Tags: current affairs

tweety, wtf

Way to fuck up the tourism industry, people

Hey, this little tidbit wasn't there before.
US-VISIT will collect information on foreign visitors’ arrivals and departures – date, nationality, classification, and biometric identifiers. The information will be stored in databases maintained by DHS and the Department of State as part of an individual’s travel record. The current plan is to maintain the data for up to 100 years, but that is being reviewed to ensure that we only retain the data as long as needed. [Emphasis mine.]
So if I visit the US, even under the visa waiver program, they have me on file for a fucking century? Fuck that.

Fifty-seven channels...

Okay, this is beyond funny now.

I made a point of buying into multi-channel TV seeing as I'd be here in Iceland for a month. Right now:
  • Ríkisútvarpið - Sjónvarpið is showing presidential debate number two (Kappræður forsetaframbjóðenda), live. There's the usual small slightly transparent station logo top right, with "BEINT" ("LIVE") in small letters beneath it.

  • Sky News is showing presidential debate number two, live. The usual gubbins - the Sky News logo top left with clock beside it, and useless info bar at the bottom with e-mail address, interactive "red dot" info and website URL - is accompanied with a box below the Sky News logo/clock with "LIVE / ST LOUIS", and a huge, bright but pointless aston which reads "U.S. ELECTION NEWS ALERT -- 2ND U.S. PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE UNDERWAY IN ST LOUIS".

  • BBC World is showing presidential debate number two, live. The BBC World logo accompanied by bbcnews.com URL beneath is present bottom left, conjoined with a big but tasteful "US ELECTION" aston and relevant text beneath. There's a smallish "LIVE" indicator top left, aligned with the logo.

  • CNN International is showing presidential debate number two, live. Rather crass "LIVE" indicator top left is redeemed by the tasteful, animated (gotta avoid that plasma screen burn-in) banner at the bottom which occasionally displays the current question. CNN logo is bottom left, and matches the carpet.

  • CNBC Nordic takes the prize! Confusingly, CNBC Nordic is a variation of CNBC Europe, so most of the time you'll see the big and high-contrast CNBC Europe logo top right. That's the case here. And get this: CNBC Europe is rebroadcasting MSNBC, station logo and all! MSNBC is, of course, showing presidential debate number two, live. So, to recap: CNBC Europe logo top right, MSNBC LIVE logo bottom right, and "Presidential Debate" logo-type thing bottom left.
I'm sticking with CNN for the most part: it appears to have the best picture and sound out of the FIVE channels insisting on showing this thing live.

Definition of "choice"

I've refrained from posting about this until now, not just because I couldn't contain my simultaneous laughter and annoyance but also because I wanted to wait to see what the AtAT crew had to say about the whole mess. And boy, did they come up with a winner.
Hooooo, mama-- we'd have broadcast this a lot earlier if we'd had half a chance in Hades of being able to stop laughing for more than three seconds straight.

You know this whole thing with RealNetworks whining incessantly for months that Apple "won't let us sell music that plays on the iPod, boo hoo hoo"? Well, did you think it had all come to a dramatic climax with the company's recent revelation that it had essentially hacked its way onto the iPod all by its lonesome? Yeah, so did we-- and boy howdy, were we ever wrong, because Real just unleashed a true sinkhole of hypocrisy and greedy cynicism upon the world and actually believed people would see it as a selfless endeavor to protect consumer choice.

Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce Real's latest contribution to our plot line: FreedomOfMusicChoice.org. Like we said, it's only the laughter than keeps us from retching.

What's so funny, you ask?
Also well worth checking out on any topic, but especially this one, is John Gruber's opinion over at daringfireball, on the brouhaha as things stood before RealNetworks launched their propoganda web site, and more importantly on how it relates to Macintosh history.

Another news round-up

Notable articles gathered from three days in the life of my friends page...

Any horrifically illiterate Microsoft customers would have to be also seriously visually (and mentally) impaired to not be able to tell any difference between Mike Rowe's web site and microsoft.com itself. Any multi-billion dollar company that offers a 17-year old ten bucks for his domain name is worthy of an almighty smackdown in this case. Update 11:36: I beat The Register again! Jeez. Here's their article on the subject.</edit>

"Canadian teen singer Avril Lavigne's hit single about a teenage girl who rejects a skater boy is to be adapted into a feature film. Paramount Pictures has hired ER writer/producer David Zabel to adapt the words of the song Sk8ter Boi into a movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter." Aaaagh, repent your sins before it's too late!

"Ten Canadian letter carriers who refused to deliver the mail in temperatures hovering around minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit) could be disciplined, officials said on Friday." There was one time in Iceland when the Icelandic Met. office issued a weather warning right before I was meant to go and deliver a second load of mail. Now, the Icelandic Met. office only issues weather warnings when the weather has the potential to kill you. I was actually told to go home with all the mail I was meant to deliver, and deliver it the next day; even so, the residents saw me on the Saturday morning trudging through 4ft of snow and complained that I hadn't delivered on the Friday afternoon. Grar.

The infamous domain name goatse.cx has been suspended! The world really has gone mad.

Disney is quietly selling the town of Celebration, FL. I wonder, does foxmagic know about this?

Nothing much else interesting going on.

Random news commentary

Why am I not in the least bit surprised that the unspeakable cretin took the easy way out? If there really is a Hell, I hope it makes him pay more than anyone.

With that out of the way, I've heard a lot of commentary regarding Apple's licensing of the iPod to HP. Via the excellent daringfireball, I present to you the most coherent and thorough interpretation of this deal, and what it means to the major industry players.

Somebody in lj_biz linked to an MSNBC article containing an excerpt of a New York Times article about blogging in general. The article mentions LiveJournal a few times before the reporter interviews a 15-year old Blurty user. The first thing that came to mind was what a beautiful way this was of publicising a blatant violation of Blurty's Terms of Service. (Blurty routinely suspends users under 18 years of age.) All in all, highly amusing.

I was intrigued to read an article on ars_technica regarding Sony's future plans for the MiniDisc. When NetMD players first came out I was all set to replace my MZ-R55 with one of those, until I found out they were crippled by the lack of decent Mac compatibility and, more importantly, the utter lack of ability to transfer audio from MiniDisc to PC, at the speeds enjoyed by transfers going the other way. Hi-MD should remove the latter restriction, and (hope springs eternal) support the Macintosh; it might be too late for me, though, as I'd already prefer Griffin's iTalk now I have my iPod.

It's not technically news, but while I love my Mac and I love being a Mac user, no degree of love would tempt me to get a tattoo. (One or two images not safe for work.)

I ask you, who needs an external news aggregator when you have LiveJournal?
frustration, computer problems, oops

Three cheers for the Bush administration!

Via the ever-entertaining linkfilter:
    The Bush administration took six months to evaluate Gov. Gray Davis' emergency request last spring for $430 million to clear dead trees from fire-prone areas of Southern California.

    The request was finally denied Oct. 24, only hours before wildfires roared out of control in what has become the largest fire disaster in California history.
Here's the LA Times article. Honestly, if it wasn't such a sad thing that tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their burning homes because of this tragedy, this would actually be funny.

Political Comment: You Have Been Warned

    Who do you trust more, Alistair Campbell or the BBC? The government or the BBC? God or the BBC? The BBC is the most trusted news organisation in the world, bar none. Don't take my word for it: ask the world. And it's one of this country's greatest assets, your greatest asset. You own it. You also own the government.

    What's so moronically depressing about Campbell's furious and sustained attack on the corporation is that he is perfectly willing to traduce a part of the national fabric, to smash up the living room, for such petty political self-interest. The ins and outs of the Iraqi sales brochure are an internal Westminster hothouse concern. I doubt if one elector or viewer in a household is interested or cares. But what they might care about, and should care about, is a government that loses its temper and throws its huge clout against a single section of the nation. It's a tenet of representative government that the power of the state should not be used partisanly, certainly not in a fit of party pique. This isn't like a government standing up to strikers on behalf of the populace, or acting against vested big-business interests (as if). This is simply the exercise of centralised power to cow and deflect freedom of speech and comment — one of the things, incidentally, the government was very keen on taking to the Iraqis.

    At the moment, both political parties are loudly accusing the BBC of bias, which you and I might think rather points to its impartiality. Both are darkly threatening to remove the licence fee and essentially break up the corporation. I trust you all understand what precisely it is that you stand to lose, and what you get in its place.
These words are not mine, but those of A.A. Gill in the Sunday Times. He put his reaction to this sorry situation into words so much better than I possibly could.

(no subject)

I'm currently watching live pictures of attempts to pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein somewhere in Baghdad. I've been watching for twenty minutes, and it still isn't down.

There are hundreds of Iraqis swarming around the thing, and I for some reason can't help but think how many of those will be crushed by the statue if and when it falls. How dumb can you get?

As I write, some marine has just rubbed an American flag in the face of the statue. So funny; you'd think an Iraqi flag would have been more appropriate... 15:39: ...and there it is. Hurrah! Or something.
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