did it, my entire Blogger interface in Firefox is rendering in.....


C H I N E S E


Serves me right, right?!
posted by Irdial , 7:27 PM Þ 

Caution: just because you agree, it doesn't make it correct.

Tell me you didn't just post that.

"Master Kirby, you disappoint me. Meau Meau holds you in such high esteem. Surely you can do better!"

Moving right along...

BBQ:

Mandelson enters row over cartoon

European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson has criticised papers which have re-published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr Mandelson called the cartoons "crude and juvenile", saying reprinting them was like "throwing petrol onto the flames of the original issue".

Protests have spread after the drawings, first printed in Denmark, were re-run in several European papers. [...]

uh oh...'bad company'...

meanwhile the editor of France Soir has been sacked. The reaction:

We fought for freedom of religion...France Soir's owner should be ashamed
Marcel de Vries, Netherlands

Youu didn't 'fight for freedom'; even the most simple minded can see that now. Wake up. Look around you. The west is being turned into a Soviet style police state. You cant even walk out of your own house without ID, and you think you are 'free'. Egad people are so DUMB.

The editor of the paper France Soir was sacked for printing the cartoons.

Danish-Swedish dairy giant Arla Foods says its sales in the Middle East have plummeted to zero as a result. (of the boycott)

Astonishing.

Maybe now, though its unlikely, these people will understand just what it means to, say, unanimously dump the dollar. Should they understand this, they should immediately retaliate if Iran is hauled into the Security Council. Then we will see where the true power lies.
posted by Irdial , 7:11 PM Þ 

Any opinion you like, at the click of a mouse.

... unless you're in China?!

;)
posted by meau meau , 6:47 PM Þ 

And there you have it. Everything that I have been saying for ages, paraphrased almost word for word.

Any opinion you like, at the click of a mouse.

You can make up your own minds as to which one(s) are worth paying attention to.

Caution: just because you agree, it doesn't make it correct.
posted by Alun , 5:33 PM Þ 

Google is Right on China

Progress Snapshot Release 2.5 January 2006

by James V. DeLong*

Google has agreed to submit to censorship of search results in exchange for operating in China.

The full scope of the censorship is a work in progress. Wired says: "To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit web content that the country's government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials." (http://www.wired.com/) And C|Net News' Declan McCullagh's research found: "Many Web sites censored from Google's Chinese results touch on topics known to be unpopular with the Communist Party: the Tiananmen protest and massacre, political criticism in general, Tibet, Taiwan and Falun Gong (a growing movement that combines traditional Chinese breathing exercises with meditation and that's been renounced by the Chinese government as a cult). But others are more puzzling, such as jokes and alcohol." (http://news.com.com/)

As a result, Google is being roasted in the flames of an outraged Internet, accused of selling out its "Don't Be Evil" corporate birthright for a mess of Yuan. (http://www.usingenglish.com/)

About the only tepidly good word came from George Mason University economist Thomas Hazlett: "the terms of the agreement struck will push modern communications yet further in a basically authoritarian society. That triggers an underlying dynamic that ultimately, will undermine restrictions, allowing civil liberties -- not Chinese government censors -- to triumph." (http://news.ft.com/)

My view is considerably more sympathetic both to Google and to China and its leaders than is the Internet consensus.

The Chinese are undertaking simultaneously several of the most difficult tasks that any nation can attempt. They are loosening the grasp of an authoritarian regime; fostering rapid economic development; and evolving the proper form of government for a huge population of widely varying sophistication and skill in the technological age, bearing in mind the history and culture of China.

Were I a Chinese leader, I would be thinking along the following lines.

We have no model for this daring and difficult enterprise, even if we think that in the long-term we need some variation of a democratic state. The West's assumption that all we need do is ape it represents a presumption that would be amusing if the issue were not so serious, because democracy in the West is in serious jeopardy.

Look at Russia, where the recommended shock treatment approach was a disaster. The lesson may be that converting to a more capitalistic state requires economic loosening before political loosening -- perestroika before glasnost. The rule of law may have to start at the top and then extend downward, and be followed by a broad voting franchise only after the basics of industrial development are firmly in place. This was, after all, the pattern of the Western democracies. Magna Carta was for barons, not peasants.

A hard-eyed look at the West also reveals more question marks than answers.

Will Europe be democratic in 20 years? The EU structure cuts in the other direction. And the trend of European democracy is that the dependents on the government are electorally dominant, able to resist any reform of entitlements. The result, within a decade, will probably be a revolt of the young, who will see themselves as heavily taxed to maintain a welfare state that will not exist for them, and that allows them very limited opportunities to improve their lot. But the revolt cannot be electoral, precisely because the young are outnumbered, which means it must be anti-democratic. And probably nasty.

The U.S. as a democratic model? An interesting case, that's also full of problems. The nation has an increasing political class of government workers (http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0601-29.pdf), better paid than the private sector by 50 percent, and capable of combining with other dependents to resist changes. It has increasing corruption among politicians of both parties, who have gerrymandered themselves into safe seats supported by massive pork, using public money to buy support from both interest groups and short-sighted corporations, and who are increasingly using campaign finance controls (http://www.opinionjournal.com/) to censor political opposition to this system.

From an economic point of view, the whole U.S. is turning into a massive anti-commons (http://papers.ssrn.com/), where everyone has veto power over every form of productive investment. It has shut down much of its manufacturing and extractive industries. A good symbol is that is a nation with an energy crisis that cannot even find a spot to build a refinery or an LNG terminal. It is now turning on even such innocuous industries as Wal-Mart, for heaven's sake!

Democracy in the U.S. was founded on a sophisticated interlayering of different types of governance in different situations, with the types appropriate to the decisions and interests involved. It is an irony of successful democracy that the whole must be subject to democratic control, but within this framework there must be many undemocratic decision processes, ranging from representative assemblies to market-driven businesses to law-bound adjudication.

The U.S. is increasingly in thrall to a kind of plebiscitary democracy, often by public opinion poll,a residue of the mindless 1960s, where every decision, right down to guilt or innocence in a criminal case, should be decided by vote.

Furthermore, the disturbing trends are getting worse, not better. The technologies of instantaneous communication are rendering the whole nation increasingly vulnerable to that fatal disease of democracy feared since the ancient Greeks -- demagoguery and rule by mass whim, a trend abetted by the glorification of the mass mind and by slogans about the superiority of the crowd. There is some wisdom in crowds, but "it's hard to aggregate the wisdom of the crowd without aggregating [its] madness as well." (http://radar.oreilly.com/)

Far from a model, the U.S. may be running on the fumes of its human capital of gifted and entrepreneurial people, but is far from clear that current trends will allow for the continuing replenishment of this class. And the nation is pinning a lot on high-tech, since it seems bent on suppressing other forms of economic activity.

But China has gifted and entrepreneurial people, too, and we also like high-tech while taking a more benign view of manufacturing and extraction. Our rise will increase the already severe future strains on the U.S. Will the U.S. be democratic in 50 years? History will tell.

So, what is a Chinese leader dedicated to the welfare of the people to do, given this incredible uncertainty, and the lack of convincing models? The wisest course seems to be: Focus on perestroika above glasnost. Move cautiously. Avoid any threat of losing control to demagoguery and mob rule, which inevitably ends in re-authoritarianism. Develop the rule of law before an extended franchise. And keep maneuvering in the fantastically complicated situation involving the modernists, the PLA, the old Mao-ists, the modern equivalent of regional warlords, the rising demands of the new economic classes, and the restlessness of the people who see that a better life is possible.

And given this Chinese view, what should Google do? Google should do what Google does, which is search engines. Google is not a Chinese leader, and it is not the role or duty of Google to tell China how to rule itself, or to tell the Chinese leader dedicated to the betterment of the people how to act, even when what the Chinese government does goes against the grain of American views of free speech.

In the end, search engines, even truncated ones, will contribute to the economic and political development of China, as Hazlett noted. The working out of this story will be one of the great tales of human history, for tragedy or triumph, depending on how it goes.

So Google should happily contribute to this effort, doing what it does, and avoiding the hubris of thinking it is responsible for China, or that it knows the answers. In this situation, good and evil are not self-evident categories.

Berkeley economist Brad DeLong is fond of saying (http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/) that it is very important to the peace of the world that in 50 years school children in India and China are taught that the West did everything it could to help the economic development of these nations. Google should focus on being a lesson in these textbooks.

- This article appeared in TCS Daily on January 31, 2006.

* James V. DeLong is a Senior Fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation in Washington, D.C. This article represents his own opinions, which may not be shared by PFF, its staff, or it directors.

[...]

And there you have it. Everything that I have been saying for ages, paraphrased almost word for word. And I can tell you right now, that the bit above about Russia falling to bits was going to be in my essay below, but I left it out so as not to digress too far, and mis-characterize my beloved Russians as being entirely run by criminal gangs after their bold abandonment of the Soviet System.

Are you paying attention yet?
posted by Irdial , 4:50 PM Þ 

Voice of the White House January 27, 2006

TBR News.com – January 27, 2006

“I know from the private Republican polls (the ones you never see and never get into the media) that they are in serious danger of losing control of the government come November. The problem is that although the rank and file, and the leadership, know this, they cannot communicate to Bush that sea changes have to be made, at least cosmetic ones, or public anger will get to the point that impeachment is a probability.

Frankly, our President is a nut. He won’t listen to anyone and does what he wants. The stupid twit actually believes he is some kind of God and can do anything he likes whenever he likes it. Thank God Bush doesn’t get the urge to shoot a hunting rifle at passing tourists. His bizarre and distasteful sex life coupled with his binge drinking makes him a true menace. People thought a lecherous Clinton was bad but this one makes Clinton look like St. Vincent DePaul by comparison.

The leadership has more or less decided that since Bush will not change, he will simply have to go to save the rest of them or, if they are ideologues, for the common good. For themselves, not necessarily for the American people.

Although Bush stubbornly refuses to release any document which he feels might make him look bad, others are doing just that. Tens of thousands of pages of memos, reports, notes, tapes, and all kinds of priceless milestones on George W. Bush’s journey to the underworld are being assembled and studied for possible “leaks.”

I have seen some of these and am now going to do my frightened friends a huge favor by publishing some of the more awful ones.

For example: According to in-house memos now circulating, the DHS has issued orders to banks across America which announce to them that “under the Patriot Act” (whatever that crap means) the DHS has the absolute right to seize, without any warrant whatsoever, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced” visits to any bank to open and inspect the contents of “selected safe deposit boxes.” Further, these boxes, taken from a DHS list of people who are considered “hostile to the present government, citizens who have visited outside the United States before or after 9/11 to countries now considered to be hostile to this country…” “ :Russia, Peoples Republic of China, Mexico, Guatemala, Spain, Italy, Egypt, France, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Turkey or the Sudan…” or any citizen who has a bank account in any of those listed countries are considered to be of legitimate interest in the “ongoing investigations into foreign and domestic terrorism.”

Further, the DHA “shall, at the discretion of the agent supervising the search, remove, photograph or seize as evidence…” any of the following items…”bar gold, gold coins, firearms of any kind unless manufactured prior to 1878, documents such as passports or foreign bank account records, pornography or any material that, in the opinion of the agent, shall be deemed of to be of a contraband nature.”

DHS memos also state that banks are informed that any bank employee, on any level, that releases “improper” “classified DHS Security information” to any member of the public, to include the customers whose boxes have been clandestinely opened and inspected and “any other party, to include members of the media” and further “that the posting of any such information on the internet will be grounds for the immediate termination of the said employee or employees and their prosecution under the Patriot Act.”

Currently, the two major targets of these completely illegal and warrantless searches and seizures, are the California-based Bank of America and the Compass Bank. The former is one of the largest banks in the United States and Compass Bank ( Compass Bancshares, Inc). is a $30.1 billion Southwestern financial holding company which operates 385 full-service banking centers including 139 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 73 in Arizona, 42 in Florida, 32 in Colorado and 10 in New Mexico.

Of extraordinary interest to the DHS are Bank of America records relating to their Bank Of America <>‘SafeSend Money to Mexico’<> program.

It should be noted that the DHS states that “in the event that the owners of these confiscated objects do not file an administrative complaint within three (3) months subsequent to said confiscation, the aforesaid items shall pass to the permanent custody of the DHS”

Isn’t that wonderful? You and your wife are visiting relatives in France, Uncle Einar’s $100,000 collection of gold coins is lifted out of your box and you don’t get back to the United States for two months and don’t check your looted box for another four months. My, some nice DHS person, or maybe two, has a nice new BMW to show off to his neighbors. Tough luck, Uncle Einar!

Oh, and you might like to know that the spate of “robberies” of bank credit card and personal data that took place in and around February of 2005, were not robberies at all. The DHS, using its muscle, simply went off with trucks full of data to mine at their leisure. The banks involved said nothing, and will say nothing. If they do, their people will be at a nice Federal country club, making shoes for the Army while the DHS bosses, to include the FEMA thieves, will be buying property on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Palm Desert. Or some nice marina like Marine del Ray to keep their nice new 150’ yacht.

To date, in California alone (the only report I have seen) over 1,500 banks have been “visited” and boxes rifled between January, 2005 and January, 2006. [...]

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/print.asp?ID=4099
posted by Irdial , 2:43 PM Þ 




http://ldopa.net/2006/01/14/glterminal/

This is the most sexay terminal app EVER.
posted by Irdial , 2:28 PM Þ 

Britain loses some 1.7 billion pounds (3.06 billion US dollars) a year to identity theft, said a Home Office minister on Thursday.

This results in an average loss of 35 pounds (about 63 dollars)per person, much more expensive than the national identity cards currently under government consideration, Andy Burnham, the Home Office minister, told BBC Radio...

May Allah rain down a great bounty upon the Chinese!

Hmm with such bullshit there had to be a three billion figure somewhere.

But in all seriousness the last 1.3 billion GBP figure was soundly discredited by Spyblog and this figure will no doubt turn out to be handled in the same way by them.
posted by meau meau , 2:10 PM Þ 

I wish, that, I knew what I know now, when I was younger.
posted by captain davros , 2:05 PM Þ 

I don't trust biomass as a major renewable fuel option.

We have already seen monocultures in cereal production vastly diminish biodiversity, and large scale biomas will no doubt be farmed in the same way. Then there is the question of GM producers using it as a way to introduce GM planting by sidestepping the human food chain - this would certainly be a way of big business continuing it's control over supply. Lastly in terms of 'self-sufficiency' I think you could either have food OR fuel production not both, certainly not with the overpopulated state of the world today (even in the West where native populations are falling our demand is still increasing.)
posted by meau meau , 12:41 PM Þ 

These were cartoons that were meant, to the best of my understanding, to talk about issues specific to Denmark regarding the way Denmark has integrated (or, not integrated) Muslims into its society.

What this shows is that this publicaton does not have any muslims working on that newspaper, or that they did not consult any muslim before publishing the piece. If they had, they would have been told immediately that this would cause greate offence to any muslim who read it. Now the fact that they picked the most offensive possible action to take, implies that perhaps they did consult with a muslim, realized what trouble it would cause, smacked their lips and then said 'publish and be damned'. Either way, there is no chance that they did not know what they were doing, or the insult they were delivering.

I'm sure the artists realized the controversy of what they were doing, but in the context of what they were discussing I doubt anyone thought it would cause a ridiculous clusterfuck of controversy (which, or course, it did).

Anyone who has travelled, who knows muslims....honestly, who watches television, knows that these people take a small number of things more seriously than life itself.

For example; I was in a taxi cab in central london. I sat in the front seat. The driver was a true believer. From his mirror hung a verse from his holy book, laminated in plastic. I was curious, as I am, and took it in my right hand to take a close look at both sides.

The driver flipped out and said, "DONT TOUCH THAT!!!!".
Surprised by his reaction, I said, "What is it?!".
He said, "This is from KORAN and it must not be touched!".

Now after that reaction, its clear that SOME of these people are just crazy. Does that mean that I cannot eat and love their food, listen to and love their music, ride in their taxis? Of course not. It just means that when I see their holy book, I DONT TOUCH IT, and we can get along fine.

What this article proved is that the publishers either have had zero contact with or knowledge about the sensitivity of these people (how likely is that? I have no idea, but I think that it might not be true). OR they were flexing their muscles saying, "this is still our country, take everything we have to give, or beat it". Which once AGAIN, since I clearly didnt repeat it enough, is their absolute right at all times and until the end of time.

What I'm saying is that this was a pebble that caused a sea storm. Thier reaction not 'ridiculuous' any more than being blown up by a land mine is 'ridiculous'. You lay down mines


This shows barrie that you have no idea of what these people (and I can say this thanks to the scale of the reaction) are really like. You would not call this a little thing had you travelled extensively, or known lots of different types of muslim. That is not your fault, and you have no reqirement to educate yourself in 'the ways of the heathen', but don't make the mistake of superimposing your own ideas of what is and is not important on other people, and then expecting them to behave iin your broken model, because that wrong thinking is exactly what causes probplems like this, the Salman Rushde affair etc etc.

Now, Penguin had the absolute right to publish 'The Satanic Verses', and Salman Rushdie has the right to pen whatever he likes whenever he likes. There is, sadly a dire consequence to doing it when it comes to 'insulting islam', because all those people who are capable of murdering over a book, or a drawing live here in the UK right now. If they did not live in the UK, it might still be possible to print these things and get away with it, and this is the central, hidden arguement that all of this brings up. Can we live with people who are from a culture that is so different to us that the very things that make us who we are causes them to want to boycott or even kill us?

Maybe that is what this newspaper was asking through this deliberate provocation. Clearly because so much of the world is interconnected, and so much of 'our money' is their hands, it might not be possible to do as you please anymore without suffering a national economic death sentence or the death penalty from these people.

I think calling the cartoonists and publishers INSANE is ludicrous, and counterproductive.

If what they are saying is true, that they did not know what they were doing, its like a child putting a fork into a toaster while he is in a tub full of water. There is no way, I think, that they did not know what they were doing, and what it would cause. Deliberately causing yourself to be in a Salman Rushdie posture is...insane. They didn't even take the precaution of submitting anonymously. Not very smart.

People should not be afraid of expressing themselves, even if the results will be incredible (and as I said above, hindsight makes it easy to see that what they were doing was big - creators do not have the benefit of hindsight).

Like I said above, cursory research would have shown them that this was very dangerous, and the fact that they picked this particular subject indicates that they did the research and decided to provoke, otherwise, how did they come to this, the worst possible thing they could do? Are they so insular and unexposed that they have never heard of Salman Rushdie? I doubt it.

If everyone worries about how explosive their creations are going to be, it will surely limit the scope of creative output. In short, it breeds fear.

I dont believe this at all. What I do believe is that people don't want to be killed for no reason this has nothing to do with publishing in general. The majority of subjects will never cause this to happen. You are free to create around those, and this one 'forbidden' one, but then, you must take the consequences without apology.

Its interestig to note that blasphemy laws used to exist in the UK at one time...but Im not going down there now...

No, I applaud these cartoonists and the publisher of the paper. Sometimes the cost of free speech is ridiculously high, but that does not mean one should not foot the bill.

Thats an intersting line. Now use your imagination, and apply it to yourself. You are an illustrator, with 20 years under your belt. You have a wife and three children, You have good commissions, a house, and some money. You go out of your way to provoke some stranger in the street, "just because you can", knowing that at the moment you do this, he WILL slitt your throat right in front of your children.

Do you stil decide to do it? I wonder? You give up your life, deprive your children of their father, just so you can say "allah sucks" to a total stranger.

That barrie, is both stupid AND insane.

But, you are free to do so.
posted by Irdial , 10:20 AM Þ 

Irdials yay google link should go here rather than M$ I presume.

The mighty Irdial's point about governments requiring taxation to do their deeds is also understood by the Israelis

-

What is the worst thing about British trains? not the punctuality but the constant smell of burning chemicals that people accept as refreshments. And the best thing? hmmm
posted by meau meau , 9:55 AM Þ 

Last night I was chatting with Mikkel Eriksen (who used to post here) about the Danish Muhammed cartoons. It was interesting to hear a Dane's perspective on this story.
These were cartoons that were meant, to the best of my understanding, to talk about issues specific to Denmark regarding the way Denmark has integrated (or, not integrated) Muslims into its society.
I'm sure the artists realized the controversy of what they were doing, but in the context of what they were discussing I doubt anyone thought it would cause a ridiculous clusterfuck of controversy (which, or course, it did).
What I'm saying is that this was a pebble that caused a sea storm. Sometimes things like this happen and I don't think anyone should expect that these cartoonist knew how powerful what they were doing was going to be. No one can predict how big things can get, least of all the people who create small things.
I think calling the cartoonists and publishers INSANE is ludicrous, and counterproductive. People should not be afraid of expressing themselves, even if the results will be incredible (and as I said above, hindsight makes it easy to see that what they were doing was big - creators do not have the benefit of hindsight). If everyone worries about how explosive their creations are going to be, it will surely limit the scope of creative output. In short, it breeds fear.
No, I applaud these cartoonists and the publisher of the paper. Sometimes the cost of free speech is ridiculously high, but that does not mean one should not foot the bill. Also, I think the ones taking the real drubbing here are the hardline Islamists calling for the artists' punishment and fatwas and such - it emphasizes even further their opposition to free speech and how unreasonable they can be.
Interestingly this whole thing makes me think about how people like Bill O'Reilley respond to similar remarks on their own religion - "You shut your mouth, you shut your mouth!" This debacle holds a mirror up to people in our society who are just as bad.

Edit: I figured I would wade in on the Google China debate. Basically, I agree with everything Mr. Irdial said about it. If Google were a diplomatic body or a government or an NGO or something, then I'd worry. But it's a corporation taking advantage of a market in what seems to me a totally normal way. They are not "enabling" censorship - the Chinese government are the enablers. If there were no censorship in China, Google China wouldn't have censorship. Dig?
posted by Barrie , 7:22 AM Þ 

I'm getting worried about you...

Please.

You cannot support free speech and at the same time call people stupid for saying things just because they may offend THEM.

Firstly, 'cannot' is not in the vocabulary of a free man. I can say whatever I want, whatever sense it makes to anyone. That is the very core principle of free speech.

Secondly...

That's the point of free speech.

No. The 'point' of free speech is that you are free to say whatever you want, no matter if it makes sense to anyone or not and wether it is liked by anyone or not. This applies to everyone at all times, and not just to people we agree with. This is like journalists whining about free speech when it comes to journalists, but not when it comes to anyone else like the 'disgraced' 'historian' in gaol in Austria. Hmmmm its OK for JOURNALISTS to print somehting that causes massive economic disruption, the closure of embassies, threats to life and international discord, but if a revisoinist spouts his lies, he goes straight to gaol. Whatever you think of both these types of idiot, its clear that there is no free speech in much of civilized europe. If anyone caused this much disruption by any other means, they would be instantly arrested....but I digress.

Let THEM who are offended read other newspapers. Do Americans read the Tehran Mullahs Daily? I'm sure if they did they would find offence, so should the TMD not print what they like?

Who said that they should not print whatever they like? I said that they were STUPID for printing it, not that they should not have printed it, two very different things in this universe.

You are verging very close to appeasement.

That is, to use parliamentary language, a misstatement of fact; perhaps the honourable gentleman has just returned from a good dinner? (house of commons code for calling MPs drunk)

This is extraordinarily simple. The people who commissioned this nonsense have created a noose for their own necks. This is their absolute right. I am saying that they are insane for doing it. They have done these drawings for no purpose other than to insult, inflame and cause mayhem. It is their absolute right to do this. (repettion, drills it in they say...is it working?).

They have not done this as a part of any useful strategy to solve a problem, or as a part of anything good; it is pure, selfish nonsense, like a rascal in a playground putting a worm down the dress of a schoolgirl just to make her scream. Now not only do they have to pay individually, but their entire nation will pay the price of this pointless folly.

Not stepping into the mouth of a volcano cannot be characterized as 'appeasement', to use the straw man. This was not a critical story about some political betrayal, international scandal, important expose or world wide crisis issue; this was a totally manufactured act of provocation, which of course, they are entirely entitled to enngage in at any time they like. They cannot now supply a false apology and expect it all to go away. They knew full well what they were doing, and they excersised their rights. They engineered this to be the most inflamatory device imaginable; now their entire population has to pay. What they have done is selfish, reckless and stupid, on a personal level and on the level of having responsibility for the safety of their staff, and the wider population.

That editor, if he has children, will be scared shitless for the lives of his family now, and for what? What gain did he make by doing this, what point has he proved? This was not an act of bravery, it was not corageous, noble or worthy. What did he fix that was broken? We already know that these people will kill anyone that injures the name of their prophet; what revelation did he make that will change the world for the better? Of course, none of these things is a measure of the worth of a publication or an article, and if he did it only to increase circulation, that is totally legitimate and his absolute right, but was the increase in attention worth his own life, and the safety of his staff and countrymen?

I say that it is not worth it at all, and that these peope are not worthy of attention at all, and certainly, I would not put my own life and the life of my colleagues and family at risk for a pathetic PR stunt. We already know that the press can print anything they want...(unless the paper is under a D Notice, but thats OK because its 'US' right?) This stunt and the French one proved nothing. Nothing at all.

I was also troubled by the google.cn comments.
Bellyaching my arse.

The ability to see something from someone elses point of view is very important if you want to live in a world with diverse cultures and ideas. People like these of course, don't share this view, believing that they alone are correct, and that the beliefs of others are 'damaging'.

What the Chinese get up to is their own business, and no paternalist, colonianlist, imperialist running dog has the right to tell them how to eat their rice, or do anything else for that matter. That is the first point; the Chinese are able to fix their own problems in their own way, and in their own time. This is not like South Africa, where a bunch of 'we know best' colonist racisists were dominating the entire country with massive help from the outside; China is made up of and owned entirely by Chinese; a self contained self sustaining country who are well aware of their rich history, in control of their future and who don't need to be told anything by anyone.

Google understand that China is changing. They understand that it is possible that China will change beyond all recognition in a relatively short amount of time, in the same way that the UK has changed beyond all recognition into a police state right before our very eyes. When China changes for the better, Google wants to be there to provide its unfettered services to the most populous country on earth. This is entirely reasonable, and sensible, and preferable to Microsoft gaining number one status there.

No one is going to tell China what to do, ever. They are already moving to a market economy and relaxing many of their laws because they want to; just what kind of person desires to provoke them, to prod them through the bars of their cage like a naughty schoolboy at a zoo? All the people who whine about freedom for the Chinese; look what happened to Russia, who transitioned too quickly - they left a power vaccum that has caused the emergence of the doctrine of pre-emption and all the other unimaginable evils that are being done both abroad and in our own countries. Russia falling didn't spread freedom, its actually accellerated the emergence of the police state here and in the US.

Before you whine and cry about your pets (those poor wittle Chinese who can't think for themselvs and who need your help to solve their problems) in other countries, pay full attention to the Soviet style UK that is emerging right on your own dorrstep with your connivance. Don't waste your time bitching about Internet access in China, when your own telephone records, Internet activities and GSM location data are about to be collected by police and stored for decades. (and for americans, the FBI wanting backdoor access to ALL software, etc etc, phone tapping 'scandal' etc etc). And before you try and conflate blathering about Iran / Iraq with bitching about China, the former is something bad being done by imperialist running dogs and their somnabulistic sheeple populations to another country and the latter is one country minding its own business, whatever that is - something that everyone should emulate for a more quiet and peaceful world.

Google is doing precisely this. They are resisting uncle sham's demands for access to thier database of search records. Guess what, M$ and many others gave in immediately. Google are doing what everyone should do; mind their own business, make sure that their own country is the way that it should be BEFORE trying to tell someone else how to run thiers, or superimposing thier own personal anglo belief system on people who have absolutely nothing to do with them.

Yay Google!
DOWN with colonialism!
DEATH to the imperialist running dogs and their lackeys!

DOWN with western poison medicine! YAY Accupuncture! YAY Chinese Herbalism!
posted by Irdial , 1:22 AM Þ 
Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I was also troubled by the google.cn comments.
Bellyaching my arse.
Summarised by Private Eye thus:

Google 首页
网页 图片 资讯 更多 »


找不到和您的查询 "conscience" 相符的网页。

建议:
  • 请检查输入字词有无错误。
  • 请换用另外的查询字词。
  • 请改用较常见的字词。
posted by Alun , 9:36 PM Þ 

Those pictures are shocking, not because of the content, but because the people involved in the creation of them and the publishing of them are so monumentally STUPID and RECKLESS.

I'm getting worried about you... You cannot support free speech and at the same time call people stupid for saying things just because they may offend THEM. That's the point of free speech. Let THEM who are offended read other newspapers. Do Americans read the Tehran Mullahs Daily? I'm sure if they did they would find offence, so should the TMD not print what they like?

You are verging very close to appeasement.
posted by Alun , 8:11 PM Þ 

1 Feb: Papers including France's Paris Soir and Germany's Die Welt reprint the cartoons
31 Jan: Danish paper apologises
30 Jan: Gunmen raid EU's Gaza office (pictured)
29 Jan: Libya says it will close its embassy in Denmark
28 Jan: Danish company Arla places advertisements in Mid-East newspapers trying to stop a boycott
26 Jan: Saudi Arabia recalls its ambassador
20 Jan: Muslim ambassadors in Denmark complain to Danish PM

The diplomatic crisis between Denmark and the Muslim world may have been relatively slow to gather pace but now that it has, it is having a real impact.

It began with a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper - including one of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb.

But today few people are laughing.

The global outrage has led to the recall of ambassadors; Danish citizens in Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian territories have been forced to leave after death threats.

And Danish businesses have had to lay off hundreds of workers because of boycotts in the Muslim world. The paper has apologised but the crisis shows no sign of abating.

However, on a winter's evening at an ice rink in Copenhagen young Danes are bemused by the attention their country is receiving because of 12 drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

"It's ridiculous," says one. "I don't see why the anger - it was a joke, you can see." [...]

BBQ

So, now everyone knows what you have to do to get these people off of their backsides. Its OK to murder innocent children, starve millions to death, invade and colonize an entire country, but draw a picture....THEN the world-wide boycott begins.

Iran is about to be brutally annexed just like Iraq was...not a whisper from the billions of true believers. Some stupid editors looking for a boost in circulation put together a stunt, they all go totally InSanE. This predictable, stupid, pointless reaction is the reason why Iran WILL be anexed, colonized and regime-changed.

Now, watch the Danish crawl to save their necks:

Honourable Fellow Citizens of the Muslim World

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten is a strong proponent of democracy and freedom of religion. The newspaper respects the right of any human being to practise his or her religion. Serious misunderstandings in respect of some drawings of the Prophet Mohammed have led to much anger and, lately, also boycott of Danish goods in Muslim countries.

Please allow me to correct these misunderstandings.
On 30 September last year, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammed might have looked like. The initiative was taken as part of an ongoing public debate on freedom of expression, a freedom much cherished in Denmark.

In our opinion, the 12 drawings were sober. They were not intended to be offensive, nor were they at variance with Danish law, but they have indisputably offended many Muslims for which we apologize.

Since then a number of offensive drawings have circulated in The Middle East which have never been published in Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten and which we would never have published, had they been offered to us. We would have refused to publish them on the grounds that they violated our ethical code.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten attaches importance to upholding the highest ethical standards based upon the respect of our fundamental values. It is so much more deplorable, therefore, that these drawings were presented as if they had anything to do with Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Maybe because of culturally based misunderstandings, the initiative to publish the 12 drawings has been interpreted as a campaign against Muslims in Denmark and the rest of the world.

I must categorically dismiss such an interpretation. Because of the very fact that we are strong proponents of the freedom of religion and because we respect the right of any human being to practise his or her religion, offending anybody on the grounds of their religious beliefs is unthinkable to us.

That this happened was, consequently, unintentional.

As a result of the debate that has been going on about the drawings, we have met with representatives of Danish Muslims, and these meetings were held in a positive and constructive spirit. We have also sought in other ways to initiate a fruitful dialogue with Danish Muslims.

It is the wish of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that various ethnic groups should live in peace and harmony with each other and that the debates and disagreements which will always exist in a dynamic society should do so in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

For that reason, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has published many articles describing the positive aspects of integration, for example in a special supplement entitled The Contributors. It portrayed a number of Muslims who have had success in Denmark. The supplement was rewarded by the EU Commission.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten takes exception to symbolic acts suited to demonise specific nationalities, religions and ethnic groups.

Sincerely yours

Carsten Juste
Editor-in-Chief [...]

http://www.jp.dk/meninger/ncartikel:aid=3527646

This is of course, total nonsense. This man knows the story of Salman Rushdie. He knows about how people are murdered for writing plays that stray into this area. There is no reason to write these plays, comsion these drawings or say anything about these people and what they believe for any reason whatsoever. Unless of course it is your aim to cause trouble and boost circulation.

It would be better for him if his newspaper acted as if they did not exist at all - then he could be sure that no one will try and cut his head off in the middle of the night for publishing newspaper.

Those pictures are shocking, not because of the content, but because the people involved in the creation of them and the publishing of them are so monumentally STUPID and RECKLESS.
posted by Irdial , 5:19 PM Þ 

Someone clever said:

"He is just whining. GPL has no legal ground for the publisher but it acts as a protection for the user."

False. It's a valid license in that none of it's tenents violate either national or international contract law with regard to patents.

"Now technically Sony is breaking the law by not publishing the source code of the derivative work made from it."

No, they aren't breaking the law by violating the GPL. Licenses are contracts, and contracts are civil court matters. They are violating the license provided.

"The copyright indeed protects DVD John but considering this software is given away for free, it doesn't apply here."

Yes, actually, it does. If Sony illigitimately profited from his copyrighted works, then they denied him the possibility of obtaining that profit. Making something available for free does NOT revoke your right to damages.

Don't believe me? Ask Carmack about Quake 3; unless you have language specifying the license as exclusive, it's not and you can make it available under other licenses.

For example, had Sony asked DVD Jon to use his code without the GPL, they could have then negotiated a royalty agreement where he gets X dollars for every Y products shipped with his code. This is a very, very common event in the buisness world.

He can claim the damages to be the entirety of the money which Sony obtained as a result of his product, which would be the total gains from prevented piracy as a result of that protection. Should he persue it, then either Sony would be forced to admit that anti-piracy measures do nothing or they would negotiate the number down in a settlement.

"It's not a copyright matter but a license issue."

Sony made it both. Read on.

"Now how legal is the GPL? No one knows because it has never been challenged."

True. However, if the license is invalid then all people currently using GPL code are using it *without a license*, and using code which you have no license to use is - surprise surprise! A COPYRIGHT VIOLATION!

When Sony violated the GPL, they lost their license to the code. When they lost their rights to the code, they lost their right to possess the code.

"It is as legal as the EULA you see in software"

False. EULAs are presented after the sale of the product, and the terms are not available prior to the exchange of money - That's one violation of both national and international contract law. additionally sales are assumed to be conducted under the standard sale contract (Which most of you probably didn't realise existed, did you?) unless other terms are specified, and so presenting additional terms after the transaction is concluded is a second violation of both national and international contract law. Continuing on, most EULAs contain language specifying that the user can return the software for a full refund should they find the EULA unacceptable, yet the companies in question fail to insure that the retailers will accept EULA-related returns and so violate their own agreement when said retailers choose not to.

"I have been on digg for a while and I have seen this claim over and over on digg:

The EULA have no power in court because you did not have the chance to negotiate etc...

Well the GPL license is just that. You can't have both the enforceable GPL and the unenforceable EULA. Oh and by the way, the GPL is an EULA..."

Oh? So you were denied the ability to review the license prior to the exchange of funds? Well, then you're entitled to a full refund! [/sarcasm]
The GPL is not an END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT, as it DOES NOT RESTRICT THE END USER. The GPL restricts the actions of DEVELOPERS who desire to REDISTRIBUTE THE PRODUCT. How you could possibly miss that glaring and vital difference, I have no idea.

In short? DVD Jon's rights were infringed, going around shooting murderers in the face is still a crime, Sony is engaging in acts of piracy, and DVD Jon needs to consult a US lawyer so he can get legal advice from the jurisdiction in which he should be pursuing legal action. [...]

From the comments section of Digg in response to this story.

The most interesting statement in this comment is the part about EULAs being non enforcable. Fascinating, and obvious once you think about it.
posted by Irdial , 4:44 PM Þ 




Papers reprint Islam row cartoons

PARIS, France (AP) -- A French newspaper on Wednesday republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that caused uproar in the Muslim world when they were printed in a Danish daily, saying that religious dogma has no place in a secular society.

The drawings, first printed September 30 in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in a Norwegian magazine last month, sparked boycotts and demonstrations against Denmark throughout the Muslim world.

Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet to prevent idolatry.

The front page of the daily France Soir on Wednesday carried the headline "Yes, We Have the Right to Caricature God" and a cartoon of Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian gods floating on a cloud. Inside, the paper reran the drawings.

Germany's Welt daily also printed one of the drawings on its front page on Wednesday, arguing that a "right to blasphemy" was anchored in democratic freedoms.

"The appearance of the 12 drawings in the Danish press provoked emotions in the Muslim world because the representation of Allah and his prophet is forbidden. But because no religious dogma can impose itself on a democratic and secular society, France Soir is publishing the incriminating caricatures," France Soir said.

The Danish daily published the cartoons after asking artists to depict Islam's prophet to challenge what it perceived was a tendency of self-censorship among artists dealing with issues related to Islam. The depictions include incendiary images such as Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse.

The Jyllands-Posten apologized on Monday, saying it regretted offending Muslims. It said it had not broken Danish law by printing the cartoons, however its editor said Wednesday that he would not have printed them had he foreseen the consequences.

"Had we known that it would lead to boycotts and Danish lives being endangered as we have seen, then the answer is 'no'," the newspaper's editor, Carsten Juste told The Associated Press.

France's Muslim community, Western Europe's largest with an estimated 5 million people, was muted in its reaction to the drawings when they appeared in the Danish newspaper, and French Muslim leaders had no immediate reaction to the publication in France Soir.

French government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope struck a neutral tone on the issue -- reiterating France's commitment to freedom of expression and secularism while also urging respect of all faiths.

"It's a country that is attached to the principle of secularism, and this freedom clearly should be exercised in a spirit of tolerance and respect for the beliefs of everyone," he said after a government meeting.

France Soir, founded in 1944 and now owned by an Egyptian magnate, has been struggling to stay afloat and bring in readers in recent years.

French theologian Sohaib Bencheikh spoke out against the pictures in a column in France Soir accompanying them Wednesday.

"One must find the borders between freedom of expression and freedom to protect the sacred," he wrote. "Unfortunately, the West has lost its sense of the sacred." [...]

What amazes me most about the top one, is that the person who drew it SIGNED IT.

Take a look at the other cartoons from the flickr source....
posted by Irdial , 3:23 PM Þ 

Newspaper, Magazine and Book Publishers Organizations to Address Search Engine Practices

A task force of global and European publishers organizations, led by the World Association of Newspapers, has agreed to work together to examine the options open to publishers to assert their rights to recognition and recompense, and to ultimately improve the relationships between content creators/producers and news aggregators and search engines.

The group will examine whether new standards and policies can be drafted to formalize the commercial relationship between publishers and the search engines and content aggregators, which provide a valuable service to publishers in terms of traffic generation but have built their business models in large part on taking content for free.

The group will also explore the options open to newspaper, book and magazine publishers, including collective action, either at a national or international level, together with questions regarding copyright enforcement and brand infringement.

As one of its first steps, the group will be seeking meetings with Mr. Charlie McCreevy, European Union Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, and Ms. Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

"The search engines are increasingly aiming their strategic efforts at traditional content originators and aggregators like newspaper publishers. The irony is that these search engines exist, largely, because of the traditional news and content aggregators and profit at their expense", said Gavin O’Reilly, the WAN President, who is chairing the task force.

Mr O’Reilly, who calls the process the ’Napsterisation’ of content (after the conflict between the Napster search engine and the music industry), added: "Google, Yahoo and other search engines are not some new breed of social benefactors of information - they are assuredly commercial, very-much-for-profit organizations and not the new Robin Hoods. WAN is also extremely concerned about the behaviour of several major search engines when faced with the censorship demands of repressive regimes.”

The first meeting of the task force included representatives of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and its division for senior news executives, the World Editors Forum, (WEF), International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), the European Federation of Magazine Publishers (ENPA), the European Publishers Council (EPC), the European Magazine Publishers Association (FAEP) and SPMI (French association for magazine publishers), Agence France-Presse (AFP), the association of French national newspapers, SPP, and the French regional daily newspaper association, SPQR.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 73 national newspaper associations, newspapers and newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr. [...]

http://www.wan-press.org/article9055.html

The Minitel attitude.
posted by Irdial , 11:38 AM Þ 

ID protester stopped and filmed under terror law will have police record for life

London Telegraph / Philip Johnston | January 31 2006

Comment: Ask yourself, why are the authorities so worried about peacful protest and the spread of information like in this case?

A campaigner against ID cards who was stopped under counter-terror laws while collecting signatures for a petition has been told by police that his details will be kept on file indefinitely.

Mark Wallace was outside the Labour Party conference in Brighton last autumn when he was detained under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The measure gives officers wide powers to stop anyone in a designated area, whether or not they are acting suspiciously.

Mr Wallace, who is campaign manager for the Freedom Association, said he had subsequently asked Sussex police what they proposed to do with the record of the encounter and was told the written version would be permanently retained. A video of his detention would be held for seven years, even though he had done nothing wrong.

"One minute I was peacefully collecting signatures, and the next I had five policemen around me, one with a video camera recording my every move and another taking my personal details, address and so on," Mr Wallace said.

"It was bad enough that I was subjected to this unjustly, but why am I now registered for life as linked to anti-terrorist investigations, despite my innocence?"

Mr Wallace added: "It worries me that this could damage future travel plans or even attract suspicion in future cases, when all I have done is to use my freedom of speech. The fact that peaceful protest and petitioning is subject to police investigation is itself worrying, but a policy of keeping details of the innocent on file forever is an utter disgrace."

Christopher Gill, chairman of the Freedom Association, said: "These laws are terrifyingly wide ranging, and fail even to demand suspicion in order to stop someone and thus list them for life.

"They are being over-used, and innocent people are having their records marked as a result. The police are supposed to protect the innocent from the guilty, not smear their records arbitrarily."

During the Labour conference, 426 people were stopped under section 44 and none was charged or convicted. Official figures show that nationally 119,000 people were stopped under the powers between 2001 and early 2005, and only 1,515 of these were arrested. Figures for 2005 are expected to be far higher after the London bombings last July.

Section 44 bestows exceptional powers on the police to stop and search at random, once a particular geographical area has been designated by a chief officer as one that might be targeted by terrorists and authorised as such by the Home Secretary.

Sussex police confirmed that they held stop-and-search records indefinitely and videos for seven years. The Terrorism Act does not specify what should happen to the information.

While Labour was in Brighton, the whole of the city was a designated area. Unlike with normal stop-and-search powers, police are not required to have "reasonable suspicion" that an offence is being committed.

In his annual review of the Terrorism Act last year, Lord Carlile said the use of section 44 "could be cut by at least 50 per cent without significant risk to the public or detriment to policing".

During the 2005 general election, a group of train-spotters was detained and searched at Basingstoke station, which was on a list of possible terrorist targets drawn up by the Home Office.

Also at last year's Labour conference Walter Wolfgang, an octogenarian party member who was ejected from the main hall for heckling, was questioned under section 44. [...]

Watching Newsnight last night, they trundled out the usual suspects, and Paxman huffed and pufffed as he does on every subject...where is the groundswell, the rage, the indignance?

Where are The British?

posted by Irdial , 11:25 AM Þ 

The Reg says:

Many people in the UK don't want an ID card, but one group of people is getting stuck with two.

Last week, Baroness Scotland of Asthal let slip that transsexuals awaiting surgery would be entitled to an ID card displaying their "birth gender" and a separate card with their "gender of designation".


This is actually important because it shows that the ID card system, as threatened, will allow a single person to hold multiple IDs, which of course makes the whole conivance even less than worthlessness than it was. No doubt an enterprising identifier thief would scan someone's RFID impregnated card and be able to make a surrogate functionally-fit card for themselves in someone elses database entry with a bit of internal assistance the double entry could be overlooked.
There will be enough people who could have 'dual identities' to make a small number of organised people go unnoticed for a while - witness protection, security service official, undercover police (perhaps dummy cards for government officials) as well as transgender people
posted by meau meau , 11:24 AM Þ 

Mali farmers reject GM crops as attack on their way of life

By Meera Selva, Africa Correspondent
Published: 31 January 2006

Farmers in Mali, the fourth poorest country in the world, have told their government they do not want to see genetically modified crops being grown on their land, after Africa's first "farmers' jury" debated the issue.

Their verdict comes as the Mali government decides whether to allow trials of genetically modified crops to begin in the country.

During the five-day meeting in Sikasso, in the south of Mali, where two thirds of the country's cotton is produced, farmers heard arguments for and against the introduction of GM technology.

...

Mourad Abdennadher, west Africa regulatory manager for Monsanto, one of the main biotech companies, said Mali did not have the legal framework to cope with GM technology. "We cannot go into a country unless there are clear biotech regulations, covering matters of bio safety, and of how trials should be conducted and presented. Mali has none of these," he said.

Translation: None of the local councils are in our pockets and there are no regulations that allow us to slip around unnoticed until it's too late.
Way to go, Mali!
posted by Barrie , 8:25 AM Þ 
Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Animal ID

Do you know the USDA is trying to sneak something sinister through our backdoor that will give the government complete control of our food supply?

We are facing a serious threat to the freedom that small farmers have largely enjoyed until now. A federal government program, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), originally introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, will establish extensive government control over livestock.

The animals included at present are: equines, alpacas and llamas, poultry, goats, sheep, cattle and bison, deer and elk, swine and some fish. In Texas even caged birds are included.

The program will require that anyone owning even one of the animals included in the program register them with the federal government, have an identification number for each animal or group of animals, and report all animal movements and deaths within 24 hours or else. Additionally, all locations where animals are housed or handled will be registered and located by GPS. Small farmers and enthusiasts will have to tag or microchip each individual animal at their own expense.

The NAIS is scheduled to become mandatory in Texas in July 2006 with penalties of up to $1,000 a day for non-compliance, and throughout the United States in January 2008. It’s already mandatory in several states. This government control is a serious threat to our freedom to raise our animals for food, pets and show. It also will make things difficult for small farmers, 4H-ers, and hobbyists, by requiring extra paperwork and fees to be paid for by the animal owners for registration and the tagging equipment.

I think that small farmers and stockowners should band together to oppose this.

An organization has recently been established to fight NAIS. The Web site www.stopanimalid.org has been set up to inform people of this threat to our freedoms. More information about the program, as well as ways to help oppose it, is available there, along with links to official government Web sites. I hope that more people, especially small farmers who are already at risk due to GMO liability laws, will protest NAIS now, while there is still time.

Cathy Zeiler

Byers

[...]

Animals and men...
posted by Irdial , 9:30 PM Þ 

real audio about petrodollars and Iraq via info clearing house

(cuts at 28')
posted by meau meau , 2:28 PM Þ 

Wow, to think I missed this:

STILLWATER, Minn. – May 16, 2005 – Cub Foods announced today that it is launching biometric payment technology in four of its Twin Cities stores. The new technology, provided by Pay By Touch, is free to shoppers and will allow them to pay for their groceries with a finger scan that is linked to their financial accounts. Eliminating the need to carry a wallet or checkbook in the store, the new system provides customers with greater convenience, security and speed at checkout.

...

The Pay By Touch technology does not use actual fingerprints. It creates a set of 40 data points—based on unique heat sites on an individual’s finger—and cannot be reverse engineered into a fingerprint. The data points are encrypted and converted into a mathematical equation that allows for a secure identity match at the point of sale. The system is completely secure and customer information is never sold.


Whilst we would have no doubt heard if this system had been broken I reckon it's a case of when not if. The so called 'security' of not being able to recreate a fingerprint from encrypted data is illusory as anyone breaking the system would only decrypt the data the system needs to function not an entire fingerprint of an individual. Presumably the most effective hack would be to create a link between a false fingerprint and someone's registered data within the database.

And now that we have seen encrypted biometric data being accessed and decrypted you could presumably snaffle fingerprint data some other way and thus you can begin to see the networks of opportunity for 'identifier' theft jostling for a better view even before the biometric red carpet is unrolled to receive the flat footfalls of the emperor in his tomato ketchup splattered new clothes.
posted by meau meau , 12:22 PM Þ 
Monday, January 30, 2006

Your CATCHPA doesn't work because OS X does not ship with GD, and it won't compile out of the box on Tiger, so, what do you do?

You go here and download a package and install it.

And then maybe it works.
posted by Irdial , 9:18 PM Þ 
Sunday, January 29, 2006

The bin Laden book club

How the world's most notorious terrorist just launched an obscure left-wing American author into bestseller stardom.

Watch out, Oprah Winfrey, Osama bin Laden has jumped into the book-promotion game.

On Wednesday, the 72-year-old Washington author William Blum existed only on the fringes of the publishing industry. His 2000 foreign-policy diatribe, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," ranked No. 205,763 on Amazon's bestseller list. Today its number 28 on that bestseller list. His byline rarely appeared in print, he says.

But then the world's No. 1 newsmaker, bin Laden, showed up Thursday on the Al-Jazeera network to promise another terrorist attack on America, ask President Bush to withdraw American troops --
saying:

If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book "Rogue State," which states in its introduction: "If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all."

Amazon or TPB

"The OBL Effect". Stranger and Stranger!
posted by Irdial , 4:23 PM Þ 
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