Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Oh yeah, yesterday, the US became even less likely to throw me in jail because there is even less chance of me crossing their border.


Fun with RFIDs and your identity.

Emergent Chaos: New Passports More Secure than Wet Paper Bags (Barely). Remember, your passport data is perfectly safe as long as you don't try to leave the country.

Remember the US Government plan to put a radio chip in your passport? The one whose security has never been seriously studied, whose justification seemed to boil down to a hope that it would speed processing, but even that was wrong? The one whose security gets worse every time anyone competent looks at it? Well, someone else just looked at it.


Fine! I'll spread your meme. But don't expect me to like it.

Actually, I won't. The Blonde joke is better. But click on the link in case you feel like indulging in a little shameless groupthink.

Schneier on Security: Another No-Fly List Victim

And this is why I do not want to ever even enter US airspace.


Concurring Opinions: Best blond joke ever?

It is unusual for Concurring Opinions (a law blog) to post humourous articles, but here they have The Best Blond Joke Ever? Although Feministe prefers

Q: What do you call a blonde who flies a plane?
A: A pilot, you fucking misogynist.
which is also pretty damned funny. Although not as funny as the one about why the feminst crossed the road.


Ahh! It's alive!

Terry McBride is so dreamy

I knew there was a reason I like Nettwerk Records besides Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, BT, Delerium, Gob, Sarah McLachlan, Trespassers William (I have no idea about their music, but I love the name) and Skinny Puppy and moev used to be on Nettwerk too. Their CEO Terry McBride is involving himself in an RIAA lawsuit down in Texas. Money quote:

Suing music fans is not the solution, it's the problem. Litigation is not 'artist development.' Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love. The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists' best interests.

WorldChanging - When green meets green.

Environmentalists believe what they believe for moral reasons. If they want others to agree and participate, they need to offer economic incentives. Luckily, these are often available.

In the credit where credit is due department (Wilson)

In which a heroine is refused credit until she offers to do a media piece on the situation after which she gets credit FedExed to her. Now this is the bad old days, as long ago as 1977. I am sure that Lucky will have something witty to say. Or maybe just a shrug and a sigh. We've still got a long way to go, baby!

Kittens & Hammers, Oh My!

A satirical view of the republican mindset. My president, right or wrong.

MPAA mulls plan to sue itself

This is rich. The MPAA made illegal copies of a movie that was submitted to them for rating. The movie is This Film Is Not Rated.

[The MPAA] justified the action by saying Dick and his crew may have violated the privacy of MPAA movie raters. That particular loophole is not mentioned on the MPAA Web site, where it states: "Manufacturing, selling, distributing or making copies of motion pictures without the consent of the copyright owners is illegal. Movie pirates are thieves, plain and simple. ... ALL forms of piracy are illegal and carry serious legal consequences."

Tank Man

I think that in the wake of all the controversy that has blown up around Google and China lately, it is always good to remember Tank Man.

In fact, controversy or not, it is always good to remember Tank Man

CBC News: Canadians 'liberal and hedonistic' but can change, U.S. right-winger says

Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation waxes philosophical:

The pessimistic view was that Harper, lacking a parliamentary majority, can do little to make Canadians 'adopt a more reasonable view of the United States' and abandon Marxist principles 'such as same-sex marriage and abortion on demand,' Weyrich says.
He does not say how these things are linked in his mind to Marxism, a doctrine better known for concepts of class warfare.

Boing Boing: Senators figure out the Broadcast Flag, curse it as an abomination!

2 US Senators, one of whom knows whereof he speaks, curse the broadcastflag as an abomination!
OK, maybe they don't although Sen. Stevens is, as I said. all over the abomination issue.


CBC - Canada Votes 2006 - Candidates and Ridings

Oh no, Ms. Bulte, I expect you to dielose your re-election campaign. Props out to Michael and Cory who brought attention to this example of reprehensible democracy.


melvin - lockpicker

A business card made of metal. A business card made of lockpicks.

New Senate Broadcast Flag Bill Would Freeze Fair Use

For your viewing pleasure, while I still can, I present an EFF article concerning yet another attempt to limit what you do with content. This latest draft legislation wants to allow "customary historic use of broadcast content by consumers to the extent such use is consistent with applicable law." How very generous of them. All that stuff you used to do? We guess you can keep doing it. All those cool new ideas? Bugger off.

Freedom to Tinker » Analog Hole Bill Would Impose a Secret Law

So the Sensenbrenner/Conyers Analog Hole bill requires almost all analog video devices to comply with 2 technologies: CGMS-A and VEIL. What are these technologies that a new law will be required in your TV and your PC? Nuh-uh, not telling.

After some discussion, the company helpfully explained that I could get the spec, if I first signed their license agreement. The agreement requires me (a) to pay them $10,000, and (b) to promise not to talk to anybody about what is in the spec. In other words, I can know the contents of the bill Congress is debating, but only if I pay $10k to a private party, and only if I promise not to tell anybody what is in the bill or engage in public debate about it.
Worse yet, this license covers only half of the technology: the VEIL decoder, which detects VEIL signals. There is no way you or I can find out about the encoder technology that puts VEIL signals into video.


It's not about child pornography people!

edit: Prof. Palfrey and I discussed this over email, and the Red Herring will correct the article to say

And certainly, protecting children from online pornography is an important public issue that we need to work together on to solve.
So Prof. Palfrey is definitely one of the good guys.

Despite what John Palfrey, a clinical law professor and executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and quite a few others reports are saying, the government's request for data to Google is to support research that they are doing to reword COPA, the Child Online Protection Act - a piece of legislation that has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and that is intended to protect children from having finding/seeing pornography when they use the internet. Google Blogoscoped has a round-up of people who get the child pornography thing wrong.

Patriot Search

Are you a patriot? If so, then this is your search engine!

PS - if you are are a terrorist-lovin' commie-pinko tree-hugging treason surrender monkey, you might give Clusty (different) or Scroogle (scraped). Note that I think Daniel Brandt of Google Watch is a bit off base about Google. Apparently Google Watch Watch does too :).

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook

Tuna Casserole
Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish

Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.

While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I am becoming more and more frustated.

BBC NEWS | Education | Science 'not for normal people'

At least we are not hated.:

Teenagers value the role of science in society but feel scientists are 'brainy people not like them'
Science and innovation are the engines of prosperity. Governments that look to a more prosperous future should be working to counteract mass-media marketing to the lowest common denominator and the anti-itellectual backlash that began in the 70's. How to do this?
  • Invest in education
    • especially math and basic sciences from the earliest levels
    • develop new curricula that make science more engaging and less rote memorization
    • teach memorization techniques that allow more people to retain information for those large swathes of detail that need to be memorized
    • more science and engineering scholarships and co-op programs
  • Advertising
    • direct
    • co-marketing sponsorships such as tax credit for advertising or media that show science and scientists as being average and then above average in desirability (this one is tricky - it is government propaganda hidden in TV shows, not sure how I feel about that)


In which the government goes on a fishing expedition

It seems that the US Gov't, in their quest to prove that the interweb is full of pr0n and that children's delicate sensibilities are being irreparably harmed there-by, has asked for truckloads of data from major search engines. Boing Boing notes that although Google said no, Yahoo, AOL, and MSN said yes. More on the Google situation at The Mercury News.


I have been very busy working on a nutritional info web-app that my startup is making. We finalized the kiosk prototype version on Tuesday - so hopefully I will be back up to averaging at least a post a day.


DND drapes veil of secrecy over missile shield

Your tax dollars at work. Where you = {Canadjuns}.


BusinessWeek - The Patent Epidemic

I like it when my peeps on Wall Street help to spread the Good Word.