Big Brother loses one, ‘Jailbreaking’ iPhones legal, not felony

Apple loses bid to criminalize iPhone jailbreaking – Computerworld

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9179694/Apple_loses_bid_to_criminalize_iPhone_jailbreaking

“When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses,” Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, wrote in the ruling approved by Billington (download PDF).

UPDATE: Here’s an excellent link of the updates, a bit of history, and a list of the other exemptions. (thanks, Derek).  This is probably the biggest news for most.

You can rip your own DVDs, and nobody will stop you.

First, and arguably most importantly, is an exemption for DVDs you legally own, giving everyone (not just film and media studies majors!) the right to break DRM for the purposes of “short” use in both “documentary filmmaking” and original “noncommercial videos.” The first is rather specific, of course, but the broadness of the latter is impressive—although for now you can’t appropriate the entire film. But as long as you aren’t charging money for it or profiting off it, it’s noncommercial. So go ahead, rip and remix a scene from Inception so that it actually makes sense.

Now, to be sure, most of the informed tech folk already were doing this (and committing a felony each time), but it looks like they are in the clear now.  I don’t know of anybody who was prosecuted for this, but as far as common-sense exemptions go, this was at the top of the list.

Sacred Strip Clubs? Yes! Sacred Buildings? No!

Nice piece on this subject, covers most of the arguments I’ve made about the thing.


There are actually a couple of adult entertainment venues that show up on Google ( GOOGnews people ) Maps if you search around the former site of the World Trade Center. Internet reviewers seem to like New York Dolls best, due to its sexy, disproportionately Russian staff, mirrored stage and purportedly high-quality lap dances.

As yet, I haven’t heard anyone wonder why our political class is silent as the sex industry operates on sacred ground. It would be a bizarre complaint: It’s Manhattan, where you can find anything mere blocks from a given location. The closest strip club to Ground Zero happens to be two blocks away, a fact that has nothing to do with our reverence for the place where so many Americans were killed by terrorists. As you’ve probably noticed, it doesn’t even make sense to call it The Ground Zero Strip Club.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/22/ground-zero-mosque-religion-terrorism-opinions-columnists-conor-friedersdorf.html

UPDATE: Best quote from the piece…

Moreover, the writer Jeffrey Goldberg, as staunch an opponent of radical Islamists as you’ll find, posted recently on the controversy over this cultural center, having interacted with the folks who are attempting to build it, and reported that they are peace-loving people intent on marginalizing extremists inside their religion. “One of the ways to prevent future Ground Zeroes is to encourage moderation within Islam, and to treat Muslim moderates differently than we treat Muslim extremists,” he writes. “The campaign against this mosque treats all Muslims as perpetrators. This is a terrible mistake, for moral and strategic reasons.”

Opponents of this project are judging people they’ve never met on the basis of their religion, treating all Muslims as enemies of America, and allowing emotional prejudice to dictate their opinion when prudent reflection would serve everyone better. Forbidding houses of worship from being built is something done in foreign autocracies, not a country founded by people fleeing religious prejudice.

I can’t stand most of Goldberg’s stuff, but even he can see how the Palin’s [1] (and Gingrich’s [2]) of the world are dead wrong on this one.

—-

As to [1], the quitter wrote, “”to build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks.”  This is insane.  So insane, in fact, it got enough people to flag it as offensive it got deleted by Facebook.  This “blame *them* all” attitude of Palin’s is just wrong.  And then, of course, she doubled down on the crazy, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”    Hey, jackass, the peaceful muslims ARE THE ONES BUILDING THE MOSQUE.  Not only that, but the “heartland” wasn’t even attacked by Muslims.  Ever.  New York was.  You know that place, right?  Why not leave the decisions on how to heal to them, rather than an unemployed politician from 4,000 miles away.  The only thing that makes her looks slightly rational is when compared to [2]. 

[2] “But Gingrich was not content to have the Mama Grizzly conducting the conservative Crazy Train. He wants to forbid the location of a mosque at Ground Zero until there are churches and temples allowed in Saudi Arabia.” [full article]   I mean, really?  Gingrich wants to take religious tolerance cues from Saudi Arabia?  And here I was thinking the U.S. was slightly better than that.  It’s very similar to a number of conservatives who defended Arizona’s crazy laws by pointing out Mexico’s even worse laws.   And these are the same people who constantly bray about the U.S. being the best thing since Jesus.  And yet…they want to take cues on how to govern from some of the worst offenders in the world.  The mind, sometimes it boggles.

Fleeing Phoenix out of fear of immigration law

Looks like we’ll get to see the net effect that losing tons of low-wage, non-unionized, non-complaining, hard-working people has on a state’s economy in a capitalist free market.

Think of it like the food chain, and what happens to an ecosystem when the bottom tier goes extinct.

Faviola Davenport, 42, owns 3Girlz Retail across the street from Vela’s restaurant. Davenport, who emigrated legally from Mexico 23 years ago, expects she will close the shop next month. In the small space, crammed with phone cards, mattresses and purses, Davenport said that if the law takes effect she will probably abandon Arizona as well. Her three adult daughters and their families — all U.S. citizens — are thinking of following her.

SB 1070’s supporters say legal residents like Davenport have nothing to fear from the law, which bans racial profiling.

But earlier this year, Davenport said, she was stopped by a police officer on her way to work. She said the officer did not believe she was in the country legally and warned that he could refer her to immigration authorities for deportation.

“They don’t want Mexicans,” she said. “So we’ll leave.”

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/22/nation/la-na-immigration-phoenix-20100723

The adults are back in charge

Financial regulation legislation was signed into law today.

WASHINGTON — Two years after the global financial system nearly collapsed, a vast revamping of regulation has been signed into law. The measure targets the risky banking and oversight failures that led to the last crisis. The goal is to make another crisis less likely — and, if it does happen, less costly for taxpayers.

[full breakdown]

Now we just need to break apart the big banks and don’t let the re-coalesce later.   This will, of course, require that Republicans never again get control of Congress, as they will quickly remove the safeguards (like they did in 1998 and 2004) and we’ll be right back here again.  But at least, for the moment, looks like Wall Street has to start playing by some rules again.

The Latest Bit of Evidence To Be Dismissed by 40% of the American populace….

….

Scientists from the Beijing Genomics Institute last month discovered another striking instance of human genetic change. Among Tibetans, they found, a set of genes evolved to cope with low oxygen levels as recently as 3,000 years ago. This, if confirmed, would be the most recent known instance of human evolution.

[full story]

The difficulty of identifying these shifts is also covered in the article (and the reason this is dismissed by so many…it’s hard).

One of the signatures of natural selection is that it disturbs the undergrowth of mutations that are always accumulating along the genome. As a favored version of a gene becomes more common in a population, genomes will look increasingly alike in and around the gene. Because variation is brushed away, the favored gene’s rise in popularity is called a sweep. Geneticists have developed several statistical methods for detecting sweeps, and hence of natural selection in action.

About 21 genome-wide scans for natural selection had been completed by last year, providing evidence that 4,243 genes — 23 percent of the human total — were under natural selection. This is a surprisingly high proportion, since the scans often miss various genes that are known for other reasons to be under selection. Also, the scans can see only recent episodes of selection — probably just those that occurred within the last 5,000 to 25,000 years or so. The reason is that after a favored version of a gene has swept through the population, mutations start building up in its DNA, eroding the uniformity that is evidence of a sweep.

So as soon as an “upgrade” is available in the gene pool, it changes the color of the pool, so to speak, and immediately new dyes start seeping in, searching for that next true hue. 

The theory also makes predictions that have also been observed, such as….

The fewest signals of selection were seen among people who live in the humid tropics, the ecoregion where the ancestral human population evolved. “One could argue that we are adapted to that and that most signals are seen when people adapt to new environments,” Dr. Di Rienzo said in an interview.

 To continue the pool analogy, those born in the the deep blue of the tropics and stayed, were good with that color.  But you start getting to more extreme environment (cold, altitude) that same color doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.

The second page is a basic discussion on skin color and how there is enough adaptability in the human genome for light skin to have evolved in at least two ways.

The difficulty in comprehending the theory (much less applying it) also lies in the complexity of the systems themselves.

Most variation in the human genome is neutral, meaning that it arose not by natural selection but by processes like harmless mutations and the random shuffling of the genome between generations. The amount of this genetic diversity is highest in African populations. Diversity decreases steadily the further a population has migrated from the African homeland, since each group that moved onward carried away only some of the diversity of its parent population. This steady decline in diversity shows no discontinuity between one population and the next, and has offered no clear explanation as to why one population should differ much from another. But selected genes show a different pattern: Evidence from the new genome-wide tests for selection show that most selective pressures are focused on specific populations.

However, within that complexity, one can expose new insights (again, in keeping with the theory).

One aspect of this pattern is that there seem to be more genes under recent selection in East Asians and Europeans than in Africans, possibly because the people who left Africa were then forced to adapt to different environments. “It’s a reasonable inference that non-Africans were becoming exposed to a wide variety of novel climates,” says Dr. Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute.

The final bit is about the “soft sweet” which continues to occur regardless of outside pressure.  

But the new evidence that humans have adapted rapidly and extensively suggests that natural selection must have other options for changing a trait besides waiting for the right mutation to show up. In an article in Current Biology in February, Dr. Pritchard suggested that a lot of natural selection may take place through what he called soft sweeps.

Soft sweeps work on traits affected by many genes, like height. Suppose there are a hundred genes that affect height (about 50 are known already, and many more remain to be found). Each gene exists in a version that enhances height and a version that does not. The average person might inherit the height-enhancing version of 50 of these genes, say, and be of average height as a result.

The article uses a primitive example of this, but I could just link here…and then draw the pictures….taller = more money, more money = more health/breeding partners, = taller species.  Although this last  (the money/height connection) has only been going on for 20-30 generations and only a couple generations for all people of all genomic heritage (in my country).  It will be interesting to see how these studies move forward in the future, as genome databases grow and more cross-testing is available.

It would be quite a thing to get a six-month gene therapy treatment before that next stint on Everest/in the Arctic.  Or at least it would be if that kind of stuff isn’t outlawed by people who don’t believe in evolution [search : Gene Manufacturing]

.

And the latest lawbreakers to be made heroes to the conservative movement are….

….”Gov. Gary Herbert said the employees work for the Department of Workforce Services, which administers food stamp programs and other public benefits. The employees have been placed on administrative leave.”

And here’ the nail-on-the-head quote…

“It’s a very small group [of nutjob tea partiers who broke the law in releasing personal information to the press]. The people we’ve identified certainly have some strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated with some of the issues around immigration,” said Kristen Cox, executive director for the department. “I think it’s an immense hypocrisy to talk about taking people to task for being illegal and doing so by breaking the law.”    

Newspapers started receiving the list of names and personal information this week, and its publicity created widespread fear in the Hispanic community. The anonymous mailing said it also was sent to immigration officials. It demanded that those on the list be deported, although some named have said they are in the country legally.

[Full story]

My guess is they’ll be on Hannity Heroes list by the end of next week.

Stay Classy, GOP

The level of absurdity on this one just went to 110 (out of 10).

Here’s the backstory (a bit of it anyway).  And here’s the ad from a political group that invaded and destroyed a country because it had the same religion as “them”.   You really can see “their” thought process on Iraq in this video.  The hatred just seeeps…

I guarantee you the Tea Party nutjobs (with their own “class” displayed here) probably got a stiffy and a nice herp, derp, guffaw out of “the audacity of jihad.”  

The amount of hate and death spread by a group of whom 90% allegedly follow a guy who said to love your neighbor and turn your other cheek when attacked (and wasn’t so high on the rich) is astounding.  It’s almost like they are a bunch of hypocrites (yet another religio-politico contradiction).  Scratch that, it’s not almost, it’s exactly like that.  I guess it’s easier to shoot people when sitting on a high horse.

I mean, can you find a better real-world example of hypocrisy?

At one point, a portion of the crowd menacingly surrounded two Egyptian men who were speaking Arabic and were thought to be Muslims.

“Go home,” several shouted from the crowd.

“Get out,” others shouted.

In fact, the two men – Joseph Nassralla and Karam El Masry — were not Muslims at all. They turned out to be Egyptian Coptic Christians who work for a California-based Christian satellite TV station called “The Way.” Both said they had come to protest the mosque.

“I’m a Christian,” Nassralla shouted to the crowd, his eyes bulging and beads of sweat rolling down his face.

But it was no use. The protesters had become so angry at what they thought were Muslims that New York City police officers had to rush in and pull Nassralla and El Masry to safety.

“I flew nine hours in an airplane to come here,” a frustrated Nassralla said afterward.

 

Stay Classy, Tea Party

The message of a controversial billboard in Mason City comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin probably got lost in its visuals, a co-founder of the tea party group that paid for the sign said Tuesday.

He said the underlying message remained: The country is headed in the wrong direction.

[full story]

Here’s that message…completely unambiguous…
Stay Classy, Tea Party

The really funny thing (and this is about the whole Tea Party movement) they are completely unaware of irony (and history, but that’s another post).  “Radical leaders who prey on the fearful and naive”?  That’s about as accurate a description of the Tea Party I’ve heard yet.

When one side is leading through hope and change, and the other is trying to tear down by focusing on fear and death, it’s a pretty easy call IMHO, as to which to support.

Speaking of the fearful and naive….

Mark Tlusty, a member of the group and a district chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party, defended the billboard earlier this year while also discussing his fears about health care reform.

“Why would I want someone to take one-sixth of the economy over and just ram it down so many people if they don’t want it to begin with?” Tlusty asked.

This is the sad thing about the TP and HCR, they keep calling it what it isn’t (a government takeover) and then multiply that fear and naivete to unheard of levels.  The punchline is, well, stuff like the sign above.  Which would be, to be honest, funny if they meant it as parody, but they don’t, which makes it sad.

How long till the Boomers are gone again?