For a woman the people of Nepal regard as a goddess, no place was more fitting for Joanna Lumley to visit than a hill where many deities are worshipped. But the 6,000ft hill south of the town of Pokhara now has even greater significance for the 63-year-old actress - because it has been named after her. Filled with gratitude for the untiring work she has done for retired gurkhas by winning them the right to live in England, the old warriors and their supporters have named the hill Mattikhan Lumley View.
Let's start with what is and move on to what ought
Given the complexity and scale of America's health care it is difficult for the lay person to come to grips with the system as it is let alone make an informed judgment as to the system as it ought to be. Dr John Barrasso and Dr Tom Coburn are in the enviable position of being able to offer expert opinion on both health care and public policy as both men are MDs and United States Senators.
Senate Doctors Show: Senator John Barrasso, M.D., and Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., are seeking your questions as Congress debates health care reform. We want you to be a part of this important debate. Send us your questions and comments by e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Senators Barrasso and Coburn will respond to some of them in future episodes, which air every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 pm EST.
Both men are Republicans and, obviously, this will incline them toward market based solutions. Whatever your particular political inclinations it seems to me their views merit more attention than many legislators found time to lend to a health care bill most supporters could not be bothered to read.
I am pleased to note the provenience of the engines powering the new Predator C "Avenger". Pictures suggest it may be stealthier than its predecessors too.
The pictures reveal a stealthy design powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B; the same engine that powers the Cessna Citation XLS business jet. The UAV's 20m (66ft) wingspan is swept at 17°, allowing a maximum speed of over 400kt (740km/h), General Atomics says. Operating altitude can exceed 60,000ft, the company adds.
An amateur photographer has captured new images of the re-awakening of the world's most famous volcano. In a breathtaking series Marco Fulle, who specialises in shots of comets, has photographed the Anak Krakatoa against a backdrop of constellations such as the Big Dipper.
These stunning pictures show the latest activity during the rebirth of the infamous volcano which holds a long-standing record for causing the highest number of human deaths ever - a staggering 36,000 in 1883.
Kim Jong-il's love of the people in the military-first era
It is a small stand against incalculable evil but if Italy's move to block the sale of two yachts gets up Kim Jong Il's nose I am all in favour. Also encouraging, in a roundabout way, is news of a new North Korean "luxury" resort hotel. Note to enthusiastic undergraduates, sheltered academics and one Manchurian president: This is the best statism has to offer.
North Korea on Monday celebrated the completion of what it has hailed as a "world-class" hotel in the Majon resort area in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, North Korean Central Broadcasting reported Tuesday.
The broadcast said the Majon Hotel "is equipped with top-class accommodation and recreation facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, a steam sauna, a public bath, and even a beach resort."
An accomplishment that could be matched and exceeded by an average Korean immigrant family to Canada with a bank loan and dream.
Brutally related: North Korea Economy Watch hosts the "most authoritative" map of North Korea on Google Earth. The map includes a baffling array of mines and monuments making it a bit tricky to find the concentration camps, test sites and military facilities formerly viewable only by intelligence analysts and now available for your cubicle-based perusal.
This Google Earth project offers an extensive mapping of North Korea’s economic, cultural, political, and military infrastructures. Through the topic menu, users of this program have easy access to geographical information on North Korea’s agriculture projects, aviation facilities, communications, hospitals, hotels, energy infrastructure, financial services, leisure destinations, manufacturing facilities, markets, mines, religious locations, restaurants, schools, and transportation infrastructure. In addition to locations of economic interest, this map also displays anti-aircraft locations, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Northern Line Limit Line (NLL), incarceration facilities, political monuments, political residencies, military bases, and nuclear facilities.
Lockheed Martin teaming up with Hyundai to build Aegis warships does conjure an amusing image until one stops to consider Hyundai Heavy Industries is the largest ship builder on Earth.
"The idea is that the partnership would make it possible to build high profit-margin warships at a reasonable price," said [Hyundai Heavy spokesman] Cho.
No word on if the warranty covers ten years or 100000 miles...
And another thing: Also delivery bang for bucks, the B-2 Spirit is nearly ready to deploy the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).
The MOP is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5-foot long bomb body of hardened steel. It is designed to penetrate dirt, rock and reinforced concrete to reach enemy bunker or tunnel installations. The B-2 will be capable of carrying two MOPs, one in each weapons bay.
By a happy coincidence, I can think of all sorts of dirt, rock and reinforced concrete that needs shifting.
The Tories think they have identified a demographic key to their exciting bid to replace New Labour with New Labour (rebranded as "conservative"). By contrast, I know I have identified an excuse to post Patsy Kensit in a nurses outfit.*
So, cheers for that.
Tory strategists are targeting voters dubbed 'Holby City Women' in their bid to win the next election. The new category of voter has been identified as being in her thirties or early forties. The nickname comes from BBC1 hospital drama Holby City, set in a fictional city in the South-West. She is likely to work in a responsible clinical or clerical job in the NHS like Faye Morton, the Holby City staff nurse played by Patsy Kensit.
One Conservative strategist said: 'She worries about the future of the Health Service, but also about the state of her children's schools, the fate of her ageing parents and the cost of childcare. We are not really talking about welloff doctors or senior managers. They are likely to back us anyway. It's the people doing important but less glamorous jobs earning around £30,000 who might have voted Labour in the past, but are now disaffected by the macho culture that surrounds Gordon Brown.'
Things Holby City Women apparently do not worry about: National honour, national defense against domestic nuclear jihad and what elf money is going to be used to pay for all this. Conservative my ass.
* Scroll down for the linked article. The top bit where a "conservative" "leader" is reported to think "tax credits" are a form of largesse is also worth a look if only for its tooth grinding hilarity.
Update: Is this the new Tory demographic? They could be on to something.
EVE Online has its own in-game currency. Virtually all such games do. And with in-game currency comes real-world speculation - because if there's one thing every multiplayer internet game develops, it's a market in which people with real-world money can acquire whatever they want in the game by simply paying someone else for it. Warcraft has "gold farmers", players who play the game for no other reason than to amass wealth that is then sold in huge batches for cash through eBay-like channels. It's their job - quite literally in many cases, especially in China, where entire facilities are staffed around the clock with game-players who play all day and all night to earn the rare items and mountains of money, so that their boss can then sell it all to Westerners who just want to win without actually playing first.
The in-game currency of EVE Online is the ISK. That's right, the Icelandic króna. And where most multiplayer games have attempted to ban the translation of in-game assets to and from real-world money, EVE Online has not only permitted it but actively embraced it - so much so that daily speculation on world/game financial leverage is conducted openly on the official game web boards. As a result, the EVE Online ISK has remained fairly stable against virtually all the real currencies of the world for a few years now, fluctuating but not spiking, not crashing. There are people out there making an income, a real-life income, just handling the trades on the "floor".
All of which is to say: Iceland has collapsed so thoroughly that at this point, its only economically viable export may very well be an internet spaceship game, and that internet spaceship game's króna is for all intents and purposes a more real and valid and valuable currency than the actual country's actual money.
With INS Arihant, India's first indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine - and its existing land- and air-based capabilities - the world's largest democracy takes a big step toward a second-strike capable nuclear triad.
With Sunday's induction, India has made its entry into an elite club of nations comprising the US, Russia, France, the UK and China which possess capabilities to develop nuclear submarine.
"On Sunday, we join a select group of five nations who possess capacity to build a nuclear-powered submarine," the Prime Minister noted.Code-named Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), Arihant will carry 'Sagarika' (K-15) missile that has a range of 700 kms.
As India has declared "no first use" of nuclear weapons, the country's weapons system must survive a first strike for retaliation. Therefore, Arihant's primary weapon is stealth as it can lurk in ocean depths of half a kilometre or more and fire its missiles from under the sea.
Hall is a local boy who made good. Born in Webster Groves, Mo., his family moved to Santa Fe in 1927 to a house on Cerrillos Road. He graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1930, then earned a degree in anthropology from the University of Denver in 1936 and a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1938. In between he lived and worked with the Navajo and Hopi for a number of years.
After earning his doctorate degree from Columbia University in 1942, Hall joined the Army and commanded an African American regiment in Europe and the Pacific from 1942 to 1946. In the 1950s he was director of the U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute program that prepared diplomats to work in different cultures. He has taught at the University of Denver, Bennington College, the Harvard Business School and Northwestern University, among other places.
The purpose of this project is to provide a computer simulation of the onboard guidance computers used in the Apollo Program's lunar missions, and to generally allow you to learn about these guidance computers. Since this can be quite intimidating, we invite you to look at our "kinder and gentler" introductory page before immersing yourself in the full, gory detail presented by the bulk of the website.
The book Abeceda (Alphabet) is a composite of experimental poetry, modern dance, graphic design and photomontaged typography, based on a poem by Vitĕzslav Nezval in the order of the letters of the Latin alphabet. Each double page features a set of quatrains facing a sometimes abstracted letter composed of typographic elements and a photograph of the dancer Milca Mayerova.
I don’t want to pick on the EU. The fact is that no supra-national state has been a successful democracy. You can hold different peoples together within an authoritarian system: the Habsburg or Ottoman empires, Yugoslavia, the USSR. But you generally find that, the moment the subject peoples of those states are given the vote, they opt for separation.
Indeed, in order to keep an essentially undemocratic project in operation, the 27 member states are obliged to surrender a measure of their internal democracy, too. It’s the phenomenon I call the EU’s “hideous strength“.
Thus, in the case of Ireland, the Pro-Treaty Forces have secured changes in the referendum rules, which used to provide for equal airtime for both sides. This means, of course, that all future Irish referendums, not just those on European integration, will be less balanced. Thus does the the EU serve to vitiate democracy within its participating members.
Hey, isn't Canada a "supra-national state"? Just checking.
Instead of languishing in prison - or an unmarked grave - IRA Brighton bomber Patrick Magee has been invited to participate in the official commemoration marking the 25th anniversary the bombing.
Magee, now lives in Belfast and has publicly regretted the loss of life caused by the bomb but has defended his reasons for planting it.
He has yet to decide whether or not to travel to Brighton.
I will quote from the comments.
Yeah, great! On Sept 11, 2026 let's invite Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Osama Bin Laden to the 25th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We'll invite the survivors and relatives of the 3000 murdered victims and have a grand ole time. What in God's name is happening to our civilization?
I don't know if they frighten the enemy, but they scare the hell out of me
Bruce Anderson claims the British love their Army but no longer understand the Army, a factor in the over-stretched budgets of Her Majesty's armed forces.
The British Army has another age-old custom: patronising the Yanks, along the lines of a pre-war story. American warships arrive in Hong-Kong harbour, and their flagship signals to ours: “How is the second-biggest Navy in the world this morning?” The reply was instantaneous : “We’re fine. How is the second best?”
Apropos of Iraq and Afghanistan, one heard the same story. The Americans were splendid fellows and their muscle was indispensable. What a pity they could not do hearts and minds.
That may no longer be applicable. As often happens under the stress of conflict, American military doctrine has evolved. They have adapted to the terrain and they are now better at hearts and minds. Not only has British humour failed to keep up with these developments: the Yanks are aware of what we say about them, and they do not like it. There is not yet a crisis. But if the Americans were to conclude that we were better at bitching about them than at joining in the heavy lifting, a defence partnership that once seemed unbreakable could be in jeopardy.
I have resisted any engagement with World of Warcraft on the grounds my life is already chockablock with nonsense and I suspect I would enjoy the game a bit too much. Even so, I expect I shall see the movie now Sam Raimi is set to direct.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures announced today that Sam Raimi has signed on to direct the eagerly-anticipated major motion picture based on Blizzard Entertainment®’s award-winning Warcraft® universe. Raimi has, in the course of his career, clearly demonstrated a genius for developing and adapting existing fictional universes for mainstream audiences while staying true to the spirit of the original content.
Tennant leads a list of stars, including James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe, vying to play Bilbo. The film version of The Hobbit is based on Tolkien's children's book prequel to The Lord Of The Rings hit series.
Much as I think she would have preferred Ian Holm reprise his role from the recent film adaptation of LotR, I believe my Mum would have approved of Tennant stepping into Holm's shoes (if not Bilbo's, obviously).
It includes the names of archers who served with Henry V at Agincourt, meaning you could see if any of your relatives helped rout the French in the famous 1415 battle. The Medieval Soldier Database contains full profiles of individual soldiers, with muster roll evidence allowing researchers to piece together details of soldiers’ lives.
Following his claims about demographic pressure on those structures, I think we may not have to replicate "the left"''s long march through the institutions after all. Having bankrupted their countries societies, reality will lead to a concentrating of the mind as the dialectic does its thing.
Events have already forced Premier Brian Cowen to carry out the harshest assault yet seen on the public services of a modern Western state. He has passed two emergency budgets to stop the deficit soaring to 15pc of GDP. They have not been enough. The expert An Bord Snip report said last week that Dublin must cut deeper, or risk a disastrous debt compound trap.
A further 17,000 state jobs must go (equal to 1.25m in the US), though unemployment is already 12pc and heading for 16pc next year.
Education must be cut 8pc. Scores of rural schools must close, and 6,900 teachers must go. "The attacks outlined in this report would represent an education disaster and light a short fuse on a social timebomb", said the Teachers Union of Ireland.
Nobody is spared. Social welfare payments must be cut 5pc, child benefit by 20pc. The Garda (police), already smarting from a 7pc pay cut, may have to buy their own uniforms. Hospital visits could cost £107 a day, etc, etc.
"Something has to give," said Professor Colm McCarthy, the report's author. "We're borrowing €400m (£345m) a week at a penalty interest."
A day after an explosion uncovered a hidden Hizbullah arms cache in southern Lebanon, the IDF's Northern Command estimated that the group had turned hundreds of homes in the area into warehouses to store short- and medium-range Katyusha rockets.
The IDF released video footage taken from an Israeli aircraft, showing a home that had exploded on Tuesday in the village of Hirbet Selm - located some 20 kilometers north of the Lebanese border. The roof is seen in the footage with dozens of holes, which IDF ballistic experts said were the size of 122-mm. Katyusha rockets.
The concept of greatness is irritating and threatening
To think I came back to Canada. I blame both dimorphism and the process of sexual reproduction.
And I still wish someone would explain Mark Steyn's "Canadian" accent to me. It deserves to be sea-lifted from Lebanon and attacked on talk radio as a Canadian accent of convenience (via Five Feet of Fury)
Canada has done everything David Rakoff, Sarah McNally and Melissa Auf der Maur want—not least in their own fields. It taxes convenience-store clerks to subsidize books and writing and publishing and that wonderful “national conversation about literature like a big book club” in which everyone’s membership dues are automatically deducted from your bank account whether you go to the meetings or not. And still Mr. Rakoff and Ms. McNally and Ms. Auf der Maur leave. They applaud the creation of a “just” and “equitable” society, and then, like almost all the members of the Order of Canada you’ve actually heard of, they move out. Despite commending the virtues of a social “safety net” for you and everyone else, they personally can only fulfill their potential somewhere else, without one. Usually in a country beginning with “Great” and ending in “Satan.”
Update: Mark Steyn's mystery accent was resolved by email. Best left a mystery here though. :-)
A perhaps unanticipated side effect of the society of the spectacle is its sheer scope and consequently the prospect I will never hear of - let alone enjoy - vast swathes of the nonsense that interests me.
It's the Halloween party they've all been waiting for, to have fun with friends and hang out with fellow Star Wars fans and partners in crime. However, events take a turn when one of their bunch who long ago outgrew his old gang and took on adult responsibilities is suddenly in their midst again. Reconnecting is not easy. But soon, Eric, Windows, Hutch and Zoe realize that Linus will not live long enough to experience what's been on their minds for ages: The long-awaited theatrical release of Star Wars - Episode I, which is still several months away. Linus once again suggests to his friends what he's been scheming since fifth grade: Breaking into Skywalker Ranch, this time to steal a print of the movie. Crazy, right? But it might be the only way for Linus to see the movie before he dies. So as insane as it sounds, they take Hutch's van and embark on a mission to drive across half the country to the Ranch.
The trailer is underwhelming but a photo of Kristen Bell as Slave Leia is all the advance marketing they would have needed. Note to Hollywood publicity machines: Get on that.
Always read the fine print (especially if it is in bold): Kristen Bell faux lesbian dance below the fold.
Canada's Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) has found that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) "ignored human rights concerns" (quoting an al Arabiya article, not a SIRC report) when questioning Omar Khadr at Guantanamo in 2003.
"SIRC believes that CSIS failed to take into account that, while in U.S. custody, Khadr had been denied certain basic rights which would have been afforded to him as a youth," the report said.
Also denied to Khadr, the right to a swift field trial as a pirate and a war criminal. But then we have become quite selective about which treaties we choose to honour.
"I discount suggestions that UFO's contain beings from outer space. I think any visits by aliens, would be much more obvious, and probably also, much more unpleasant."
Hawking continues: "What is the explanation of why we have not been visited? One possibility is that the argument, about the appearance of life on Earth, is wrong. Maybe the probability of life spontaneously appearing is so low, that Earth is the only planet in the galaxy, or in the observable universe, in which it happened. Another possibility is that there was a reasonable probability of forming self reproducing systems, like cells, but that most of these forms of life did not evolve intelligence."
Intelligence, Hawking believes contrary to our human-centric existece, may not have any long-term survival value. In comparison the microbial world, will live on, even if all other life on Earth is wiped out by our actions. Hawking's main insight is that intelligence was an unlikely development for life on Earth, from the chronology of evolution: "It took a very long time, two and a half billion years, to go from single cells to multi-cell beings, which are a necessary precursor to intelligence. This is a good fraction of the total time available, before the Sun blows up. So it would be consistent with the hypothesis, that the probability for life to develop intelligence, is low. In this case, we might expect to find many other life forms in the galaxy, but we are unlikely to find intelligent life."
Two further considerations offer an alternative conjecture. Intelligent life arises but is wiped out as soon as it gets noticed. Only quiet species are moving between the stars...
The corollary of this line of thinking being the consequent choice between a mad race to perfect weapons against the hypothetical death machines on their way or a retreat into the apparent safety of a new Dark Age. I suspect the choice is going to be made for us.
"I want to adopt," says Ryan Reynolds as wife Scarlett Johansson stars in sultry advert (pictured at link).
Reclining on a sofa, wrapped in leopard print, Scarlett Johansson certainly doesn't look like a mother-to-be. But the sultry actress may soon be adding to her family, her husband Ryan Reynolds suggested.
Reynolds, who married 24-year-old Scarlett in a very private ceremony in Canada last year, told Glamour magazine he planned to adopt.
With persistence and a bit of luck, science may yet defeat the "science" of this decade's meteorological tulip bubble. Don't hold your breath waiting for pig headed, pig ignorant warmists to apologise for their thickism, it would represent an entirely ineffectual reduction in your carbon footprint (via Halls of Macademia).
Meanwhile a remarkable drama has been unfolding in Australia, where the new Labor government has belatedly joined the "consensus'' bandwagon by introducing a bill for an emissions-curbing "cap and trade'' scheme, which would devastate Australia's economy, it being 80 per cent dependent on coal. The bill still has to pass the Senate, which is so precisely divided that the decisive vote next month may be cast by an independent Senator, Stephen Fielding. So crucial is his vote that the climate change minister, Penny Wong, agreed to see him with his four advisers, all leading Australian scientists.
Fielding put to the minister three questions. How, since temperatures have been dropping, can CO2 be blamed for them rising? What, if CO2 was the cause of recent warming, was the cause of temperatures rising higher in the past? Why, since the official computer models have been proved wrong, should we rely on them for future projections?
The written answers produced by the minister's own scientific advisers proved so woolly and full of elementary errors that Fielding's team have now published a 50-page, fully-referenced "Due Diligence'' paper tearing them apart. In light of the inadequacy of the Government's reply, the Senator has announced that he will be voting against the bill.
The wider significance of this episode is that it is the first time a Western government has allowed itself to be drawn into debating the science behind the global warming scare with expert scientists representing the "counter consensus" – and the "consensus" lost hands down.
We still have a long way to go before that Copenhagen treaty is agreed in December, and with China, India and 128 other countries still demanding trillions of dollars as the price of their co-operation, the prospect of anything but a hopelessly fudged agreement looks slim. But even a compromise could inflict devastating damage on our own economic future – all for a theory now shot so full of holes that its supporters are having to suppress free speech to defend it.
Make. Give. Sell. Share. Release. Start. Engage. Film.
Create Digital Music posts a handy round-up of Trent Reznor's advice to new artists in light of our skepticism toward Reznor's (proven) give-it-away-and-make-a-mint music production model.
Note to self: Must set up download/check-out interface to my music site...
We’ve all watched and commented on bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails releasing free albums and still profiting by them. Will this model still work for new artists, though?
Trent Reznor posted yesterday that the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication reissue is “how you sell music today”. As a rebuttal to the usual “that only works for established artists” replies, he’s followed this up with an extended post on what artists who haven’t reached the Beasties or NIN level of profile can do to get established.
Reznor's opinion is of direct interest to me, obviously, but I think he is also offering food for thought to anyone trying to have a go with a small business that needs promoting in a newly wired world.
Victor Davis Hanson thinks that while the stimulus package has failed to turn around the economy it may succeed in accomplishing its actual purpose, i.e. to Canadianize the United States.
Note here I mean something quite different from the accustomed notion of “accomplish.” You see, I think the point was never much to build more bike paths on borrowed money or just bail out GM, but rather more to reengineer the tax code, as part of a grander vision of creating a new equality of result in America.
Soon we will all end up after each April 15 about making the same, driving the same sort of cars and using the same sort of mass transit, living in about the same sorts of houses, and having about the same sorts of “‘they’ will take care of it for me” philosophies — all overseen by brilliant, but highly ranked and exempt Platonic Guardians who suffer on our behalf as they jet and limo at breakneck speed ensuring our welfare.
A friend of mine used to say Revenue Canada should send out notices to anyone making fifty thousand or more a year: "Congratulations! You have now achieved your income."
The report’s contention was that the mishandled Lawrence case illustrated the “institutional racism” of the London police force. Poor Sir William tied himself in knots trying to explain the notion of institutional racism, relying in part on that great moral authority on race relations, Stokely Carmichael, the onetime “prime minister” of the Black Panthers. As Macpherson admitted, he could point to no actual instance of racist behavior by the officers involved in the case, though evidence of incompetence and delay was abundant. But if he had concluded from the lack of evidence of racist behavior that the police were not racist, he doubtless would have become an object of execration by all the people who think the right thoughts. Thus Macpherson’s redefinition of racism: “Failure to adjust policies and methods to meet the needs of policing a multi-racial society can occur simply because police officers may mistakenly believe that it is legitimate to be ‘colour-blind’ in both individual and team response to the management and investigation of racist crimes.”
On the very next page, however, Sir William quoted approvingly the assertion of an association of black police officers: “Institutional racism leads officers to act, albeit unconsciously, and for the most part unintentionally, and treat others differently because of their ethnicity or culture.” In other words, if you treat people the same, you are racist; but if you treat them differently, you are racist. It is clear that we are here in the realm not of the rule of law but of the Malleus Maleficarum, and that Macpherson is acting not as judge but as witchfinder-general.
I have my reservations, hence the necessity for the above posted visual evidence. In this sleepy season of summer traffic, it is not as though I am at risk of offending anyone and if you do get the bear reference you probably first learned of Stoya the same way I did. In which case, I am forced to observe the difference between you (probably), me (certainly) and Marilyn Manson is Marilyn Manson has mastered the art of enjoying his symptom.
In Lacanian psychoanalytic terms (founded in instructive Greek myth), a desired object becomes an excremental object the moment it is obtained. Successful relationships, therefore, require some distance between the loved one and the object of desire, some space for misrecognition lest prince revert to frog, princess to pumpkin (or something like that). No real person can withstand comparison with a neurotic fantasy and no real relationship can exist where one person exists solely as a portmanteau for another's desire.
Manson's tragedy is that every fixer-upper he seeks out must ultimately fail in comparison to his ideal. Stoya - lovely as she is - is simply too close to that ideal to begin with for the relationship to long survive.
Some might question why anyone would want to hack into someone else's brain, but the researchers say there's a precedent for using computers to cause neurological harm. In November 2007 and March 2008, malicious programmers vandalized epilepsy support Web sites by putting up flashing animations, which caused seizures in some photo-sensitive patients.
"It happened on two separate occasions," said computer science graduate student Tamara Denning, a co-author on the paper. "It's evidence that people will be malicious and try to compromise peoples' health using computers, especially if neural devices become more widespread."
In some cases, patients might even want to hack into their own neural device. Unlike devices to control prosthetic limbs, which still use wires, many deep brain stimulators already rely on wireless signals. Hacking into these devices could enable patients to "self-prescribe" elevated moods or pain relief by increasing the activity of the brain's reward centers.
I am not normally one for literary fiction and, thanks to a Telegraph review, am experiencing some trepidation at the prospect of Radio 4's adaptation of Justin Cartwright's To Heaven By Water. Still, I will take whatever clues I can get - fictional, in this case - about this strange business of mortality. Also, Bill Nighy rocks.
Bill Nighy reads from the novel by Justin Cartwright, about a family as they come to terms with the loss of a wife and mother.
Radio 4 will only have each installment of To Heaven by Water available on-line for a few days. Budget your time accordingly.
A new wave of violence hit the capital of the Chinese region of Xinjiang today as thousands of angry Han Chinese rampaged through Urumqi, many smashing up Uighur stores and seeking vengeance for Han deaths at the weekend.
The authorities swiftly imposed a curfew on the restive city in an attempt to quell what the government has already described as the worst riots since the foundation of the People's Republic 60 years ago. Police attempted to disperse today's mob with teargas as they headed towards a predominantly Uighur area, but many were still on the streets armed with whatever came to hand: wooden staves, iron bars, metal chains, nunchuks, shovels and axes.
Rioters smashed Uighur restaurants, threw rocks at a mosque and threatened residents of Uighur areas, although moderates in the crowd attempted to restrain them.
"They attacked us. Now it's our turn to attack them," one protester told Reuters. Another said: "We're here to demand security for ourselves. They killed children in cold blood."
"It's your time to suffer," they shouted at some of the five- and six-storey apartment blocks lining Xinfu Road.
In Eastern Europe, that last but one would qualify as a political platform. Fascism is with us. We have forgotten.
News of the "Star Wars" ( <--- these quotation marks indicate derisive sarcasm) live action series suggests we are in for another "chick show" pretending to be science fiction.
Rumours about the pre-production of Star Wars, the live action series, to be shot in Australia, have been confirmed by several inside sources.
The quality and style of writing that will be used will be of the highest quality, and local, and writers will be sourced from outside traditional Science Fiction shows. Several big names within the Australian industry (including writers from the Award-winning Love My Way and the Award-winning Secret Life of Us) have been approached by Star Wars uber-producer, Rick McCallum.
Love My Way and Secret Life of Us can be characterised by the focus on relationships and emotional landscapes (traditional 'chick shows', if you will). Bringing this element into the world of Star Wars sees a marked departure of the final three films and animated Clone Wars, where the primary audience was children.
This throws the new series into a whole new spotlight, and should excite fans of the Star Wars universe looking towards more adult fare.
More solidification of rumour into fact will come as soon as possible.
Here's a thought: Try making science fiction which involves flying fast spaceships, blowing up other fast spaceships and confronting evil aliens. Also, try hiring an English-speaker when you want content for a press pack. The computer generated version lacks a certain I-do-not-know-what.
Nothing against the Star Wars bubble bath pictured above, you understand. I just figured that even granted slow summer traffic another Slave Leia image would qualify as gratuitous.
With thanks to Agent Bedhead for the inspiration; I would have taken much longer to get round to fixing them otherwise. For those of you who have never dared my comment registration system, it will still be bloody awkward.
Stop coverage of child molester, pervert, pedophile Michael Jackson
It needed saying.
Congressman Peter King says the media has disgraced itself covering this "low life". Comments are working again at the Flea, btw.
Peter King of New York tells the media to stop covering "low-life" Michael Jackson and start talking about the sacrifices of average citizens like police officers, firefighters and teachers.
At least one recent poll has shown that nearly two-thirds of the American public feels that there has been too much coverage of the King of Pop's death. For those tens of millions of Americans, they likely believe that Representative King is giving voice to their own feelings on the media's excessive, fawning coverage of the singer's passing.
The idea for the painting was hatched by Jefferson and Trumbull in Paris 10 years after the fact, in 1786, while Trumbull was a guest at Jefferson's mansion on the Champs-Élysées. Trumbull, who was living in London at the time, had recently completed two remarkable historic paintings, "The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill" and "The Death of General Montgomery at the Attack on Quebec," and was on fire to do more.
Subjects of "national history, of events of the Revolution," he later wrote, had become "the great objects of my personal life." In the course of a conversation in Jefferson's library, Jefferson drew a floor plan of the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House as he remembered it, and on the opposite side of the same sheet of paper Trumbull made a tiny rough sketch remarkably close to what would turn out to be the final composition.
Canadian Flea-readers will understand I would have marked Dominion Day on July 1 if only such a day yet existed here in "Canada".
Unless you are planning to end the war, obviously. Best carry on with hacky sack and concerts for Darfur/Tibet/Rwanda/etc/etc as this sort of soft power has prevented so much needless suffering and injustice.
Kaplan: Sri Lanka defeated, more or less completely, a 26 year-long insurgency. They killed the leader and the leader’s son. But there are no takeaway lessons for the West here. The Sri Lankan government did it by silencing the media, which meant capturing the most prominent media critic of the government and killing him painfully. And they made sure all the other journalists knew about it.
Kaplan: There are a thousand disappearances a year in Sri Lanka separate from the war. Journalists are terrified there. The only journalism you read is pro-government. So that’s one thing they did.
The Tamil Tigers had human shields by the tens of thousands, not just by the dozens and hundreds like Al Qaeda. They put people between themselves and the government and say "you have to kill all the people to get to us." So the government obliged them. The government killed thousands of civilians.
MJT: Tamil civilians?
Kaplan: Yes. They killed thousands of civilians in the course of winning this war. It acted in a way so brutal that there are no lessons for the West.
It was Red China wot won it, btw, and this may be the enduring lesson for the West, a civilization with its head up its collective ass and increasingly unwilling to lift a finger to defend itself.
Medium term thinking suggests it is time to teach your children Mandarin. And to get used to ceding the right of way on the sidewalk.
For more than 200 years, buried deep within Thomas Jefferson's correspondence and papers, there lay a mysterious cipher -- a coded message that appears to have remained unsolved. Until now.
The cryptic message was sent to President Jefferson in December 1801 by his friend and frequent correspondent, Robert Patterson, a mathematics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. President Jefferson and Mr. Patterson were both officials at the American Philosophical Society -- a group that promoted scholarly research in the sciences and humanities -- and were enthusiasts of ciphers and other codes, regularly exchanging letters about them.
In this message, Mr. Patterson set out to show the president and primary author of the Declaration of Independence what he deemed to be a nearly flawless cipher. "The art of secret writing," or writing in cipher, has "engaged the attention both of the states-man & philosopher for many ages," Mr. Patterson wrote. But, he added, most ciphers fall "far short of perfection."
Queen Elizabeth II will honour the loss of armed forces families whose loved ones have been killed in operations or by terrorist action since World War II. The Queen has been badly served by her ministers since the War and consequently the time of her reign may be remembered as a disaster (if our new masters choose to remember it at all). But this is a good idea.
In this light, the Elizabeth Cross is not only a worthy gesture; it is a kind of elegy for honour, duty and sacrifice, concepts foreign to what England has been made by small men, by misguided idealists and by the writ of orc scrolls in those parts of the land where Her Majesty's reign has been ceded to a hyper-modern Dark Age.
It is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been given to a new award since the George Cross in 1940, introduced by George VI for acts of bravery by civilians and the military.
It follows a precedent set after the first and second world wars. Families of those killed in World War I were given a scroll and a memorial plaque, while a scroll was given to families of those who died in World War II and the Korean War.
A memorandum from the lead contractors seen by the BBC suggests there will "be a fight for the programme's survival". The memo also discusses ways to cut costs, including the possibility of 400 to 500 redundancies. The Ministry of Defence said it was currently re-costing the programme and accounts would be published in July.
Work on the two warships - HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales - had been delayed in December but was due to begin soon.
By their fruits shall ye know them: Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa. Canadian Flea-readers should take little comfort in the news; our violence rate places sixth in the top ten with double the reported rate in the United States. I blame sociology.
Those few of you who have fought your way through my comment defense system will have noticed the system is still down. My apologies. I will take a look under the hood but, frankly, I do not put much hope in making it work. I will see if I can disable them completely if I cannot get them up and running again.