Wednesday, May 30, 2012










Megaupload Asks Court to Dismiss The Criminal Case



 
For the first time Megaupload has filed a motion in response to the U.S. indictment. Kim Dotcom’s legal team has asked a Virginia federal court to dismiss the criminal case the U.S. Government started in January. The defense argues that the U.S. violated Megaupload’s due process rights by destroying its business, without having properly served the company. If granted, this means the Megaupload case will be over.


In January, the U.S. Government announced that it had initiated one of “the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States.” That case was brought against Megaupload and its key employees, including founder Kim Dotcom.
The authorities seized domain names, servers and personal belongings, and asked for the extradition of the defendants who were all arrested abroad. Since then, Kim Dotcom and his colleagues have been fighting against extradition in New Zealand. Today, the focus is shifting to the U.S. case.
Megaupload’s lawyers just filed a motion to dismiss at the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Their argument is simple. The U.S. authorities failed to serve Megaupload as is required in a criminal case. Because of this failure and the fact that the company was effectively put out of business, Megaupload’s due process rights have been violated.
To claim a due process violation Megaupload has to shows that a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by the State and that the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally sufficient.
According to Megaupload’s lawyers this is certainly the case here.
“Both prongs of the procedural due process test are plainly met here. The Government has seized Megaupload’s property and domain name, ruined its reputation, and destroyed its business pursuant to an indictment which is fatally flawed as a jurisdictional matter. Megaupload now finds itself in a state of abeyance, with no end in sight,” they write.
“As a result of the Government’s inability to properly serve the summons on Megaupload, this Court lacks jurisdiction over the company. In the absence of effective service of process, criminal proceedings against Megaupload cannot commence, and as the Court has aptly noted, we ‘frankly don’t know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter’.”
Megaupload’s legal team therefore concludes that, “Megaupload is thus deprived of any procedure to clear its name or recoup its property, in clear violation of its due process rights.”
The crucial issue in the motion to dismiss is that Megaupload was never served. The origin of this problem is not merely a matter of oversight. Megaupload’s lawyer Ira Rothken previously noted that unlike people, companies can’t be served outside US jurisdiction.
If this issue indeed prevents Megaupload from being tried in the US, it would be a blunder of epic proportions. And the fact that District Court Judge O’Grady previously acknowledged that this “issue” warrants further investigation, suggests that the motion filed by Megaupload could be the beginning of the end for the Megaupload case. 







Mega Dismiss

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Anonymous hackers hit European drone manufacturer

In the future, hackers will battle with governments for control over drone armies. For now, thankfully, they just deface websites and wreak coding havoc.  
Internet activists claiming loose kinship with the International collective Anonymous defaced the website of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Alpha Unmanned Systems over the weekend.
The website of the Spanish corporation was first defaced on Friday, May 25, and remained compromised until Monday, May 28 when the site went completely off-line.
One Anonymous subset calling themselves “Pirate Girlz,” who left a signature GIF on the site (and is taking pseudo-responsibility for the attack on Twitter), called Alpha Unmanned Systems “just another covert corporation funded by the CIA” in the defaced text. An image of Nyan Cat and a text-to-speech Anonymous style video were also utilized in the defacement.  
The hackers claimed the company's “manual remote control of the UAVs” as well as the “video transmission” for the aerial vehicles both lacked “proper encryption,”  implying the hackers could access the drones through the website. The hackers also said they changed the website’s “admin panel” because it  “was not safe,” wiped files from the server, and taunted the company with claims they “may or may not” have installed a trojan virus.
The group finished with a threat to steal the company’s drones sometime “soon.”
An unnamed Alpha Unmanned Systems representative told Spanish news outlet ABC.es this morning the attack “does not threaten the safety of the aircraft.”
The motive behind the weekend cyber defacement and attack echoed various Anonymous agenda, such as the freeing of Bradley Manning and the end to the controversial European Union-funded urban cyber surveillance project known as INDECT.
The INDECT project website describes its efforts as a “research project, allowing involved European scientists to develop new, advanced and innovative algorithms and methods aiming at combating terrorism and other criminal activities.”  
But in a video which the group embedded on the hacked site, an Anonymous spokesman claims the project, which The Telegraph has called “Orwellian,” opens the door for insidious privacy violations.
“The application of INDECT aims to analyze conspicuous behavior to prevent crimes, in virtual life as well as in real life, before they actually happen” the spokesman says in the video. “Not only does this sound crazy, it is cutting deeply into our basic right to privacy, because those cameras will be able to replicate scanned personal biometrical features with existing digital files about persons in databases such as social networks.”
As YouTube user jbrett55 put it, “This is like Minority Report.”
It’s not clear what direct connection Alpha Unmanned Systems has with INDECT. The hackers also called for the closing down of Guantanamo Bay, assistance to the people of Syria, and better treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters.




 

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Angry Birds Debit Cards To Be Issued In Russia

 

Russian fans of the videogame Angry Birds will soon be able to get special debit cards – or "Angry Cards" – giving them discounts on the game's products.
Moscow-based Promsvyazbank said Tuesday it will start issuing the new MasterCards on June 4. They will be printed with images of the various characters and will give users a 10 percent discount on all Angry Birds-branded products.
Besides debit cards, the bank will also issue Angry Bird cash cards, which users top up with money. The bank will pay a 4 percent annual interest rate on the card's balance.
The maker of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment, has already launched toys and baby clothes lines featuring Angry Birds characters. But the Russian debit card is going to be the first Angry Birds branded financial product. The videogame has been downloaded more than 10 million times in Russia.
Ivan Pyatkov, director for retail sales and technology at Promsvyazbank, told the Associated Press that the bank is planning an initial printing of 50,000 cards but hopes to issue twice as much by the end of the year.
The bank expects the card to help attract urbanites between 25 and 35 years of age with a monthly income of at least $1,000.
Pyatkov said the bank is receiving a large number of requests for Angry Birds cards following early reports in the Russian press.
"Some clients are demanding their Angry Birds cards right now – before the official launch," Pyatkov said.
Promsvyazbank will be launching the card in partnership with Internet Retail Solutions, Rovio's agent in Russia.
Promsvyazbank, ranked as Russia's 11th largest by the Interfax research center, is 74 percent-owned by two Russian tycoons, the Ananyev brothers. Commerzbank holds 14 percent in the lender via a subsidiary while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has a 12 percent stake.






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How About Play Guitar With Your Piss Stream
Billboard magazine in Brazil placed this working urinal guitar — with
amp — in the men's room of popular watering hole .

 




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Sauber F1 Team - World Premiere: Cutaway F1 Race Car 

 

For the last two years the Sauber F1 Team mechanics have been using their downtime to slice a Formula One racing car lengthwise down the middle with the precision of true craftsmen. Chief Designer Matt Morris quite literally gets underneath the skin of the F1 car, pointing out where and how the individual components are located within the chassis. Everything is packed in pretty tightly. Sergio Pérez is also on hand to demonstrate the driver's seating position.










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Hacked bitcoin exchange site maintained no database backups

Bitcoinica's hiatus from the online currency exchange game could take longer than even the underground site's most vocal critics originally thought.
Following a mid-May hack to its system that resulted in the disappearance of 18,547 bitcoins (approximately $90,000 US), the site—once recognized as a leader in a rapidly growing online currency industry—announced that it would suspend operations indefinitely, saying that it would pick up again once the site found a way to properly recompense those who were victims of the heist.
But a Bitcoinica developer explained in a bitcointalk.org forum post Friday that Bitcoinica had been guilty of not keeping proper database backups. The site has no idea which of its users has lost what.
Bitcoinica's issues are no longer rooted in site security and backend maintenance. Rather, the site's handlers are currently in possession of a virtual mountain of bitcoins with no idea how to dole that currency out.
The developer, who posts on bitcointalk.org as genjix, wrote that Bitcoin's team has just been able to draw upon "only partial records for accounting… used to extrapolate balances" and that sorting through the myriad of balances affected by the heist would be like piecing together "a big jigsaw puzzle."
"They need a full view of the claims before payouts begin to properly cross match records," genjix wrote.
The admission was met with a sour response by the Bitcoinica community, which has spent the past three weeks looking for answers. A number of its members now believe that the site's founder, Zhou Tong, is ill equipped to operate such a large exchange system. Others are tired of seeing Bitcoinica air its dirty laundry and just want to see the site restored—as well as their balances.
Bitcoinica's troubles come at a time when the bitcoin industry is thriving in ways like never before. BitInstant, a similar bitcoin exchange site, was announced as the first bitcoin site to be federally licensed in April, and the exchange rate between bitcoin and tangible currency has leveled to the point where merchants can now account for use of the currency. In a recent email, Coinbus CEO Julian Tosh said that over 700,000 offline merchants in the United States, Russia, Brazil, and Canada are now catering to bitcoin deposits and exchanges.






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Sunday, May 27, 2012










Webber's triumph in Monaco - Vettel fourth

 

The Australian Mark Webber won the Formula 1 -GP of Monaco in a Mercedes in front of Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso in a Ferrari and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel. He caused quite a record. Never in the 63-year history of Formula 1, it has been in the first six races, six different winners.


Two years after he had given the Austro-British team of the first Monaco victory, Webber veered to the right at the end to dry road course his second victory in the Principality. "I did worry, especially the weather. Two wins in Monaco are of course fantastic, "said the Australian after he had received the usual congratulations and cup from the hand of Prince Albert.
Only a possible protest threatened the GP win for Red Bull, the RB8 allegedly unauthorized opening in the floor, the team denies this though. In the constructors' championship, the "Austrians" so clearly in front.
Webber put down a virtually flawless race on the track and defended his lead from first to last meters. Although the top six most of the time were just six seconds, but also as a finish in the long-awaited rain started, kept the Australians experienced the nerves. He drove in the most important race of the year confidently - albeit only 0.643 seconds and 6.195 in front of Rosberg sixth-placed Felipe Massa in a Ferrari before - his eighth Grand Prix victory.
Overall, the 70th GP support in the Principality still one of the rather uneventful affair. Despite DRS, there were virtually no overtaking on the track. Up to the start (not to mention investigations were pending), "scrapped" in which the "been pinched" Lotus of the Frenchman Romain Grosjean was the only pit stop and the top riders did not too much. Even the rain came too late, until after the checkered flag, it poured out of the sky.
Vettel lost his championship lead to Alonso, even though he messed up well against the same qualifying five places and was directly behind the Spaniard was fourth. The world champion from Germany has emerged as one of the top riders in the race with the harder tire, moved to the 46th Round as the last and made to two other positions well.
Vettel had already won three at the start. The hope of driving out as a temporary Leading enough of a lead to his own pit stop after his front left, but not on. Fernando Alonso leads before coming Canadian Grand Prix with 76 points, three points ahead of Vettel and Webber (73).

Final standings after 78 laps (260.520 km):
1.
Mark Webber
OFF
Red Bull
1:46:06,557
2.
Nico Rosberg
ENG
Mercedes
+ 0,643
3.
Fernando Alonso
ESP
Ferrari
0,947
4.
Sebastian Vettel
ENG
Red Bull
1,343
5.
Lewis Hamilton
GBR
McLaren
4,101
6.
Felipe Massa
BRA
Ferrari
6,195
7.
Paul di Resta
GBR
Force India
41,537
8.
Nico Hulkenberg
ENG
Force India
42,562
9.
Kimi Raikkonen
FIN
Lotus
44,036
10.
Bruno Senna
BRA
Williams
44,516
11.
Sergio Perez
MEX
Clean
1 lap
12.
Jean-Eric Vergne
FRA
Toro Rosso
1 lap
13.
Heikki Kovalainen
FIN
Caterham
1 lap
14.
Timo Glock
ENG
Marussia
1 lap
15.
Narain Karthikeyan
IND
HRT
2 rounds
16.
Jenson Button
GBR
McLaren
8 rounds
Out: Michael Schumacher (GER / Mercedes), Romain Grosjean (FRA / Lotus), Pastor Maldonado (VEN / Williams), Kamui Kobayashi (JPN / Sauber), Daniel Ricciardo (AUS / Toro Rosso), Vitaly Petrov (RUS / Caterham) Charles Pic (FRA / Marussia), Pedro de la Rosa (ESP / HRT)








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Tsunami-ravaged motorcycle to be preserved at Harley museum in Milwaukee

 

A 29-year-old Japanese man's Harley-Davidson motorcycle was swept from Japan by last year's tsunami. It was discovered on a beach in Haida Gwaii.

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Japan that washed ashore in Haida Gwaii after a devastating tsunami a year ago will be preserved in the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The plans were announced Friday morning, after the Japanese owner decided to preserve the motorcycle as a memorial to lives lost in the tsunami rather than taking the bike back.
Masset resident Peter Mark found the 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train on Graham Island on April 18 after it drifted 7,000 kilometers across the Pacific Ocean in a Stryofoam-lined storage container.
Harley-Davidson offered to ship the bike back to its owner, 29-year-old Ikuo Yokoyama, and restore it to running condition. Yokoyama — who is still trying to rebuild his life after losing three family members and his home in Yamamoto, in Miyagi Prefecture — said he’d rather see the bike displayed in the museum, in honour of those killed, injured and displaced by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Miyagi Prefecture, on the east coast, was one of the areas hardest hit by the massive tidal wave.
“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” Yokoyama said in a statement released by Harley-Davidson Friday morning. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle.”
In the statement, Yokoyama said he has discussed with many people what to do with the bike.
“I would be delighted if it could be preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors to the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives,” Yokoyama said.
Harley-Davidson has offered him the opportunity to visit the museum and Yokoyama said he hopes to eventually do so. He said he would also like to meet Mark, to express his gratitude.
“Finally, I would like to thank all people around the world once again for their wholehearted support of the areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami,” Yokoyama said in the statement. “I would like to ask them to help convey messages from the Japanese people about the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was a disaster of historic proportions.”
News of the bike’s recovery made international headlines, with Mark doing interviews with media from Japan and across the United States.
Tofino Harley enthusiast Ralph Tieleman, a friend of Mark’s, helped deliver the battered bike to Steve Drane’s Harley-Davidson dealership in Langford on May 11.
Drane had originally offered to collect donations and restore the bike in Langford before sending it back to Yokoyama.
“As soon as I saw the bike, I thought, ‘There’s too much of a story to be told here,’” Drane said in an interview Friday.
He said about 1,000 people flocked to see the bike when it was on display outside his dealership. “That motorcycle the way it sat, it was so powerful. I watched people looking at it. The expressions on their faces told me, you’ve got to leave it the way it is.”
In the statement, Mark said it’s fitting that the Harley should serve as a memorial to the tsunami tragedy. “It has an interesting and powerful story to convey preserved in its current state.”
Mark said his heart goes out to Yokoyama and the survivors. “I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends and community.”
The bike has been shipped to Deeley Harley-Davidson in Vancouver until plans for its arrival at the museum are finalized.
Drane said he’s happy the wishes of the owner are being realized. “It’s a good end to the whole story.”





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Saturday, May 26, 2012









Deal with Two Flies Max under Beijing’s New Public Toilet 

Standards

 

Call it a “two-fly zone”: Many Beijing residents are sniggering at a new city rule that sets a limit of two flies per public toilet.


“Yesterday, there was only one fly seen at a public toilet inside a Chaoyang district supermarket,” the state-run Global Times newspaper reported, in a story headlined “Staff unsure how to enforce public toilet ‘two fly’ rule.” The newspaper quoted a cleaning lady, Xu Xiutang, as chuckling over the new requirement. No one had informed her about it, nor had she been allotted more fly swatters or sprays, she told the newspaper.
“That’ll take a lot of work to narrow it down to two flies for many public toilets in the park or at some tourist sites,” Ms. Xu was quoted as saying. “They are actually putting a number on this? Are they going to come down to the toilets and count?”
Posts on the topic on Chinese microblogging sites numbered over half a million by Thursday morning. Heavy with irony, some pointed out that other cities, such as Nanchang in the south, had already passed similar rules but that those cities, being less important than the capital, permitted three flies. (Nanchang really does have a three-fly limit, according to this Chinese-language report.)
The regulations announced early this week by the Beijing Municipal Commission of City Administration and Environment and dubbed “Beijing city standards for the major profession of public toilet management and service regulations,” can be seen (in Chinese) here .
This is not China’s first foray into fly management. Nationwide rules issued in 1998 were more generous, permitting up to five flies depending on the grade of the toilet, the state-run Beijing Daily reports.
The new regulations also state that a public toilet may contain only two discarded items at a time, and that neither may remain for longer than half an hour. The regulations also get tough on smells, laying down standards for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, two sewer gases.
But it’s the fly issue that has captured the imaginations of many Beijingers and others around China who have been posting online, in some cases from a fly’s point of view.
On Sina’s Weibo, or microblog, site, a person with the handle Wo bu shi luobo described this imaginary scene at a public toilet: “Management guy sees two flies flying in, hangs a very small sign on the door of the toilet: ‘Occupied.’”
Alluding to the regulations’ stated goal of providing cleaner toilets as evidence of a “civilized” capital, Wang dao you xing wrote, wryly: “How do you judge how cultured a city is? Just count the flies in a public toilet.”
Others applauded the hygiene regulations but questioned the wisdom of such precise requirements. “Saying only two flies per toilet gave people a fright, how are they going to enforce it?” asked Xinhua shiping. Others saw the heavy hand of a nanny state. “Really want to laugh,” wrote @Tsuki-Ben. “Using ‘socialist people management’ on flies… Severely control the reproductive system of flies, flies that don’t meet the quota should be resolutely attacked and killed,” he wrote, aping the language of officialdom.
An unidentified official quoted in The Beijing Daily defended the rule, saying noting the number of flies was a “visual, convenient and common” way to judge a toilet’s overall hygiene condition.
China has long tried to improve the notoriously poor conditions in its public toilets, especially those in big cities and tourist areas. Facilities have improved in many cities, but many netizens feel there’s still a long way to go: in one school, “the smell in the toilet is so poisonous you can’t even open your eyes,” said Er shao qiu tuo tuan.
China’s public toilets were last in the news in February, when a group of young women staged “Occupy Men’s Toilets” protests in Guangzhou and Beijing to demand more women’s facilities. Unlike Hong Kong or Taiwan, which offer more women’s toilets than men’s, China’s national standards call for a one-to-one ratio, which often means that women, who take longer to use them, wind up waiting in line, Sharon reported.







A screen grab from a Heilongjiang Television Satellite Channel newscast, via Sina.com, shows a cartoon lampooning Beijing’s no-more-than-two-flies-per-toilet rule. The sanitation worker (with the fly swatter) is saying, “Exactly two flies, we haven’t exceeded the standard!”







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Downhill soapbox race - 

Red Bull Soapbox Belgium 2012 

On May 5th 25,000 spectators witnessed the fifth Belgian edition of the Red Bull Soapbox race. No less than 85 teams were equipped with nothing more than their soapbox car, and whits in order to hit the the 380m long track.

 










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Best time for Schumacher at Monaco, but Webber on pole

 

Michael Schumacher in qualifying for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco surprised with the best time, will start from pole position on Sunday, but the Australian Mark Webber in Red Bull

The German record champion has indeed returned to the starting line-up five places, so is his team mate Nico Rosberg Mercedes front row alongside Webber. World champion Sebastian Vettel drives in the second Red Bull go only from the fifth row.

Vettel: "The car bounces around 

like a rabbit"

Last year's winner was therefore angry, because the performance of his first competitive RB8 changed quite negative after strong free practice in qualifying. "The car bounces around like a rabbit," the 24-year-old championship leader radioed again to the box. In the end, was abandoned even to the Germans on pole-hunting means to schicken.Platz ten in qualifying for Vettel expected to start in ninth place, because Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado equal to ten places back needs. "There's always hope. But of course I smell it now, because we had actually thought it fit, "said the hag backwards.
The chances that the Austro-British Red Bull team won for the third consecutive year the prestigious Grand Prix win of the year are given anyway. Webber "inherited" the best starting position, because Schumacher had crashed in Spain last into the back of Bruno Senna and is punished in Monaco.
"Furthermore, he is angry now doubly sure," was the world champion Niki Lauda believes, but moved ahead of Schumacher and the cap. "A clearer signs of life as may best time in Monaco does not give you," praised the three-time champion from Austria.

"If Vettel changes manure into the negative"

Red Bull one was happy after the Webber-Pole, of course. "We knew this morning that we have a competitive car. Unfortunately for Vettel, the change has gone into negative territory. I still see chances for a podium for both cars, "was the motorsport advisor Helmut Marko in front of the 70th Edition of the Monaco Grand Prix with confidence.
Should be "We have seen once again that we are currently adjusting to a relatively perfect car is not too much: the Graz also admitted. This can easily backfire. Clear that Sebastian does not like. "
The two RB8 are therefore in the race with different strategies going on sent. "When the tire wear is similar to previously may rise, this poker," Marko hopes. The hope is, of course, victory Webber, who had seen here in 2010 for the first Red Bull victory.
"It was a fantastic lap of him," praised Marko. "Pole here is already more than half the battle. If you do not forward error, you are not overtaking almost. "

Lauda: "I hope it wins one whom you know"

Webber would also fit reasonably well in the "winning profile", which is expected by Sunday triumph Lauda. "I hope it wins one, whom you know," repeated his criticism of the Austrian situation, that there have been five previous races in five different winners.
"The theater, with drivers, whose names are equal again forgets or does not even notice, should have an end," said Lauda. "There must be a win, we all know," the 63-year-old called again.

Maldonado crashes in training - Perez "kissed" guardrail

At least two of these "undesirable" Lauda candidates took themselves out of the game on Saturday. The ninth-placed Barcelona sensational winner Pastor Maldonado drove in the morning with his Williams to clean the Mexican Sergio Perez to the rear and must therefore start on Sunday to equal ten places further back. Perez even "kissed" the same quality in the first section of the guard rails, dropped out and started last.
Hottest secret favorite is to continue to Romain Grosjean. The Frenchman living in Geneva with his Lotus is fourth from the second row in the race. The 26-year-old was shown previously in Monaco significantly stronger than his illustrious team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Surprisingly, early retired in 13th Ex-world champion Jenson Button and McLaren from.

Qualifying Results Monaco:

Final qualifying for the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco 

First Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes 1:14,301 min*
Second Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1:14,381
Third Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:14,448
4th Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren 1:14,583
5th Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:14,639
6th Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:14,948
7th Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1:15,049
8th Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1:15,199
9th Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1:15,245**
10th Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull, in no time Q3
11th Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1:15,421
12th Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber 1:15,508
13th Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:15,536
14th Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams 1:15,709
15th Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1:15,718
16th Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1:15,878
17th Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:16,885 (Q2)
18th Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham 1:16,538
19th Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham 1:17,404
20th Timo Glock (GER) Marussia 1:17,947
21st Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT 1:18,096
22nd Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia 1:18,476
23rd Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT 1:19,310
24th Sergio Perez (MEX) Clean, no accidents in the after period Q1
* = Schumacher is set back five places on the grid
= ** Maldonado is set back ten places on the grid 








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Cookie consent laws come into force this weekend
Some websites, such as online shops, store information 
in cookies to make things easier for return visitors.



Websites will be required by law to ask users what data they are content to have stored about them online from this weekend.

The new EU legislation requires websites ask users for their 'informed consent', and will divide the type of consent into different categories.
A new code of conduct, introduced by the London office of the International Chamber of Commerce, aims to help businesses comply with new EU legislation which comes into force on Sunday. Breaches of the code could cost companies £500,000.
Although the majority of websites in the UK and across Europe will not conform to the new rules, British authorities have said that they will help rather than prosecute companies that are seeking to obey the rules.
The legislation will introduce four new categories for cookies, which the ICC suggests will be identified with four icons.
The Information Commissioner (ICO) had given British websites a year's grace period to comply with the new legislation, which expires this weekend.

The ICO has recently clarified that websites can rely on "implied consent" for some aspects, so long as sites are satisfied that users understand the overall terms to which they have agreed.
The ICO's Dave Evans wrote in a blog post that sites "should not rely on the fact that users might have read a privacy policy that is perhaps hard to find or difficult to understand.In some circumstances, for example where you are collecting sensitive personal data such as health information, you might feel that explicit consent is more appropriate".
The regulations distinguish between cookies that are ‘Strictly necessary’ for a website to function; those necessary for a site to monitor its ‘performance’; cookies that add ‘functionality’ such as remembering a password; and ‘Targeting Cookies’, which collect several pieces of information about users’ browsing habits.
On the launch of the new Guide at a Government event in Whitehall, Stephen Pattison, CEO of ICC UK, said: “Educating consumers about cookies and their uses has to be the first step in complying with the new EU rules”.
The new guide includes suggestions for how websites describe what they are asking for in the simple language the EU demands. It acknowledges, however, that some cookies will fall into multiple categories.
Mr Pattison said that the process may become simpler as consumers become more aware of how their information is being used.
The Information Commissioner’s office welcomed the launch of the guide. David Evans, Group Manager for Business and Industry at the ICO, “We have always been clear that organizations need to provide visitors to their website with enough information to enable individuals to make an informed choice on whether they wish for cookies to be placed on their device.”
An ICC official said the aim of the new guide was to provide compliance with EU regulations without disrupting current practices. The ICO has already said that it will not be actively investigating sites unless complaints are made, in part because a number of sites, run by both business and government, are expected to miss the deadline.
Although major sites and ISPs support the measures, Robert Bond, of law firm Speechly Bircham, said “Whilst the ICO has made it clear that he, Christopher Graham, is not going to have his team expending effort to investigate all websites, he will take interest in websites that are non-compliant particularly where on investigation the website owner has done nothing to get compliant with the law.
The ICO is unlikely to impose the full monetary penalty of £500,000 for the most serious breaches, but there is no doubt that many websites, where user trust is essential, will need to take steps to engender that trust by being transparent about the use of cookies and also educating consumers to the fact that the majority of cookies are good and not anywhere near as bad as the law appears to make out." 












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Friday, May 25, 2012









WikiLeaks launches encrypted social network

 

Backers of the whistle-blowing organization WikiLeaks recently launched Friends of WikiLeaks (FoWL), an encrypted social network for like-minded individuals. “Friends of WikiLeaks is a network of people from across the globe who defend WikiLeaks, its people, its alleged sources and its mission,” the website’s homepage says. “We publicly and privately promote WikiLeaks and individuals and organizations aligned with the mission of WikiLeaks. This site will help you to join with people like you in your area and across the world. You will make new friends and new allies, care for treasured values and fight in common cause.” Instead of having users find people to friend, as is the case with Facebook and Google+, Friends of WikiLeaks will assign users 12 friends each, six of which will be from a similar geographic location, and six others from other parts of the world who speak the same language. If a group is assigned an inactive user, the group can boot the user and the service will automatically assign a new “friend” to the group.
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A ketchup bottle that pours like milk

 

A radical new bottle design could spell the end of stuck ketchup forever.


A MIT University team came up with LiquiGlide, a 'super-slippery' coating which makes the insides of the bottle so frictionless that the sludgy goo inside just slides out like water.

The results are astonishing - and any burger and chips fan out there should prepare to be amazed.


MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith and his team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group spent two months devising a solution.


Burger fan Smith said: 'We were really interested in - and still are - using this coating for anti-icing, or for preventing clogs that form in oil and gas lines, or for non-wetting applications like, say, on windshields.


'Somehow this sparked the idea of putting it in food bottles - it could be great just for its slippery properties.


'Plus, most of these other applications have a much longer time to market - we realised we could make this coating for bottles that is pretty much ready. I mean, it is ready, as you can see.


'We had a limited amount of materials to pick from - I can't say what they are, but we've patented the hell out of it.'


Naturally, the team had to research their market before getting to work.


Smith, who is is pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering and a minor in entrepreneurship, and already holds nine patents, told the FastCo website: 'It was never really a personal pain point for me, but I do hate struggling to get sauce out of the bottles.


'I didn't know about the tapping of the '57' until I started looking into this. It was all news to me.


'We have all types of sauces, jellies, and jams everywhere in our lab - It's like a closet full of condiments.'


So why did the team pick sauces for their award-winning product?


Dave said: 'It's funny: Everyone is always like, "Why bottles? What's the big deal?"


'But then you tell them the market for bottles - just the sauces alone is a $17billion market.


'And if all those bottles had our coating, we estimate that we could save about one million tons of food from being thrown out every year.'


The secret ingredient to the liquid coating is a heavily-guarded secret, but the team promise it is non-toxic and will be FDA approved.

 


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Station sex shop celebrates Sunday sales

 

A sex shop in Munich's main railway station has got special permission to sell condoms, porn DVDs and sexy skin lotion on Sundays after three local judges ruled they were legitimate travel supplies.


The owner of Erotic World had appealed against the city council's decision to stop him opening on Sundays – on the grounds that shops in the railway station were exempt from Bavaria's strict Sunday trading laws.

But this only applies if they sell products that can be considered souvenirs or travel supplies such as food, disposable cameras, newspapers, magazines, books, DVDs, and CDs.


The shop argued in court that it also had such goods on its shelves, even if their content was rather more spicy than what the station's newsagents had to offer.


"This is the decision of the court … since the above articles can be considered 'travel supplies,' regardless of their content," a court statement issued Wednesday said.


But the judges added that the shop could not sell other erotic items in its range, such as sex toys. In fact, especially sex toys.


Three administrative judges visited Erotic World ahead of the court hearing to inspect the shop's goods, carefully assessing whether each item might come in handy on a long journey.


Condoms were considered useful enough, but the judges ruled that the old favorite sex game "Erotic Ludo" should still be taboo on the day God has designated the day of rest.


The city authorities also had a legal quibble relating to the shop's location, since it is actually on private property. But the court dismissed this on the grounds that the shop's back entrance was in the railway station.




 
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Birth control chemicals affecting the environment

 

When it comes to the fruits of human evolution, one thing is certain: nearly everything we do has repercussions within our environment. Some are just a little more surprising than the others. And so it is in a paper written by Richard Owen and Susan Jobling, who argue that birth control chemicals might adversely affect the environment.
Owen and Jobling conducted laboratory tests with ethinyl estradiol, a type of estrogen found in birth control pills. In humans, it obviously controls pregnancy, but in other organisms — specifically those found near waste water run-off — it might have the potential to create deformities. Presently there is no proof that this is occurring outside of testing labs.
Pro-life groups will likely seize on Owen and Joblings’s lab-work to argue that birth control is now violating another aspect of God’s creation. Owen and Jobling on the other hand are arguing for the European union to create an open decision-making process  regarding costs for cleaning chemicals from wastewater. That is, they would like to see those scientists not invited by EU to be able provide input on the legislative committee’s recommendation.
Owen and Jobling’s study appears in the latest issue of the weekly science journal Nature.





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3 Golden Sisters on 70 Year Old Virgin

The 3 Golden Sisters give there "two cents" on a 70 year old woman who 
is still a virgin










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Topless New York: Exhibit, Calendar, and Book

 

Why Topless New York?

In 1986, several women in Rochester, NY were arrested and convicted for picnicking topless in public.  They sued to challenge the law prohibiting women, but not men, from being topless in public - and in 1992, New York State's highest court struck down that law as violating the state constitution's equal protection clause.  See the court's full opinion at http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I92_0160.htm.
So for the past twenty years, it has been completely legal all over New York State for a woman to be topless in any public place where men can be topless.  Although few people are aware of this, I have been photographing women topless in public all over the state for the past few years in an effort to raise awareness, celebrate New York's recognition of top-free equality in a tasteful and hopefully artistic manner, and promote similar thinking for the vast majority of states where it is still illegal for a woman to be topless in public.

How You Can Help

The library of photographs is nearly complete, and it's about time to start spreading the word.  I'm planning an exhibit in New York City late this summer, to be followed by a 2013 wall calendar and a coffee-table-style book.  But all this will take a significant investment, which I cannot afford on my own right now - printing and framing the photos for exhibit, creating exhibit label cards, and spec printing costs for both the calendar and the book.  In addition, I hope to have a website from which to sell prints, calendars, and books, and although I have friends who can help at a discount, good web design (even discounted) is still not cheap.
But you can help!  Please invest in this project, and help spread the word that New York is nearly unique, and is a special place for women who wish to be treated truly equally, in every way, alongside men.


Where Are the Topless Photos?

Kickstarter is a family-friendly website, with no age restrictions for those choosing to view the projects available for investment.  While these photographs are in no way erotic, pornographic, or otherwise "adult," I recognize that many people would consider it inappropriate for me to post images of topless women in my project description, so I have chosen not to do so.  However, both of the links I've provided will lead you to places where you can see the majority of the photographs that I've prepared for the project thus far.  At http://www.modelmayhem.com/toplessnewyork you'll have to turn off the "work-safe" default setting, and at http://toplessnewyork.deviantart.com/ you'll have to join DeviantArt (membership is free) in order to see the photos.

Can I Get Involved?

I've already done just about as many shoots as I'm going to need for the exhibit, calendar, and book to be complete, so I am not offering any more paid modeling gigs.  But if you are interested in donating your time and services, and supporting a great cause, by modeling for the Topless New York project, please feel free to contact me at toplessnewyork@gmail.com.






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Wednesday, May 23, 2012









Pirate Bay Simplifies Circumvention of ISP Blockades

 

In their ongoing effort to circumvent the court mandated blockades in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, The Pirate Bay has added a new website. The site in question is operating from a new IP-address which makes it available directly to blocked subscribers. In addition, the new site is optimized to work with proxies in case the IP-address is blocked in the future.

Within a few days, five of the largest UK Internet providers will all have to censor The Pirate Bay. Virgin and Orange have already implemented the block and the rest must follow before the end of May.
The music companies who asked for the blockade hope it will decrease piracy significantly, but it is doubtful whether this wish will come true.
Already we’ve seen a massive increase in traffic to proxy-websites from the UK, and this is only expected to increase during the coming days. In addition, The Pirate Bay team isn’t sitting still either. They’ve now rolled out a new site which circumvents the UK measures before they’ve even started.
In most countries where The Pirate Bay is blocked it’s done by a domain and IP-address filter. But, since TPB added a new IP-address at 194.71.107.80, blocked subscribers can access the site again without problems. At least for now that is, since in some cases the copyright holders have the power to add new domains and addresses upon request.
The Pirate Bay team is no stranger to this. However, circumventing the blockades directly is not the main reason the IP-address was added. Regular users of TPB will notice that the site hosted on the new address is slightly different from the standard site.
The Pirate Bay team told TorrentFreak that the new site is setup to guarantee maximum compatibility with the many proxy sites that are out there.
“It is made so the people who setup proxies can use the new IP-address instead of coming up with complicated rewrites for static content and stuff. Instead of pointing their proxies to thepiratebay.se they should point it to that IP-address,” we were told.
Aside from making it easier to setup a proxy, the new page is also optimized for proxies in other ways. It will only show links to magnet files for example, and the login, register, comment and upload functions are disabled for security reasons.
So, even if the new IP-address is added to the various blocklists, the new site still functions as a basis for proxy sites.
The above once again shows that it’s virtually impossible to completely prevent people from accessing The Pirate Bay. There are simply too many options for people to route around the block. From visiting a proxy, to simply adding a few lines to their “hosts” file to access the site directly.
It appears that the only working option to stop people from accessing the site is to DDoS it into oblivion. But then again, that’s not really sustainable. 





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