Friday, March 30, 2007
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Michael Hall, 2007-02-04
It seems like there is always that guy in the bar that has a crazy story about the beer he's drinking. The worst part, sometimes its believable, so you tell someone, then they tell someone, and thats a beer myth. Here are ten of the more outrageous myths about beer and what you need to know to set that guy in the bar straight.
Beer Myth 1: Beat the Beer Belly with Light Beer
OK, light beers have maybe 90-100 calories, regular beers generally have less than 200 calories. A beer lover would say the difference is comparable to the difference between McDonalds and a 5 star restaurant. A dietician would tell you the difference is negligible. So unless you are drinking 300 beers a week, I would drink the good stuff.
Beer Myth 2: The darker the beer, the more alcohol it contains
Not even close. Guinness is black, and has 4.2% alcohol. The color of a beer comes from the toasted malts, which has no effect on alcohol content. Ingredients like rice syrup, honey, and corn syrup add alcohol to beer, but do not influence the color.
Beer Myth 3: Beer is ruined if warmed and then refrigerated
This can be true, if you do it many, many times, and it will happen gradually. People think re-chilling beer will cause it to be "skunked". Beer can be ruined by air, light and time. Temperature won't ruin a beer unless it's extreme. Get fresh beer and store it in dark place, and it will be fine.
Beer Myth 4: Imported beers have more alcohol than domestic beers
This comes from the way US beers reported their beers' alcohol content. The rest of the world uses "Alcohol by Volume", here is the US they used "Alcohol By Weight". Since beer weighs less than water, US beers had smaller numbers, but not less alcohol.
Beer Myth 5: The Guinness they serve in Ireland is better
It seems widely accepted that beer in "the old country" is better than what they export to the rest of the world. The brewing process is cheap, so why would a brewery risk their reputation by brewing a different beer for export? It doesn't make sense, and it's not true. With few exceptions, the beer that is exported is the exact same beer that they serve in the bar across the street from the brewery. The difference is purely freshness. It takes two weeks for a keg of Guinness to get from Dublin to your favorite bar in the states. Some beers, like Fosters, is brewed in Canada under a license for sale in the US. But it is clearly stated on the bottle when this is the case.
Beer Myth 6: Beer shouldn't be Bitter
The bitterness of a beer comes from the hops. Hops are in all beers to balance the sweet malts and to act as a preservative. Some beers have a lot of hops, like India Pale Ales (IPAs) and some beers have less hops, like Wheat Beers. Hops can give a beer complexity and add all sorts of flavors and aromas, like pine, citrus, and earthiness. Hops are why people say beer is an acquired taste, but they also make beer delicious.
Beer Myth 7: The best beers are in green bottles.
As it turns out, brown bottles protect the beer from the light much better than green bottles or clear bottles. This myth comes from when there was a shortage of brown glass in Europe after WWII. The European beers were bottled in green instead, so green bottles came to represent imports. This certainly isn't the case anymore.
Beer Myth 8: The Thai beer Singha has formaldehyde in it
It seems widely believed that Singha is brewed with formaldehyde, as is Chang beer, San Miguel, Vietnamese 33, and Singapore's Tiger Beer. The most believable explanation for this one is that Singha is much more bitter and contains more alcohol than most lagers. When American or British expatriots and soldiers were drinking beer in Thailand, they got drunk much more quickly then they were used to, and it was much more bitter flavor then they were used to. To explain this it was suggested that it contained formaldehyde. Crazy.
Beer Myth 9: Corona is Mexican Piss
In the 1980s there was a rumor that Mexican workers were peeing in the Corona tanks that were destined for the US. Certainly alarmingly disgusting... if true. As it turns out this myth was started as a result of Corona's rising popularity in the US market, and who was jealous? Heineken. This was nothing more than a rumor started by a Heineken wholesaler in Reno. It all worked out, the guy from Heineken admitted his wrongdoing, and Corona continued it's rise to popularity. But the rumor can still be heard today in bars across the country.
Beer Myth 10: Women don't like beer
Thats crazy! My wife loves beer almost as much as I do. Women have brewed more beer than men in the History of Beer. Sister Doris in Bavaria brews Mallersdorf lager. Fortunately, this myth is far from true.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The consumer electronics retailer announced Wednesday that it was immediately firing store associates "who were paid well above the market-based salary range for their role." New workers will be paid less, although Circuit City did not reveal the pay of the workers.
Laying off workers who earn higher pay raises the risk of deflating the morale of employees who are left behind, says Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.
"People left behind are probably thinking they don't have a future there," Trunk says.
Those hourly workers who are laid off will get severance packages and can apply for open positions after 10 weeks.
"We have and continue to pay competitive wages in the stores across the country, but we have to control costs," Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb says. "We've got to get our stores to adhere to wage ranges."
The layoffs could have broad impact:
•Copycats. Other employers could follow Circuit City's lead. Many already are trying to curtail compensation costs. Seven percent of companies plan to trim staff levels during the second quarter of 2007, according to a survey by Manpower.
"If lower-cost labor is available, it's the right thing to do. They're not a charity," says Francie Dalton of Columbia, Md., president of Dalton Alliances, a management consultancy. "If it was your business and you have lower-cost labor available, you should do the same thing."
•Employee morale. After layoffs, companies must deal with a demoralized workforce by reassuring them that the decision is in the best interest of the company and those left behind.
"You have to reassure (the remaining workers) that, 'You're OK, and we're a stronger company now,' " says Paul Endress, president and CEO of Maximum Advantage, a Harrisburg, Pa.-based company that focuses on applying psychology to hiring and retaining workers.
•Waning productivity. Employees left behind or rehired later at lower wages could struggle with productivity, which is common in the wake of corporate cost-cutting.
Circuit City, which like other electronics retailers faces stiff competition, reported a loss for its most recent quarter ended Nov. 30, and its stock price has fallen 39% from its 52-week high. Its share price rose Wednesday to $19.23, up 1.9%
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
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Blair: Iran must free naval prisoners in days: Today's meetings followed Tony Blair's warning last night that Iran has only a few days to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating crisis over the 15 missing British sailors and Marines.
British Forces Admit Aggression against Iran's Territorial Waters : Alireza Afshar concluded by saying that the US and its allies are aware that in case they make a mistake in their estimations and invade the Islamic Iran, they will not be able to control the dimensions and period of the war,
US troops 'would have fought Iranian captors' : A senior American commander in the Gulf has said his men would have fired on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard rather than let themselves be taken hostage.
Iran would be attacked at the beginning of April (Russian military experts): According to the Russian weekly magazine Argoumenty nedeli, a military action will proceed during the first week of April
The Pentagon will attack Iranian military targets (Russian expert): The Pentagon projects to conduct soon a massive attack against the Iranian military infrastructure, estimates the General Leonid Ivachov, vice-president of the Academy of geopolitical sciences.
Chavez asks world to halt alleged planned US attack on Iran : "The Empire is moving aircraft carriers and has been moving troops on Iran," said Chavez, speaking on his broadcast programme "Hello, Mr President" yesterday.
Justin Raimondo : The Coming War With Iran : Is it inevitable? The Lobby is pushing hard on this one, and, politically, the War Party has lined up the leadership of both the Democrats and the Republicans, as Pelosi's capitulation on the Iran proviso makes all too clear.
US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran: America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.
Prepared for struggle with the West, Iranians shrug off new sanctions : Prepared for a long and bitter struggle with the West, Iran reacted with apparent indifference Sunday to the latest round of U.N. sanctions, with normal citizens brushing them off and the government vowing that Iran was strong enough to withstand them.
Iran resumes financing of Bushehr NPP: Tehran has resumed financing of the Bushehr nuclear power plant Russia is building in southern Iran, a Russian nuclear official said Monday.
Let Iran enrich uranium: Verification rather than condemnation is the strategy for avoiding conflict over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Iranian Navy begins maneuvers in Persian Gulf - national TV : The exercises, which will last until March 30, will highlight simultaneous close-in and stand-off attacks, involving destroyers, missile boats, submarines, and combat aircraft, he said.
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Friday, March 23, 2007
Only with the complicity of Congress have we become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrollable spying on the American people. The greatest danger we face is ourselves: what we are doing in the name of providing security for a people made fearful by distortions of facts. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true..
HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
Before the U.S. House of Representatives - March 20, 2007
The $124 billion supplemental appropriation is a good bill to oppose. I am pleased that many of my colleagues will join me in voting against this measure.
If one is unhappy with our progress in Iraq after four years of war, voting to de-fund the war makes sense. If one is unhappy with the manner in which we went to war, without a constitutional declaration, voting no makes equally good sense.
Voting no also makes the legitimate point that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to direct the management of any military operation-- the president clearly enjoys this authority as Commander in Chief.
But Congress just as clearly is responsible for making policy, by debating and declaring war, raising and equipping armies, funding military operations, and ending conflicts that do not serve our national interests.
Congress failed to meet its responsibilities four years ago, unconstitutionally transferring its explicit war power to the executive branch. Even though the administration started the subsequent pre-emptive war in Iraq, Congress bears the greatest responsibility for its lack of courage in fulfilling its duties. Since then Congress has obediently provided the funds and troops required to pursue this illegitimate war.
We won’t solve the problems in Iraq until we confront our failed policy of foreign interventionism. This latest appropriation does nothing to solve our dilemma. Micromanaging the war while continuing to fund it won’t help our troops.
Here’s a new approach: Congress should admit its mistake and repeal the authority wrongfully given to the executive branch in 2002. Repeal the congressional sanction and disavow presidential discretion in starting wars. Then start bringing our troops home.
If anyone charges that this approach does not support the troops, take a poll. Find out how reservists, guardsmen, and their families--many on their second or third tour in Iraq--feel about it.
The constant refrain that bringing our troops home would demonstrate a lack of support for them must be one of the most amazing distortions ever foisted on the American public. We’re so concerned about saving face, but whose face are we saving? A sensible policy would save American lives and follow the rules laid out for Congress in the Constitution—and avoid wars that have no purpose.
The claim that it’s unpatriotic to oppose spending more money in Iraq must be laid to rest as fraudulent.
We should pass a resolution that expresses congressional opposition to any more undeclared, unconstitutional, unnecessary, pre-emptive wars. We should be building a consensus for the future that makes it easier to end our current troubles in Iraq.
It’s amazing to me that this Congress is more intimidated by political propagandists and special interests than the American electorate, who sent a loud, clear message about the war in November. The large majority of Americans now want us out of Iraq.
Our leaders cannot grasp the tragic consequence of our policies toward Iraq for the past 25 years. It’s time we woke them up.
We are still by far the greatest military power on earth. But since we stubbornly refuse to understand the nature of our foes, we are literally defeating ourselves.
In 2004, bin Laden stated that Al Qaeda’s goal was to bankrupt the United States. His second in command, Zawahari, is quoted as saying that the 9/11 attack would cause Americans to, “come and fight the war personally on our sand where they are within rifle range.”
Sadly, we are playing into their hands. This $124 billion appropriation is only part of the nearly $1 trillion in military spending for this year’s budget alone. We should be concerned about the coming bankruptcy and the crisis facing the U.S. dollar.
We have totally failed to adapt to modern warfare. We’re dealing with a small, nearly invisible enemy--an enemy without a country, a government, an army, a navy, an air force, or missiles. Yet our enemy is armed with suicidal determination, and motivated by our meddling in their regional affairs, to destroy us.
And as we bleed financially, our men and women in Iraq die needlessly while the injured swell Walter Reed hospital. Our government systematically undermines the Constitution and the liberties it’s supposed to protect-- for which it is claimed our soldiers are dying in faraway places.
Only with the complicity of Congress have we become a nation of pre-emptive war, secret military tribunals, torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches, undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and uncontrollable spying on the American people. The greatest danger we face is ourselves: what we are doing in the name of providing security for a people made fearful by distortions of facts. Fighting over there has nothing to do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the opposite is true.
Surely we can do better than this supplemental authorization. I plan to vote no.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
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Monday, March 19, 2007
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Friday, March 16, 2007
The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has recently released a revised fee schedule for internet radio. Left unchanged, these rates will end internet radio, period. The RIAA has effectively convinced this federal committee to establish rates that make online radio a non-viable business.
It's an utterly ridiculous ruling that renders any form of internet radio non-economic. We are continuing in the belief that sanity will return as everyone involved, including the 50 million avid online radio listeners, realize just how outrageous this is.
You can probably tell by this post that I feel strongly about this. Online radio has opened up a new world for musicians and listeners alike. It has brought millions of otherwise disconnected music-lovers back to music radio, and has opened up tremendous access and promotion for thousands of musicians - both obscure and well known.
We are striving very hard to build a business. We employ eleven full time people in our ad sales team, and despite very high licensing and streaming costs, believed that we could make it work over the next several years if internet advertising continues to grow. This ruling drives the licensing fees (fees that are NOT paid by terrestrial broadcasters) completely out of reach, and makes our goal impossible.
This is a terribly ill-conceived attempt to crush a powerful and positive grassroots movement that is sweeping across the music world. The record labels' struggles have nothing to do with online radio and killing it will further hurt their business, not help it.
We need your help. If you'd like to get involved please write your congressperson. Below is a link to point you to the right person. If you can, please send a letter or a fax that asks for a reply (emails are too easily ignored).
Internet radio is hostage to a blatantly discriminatory double standard that was written into the federal statute governing webcasting several years ago, following an intensive lobbying effort by the RIAA. We need to redress this, and create a more level playing field - one that of course rewards musicians for their work (I spent years in a band van myself and have always been driven by a desire to lift up musicians), and one that also understands the business realities, and benefits of online radio.
While we figure this out, below are a few of the more informative write ups we've seen in the past week. We also suggest that you visit and sign this petition put together by a collection of webcasters.
1. The war on Drugs
2. The war on Terror
3. The war in Iraq
There is no way way we can win these misadventures. How would you define a win in any of these? How can you achieve a win in any of these? It can't be done. So why does our government do this to us?
Thursday, March 15, 2007
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On one level pi is simple: It is the ratio of a circle's circumference divided by its diameter. This ratio, for any circle, is always the same - 3.14 or so. You can prove this to yourself with a circle, a piece of tape and a ruler. Look around your house and find something circular: a jar lid, a CD, a plate - whatever you can find that is circular, the bigger the better. Measure its diameter (the width across the center of circle) with the ruler. Now wrap a piece of tape around around the circle and cut or mark the tape so that it is exactly as long as the outer edge (the circumference) of the circle you are measuring. Measure the piece of tape. With a calculator divide the length of the tape by the diameter you measured for the circle. The answer you will get, if you have measured accurately, is always 3.14.
The following figure shows how the circumference of a circle with a diameter of 1.27 inches is equal to a linear distance of 4 inches:
As you might imagine, 4.0 (the circumference) / 1.27 (the diameter) = 3.14.
As you can see, on this level Pi is a basic fact of life for all circles. It is a constant, 3.14, for any circle you find. The funny thing about Pi is that it also has another level. Pi is an irrational number (it cannot be expressed by any simple fraction of two integers) that has an infinite number of non-repeating digits. There are ways to calculate Pi that have nothing to do with circles. Using these techniques, Pi has been calculated out to millions of digits.
The following links give you more information about calculating Pi and different things that you can do with it:
- The Web Page Dedicated to Pi
- Fun With Pi - Pi links, songs, activities, games, and more.
- Paul's Page of Pi - Ways to calculate Pi, plus some history.
- Links to Pi Pages
- Lots of Pi Links - More about Pi than you ever wanted to know...
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
A image compiled from satellite data showing where the sea level has fallen as the eddies swirl off NSW.
A massive whirlpool has developed off the coast of NSW, dragging down the sea surface by almost a metre, diverting a mighty ocean current and chilling Sydney beachgoers.
The mysterious whirlpool is 200 kilometres across and 1000 metres deep, reaching the ocean floor, CSIRO oceanographers say. The centre is 100 kilometres from the coast and could stay there for several months.
And another eddy of similar proportions is sitting further off the coast.
CSIRO satellite oceanographer Dr David Griffin said that, while cold-water eddies regularly appeared off Sydney, scientists knew very little about what causes them or the influence they have in the Tasman Sea ecosystem.
"What we do know is that this is a very powerful natural feature which tends to push everything else aside - even the mighty East Australian Current," said Dr Griffin.
The sea level has dropped 70 centimetres at its centre while the water 400 metres below the surface is 6 degrees centigrade colder than normal.
The colder water has helped bring down the average water temperature at Sydney beaches by several degrees.
At the eddy's centre, cold water from 400m is raised about 200m. The sea surface, conversely, is lowered by 70cm. This dip in the surface of the ocean is invisible to the eye, but it can be accurately measured by satellites and a robotic Argo float deployed by the CSIRO.
The eddies are invisible to the human eye but would contribute to cooler beach swimming conditions, said Dr Griffin.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
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The Nation's Pulse
By Ben Stein
Published 3/12/2007 12:09:31 AM
A few days ago, a man from a slick new magazine about business sent me an e-mail. He wanted me to do a column for him about what was "new, hot and exciting -- or terrible -- in business today." The only catch was that he did not want me to complain about the rich. This is what I sent him:
Here is what's new and hot and exciting (or terrible) in the world of money today:
I never heard back from the man at the slick new business magazine.
Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator's monthly print edition. You can now subscribe to Ben Stein's Diary for just $1.95 per month. Click here to subscribe. And to subscribe to the full magazine, click here.
Monday, March 12, 2007
1. Air pollution from cars, factories etc.
2. Roads/parking lots Change how sunlight is absorbed by the ground
3. Jet con trails Change how much sunlight reaches the ground
6. Dumping garbage into the oceans.
7. Hunting/Fishing species to extinction.
8. Strip mining
March 11, 2007 | FORT BENNING, Ga. -- "This is not right," said Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who has been ordered to Iraq even though he has a spine problem that doctors say would be damaged further by heavy Army protective gear. "This whole thing is about taking care of soldiers," he said angrily. "If you are fit to fight you are fit to fight. If you are not fit to fight, then you are not fit to fight."
As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records.
On Feb. 15, Master Sgt. Jenkins and 74 other soldiers with medical conditions from the 3rd Division's 3rd Brigade were summoned to a meeting with the division surgeon and brigade surgeon. These are the men responsible for handling each soldier's "physical profile," an Army document that lists for commanders an injured soldier's physical limitations because of medical problems -- from being unable to fire a weapon to the inability to move and dive in three-to-five-second increments to avoid enemy fire. Jenkins and other soldiers claim that the division and brigade surgeons summarily downgraded soldiers' profiles, without even a medical exam, in order to deploy them to Iraq. It is a claim division officials deny.
The 3,900-strong 3rd Brigade is now leaving for Iraq for a third time in a steady stream. In fact, some of the troops with medical conditions interviewed by Salon last week are already gone. Others are slated to fly out within a week, but are fighting against their chain of command, holding out hope that because of their ills they will ultimately not be forced to go. Jenkins, who is still in Georgia, thinks doctors are helping to send hurt soldiers like him to Iraq to make units going there appear to be at full strength. "This is about the numbers," he said flatly. >That is what worries Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, who has long been concerned that the military was pressing injured troops into Iraq. "Did they send anybody down range that cannot wear a helmet, that cannot wear body armor?" Robinson asked rhetorically. "Well that is wrong. It is a war zone." Robinson thinks that the possibility that physical profiles may have been altered improperly has the makings of a scandal. "My concerns are that this needs serious investigation. You cannot just look at somebody and tell that they were fit," he said. "It smacks of an overstretched military that is in crisis mode to get people onto the battlefield."
Eight soldiers who were at the Feb. 15 meeting say they were summoned to the troop medical clinic at 6:30 in the morning and lined up to meet with division surgeon Lt. Col. George Appenzeller, who had arrived from Fort Stewart, Ga., and Capt. Aaron K. Starbuck, brigade surgeon at Fort Benning. The soldiers described having a cursory discussion of their profiles, with no physical exam or extensive review of medical files. They say Appenzeller and Starbuck seemed focused on downplaying their physical problems. "This guy was changing people's profiles left and right," said a captain who injured his back during his last tour in Iraq and was ordered to Iraq after the Feb. 15 review.
Appenzeller said the review of 75 soldiers with profiles was an effort to make sure they were as accurate as possible prior to deployment. "As the division surgeon and the senior medical officer in the division, I wanted to ensure that all the patients with profiles were fully evaluated with clear limitations that commanders could use to make the decision whether they could deploy, and if they did deploy, what their limitations would be while there," he said in a telephone interview from Fort Stewart. He said he changed less than one-third of those profiles -- even making some more restrictive -- in order to "bring them into accordance with regulations."
In direct contradiction to the account given by the soldiers, Appenzeller said physical examinations were conducted and that he had a robust medical team there working with him, which is how they managed to complete 75 reviews in one day. Appenzeller denied that the plan was to find more warm bodies for the surge into Baghdad, as did Col. Wayne W. Grigsby Jr., the brigade commander. Grigsby said he is under "no pressure" to find soldiers, regardless of health, to make his unit look fit. The health and welfare of his soldiers are a top priority, said Grigsby, because [the soldiers] are "our most important resource, perhaps the most important resource we have in this country."
Grigsby said he does not know how many injured soldiers are in his ranks. But he insisted that it is not unusual to deploy troops with physical limitations so long as he can place them in safe jobs when they get there. "They can be productive and safe in Iraq," Grigsby said.
The injured soldiers interviewed by Salon, however, expressed considerable worry about going to Iraq with physical deficits because it could endanger them or their fellow soldiers. Some were injured on previous combat tours. Some of their ills are painful conditions from training accidents or, among relatively older troops, degenerative problems like back injuries or blown-out knees. Some of the soldiers have been in the Army for decades.
And while Grigsby, the brigade commander, says he is under no pressure to find troops, it is hard to imagine there is not some desperation behind the decision to deploy some of the sick soldiers. Master Sgt. Jenkins, 42, has a degenerative spine problem and a long scar down the back of his neck where three of his vertebrae were fused during surgery. He takes a cornucopia of potent pain pills. His medical records say he is "at significantly increased risk of re-injury during deployment where he will be wearing Kevlar, body armor and traveling through rough terrain." Late last year, those medical records show, a doctor recommended that Jenkins be referred to an Army board that handles retirements when injuries are permanent and severe.
A copy of Jenkins' profile written after that Feb. 15 meeting and signed by Capt. Starbuck, the brigade surgeon, shows a healthier soldier than the profile of Jenkins written by another doctor just late last year, though Jenkins says his condition is unchanged. Other soldiers' documents show the same pattern.
One female soldier with psychiatric issues and a spine problem has been in the Army for nearly 20 years. "My [health] is deteriorating," she said over dinner at a restaurant near Fort Benning. "My spine is separating. I can't carry gear." Her medical records include the note "unable to deploy overseas." Her status was also reviewed on Feb. 15. And she has been ordered to Iraq this week.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Mayan priests will purify a sacred archaeological site to eliminate "bad spirits" after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.
Bush's seven-day tour of Latin America includes a stopover beginning late Sunday in Guatemala. On Monday morning he is scheduled to visit the archaeological site Iximche on the high western plateau in a region of the Central American country populated mostly by Mayans.
Tiney said the "spirit guides of the Mayan community" decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of "bad spirits" after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites — which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles — would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.
Bush's trip has already has sparked protests elsewhere in Latin America, including protests and clashes with police in Brazil hours before his arrival. In Bogota, Colombia, which Bush will visit on Sunday, 200 masked students battled 300 riot police with rocks and small homemade explosives.
The tour is aimed at challenging a widespread perception that the United States has neglected the region and at combatting the rising influence of Venezuelan leftist President Hugo Chavez, who has called Bush "history's greatest killer" and "the devil."
Iximche, 30 miles west of the capital of Guatemala City, was founded as the capital of the Kaqchiqueles kingdom before the Spanish conquest in 1524.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
(CBS) HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. A Long Island elementary school teacher is suing the Hampton Bays school district after she was fired because her administrators allegedly believed she was a witch teaching witchcraft to her students. Her lawyer is calling the case a "21st century re-enactment of the Salem Witchcraft Trials."
Lauren Berrios told CBS 2 that she was terminated after she was told that she "entice[d] children into witchcraft and magic through literature."
Berrios, who was born a Catholic before converting to Judaism, said she was fired in 2001 after being falsely accused of being a witch, which is now the basis of her $2 million lawsuit. Her attorney, John Ray, says she was the victim of a public school district trying to push Christian values.
"There's unquestionably in this matter a question of church and state being not separated, but being brought together by born-again Christians in this school," Ray said.
A school spokesperson says Berrios' claim lacks merit, but in 2003 the school's principal at the time testified he believed that Berrios practiced witchcraft.
"Every school that I go to interview in I have to disclose to them that I was denied tenure for enticing children into witchcraft and magic," Berrios says.
Even before she was fired, Berrios says her principal removed books from her classroom, including the popular series "Goosebumps," as well as "Harry Potter." She believes books that didn't mesh with principal's religious values, even including African-American literature, were taken out of her curriculum.
Ray admits that Berrios' appearance didn't help her cause either, especially when she was teaching her students about the Salem witch trials. "Mrs. Berrios has long fingernails, wears dark make-up, wears black," he said.
Berrios' very own modern-day witch trial will likely draw to a close this week. The case will be decided by a federal jury beginning Wednesday.
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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The nation’s manufacturing sector, or what is left of it, slipped into recession over the past year, but our media, Wall Street, our government and corporate America somehow didn’t notice it. Now we are told, after multiple revisions, that GDP growth in the third quarter of 2006 was 3% and in the fourth quarter 2.2%. The later only two weeks ago was revised from 2.6%, up to 3.5%. Obviously the government is either hopelessly incompetent or was lying. We defer to the latter. Our Commerce Department tells us orders for durable goods, like computers, vehicles, aircraft and factory machines, plunged almost 8%.
These factors add fuel to the fire as markets in Europe and Japan fell as the Chinese stock market plummeted some 10%. US markets fell 3 to 4 percent, the worst fall since 2003. This is significant because with all their funds the “Working Group on Financial Markets” could not arrest the downward tidal wave even with the help of the Fed, although they found time and money to again viciously attack gold and silver. Of course, the market problems were the result of a computer glitch and if you believe that we have a bridge for sale you should take a look at.
We are in a recession, a real recession and not only manufacturing is telling us that, but so are the credit and housing markets. We have been in recession for a year and few professionals and investors know it yet. Can they be that dumb? We do not think so. They are in denial. They do not want their money feast to end.
The housing problems are approaching a crisis that will play itself out over the next 2-1/2 years as we predicted so long ago. The economy is facing major risks and most people are oblivious to them or in denial. This is human nature and it is natural, but it does nothing to make the problem go away.
The Iraqi government draft of a new Iraqi oil law puts decisions on oil under the “Federal Oil and Gas Council” whose panel of experts will come from inside and outside Iraq. They will be predominately from UK and US big oil executives. The law is nothing less than institutionalized rape and pillaging of Iraq’s oil wealth, which was one of the main reasons for invasion and occupation. Nationalization will end and production-sharing agreements will be forged. PSAs, which is the latest form of privatization, will produce 75% profits for the US and UK oil industries. Incidentally, this is what is now being cooked up in Mexico to steal their oil as well. In Iraq, 65 of 80 oil fields go up for bid and we can assure you most of them will end up in elitist hands. The law was really drafted by a US consulting firm hired by the neocons. Involved was the IMF, Paul Wolfowitz and US AID. It’s an American law written in English, not Arabic. This oil costs $1.00 a barrel to extract. What the elitists have done is sanctify the theft of the oil.
Tuesday’s stock collapse is a strong indication that the four-year bear market rally arranged and managed by the Treasury and the Fed is over. The US economy has faltered for a year and few wanted to recognize it. The self-reinforcing asset inflation spiral is changing. Lower equity/asset prices will produce stress on earnings, consumption and debt, which will force liquidation of assets and institutes a negative spiral. Significant busts occur in March and April. In 1929, the first three days of March produced a 5% decline. A rally followed and by month’s end stocks had fallen 12%.
In 1987, stocks fell 8% in April and after an early May rally stocks declined to a 10% springtime loss.
In 2000, stocks collapsed in March, led by OTC stocks. They bottomed in April then rallied to September 1st. Then the real decline began just like it did in 1929 and 1987. 1973 also saw the same action, which was worse than 1987.
The present decline will last into April. Then there will be a brief summer rally and in September-October the bottom will fall out.
Just reflect back to the Chicago PMI as it started to fall in the second quarter of 2005, and collapsed in the fourth quarter of 2006. Now housing as we predicted has collapsed. Debt and income disparity are at records and a massive subprime lending problem is shaking the market causing a contraction in credit as the yen carry trade starts to dry up liquidity.
You will continue to hear more via the media that the economy remains healthy in coming weeks, especially from the propaganda circus known as CNBC. Denial, lies and mitigation always occurs after the first significant stock decline; but this bear market rally is very long in the tooth-historically very old. Even though there is overwhelming evidence of excessive speculation and an ebbing or falling economy, most investors and traders, due to operant conditioning, will remain bullish and complacent as they lose lots of money. Volatility has exploded on Tuesday and the VIX jumped 36% at its high. The yen rallied sharply as the bankers and hedge funds unwound the carry trade. Quality spreads increased. Credit derivative swaps jumped to their highest levels in 18 months. You can be sure everyone is on notice. The percentage fall in the indexes is not profound. But, they are missing the colossal point. In this highly levered world, this unremarkable decline produced record NYSE volume, a supposed, computer/trading malfunction, a record jump in the VIX and disturbances in derivatives and other financial instruments. We ask, what would result if a significant decline materializes? Tuesday was the first warning shot. Thursday should see a further decline after a dead cat rally bounce of 52 Dow points, due to margin calls and deliveries. What is tragic is the Ben Bernanke met the Senate again and told us everything was just fine. So much for truth, either that or he is delusional. Now we will see how the Fed handles the fall. NY Fed President, Tim Gaithner, is to speak on the financial system on Wednesday. We will update you.
Wal-Mart isn’t saving much from using wireless technology, RFID chips; to manage its supply chain as has been expected. It has kept the shelves filled. RFID integration into the existing distribution system isn’t easy or cheap and that is why some suppliers are reluctant to invest a lot of money into the system unless it saves money.
Chrysler will offer all 49,000 hourly workers in the US, up to $100,000 to leave the company as part of a recovery plan. The company lost $1.475 billion in 2006. Chrysler will try to reduce production by 400,000 vehicles a year. Of the production cuts, 2,000 are in Canada and 9,000 in the US, and will be spread over three years. This is an early retirement program, workers must have 30 years with the company or be at least 60 years old and have at least ten years service, or be at least 55 and their age and service must total 85 or more. Eleven US plants will be downsized and the Delaware plant shuttered.
The share of loans on which payments were at least 30-days overdue rose to 2.11%, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2002, from 1.72% the previous three months. This deterioration in credit quality comes in a period of sustained gains in employment and income so the Fed tells us. The employment figures are a lie and rising wages have helped to a limited degree. They are being offset by higher energy costs, so a great deal of the wage gain is being lost at the pump so to speak. Gasoline as we predicted rose in two weeks from $2.22 to $2.35. It should come close to $2.45 to $2.50 shortly. There is economic stress otherwise we wouldn’t have such high personal debt and yes, the last four years of bad loans are coming home to roast no matter what mortgage rates are. Many loans won’t be even offered for reset and many won’t be able to make the payment anyway. We see 1/3rd being unable to meet their payments and maybe as many as 50%. That is $800 billion to $1.35 trillion in bad loans over the next two years.
Subprime delinquencies rose to 12.6% in the third quarter from 11.7% in the second quarter. That has put 24 large lenders out of business plus the smaller ones we don’t hear about and there are plenty of them.
An index of credit-default swaps on 20 securities rated BBB that was created in the second half of 2006 fell 6.3% on Tuesday to 63. The ABX-HE-BBB-07-1 Index has fallen by more than 1/3rd since trading started on January 18, 2007. We warned of all this four years ago.
Investors are concerned rising delinquencies on the riskiest mortgages in the US will spread to other parts of the home loan market. We predicted the subprime disaster and it will spread throughout the entire system over the next two years. We are seeing re-pricing of risky assets and that will move all of the way up the food chain. This will cause a natural contraction of credit exacerbating the downswing in the US and world economy. This comes as funds flow from the yen carry trade diminishes. That means major central banks will have to ratchet up M3 from 14% to 20% if they hope to keep the system from collapsing. In the meantime, gold and silver related assets will continue to rise.
David Walker, Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office, appeared on the show "60 Minutes" last evening to discuss the federal budget outlook. If you saw the show, you know that he painted a very sobering picture regarding the federal government's ability to meet its future obligations.
If you didn't see the show, Mr. Walker's theme was simple: government entitlement spending is like a runaway freight train headed straight at American taxpayers. He singled out the Medicare prescription drug bill, passed by Congress at the end of 2003, as "probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s."
When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, the federal government simply won't be able to keep its promises in the future. That is the reality every American should get used to, despite the grand promises of Washington reformers. Our entitlement system can't be reformed- it's too late. And the Medicare prescription drug bill is the final nail in the coffin.
The financial impact of the drug bill cannot be overstated. Government projections that the program would cost $400 billion over the next decade were a joke, as everyone in Congress knew even as they voted for the bill. The real cost will be at least $1 trillion in the first decade alone, and much more in following decades as the American population grows older.
The Medicare "trust fund" is already badly in the red, and the only solution will be a dramatic increase in payroll taxes for younger workers. The National Taxpayers Union reports that Medicare will consume nearly 40% of the nation's GDP after several decades because of the new drug benefit. That's not 40% of federal revenues, or 40% of federal spending, but rather 40 % of the nation's entire private sector output!
The politicians who get reelected by passing such incredibly shortsighted legislation will never have to answer to future generations saddled with huge federal deficits. Those generations are the real victims, as they cannot object to the debts being incurred today in their names.
The official national debt figure, now approaching $9 trillion, reflects only what the federal government owes in current debts on money already borrowed. It does not reflect what the federal government has promised to pay millions of Americans in entitlement benefits down the road. Those future obligations put our real debt figure at roughly fifty trillion dollars- a staggering sum that is about as large as the total household net worth of the entire United States. Your share of this fifty trillion amounts to about $175,000.
Don't believe for a second that we can grow our way out of the problem through a prosperous economy that yields higher future tax revenues. If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare alone. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.
The answer to these critical financial realities is simple, but not easy: We must rethink the very role of government in our society. Anything less, any tinkering or "reform," won't cut it. A good start would be for Congress to repeal the Medicare prescription drug bill.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
03/05/07 "ICH" -- - The contagion in the global markets is spreading like a brushfire and the shakeup that many of us have anticipated for over a year appears to be unfolding. Whether this is the “Big One” or not is irrelevant; a major downturn in the stock market will expose many of the systemic vulnerabilities in America’s “matchstick” economy and, hopefully, trigger greater congressional involvement.
Last night Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell for a fifth day in a row wiping out 8.6 % off the value of shares since hitting a seven-year high a week ago. The market declined by 3.34 percent to 16,642.25 points -- its biggest one-day fall in nine months. (CNN). The mood in the market is decidedly grim and normally enthusiastic investors are quickly dumping over-inflated shares of popular stocks.
It’s a bloodbath and it’s bound to carry over into US markets where the damage could be considerably worse.
The catalyst for the global correction is the growing strength of the yen and its effects on the “carry trade”. Americans will be hearing a lot about the carry trade in the next few weeks as well as other unfamiliar terms. In fact, we’re all about to get a crash course in sub-prime loans, hedge funds, derivatives and the “global liquidity crisis”. These are the main factors involved in what appears to be the beginnings of a major stock market flameout.
In the next few weeks, we’re going to hear industry mandarins and banking chieftains blame everyone else for the disaster they’ve created. Overstretched and underpaid Americans will be blamed for not saving their paltry wages and people with poor credit will be assailed for taking out loans they had no realistic chance of paying back.
But the real culprits are Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve. These are the guys who engineered the lethal “low interest” policy (after the dot.com meltdown) and flushed nearly $10 trillion into the flagging economy. Greenspan created the biggest equity bubble in history and put America’s economic future on a treadmill to oblivion. Recent gains in stocks have been predicated on margin debt, shaky hedge funds, and a plethora of cheap money that has nested in the market; all of these are directly related to Fed policy.
The Fed increased the money supply at such a furious rate over the last 6 years that it's inevitable that a certain amount of it would wind up in the stock market. That tells us that the skyrocketing market had less to do with growth (GDP) and confidence, than it did with the bundles of cheap greenbacks Greenspan sluiced into the system.
The American economy is built on a mountain of debt and an ocean of red ink. The masterminds at the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury think they can stem the tide of economic Armageddon by keeping the printing presses well-lubricated and running at full-tilt; flooding the market with worthless scrip.
Perhaps, they can! (As I am writing this the market has magically jumped from negative to positive territory!)
But is anyone taken in by this charlatan’s game? Institutional investors are not scarfing up teetering US equities after an Asian freefall! Something else is going on here and it stinks to high-heaven.
“Faith based” policy has its limits as we’re finding out in Iraq. The men who control the economic levers can only achieve so much with smoke and mirrors. They can prime the pump and churn out the fiat-money faster then anyone imagined, but eventually, reality will set in and the market will begin its inexorable march into the void.
Greenspan anticipated this crackup. Hell, he probably oiled the presses himself. That’s why he ambled off into retirement on a high-note leaving the rest of us to clean up his mess. He knows that Bernanke’s cheery braying on Capital Hill will amount to nothing; just like he knows that Paulson’s baling-wire approach to the economy is doomed to failure.
The “Maestro” has left us all in a major pickle. The stock market is flat-lining, the recession is bearing down on us like a laser-guided missile, and Dear Alan is slathering on the sun-block at his favorite resort on the Riviera.
Monday, March 05, 2007
It raced so fast the pulse exited a specially-prepared chamber before it even finished entering it.
The experiment is the first-ever evidence of faster-than-light motion.
The result appears to be at odds with one of the basic principles of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, that nothing can go faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, about 186,000 miles per second.
The NEC Research Institute lab
However, Lijun Wang, one of the scientists from the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., says their findings are not at odds with Einstein.
She says their experiment only disproves the general misconception that nothing can move faster than the speed of light.
The scientific statement "nothing with mass can travel faster than the speed of light" is an entirely different belief, one that has yet to be proven wrong. The NEC experiment caused a pulse of light, a group of waves with no mass, to go faster than light.
For the experiment, the researchers manipulated a vapour of laser-irradiated atoms that boost the speed of light waves causing a pulse that shoots through the vapour about 300 times faster than it would take the pulse to go the same distance in a vacuum.
Light travels slower in any medium more dense than a vacuum, which has no density at all. For example, light travelling through glass slows to two-thirds its speed in a vacuum. If the glass is altered, the light can be slowed even further.
The NEC team produced the opposite effect. Inside a chamber, they changed the state of a vapour in a way that light travelling through it would travel faster than normal.
When the pulse of light travelled through the vapour, the pulse reconfigured as some component waves stretched and others compressed. As the waves approached the end of the chamber, they recombined, forming the original pulse.
The key to the experiment was that the pulse reformed before it could have gotten there by simply travelling through empty space. This means that, when the waves of the light distorted, the pulse traveled forward in time.
The NEC researchers published their results in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
DENVER — Ever since passing what its Legislature promoted as the nation's toughest laws against illegal immigration last summer, Colorado has struggled with a labor shortage as migrants fled the state. This week, officials announced a novel solution: Use convicts as farmworkers.
The Department of Corrections hopes to launch a pilot program this month — thought to be the first of its kind — that would contract with more than a dozen farms to provide inmates who will pick melons, onions and peppers.
Crops were left to spoil in the fields after the passage of legislation that required state identification to get government services and allowed police to check suspects' immigration status.
"The reason this [program] started is to make sure the agricultural industry wouldn't go out of business," state Rep. Dorothy Butcher said. Her district includes Pueblo, near the farmland where the inmates will work.
Prisoners who are a low security risk may choose to work in the fields, earning 60 cents a day. They also are eligible for small bonuses.
The inmates will be watched by prison guards, who will be paid by the farms. The cost is subject to negotiation, but farmers say they expect to pay more for the inmate labor and its associated costs than for their traditional workers.
Advocates on both sides of the immigration debate said they were stunned by the proposal.
"If they can't get slaves from Mexico, they want them from the jails," said Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, which favors restrictions on immigration.
Ricardo Martinez of the Denver immigrant rights group Padres Unidos asked: "Are we going to pull in inmates to work in the service industry too? You won't have enough inmates — unless you start importing them from Texas."
Farmers said they weren't happy with the solution, but their livelihoods are on the verge of collapse.
"This prison labor is not a cure for the immigration problem; it's just a Band-Aid," farmer Joe Pisciotta said.
He said he needed to be sure he would have enough workers for the harvest this fall before he planted watermelons, onions and pumpkins on his 700-acre farm in Avondale. But he's not thrilled with the idea of criminals working his fields.
"I've got young kids," he said. "It's something I've got to think about."
Pisciotta said he hoped the program highlighted what he viewed as the absurdity of Colorado's position — dependent on immigrant labor but trying to chase migrants away. He said the people leaving were not just those who entered the country illegally.
"Some of them have said, 'We think our paperwork is in order, but how about if it's not and we get caught on a glitch,' " he said.
Ever since the Democratic-controlled Legislature took a tough turn on immigration, the new requirements have worried those in the country legally and illegally.
Immigrant advocates allege that some sheriffs have authorized deputies to pull over Latino drivers on supposed speeding violations and ask them whether they are in the country legally.
And more stringent requirements put into effect last year made it harder to get a driver's license. Numerous U.S. citizens, including the daughter of a state legislator, were refused licenses because they lacked proper proof of citizenship. A judge has since ruled that the requirements must be revised.
Social service agencies say they have discovered few illegal immigrants on public assistance since the laws were passed.
Immigrant and business groups agree that the heated rhetoric has led to an exodus of Latinos — though no one is sure how many. Businesses including carwashes and construction firms have complained of a worker shortage.
"Super notes" -- forged U.S. dollars of such high quality that even experts have trouble detecting them -- have taken on an almost mythic status among national security watchers. Supposedly, they're part of a plot to undermine confidence in the U.S. economy, and at times they've been called an act of war.
Their origins have tended to shift with the political winds; it was said that they originate in Iran, some have speculated that they come from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon (where they were supposedly produced by Syria) and lately the consensus has been that they're part of a sinister North Korean plan. Others have accused Israel of printing them.
The American secret service, the CIA, could be responsible for manufacturing the nearly-perfect counterfeit 50 and 100-dollar-notes that Washington pins on the terror regime of North Korea. The charge comes after an extensive investigation in Europe and Asia by the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung of Frankfurt, and after interviews with counterfeit money experts and leading representatives of the high-security publishing industry. […]
The administration of George W. Bush officially accused Pyongyang of the deed in the autumn of 2005, derailing Six-Party Talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Since then, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased considerably. America charges that North Korea is financing its rocket and nuclear weapons program with the counterfeit "Supernotes."
North Korea is one of the world's poorest nations and lacks the technological capability to produce notes of such high quality. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung, North Korea is at present unable to even produce the won [the North Korean currency]. The sources, which do not wish to be identified, allege that the CIA prints the falsified "Supernotes" at a secret facility near Washington to fund covert operations without Congressional oversight.U.S. officials have not responded to the story
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Answer: The World Wide Web (circa 1994)
Few people remember this, but in the early days of the web, the RIAA proposed shutting down the web. That's right; if the RIAA had its way in the early 1990's, the web as we know it would cease to exist. No Yahoo.com, no Slashdot, no P2P, no online banking, no web based email.
The RIAA claimed in the early 1990's that the primary purpose of the web was for students to pirate music. At the time, I remember them making statements stating that web and internet services such as FTP were used primarily for sharing music illegally. They even accused the burgeoning web of being used primarily for illegally sharing music.
General Public Believed Downloading Any Music Was Illegal
In the mid to late 1990's, the general public believed that downloading music was illegal. If you walked into a public place and said "I download music from the Internet", everyone would believe you were a music pirate engaging in a criminal act. There is a large base of free public domain music (often just as good as commercial music).
How did the public come to believe this? From news stories and statements made by the recording industry. They did not educate consumers that there is a difference between legal and illegal music; they led the public to believe that all downloadable music was illegal by claiming that online music services offered at the time had no legal use, or by stating that file sharing is primarily for illegal use.
RIAA Prevents Digital Audio Tape Distribution
That's right. Thanks to the RIAA, we never had music on digital audio tapes (DAT) for our home stereos. Only analog cassettes. The RIAA prevented companies from distributing music on a superior tape format because they claimed that it would just be used for piracy.
"As a consortium of hardware manufacturers developed the R-DAT (rotary head digital audio tape) format, the RIAA and similar international groups tried to encourage the adoption of copying safeguards. Unable to reach agreement with the manufacturers, most labels did not release any prerecorded software in support of the format when it was introduced to consumers in 1987."
We never had general consumer distribution of digital audio tapes becuase of the RIAA (and similar groups). We never got past analog.
Note that they did not prevent CDR's from being produced, which clearly are used for a wide variety of essential applications.
What else would they be opposed to? HDTV (if they owned video rights, they would be)? Digital Music?
The Web Was Small
Back then, there were reportedly only 100 web pages in the world. No one talked about web "sites" back then, they were just pages. Yahoo was 1 web page with less than 100 links. Word of mouth made Yahoo popular.
Most people went to USENET to spend their leisure time. Everything you get out of a blog or any other news source was posted in USENET.
FTP was used for file storage. This is of course before the P2P sharing networks. So anything that was in any way pirated or illegal was stored on FTP sites.
Since the web had a nicer interface, people slowly started to use the web for linking to files on FTP (and later HTTP) sites. This is when the RIAA started complaining about how the web was used for sharing illegal files, and they argued that since the web had no legal commercial use, it should be shut down.
HTTP vs P2P
Everyone knows that the only difference between HTTP and Peer 2 Peer is that HTTP is 1 centralized peer transmitting to another, while P2P is multiple decentralized peers transmitting to another. What is the legal significance of one single origin point vs multiple origin points? Absolutely none. There is absolutely no legal significance whatsoever in the technology used by P2P networks.
Any service can be used to transfer files. At this time P2P has many benefits over HTTP, mainly in improving transfer times when a single pipe is overused, and adding redundancy at the expense of consistent distribution. P2P is the future of the web; all web sites will benefit by one day using P2P technology.
The DNS system is a perfect example of how multiple peers are used as remote services. Yes, DNS data may not be consistent from server to server, but it added critically needed redundancy and reliability.
Akamai uses multiple peers, spread globally, to improve delivery performance of its clients web sites, much like P2P networks.
Failed Business Models
Before the invention of recorded media, the only way for a musician to earn money was at a live performance. When recorded media was invented, everyone thought it would be the end of the performance industry. New business models had to be formed to permit recorded media.
Now, we have the ability for consumers to acquire and record onto their own media. This requires that the music industry create a new business model to deal with advancing technology; stifling technology is not the answer. It is not the consumer's fault that the RIAA has not developed a new business model to permit consumers to use the latest technology.
The RIAA is absolutely, positively wrong in claiming that P2P networks do not have a right to exist. P2P networks (such as Akamai) have proven their worth as DNS servers and global caching servers. Stifling P2P network growth will only stifle technological advancement and commerce.
September 26 1992:
"DAT has been slow to gain ground because (1)
there hasn't been sufficient support for the medium up to now (but in
discussing the shortcomings of the minidisk, Sony has reaffirmed its
support for DAT as a high end medium) and (2) That obnoxious SCMS
system which the RIAA extorted into the machines. "
Dec 21 1993:
"the National Music Publishers Association has filed a class-action lawsuit against CompuServe for copyright infringement on behalf of 140 Music Publishers. The main focus of the suit is Compuserve's MIDI Forum. The suit defines every download as a single infringment, and by seeking $100K in damages for each infringment, the damages would amount to over a BILLION dollars should the suit be successful. "
May 15 1993:"I'm not surprised at all. I expected something like this to happen, and
predict that the RIAA will eventually try to get legislation passed banning
sale of used CDs in the US. "
"Lawyer: RIAA wants to shut down the Internet"
"RIAA Legal Ruling Could Shut Down The Internet"
Last weekend, I wrote here about the history of US government attempts to suppress information. My case study was the Kennedy Administration's successful effort to delay publication of the New York Times' story about CIA planning for the Bay of Pigs disaster. (Since then, several generations of Times editors have publicly regretted that decision. "Our biggest failures," Executive Editor Bill Keller wrote last year, "have generally been when we failed to dig deep enough or to report fully enough. After the Times played down its advance knowledge of the Bay of Pigs invasion, President Kennedy reportedly said he wished we had published what we knew and perhaps prevented a fiasco.")
Yet in these last two days, the Times has acceded to Bush Administration requests to withhold information from the American public.
In yesterday's edition, the paper of record reports that it was "asked to withhold any mention of [Cheney's] trip until he had left Pakistan." What conceivable national security purpose was served by swearing the press pool to secrecy about this trip? And doesn't accepting these ground rules play into the hands of a hyper-secretive Vice-President whose signature contribution to our security has been misleading us into a disastrous war and carpet bombing our constitutional system? The secrecy does expose a national security problem: the "war" on terror is a rank failure and Pakistan is not the stable country that White House talking points try to sell us.
Here's another instance of White House pressure. A front page article in Monday's New York Times --providing conditional evidence of Iranian weapons in Iraq--acknowledges that the paper acceded to Bush Administration requests that it withhold specific details about the weapons. As the Times reported: "In the course of the detailed briefing on the Hilla discovery, Maj. Marty Weber, an explosives expert, said that most of the E.F.P.s in Iraq use C-4 plastic explosive manufactured in Iran. At the request of the Bush Administration, The Times is withholding some specific details about the weapons to protect intelligence sources and methods."
Hours after the story appeared, Congressman Dennis Kucinich issued a statement -- "The New York Times Plays into Bush Administration's Hand." "The White House," Kucinich says, "is up to its old scams again: Providing information by anonymous sources ..... This time, however, they added another trick to their bag: providing the information and prohibiting the Times from publishing it.....The New York Times should not print unsourced, unattributed assertions and then voluntarily hide the details from the American public..." The paper, he went on to argue, "is playing into the Administration's hand and providing further justification for an attack on Iran."