Spain's brutal new copyright/censorship law, passed at the behest of the US Trade Rep, has gone into effect. Spanish hactivists working with a recording artist have flooded the service with copyright complaints, busying it out so that none of the major labels' complaints can be processed.
Threatened with being put on a United States trade blacklist, the Government passed the so-called ‘Sinde Law’ in a rush late last year. The law allows for the blocking of allegedly infringing sites based on reports from copyright holders, a position similar to that proposed by the US SOPA bill.
Today the Sinde law went into effect and immediately it was met with resistance from opponents. The group Hackivistas was quick to organize a rather unique form of protest. They encouraged sites to link to a copyrighted track from the artist Eme Navarro, who’s a member of the music rights group SGAE, but critical of the Sinde law.
While Navarro generally publishes his music under a Creative Commons license, he created an “all rights reserved” track specifically for the protest. Thanks to the hacktivist campaign hundreds of websites are now linking to this copyrighted song without permission, and Navarro reported a first batch of sites to the Ministry of Culture early this morning.
As a result, the commission tasked with reviewing all the requests will be overloaded with complaints. All the reported sites have to be processed on order of arrival, so the protest will significantly slow down this review process.
From Letters of Note, this incredible letter written in 1855 by Lucy Thurston, a 60-year-old missionary in Hawaii who had breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy (and lymph node removal) with no anesthesia, no blood transfusion.
She wrote the following letter to her daughter a month later and described the unimaginably harrowing experience. The procedure was a success. Lucy Thurston lived for another 21 years.
[WARNING: not for the squeamish]: Letters of Note: "Deep sickness seized me".(thanks, @scanman)
[Video Link]. I'm recovering from yesterday's chemo infusion (my fifth!), and feeling kind of lousy. Jonathan Mann asked me this morning if he could write a song for me as his daily song project, and if so, if I had any theme requests. I was like, duh! Kittens, and space. And like a beautiful internet miracle, bam! Just hours later, he created the wonderful video above: "Kittens in Space."
Philippe sez, "restorm.com launched rightclearing last week at the prominent Social Music Summit in NYC. The cloud-based music licensing platform provides artists and music professionals a simplified solution that enables them to monetize content through an automated licensing system. In the midst of all the SOPA, PIPA, ACTA rhetoric, and never-ending licensing chaos in the market, rightclearing is well-poised to provide a concise and compelling solution to the needlessly complex licensing labyrinth. Joi Ito, head of the MIT Digital Media Lab and Chairman of the Creative Commons commented, 'I decided to join the restorm.com advisory board because rightclearing has the potential to radically renew the market for art licensing: it's simple, innovative, transparent and fair.'"
Bruce Levine, a clinical psychologist, has written on Mad in America about his colleagues' propensity for diagnosing anti-authoritarians with mental illness. Levine says diagnoses like oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder and anxiety disorder are applied to people who question authority's legitimacy by mental health practitioners who are, themselves, unconsciously deferential to authority.
Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance to authorities, even to those authorities that one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Having steered the higher-education terrain for a decade of my life, I know that degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.
In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having “issues with authority” was to not kiss up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had “issues with authority,” I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it quite amusing, because among the working-class kids whom I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied, and received good grades. However, while my new “issues with authority” label made me grin because I was now being seen as a “bad boy,” it also very much concerned me about just what kind of a profession that I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was being labeled with “issues with authority,” what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear.
When a student from north Georgia's Lanier Technical College sent an SMS to a friend about his upcoming stop-in at West Hall high school, his phone helpfully corrected "gunna" to "gunman." The message's recipient alerted police, who put both the college and the high school in lockdown for two hours.
He meant to write "Gunna be at West hall this afternoon," but the autocorrect function on his phone changed the word "Gunna" to "Gunman."
The situation was further complicated when the texter accidentally sent the text to a wrong number.
The text, which now read "Gunman at West hall," was received by someone identified only as "a member of the West Hall community" by the Gainesville Times.
[Video Link] Arizona state Rep. Katie Hobbs has introduced a bill requiring disclaimers on ads that digitally retouch models because they are "deceptive." As video producer Ted Balakar points out, even though Hobbs believes Photoshop is a great menace that needs taxpayer money to control, she's OK with "makeup, lighting, haircare products, cosmetic surgery," and other pre-camera reality hacks.
Proposals like this are new in the US, but in the UK the movement has morphed into some pretty remarkable restrictions on free speech. The Advertising Standards Authority has banned all kinds of ads for all sorts of bizarre reasons: This Miu Miu ad was banned because it depicts a child in an "unsafe location" (train tracks), and this Levi's campaign was halted because it supposedly encouraged children to play with fireworks.Presenting Reason.tv's Nanny of the Month for February 2012: Arizona state Rep. Katie Hobbs (D-Phoenix)!
This month's slate of busybodies includes a familiar name as well as some nannying newcomers.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), ever watchful for the new "club drug," is waging yet another crusade against yet another new product, and guess who he's doing it for? The kids!
And then there's Utah state Rep. Tim Cosgrove (D-Murray). Faced with the fact that law enforcement was wasting resources on anti-prostitution sting operations at salons that offer new age healing techniques Cosgrove didn't suggest legalizing prostitution, nor did he advise cops to ditch the stings and focus on catching bad guys (you know, those who hurt people and steal things).
Instead he introduced a bill that would jail Reiki practitioners and other business owners unless they spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to obtain massage licenses. (He's probably doing it for the kids.)
But this month, the top slot goes to someone else.
In the midst of the Kate Upton Sports Illustrated airbrushing controversy comes word that a Grand Canyon state pol decides it's time to crack down on post production techniques that make models smoother and sexier. (But hey, she's doing it for the kids!)
The following is a list of the "23 Types of Vagabonds" as identified in a 1566 book by Thomas Harman called "A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursitors, vulgarly called vagabonds." These "types" were the chapter titles and a decade later compiled into a list in William Harrison's book "Description of Elizabethan England, 1577" I'm not sure why "male beggar children" are categorized as "Of Womenkind" unless it's being suggested that they should be under the care of their mothers. From Lists Of Note:
1. Rufflers (thieving beggars, apprentice uprightment)
2. Uprightmen (leaders of robber bands)
3. Hookers or anglers (thieves who steal through windows with hooks)
4. Rogues (rank-and-file vagabonds)
5. Wild rogues (those born of rogues)
6. Priggers of prancers (horse thieves)
7. Palliards (male and female beggars, traveling in pairs)
8. Fraters (sham proctors, pretending to beg for hospitals, etc.)
9. Abrams (feined lunatics)
10. Fresh-water mariners or whipjacks (beggars pretending shipwreck)
11. Dummerers (sham deaf-mutes)
12. Drunken tinkers (thieves using the trade as a cover)
13. Swadders or peddlers (thieves pretending to be peddlers)
14. Jarkmen (forgers of licenses) or patricoes (hedge priests)
1. Demanders for glimmer or fire (female beggars pretending loss of fire)
2. Bawdy baskets (female peddlers)
3. Morts (prostitutes and thieves)
4. Autem morts (married harlots)
5. Walking morts (unmarried harlots)
6. Doxies (prostitutes who begin with upright men)
7. Dells (young girls, incipient doxies)
8. Kinchin morts (female beggar children)
9. Kinchin does (male beggar children)
"The 23 Types of Vagabond" (Thanks, Randall de Rijk!)
"Strange New Leaf-Nosed Bat Found in Vietnam" (National Geographic)
Over on Submitterator, frycook keeps finding these amazing/horrible old U.S. Army newsreels. He or she has posted some great stuff, including this gem, in which the chemical corps tests psychoactive substances on a cat while the narrator cheerfully natters about the strategic military benefits of hallucinogens.
The behavior of rogue stock traders could be considered more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths, according to a new scientific study at the University of St. Gallen. (Of course, the definition of psychopath is rather complex -- and you find them in the darndest places, like running huge companies -- but that's another story, and one best told in Jon Ronson's terrific book The Pscyhopath Test.) In this new study, the researchers put 28 stock traders through a battery of tests and computer simulations, and compared the results with the scores of psychopaths. From Spiegel Online:
"Naturally one can't characterize the traders as deranged," (co-author Thomas) Noll told SPIEGEL. "But for example, they behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks than a group of psychopaths who took the same test."
Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren't aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, "it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents," Noll explained. "And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents."
This is one thing that changed for me during the course of researching and writing Before the Lights Go Out, my upcoming book about the future of energy. I used to approach conversations about energy from a climate-centric perspective. First, I have to help people understand the science of climate change and get them past the misinformation and blatant lies surrounding that issue. THEN, we could talk about energy solutions.
But now I think that perspective is dead wrong.
Polls show that a majority of Americans want to change the way we make and use energy. What we disagree on is why that change needs to happen. The good news: We don't have to agree on the "whys" to reach the same solutions.
My book comes out April 10th, but you can read the introduction online now. It'll give you a better idea about why I think that climate change—important as it is—is not the only way to engage Americans on energy issues.
“Climate change is a lie.” The man leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. “Climate change is a lie,” he said again. “It’s just something made up by environmentalists to scare us.”
I heard this story a few years after it actually happened, from Eileen Horn, one of the environmentalists who watched this man’s speech from the other side of a two-way mirror. At the time, Horn and her colleagues were about to launch a new nonprofit organization called the Climate and Energy Project (CEP), an environmental activism group based in the state of Kansas. The man was a participant in one of a series of focus groups that the CEP had put together in Wichita. The idea behind the focus groups: don’t be stupid. Too often, Horn told me, environmental activism started with what the activists thought the public believed. Focus groups were a nice way to get around the sloppy art of assumptions. Instead, the Climate and Energy Project could get a bunch of Kansans together in a room, lob some ideas at them, and watch how they respond. What did the intended audience already know, and what did they not know? What did the people of Kansas think about the future of energy?
It was a nice plan, but it wasn’t too enlightening at first. The participants talked about where they got their news—NPR and CNN on one side, Fox News and a handful of radio talk shows on the other. Opinions on climate change split right along the lines of favorite news sources. You will probably not be shocked to learn that the man who declared climate change a lie fell squarely on the Fox News side. Whether or not you disagree with him, his position was fairly predictable. You and I have met any number of people with the same background and ideas.
Yet Horn remembered that man, specifically, because he changed her outlook on the world. In a way, he changed her life. Not because of his position on climate change, but because of what she learned about him—and other people like him—as the focus group continued.
“No matter how the conversation started, whether they believed in climate change or not, the discussion always, eventually, turned to energy solutions,” she told me. “And when it did, it turned out that this guy drove a hybrid car and had changed all his lightbulbs out to CFLs.”
Read the rest at BeforeLightsOut.com. Just scroll down the page and you'll see the link.
From Lists of Note, the 10 Commandments for Con Men as set out by Victor Lustig a con-legend who once took $5K off Al Capone and sold the Eiffel Tower.
1. Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).
2. Never look bored.
3. Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
4. Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
5. Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.
6. Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
7. Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
8. Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.
9. Never be untidy.
10. Never get drunk.
Yesterday, I got to host an eye-opening Q&A with Dan Edge, a PBS FRONTLINE producer who just finished a documentary about what happened at Fukushima during the first few days of the nuclear crisis there.
During that discussion, we touched a bit on the psychological impact all of this—the earthquake, the tsunami, the nuclear meltdowns—has had on the Japanese people. From studies of what's happened to the people who lived near Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, we know that the fear and stress associated with these kinds of disasters can have complex and long-ranging health effects.
Today, Paul Voosen, a journalist with Greenwire, emailed me a story he wrote last year, during the first month of the Fukushima crisis, that delves into some of the science behind how disasters (and especially nuclear disasters) affect the human psyche. If you've already read it, it's worth reading again.
Certainly, lasting scars of emotional distress -- which, at its worst, can manifest itself as serious depression or post-traumatic stress, among other symptoms -- are what researchers found in young mothers and others directly affected by past nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and seven years later at the much more serious Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine.
"What's most striking," Bromet said, "both about Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which are obviously completely different events with different environmental consequences, is that the emotional consequences just never end."
The Fukushima crisis is, of course, an incredibly difficult situation for Japan's authorities and residents. Caution is more than justifiable when it comes to radiation, and the fear and stress that could stem from radiation risk warnings would be difficult to prioritize over immediate health concerns, said Johan Havenaar, a Dutch psychiatrist who has worked with Chernobyl evacuees.
"It is an understandably frightening situation for [the Japanese]," he said, "even if the risk is small and the measure predominantly precautionary. ... It would be unfair to suggest that the psychological effects -- i.e. their fears -- are unjustified."
What authorities should do, and often fail to do, is treat mental and physical health problems with equal respect, understanding that the two go hand in hand, Bromet said. They must respect the persistent fears that will form about radiation exposure in Japan, no matter how low the exposure and how this can take a permanent toll on people's lives, she said.
If you want to know more about this, there are several other links I'd recommend:
• Charles Q. Choi wrote a great piece during his tour of Chernobyl last year about the health effects of that disaster, and why it's actually easier to spot the mental health impacts than the effects of radiation exposure.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a primer that explains how disasters affect the mental health of different groups of people, and how the impacts vary a lot based on how close you were to the tragedy.
• Chernobyl's Legacy is a document produced by a study group made up of the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency and others. It summarizes a lot of the research showing both the mental health impact of that disaster, and how authorities have failed to respond to it.
• Another good paper, if you can find a full, free copy of it: Psychological and Perceived Health Effects of the Chernobyl Disaster: A 20-year Review.
The independent nonpartisan NGO Democracy Watch says that Canada's elections regulator has failed in its duty to prevent fraud in Canada's elections. This comes on the heels of a voter-suppression scandal in which "robocalls" were placed, allegedly to voters likely to vote against the (now ruling) Conservative party, telling them that their polling places had changed. One whistleblower claims to have worked on the phone-bank that handled complaints from the robocalls, and says that she was instructed to tell people that she was working on behalf of the Conservative party, and to give out misinformation about where to vote. Jeff David of Postmedia News writes in the Montreal Gazette:
"Here we are 144 years since Canada became a so-called democracy and no one can tell whether Elections Canada is enforcing the federal election law fairly and properly because it has kept secret its investigations and rulings on more than 2,280 complaints since 2004," said spokesman Tyler Sommers.
The Harper government scrambled to keep pace with the burgeoning scandal during Tuesday's question period, after Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen unveiled new details of the election calls that had been routed through a Tory-linked firm.
A total of 1,334 complaints were filed with Elections Canada in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 federal elections, according to the agency's post-poll reports. Concerning the 2011 election alone, however, Elections Canada received 1,872 complaints about accessibility problems, 2,956 emails complaining of voting rule confusion in the Guelph area, and 1,003 complaints about other issues.
Sulka sez, "A Finnish MEP (Anneli Jäättenmäki) visited US and got told that given ACTA has been prepared entirely outside of Congress and isn't ratified, it's probably not legally binding towards US. The process has also been similar in other countries (Finland included), so it's questionable if the treaty has any power."
I visited Washington in the European Parliament, the Liberal andCentre Group Presidency with the beginning of the week. We met with U.S. Congressional representatives and financial experts. One of the most talked subjects had anti-counterfeiting agreement, Acta.
We heard some unexpected information. U.S. Congress senator responsible for ACTA foreign trade committee chairman Ron Wyden, said he'd tried to find out if Acta is binding towards US or not. Congress has been kept outside of the process for forming the treaty, and the senator has received no response to his inquiries.
We also got to hear that the U.S. government does not intend to give Congress a vote on the agreement as it would collapse in Congress, which is a pretty worrying rationale. According to the U.S. law, Congress always deals with international agreements.
The U.S. government characterized in a reply to Wyden that ACTA is a bilateral trade agreements and as such has no effect on U.S. law. The big question remains as to whether the Acta at all binding on the United States.
The European Commission assumes that Acta is binding on the signatory countries. ACTA's credibility is seriously at stake if its signatories can apply it as they see fit.
The EU Commission and the European Parliament have given ACTA to the EU Court of Justice for review. ACTA was negotiated in secret, and the parties have failed to tell the agreements content. It is right that the agreement's effects of fundamental rights of citizens are being reviewed.
This Agreement shall come into force only after ratification of the European Parliament and all Member States. Now the ratification of the Treaty appears to be rather distant matter.
Sound it Out # 19: Moonface - "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips"
This is slightly complicated. Moonface is Spencer Krug and whatever collaborators he’s working with at the moment. So, this particular Moonface record is titled With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery because Spencer went to Helsinki to make the album with Finnish band Siinai.
Spencer also plays with Frog Eyes, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake, Fifths of Seven, Wolf Parade (RIP) and various other projects. He is a busy, busy man.
Judging by the lyric sheet, Spencer's no stranger to romantic despair. “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips” joins Krug’s big, bombastic voice with Siinai’s precise rock to create one of the oddest sing-along anthems I’ve ever heard; Stevie Nicks gets named-checked twice.
With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery isn’t out until April, but you can download “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips” right this minute - it’s free for a week.
xyzzy123 sez, "Want to make a freedom-of-information request to the FBI or other three-letter agencies for any information they might have about you? This post links to a website that lets you enter personal information (or not, if you prefer), and then automatically print form letters to the correct government offices."
The incident that precipitated the article is pretty bizarre: a woman with a history of protest asked the FBI for her file and discovered that she'd been closely followed. What's more, she learned that despite all that close surveillance, the FBI got her political allegiances completely wrong, describing bitter rivals as fellow travelers and generally getting it all messed up.
Life Get Your FBI File! (Thanks, xyzzy123!)
British newspaper The Guardian promotes its "open journalism" format with this fantastic mockumentary ad.
At Spin, cult cartoonist Ward Sutton illustrates a memorable encounter with the Monkees' Davy Jones.
Nintendo rejected a 3DS port of indie gaming hit The Binding of Isaac due to its "questionable religious content", reports developer Edmund McMillen. Age-restricted in Germany for 'blasphemy,' according to Wikipedia, the action RPG is available on Steam for PC and Mac. A few minutes with Newsgrounds' in-browser demo may explain what all the fuss is about.
Jeff sez, "We like to be prepared for an alien invasion...Nerf guns loaded, extra rations of nachos packed away, and a Klingon dictionary in the back pocket. Unfortunately, such preparations tend to be forgotten in the routine of day-to-day life. As a subtle reminder, we created giant, 3-D, papercraft Space Invaders on our walls, and just so everyone is prepared, we show you how to build your own. Enjoy."
Thin is in! Taking a break from over-complicated and generously-sized timepieces popular at Watchismo, Mondaine Watches is introducing a new minimal ultra-thin collection using the instantly recognizable Swiss Railways clock dial, emulating the time-honored design present in every Swiss train station. Watchismo offers the entire Mondaine Simply Elegant Thin Watches collection for men and women.
On February 16th, Lord David James of Blackheath (a Conservative life peer) spoke for 11 minutes in the UK House of Lords about a supposed $15 trillion federal reserve conspiracy that involved more gold than has ever been mined. It turned out he had fallen for a widespread scam.
“Mr. Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006,” Lord James continued, “in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” That meeting, he said, “was witnessed by Mr Alan Greenspan, who signed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which he was chairman, as well as chairman of the real Federal Reserve in Washington. It is signed by Mr Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF sent two witnesses, the other being Mr Yusuke Horiguchi.”
“These gentlemen have signed as witnesses,” he continued, “to the effect that this deal is a proper deal. There are a lot of other signatures on the document. I do not have a photocopy; I have an original version of the contract.
“Under the contract, the American Treasury has apparently got the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to offer to buy out the bonds issued to Mr Riyadi to replace the cash which has been taken from him over the previous 10 years. It is giving him $500 million as a cash payment to buy out worthless bonds. That is all in the agreement and it is very remarkable.”
Riyadi, as the tale continues, supposedly had 750,000 tons of gold backing the $15 trillion the United States took from him to prop up the U.S. dollar.
The World Gold Council, however, estimates the only 165,000 tons of gold have been mined in the history of the world.