A seal has taken to wandering a New Zealand suburb, then crashing just wherever. Today it was found sleeping at a local car wash by employees turning up for the morning shift—and it wasn't the creature's first unusual stop-off point.
Laura Walters and Paul Eastern report that the seal was, for the second day, herded into a cage and released on a nearby beach.
It woke up around midday, and waved a flipper at the crowd of about 50 people who were watching. The increased activity prompted Doc staff to move people further away from the lost mammal.Uwash owner Kirit Makan said the seal was the most unusual customer he had encountered at his carwash. … DOC ranger Stefan Sebregts said the seal was the same male that was found wandering on a Papakura street on Monday.
It was likely he came ashore because he was sick of the stormy weather and needed a rest, Sebregts said.
Yesterday, the Papakura seal's first adventure ended in a the occupation of a local's driveway, after a day spent alarming and enchanting passers-by. The New Zealand Herald's Anna Leask reports on efforts to herd the seal back to safety.
Read the rest
When Danny Yong woke up this morning and found his house surrounded by police and firefighters - he naturally panicked.
"I thought I'd got myself into trouble somehow. Then my flatmates went outside and saw a seal in the driveway," he said.
Unbeknown to Mr Yong, the now-named Papakura Seal had settled into his Coles Cres driveway and was in no hurry to move.
In 1993, Stanley Williams survived a close-encounter with a volcano. A volcanologist, he was standing on the rim of Colombia's Galeras volcano when it erupted with little warning. Six of his scientific colleagues and three tourists were killed. Williams fled down the mountain's slope — until flying rocks and boulders broke both his legs. With a fractured skull, he managed to stay conscious enough to huddle behind some other large boulders and dodge flying debris until the eruption ended and his grad students rescued him.
Williams and the other scientists were there to study Galeras, and hopefully get a better idea of what signals predicted the onset of eruptions.
This is something we still don't understand well.
While volcanologists have identified some signals — like distinctive patterns of small earthquakes — that increase the likelihood of an oncoming eruption, those signals aren't foolproof predictions. There are still volcanoes like Galeras that give no warning. And volcanoes like Mt. St. Helens. In 2004, that volcano gave signals that it would erupt. And it did. Sort of. The Seattle Times described it as "two small burps and a lava flow". Basically, the signals don't always precede an eruption, and even when they do happen it doesn't tell you much about how big any ensuing eruption will be.
And that presents an interesting question, writes Erik Klemetti at Wired's Eruptions blog. How close to volcanoes should tourists really be? That's a question with real-world applications. This year, New Zealand's White Island volcano has been ... Read the rest
The first of eight prosecutions brought under New Zealand's three-strikes copyright law (passed as a rider to the emergency legislation freeing up money to provide relief for the Christchurch earthquake) has fallen apart.
The RIANZ (Record Industry Association of NZ) withdrew its case against a student in shared accommodation without saying why.
However, as Torrentfreak reports, NZ activists at Tech Liberty point out that the notices sent to the student, and the damages claimed, were all badly bungled and unlikely to withstand legal scrutiny.
The recording group asked for just over NZ $370 (US $303) to cover the costs of the notices and copyright tribunal hearing, plus NZ $1,250 (US $1,024) as a deterrent. However, eyebrows were certainly raised when it came to their claim for the music involved in the case.
The infringements were alleged to have taken place on five tracks with the cost of each measured against their value in the iTunes store, a total of NZ $11.95 (US $9.79). This sounds reasonable enough, but RIANZ were actually claiming for $1075.50 (US $880.96).
“RIANZ decided, based on some self-serving research, that each track had probably been downloaded 90 times and therefore the cost should be multiplied by 90,” says Tech Liberty co-founder Thomas Beagle. “There is no basis in the Copyright Act or Tribunal regulations for this claim.”
I don't think we can count on this kind of cack-handedness in the future. The RIANZ will perfect its procedures soon enough, and we'll start seeing punitive fines and even disconnection based on mere accusation of living in a house where the router is implicated in an unproven allegation of copyright infringement. Read the rest
New Zealand police, responding from a request from the US government, raided MegaUpload today, arresting founder and CEO Kim ”Dotcom” Schmitz and three "associates." The service, which allowed users to upload files that were too big to email, claimed 150 million users. The entertainment industry alleged that the service was primarily intended to facilitate copyright infringement, since people could use it to illegally share music and movies, but the company claimed that while some users might infringe copyright with MegaUpload, others simply used it to share files that belonged to them. For example, I use a comparable service, YouSendIt, to exchange large MP3 files of my podcast with John Taylor Williams, the sound engineer who masters them. At other times, companies that wanted me to review their movies and music have uploaded them to a file locker and supplied me with the link and password to get them.
In response, a large denial-of-service attack ("OpMegaupload") has been launched against the US Department of Justice, the FBI, Universal Music and other entertainment and law-enforcement sites, by activists operating under the Anonymous banner.
MegaUpload has been waging an online campaign against Universal Music and US law enforcement and trade representatives, first releasing a video featuring famous artists singing an anthem in praise of MegaUpload, then suing Universal Music over false copyright claims that had the video removed from YouTube.
But as this three-page flowchart from the Telecommunications Carriers' Forum demonstrates, the process of disconnection is so ramified and baroque that it requires deep study just to get your head around, and easily answering questions like, "How do I appeal this?" is anything but simple.