Two exceptions to this trend, however, are the swans and the calling birds, which cost significantly more this year. Unlike 2002, when swans took a significant dive in price, these graceful feathered friends have bounced back to their 2001 level of $500 a piece, up from $300 last year, according to the Philadelphia Zoo. The four calling birds are also flying high at $400, more than a 26 percent increase from last year. "The bird prices tend to be stable, except when supply and demand get out of sync, causing the prices to move dramatically," said Rebekah McCahan, investment strategist who provides the research for the Christmas Price Index. "The low inventory of calling birds and swans this year, combined with a resurgence in demand, has boosted prices -- a sign of consumer confidence returning," she added. All told, the swans, geese, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and partridges cost over $4,100, representing about 25 percent of the overall Index.Link (via /.)
You can always quote a few lines without asking permission, but that's likely to be the same few lines that have become cliched with repetition. Quote the whole speech to make a more substantial point, and you face thousand-dollar license fee claims from the estate. Quote them to make a point critical of King, and you may be denied a license entirely.Link
There was at least one elvish word related to a sexual act in Quenya or Sindarin: nosta / onna, beget. The source for this is Treebeard's farewell to Galadriel and Celeborn in "Many Partings," ROTK. This farewell includes the Quenya phrase "O vanimar, vanimalion nostari", translated in The End of the Third Age, in the chapter discussing Many Partings, footnote 16, as "fair ones begetters of fair ones." There is a related early Quenya noun, ontâro, meaning begetter/masculine parent. The early Quenya word wegê, meaning manhood or vigor, may be open to a variety of interpretations. There was also a Quenya word meaning virgin, rod, as in Rodwen, "High Virgin Noble (female)." (Maeglin, The War of the Jewels, HME)Link (via MeFi)
Tests by the prefecture to infiltrate the system found that access to private information on residents was accessible with local area network (LAN) connections, both from within and outside local body offices.Link
"(The network) is in a dangerous situation in which personal information can be stolen," specialists hired by the prefecture wrote in an evaluation of the access tests...
Part of the tests also reportedly showed that it was possible to falsify personal data in the network and send it to servers nationwide.
We'll let the box cover copy speak for itself: "In the mythical realm of Diddle Earth, diminutive yet delectable Throbbit Dildo Saggins is sent by Smirnoff the Wizard to destroy the legendary G-String - most powerful weapon in the land."Link
Ombudsman Attila Peterfalvi said he started an investigation after one of Hungary's three mobile providers ran an advertisement saying: "If you see a good-looking girl or guy on the street, don't hesitate to share the aesthetic experience with your friends via MMS." Mobile phones, kitted out with small cameras used in multimedia messaging (MMS), are selling fast in Hungary, where mobile penetration is a high 75.2 percent.Link (via diepunyhumans)
During a September field test at Meteor Crater, Ariz., NASA used Wi-Fi cells from Tropos Networks to measure a reliable 1 megabit/sec of solid data throughput at a range of 1.3 miles. A three-node network of Tropos 5110 Wi-Fi cells was set up over a two-square mile hot zone at Meteor Crater. Engineers used a laptop computer inside a moving vehicle, with no external antenna, and successfully transmitted data from a remote location through two nodes back to the base camp computer. Though NASA has no current plans to send Wi-Fi technology into space, researchers are examining Wi-Fi as a possible future communications support to interplanetary expeditions, including flights to Mars.Link
Update: Joe Crawford points us to background on the NASA scale here.
In the following interview, notorious sim Evangeline goes back to her early days in Alphaville, and claims to have worked as a cyber-prostitute and then to have been a madam for various cyber-brothels under the guise of her sims Roxy, Tori, Fanki and then Dorian Merrill, claiming that at times she made the equivalent of $50 US per trick from her customers. She claims to still being a minor and hints that some of her customers have been Maxis employees. She discusses the conflagration with Mia Wallace, and claims to have guessed Mia's password and trashed her property and account. Finally she discusses her current policy of newbie-humiliation on her Free Money for Newbies property, currently number 1 in Alphaville's welcome category. In particular, she discusses her new game of locking newbies "in the freezer" and "caging" dark skinned avatars and calling them "monkeys" and also calling them "ugly" because one can't see their eyes.Link
ORC: I've been having a bad bad dayLink (Thanks, Chris)
Come on Gimli put that axe away
I'm asking you please no!
You've my sincere apologies
You've got the killing expertise
You'll cut through my collar like cheese
I'm begging let me go!
You have got me on my knees
You could slaughter me with ease
I really hate those fucking trees
Forty-two, Master Legolas!
"We are training revolutionaries -- not by indoctrinating them with dogma but by exposing them to a process in which sharing culture rather than hoarding it is the norm," said Joline Blais, a professor of new media at the University of Maine and Still Water co-director.Link
This most infamous of all British sitcoms attracted controversy out of all proportion to the number of people who saw it. Naturally, the hullabaloo was built on the shocking notion that anyone would mount a comedy about Hitler and the Jews - seemingly the definition of poor taste. In reality, the show was no more than a spoof - and not of 1930s Germany but of the kind of 1960s/1970s American sitcoms that would embrace any idea, no matter how stupid. The title, the corny dialogue, the applause when anyone arrived on set, the acting (McCaul's Hitler was more reminiscent of Chaplin's The Great Dictator than your actual Fuhrer) - all were clear signposts of parody. Mel Brooks had already explored the concept of pantomime Nazis in his masterpiece movie (and eventual stage musical) The Producers.Link
Sampling, by all accounts, should also work on these principles. Yet, under the current sampling system, just because one person clears rights to a song for sampling doesn't mean anyone else can. Each negotiation is generally separate, thereby requiring transaction costs for time and attorneys, etc, each time someone wants to use the track.Link
Under the CC licensing system, however, the more songs you have in the library, the more valuable the library becomes. This is because you know that you can use all the songs you like in any way you like as often as you like. Eventually, with enough songs, musicians will come to value the CC sampling library more because as a whole it represents more value than any particular individual song might represent under the traditional copyright licensing scheme.
The demand for maids who are able to clean up the fridge and the hard drive has been driven by the surge in computer use and the numbers of children now doing their homework on computer...Link
But some have rebelled against the shift to computer-literate cleaners. "There's too much pressure," said Sally Yip, 47, from the Philippines, who has been in Hong Kong for 15 years and has earned a reputation for her cleaning allied with her computer skills. "I was coming home with a headache and arguing with my husband. I was offered a job with an international law firm but I turned it down. It wasn't about how much they could offer," she said, "I enjoy the babies and doing the ironing."