August 5th, 2008

The olympics

This is the best comment I read in ages.

There’s been questions coming our way about the olympics – are we going to promote it on The Pirate Bay or not. The answer is ‘No!’

First of all, sports are not that interesting! Politics however is. Helping out promoting a country like China is not in anyones interest besides their oppressive government. I’m quite surprised that the discussions about China versus human rights have been so quiet during the olympics. In my opinion the olympics should never be held in a country like that.

I feel a bit sick in my body when I see that journalists are upset that they would have to use a restricted Internet during their stay in China – and that they’re OK with going there anyhow, when the restrictions are lifted for them, personally. It’s sickening! Everybody needs to demand freedom for the people, not only freedom for some lucky ones. It’s spineless.

My emphasis. Peter is “Pirate Bay“. Thanks.

April 3rd, 2008

The plan

Today in the news, it made me chuckle with dis-belief. Background: it’s a tradition here that around Christmas, your employer tosses you a box of goodies, think in terms of a bottle of wine (or two), some jars with stuff you’d never buy yourself, crackers, pate, you got the image. The Minister of home affairs *) declared that this year, civil servants will not get food, but a “survival kit”, stating the people should be made more aware of their personal responsibility when “external disasters happen”.

Listen, I can understand the theme she’s addressing; people are so looking at “the government” when things go wrong, but give me a break: a survival kit for Christmas, helllooooo???? And in this timeframe of fear-spinning? Happy Christmas!

March 11th, 2008

The war on moisture crumbling

My last flight in the US there was a final security check leaving the secured area; I am pretty sure it was also processing domestic passengers, and people had to toss their water, that they had received on the plane or had bought in the secured area. Huh? Anyway, the European Parliament has pulled control over airport legislation to itself. It’s first act will be to get rid of the ban on fluids ASAP, starting with transit passengers. By summer, everybody can take their lotion, baby food, water bottle etc. on board.

The European Committee (y-t: the “European Administration”) was never able to prove that taking away liquids from passengers luggage ever stopped an attack.

February 22nd, 2008

The Saudi’s revisted

I’m pretty sure most of you already read this on Boing Boing, but it is insane and infuriating enough to repost. BBC:

Human Rights Watch has appealed to Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a woman convicted of witchcraft.

(…) The illiterate woman was detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read. Along her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent. Human Rights Watch said that Ms Falih had exhausted all her chances of appealing against her death sentence and she could only now be saved if King Abdullah intervened. The US-based group is asking the Saudi ruler to void Ms Falih’s conviction and to bring charges against the religious police who detained her and are alleged to have mistreated her. Its letter to King Abdullah says the woman was tried for the undefined crime of witchcraft and that her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them. Human Rights Watch says the trial failed to meet the safeguards in the Saudi justice system. (…)

Religious Police, just the words make my blood boil. Oh and we know about “safeguards in the Saudi justice system”.

February 16th, 2008

The data on passengers (again)

Added: I am reposting this item. The reason is to state that already in Washington-Dulles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, San Francisco, Orlando and Miami airports foreign passengers are required to “hand over” not only the fingerprints of their index fingers but all ten. The procedure will start on Detroit and New York JFK shortly. Right, 10 fingers is only for identification purposes eh?

The US is trying to enter into bi-lateral agreements with east-European states to get even more data than negotiated for the EU. Brussels is not amused.

Speaking of…. The toy boys now want to have fingerprints of foreigners coming into Europe too: we want the same goodies as the US. (shaking my head).

February 13th, 2008

The PBS restrictions

Can somebody see if this is downloadable? Or post me the link to the core media, so I can check if the ip checking is dumb enough to have me watch it anyway? Thank you!

Great Grey’s link actually did it. Miro is happily downloading the torrent as we speak, yeah! Thank you!

Great Grey helped me get my hands on this PBS show called Astrospies. Here is the link again, which is pointing to a bittorrent. Miro happily downloaded and showed it in crystal clear impressive DVD like quality. Pretty interesting to see how a whole separate manned space program was being secretly developed in parallel to the Apollo missions.

I will leave it in my Miro library for a couple of weeks and can see it is feeding (or seeding as that is called) it again to others. Smart.

As for PBS: I like them, great programs. How sad they are putting up rights restrictions on even their own productions, hampering obviously only the less computer literate.

February 1st, 2008

The smart remarks of Robert Gates revisited

Gates has called on Germany, who is on a rebuilding mission in the relatively quiet area of northern Afghanistan, they should come down to the south and fight. This was done in somewhat un-diplomatic language.

Rotterdam, Feb 1. In exceptionally sharp words, American Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, called on his German colleague Franz Josef Jung to send soldiers to southern Afghanistan. In the letter, viewed by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Gates complained about the lack of European NATO forces in the south, which shows an emerging division between the allies and NATO to lose credibility.

Germany contributes with over 3,100 soldiers contribute to the NATO-led stabilisation Force ISAF, in the relatively quiet northern provinces of Kunduz and Faizabad.

According to the German Ministry of Defence other European allies have a similar call from Gates.

Two comments.

  • Oh, that will certainly go down great after Robert’s earlier smart remarks about the allies.
  • Won’t happen. In Germany, parliament and the public opinion is against this whole thing and the administration is let’s say not enthusiastic. And don’t forget this: Germany overran Europe a few decades ago. Germany + war still raises some hairs here, understandably.
January 30th, 2008

The local tidbits

A project to have all public transport use one unified R.F.I.D. chip-card is crumbling on completely failing security and obscure (read: non-public) encryption. The one way tickets are not encrypted and can be simply copied using $40 hardware, and the subscription service is using a flawed card which “secrets” were revealed long ago. Also, the retention of travelers data was slashed by governmental privacy watchdogs. The details are truly embarrassing, so I won’t go into that, other than noting EUR 130 mln ($182 mln) tax payers money has already been flooded into the project. Sounds a bit like voting machines?

The 1972 porn flick “Deep throat” will be aired on public television end of February. Lots of controversy, religious politicians appealing the broadcasters, etc. My take on it? Air as much sex on TV as possible. With all respect, what I find objectionable is that it is fine to have probably about 10 murders broadcast every evening in all sort of “Hollywood action movies” and at the same time morally object about sex. I do agree though that “Deep throat” is probably not the smartest choice, even if it is considered a landmark flick in let’s say “it’s kind”: Linda Lovelace has always claimed she was raped and threatened into the role and eventually got $1.200 out of it.

Hillary Clinton uses (used?) “When the lady smiles” track when she walks up the stage. Some backgrounder. The 1984 song is performed by Dutch pop group “Golden earing” (no spelling error), and Bill is said to be a huge fan, using one of their other songs in his campaign. The issue is, in the rather interesting video clip, a nun is raped attacked and a dog eats the removed part of the lead singer’s brain. Nice research. While this is not going down good in the US, I find the clip rather mild and depicting mostly the mental down-spiraling of the main character.

Added 31-01: We (now) only know for sure that the song was played once, at a campaign meeting in Cedar Falls. Maybe it has been played (far) more often, but the Clinton team has not returned calls to reporters.

July 3rd, 2007

The second prosecution

Once acquitted, one cannot be prosecuted again, the so called “ne bis in idem” principle. This is rooted in the European fundamental human rights. Reopening a case because new evidence is found to set free a wrongfully convicted person is (of course) possible, but the reverse is not. A few politicians here are challenging the principle, based on a cold case where new DNA evidence brought pretty strong proof an earlier acquitted person most probably is guilty after all.

The highest court put out serious warning to the politicians that this route might bring us on a collision course with European treaties. Not only that, it is utterly stupid and cheap scoring imho. One of the foundations of a democracy is an absolute trust in it’s justice system, leading to a “better a hundred criminals set free, instead of one wrongly convicted” attitude. Unheard of. Or is it?

June 30th, 2007

The music from Prince

It’s really not “my music”, but at least he understands the consumer. I don’t think I can write this better than Ben Poole:

I especially like this quote from the Entertainment Retailers Association:

The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores.

Prince (note to the ERA: that’s his name. He hasn’t been “The Artist…” for many years, since his record company protest finished) has been selling material on-line very successfully for several years. What makes the music industry think he gives a fig about record stores? They’re dying because they’re being undercut by other companies and music outlets. He who does not evolve, dies.

Read more: BBC news: Anger at Prince free CD giveaway.