Saturday, June 30, 2012

Talking Urinal Cakes Deployed to Curb Drunk Driving


"Listen up. That's right, I'm talking to you," the chatty cakes greet their visitors

Next time you get piss drunk 
listen to your urinal.

Michigan officials are deploying 400 talking urinal cakes to 200 restaurants and watering holes across the Great Lake State as part of a stepped up anti-drunk driving campaign for the Fourth of July, the Detroit News reported.
The Crownsville, Md.-based company at the center of the campaign, Healthquest Technologies Inc., has named their motion-activated deodorizing cakes Wizmark “Interactive Urinal Communicators.”
“There are many places you can put your ad, but most of them don't guarantee three seconds of attention, let alone a consumer's undivided attention,” the firm says on its website.
Wizmarks can “talk, sing or flash a string of lights” to greet their visitors, the company boasts.
According to the Detroit News, the urinal cakes being sent across Michigan will broadcast this message: "Listen up. That's right, I'm talking to you. Had a few drinks? Maybe a few too many? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor: Call a sober friend or a cab. Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands."
The Detroit Free Press notes that the cakes have also been used in other states to battle drunk driving. 



Durex's Facebook app picks sex soundtrack for partner's pleasure


Have you ever been in a situation where you’re about to make love to your partner, the mood is just right, and then you decided to put on a song like Kid Rock’s ”Bawitdaba” and completely ruined everything?

Well Durex Condoms knows how you feel, so it has just rolled out a new Facebook application to help you find that tune to bump and grind to.
In a new $15 million campaign, Durex has rolled out a Durex In-Sync Song Generator. The generator is part of the campaign to promote Durex Performance, a new line of condoms designed by Reckitt Benckiser that have climax controlling lubrication.
The colorful Generator asks users about their love-making patterns like “What time of day are you at your best?” and “How loud is your personality?” Then the user can send the poll to their partner and depending on their answers, the generator will spit out the perfect love making tune— from Shakira’s “Underneath your Clothes” to “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.
“In the U.S., there's a group of consumers that's kind of been forgotten about,"  Reckitt Benckiser marketing director Kevin Harshaw told AdAge. "These are the lovers. ... The whole Durex vision going forward is to become the sexual well-being brand of choice for lovers age 25 to 39.”
Durex’s clever ad campaign comes seven months after Olla, a Brazilian condom manufacturer, also used Facebook to push its product. Olla’s campaign called “Unexpected Babies” claimed to have selected random men on Facebook and “created actual Facebook profiles for their unborn children (by tacking "Jr." on to their names), who then attempt to friend daddy,” AdWeek reported.


Assange to UK cops: 

No, I will not come out of my Ecuadorean embassy


Julian Assange will stay in Ecuador's embassy in London, having decided not to comply with a British police order to turn himself in for extradition to Sweden, a spokeswoman for the WikiLeaks founder said Friday.
"Julian will remain in the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government," spokeswoman Susan Benn told reporters outside the embassy.

Scotland Yard on Thursday served a "surrender notice" on the 40-year-old Australian requiring him to attend a police station at a date and time of their choosing.

British media reports indicated he had been ordered to present himself at a central London police station at 11:30am on Friday.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that Assange had not yet gone to a police station, but refused to confirm the date or time he had been told to present himself.

Asked if he would leave the Ecuadoran embassy, Assange told BBC television in a telephone interview late Thursday: "Our advice is that asylum law both internationally and domestically takes precedence over extradition law so almost certainly not."

The embassy confirmed to AFP on Friday that Assange remained inside the property -- a flat in a mansion block in the plush Knightsbridge district of central London, across the street from the famous Harrods emporium.

In a statement Thursday on the embassy's website, the diplomatic mission also confirmed that Scotland Yard officers had delivered a letter to Assange through them.

Separately, the South America department of the Foreign and Commonwealth

Office has written to the Ecuadoran embassy reaffirming its commitment to "promoting excellent bilateral relations between the Republic of Ecuador and the United Kingdom government," the statement added.

"The government of Ecuador will continue to foster good relations with the UK government whilst assessing Mr Assange's application for asylum."

He faces allegations in Sweden of sexual assault and rape against two former female volunteers at his WikiLeaks website and was arrested on an extradition warrant in December 2010.

He was bailed and embarked on a marathon round of court battles, but finally exhausted all his options under British law earlier this month when the Supreme Court overturned his appeal against extradition.

Assange says he fears that from Sweden he will be extradited to the United States to face possible espionage charges, after releasing more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables on the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website.

He sought refuge at Ecuador's embassy in London on June 19, asking the South American country for political asylum.

He has therefore breached his bail conditions -- which state he must be at a given address between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am -- and is liable for arrest.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said officers on Thursday "served a surrender notice upon a 40-year-old man that requires him to attend a police station at date and time of our choosing.

"This is standard practice in extradition cases and is the first step in the removal process.

"He remains in breach of his bail conditions. Failing to surrender would be a further breach of conditions and he is liable to arrest."

But while he remains in the embassy, he is beyond the reach of British authorities.

Following the end of his legal challenges, he was given until June 28 to make a final appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, at which point extradition procedures in Britain could commence.


Anonymous Tweets to Japanese Public After 6.27 Attacks, Japanese Public Responds: 



International “hactavist” collective Anonymous caught Japan’s attention on June 27 after they launched a series of DDoS attacks against several Japanese government institutions in response to a new copyright law punishing the downloading of pirated content with fines of up to \2,000,000 (US $25,180) and/or a maximum of two years in prison.
Acting under the banner “Operation Japan”, Anonymous issued a formal press release via Twitter two days before the attack warning: “you can now expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open internet.
They continue to post updates of their activities to Twitter and while most of their tweets are made in English, Anonymous also seems to have someone who speaks Japanese working at the keyboard. However, despite Anonymous’ best attempts to translate their lofty rhetoric, most Japanese people can’t help but feel their faulty Japanese makes them just the most adorable little hacker group ever.
While Anonymous had posted two tweets in Japanese before the DDoS attack, it wasn’t until a series of three tweets after the attacks that they began to win the hearts of the Japanese people (arguably for the wrong reasons).
It would take a lesson in Japanese to explain what exactly it is about the tweets that tickled people so much, so instead we’ve decided to run them through Google Translate hoping it will give you an idea of what they might sound like to a native Japanese reader:
Yesterday was busy. But was a little mistake. (Laughs) and I’m sorry Yappari Japanese bombing is difficult. But everyone is friendly. Said the description of the mistake. Thank you. I will do my best.
However, the LDP and the Democratic Party was not a mistake. They are made from a vote in favor of the illegal downloads, has been punished.
Do not attack JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) why?” But everyone says. Is a good idea. Party is not a good target maybe. Would you change?
Okay, so maybe their Japanese isn’t that bad. A number of people even gave them props for the semi-correct usage of the internet slang word gobaku (誤爆), which means “bombing the wrong target” but can also refer to posting a comment to the wrong thread on internet message boards like 2ch.
While awkwardly translated above as “Japanese bombing is difficult”, the word actually refers to how Anonymous accidentally hacked the homepage of the Kasumigaura River Office in Ibaraki Prefecture, mistaking “Kasumigaura” for “Kasumigaseki”, the district of Tokyo where many central government offices are located.
A more accurate translation of the tweet would be: “We made a slight mistake. Sorry to hit the wrong target (lol). Japanese is difficult.
Luckily, the Japanese are known for having an appreciation for foreigners learning their language and many netizens think the tweets are kawaii (cute) and appreciate the group’s honesty in admitting their mistake.
Anonymous seems to be off to a good start in Japan with their endearing Japanese and straightforward attitude. Japanese is indeed a difficult language and even native speakers mix up “Kasumigaura” and “Kasumigaseki”.
But still, imagine if a group of Japanese hackers had just made the news after taking down the DOJ site in the name of online privacy. Curious or concerned, you check their Twitter looking for more information on the group’s activities only to see the tweet: Lets fighting American governments to save the free pirate! For great justice! You might chuckle, you might put them up on, but in whatever case you’d probably be less likely to take them seriously…



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kim DotCom warrants invalid, New Zealand judge rules


High Court judge finds search warrants were too general and rules the data in cloned drives should not have been released to the FBI.

The U.S. piracy case against MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom appears to have run aground, with a New Zealand court ruling that the search warrants issued in January were invalid.
New Zealand High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled Thursday that the warrants did not adequately describe the offenses alleged, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. "Indeed they fell well short of that," she said. "They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.''
She also ruled that it was unlawful for the data confiscated in the raid to have been sent offshore, saying "the release of the cloned hard drives to the FBI for shipping to the United States was contrary to the 16 February direction" [given by the court] "that the items seized were to remain in the custody and control of the Commissioner of Police."
MegaUpload is a cloud-storage locker that DotCom claims was completely legitimate and protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. U.S. officials, who are trying to extradite Dotcom and six associates to face piracy and wire fraud charges, say he encouraged users to store pirated videos, music, software, and other media and then share them with others. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
DotCom, 38, was arrested in January at the mansion he leases near Auckland, New Zealand, after the U.S. handed down an indictment cars, and other possessions belonging to DotCom were seized during a sensational raid on his estate. on criminal copyright violations and racketeering. Millions of dollars worth of cash,
Soon after his arrest, news reports were filled with images of his $30 million mansion and of New Zealand police hauling away his pink Cadillac and Mercedes Benz. The United States said MegaUpload had cost Hollywood studios and other copyright owners $500 million.
Since that January raid, DotCom and some of the other MegaUpload defendants have won a string of favorable court decisions in New Zealand that have led to their release on bail, the return of some of their assets, and a court order that requires the FBI to show the evidence it has against the company. MegaUpload's lawyers are expected to appear in a Virginia federal court on Friday to argue that the charges should be tossed out.
DotCom recently received the support of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and famed former hacker Kevin Mitnick, who told DotCom, "I hope you win." 

Full text of Justice Winkelmann’s ruling below.

Dotcom v AG


Man Claims TSA Agent Spilled His Grandpa’s Ashes … Then Laughed

Talk about adding insult to injury! A man is saying that a TSA agent spilled his grandfather’s ashes.
John Gross was carrying the ashes in a closed jar through the Orlando International Airport, and instead of putting the jar through the x-ray machine, he claims the agent took matters into her own hands.
Gross said, “They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please be careful; these are my grandpa’s ashes’ … And she opened it up, she used her finger, was sifting through it, and she accidentally spilled it … she didn’t apologize, she started laughing.”
Steve Doocy reported that the TSA’s policy is to not open human remains under any circumstances.


A best buy in Chicagoland 2012:
Selling (s)crap metal at a gun turn in

Where else can you turn this

A photo of some of the guns we took up to Chicago, 
taken the day before our big adventure.

Into this?

 Most of the $100 "gift cards" Guns Save Life brought back from  
Chicago on June 23rd, 2012.

Which will result in this:

Pictured are most of the youth participants at 2011's 
Darnall's NRA Youth Shooting Camp.

And this:

 Pictured are the firearms winners at 2011's Darnall's 
NRA Youth Shooting Camp.

Guns Save Life is a very active, grassroots-level, regional civil rights organization famous for its pro-gun Burma-style highway signs along highways and interstates throughout Illinois and beyond.

On Saturday, June 23, 2012, three of our intrepid members, Chris Betley, John Sutter and Steve Fuller made a trip to Chicago to participate in Chicago's annual gun "turn in" event titled, "Don't Kill A Dream Save A Life" [sic].

In short, the sum real-world value of the guns we took up to Chicago would have been calculated by most people, ourselves included, solely on the scrap metal price.

To the gun-hating do-gooders up in Chicago though, they were worth big dollars. $100 for each "gun" and $10 for BB-guns and replicas, no questions asked.

To take advantage of this artificial market for rust and machined parts, we sent our three members up north with sixty "firearms" and four pellet pistols.

This was a larger and more organized endeavor than our trip up in 2007, where Guns Save Life sold $2300 worth of rusty scrap metal to these same do-gooders in Chicago. In more recent years, Mayor Daley was only offering $50 for guns and GSL sat those years out.

Link to our story from our 2007 trip.

We didn't idle our time away during those years. We've been collecting non-firing junk donated by our Guns Save Life members non-stop, earmarking the sale of those rusty and/or broken down clunkers to the self-defense eschewing gun-haters in Chicago for a very good cause: the children.

It's worth mentioning that we use the term "firearms" very inclusively as these "firearms" were, by and large, non-functioning, broken down junk. Many of the guns that didn't look like they had spent the last twenty years at the bottom of Lake Erie didn't even have trigger groups or other significant parts, often scavenged by members before donating them to us. Many were little more than barreled receivers, including ten pre-1898 Mausers. Out of the sixty guns, maybe a dozen would shoot a round or two, but some of those would probably have been pretty exciting (in an unhealthful way) to fire.

When they arrived in the big city with their truckload of guns no self-respecting criminal would dare be caught dead carrying, our members found lots of police.

"There was a heavy police presence at the turn-in locations," Betley said in describing his experience.

"If you were a criminal, there's no way you would go to one of these," Betley said. "There were police everywhere, including detectives that were sizing up people as they came in. They knew what we were up to. Most of them didn't care," Betley noted, "but some of the younger detectives acted pissed off about it."

At the second location they visited, our members ran into what they all agreed was a tenacious, bordering on obnoxious detective. The detective hit our three guys up with a series of rapid-fire questions and acerbic remarks.

"Where in the hell did you dig these up? Out of a grave site?" the detective asked. "Who are you with? What's your affiliation?" he continued. So much for the "no questions asked" policy advertised!

Betley said he told those who asked, including the rude detective, that "we" had been collecting old clunkers as a fundraiser for our youth camp.

"I didn't mention that it was a youth camp with guns," Betley laughed heartily.

Another detective there also gave them some grief. "Hey, next time, get some guns from this century, will ya?"

A Chicago Police officer at that location also "broke" one of our "guns" by beating it against a metal door frame trying to open the action to ensure it was unloaded. It was an old muzzle-loading double-barreled shotgun sans stock and much of the receiver… making opening the action to check for shotgun shells an understandably difficult proposition. After breaking the rusty barrels open, the cop then wouldn't give us credit for turning it in as he said it wasn't a gun. In a moment of poetic justice, though, a paperwork snafu at the next location netted us two cards that our members told them we weren't entitled to, but the sponsors at one of the locations insisted we take them. In the end, we brought back $6140 worth of gift cards.

At the third location, one of the detectives was much friendlier and said that he saw an old Civil War-era revolver come through and thought it really sad. "And it wasn't a replica," the detective said, apparently knowing his stuff. We reckon any moron selling a $10,000 gun for $100 gets exactly what he deserves.

Mostly though, it was mostly junk that was turned in by mostly older folks.

John Sutter talked about his experience, saying he was a little nervous but really enjoyed participating in what he termed "a big adventure".

"Yeah, we were out of place," he said. "But it was fun."

At the third location they stopped at, Sutter said there was no parking, so they just stopped in the street and began unloading the uncased rifles and shotguns out of the back of the truck into the arms of two of the three guys. They carried them towards the church where they thought they were supposed to go.

Nearby cops hollered at them. "Boys! You're on the wrong side of the street!"

They then carried their rusted iron (or loot, depending on perspective) back across a busy street to the proper church while the third GSL member drove around the block waiting for the other two to come back out.

They laugh about it now. "Where else could you walk across a busy street with an armload of uncased guns in Chicago?" they now chuckle.

In the end, Guns Save Life netted about $5000 to be used for upcoming youth shooting endeavors, thanks to the brave work of three of our members and donations from dozens of our members. A few of the donations were a 50/50 split with those who donated them for credit on advertising in GunNews or memberships.

We'll be using most of our net for buying ammunition for the annual Darnall's NRA Youth Shooting Camp held each summer in Bloomington, IL at Darnall's GunWorks and Ranges, and for buying some of the guns they give away to participants.

The camp, the longest running NRA Youth Shooting Camp in the nation, hosts about 100 youths ages 9-16 each year over four days and three nights (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon). At the camp, the youth participants learn basic firearm safety along with an opportunity to learn some of the fundamentals and practical experience with numerous shooting disciplines including rifles, pistols, black powder, Cowboy Action, air rifle, trap, archery, hunting safety and education, and more. Instruction, often at Olympic level of quality, is provided by long-time experienced NRA certified instructors and shooting coaches.

Also, at the conclusion of the camp, awards are presented and typically as many as twenty guns are given away to the young participants.

Guns Save Life has been a strong and steady supporter of this youth camp for over ten years now, and many years is the single largest sponsor. Guns Save Life purchases most, if not all of the ammunition each year - tens of thousands of rounds of rimfire ammunition and thousands of shotshells.

Not only does GSL buy the ammo and donate guns to give away to the youth participants, but dozens of our active members donate their time either as instructors or volunteers.

I’m quite proud to say that I’m president of this fine organization and couldn’t be prouder at what our members accomplished Saturday, June 23rd. We rounded up these guns in anticipation of this foolish event orchestrated by big city gun bigots, executed our plan to sell them and used the 'gift cards' to purchase ammunition and firearms to help teach tomorrow's gun owners safe and responsible use of firearms.

So, thank you Mayor Rahm Emanuel. We hope you'll do it again next year. For the children, of course!


Scouts' good deed is a crime-stopper

Visiting troop pursues fleeing suspect in Old Town Key West chase

Talk about doing a good turn.

A would-be wallet and iPhone thief trying to make a quick getaway on the streets of Old Town was stymied Sunday when a gang of bicycling Boy Scouts chased down and corralled the suspected culprit before police arrived.
"People don't ever want to help -- everyone just stands there and rubbernecks -- but we teach the guys to step up," said Troop 850 Scoutmaster Barry Wiegmann. "They take an oath to help others at all times. When the suspect pushed a woman and this family into the street as he's running away, the guys just took off after him."
The Boy Scouts, visiting from Montgomery Township, N.J., were bicycling past Caroline's Cafe on Duval Street -- they were biking up the street after lunch at Margaritaville -- when a man reportedly made a mad dash out of Caroline's. He was followed by another man pleading for help.
"The second guy was yelling, 'He just stole my wallet, help! Help!'" Wiegmann said Tuesday from their campground at Sigsbee Park, where the Scouts were fishing for snapper in the mangroves.
The race was on as the bicycling Scouts -- 11 Scouts ages 14 to 17 and six adult leaders -- gave chase as the suspected thief made his way to Whitehead Street. The man threw the wallet in some bushes near the Banyan Resort where a passerby picked it up and handed it back to him, according to a Key West police incident report.
"He stops and yells, 'Why are you guys chasing me?'" Wiegmann said. "'You're trying to assault me,' this guy says. I said, 'Just give up the wallet and phone and wait for the police to get here.'"
With the Scouts closing in, the suspect turned eastbound on Eaton Street and hid in a yard, where the Scouts circled him and called 911, Wiegmann said.
But the suspect took off again and the Scouts again gave chase. The man, apparently tired of trying to outrun the bicycling crew, stopped near Fleming and Simonton streets, where the Scouts again circled him, called 911 again and waited for police. They gave him a wide birth.

"I was yelling for the guys to stay back and just keep their eyes on him and don't try to restrain him," Wiegmann said. "Obviously, we don't know this guy or what his mental state is. I'm proud of the guys. They followed their oath. They stood up and helped someone who needed help."
The Scout Oath is: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."
Arriving police handcuffed the suspect, identified as 38-year-old Jason Norwood, arresting him on a grand theft charge. He remained in Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island Wednesday in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Scout leader Tim Spring captured the chase on video with his iPhone, which the Scouts showed police. When the stolen wallet and iPhone were not immediately recovered, the Scouts fanned out and searched the area. Within minutes, a Scout found the missing iPhone in nearby bushes. Another passerby found the wallet. Police gave the Scouts a quick, on-the-street lesson in fingerprinting and evidence gathering.
"The guy was denying it and saying he didn't steal anything and the cop says, 'Well, I've got 17 Boy Scouts here who are willing to swear an oath and tell a judge they saw you. Who do you think the judge will believe?'" Wiegmann said.
The alleged victim, a visiting pilot from Brazil named Adriano Furlan, was grateful, Wiegmann said.
"He and his girlfriend looked petrified," Wiegmann said. "He got the wallet back and for a minute there I think he thought his iPhone was gone forever, but we got it for him. He was profusely thankful."
On Tuesday, the Scouts were huddled in the mangroves chumming the waters to lure in dinner, as bad weather and milky seas had ruined their planned fishing trip on Sugarloaf Key earlier in the day. The group consisted largely of older Scouts who are nearer in their climb to achieving scouting's highest rank, Eagle Scout, Wiegmann said.
The younger boys in the troop were back home in New Jersey at summer camp, but the older Scouts wanted to do something different that involved the ocean, so they elected for a high adventure trip to the Southernmost City.
The troop's adult leaders asked that the Scouts' last names not be published due to their age and lack of parental consent.
Senior Patrol Leader, 14-year-old Rohan, was among those recounting their Old Town chase.
"It was confusing at first," Rohan said. "We really didn't know what was going on, but we knew this guy was asking for help."
Kyle, 14, thought he heard someone shout "Charge!" at the onset of the chase, which drew laughter from his fellow fishermen, but no clear agreement. The conversation shifted for a moment when a nurse shark made a brief appearance in the fishing hole.
Moments later more laughter emerged when it was agreed that the highlight of the trip thus far wasn't the chase, but a volleyball match on Smathers Beach with some girls from Houston.
"All I know is, I'm coming back," said 15-year-old Kyle. "The music is really cool here and you can walk or ride your bike everywhere. Plus, you can swim out and find a reef practically anywhere. You can't do that in New Jersey."


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Banker jailed for $44m Formula 1 bribe


A German banker who told a court he took a $44 million bribe from Formula 1 head Bernie Ecclestone, has been jailed for more than eight years after being convicted of corruption, tax evasion and fraud.

Gerhard Gribkowsky, 54, who was risk manager at the Bayern Landesbank, admitted taking the bribe from Ecclestone in 2006.

He took the payment in return for ensuring that a majority share of Formula 1 rights, which fell to the bank following the bankruptcy of the Kirch media group, were sold to Ecclestone’s preferred candidate.

He also did not declare the money to the German tax authorities, moving it instead to Austria to found a charity.

During his final arguments on Wednesday in Munich district court chief prosecutor Christoph Rodler accused Gribkowsky of “immense criminal energy”. But the banker’s defence team argued Gribkowsky had been seduced by Ecclestone.

The entire case severely implicated Ecclestone, who is also being investigated by German prosecutors. In his trial testimony, Ecclestone claimed the banker had blackmailed him for the money – something rejected by Rodler on Tuesday.

Gribkowsky had “dropped his trousers” with his detailed confession last week, his lawyers said – in return for the court agreeing to limit any jail sentence to less than nine years.

“Today one would want to turn back time. Sadly that is not possible,” said Gribkowsky.

The court sentenced him to eight-and-a-half years.


Schumacher could lose car if F1 boss corrupt


Corruption allegations against Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone could threaten the future of Michael Schumacher and his Mercedes race team, as majority owner Daimler has a strict policy of not dealing with crooks.

The Stuttgart-based auto maker “immediately investigates immoral or corrupt practices of staff or on the side of business partners,” a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

As 60 percent owner of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team which has Schumacher and Nico Rosberg driving its cars, Daimler is currently very much in business with Formula 1 manager Ecclestone.

German prosecutors are investigating him on suspicion of bribery. Chief prosecutor Christoph Rodler told a court on Tuesday, “Ecclestone was not the victim of blackmail, rather a co-perpetrator in bribery.”

The prosecutor was speaking in the closing phase of a case against a banker accused of taking a $44 million bribe from Ecclestone to ensure his bank sold a major share in Formula 1 rights to Ecclestone’s favoured candidate.

Handelsblatt newspaper noted on Tuesday that Daimler’s own operating rules could force it to consider withdrawing from the sport. Laurenz Schmitt from Linklaters law firm told the paper it was an “awkward” situation.

Sylvia Schenk, chairwoman of corruption watchdog Transparency International called for Daimler to take action.

The Daimler spokeswoman said, “We support the explanation of the new allegations in Formula 1. We are awaiting the analysis of the authorities.”

She said compliance was of central importance to Daimler.

Former risk manager at the Bayern Landesbank Gerhard Gribkowsky admitted taking the bribe after months of silence before the Munich court hearing the case. His admission seriously implicated Ecclestone.

This had resulted in around 40 witnesses being called, including Ecclestone. He then admitted paying Gribkowsky the money, but said it was a case of blackmail –that the banker had been threatening to give sensitive information to the British tax office.

But on Tuesday the prosecutor in the Gribkowsky case told the court, “Ecclestone was not the victim of blackmail, rather a co-perpetrator in bribery.”

Prosecutor Christoph Rodler said the allegations of bribery and tax evasion against Gribkowsky were proven. He had, “not received a consultant fee, rather bribery payments” from Ecclestone, he said.

The prosecutor is already investigating Ecclestone on suspicion of bribery.


Police mistake rogue vibrator for burglar 


German police called to a break-in on Sunday night found the “noisy intruder possibly armed with a drill” was a vibrator buzzing against the apartment's pipes.

A concerned resident called Bochum police at 11 pm on Sunday, worried that someone was trying to get into the house with a drill. The noise was so loud, Die Welt newspaper reported on Monday, that the tiles in his flat were vibrating.

He joined the officers in scouring the house to track down the mysterious noise, which grew ever louder the further down the building they were.

Eventually they ended up in the building's communal cellar, expecting to find a determined burglar armed with an electric drill.

But on entering there was nothing to be seen apart from a lone vibrator that had fallen off a shelf, turned itself on and rolled up against pipes.

The police officers couldn't help but crack a smile, Die Welt said.

This was not the first case of a rogue vibrator causing trouble in the North Rhine-Westphalian city – in March 2010 a woman rang the police, terrified by a noise in her bedroom.

It turned out that is was not an intruder, but an electric sex toy that she kept in a drawer.


Flood of email support for Assange asylum bid


The Ecuadorian embassies in the United States and Britain have received over 10,000 messages in support of political asylum for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuadorian authorities announced Tuesday.

"More than 10,000 emails have been received at the moment," Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a public statement from Quito.

"Thousands of people asking the Ecuadorian government to accord asylum to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, sent a steady stream of messages saying why they support him," the statement added.

Quito received a demand for asylum from the Australian national, who took refuge in London's Ecuadorian embassy on June 19, escaping extradition to Sweden, where he has been charged with two cases of sexual assault.

Assange worries that from Sweden, he will be extradited to the United States to face possible espionage charges, after releasing more than 250,000 American diplomatic cables on the Wikileaks whistleblowing site.

A letter in favour of the request for asylum was also addressed to Ecuadorian President
Rafael Correa by the organization Just Foreign Policy, a US group advocating for civil liberties.

Among the signatures on the petition were those of film directors
Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, actor Danny Glover and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Maintaining that Assange's only crime was journalism, the authors of the letter denounced what they believe to be an attack on freedom of the press and the public's right to know the truth about American foreign policy.

Correa responded to the call for asylum Tuesday, saying that Quito must first "analyze the judicial process in Sweden" and that "these things take time. It's not that simple."

That same day, Correa met with his ambassador to Britain, Anna Alban, and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino to discuss Assange's request.

Correa, a leftist leader critical of Washington, has already expressed sympathy for the Wikileaks founder and said that his country will not accept instances of "political persecution."


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Watch Noam Chomsky on Julian Assange’s ‘The World Tomorrow’


The latest episode of Julian Assange’s interview series “The World Tomorrow” features conversations with Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali. Chomsky, of course, is a natural fit for Assange’s format, which trades the rapid-fire talking head cacophony of Fox News and MSNBC for conversations that take time to unfold.
The last time Chomsky—who, like Christopher Hitchens, is one of the great extemporaneous speakers on political philosophy—was allowed to speak at length on such large broadcast was probably on William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line,” oddly enough.
One of the more interesting moments is when Tariq Ali references how the new forms of revolution, which were triggered by the Arab Spring, made their way to Russia to create the groundwork for political change. Interesting because Assange has been accused of shilling for Russia Today (RT), which is known to be often sympathetic to the Russian government. Where is the censorship?
“I assumed that sooner or later there would have to be popular reaction to the bitter class war that’s been fought for the last generation,” said Chomsky. The businesses classes “really felt they were on a roll in the United States, for example. We all know the facts. Over the past generation there’s been wealth created, but it’s gone into very few pockets. The extreme inequality of the United States is weighted very heavily by literally a 1/10 of a percent of the population, mostly hedge fund managers and CEOs of major corporations and so on.”
Chomsky said that while he was talking about America, specifically, “the phenomena are basically worldwide, which makes Egypt one of the most exciting places.”
Ali, in one of the most sublime moments, attacks the international narrowing of the media, calling the current state of affairs a “dictatorship of capital which is exercised through this extreme center.”
For more from Ali and Chomsky, 

watch the episode below.


Japan police probe man who cooked own genitals
Mao Sugiyama

Tokyo police are investigating whether a man who cooked his own severed genitals and served them to five paying diners committed a crime, the force said Tuesday.

Diners each paid 20,000 yen ($250) for a portion.
The police probe came after the mayor of Suginami ward, the Tokyo district where the event took place, said it had involved the display of obscene objects.
“Many residents of Suginami and elsewhere have expressed a sense of discomfort and feeling of apprehension over this,” Mayor Ryo Tanaka said in a statement Monday.
A Tokyo police spokeswoman acknowledged the complaint, but declined to give further details, citing “an ongoing investigation”.
Sugiyama, a painter in his 20s who defines himself as “asexual”, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In an email to AFP in May, he confirmed the event had taken place and said it was organized to raise awareness about “sexual minorities, x-gender, asexual people”.
In tweets on May 18, the artist said steps were taken so his act met all relevant laws, including a ban on organ sales, processing of medical waste and even food sanitation requirements.
Sugiyama said his genitals had been removed by a physician and certified free of infections.


The Bitcoin Richest:

Accumulating Large Balances


Everyone is familiar with Forbes 400 as the definitive list to wealth in America. But few people know about the world’s up-and-coming bitcoin richest and what motivates them to accumulate and maintain large balances.
The Bitcoin Richest ranks the top worldwide holders of bitcoin wealth on the blockchain. The caveats are that we cannot identify the affluent person or business (but you know who you are) and the same entity may hold the private keys to multiple bitcoin addresses. At the current exchange rate of $6.50 per BTC, the top address on the list holds control to an astonishing $2.85 million in total value (as of 6/20/12). Top ten balances are clickable to show dates with transaction history and my analysis follows:
BTC Balance                     Bitcoin Address (Hash 160-bit format)
438824.90216295             8bf24a18a58ab500d30c73bf21dbf4703d31ad2c
105555.00000000          582431b9e63d2394c8b224d1bc45d07ae95d2379
79956.00100000             a0b0d60e5991578ed37cbda2b17d8b2ce23ab295
59258.88000000              89a37004da17f792487bcc26f853c7722c56fd91
53000.00000000            3d9e561f21d312f9b8b46e74169263e2452d5591
50129.66980000              2004f419e735115cb2a42cbc76f5b0a20c9698f8
50000.00000000            863ec44fbf7c9ed0819b52f275006b22ba781794
50000.00000000            f1c87a5e8ff7d14e74b858089bf771c94b1b6db4
47457.46000000             6fbe1851f5d1de5477d147e93b3da5c0c98f4e8e
45000.00000000            f68212be6db427d4b30f01113920db0e9e457c8d
Source: Bitcoin richest addresses created on June 19, 2012 by znort987 via blockparser.

What can we learn from this list? First, it demonstrates that a broad group of people are comfortable enough with the bitcoin crypto to exit the traditional banking system and leave significant value on the blockchain for extended periods. I can only guess that they must have a rigorous onsite and offsite backup process for retrieving the private key or perhaps they rely on Brainwallet for the utmost in mobility.
Also with the exception of the top three addresses, the wealth is evenly distributed as 8,000 BTC is the cut-off to make the top 100 list. Incidentally, this has remained consistent with a similar list computed in December 2011 in which the cut-off to make the list was 6,925 BTC.
But why leave your wealth in a distributed proof-of-work system instead of a traditional bank? In a broad sense, bitcoin wealth offers protection from unpredictable political risk such as sovereign confiscation, excessive taxation, and capital controls at the border. In addition to preservation of value when compared to national fiat currencies, bitcoin wealth eliminates bank solvency risk and the risk of exogenous shocks to the uber-leveraged financial pyramid. Remember, a pyramid was not a monument but a tomb.
One of the challenges confronting bitcoin consultants in certain industries is how to transfer bitcoin value in amounts of $10 million or more for purposes of trade settlement and for the mitigation of jurisdictional bank risk. With the total bitcoin market capitalization at approximately $60 million and the largest single address holding merely $2.85 million, you can begin to see the obstacles. The bitcoin market is still too nascent and small for robust use in global trade settlement. Liquidity and depth would have to increase significantly to accommodate requests without severe price disruption.
Thanks to the excellent work of, we can get an idea of current trade and settlement usage by looking at the 100 largest bitcoin transactions culled from the most recent 50,000 transactions. Bitcoin Days Destroyed also provides an indication of transaction volume that attempts to strip out transfers to oneself and account reorganizations.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ferrari star Alonso to win in Valencia 

Alonso on home triumph at Valencia championship leader

Ferrari superstar Fernando Alonso on Sunday won his home race in Valencia, thus taking the lead in the Formula 1 World Championship. The 30-year-old Spaniard won the eighth World Championship race of the season before the Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus and the German world champion Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes, which first went on the podium after his comeback.

The German double world champion Sebastian Vettel had the Grand Prix of Europe at the Red Bull until his Failure in the 34th lap listed due to a technical defect. Also, the current championship leader Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) dropped out after a collision with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado in the penultimate round.

Alonso is after 29 GP win of his career is now clearly ahead in the standings. His lead over the now second-placed Australian Mark Webber, who was in the second Red Bull in Valencia is fourth, 20 points.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Franken-Meat May Be Closer Than We Think


This has been a bad year for Big Meat. The meat industry has lost in multiple court rulings over the public health threat stemming from the use of antibiotics in animal feed that threaten to upend the industry. And they have been brutalized in the court of public opinion over pink slime.
But, if two researchers are right, it's about to get much, much worse…
Today’s Guardian has a fascinating story on a pair of scientists who are on the verge of rolling out what they claim is viable meat created in a lab. No, not the meat-substitute slop that’s out there like seitan or quorn. This is the long-dreamed of substitute for flesh, worthy of PETA’s million-dollar bounty. As Dr. Patrick Brown, a Stanford molecular biologist who is one of the two scientists profiled in the piece, puts it:
"I have zero interest in making a new food just for vegans. I am making a food for people who are comfortable eating meat and who want to continue eating meat. I want to reduce the human footprint on this planet by 50%."

Brown sees his work combining plant and animal proteins to create meat as essential to stave off climate change, given the massive greenhouse plume that wafts from the planet’s meat production (can't wait for the trolls on that issue) as described by the Guardian:
Meat production accounts for about 5% of global CO2 emissions, 40% of methane emissions and 40% of various nitrogen oxides. If meat production doubles, by the late 2040s cows, pigs, sheep and chickens will be responsible for about half as much climate change impact as all the world's cars, trucks and aircraft.
On the other side of the world, a researcher in the Netherlands is taking a different tack in the meat-fakery race. Dr. Mark Post is using stem cells to grow meat in test tubes. While this sounds like the stuff of science fiction, Post is promising to debut his in-vitro meat with a bang this fall as UK super-chef Heston Blumenthal grills up the first non-beef beef burger.
But the race is on—Brown allowed Michael Hanlon, one of the UK’s most respected science writers and the man who penned the Guardian story, to taste his creation. While Hanlon is legally prevented from detailing the experience, he did reveal this:
I am not allowed to say what I tried, nor which chef helped create it, and certainly not what it tasted like. But I can say this: I would have had no idea it wasn't "real".
And that is the Holy Grail here. Nobody is going to eat frankenmeat unless it is tasty and they cannot tell the difference (the "meat is murder" crowd whose diet shifted for ethical reasons are already suffering through the current crop of substitutes). Interestingly, both scientists point out that more than half the meat consumed in America is processed: think hamburger and sausages. That is the target for both until their technology gets sharp enough for T-bones, which could be a while.  Really, is this stuff all that far off from the meat-meld we get at the corner gyro shop? And, since you can grow meat from any animal in the lab, Heck, that White Castle diet that is shown below could save the world!