writes "It's a lengthy read but Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker has released a 26 page expose on Scientology. In a world where such innocuous sounding words as "squirrels," "security-checked," "disconnection," "contra-survival," "suppressive persons," "clear" and "open season" carry very serious and heavy baggage, director Paul Haggis has exited after thirty four years of membership and massive funding. And now he speaks out at length of Scientology's controversies. From how celebrities were recruited with a 10% commission by a worker at Beverly Hills Playhouse to the current investigation by the FBI of physical abuse and human trafficking, Wright draws surrounding histories and accounts of the Church including Anonymous' crusade. The length of this article reflects the unusually large number (12 cases of physical abuse) of individuals cited as testimony of Scientology Leader David Miscavige's inurement and physical violence. The case remains open as the FBI collects data and testimony — especially in relation to Sea Org. Most disturbing are the disappearances of people that The New Yorker piece enumerates. The piece concludes with the author's interaction with the Church that results in several conflicting foundational statements from its stance on homosexuality (Haggis' original reason for publicly leaving it) to almost all details of L. Ron Hubbard's naval service and discharge. The article ends with Haggis' quote: 'I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.' You can find summaries of the lengthy article and its suspected results along with corresponding reports listing politicians involved with the Church. Copyrighted work, leaked government documents, PS3 encryption keys and everything else has been posted on Slashdot but only the Church of Scientology has forced comments out of existence."Link to Original Source
writes "PayPal has released a statement on their blog: “PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.”
This move comes right on the heels of Amazon cutting off hosting for wikileaks.org and EasyDNS.net terminating DNS services for wikileaks.org."Link to Original Source
writes "To improve math and science education, Physics prof Dr. Yung Tae Kim thinks professors and teachers should take a page from skateboarding. 'The persistence and the dedication needed in skateboarding — that's what we need to be teaching,' explains Kim. 'No one says to a toddler, 'You have ten weeks to walk, and if you can't, you get an F and you're not allowed to try to walk anymore.' It's absurd, right? But the same thing is true with math and science education. If you want to learn trig or calculus, it's set at such a pace in schools that it guarantees that only the absolutely best students will learn it.' Kim says it's possible to 'polish the turd' of high school and college education, and lays out his plan for doing so in Building A New Culture Of Teaching And Learning (YouTube: parts 1-2-3), drawn from a farewell talk he gave to his Northwestern students. You'll find more on The Way of Dr. Tae at DrTae.org, PhysicsOfSkateboarding.com, and UniversiTae.com."
writes "I recall the first time I listened to a then very new Walkman. It was one of those wow moments marveling at the clarity and fidelity from the small earphones. I am somewhat surprised it has lasted this long in to the digital age."Link to Original Source
writes "There is a new BSA Poland-sponsored website with staged short-videos featuring "real-life" stories of cheating husbands and nasty bosses at work being "punished" for their software sins. You want to have a payback for whatever? Just report the use of pirated software to BSA, they will take care of the rest!"Link to Original Source
writes "A short film entitles "Sintel" was released by the Blender Foundation under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. It was created by an international team of artists working collaboratively using a free, open source piece of 3D rendering software called Blender. No Hollywood studio was involved in its making.
Pretty remarkable what can be generated these days with open source software and some dedicated, creative talent. If a short film of this quality can be produced without Hollywood right now, imagine what will appear a few more years down the road...
On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRsGyueVLvQ
More info and free downloads of the film available: http://www.sintel.org/"
writes "Google Talk has been available on Gmail for a while, but only as a way of communication with other Gmail users. Now a call button is incorporated in Gmail for the users of Google Talk: You can call from your computer (a microphone and speakers are required), to anyone in the US and Canada for free. Google also offers cheap calls to foreign countries, and believes the revenue from those calls will offset the cost of the free US calls."Link to Original Source
writes "The NY Times reports that federal prosecutors and child safety advocates are seeing an upswing cases of online sexual extortion where teens who text nude cell phone photos of themselves or show off their bodies on the Internet are being contacted by pornographers who threaten to expose their behavior to friends and family unless they pose for more explicit porn, creating a vicious cycle of exploitation. A nude photo sent to a boyfriend's cell phone can easily be circulated through cell phone contacts and wind up on websites that post sexting photos and teens are more vulnerable to blackmail because they're easy to intimidate and embarrassed to seek help. And the extortionists are often willing to make good on their threats, says Steve DeBrota, an assistant U.S. attorney in Indianapolis who has been involved in sextortion investigations. "You are blackmailable,'' says Parry Aftab, an attorney and online child safety advocate," ... and you will do anything to keep those pictures from getting out.''"Link to Original Source
writes "Kids that grew up with the internet are not the "digital natives" consultants have made us believe. They'r ok with the net but they don't care much about web 2.0 and find plenty of other things more important than the internet.
Consultants and book-writers, mostly old guys, have called for the education system to be re-modelled to suit this new generation, but they never conducted surveys to see if this "generation @" were anything like what they had envisioned. Turns out children who have known the net their whole life are not particularly skilled at it, nor do they live their life on-line."Link to Original Source
writes "Terry Childs, the sysadmin who held San Francisco's network "hostage" was sentenced to 4 years in prison today. With credit for time served, he could be out in less than 6 months."Link to Original Source
writes "Independent game Machinarium, released without DRM by developer Amanita Design, has only been paid for by 5-10% of its users according to developer Jakub Dvorsky. To drive legitimate sales, they are now offering a 'Pirate Amnesty' sale until August 12, bundling both the cross-platform game and its soundtrack for $5. Ron Carmel, designer of DRM-free puzzle game World of Goo, stated that his game also had about a 90% piracy rate, claiming that the percentage of those pirating first and purchasing later was 'very small.' He said, 'We're getting good sales through WiiWare, Steam, and our website. Not going bankrupt just yet!'"Link to Original Source