Mar
31
2010

But I have to say, I don’t think it looks so bad. (Stop the presses: Wronging Rights is being less snarky than the rest of the internet about something!)

I only know what I’ve seen in the clip above, and read in Gentleman’s article, but as far as I can tell, Lohan behaved as any interested, kind, and previously-uninformed person would have in that situation. Reading between the lines of Gentleman’s eyebrow-wiggling and mascara-smearing prose, it sounds like Lohan, upon hearing the small child on her lap describe a life of exploitation and suffering, began to cry. And we’re supposed to think this is a sign of what, exactly? Weakness of character? Crying when faced with tragedy is hardly a reaction limited to hard-partying starlets.

Likewise, I’m not inclined to pounce on Lohan for stumbling over her words a bit in the confrontation with the trafficker that’s shown in the clip. Yes, it’s hardly the case that only “the attractive ones” need to worry about being sexually abused, or forced into prostitution. But Lindsey Lohan isn’t an expert in human trafficking, or women’s rights. If she’d parroted the talking points perfectly, then we’d know that she’d been well coached. But as it was, she had an awkward, slightly weird, somewhat inaccurate conversation with a woman who admitted to selling children. At worst, that’s an interesting thing to watch. And at best, it offers the similarly-uninformed viewer someone to identify with. (Hell, the informed viewer, too. There but for the grace of not being followed around by a video camera during my intern years go I.)

In other words, Lindsay Lohan is kind of a weirdo, and a layperson when it comes to trafficking in children, and acted accordingly. I fail to see the problem with that. It seems far, far preferable to the alternative mode of celebrity causemongering, in which stars opine on substantive policy matters, and are treated like the experts they are not.

Your thoughts?

via wronging rights: In Which Pigs Fly, and I Defend Lindsay Lohan’s New Trafficking Documentary.

0 Comments
Mar
31
2010

Uber useful!!!

Estimating the chances of something that hasn’t happened yet

by John on March 30, 2010

Suppose you’re proofreading a book. If you’ve read 20 pages and found 7 typos, you might reasonably estimate that the chances of a page having a typo are 7/20. But what if you’ve read 20 pages and found no typos. Are you willing to conclude that the chances of a page having a typo are 0/20, i.e. the book has absolutely no typos?

To take another example, suppose you are testing children for perfect pitch. You’ve tested 100 children so far and haven’t found any with perfect pitch. Do you conclude that children don’t have perfect pitch? You know that some do because you’ve heard of instances before. But your data suggest perfect pitch in children is at least rare. But how rare?

The rule of three gives a quick and dirty way to estimate these kinds of probabilities. It says that if you’ve tested N cases and haven’t found what you’re looking for, a reasonable estimate is that the probability is less than 3/N. So in our proofreading example, if you haven’t found any typos in 20 pages, you could estimate that the probability of a page having a typo is less than 15%. In the perfect pitch example, you could conclude that fewer than 3% of children have perfect pitch.

via Estimating the chances of something that hasn’t happened yet — The Endeavour.

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Mar
31
2010

How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords

Posted on Mar 26, 2007 – 2:17am by John P. in Computing, Security

User LoginIf you invited me to try and crack your password, you know the one that you use over and over for like every web page you visit, how many guesses would it take before I got it?

Let’s see… here is my top 10 list. I can obtain most of this information much easier than you think, then I might just be able to get into your e-mail, computer, or online banking. After all, if I get into one I’ll probably get into all of them.

via How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords | One Man’s Blog.

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Mar
31
2010

If this is true, I have a feeling diabetes will be cured within 10 years.

“For every person in the world with HIV there are three people in China with diabetes,” said David Whiting, an epidemiologist with the International Diabetes Federation, who was not involved in the research.

via Marginal Revolution: China diabetes fact of the day.

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Mar
31
2010

Quote :: But what else is life for…?

Posted by: angol in Categories: rePosts.

Great Pic HERE!


I envisioned this cartoon as something somebody would want to put up on their office wall, the same day that they leave their nine-to-five job, in order to start their own business.

The day you do this is one of the the greatest days you’ll ever have in your life. Of course it’s scary. Of course it’s risky.

But what else is life for…?

via .

0 Comments
Mar
31
2010

The next earth hour should include no tweets and fb updates, use of cellphones and other mobile devices!!!

What that means is that, as the Greenpeace report makes clear, both the economic and the political stakes involved in mitigating the environmental impact of the cloud will increase. Greenpeace argues that what’s important is not only the efficiency of data centers but the sources of the power they use. The heavenly cloud, it turns out, runs largely on earthbound coal. In this regard, it singles out Facebook for criticism:

Facebook’s decision to build its own highly-efficient data centre in Oregon that will be substantially powered by coal-fired electricity clearly underscores the relative priority for many cloud companies. Increasing the energy efficiency of its servers and reducing the energy footprint of the infrastructure of data centres are clearly to be commended, but efficiency by itself is not green if you are simply working to maximise output from the cheapest and dirtiest energy source available.

Greenpeace also links Apple’s decision to locate a huge cloud data center in North Carolina to that state’s cheap electricity supplies, which come mainly from coal-fired plants. Other companies, including Google, also run big data center operations in the Carolinas. Noting that the IT industry “holds many of the keys to reaching our climate goals,” Greenpeace says that it is pursuing a “Cool IT Campaign” that is intended to pressure the industry to “put forward solutions to achieve economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reductions and to be strong advocates for policies that combat climate change and increase the use of renewable energy.”
via Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: Greenpeace raids the cloud.

0 Comments
Mar
30
2010

I propose work-life compartmentalization as a case study. “Work-life balance” is how we rationalize that separation. It’s OK, we think, to put up with some unpleasantness from 9 to 5, as long as we can look forward to getting home, kicking our shoes off and relaxing, alone or among family or friends. And perhaps that’s reasonable enough.

But this logic leads many people to tolerate: stress, taking orders, doing work that we think is meaningless, filling out paperwork that will never actually be read, pouring our energy into projects we’re certain are failure-bound but never speaking up about that to avoid being branded “not a team player”, being bored in endless meetings which are thinly disguised status games, feeling unproductive and stupid but grinding on anyway because it’s “office hours” and that’s when we are supposed to work, and so on.

And those are only the milder symptoms. Workplace bullying, crunch mode, dodgy workplace ethics are worryingly prevalent. (There are large variations in this type of workplace toxicity; some of us are lucky enough to never catch but a whiff of it, some of us unfortunately are exposed to a high degree. That these are real and widespread phenomena is evidenced by the success of TV shows showing office life as its darkest; humor is a defense mechanism.)

Things snapped into focus for me one day when a manager asked me to lie to a client about my education record in order to get a contract. I refused, expecting to be fired; that didn’t happen. Had I really been at risk? The incident anyway fueled a resolve to try and apply at work the same standards that I do in life – when I think rationally.

via Less Wrong: The fallacy of work-life compartmentalization.

0 Comments
Mar
30
2010

PRESS STATEMENT
28 March 2010
CONCERNED ARTISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
Reference: Roselle Pineda, tel. 09296454102

Cause-oriented
artists’ group slams MTRCB for “X” rating

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP)
joins the local film, media and creative communities in lambasting the
so-called Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for
reverting to open fascism when it slapped an “X” rating on two films
for AmBisyon 2010 of local cable channel ANC.

This MTRCB action bares once again the repressive
soul of this relic of an agency from the martial law regime of decades past.
Under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the MTRCB has been at its most ferocious since
1986, effectively censoring the most number of films with “X” ratings
for the narrow partisan purposes of the power-hungry few. These strikedowns
expose to all and sundry the basic deceit that the MTRCB is merely a review and
classification agency.

The MTRCB should have long been sent to the dustbin
of history along with the martial law dictatorship. Its existence wantonly
violates the bold mandate of the constitution to protect freedom of expression
as an inalienable right not to be suppressed by prior restraint that the MTRCB
signifies as an institution. That Congress has not come out with a law
abolishing it 23 years after our people ratified a fundamental law with a
superior Bill of Rights speaks of the actual insensitivity to democracy of
those who have ruled the legislature and government all these years.

CAP had worked with many of today’s generation of
rising filmmakers in lobbying the passage of House Bill 6425 outlawing the
MTRCB. But this has languished under a Congress obsessed with the Arroyo
clique’s ploys to prolong itself in power.

The Arroyo regime has shown by this single act
against Philippine culture that it does not deserve at all being hosts to our
country being made this and next year’s ASEAN’s cultural capital. It is an
insult to ASEAN and the peoples of this region’s countries that the chosen
epitome of their colorful cultures would exhibit such a deep lack of respect
for cultural and creative expression.

We laud world-class Filipino filmmakers Jeffrey
Jeturian and Brillante Mendoza for holding their ground in asserting their
filmic portrayal of a country sadly lost to the mad dogs of greed and
powerlust. This MTRCB action pointedly proves the urgency of why their films
and others of similar nature ought to be made and broadcast in conscience. It
also pointedly proves why this year’s elections is all about removing the
U.S.-Arroyo regime from power.

CAP is thus intent in being part of the protests
against this abominable act of “X” ratings against the two AmBisyon
films. We likewise urge fellow Filipinos to do so, and make this season a time
to reclaim our country from the detestable Arroyo regime. ##

-30-

0 Comments
Mar
30
2010

I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on-my-own,
won’t you help me, girl,
just as soon as you can.
People say that I’ve found a way,
to make you say,
that you love me.
But baby,
you didn’t go for that,
me, it’s a natural fact,
that I wanna come back,
show me where it’s at, baby.

I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on-my-own,
won’t you help me, girl,
just as soon as you can.
I guess you know that I, uh,
love you so,
even though,
you don’t want me no more,
hey, hey, hey, I’m cryin’ tears,
all through the years,
I tell you like it is,
honey, love me if you can.

Ya baby,
tired of being alone here by myself,
I tell ya, I’m tired baby,
I’m tired of being all wrapt up late at night,
in my dreams, nobody but you, baby.
Sometimes I wonder,
if you love me like you say you do,
You see baby, I’ve been thinking about you,
I’ve been wanting to get next to you, baby,
Sometimes I hold my arms and I say,
Mmmmm hmmmm hmmmm,
O baby, needing you has proven to me,
to be my greatest dream.

I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on-my-own,
…Sometimes late at night I get to wonderin’ about you baby,
Baby, baby, ya…

0 Comments
Mar
30
2010

Finally some minor victories against the corporate interest .

ACLU prevails: US Fed Judge invalidates gene patent

Cory Doctorow at 10:15 PM March 29, 2010

United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet has invalidated Myriad Genetics's infamous “breast cancer patent” — a patent on genetic mutations that cause breast cancer, which Myriad has exercised in the form of a high lab-fee for analysis on samples (Myriad threatens to sue any independent lab that performs the analysis).

The suit was brought by the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation, who argued that US Patent and Trademark Office was wrong to grant patents on genes, as these are not patentable subject matter. The judge agreed, saying that gene patents are patents on a “law of nature” and called the isolation of genes and filing patents on them “a lawyer's trick that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result.”

Which sounds to me like a precedent against all patents that rely on isolated genes. Of course, this isn't over: the pharma/biotech stalwarts interviewed in the linked NYT piece are talking appeal, and I'm sure they'll try to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

via ACLU prevails: US Fed Judge invalidates gene patent – Boing Boing.

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