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
This review was originally scheduled for publication in May 2009 on TorrentFreak.com As we decided to move away from reviews for the time being, it’s being published here.
In a new feature to TorrentFreak, we’re going to look at a new book, recently published by Oxford University Press. Innovation for the 21st Century, written by Rutgers law professor Michael A. Carrier, takes a look at copyright, and patent law, and mixes it with antitrust (monopoly) law. The questions is, how does it read? Read more…
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 If you don’t remember them, they’re big things that have been replaced by DVR’s, but which you could buy movies on, like with DVDs.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.
Few things caught my eye, which are fairly noteworthy, but which don’t need more than a few words.
First, the UK Pirate Party have launched their list of Candidates for the 2010 UK General election. The ten candidates cover a fairly straight line from London to Glasgow, with the exception of the party leader, standing in Worcester. Most are, as expected, in the 18-21 age range, but three are actually around 40 years old, so not just kids, as some talentless hacks might suggest. I’ll be supporting them, as always, by doing any odd-jobs (like working on press releases etc)
Next, an interesting quote from a US Republican. Over comments about misuse of party funds by GOP chairman Michael Steele, one republican was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying “No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself, if you are giving a political party your hard-earned money, you should have no doubts that it is going to be spent as advertised and not to provide a spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman with frivolous luxuries which are out of reach of the vast majority of the American people. Michael Steele needs to resign and let the RNC vote in a man or woman who understands that his or her needs do not come before the needs of the nation or the party.” (Douglas MacKinnon, former press secretary to Majority Leader Robert Dole.)
The funny thing? changing a very few words, you get the general impression people have about politicians in general, becoming (additions in bold, removals struck out) ”No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself, if you are giving a political party POLITICAL CAPITAL your hard-earned money, you should have no doubts that it is going to be spent as advertised and not to provide a spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman FEW with frivolous luxuries which are out of reach of the vast majority of the American people.”
That’s lobbying for you, lobbyists can’t vote anyone in any more than anyone else, but they’re the ones that the politicians listen to. We need lobbying reform (or at least a transparent and accountable government)
53 cars were towed away from a frat house parking lot, after people parked there to listen to Glenn Beck sing. The people at the even at the university of Central Florida, in Orlando, said there were signs up, when they went to park, claiming the Kappa Sigma frat ‘set them up’. Did they? Possibly, but it would have been nice of them to check signs first. Then again, checking facts, (or knowing the law) is a very un-Glenn Beck thing to do.
Finally, some common sense it seems on patents. A New York judge ruled two DNA patents invalid, causing a small but measurable dip in the Biotech market. The patents, which relate to Breast Cancer genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, were hindering screenings, and tests. Naturally, there were some critics (biotech firms worried about the loss of genetic patents, for one, which is why their stocks dipped) while lawyers questioned the legal reasoning. Personally, I give a big hand to Judge Robert W Sweet for recognising that it’s pretty hard to patent a DNA sequence that occurs naturally, unless someone can point out how the patent holder, Myriad Genetics, invented these gene sequences (and thus, it seems, developed breast cancer…) As I remember the US Constitution, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” patents on naturally existing DNA aren’t discoveries, nor was Myriad an inventor (they didn’t invent this DNA). The people who have these genes, they’re pretty darned strong ‘prior art’ (especially if they’re over 20).
Regardless, 2 patents down, thousands to go…
Do you like this? Want to see more like this? Think it sucks, or that I'm a Liberal Communist spawn of Satan? Let me know in the comments.
The US Pirate Party had an rough draft of a reply and a means to submit it, if people didn’t want to write their own response, but I don’t do that sort of thing. I prefer a much more detailed (and as always, last minute) response, to try and cover the main facts. Again, I ran out of time, and just got it sent at the deadline (which was some 20 minutes ago).
So, here is the finished response, all 5 pages of it. [PDF]
UPDATE – please read here
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.
Back in September 2007, TorrentFreak ran a piece about the porn industry deciding to take on pirates. G4TV was interested, and contacted them to see if one of their writers would like to appear on their flagship program, Attack of the Show, to talk about it. All the writers for TorrentFreak, are Europe-based, and G4 is a US channel, though, and Attack of the Show is done Live (or thereabouts). So, on September 14th, I was asked if I’d take part, representing the US Pirate Party, and I said ‘yes’.
The segment filmed, and aired Monday, September 17th, so there was little time to prepare. I’ve not been a huge follower of the porn industry, or a downloader of porn, so I had to reach out to my contacts to find out more. I was lucky, in that one acquaintance of mine from a year or two earlier, was running two porn torrent sites, and forwarded me contact details for some of their admins.
Armed with all the prep, I was told that Crawford Communications would be awaiting me, and that I would be dealing with an Anh Tran as my opponent (try looking up that name when you just get it over the phone) so that was that. Crawford’s a lovely company though, very professional, especially Jim Baxter, who was my cameraman/producer. The only downside, was they didn’t actually get G4 on their cable system!. I couldn’t even see my opponent or the show, all I could do is hear it through a single earpiece. It also meant, I had no idea how delayed things were until after the show was done, and I got to watch it later that night.
I’m in Atlanta, they’re in San Fransisco. Ahn is on set or next door – there’s no delay for him. Theres roughly 1.5 seconds delay each way for me. Thanks to some snappy decisions by the Director, it’s not obvious, but it becomes so at the end, when I’m talking over someone – it’s not intentional, it’s just hard to tell.
Anyway, tell me what you think of it in the comments.
And since I can’t seem to get it embedded here, you’ll have to go to THIS PAGE to see it.
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?
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.