Friday, June 27, 2008

Quantum Computing

You go along, a little disappointed in this cheap jetpackless future we live in and then every once and a while you read something like this:
If a traditional computer were given the task of looking up a person's phone number in a telephone book, it would look at each name in order until it found the right number. Computers can do this much faster than people, but it is still a sequential task. A quantum computer, however, could look at all of the names in the telephone book simultaneously.

Quantum computers also could take advantage of the bizarre behaviors of quantum mechanics - some of which are counterintuitive even to physicists - in ways that are hard to fathom. For example, two quantum computers could, in concept, communicate instantaneously across any distance imaginable, even across solar systems.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I like it, I love it

...And you will too, Lyric's Born from his new release Everywhere At Once and oh my God is this album tight! Go spend money on it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

These are the people who helped write C-61

The Motion Picture Association of America said Friday intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect damages, perhaps as much as $150,000 per copyright violation, without having to prove infringement.

"Mandating such proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances," MPAA attorney Marie L. van Uitert wrote Friday to the federal judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial
They also believe that transferring music or video you bought and paid for from DVDs or CDs to your computer or MP3 player is theft. The Conservative's new law means if they put even the most inept and easy to circumvent DRM on their products to stop you from doing so and you do anyway you can be fined thousands.

The organizations like the MPAA and RIAA that essentially wrote C-61 (Made in Canada my ass.) now indicate they believe they shouldn't have to prove infringement in order to seize your house. Innocence till proven guilty is now a 'quaint' idea like the Geneva Conventions or Habeas Corpus to a White House lawyer. Expecting these huge corporations to actually prove that you've infringed on their material is clearly unreasonable.

The government of Stephen Harper is collaborating with huge foreign conglomerates to turn Canadian citizens into digital serfs with no legal rights to the possessions we have paid for or by extension the presumption of innocence itself - isn't that sort of...treason?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Prisoners of America

I hope Bush enjoyed his farewell tour of Europe, because he and the most senior members of his administration will never be able to safely leave the United States again.
Is it likely that prosecutions will be brought overseas? Yes. It is reasonably likely. Sands's book contains an interview with an investigating magistrate in a European nation, which he describes as a NATO nation with a solidly pro-American orientation which supported U.S. engagement in Iraq with its own soldiers. The magistrate makes clear that he is already assembling a case, and is focused on American policymakers. I read these remarks and they seemed very familiar to me. In the past two years, I have spoken with two investigating magistrates in two different European nations, both pro-Iraq war NATO allies. Both were assembling war crimes charges against a small group of Bush administration officials. "You can rest assured that no charges will be brought before January 20, 2009," one told me. And after that? "It depends. We don't expect extradition. But if one of the targets lands on our territory or on the territory of one of our cooperating jurisdictions, then we'll be prepared to act."
Murderous dictator General Augusto Pinochet assumed that Margaret Thatcher's swooning girlish crush (Apparently jackboots and testicle clamps really got her hot.) meant he could safely visit England, but his remaining years were consumed with fighting charges of crimes against humanity.

The White House architects of conquest, torture and murder will hopefully spend the rest of their lives nervously looking over their shoulders.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Felon Defends Felon

Conrad Black defends Richard Nixon's reputation - appropriately from behind bars.

Nixonland author Rick Perlstein, who's masterful takedown of David Frum I blogged about here, has written a book that's made him enemies of all the right people. I haven't read it yet, but if it compelled Black to take the time between prison yard shankings and shower room sodomy to pen his outraged screed its got to be worth checking out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Myth of a Horesrace

The media loved the primaries. The Democratic race in particular was a ratings bonanza.

So it's understandable, if wildly discrediting, that they would wish to sustain a narrative of uncertainty, of actual contest in the general election campaign regardless of the facts on the ground.

In fact every indication is that John Mcain will lose badly to Obama. Historically badly with blowouts like Roosevelt VS Hoover or Reagan VS Carter the examples that historians point to for what we can expect.
One week into the general election, the polls show a dead heat. But many presidential scholars doubt that John McCain stands much of a chance, if any.

Historians belonging to both parties offered a litany of historical comparisons that give little hope to the Republican. Several saw Barack Obama’s prospects as the most promising for a Democrat since Roosevelt trounced Hoover in 1932.

“This should be an overwhelming Democratic victory,” said Allan Lichtman, an American University presidential historian who ran in a Maryland Democratic senatorial primary in 2006. Lichtman, whose forecasting model has correctly predicted the last six presidential popular vote winners, predicts that this year, “Republicans face what have always been insurmountable historical odds.” His system gives McCain a score on par with Jimmy Carter’s in 1980.
Demographics are no kinder to McCain than history. With the rise of a Latino population in the west treated with grotesque xenophobia and fear-mongering by the Republican Party in recent years, a highly engaged African American population in the south and Americans under thirty overwhelmingly identifying as Democrats, this isn't a surge, this is a fundamental electoral re-alignment. Republican donors seem unwilling to throw good money after bad, another bad sign for the GOP.

But if you're watching American TV news, all you hear is that McCain is a maverick, an independant voice in the Republican Party. The reality of his closeness to Bush's doctrines has gotten through anyway. You're hearing all about Obama's problems with older white women, still bitter about Hillary's fall from grace, and very little about his overwhelming polling advantage with women in general. You hear he doesn't have a plurality of white men, but not that
No Democratic presidential candidate, including Bill Clinton, has won a majority of that declining demographic since 1964. Mr. Kerry lost white men by 25 points, and Mr. Gore did by 24 points (even as he won the popular vote).
The real story is that short of an October surprise - which could as easily help Obama as it could McCain - Obama is about to stomp McCain like a narc at a biker rally. But that story doesn't fit the narrative and would give the talking heads very little to talk about for the next five months.

2009 is going to be a very different world.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John McCain in Ottawa next Friday June 20th

At an Economic Club of Canada luncheon at the Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Laurier at 1 Rideau Street. I think as many representatives of Canada's peace and justice movements as can make it should be there to give him a proper welcome.


Harper's apology to residential school survivors was welcome but ultimately what matters is deeds not words.

This is the same government that scrapped the Kelowna Accord, one of the best opportunities to start undoing some of the damage Harper apologized for yesterday. His government has offered nothing approaching the Accord's scope in its place.

This is the government that has refused to ratify the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A far more concrete step than mere words and far more likely to mean significant change than a cosmetic apology.

This is a government, members of which frequently bloviate about individual human rights for natives - but primarily as a stalking horse to attack native collective rights and pass the buck for institutional neglect back to its victims. It was only last month that they gave up their ideology based efforts to undermine collective rights and accepted amendments to Bill C-21 that protected them.

Even now some Conservative MPs and members of the right wing press minimize the harm done by the residential school kidnap factories, express scorn for the apology and cavil about compensation. This may express the true views of the governing party more than a calculated PR exercise does.

If this undoubtedly historic apology is to be more than mere words it will require deeds to back it up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Copyright Comics

Spotted at BoingBoing.

Created by the folks at Appropriation Art, this is a great, succinct rundown of the issues around Canadian copyright law and what you can do to protect your rights - in comic book form!

It's a brief but entertaining PDF full of links and advice for you to get involved.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Skepticism for sale

In the marketplace of ideas, how come enviro-skepticism needs to be so heavily subsidized?
A new study by a team of political scientists and sociologists at the journal Environmental Politics concludes that 9 out of 10 books published since 1972 that have disputed the seriousness of environmental problems and mainstream science can be linked to a conservative think tank (CTT). Following on earlier work by co-author Riley Dunlap and colleagues, the study examines the ability of conservative think tanks to use the media and other communication strategies to successfully challenge mainstream expert agreement on environmental problems.
A made up movement using made up pseudo-science financed by big polluters just to give politicians the political cover to be able to say 'There is scientific disagreement about man made global warming.' and continue to do nothing.

Follow the money. Always follow the money.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Linkblast - June 7

  • David Frum gets bitchslapped
    Too often these right wing hacks get to spout their utter shite completely unchallenged. Unambiguous falsehoods confidently stated in a clear ringing voice and on to the next one. Having a class A bullshitter like Frum interviewed by someone who just repeatedly calls him on his crap is like a breath of fresh air.

  • I'm so bored of the Singularity
    Apocalyptic end time porn for nerds.

  • Pirate attacks up 75%
    A pirate raid per day somewhere on the seven seas.

  • The Brazilians take their cigarette pack warnings seriously
    Not for the squeamish, I'm not kidding here, these are hard core.

  • Canada's Vietnam
    Michael Byers on the Afghanistan mission.

  • Bubble universes
    Warren Ellis has braingasms over some of the latest theoretical breakthroughs into the origins of the universe.

  • The First Horror Movie
    Made in 1910 at the movie studio created by Thomas Edison this 15 minute silent movie adaptation of Frankenstein was believed lost for years. One stained, damaged copy remained. Imagine watching it in a darkened theater with spooky organ music playing as people are only starting to wrap their heads around the idea of moving pictures at all. It must have been apocalyptic.
Part One

And Part Two

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sometimes these things write themselves...

DeLay: 'Unless Obama Proves Me Wrong, He Is a Marxist'

House Republican Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) called Barack Obama a "Marxist" on the Mike Gallagher radio show Thursday.

Explaining that Obama clinching the Democratic nomination is a good thing for John McCain, DeLay said Obama's "weakness" is that "nobody knows him."

"And if McCain does not define him as what he is — hey, I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist," DeLay said.

So by this logic, if I call Tom Delay a pig*&$%er, unless he affirmatively proves to me that he does not, in fact, have intimate relations with farm animals than he is one, case closed.

If this kind of transparently desperate nonsense is the best the Republicans can do, Obama is going to romp into the White House in November.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


FOX & Friends host Gretchen Carlson, who, as a dutiful employee of the White House propaganda arm, continues the tactic of attacking the messenger when the message makes the Bush administration look bad. In this case, she all but threatens former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Scott McClellan better not have any skeletons in his closet, I hope he didn’t do anything that he doesn’t want the world to know about, because we all have and his secrets are going to be coming out.

Tell me this doesn't constitute hanging out a big sign that says 'Please kick me hard'?

So Gretchen, on the subject of skeletons we'd all like to stay in the closet, In 1990, when you parlayed a beauty pageant win into an anchor gig at Channel 8 in Richmond, Virginia, for its 6 p.m. news, only to get fired because of a huge local scandal over a reported affair with your married co-anchor, did you ever think you'd one day be piously threatening warning other people about the skeletons in their closets?

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