February 2010 Archives

links for 2010-02-28


links for 2010-02-27

  • <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1Kg8HFQ1xP4&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1Kg8HFQ1xP4&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
    (tags: movies humour)

links for 2010-02-26

  • Madam, – As an Irish citizen who travels extensively in the course of my work, I am very concerned about the fraudulent use of Irish passports. I have long experience of the ready welcome that an Irish passport receives in many corners of the world. This welcome is now being threatened by the use of fraudulent Irish passports by those suspected of murdering Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. There is a strong prima facie case against Israel: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was seen as an enemy by Israel; Israel has engaged in foreign assassinations before; Israel has used forged third-country passports in other such operations; and no forged passports from Israel’s closest ally (the United States) were used. Clearly, the perpetrators think that they can treat Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, and Australia with contempt.

links for 2010-02-21


links for 2010-02-20

  • How is it even possible that a Minister who slandered a political opponent and then swore a false statement in an affidavit before the High Court that he had not done so, could still remain in office? Because, in post-Ahern Irish politics, anything goes. No wonder the public have grown increasingly sick and tired of politics and politicians. It is apparent to me that, with the playing out of the O’Dea affair, we have arrived at a point that the 20th-century American writer Jean Toomer described most aptly. He said that acceptance of prevailing standards often means that we have no standards of our own. The prevailing standards the Government is operating off in Irish politics are those of Bertie Ahern. The result is that the current Fianna Fáil party has no standards. They do have one guiding principle remaining: blind loyalty to party colleague, come what may.

links for 2010-02-19


links for 2010-02-18

  • Ubisoft's New PC DRM Really Requires Net Access, Ends Game If Disconnected by Chris Faylor Feb 17, 2010 3:20pm CST Ubisoft wasn't kidding when it said that its new digital rights management technique mandates "an active Internet connection to play the game, for all game modes." Advance copies of the first two games to embrace the new solution--Assassin's Creed II PC and The Settlers 7 PC--recently arrived at PC Gamer, leading to the discovery that the games automatically shut down if temporarily disconnected from the Internet. In the case of Assassin's Creed II PC, a single-player game, players will lose any progress since the last checkpoint in the event that they briefly lose their connection to Ubisoft's master servers, be it because of client-side or server-side issues.

links for 2010-02-15

  • To those familiar with the science and the IPCC’s work, the current media discussion is in large part simply absurd and surreal. Journalists who have never even peeked into the IPCC report are now outraged that one wrong number appears on page 493 of Vol.2. We’ve met TV teams coming to film a report on the IPCC reports’ errors, who were astonished when they held one of the heavy volumes in hand, having never even seen it. They told us frankly that they had no way to make their own judgment; they could only report what they were being told about it. And there are well-organized lobby forces with proper PR skills that make sure these journalists are being told the “right” story. That explains why some media stories about what is supposedly said in the IPCC reports can easily be falsified simply by opening the report and reading. Unfortunately, as a broad-based volunteer effort with only minimal organizational structure the IPCC is not in a good position to rapidly counter misinformation.

links for 2010-02-13

  • 1989 should have been the best year ever for Rock Sugar, the big haired heavy metal band that had just broken the top 41 on the rock radio charts with their solid brass debut album “Bang You Like A Drum”. But instead of headlining concerts, Rock Sugar made the headlines when they were presumed lost forever after playing an extremely ill advised gig celebrating the bat mitzvah of 13-year-old Lisa Rosenberg.
  • E-mail, it turns out, can hold many secrets, from the names of personal physicians and illicit lovers to the identities of whistle-blowers and antigovernment activists. And Google, so recently a hero to many people for threatening to leave China after hacking attempts against the Gmail accounts of human rights activists, now finds itself being pilloried as a clumsy violator of privacy. As Evgeny Morozov wrote in a blog post for Foreign Policy, “If I were working for the Iranian or the Chinese government, I would immediately dispatch my Internet geek squads to check on Google Buzz accounts for political activists and see if they have any connections that were previously unknown to the government."
  • The problem is how. Google has taken a couple of services that had basically clear privacy expectations — specifically, Gmail (private) and Google Profiles (public) — and combined them in a way that discloses previously private information that many people consider confidential.

links for 2010-02-12

  • Today the Square team is focused on bringing immediacy, transparency, and approachability to the world of payments: an inherently social interaction each of us participates in daily. We’re starting with a limited beta and rolling out to everyone in early 2010.

links for 2010-02-11


links for 2010-02-09

  • This bears out the pervasive "conservative" American ethos of "I've got mine, so screw you," so the problem is much bigger than health care reform. The idea that anyone could fall victim to negative circumstance or make a bad decision or just find themselves on the losing side of something is attributed to their own bad character --- or, perversely, to the government which has taken from you, the deserving citizen, and given it to someone else, thus unfairly placing you at a disadvantage. It's old style Calvinism mixed with adolescent Randism and it's a very serious problem for people who believe that social stability and economic justice are important.

links for 2010-02-07

  • Many fung shui masters make a living out of being able to divine the future. Doubtless, then, they foresaw the taxmen coming their way. Thanks to the epic probate battle over the estate of the late billionaire Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, the Inland Revenue Department has now clarified that fees and red packets given to fung shui consultants count as income and can be taxed. If some public good came out of what was essentially a private dispute, it is that the public coffers have found a new source of revenue.
    (tags: hongkong)

links for 2010-02-03

  • Hey guys, we know you like to have your fun, voice your opinions, and argue over your favorite gear, but over the past few days the tone in comments has really gotten out of hand. What is normally a charged -- but fun -- environment for our users and editors has become mean, ugly, pointless, and frankly threatening in some situations... and that's just not acceptable. Some of you out there in the world of anonymous grandstanding have gotten the impression that you run the place, but that's simply not the case.

links for 2010-02-01

  • Above all, Canada’s experience seems to support those who say that the way to keep banking safe is to keep it boring — that is, to limit the extent to which banks can take on risk. The United States used to have a boring banking system, but Reagan-era deregulation made things dangerously interesting. Canada, by contrast, has maintained a happy tedium.
  • A public mass overdose of homeopathic remedies has forced the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths to admit openly that their products do not contain any "material substances". Council spokeswoman Mary Glaisyer admitted publicly that "there´s not one molecule of the original substance remaining" in the diluted remedies that form the basis of this multi-million-dollar industry. The NZ Skeptics, in conjunction with 10:23, Skeptics in the Pub and other groups nationally and around the world, held the mass overdose in Christchurch on Saturday to highlight the fact that homeopathic products are simply very expensive water drops or sugar/lactose pills. A further aim was to question the ethical issues of pharmacies, in particular, stocking and promoting sham

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