Almost 2 weeks ago, I showed an excerpt from a Rush Limbaugh show where he talked about how they can’t find any of the oil spilt. From a single source, he went on a tirade about how the spill was overblown.
At the the top of that show, he quotes from the New York times, and follows with a little commentary of his own.
“– that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.” I told you all this on day one and certainly the first week I pointed out this is light crude, it will evaporate quickly, that it will be dispersed.
Sorry Mr Expert, but it seems you were *shock horror* Wrong Again! Who woulda thunk it? Experts are saying that the oil is on the sea bed, and at toxic levels, clearly they’re not dittoheads
I was stuck in the car yesterday, and decided to go flicking through the radio stations. One station (which I have preset as it’s my local station for the Braves) had on the Rush Limbaugh show. I’ve heard a lot about him but never actually listened to his station raw. After 2 minutes, I had to turn it off, as I was tired of all the lies and basic errors he was passing off as ‘fact’. The specific segment of the show was about the Deepwater Horizons incident, and oil. He’s really living up to his (unofficial) sales patter, of Lies for Dumb People.
If you follow tech news, you have a certain list of sites you’ll keep an eye on. Personally, I always keep an eye on TorrentFreak (but then, I am their researcher, and night-time comment moderator) but there are others as well, Wired’s Threat Level, Slyck, and of course, ArsTechnica.
The problem for all tech news sites is that there’s a deadline game. You have to be first to break the story, so you can get it passed around the social media circles, facebook, slashdot etc. Often that means that stories, or more specifically the data that comprises the story, doesn’t get the attention it should, and ArsTechnica has fallen foul of this, repeating the conclusions of a study, and not noticing some glaring errors.
If you’re a teenager or older, you’ll almost certainly have first-hand experience with VCRs and video tapes. If you don’t remember them, they’re big things that have been replaced by DVR’s, but which you could buy movies on, like with DVDs. They were in most peoples homes throughout the late 80s and the 90s. Yet they were nearly wrestled out of peoples hands around thirty years ago, because of the fear of an industry. Let’s first look back at the late 70s to understand why.
In the late 70s there was a kerfuffle between Sony, and the movie studios. It concerned the BetaMax VCR Sony made (and to a lesser extent the JVC/Phillips VHS system). There were concerns that with these machines, people would undermine advertising (argument A), making the amount that could be charged for them drop, reducing funding for TV stations and networks. It would also mean that movies played on TV would have to cost more for the stations, because people will record them, and keep them, and watch them instead of, say, going to the cinema (Argument B). There were also concerns that since the recorders were mostly made outside the US, the importation of them would hurt the balance of payments (Argument C). Also, making movies is a risky business, and the government should do all it can to make it easier to be profitable (Argument D). It was nicely summed up by Jack Valenti (head of the MPAA) in his testimony in front of Congress in 1982.
There are days when you just want to curl up into a ball. Today is one of them. I realised, when going to check back over things, that rather than the document I believed I had submitted as part of the PRO IP act consultation, I had actually submitted a copy of my comments to the US trade representative. I made the same mistake on my short piece about the submission.
Panorama just aired an ‘interesting’ show tonight. Entitled “Are the Net Police Coming for You?”, the BBC describes the show in the following way.
A proposed new law is threatening to disconnect the millions of internet users who unlawfully download free music, films and TV. Jo Whiley looks at how broadband use at home may never be the same, and could even be cut off
Broadcast on: BBC One, 8:30pm Monday 15th March 2010
The problem is, the show is much like one broadcast as part of Film09 last year. That show, like this one, relied almost entirely on industry views, regurgitating their talking points, and ‘facts’ without any attempt at journalistic integrity. Basic practice is to get confirmation on facts from two separate sources, and yet both last year, and last night, this was not adhered to. The reason why is simple, of course – there is no second separate source. The Copyright industry is the only one claiming losses. The only facts that support those claims, are studies those same industries fund. Even then they don’t match up, although that little detail is swept under the rug.
Like last year though, I’m going to complain. and like last year, I expect I’ll get a rather cavalier brush-off as to why the program was short on facts, counterpoint, investigation, critical analysis or basic rational thought.
Just so you understand, the film09 segment last year was basically a regurgitation of the MPAA/Rand study claiming organized terrorism is involved in ‘movie piracy’. The problem is, my old friend at TorrentFreak, Ben Jones, debunked the report thoroughly weeks before the segment was shown, and he wasn’t alone in it. The respnse to my complaint however, dismissed little things like ‘facts’
Subject: ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ [T2009040900EUS010Z5530203]
4/15/2009 10:25 AM
Dear Mr Norton
Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ as broadcast on 31 March.
I note you felt the report on this programme about copyright theft wasn’t adequately balanced as it only featured interviews with people from the film industry. I appreciate you felt we allowed a distorted view of this issue to be portrayed and note you have strong views regarding this matter.
This report focused in on a legitimate problem for both the film industry and the authorities as they try to tackle what is an ever increasing and profitable criminal activity. We feel the report outlined the laws surrounding the issue of film piracy adequately and that the interviewees from the film industry were entirely appropriate people to comment on the problem.
Impartiality is the cornerstone of all our output, and we feel this report was fully balanced in it’s coverage of copyright theft. Nevertheless I appreciate our audience has a wide range of opinions and inevitably this means that not every viewer will agree with the content of every programme we broadcast. We know all our editorial decisions are subjective and we’d never expect our audience to agree with every decision we make.
With this in mind that I’d like to take this opportunity to assure you that I’ve recorded your comments, including that you believe this topic deserves a more in depth investigation, onto our audience log. This is an internal daily report of audience feedback which is circulated to many BBC staff including senior management, producers and channel controllers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for contacting us.
And now, almost exactly a year later, we have another program, making a similar lobbying attempt, cunningly camouflaged as factual programing. The UK Pirate Party has, so far, found over twenty errors, embellishments, inaccuracies and misstatements. I imagine the number will increase as more people look closely at the program.
I for one will be sending another complaint (http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/) , and I hope I won’t be alone in it. When I get a response, I’ll post it straight away.
Economies are like the weather – there’s only a certain amount of air and water, it’s how it cycles through and around that brings life. The circulation of the money brings life to the economy. Just try Wheresgeorge.com to see individual bills cycling around the system. However, like the weather, concentrations of it can be destructive rather than constructive. Too much heat and we have a drought, too much rain, a flood; and too much wind, well either a hurricane or a tornado – It happens (and has been the cause of at least twice as many deaths over the last 15 years, than terrorism).
However, the economy has to start churning money around the system, and not be becalmed. That is where the stimulus is useful. The transfer of money is either through spending, through grants/loans or through gifts (and of course, taxation).
The problem is that the money, in order to have maximum effect, has to be spent effectively. In some cases it’s not. I give this one example of how the stimulus money is being spent. For months now, one of the major state highways around my neighborhood has been getting resurfaced, as part of the Recovery Act. They’re attempting to resurface a 13 mile stretch of Georgia State Highway 83 (Ga83) from the Monticello, Georgia town square (shown prominently in My Cousin Vinny) north to the county line. For this job, Georgia Asphalt Inc. is being paid $1.8Million.
Fair Do you might say, except even at a slow pace of half a mile a week, it should take no longer than 26 weeks – 6 months. instead, it’s taking TEN months. Why?
It all becomes clear when you watch just HOW they’re working. I had to travel into Monticello that day, and encountered these roadworks from the other direction, after being through them, and seeing how badly set up it was, I just had to record my return trip. The following video was taken at around noon, on Monday Feb 8th 2010.
Look especially at the guys just standing around, especially the one that gives me such a hard stare at around the 2:30 mark. It’s also a remarkably uncomplicated set of roadworks, hardly needing a large ‘pilot’ or ‘follow me’ car. In fact, at the end, you’ll notice the driver in front believes there must be some ‘trick’ to warrant a sheepdog, and goes to follow the pilot when it goes for a turnaround.
If you want to see what it looks like on a map, here’s the span of the video mapped out
During the entire 1.7-1.8 mile section restricted to a single lane, the majority was under a restriction needlessly. They’re not even working on the lanes themselves, but on the area where the road gains a center turning lane – the Streetview images can show things better. There’s also something else it shows. The state DOT website lists the project, and gives the following description:
This project is a maintenance construction project in Jasper County. This project is the milling and resurfacing of SR 83. This section of SR 83 needs resurfacing because the existing pavement is deteriorating. SR 83 was last resurfaced in 1985.
I’ve travelled that road a fair amount. It didn’t feel very ‘deteriorating’ to me. Nor does it look like a suspension test to the google streetview car (it looks to have been recorded in early 2009). There ARE areas where it has deteriorated, yes, such as this one, and this one
The only problem is, the new resurfacing hasn’t changed that, as it’s not touched the bridges, so far. Resurfacing stops dead at the start of the bridge, and thats where the problems are.
$1,864,482 poorly spent to save 6.4 jobs, and could be better use elsewhere. This concentration of money might help the economy in giving some people some wages, much local, as the company is based just outside Jasper County. Yet at the same time, this massive delay in completing the work, and its poor timing and management is a detriment. The newly laid roads are smooth, yes, but when it rains it has a better chance of holding surface water, leading to a greater chance of aquaplaning. It also makes the roads reflective at dark, and with no cats eyes installed (that is the situation they’re designed for) it makes it hard to drive at night in the rain.
Even worse, if it snows and/or is icy. A situation that, just 4 days after that video was shot (Feb 12), cost someone their life. It snowed a lot that day (which people in Georgia are not used to) and that road was very slick. An SUV crashed head-on into a large tow-truck as it lost control on a bend. I know how slippy it was, as I passed the accident scene moments after it happened, not realising it was an accident. I saw a tow truck, and a car off the road, and assumed (with what little I wasn’t using to keep control of the car) that one was pulling the other out. The Monticello Newspaper’s coverage says it all (2nd item, ‘snowy night’). We can only hope that the state patrol remembers to include the ‘smooth’ road as a factor in the crash.
Just how idiotic can you be, to make nice smooth roads, in winter?
One of the core philosophies of reporting is that you only print what you’re sure of. If you don’t know, don’t say. That way Libel lies.
Someone really should tell the Northern Echo (Update; see comments, it’s written by the Press Association) that. Today, they ran a piece about the restarting of Alan Ellis’ trial. Alan, if you didn’t know, was associated with oink, the music bittorrent tracker. If you know about bittorrent, and the case in particular, it’s a real head-slap moment. The majority of the piece appears to have been copied from the RIAA/BPI filings made to police, and 30 seconds research (even to past news stories covering this case) would prove the lie.
Let’s look at some of the errors
A man suspected of operating one of the world’s biggest pirate music websites from a bedsit had his trial adjourned today.
I’m pretty sure the site was operating from a Hosting company. Despite claims made by ISPs, their residential connections aren’t all that fast.
“Computer equipment and documents were seized from his home in Middlesbrough in 2007 and he was charged by police with conspiracy to defraud the music industry and copyright infringement.”
Actually, things seem cut and dried, but it’s not quiet accurate (again). The raids and seizures were made in October 2007 (and ‘coincidentally’ with a BBC camera unit in tow) but Mr Elis was not charged until 11 months later. With Conspiracy to Defraud the Music Industry – a charge unheard of before (possibly because it doesn’t actually exist?)
“Police and music industry investigators suggested that he could have made hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from the OiNK website, which he set up in 2004.
“Could have”, yes. Did do, no. Over the same time period he *could* also have murdered 300 people, or run for the House of Commons. It’s actually music investigators (the plaintiffs) making that accusation first – that’s one of the things that triggered the raid.
“He is the first person in the UK ever to be charged with illegal file-sharing. “
Oh, not even close. We could cover Barwiska (although that’s a civil case). The uploaders to oink that police arrested as a result of this raid, who were sentenced a year ago would also probably dispute that.
The OiNK website was a complex computer programme created to help share music and audio files amongst a community of online users.
The oink website was a fairly simple website which accessed a tracker database backend. It’s no more complex than Amazon, or any other database-driven site, and is certainly not a computer program, complex or otherwise.
Members of the community would seed the system by uploading music files or leech from it by downloading music files.
Sorry, They would seed torrents, which are independent of the tracker or ‘system’. Likewise, they would leech from torrents, using bandwidth from other users, not doing anything with the ‘system’ directly.
To do so they had to register their email address and a unique user name, and make donations by debit or credit card to ensure full access and maximum usage of the site.
Yes, yes, and no. Donations were not required – this is back to the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ argument above. Telling the lie that you HAD to send money, means there’s a minimum financial value associated with each user, which can be counted, which then leads to the money claims above. Since there was no requirement to pay to use the site, the rest of the argument falls down badly.
The technology used – a method known as BitTorrent file-sharing – had three main advantages: It broke files down into small pieces of data, which made that data more easy to share, giving a higher quality download in a shorter time.
First, that seems like only one advantage to me, and a nonsensical one at that. Higher quality means bigger file, regardless of protocol used to share, which means LONGER time not shorter. What I think they mean to say was “it breaks files down into smaller chunks of data (just like all data transfers do) which can then be distributed with a far greater efficiency than using any other protocol”
The beauty of the system was that each time a person leeched – or downloaded – an album from the internet, they became a seeder from whom other OiNK users could download the same album.
True, but only as long as the specific torrent in question was not only still in the persons client, but actively running as well, not permanently, as is suggested.
Early online file-sharing systems were so slow it could be more expensive to download an album than to buy it in a shop.
I would really LOVE to know how they came up with this statement. I suppose if you were on dialup, calling a non-local Point of Presence that was not free, you could maybe rack up some charges (7.9p/minute at current BT national call rates). Dialup (when I had it with blueyonder in 99-2002) would do approx 1MB every 5 minutes, and a 3 minute song is about 3MB. 15 minutes per track comes to 118.5p. In that way, yes it’s more expensive than 99c from itunes, BUT, it’s less than the cost of going to HMV or Virgin, and buying a single for 10 songs, its £11.80 – which is less than I seem to recall albums costing now, or then (and we’re not factoring in travelling costs), so another false claim.
But advances in technology meant OiNK users could download very high quality music files, very quickly.
Oink users, iTunes users, BBC iPlayer users- that’s not something specific to Oink. The technological advances are in broadband rollout and speed, bcause if you’re still on dialup, bittorrent won’t be any faster – would almost certainly be SLOWER in fact.
Ellis’ trial at Middlesbrough Crown Court was adjourned until tomorrow, for legal arguments.
Wow, they managed it! They managed an entire sentence that was wholly accurate.
You want to know what’s quite fun about this piece though? Since it’s a newspaper, distribbuted in the area of the trial, and which contains a severely slanted perspective on the case, including a lot of factual errors, it could be considered prejudicial to the case, and cause a mistrial. Nor is it the first time such action has happened in this case. Immediately after the raid the domain was hijacked by the music industry, long before charges were made, let alone a day in court.
Fun eh? I’ve sent a link to this to the News Editor of The Northern Echo, I wonder what his response will be.
UPDATE:i’ve just been informed that the Mirror is also running the exact same story Wonder what their editor thinks of it.
UPDATE 2: Just has word from Alan “didn’t even get my job right.” – nuff said really.
Terrorism. An innocuous word to some, but it makes US government officials lose their collective minds. In an orgy of CYA (cover your ass) clusterf*cks, they manage to turn even the simplest blunders into terrorist activities.
Let’s first reflect on the actual DANGERS of terrorism. As I wrote about a few months ago, there are more deaths, on average, EVERY MONTH on US roads, than in every terrorist attack targeting at least one US Citizen from 1994-2005 combined, and that over the same period, mother nature – in the form of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, snow/ice and even plain old heat – killed twice as many over the same time period as the dreaded T-word. Fivethirtyeight.com also breaks down air-based terrorist incidents by miles travelled, time travelled, and number of passengers involved. Their results?
one terrorist incident per 16,553,385 departures.
one terrorist incident per 11,569,297,667 miles flown
one terrorist incident per 27,221,877 hours airborne.
the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade
You can read their source data and maths on their article.
So, on Christmas Day, we have ‘an attempted bomb plot’ (which is included in the figures above) that ended up fizzling. This is 8 years after the complete overhaul of air travel ‘security’ to prevent it from happening. After it happened, there were more TSA CYA’s, including a security directive which went out to over 10,000 people worldwide. When it was made public by two different bloggers, the TSA came down on them. For making public a government document. ‘Strangely’, after that was made public, both the directive, and the subpoenas served on the bloggers have gone away. That indicates that there was fear of the public reaction – fear of the exposure of their tactics and methods.
Then there was the lovely incident yesterday, at Newark airport. Someone got from the public side to the secure side, and caused the entire airport to go into lock down. The ‘best’ part of all? Hours later they still don’t know who. It is nothing more than a clear case of TSA incompetence, and lack of common sense.
What makes it even more of a farce was the White House’s weekly address, published a day earlier.
Let’s never forget what has always carried us through times of trial, including those attacks eight Septembers ago.
Instead of giving in to fear and cynicism, let’s renew that timeless American spirit of resolve and confidence and optimism.
Fear is the entire reason the TSA exists; and it is what has been carrying the US through the last 8 years. It’s been the rational for a lot of legislation over the past 8 years, and it’s the bread-and-butter of both this Administration and the last one. The US Federal code even defines (18 U.S.C. §2331) as using violent acts to, amongst other things -intimidate or coerce a populace. Brandishing weapons, detaining people – both can be considered violent acts. By the circular reasoning, that the US Government loves, it gets even better. The THREAT of a terrorist act is in fact a terrorist act. If you say “unless xyz happens, there will be an attack”, that is a terrorist threat.
Now we’re down to how the Department of Homeland Security was created, and that’s a whole other story. I leave you with something I saw on twitter, ‘re-tweeted‘ by my good friend, and political blodder, Aaron Landry, from the KARE news station in the twin cities.
No, it’s just the state of “Anti-terrorist” paranoia in a climate of security theatre, and that’s pretty sad.