Live action Aslan is "blasphemy"

OK, OK, sure it is against the express wishes of the author, but we are talking some serious Hollywood coin here.


Education and Copyright - Some Canadian Confusion

Compare as we dare, milk with aero. The Canadian Heritage Report of 2004 is still doing damage. From the WIPO report:

Many options are available to us at this time. Some content is online and there is no expectation for payment for its use. How can we take this into account? The following was suggested: If a technical protection measure is not imposed to lock users out of the content, then the education sector should be able to use such content. We would like for the education sector to assume that things on the Internet can be used freely unless it explicitly states that they are not. There are two schools of thought on this.
Emphasis added. The two schools of thought seem to be:
  • Education is important.
  • I am a corporate whore and think that unless a teacher has a copy of an explicit license for them to use some internet content with a specific group of students at a specific place on a specific date then they should assume that the content is protected and unusable even if the front page of the website says "Welcome all students and teachers to our free awesome learning tool. The. Best. Evar."

To which I, of course respond
  • Yay.
  • Where is my gun?

Bill C-74, the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act,

[Update - I don't know why they are bothering with all of the hoopla and law-making when your privacy is for sale on teh interweb]

Otherwise known as the surveillance bill.

As you may have suspected, Michael Geist has a thing or two to say. As you may imagine my feelings on this are:

  • They cannot provide me with a rigourous analysis proving the need because they do not have one, instead they have a police and RCMP shopping list.
  • Our neighbours to the south are suffering from this and it has gained them nothing except an ongoing epidemic of invasion of privacy and expenses

The CBC report does nothing to address concerns and merely parrots the government line: "waah, the Americans, British, and Australians are doing it, why can't we?" The AP report uses the term "eavesdropping bill" which is less than flattering.

I expect to hear more about this in the days and weeks to come, right up to the point where an election is called and the bill dies a quiet death.

Boing Boing: Microsoft: Trusted Computing sucks!

In which Microsoft are full of it, part the 8,003rd

Light Field Photography with a Hand-Held Plenoptic Camera

So I am browsing /. and I come across a post linking to a Wired article about a Stanford research project - and I check out the research paper website and download some of the example movies and think to myself holy shit, that's really fucking cool! Honestly, the exclamation mark was there and all.
Here is what is happening:

Traditionally, light rays filter through a camera's lens and converge at one point on film or a digital sensor, then the camera summarizes incoming light without capturing much information about where it came from. Ng's camera pits about 90,000 micro lenses between the main lens and sensor. The mini lenses measure all the rays of incoming light and their directions of origin. The software later adds up the rays, according to how the picture is being refocused.
The result is that you can, after the fact, alter the plane of focus throughout the entire possible range using software.

For any Shadowrun GMs who may happen to be reading this - it was this kind of thing that I had in mind with my surveillance field in the forest outside the Proteus AG base - many small lenses > one big one.


New Scientist Breaking News - GM pea causes allergic damage in mice

Finally! Some actual hard proof that we need to be cautious about GM crops. In this case, a protein that has been transplanted from a been into a GM pea causes allergic damage in mice. I have no particular sympathy for luddite-all-GM-is-bad-m'kay types but at the same time the cavalier-trust-us-we-are-scientists-working-for-international-agri-business attitude on the other side is just as irritating.

One of the interesting things about this particular experiment is that the source species and the target are both legumes - probably as similar to each other as we are to other primates.

< ducks head as botanists throw bricks in response to wild stabbing guess />


Habeas Corpus

Read the links here for a review on an attempt by neocon senate lapdogs to roll back the Magna Carta. Some ex-grunts disagree with the idea.

The principle of habeas corpus (lit. have the body) is generally concerned with the right of a prisoner to appear before a court.

I cannot see how any law that intends to apply a suspension of habeas corpus only to "Enemy Combatants" can get around US Const. Amendment 14, § 1:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Note that the emphasised section says "person", not "citizen."

Perhaps there are judicial precedents ruling that secretly the amenders only meant "people we like."

Bill of Rights - Security Edition

What a brilliant idea! The first 10 amendments to the US constitution (otherwise known as the Bill of Rights) engraved on a metal plate - so you have to surreneder it to the examiner when you go through a security checkpoint. Sweet, sweet, irony.


The Panda's Thumb: An Experimental Test of ID? Really?

An entry at The Panda's Thumb rebuts Michael Behe's proposed falsifiability test for ID. During the Dover trial, he testified that

In fact, intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box, I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process.
To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure, for mobility, say, grow it for 10,000 generations, and see if a flagellum, or any equally complex system, was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

This, of course, is untrue. Since the purported designer is unknown not necessarily knowable neither of the two outcomes "prove" anything.
  • If the bacteria develop flagella then by their own claims it proves that it must have been designed
  • If the bacteria to not develop flagella then we can assume that the designer chose not to create them

The important point to remember when talking about Intelligent Design as a science is that the Designer acts at their own whim and can not be forced into acting, either through experiment or in the world at large.

The shocking use of police stun guns

"To serve and protect." The innocent have nothing to fear. Perhaps that is why the Taser corporation is thinking of adding cameras to their guns.

From the subscription protected portion of the article, a selection of tools to look forward to:

Less-lethal weapons in development include microwave beams, acoustic blasts and knockout drugs, but there is no independent, peer-reviewed research on their health effects.
The Pentagon has designed the microwave and acoustic weapons, which it plans to use to disperse crowds. The Area Denial System shines a broad microwave beam into a crowd, painfully heating people's skin and making them flee (New Scientist, 23 July, p 26). But calculations by physicist Jurgen Altmann at the University of Dortmund in Germany suggest the system will have a beam width of up to 5 metres. "In an invisible beam that wide, which way will you flee?" he asks. A Pentagon source says it has researched the health effects, but its results are classified.
The Long Range Acoustic Device is an ear-jarring noise generator. It produces a highly directional sound beam far more intense than the loudest noise permitted by US workplace safety laws. At 1 metre from the device, the intensity can be 151 decibels. "This is enough to produce ear pain and endanger hearing," Altmann told the conference.
Knockout drug pellets, delivered by weapons not unlike a paintball gun, are also on the way. Anaesthetist Jitka Schreiberova of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, is experimenting with different mixtures of surgical anaesthetics to make a fast-acting immobiliser. Based on benzodiazepines, ketamine and alpha-2 agonists - substances that activate alpha-2 receptors within the central nervous system, causing sedation - Schreiberova says she has so far immobilised macaque monkeys and human volunteers in 2 to 4 minutes.
"Some people might say this also contravenes the Chemical Weapons Treaty," says Andrew Mazzara of the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies at Penn State University.

Ahh! Put on your tin foil hat.

Or, apparently, take it off. A new study shows that tin-foil helmets can actually amplify certainly commonly used radio frequencies.



Panexa (Acidachrome Promanganate)

Do you suffer from metabolism, binocular vision, digestion (solid and liquid), circulation, menstruation, cognition, osculation or extremes of emotion. Maybe you should consult your docotr and get them to prescribe Panexa™

PANEXA has been known in a few cases (0.0087%) to cause Excessively Floppy Tail Syndrome (EFTS). If you are a squirrel, and suspect you may be suffering from EFTS, immediately call the Hotline at 1-800-867-5309.

Greatest Internet Moments

100 cool things on teh interweb.

Rainbow warriors crack password hashes | The Register

Oh dear. It seems that some folks have spent the last few years creating hashes of short passwords, even ones with non-alphanumeric characters, assumedly using the common password hashing algorithms. They now have 500 gigs of indexed reverse lookup tables.

Newsday.com: Writers jailed in 2002 for political satire

Say it ain't so Bill, you ain't got a sense of humour?

* For my context-demanding reader - the article relates the story of 2 Afghan brother who were interrogated over a 1998 article:

For months, grim interrogators grilled them over a satirical article Dost had written in 1998, when the Clinton administration offered a $5-million reward for Osama bin Laden. Dost responded that Afghans put up 5 million Afghanis -- equivalent to $113 -- for the arrest of President Bill Clinton.
"It was a lampoon ... of the poor Afghan economy" under the Taliban, Badr recalled. The article carefully instructed Afghans how to identify Clinton if they stumbled upon him. "It said he was clean-shaven, had light-colored eyes and he had been seen involved in a scandal with Monica Lewinsky," Badr said.


Risk via Google Maps v0.9.5

The title says it all, now go inside and play.

Emergent Chaos: Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to Hire Angelina Jolie

I know that I feel more secure about security since I discovered that they measure their success based on how secure respondants to a poll feel. And then fire whistle blowers.

Cool for cats

Happy Birthday Neil. Note that we are on a first name basis.

A lot of dead people

A quick link to a blog post about Christopher Hitchens that mentions two Lancet studies on estimated deaths in Iraq and Darfur.

Apple tries to patent 'tamper-resistant software' | CNET News.com

In a futile attempt to prevent people from running the upcoming OS/X-x86 release, they have tried to patent 'tamper-resistant software' whilst strangely ignoring all the prior art surrounding the hardware they are hoping to use to attempt their futile efforts.

First Trojan using Sony DRM spotted | The Register

Oooops, a virus is in the wild exploiting the Sony DRM rootkit. You had best hurry over here and download a new version of AnyDVD - a lovery piece of software that allows you to backup your DVDs and also disables the rootkit.

The Parking Lot is Full Archives

I always loved this comic.


This is a cool flash infinite zoom movie that I saw last year and recently refound.


The FBI's Secret Scrutiny

Further clarification of the info on that last article. The FBI's Secret Scrutiny More than 30,000 NLS requests per year compared to 14,000 between 1978 and 2001. Nah, no abuse going on there.

Capitol Hill Blue: An Enemy of The State

Because nobody's life, liberty or property are safe while Congress is in session or the White House is occupied
Capitol Hill Blue: An Enemy of The State


Forbes Fumbles the Blogosphere

In response the Forbes attack on blogs, an ex-reporter for Forbes Tech responds.

No comment

They report, you deride.

OK, I admit it. My clever pun is, in fact, a comment. Here is another one:

Remember when Amnesty International referred to Guantanamo as a gulag and the Republicans and their lap-dogs where offended? Well I guess AI was wrong, a gulag is a penal system - and now we have found it.

what's in a name?

best don't-give-away-the-details name, ever

US man seeks movie plotline patent

In more patent foolishness, a man has applied for a patent on a movie plot.


Plugging the A hole

The **AA liquor up congress before taking you for a ride.


Grid game

Minutes and minutes of flash-based mindless amusement.