LibDems won't support Digital Economy Bill at all

W00t! After pressure from party members, MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, the UK Liberal Democrats have unequivocally withdrawn support for the Digital Rights Bill, a sweeping, 24,000+ word bill that the Labour government are trying to push through Parliament with only a few hours' debate. Previously, the LibDems had supported the idea of the bill going into "wash up" (a streamlined procedure for passing laws without detailed scrutiny or public debate), provided that controversial proposals (such as kicking families off the net if they were accused of infringement) would be referred to another process later on. After public outcry from within the party, the front-bench changed its mind, and the party whip has said, "I have told the Govt we won't support the Digital Economy Bill as drafted. There is not enough time for MPs to examine it in detail." Well done, LibDems!

Lib Dems to fight Digital Economy Bill over 'wash-up' Previously:LibDem MPs won't fight for debate on Digital Economy Bill - Boing ... LibDem rank-and-file make emergency motion for net freedom - Boing ... Brits: tell the LibDem Peers not to bring web-censorship to ... Guardian column on LibDem proposal to block web-lockers Add your name to "Save the Net" FB page, help the LibDems do the ... Is the UK record industry arrogant or stupid? Read the rest

Profile of a 19-year-old chess champion: chess and madness

"Chess should not become an obsession. Otherwise there's a danger that you will slide off into a parallel world, that you lose your sense of reality, get lost in the infinite cosmos of the game. You become crazy."—19-year-old chess champion Magnus Carlsen. (thanks, Susannah) Read the rest

Horse-drawn Hummer

Artist Jeremy Dean converted a Hummer H2 into a horse-drawn carriage "to show just how screwed and unsustainable the auto industry has become." Glen E. Friedman has more, including video. Read the rest

Leonard Baskin: Lepidoptera Fantastica

Ian J. Kahn of antiquarian booksellers Lux Mentis got a hold of some extremely rare books by Leonard Baskin, who is best known as a sculptor. Link to a large-size scan of the image in this post, and here's a larger gallery. The collection will be on display at an upcoming antiquarian book fair in NYC, April 9-11. Read the rest

A Day in Paris: short film by Benoit Millot

Filmmaker BenoƮt Millot brought this lovely, dreamy live-action + 3D animated short film to my attention, and I'm so glad he did. Sort of a trippy, shoegazey Up in the Air meets Transformers. Been out a couple months, but new to me. Shot on a Canon 7D Mark I, and it shows. Music: Electric President "I'm Not The Lonely Son." (Amazon).

A Day in PARIS (Vimeo) Read the rest

Psychiatrist famed for electroshock as "cure" for homosexuality busted on sex abuse charges

The Canadian psychiatrist nicknamed "Dr. Shock" for his penchant for electroshock treatment as a "cure" for homosexuality among military recruits has been charged with sexually assaulting a male patient. Not a shock. (via Newser) Read the rest

A serious look at physics in "Hot Tub Time Machine"

Over at io9, an physicist takes a serious look at the physics behind Hot Tub Time Machine. "Let the harrumphing begin!" Includes spoilers. Science aside, I saw the movie over the opening weekend, and laughed a lot. Recommended. Cusack will soon join us here as guestblogger, BTW. (thanks, Wilson Rothman) Read the rest

Child victim of human trafficking in India consoles distraught Lindsay Lohan

Celebrity advocacy fail: an Indian girl, head shaved, rescued from child trafficking and from the street, is explaining to Lindsay Lohan while BBC documentary cameras roll that her mom and dad used to beat her unless she went out each day to earn money...
[B]ut it's hard to concentrate on what she's saying because what's happening behind her is so distracting. Lohan is rubbing her already-red eyes, spreading mascara around the place, twitching her eyebrows.

"Um. Um. Oh my God," the film star says, her lips wobbling uncontrollably. A disembodied hand pops into the screen to pass her a tissue. "Um. How did she feel? Um. How did they treat her?" she asks, beginning to sob.

The small girl turns to look at her in bemusement. The translator gives an embarrassed laugh and says to the girl: "She's crying for you. Why don't you comfort her?" So we watch as the puzzled child dutifully strokes Lohan's long mane of golden hair. "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Lohan says, with a husky gasp. "Sorry, I'm having a moment." Mercifully, the camera is then switched off.

Lindsay Lohan's misplaced tears (Guardian, via Aid Watch; thumbnail from photo by BBC/Blakeway Productions. ) Read the rest

Cops' repeated tasering of pregnant woman is okay, says court

A federal appeals court in Seattle ruled this week that three policemen in Seattle did not use excessive force when they tasered Malaika Brooks, a "visibly pregnant woman," multiple times after she refused to sign a speeding ticket. Refusing to sign a ticket is something south of a non-arrestable misdemeanor in the state. Read the rest

Serving sizes in Last Supper paintings have supersized over the ages

The size of food portions depicted in "Last Supper" paintings over the years has steadily grown, like our waistlines. (via William Gibson) Read the rest

Bulgarian political scandal over Facebook game Farmville

"A scandal has erupted in the City Council of Bulgaria's Plovdiv as several councilors have been caught milking virtual cows on the Facebook application Farmville. The councilors were first detected playing Farmville two weeks ago during the debates for Plovdiv's 2010 budget." Busted! (via Julian Dibbell) Read the rest

Trololo cat

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Duct tape for everything

Look at all the ways you can use duct tape! Read the rest

Erykah Badu's new album is out today (release party in LA tonight)

New Amerykah Part II: Return of the Ankh, Erykah Badu's new album, is out today. It's fantastic. Her record release party is in LA tonight (tickets: El Rey or Ticketmaster), and I'll be there. Excited about catching DJ Nobody's set, too. Look at that lovely poster, after the jump. Who says flyer art is dead? (thanks, Richard Metzger + Tara McGinley) Read the rest

Snow ads

They say advertising's an ephemeral medium, but I'm not so sure. I collect old library-bound volumes of Life magazine, and given proper care (and kept away from the razor-clutching hands of people who want to carve them up and sell them piecemeal on eBay) those magazines have some serious shelf life, and so do the bright colorful ads they contain. And there are any number of websites archiving film, TV and radio ads, from the Internet Archive on down. But an agency called Element Six Media is creating ads that really are ephemeral -- as much so as melting snow and drifting sand. It may not be art, exactly, but it sure is arresting. And if the point of advertising is to get you to look, mission accomplished. (Via Inhabitat.) Read the rest

500 worst passwords

[Link via Laughing Squid] Read the rest

Gay plus Jesus plus Texas equals clusterfrack

"It's reimagining of the story of Jesus Christ (referred to as Joshua because his mother's husband, Joseph, thinks the name Jesus 'sounds like a Mexican') and his disciples from childhood to crucifixion. The twist: They are all gay men, two of whom are married in a ceremony performed by Joshua -- heralded as the 'King of Queers' before he is crucified." Shocker: A student play about a gay Christ is not going over well with school administrators in Texas. (thanks, Antinous) Read the rest

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