Just in time for election day, the best show on late-night TV reports on the decade-long reign of error from Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, and finishes on a note of surreal triumph. Read the rest
Under TPP, signatories are required to give their judges the power to "order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in" breaking digital locks, such as those detailed in this year's US Copyright Office Triennial DMCA Hearing docket, which were used to identify critical vulnerabilities in vehicles, surveillance devices, voting machines, medical implants, and many other devices in our world.
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Under TPP, signatories are required to give their judges the power to "order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in" breaking digital locks, such as those detailed in this year's US Copyright Office Triennial DMCA Hearing docket, which were used to identify critical vulnerabilities in vehicles, surveillance devices, voting machines, medical implants, and many other devices in our world. Read the rest
Ali Kashani, a data-scientist, has run the numbers on Canada's electoral constituencies (called "ridings") and concluded that if the candidates from the NDP and Liberal parties in sixteen of those ridings agreed to one or the other withdrawing, the Conservative Party could not form the next government. Read the rest
An official New Zealand government bulletin on yesterday's conclusion of the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations accidentally confirmed something we all believed was in there all along: an extension of copyright terms to match the USA's bizarre, evidence-free, century-plus terms. Read the rest
For most of a decade, government negotiators from around the Pacific Rim have met in utmost secrecy to negotiate a "trade deal" that was kept secret from legislatures, though executives from the world's biggest corporations were allowed in the room and even got to draft parts of the treaty. Read the rest
One of my favorite toys as a kid was Creepy Crawlers. Introduced in 1964 by Mattel, it was a kit that let you make rubber insects, spiders, snakes, lizards etc. It came with a set of metal molds, squeeze bottles of liquid plastic called Plastigoop, and an electrically-powered, 390 degrees Fahrenheit open-face hot plate called the Thingmaker to cure the Plastigoop. It's the kind of toy that would be deemed to dangerous today because of the high heat and shocking hazard (the kit came with a mold cooling tray that you filled with water and placed next to the Thingmaker).
I may have gotten a couple of first-degree burns using Creepy Crawlers, but I never regretted it. It would occupy my friends and me for hours at a time. My kids would have loved the Thingmaker as much as I did.
The Fright Factory was an especially cool Thingmaker toy. It was a kit that let you make macabre prosthetics: scars, long fingernails, a third eye, a diseased tongue, fangs, etc.
Nightflight's Bryan Thomas has a good article about the history of the Thingmaker line of toys, with lots of images. And Bob Knetzger wrote a terrific article about Mattel's line of DIY Toys for MAKE.
The Hollywood studios always claim to be "pro-fair-use" but when the US Trade Representative made a move to put fair use into the Trans Pacific Partnership, the MPAA sent a scathing, furious letter to the Obama administration condemning "the inclusion of fair use' in free trade agreements" as "extremely controversial and divisive." Read the rest
Copyright only extends to creative works, not facts, meaning that clinical trial data (and other data sources) are in the public domain as soon as they're published -- unless governments create special "sui generis" rights to scientific research data. Read the rest
ISDSes are the most controversial element of secret trade deals like TPP and TTIP: they let giant international corporations sue countries to repeal environmental, safety and labor laws that interfere with their profitability. Read the rest
The fast-track bill rammed through Congress last month lets the president walk right into any trade deal he wants, so long as it's with countries that have decent human rights records. Read the rest
The Canadian Prime Minister said he'd only sign the secretive Trans Pacific Partnership if it had safeguards for Canada's farmers, but now that it's clear that he hasn't got a hope in hell of being re-elected, he's ready to sign TPP and damn the farmers. Read the rest