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Coby $100 laptop was a hoax

A number of prominent websites have recently reported that Coby Electronics, a company that specialized in manufacturing low-end electronic devices is preparing to launch its own line of systems. Dubbed “Midget PCs,” it’s been widely reported that these Linux-based portables will feature 7″-9″ screens, use a Chinese “Longsoon” processor, and cost just $100. It’s Nicholas Negroponte’s dream of a $100 laptop made possible by Chinese technology, right?

Well, no, probably not. There are a couple of interesting hardware tidbits in the story—more on those below, but there are several more fishy things about this. For one thing, as Ross Rubin of NPD pointed out on his blog, the original story lifts a quote he apparently made two years ago, and presents it as a new statement. Rubin contacted Coby Electronics himself, and was told by the company’s PR representatives that “this story, or any announcement regarding a netbook, was not (emphasis theirs) initiated, condoned, or approved by Coby Electronics.” The story itself was dismissed as erroneous.

Full Story: Ars Technica

(via Robot Wisdom)

How T-Shirts Keep Online Content Free

Increasingly, creative types are harnessing what I’ve begun to call “the T-shirt economy”—paying for bits by selling atoms. Charging for content online is hard, often impossible. Even 10 cents for a download of something like Red vs. Blue might drive away the fans. So instead of fighting this dynamic, today’s smart artists are simply adapting to it.

Their algorithm is simple: First, don’t limit your audience by insisting they pay to see your work. Instead, let your content roam freely online, so it generates as large an audience as possible. Then cash in on your fans’ desire to sport merchandise that declares their allegiance to you.

We’re talking about a surprisingly big market. According to Impressions, a clothing industry trade publication, Americans spend around $40 billion a year on decorated apparel. At CafePress, a Web site that lets anyone customize and sell merchandise, users sold more than $100 million in goods in 2007—pocketing $20 million in profits—and overall sales are growing an average of 60 percent a year.

As you might expect, the T-shirt economy is a long tail phenomenon, with comparatively few people making a full-time living while millions earn only a few hundred or thousand bucks a year. On the high revenue end, you’ve got companies like BustedTees—an offshoot of the funny-video portal CollegeHumor—which, with a staff of eight, expects to clear a 20 percent profit on sales of 350,000-plus shirts for 2008. In the middle are outfits like RightWingStuff, which hawks T-shirts mocking the left. And on the far end of the tail are people like David Friedman, a New York photographer who cooks up three or four witty ideas a year—like his series of T-shirts adorned with fictional corporate logos that are blurrily “pixelated,” as if on reality TV—and makes just enough money to cover his hosting fees, plus a bit of pocket change.

Full Story: Wired

Philip Shropshire: what does a viable 3rd party look like?

Remember the arrogance of that Obama turnaround on FISA? Well, the answer is, under the current Daily Kos construction, we have no where else to turn. What else can we do? “Where else can you dirty fucking internet beatnik hippies go? Just give me some more money and shut the fuck up,” Obama might as well have said. He’ll probably say something like that a lot during the next four years. Obama will probably do things that any sensible person would never equate with real “change”.

Here are the Markos rules as far as I can figure them out: We support the democrats no matter what they do. We don’t support Republicans, which I think is smart because they’re an evil party (there shouldn’t be a party that represents private interests against the greater good at every fucking turn)but we also don’t support third party candidates who would better represent us. Further, we won’t expend any energy into building viable third party candidates and/or well funded well organized third party runs. Now, to me, those last two facts, the reality that we don’t support third party candidates or will work to build a viable third party infrastructure, doom us to irrelevance. This is why we lose. I might stress that this is also why we will continue to lose. They simply don’t fear us. Finally, this Markos construction is a boon to the Republicans. I can very easily see a scenario where the republicans stop all meaningful reform/stimulus over the next two years, declare all dem efforts “fails” and make big gains in 2010.

Three: What is a viable third party run?You don’t need a 50 state plan, at least initially, to prove our point to the democrats. You really need to focus on what I’ve been calling my 5/25 plan. You need to fund 25 house races and 5 senate races. You need at least 1 million dollars to compete for a house seat and at least 2 million to compete, realistically and viably for a senate seat. Now, this is where the expertise of the Kos community could come in handy. What 25 house seats would you pick to make your point? I frankly think they should run “Lieberman” style. Run them in the primary first and even if they lose run them in the general. We already have two senate opportunities in Delaware and Illinois for 2010. Tom Morello has openly talked about dipping his toe into the political waters in Illinois. I actually wouldn’t mind Ralph Nader as a Delaware senator because I think he would use the fillibuster. The truth of the matter is that five senators that use the old fashioned Jimmy Stewart fillibuster could change congress. Just once, I’d like to see a senator as supportive of child healthcare as they are for wall street bailouts. I’d love to see a senator talk about that over a several day fillibuster as well. (You would need a stubborn asshole to do that…Nader looks right to me…)

Full Story: American Samizdat

links for 2008-01-04

Anti-gay Boy Scouts leader arrested for molesting boys

A scout leader who once sued the City of Berkeley for challenging a national Boy Scout ban on members who are gay or atheist has been arrested on felony charges that for at least five years he sexually abused young males in the troops he led.

[...]

Mr. Evans sued the city in his role as a leader of the Sea Scouts, an affiliate program of the Boy Scouts. The city, after providing free berthing for a Sea Scouts boat for 60 years, said in 1998 that a Boy Scout policy barring gay scouts and atheists violated Berkeley’s rules against discrimination. The city said the Scouts would have to leave the berth or pay $500 a month rent.

Mr. Evans sued for discrimination and for violating the Scouts’ First Amendment rights. The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Berkeley.

Full Story: New York Times.

(via Wonkette).

Draconian copyright laws in the States. Consider Canada?

Good ol' Bush Salute

In the context of all the good advancing copyright law can do for us as we move further into the twenty-first century (see “How creativity is being strangled by the law“), I almost shed a tear for Americans this afternoon because of these two bills being rushed into action:

House vote on illegal images sweeps in Wi-Fi, Web sites

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill saying that anyone offering an open Wi-Fi connection to the public must report illegal images including “obscene” cartoons and drawings–or face fines of up to $300,000.

That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user’s account be retained for subsequent police inspection. [cont.]

Download A Song–Lose Your Loan

Page 411 of this 747-page bill is “Section 494(A): CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION” wherein the bill’s meaning takes a serious detour from its title. To prevent college students from illegally accessing copyrighted material, the section says all schools shall (when you see the word “shall” in a law, it’s a requirement, not a suggestion):

1) Have “a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property”
and
2) Have “a plan to explore technology based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”

The craziest thing about this is that noncompliant schools would lose all their federal funding, for all their students. No more Pell Grants. No more federal financial aid. No more student loans. This is not just draconian punishment for students who break the law, this punishes all students at that institution even if they did nothing!

Beyond that, both requirements actually work against the point of the bill itself–implementation would likely raise school fees. [cont.]

I won’t name names, but recently I helped out a friend occultist in California review Canadian cities to expatriate to. I sent him a bunch of info on crime, lifestyle, popular job markets, and some ethnic/religious backgrounds to the cities to help him decide which was more his flavour.

As we move into an era where identity exists more and more online, and who knows as more transhuman technologies become more mainstream over the next decade. Copyright, essentially communications in general, has become the quiet battleground in the American government. Because these Draconian laws benefit not only the corporations down there, but the right-wing zealous nuts who want the world safe for their Sears-inspired Christian regime, might I suggest you, too, look at moving abroad rather than putting up with the weird Fourth Reich that is bubbling and brewing.

For those of you not caring or fighting your government before it swelters and your personal freedoms are abandoned in favour of a “safe, secure Christian state,” please feel free to inquire with any of us Canadian occultists about which cities might be welcome to you. There’s always South America, Asia, or Europe if you’re thinking more exotic, and I have friends that are always flying down to South Africa to work.

For those of you that decide to fight on your native soil, kudos to you. To the rest of you, if you don’t feel it’s your battle, the world is your oyster. America is not the end-all, be-all of the human experience.

Just a friendly word from Fell. And if there is any interest, perhaps I should put together an Guide to Canada for American Counterculture Expats. Aforementioned Californian seemed to appreciate it and is checking out his city of choice this winter. And I know we’re not exactly 100% sovereign from the U.S.’s influence, but things are nowhere near the psycho state that is growing down there. =]

EDIT — A bit of a perception/context update for the SAFE Act, via the good boys at Ars Technica:

Despite hyperbole to the contrary, the SAFE Act that passed the House yesterday won’t force local coffee shops, libraries, and home users to monitor their network connections for child porn.

Pot growing couple demands 100k in damages from Colorado law enforcement

captain weed and bong girl

A Colorado couple is threatening to sue local law enforcement to get its bongs back — as well as its marijuana plants, which they say they grew for medical purposes.

According to their lawyer, James and Lisa Masters will be seeking “in excess of $100,000″ from the Larimer County Drug Task Force, which illegally seized 39 plants and failed to preserve them. Under Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado State Constitution, “any property … used in connection with the medical use of marijuana… shall not be harmed, neglected, injured, or destroyed while in the possession of state or local law enforcement officials.” The Constitution also reads in part: “Marijuana and paraphernalia seized by state or local law enforcement officials from a patient or primary care-giver … shall be returned immediately.”

Full Story: Washington Post.

(Thanks Vanity Harlot!)

Platform from Timothy Leary’s Campaign for Governor of California

Before The Open Source Party. Before The Guns and Dope Party. Before The Revolution Party. In 1969, Timothy Leary ran for governor of California against Ronald Reagan. The motto was “Come together – join the party” and John Lennon originally wrote the song “Come Together” for Leary.

According to a letter from Leary published in Mondo 2000 # 6 in 1992, this was Leary’s platform:

1. The basic function of government is to protect individuals against organized gangs and groups.

2. Decentralization: California secedes from the USSA.

3. Another basic function of govt. is to entertain/educate.

4. The government makes a profit. Instead of paying taxes, the citizen received dividends.

5. The profits derived from licensing pleasures: Marijuana license like an auto license/registration, hard liquor, gambling; prostitutes were professionals like dentists or lawyers; LSD, etc., used in state parks or theme parks; Entry taxes – California would be like an amusement park – entrance fees and daily residence fees; Education – California specializes in education – non-Californians paid substantial fees.

The only other info I could find about the platform:

Revealing part of his guber-natorial platform for the first time, Leary pledged solutions to California’s 10 major political problems.

He leaked out only a few of those solutions, but what did emerge was unique — to say the least.

“I’m going to legalize marijuana and charge a $1,000 a year permit fee for those who want to make it,” he said.

“Given the size of California population, that will generate a huge amount of additional revenue each year.

“Then I’ll turn that money over to the police and the forces of the right wing to keep them happy and off people’s backs,” Leary explained.

Wouldn’t that be discriminating against the poor who can’t afford $1,000 a year for the privilege of turning on? he was asked.

“That’s not really a problem,” he explained, “because it’s only a short-term situation — in five years I’ll eliminate all money from Californian society and return to a barter system.”

(Source)

See also: Timothy Leary Dossier

An Even Scarier Solstice

Awaken the terrifying wrath of the Great Olde Ones during the holiday season with Cthulhu-themed solstice songs! A Very Scary Solstice and its new sequel, An Even Scarier Solstice, are available now from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. The albums feature gloriously disturbing songs like “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-Men,” “Awake Ye Scary Old Ones,” “I’m Dreaming of a Dead City,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog Sothoth.”

cthulhulives.org/Solstice $20 for holiday goodness. Site has free samples!

NJ School Cameras Fed Live To Cops

Surveillance cameras rolling inside our local schools is nothing new, but what’s taking place inside Demarest’s public schools is truly cutting edge: a live feed from more than two dozen cameras with a direct connection to the police.

It’s an expensive, but effective tool that could be a sign of the times with an increase in school shootings over the years.

The system, which cost about $28,000, can even track movement in a crowded room.

WTF? “expensive, but effective”? Is this an editorial piece? And what increase in school shootings? Last I heard school shootings have been dropping since before Columbine.

Full Story: WCBSTV.

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