Collect them all! Coming soon: Your favorite evil doer!
Aug 12, 6:51 AM EDT
Judge: Unabomber Items to Be Sold Online
SACRAMENTO (AP) -- A federal judge has ordered personal items seized in 1996 from Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski's Montana cabin to be sold online.
U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. ruled Thursday that items belonging to Kaczynski - including books, tools, clothing and two checkbooks - should be sold at a "reasonably advertised Internet auction."
The auction will not include 100 items the government considers to be bomb-making materials, [Fortunately, these can be replicated at any hardware store. Bob] such as writings that contain diagrams and "recipes" for bombs.
U.S. Marshals Service will contract the sale with an Internet auctioneer who will bear the cost and receive no more than 10 percent of the proceeds.
The remaining revenues from the sale will be applied to the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.
Kaczynski, 64, is serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for a bombing spree that lasted from 1978 to 1995. The blasts from homemade bombs killed three people and injured 23.
Kaczynski was arrested at his cabin in Lincoln, Mont., in April 1996.
...and I thought these laws were just to keep me from bugging my congressman.
Michigan Enforces Do-Not-Email Registry Law
Posted by CowboyNeal on Friday August 11, @09:47AM from the think-of-the-children dept. Spam The Courts
elanghe writes "The Michigan Attorney General filed suit against two companies sending adult-oriented email messages to the state's children, in violation of the Michigan Children's Protection Registry. A similar law in Utah is being challenged by the porn industry. While the FTC, influenced by the Direct Marketing Association, rejected the idea of a do-not-email registry, have these two states proven anti-spam laws like these — unlike CAN-SPAM — really have teeth?"
If this business(?) model works, I can see it replacing garage sales. “Hey! I'll give you some of my junk for some of your junk!”
BookMooch: Swap your books for free
August 11, 2006 4:33 PM PDT
BookMooch is the Craigslist of swapping sites. It's not as fancy as some other sites (such as LaLa and Peerflix), but it's totally free to use. There's no monthly charge and no per-transaction fee. You do have to give to get, though: each book costs a point. You get one point for sending a book to a user, and a tenth of a point for each book you add to your Moochable inventory.
Actually, there is a cost: you have to pay to send books to other users.
Since BookMooch uses points as currency, your trades do not have to be direct swaps with other users, as they do on the free trading site, SwapTree. On the other hand, on SwapTree you can trade more than just books.
BookMooch also has a browser bookmarklet, the MoochBar, that will find books on the Web page you're on and add them to your want list or to your inventory. So if you're on Amazon and see a book you want, you can easily Mooch it. You'll have to wait for a BookMooch user to send it, but it will obviously cost you a lot less than buying it new.
BookMooch is run by John Buckman, who told me that when it comes to making money from the site, "I totally don't care." He made a lifetime of earnings selling his e-mail company, Lyris. Good for him. While there are too many swapping networks right now, the financial model of this one is in line with the negligible cash value of most used books.
Get the propaganda direct to your target audience!
August 11, 2006
DOJ Info Tech Initiatives Now Include Podcasting
DOJ Office of Justice Programs, IT Initiatives: "New York City, New York, has begun a series of podcasts for its 130 million transit riders of the Metropolitan Transit Authority to provide information and tips about public transportation. TransitTrax are podcasts presented in six sections: customer safety, building for the future, promotions, security, advisories, and news. One podcast explains the new $5 million "Eyes On Board" program that will install hundreds of digital recording cameras for surveillance on buses. The cameras will be equipped with wireless technology for wireless access points. The images could help law enforcement investigations, as well as provide information on passenger injury claims."
Buy low, sell high. There I've said it. Now let's patent it! I also want to patent the assembly of meals to order; at first, putting a hot dog in a bun – later complete meals! Anyone want to buy in?
August 11, 2006 Legal Beat
A Wall Street Rush to Patent Profit-Making Methods
By JULIE CRESWELL
THERE is a new cold war on the horizon.
An intellectual property arms race is escalating on Wall Street, where financial services firms like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are building up stockpiles of patents on processes like software-based pricing, trading and risk analysis systems and products like credit cards, exchange-traded funds and exotic derivatives.
While there have been no big clashes yet, the question is, Which firm will be the first to try to enforce its growing portfolio of patents?
Patent activity among financial services firms began to soar in the late 1990’s, prompted by the boom in new technology and by the fact that banks were spending enormous sums to upgrade their in-house systems. A federal court decision in 1998 that software and business methods could be patented also fed the rush to seek patents.
•The result was a virtual stampede among top financial services firms to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 1997, there were 927 patent applications for various methods of processing financial and management data. Last year, there were 6,226.
“Try to find a major bank that doesn’t have an intellectual property program or in-house counsel capability in this area — I think that’s hard to find,” said Walter G. Hanchuk, a patent lawyer with Chadbourne & Parke. “People underestimate how much technology there is on Wall Street. It’s not just about a new credit card. There’s a lot of tech savvy behind that.”
... “I think there will be increased filings as the convergence of banking and technology is irreversible,’’ he said. “As people spend more and more building systems and deploying technology, they’re going to want to make sure they have the rights available to them.”
... “Right now, because all of the Wall Street banks are showing record profits, there’s not much incentive to sue within the club,” Mr. Millien said. “But three years or so down the road, it’s hard to say.”
Is this a viable technique for those under attack? i.e. The Martha Stewards or Director of Veteran Affairs types?
These days when I get an interview request from a professional reporter, I offer to answer the questions, best I can, on my blog, without saying who the reporter is and exactly what questions were asked. This way I create a public record, something that can be useful to anyone, and I avoid the problem of being quoted selectively and out of context. Having created a record that's likely to be as widely read as the story, I make sure what I have to say has a chance of being heard.
... I don't want everything I write to be seen as a U.N. Security Council resolution, yet often my posts are read and picked at as if they were formal documents, [Can you have it both ways? Bob] and they don't stand up to such treatment.
Useful? Probably not until we can tie it into caller ID and automatically keep the phone from ringing...
By tim on August 10, 2006
Here's another take on Suburban Mom Embraces the Surveillance Society. whocalled.us is a site where people can share comments about the identity of phone spammers. Get a call from an unrecognized number on your cell? Look it up to see who it was, where they are, and who else they called that didn't like it. Here's how to tag this interesting: antispam hacks, collective_intelligence, smartmobs, surveillance.... Not to mention another clever use for the vestigial .us domain!
... Digression: I'm fascinated by the stages of new technology. First it's cool, then people start to realize some of the downsides, then people figure out how to harness some of those downsides and it's cool again, at least with regard to these hacks. Eventually, everyone becomes inured to it, and it becomes boring, regardless of how important it is :-)
If the Video gamers get this much, think how valuable a Porn franchise (Perverts-R-Us) just became! Kinda make you wish for “legislator liability”...
Video Game Industry Wins Over Half A Million Dollars In Attorney’s Fees From State Of Illinois
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) 8/11/2006 9:03:15 AM
Washington, D.C. (August 10, 2006) – The State of Illinois must pay the video game industry $510,528.64 in attorney’s fees for its unconstitutional effort to enact a law banning the sale of violent video games, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly, United States District Judge, Northern District of Illinois, ruled yesterday.
"Judge Kennelly’s rulings send two irrefutable messages – not only are efforts to ban the sale of violent video games clearly unconstitutional, they are a waste of taxpayer dollars," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. "The sad fact is that the State of Illinois knew this law was unconstitutional from the beginning. Taxpayers have a right to know that over half a million of their dollars and countless government hours were thrown away in this fruitless effort."
Didn't Microsoft get into legal squabble just for pre-installing their browser? Now they want to pre-install and lock it down!
So You Wanna Change Your Default Browser In Vista?
Posted by Ryan on 11 Aug 2006 9:27 am. Filed under Software , Windows.
I have been using Vista Beta 2 for a while now and there is one thing that continues to frustrate me. Microsoft has designed the User Account Control (UAC) to work so perfectly that it will be difficult for the average person to switch the default browser. [Don't worry, they include an easy to follow 647 page guide to switching browsers Bob] After installing Vista you can open up the Control Panel and the first thing that I do is switch to the classic view. Opening up the Default Programs module and looking at the setting for Internet Explorer reveals that it is set to the default browser:
But 11 out of 6 people don't understand statistics...
Don't Be Terrorized
You're more likely to die of a car accident, drowning, fire, or murder
Ronald Bailey August 11, 2006
Yesterday, British authorities broke up an alleged terror plot to blow up as many as ten commercial airliners as they flew to the United States. In response, the Department of Homeland Security upped the alert level on commercial flights from Britain to "red" and boosted the alert to "orange" for all other flights. In a completely unscientific poll, AOL asked subscribers: "Are you changing your travel plans because of the raised threat level?" At mid-afternoon about a quarter of the respondents had said yes. Such polls do reflect the kinds of anxieties terrorist attacks, even those that have been stymied, provoke in the public.
But how afraid should Americans be of terrorist attacks? Not very, as some quick comparisons with other risks that we regularly run in our daily lives indicate. Your odds of dying of a specific cause in any year are calculated by dividing that year's population by the number of deaths by that cause in that year. Your lifetime odds of dying of a particular cause are calculated by dividing the one-year odds by the life expectancy of a person born in that year. For example, in 2003 about 45,000 Americans died in motor accidents out of population of 291,000,000. So, according to the National Safety Council this means your one-year odds of dying in a car accident is about one out of 6500. Therefore your lifetime probability (6500 ÷ 78 years life expectancy) of dying in a motor accident are about one in 83.
What about your chances of dying in an airplane crash? A one-year risk of one in 400,000 and one in 5,000 lifetime risk. What about walking across the street? A one-year risk of one in 48,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 625. Drowning? A one-year risk of one in 88,000 and a one in 1100 lifetime risk. In a fire? About the same risk as drowning. Murder? A one-year risk of one in 16,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 210. What about falling? Essentially the same as being murdered. And the proverbial being struck by lightning? A one-year risk of one in 6.2 million and a lifetime risk of one in 80,000. And what is the risk that you will die of a catastrophic asteroid strike? In 1994, astronomers calculated that the chance was one in 20,000. However, as they've gathered more data on the orbits of near earth objects, the lifetime risk has been reduced to one in 200,000 or more.
So how do these common risks compare to your risk of dying in a terrorist attack? To try to calculate those odds realistically, Michael Rothschild, a former business professor at the University of Wisconsin, worked out a couple of plausible scenarios. For example, he figured that if terrorists were to destroy entirely one of America's 40,000 shopping malls per week, your chances of being there at the wrong time would be about one in one million or more. Rothschild also estimated that if terrorists hijacked and crashed one of America's 18,000 commercial flights per week that your chance of being on the crashed plane would be one in 135,000.
Even if terrorists were able to pull off one attack per year on the scale of the 9/11 atrocity, that would mean your one-year risk would be one in 100,000 and your lifetime risk would be about one in 1300. (300,000,000 ÷ 3,000 = 100,000 ÷ 78 years = 1282) In other words, your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered.
So do these numbers comfort you? If not, that's a problem. Already, security measures—pervasive ID checkpoints, metal detectors, and phalanxes of security guards—increasingly clot the pathways of our public lives. It's easy to overreact when an atrocity takes place—to heed those who promise safety if only we will give the authorities the "tools" they want by surrendering to them some of our liberty. As President Franklin Roosevelt in his first inaugural speech said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." However, with risks this low there is no reason for us not to continue to live our lives as though terrorism doesn't matter—because it doesn't really matter. We ultimately vanquish terrorism when we refuse to be terrorized.
Make my dreams of Dungeons & Dragons a reality!
Man Uses Sword to Fight Off Burglars
... Police say they got a call from residents of the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue South that four people had forced their way into a residence.
According to police, once the burglars were inside, they got into a fight with one of the residents who grabbed his roommates sword and started slashing the intruders. His feisty attack send the invaders running, but not before he wounded several.
Shortly after Minneapolis police arrived, they were called by doctors at the hospital about the arrival of three people to the ER with severed fingers and lacerations.
One had minor injuries and was treated and arrested. The other two were more seriously injured and were treated. They’ll be transported to the Hennepin County Jail when they are released by the hospital.
Can't get enough advertising?
8/11/2006 07:14:00 AM Posted by Matthias Ruhl, Research Scientist (& Google Movies 20%-er)
Are the special effects in Pirates of the Caribbean any good? Is Tom Hanks' haircut really that bad in The Da Vinci Code? Should you take your grandparents to see Clerks II? Will you be able to sleep after watching The Descent?