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Friday, 31 July, 2009

RIAA Wins Another One

If you're going to share music, don't do it by uploading to a public site: Jury awards $675K in music downloading case.

A federal jury on Friday ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels.

Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs. The only issue for the jury to decide was how much in damages to award the record labels.

Jurors ordered Tenenbaum to pay $22,500 for each incident of copyright infringement, effectively finding that his actions were willful. The attorney for the 25-year-old student had asked the jury earlier Friday to "send a message" to the music industry by awarding only minimal damages.

What will he do?

He added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands.


Permalink | Posted in Music @6:57pm | Comments (10)

I’m Liking Dragnet

I've been watching old Dragnet shows via Netflix Watch Instantly.

In my entire life, I don't think I've watched more than 3-4 of those episodes. But now, I have a new appreciation of that TV show. Joe Friday is my hero, but I also like Bill Gannon. Both carry a badge, and they helped clean up The City -- Los Angeles, California. Yazzir.

I'm still trying to figure out why I pay for cable TV. We never watch it, and for a mere $16/month, we we'll never run out of things to watch from Netflix. But I have to think that Netflix will start charging extra for "Watch Instantly." It's like the early days of eMusic, when they had no download limits. Pamn's been keeping track. Last month, she watched 40+ movies from Netflix. So far, she hasn't been throttled.

Do cable TV providers realize that their biggest competitor is Netflix?


Permalink | Posted in Movies & TV @6:49pm | Comments (31)

The First 500 Pages

Have you gotten your "First 500 Pages" chain email yet? It starts out:

A friend of mine sent this to me last night. He found and downloaded a pdf file of the congressional health bill. So far he has read the first 500 pages and this is some of the highlights.

Then it goes on to list the atrocities contained in this bill. Most will call attention to Page 59:

The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.

And Page 425-427:

Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.

Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.

This is how misinformation works. It's always from "a friend," and it's broken down into small bits, so even simple-minded folks can be appalled. It's a great copy & paste piece, and this email is now posted at at least 1,000 Web sites. Here's an example, at Conservative's Forum. In this case, the source is "a contact of my husband's". 

Of course, nobody bothers to check if it's actually true.


Permalink | Posted in General @5:21pm | Comments (28)

The Weekend Open Mic

Ladies and gentlemen, we're here all weekend.


Permalink | Posted in Open Mic @1:47pm | Comments (117)

Mustard Museum Moving To Middleton

Goodbye Mount Horeb, and hello Middleton! Wisconsin's Mustard Museum on the move.

For the final time, people will gather here Saturday on two closed-off blocks of Main Street to celebrate National Mustard Day. There will be free hotdogs with mustard - there's a $10 surcharge for those who dare to request ketchup - mustard painting and music by the Poupon U Accordion Band.

Mustard Day and its host, the Mustard Museum, are relocating 18 miles away to Middleton this fall. The move will leave a gap on Main Street and reroute the tour buses that bring visitors to the Mustard Museum and its gift shop. The move is stirring debate about how small towns can effectively compete for tourist dollars.

Mount Horeb is looking more and more like a ghost town:

Once there were five antique shops here; now there are two. Some storefronts are vacant, others now house insurance or real-estate offices. "It's kind of sad. It was a shopping town, and it's changing," Fortney says.

By the way, do you know what day it is tomorrow? Hint: It's not National Cheesecake Day (that was yesterday).


Permalink | Posted in Food & Drink @11:17am | Comments (18)

Pope’s New Album

Something to look forward to: Pope to cut album for charity.

A new album coming out of Abbey Road studios may be a first: it features the pope praying as well as singing.

Geffen/Universal says Pope Benedict's album will include eight original pieces of contemporary classical music. The pontiff will sing and recite prayers to the Virgin Mary.

Benedict will be accompanied by the Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome, as recorded in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The original compositions are performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded at London's Abbey Road.

Proceeds from the as-yet-untitled album will help fund music education for underprivileged children around the world.

Shown here is one of the inevitable Pope imitators, trying to capitalize on the popular papal music craze.

Permalink | Posted in Music @11:01am | Comments (5)

White House Sludge

Michelle Obama's toxic veggie nightmare: White House organic garden polluted with sludge.

When First Lady Michelle Obama planted an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn in March 2009, she hoped to both set an example of healthy eating and to grow tasty edibles for her daughters and husband. But Michelle's organic dream has been dashed by a nasty toxic legacy lurking in the soils of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It turns out that a previous Presidential gardening team had used sewage sludge for fertilizer.

This is a fairly common practice with one huge problem. Sewage sludge tends to be laced with anything that people pour down the drain and often contains heavy metals. Not surprisingly, the National Park Service tested the dirt beneath Michelle's garden and found the plot has highly elevated levels of lead averaging 93 parts per million. That's below the 400 ppm that the Environmental Protection Agency says is a threat to human health. But I'd wager that Sasha, Malia and Barack won't be getting arugula or tomatoes from this garden any time soon.

What former president is to blame?

The Clinton White House apparently used a sludge-based product to fertilize the lawn during the 1990s!

(Thanks Blayne)


Permalink | Posted in Food & Drink @10:57am | Comments (9)

Insects In Flight

Insects like lights.

(via Kottke.org)


Permalink | Posted in General @9:34am | Comments (5)

Skinny Rugby Players

In India: Underweight team told to eat at least 15 eggs a day.

India's unfancied rugby sevens side must bulk up if they hope to make an impact at next year's Commonwealth Games, eating seven meals and at least 15 eggs a day, the country's South African coach said on Friday.

"I have told them (his players) they must eat at least 15 eggs a day, six for breakfast and the remaining nine any time, any how, during the day," the country's South African coach Norman Laker told the Telegraph newspaper on Friday.

"The players have three meals a day and that's not enough. In South Africa, elite rugby players have seven meals a day."


Permalink | Posted in Sports @9:30am | Comments (5)

Gaza Zebra

Here's a photo of The only zebra in Gaza.

Something didn't quite look right about the zebra, but it was hard to say exactly what. Of the several ramshackle zoos in Gaza, Marah, located not far from the Bureij refugee camp, is by far the cheeriest: The animals are lively, the enclosures clean, and children gather around the cage of a resting lion.

Then again, the competition is hardly stiff: The zoo in Rafah features dead animals left to rot in their cages; another animal park, situated in a densely populated neighborhood in Bureij, recently shut down amid financial difficulties (and after neighbors complained of the smell). A third, also in Bureij, is so short of funds that a fox is kept in a grocery cart with a board over the top...

"It's really a painted donkey," admitted Mahmud Berghat, the director of Marah, when asked about the creature. Making a fake zebra isn't easy-henna didn't work and wood paint was deemed inhumane, so they finally settled on human hair dye. "We cut its hair short and then painted the stripes," Berghat explained behind the closed door of his office.


Permalink | Posted in General @9:20am | Comments (4)

Pastor Harry Walther

I think I have a new favorite Christian. It's Pastor Harry Walther, who runs the Satan's Rapture site.

The man is a prophet who takes his Bible seriously -- and makes a lot of sense. For example:

Very soon, I hope to leave planet earth, not in a suicide but "taken" (beamed-up or teleported) to Heaven in the First of Two Rapture Events. This Evacuation - Escape is for all of the true and worthy Followers of JESUS. (ETD: 2010-2011 AD). I believe this Event will happen days after War explodes across the mideast, starting when Israel hits Iran and the world plunges into economic and social collapse. The question to ask yourself is this, Where will you be when the screaming starts? Pastor Harry/Church of Philadelphia

Need proof that he's a prophet? It's in the Bible.

Now for the first time in History you can know the Name and Identity of Antichrist. March 31 2006: When I discovered my name in The Bible Code, HARRY WALTHER encoded with PROPHET & JUNE 666 (6606), this confirmed to me that I am supposed to reveal this Prophecy to the world on June 6 2006, on 6.6.06.

And he did. The answer is: Maitreya.

WORD OF CAUTION: I STRONGLY WARN AGAINST SPEAKING THE NAME OF ANTICHRIST (MAITREYA). I BELIEVE TO DO SO MAY INVOKE GREAT EVIL. AND YOU MAY HAVE AN "UNINVITED GUEST" APPEAR, MAYBE A DEMON OR SATAN HIMSELF!

Pastor Harry also reveals that Obama will be assassinated, and Hillary Clinton will become president. How could that happen?

Shortly after Obama is sworn in as President, Joe Biden could resign due to health problems. (In the past he had suffered two brain disorders). Then Obama selects HILLARY as President [I think he means Vice President].

Later in 2009, OBAMA-ASSASSINATED and HILLARY becomes President. Then HILLARY welcomes and accepts Antichrist in 2010 AD where as HILLARY leads the great persecution of Christians in America that spreads around the world.

I told you, this guy makes a lot of sense.


Permalink | Posted in Religion @8:57am | Comments (14)

3 By 3


Permalink | Posted in General @8:35am | Comments (21)

Game Boy Art

From Wikipedia's article on Neil Young's Silver & Gold album:

The photograph on the album cover was taken with a Game Boy Camera.

If you like this kind of photography, here's a Game Boy Camera Gallery.


Permalink | Posted in Visual Arts @8:22am | Comments (2)

News Ticker Turned Off

I didn't even know there was a new ticker: U.S. turns off Havana news ticker that angered Cuba.

The United States has turned off a news ticker at its diplomatic mission in Havana that long had irritated the Cuban government, the U.S. State Department said on Monday, in another sign of efforts to improve relations with Cuba.

The five-foot-high (1.5-meter) news ticker ran across 25 windows on the outside of the fifth floor of the U.S. diplomatic mission's building on Havana's busy seaside Malecon drive. It streamed news, political statements and messages blaming Cuba's problems on the country's communist system and socialist economy.

The ticker infuriated Cuban President Fidel Castro when it was turned on by former U.S. President George W. Bush's administration in 2006. President Raul Castro took over from ailing elder brother Fidel last year.

After the United States launched the ticker, Cuba erected obstructions so it could not be seen and put up anti-U.S. billboards. Cuba took down those billboards earlier this year.

"Like other Bush initiatives, (the ticker) caused lots of fanfare in Miami (home to many Cuban-Americans) and very little impact in Cuba, and President Obama is right to bury it," said Phil Peters, a Cuba expert at the U.S.-based Lexington Institute think tank.

They should use it to scroll ads for Pepsi.

(via Cynical-C Blog)


Permalink | Posted in General @8:05am | Comments (7)

Public Domain Books And DRM

Bookseller Barnes &  Noble proves they aren't worth dealing with: B&N Claims It Must DRM Public Domain Books To Protect The Copyright On Them.

B&N is apparently offering a promotion for "free" ebooks, but it turns out that all of them are in the public domain (meaning most are already available for free online). But, oddly, these books were locked up by DRM, and someone decided to ask why. The original question goes a bit too far in claiming that the DRM "infringes" on the "right to print the works" (there's no such right, and B&N has no requirement to allow you to print), but that's no excuse for the way B&N "explains" why the public domain books its giving away "free" are protected by DRM:

We selected public domain titles as our free eBooks because these books are traditionally among our customers' favorite works of literature.... Also, for copyright protection purposes, these files are encrypted and cannot be converted or printed.


Permalink | Posted in Books @7:54am | Comments (4)

Birthers Change Focus

Except for a few hold-outs, the Birfer movement is quickly dying out.

World Nut Daily's top story today: Did Jesus actually reveal name of the 'antichrist'?

Now, after endless speculation suggesting Presidents John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush could possibly be the End Times Bad Boy, there's a new viral video placing the current occupant of the White House into the club.

An American Christian has produced a brief film for YouTube that connects one statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke to President Barack Obama...

Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'"


Permalink | Posted in Religion @7:51am | Comments (68)

All By Myself

A list of 11 things that are weird to do alone.

  1. Going to a restaurant
  2. Going to a movie on a weekend night
  3. Going bowling
  4. Going to a concert
  5. Celebrating New Year's Eve
  6. Playing Monopoly
  7. Going to Lamaze class
  8. Going to a prom
  9. Playing on a seesaw
  10. Going to an amusement park
  11. Going to a buffet

Permalink | Posted in General @7:46am | Comments (35)

Swimmer Dude To Meet Pope Dude

Olympic hero news: Michael Phelps to have audience with Pope Benedict.

Swimming fans around the world recently saw Michael Phelps lose to Paul Biedermann in the 400-meter freestyle only to watch him come back and beat his own world record in the 200-meter butterfly. On Saturday, Phelps will enter into an entirely different arena when he is received in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.

CNA has learned that Michael Phelps will be present when Pope Benedict meets with 100 swimmers at Castel Gandolfo on Saturday.

On second thought, he realizes it's not worth it: Phelps will skip chance to meet with pope.

Michael Phelps will skip a chance to meet with Pope Benedict XVI, preferring to rest up for his final individual race of the world championships.


Permalink | Posted in Sports @7:40am | Comments (5)

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