The first [rocket] that he had built was unsuccessful and had come down on his neighbour Abinashbabu's radish patch. Abinashbabu had no sympathy for Shanku; science and scientists made him yawn. He would come up to Shanku and urge him to set off the rocket for Diwali so that the neighbourhood children could be suitably entertained. Shanku wants to punish this levity and drops his latest invention in his guest's tea. This is a small pill, made after the fashion of the Jimbhranastra described in the Mahabharata. This pill does not only make one yawn, it makes one see nightmares. Before giving a dose to his neighbour, Shanku had tried a quarter bit on himself. In the morning, half of his beard had turned grey from the effect of his dreams. Shanku's world is a real world, a human world. In his preparations for the space journey he has decided to take his cat Newton with him. For that he has invented a fish-pill. "Today I tested the fish-pill by leaving it next to a piece of fish. Newton ate the pill. No more problems! Now all I have to do is make his suit and helmet."Link (via Making Light)
Pornography and other sexually suggestive materials (including literature, imagery and other media); escort or prostitution services"And other sexually suggestive materials"? Meaning Nabokov's Lolita, or other classic literary works that include erotic content? With language that loose, perhaps a copy of Harpers with naked Britney Spears on the cover would be verboten -- not to mention fine art nude prints, or any number of popular music CDs or movie DVDs not regarded as pr0n. A ban on "occult goods" ("Materials, goods or paraphernalia for use in satanic, sacrificial, or related practices") seems similarly troublesome. Would that apply to Coop's dark-lord-lovin' "devil babe" stickers? Or a hardcore black metal CD ("Music to eat babies by")? How about incense? Snip from NYT story by Saul Hansell:
Google is charging merchants 20 cents plus 2 percent of the purchase price to process card transactions, less than most businesses pay for credit card processing. Banking industry executives say that credit card processors typically pay MasterCard and Visa a fee of 30 cents and 1.95 percent for every purchase, so Google will be subsidizing many transactions.Link to NYT article, and link to an analysis by Donna Bogatin at Zdnet.
Reader comments: Chris Smith says,
Don't know that 'predatory' is appropriate here. Google can maintain this pricing as long as the adwords return the value. Usually, predatory pricing is there to change the market conditions so that you can raise prices later. Your quote hints at this - it talks about 'cost the predator' more during the low price phase. But if Google makes its money back on adwords, it can maintain this pricing forever. This is not predatory pricing - it's tied selling.Phillip K. says,
The shocker is not really Google Checkout predatory pricing, but the "content policy," or what you can't buy (or more specifically sell). There is the standard exclusion of nasty stuff that you will see anywhere, but in numerous places it is deliberately ambiguous and broad, and would seem to promote an agenda.
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As of yet, only 2% of the ocean has been explored. And last year alone, over 13,000 previously undiscoverd new species were discovered. So what does one call an undiscovered species?(Remember, to sound like a salty sea dog, you say "sarpent," not "serpent.") Link
In 1892 Dr. Anthonid Cornelis Oudemans, director of the Dutch Royal Zoological Gardens at the Hague, published his definitive work on cryptozoology – long before cryptozoology was even a popular idea. Titled The Great Sea-Serpent, this comprehensive work not only describes some 150 sightings (dating back to the 16th century) but also presents various hoaxes and alternative theories.
New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.Link to story.
UPDATE: Janet Daly of W3C says:
The New Scientist article is correct in describing what Semantic Web technologies are and how they work. However, the accuracies are outweighed the failures of the article.[Her rebuttal continues after the jump.]
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The Great Firewall of China is an important tool for the Chinese Government in their efforts to censor the Internet. It works, in part, by inspecting web traffic to determine whether or not particular words are present. If the Chinese Government does not approve of one of the words in a web page (or a web request), perhaps it says “f” “a” “l” “u” “n”, then the connection is closed and the web page will be unavailable — it has been censored.Link. Clayton is presenting a paper on this topic (PDF link to paper) at the 6th Workshop on Privacy Enhancing Technologies being held in Cambridge this week. (Thanks, Mike Liebhold)
This user-level effect has been known for some time… but up until now, no-one seems to have looked more closely into what is actually happening (or when they have, they have misunderstood the packet level events).
It turns out [caveat: in the specific cases we’ve closely examined, YMMV] that the keyword detection is not actually being done in large routers on the borders of the Chinese networks, but in nearby subsidiary machines. When these machines detect the keyword, they do not actually prevent the packet containing the keyword from passing through the main router (this would be horribly complicated to achieve and still allow the router to run at the necessary speed). Instead, these subsiduary machines generate a series of TCP reset packets, which are sent to each end of the connection. When the resets arrive, the end-points assume they are genuine requests from the other end to close the connection — and obey. Hence the censorship occurs.
However, because the original packets are passed through the firewall unscathed, if both of the endpoints were to completely ignore the firewall’s reset packets, then the connection will proceed unhindered! We’ve done some real experiments on this — and it works just fine!! Think of it as the Harry Potter approach to the Great Firewall — just shut your eyes and walk onto Platform 9¾.
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Assume a mating between Superman and a human woman designated LL for convenience.Link
Either Superman has gone completely schizo and believes himself to be Clark Kent; or he knows what he's doing, but no longer gives a damn. Thirty-one years is a long time. For Superman it has been even longer. He has X-ray vision; he knows just what he's missing. (*One should not think of Superman as a Peeping Tom. A biological ability must be used. As a child Superman may never have known that things had surfaces, until he learned to suppress his X-ray vision. If millions of people tend shamelessly to wear clothing with no lead in the weave, that is hardly Superman's fault.*)
The problem is this. Electroencephalograms taken of men and women during sexual intercourse show that orgasm resembles "a kind of pleasurable epileptic attack." One loses control over one's muscles.
Superman has been known to leave his fingerprints in steel and in hardened concrete, accidentally. What would he do to the woman in his arms during what amounts to an epileptic fit?
Reader comment: Anselm Lingnau says,
The "Raumpatrouille" (Space Patrol) series is really something of a classic. The robots and dance scenes are only scratching the surface; watch for the clothes irons and shower heads as well as the special effect when the spaceship launches from its submarine base (which was produced by filming the bubbles produced by an Aspirin tablet and turning the footage upside down). The sets and special effects make the original Star Trek look downright sophisticated, but then again "Raumpatrouille" does predate ST by a couple of years.
The series has been available on DVD for some time, and a couple of years back bits from the various shows were strung together to form a feature film. Some of the original actors are also still around and occasionally seen on TV.
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I was standing near the register looking at the assorted things when all of a sudden I spotted "Benign Girl" and suddenly I heard the mermaids singing. Two Latina women were looking at Benign Girl and reaching forward as if to grab it and in a flash I knew this was something extremely precious and rare and that I needed to act fast!Link
So I reached around the women and snatched BG. And before they knew what happened I had paid and fled the scene, adrenalining all the way.
On the side of the package were the bullet points:
The instructions on the package:
"Beautiful girl, press any button!"
Reader comment: Moon Custafer says:
My local drugstore/post office has a number of odd imported toys whose packaging bears the results of too thorough a search through the translation dictionary. My favourite is the mechanical tortoise labelled "Magical Chelonian."
In related news, Salon.com ran a report on a document found in the ACLU's FOIA archives that says instructors from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape school at Fort Bragg, NC (where elite troops learn how to survive extreme enemy interrogation measures) were shipped to Guantanamo to teach interrogators there. Link.
An anonymous BB reader says,
So basically, instructors who taught American military troops to deal with torture (by, effectively, torturing them) were sent to Guantanamo to teach interrogators there how torture -- excuse me, *interrogate* -- detainees.
Chris Paine's new documentary feature "Who Killed the Electric Car" opens at theaters throughout the US this week, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Snip from the NYT review by Manohla Dargis:
Like Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" and the better nonfiction inquiries into the war in Iraq, this information-packed history about the effort to introduce Ëœ and keep Ëœ electric vehicles on the road wasn't made to soothe your brow. For the film's director, Chris Paine, the evidence is too appalling and our air too dirty for palliatives.Link to review, and Link to movie website. (Thanks, David Newsom)
Fast and furious, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" is, in brief, the sad tale of yet one more attempt by a heroic group of civic-minded souls to save the browning, warming planet. The story mostly unfolds during the 1990's, when a few automobile manufacturers, including General Motors, were prodded to pursue Ëœ only to sabotage covertly Ëœ a cleaner future. In 1990 the state's smog-busting California Air Resources Board adopted the Zero-Emission Vehicle mandate in a bid to force auto companies to produce exhaust-free vehicles. The idea was simple: we were choking to death on our own waste. The goals were seemingly modest: by 1998, 2 percent of all new cars sold in the biggest vehicle market in the country would be exhaust-free, making California's bumper-to-bumper lifestyle a touch less hellish.