don_combatant writes to note that President Bush claimed new powers to search US mail without a warrant. He made this claim in a "signing statement" at the time he signed a postal overhaul bill into law on December 20. The signing statement directly contradicts part of the bill he signed, which explicitly reinforces protections of first-class mail from searches without a court's approval. According to the article, "A top Senate Intelligence Committee aide promised a review of Bush's move."
AcidAUS writes "Google is being accused of refusing to remove racist blogs targeting minority groups in Australia. Google, whose corporate motto is "don't be evil", says it will take the blogs in question offline only if ordered to do so by a court."
An anonymous reader writes, "The UK Guardian is running an excerpt from the new book "Heat" by George Monbiot (to be published later this month) spelling out the network of funding opposing global action against global warming — specifically, limits on human carbon dioxide generation. The excerpt outlines a web of fake citizens' groups and bogus (but authoritative sounding) research institutes designed to convince laypeople that human causation of global warming is scientifically controversial. Not surprisingly, the article notes funding by ExxonMobil. More interesting is the role played big tobacco, tying their attack on the health risks of second-hand smoke to global warming skepticism." From the article: "What I have discovered while researching this issue is that the corporate funding of lobby groups denying that man-made climate change is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm directly involved in the fossil fuel industry. It was started by the tobacco company Philip Morris."
lisah writes "According to reports at NewsForge this morning, Developer Eric Farraro has discovered a potential hole in Google's Public Search Service that may leave the door wide open for phishing scams. The Public Search Service, designed to allow universities and other non-profit institutions to add Google search capabilities to their websites, provides code that allows website developers to customize the header and footer of the search results page. Handy (and malicious) coders can manipulate the headers and footers to create what looks like a Google sign-in page and then collect the login names and passwords of unsuspecting users." NewsForge and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.
I don't think the second page is the end of the challenge.
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC is reporting that possession of violent pornography is now punishable by three years in prison. This decision was handed down in response to a campaign waged by a grieving mother who lost her daughter to someone obsessed with violent pornography." From the article: "Shaun Gabb, director of the anti-censorship organization the Libertarian Alliance, said: 'If you are criminalizing possession then you are giving police inquisitorial powers to come into your house and see what you've got, now we didn't have this in the past.'"
The Wired Game|Life Column points out that something momentous happened yesterday: The Wizard was released on DVD. From the post: "And I do not understand how any sane person couldn't be happy about this. Generally recognized even by the small children who saw it in 1989 as being a ninety-minute ad for Nintendo, The Wizard is quite frankly a masterpiece of our time. It starred Super Mario Bros. 3." From 1up's post on the release: "Appropriate celebrations include sending Wizard cards (depicting Fred Savage in all his pre-teen glory, natch), the decorating of the Wizard tree (ornaments should resemble characters from Super Mario 3), and wearing the Wizard celebratory garments (also known as the Nintendo Power Glove). I'm sure the lack of Blu-Ray release was simply an oversight, and not a monstrous snub by the higher-ups at Sony."
An anonymous reader writes "A teen in Massachusetts has created a device that he hopes will help prevent traffic fatalities among teenagers. The unit plugs into a car and uses GPS to track and report on speeding — but only while the car exceeds a limit set by parents, so as to minimize invasion of the teen's privacy."
Much of the coverage of the next-gen skirmish so far has focused on Sony and Microsoft. The already-impressive Xbox Live vs. the PS3. Just the same, for the first time in many years Nintendo is definitely in the running for top spot. About.com has a piece looking at what the big N is bringing to the next-gen party this November. From the article: "While Nintendo is trend setting with controllers like the Wiimote and, to a lesser extent, the nunchaku dongle, other companies will be following along. Nintendo's game plan from the genesis of the Wii has been touch and gamer-friendly games. They see the future of gaming in the Wiimote. Everyone else, at this point, seems to be just catching up."
An anonymous reader writes "Think Secret is reporting that the next Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference may be the company's platform to announce movie rentals via iTunes. The files would probably have a built-in shutoff timer, or only allow a certain number of viewings." From the article: "Apple is said to have ironed out agreements with Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros., and is currently in talks with other major movie studios as well. It's unknown to what extent content will be available come the August 7 announcement, or whether Apple will announce all of its studio deals at that time ... Apple had been trying for months to persuade the movie studios that the a-la-carte model of buying individual titles, as the iTunes Music Store offers with music, was the way to go. The studios, however, have been fixed on offering only a subscription or rental-based model."
whoever57 writes "eBay has added Google Checkout to the list of payment options banned on eBay. A recent update to the Accepted Payments Policy includes Google Checkout (click on 'Show' next to 'Some Examples' to reveal the list). More comments on this action can be found at the eBay Strategies Blog."
digitalhermit writes "I guess many folks are of very little brain, and big words bother them... There's a push for simpler spelling. Instead of 'weigh' it would be 'way.' 'Dictionary' would be 'dikshunery' and so forth. Dunno if it's a joke, but it seems in earnest. Mark Twain must be spinning around somewhere." Twain is often credited with the satirical call for spelling reform called "A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling," though according to Wikipedia, Twain was "actually a supporter of reform," and the piece may have been written by M.J. Shields. Benjamin Franklin was another champion of spelling reform, and even came up with a phonetic alphabet to implement such reform.
lowrydr310 writes "Western Union is blocking money transfers to people with Arab names. They have delayed or blocked thousands of cash deliveries on suspicion of terrorist connections simply because senders or recipients have names like Mohammed or Ahmed. 'In one example, an Indian driver here said Western Union prevented him from sending $120 to a friend at home last month because the recipient's name was Mohammed.' Western union claims they are merely following U.S. Treasury Department guidelines that scrutinize cash flows for terrorist links. I agree that Western Union shouldn't allow anyone supporting terrorism to use their service, however I'm fairly certain there are millions of people named Mohammed or Ahmed who aren't terrorists. I wonder if any other financial companies such as banks are doing the same thing."
1nfamous writes "Canada's Largest ISP, Bell Sympatico, has informed its customers that it intends to 'monitor or investigate content or your use of your service provider's networks and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy any laws, regulations or other governmental request.' The new customer service agreement is effective June 15, 2006."
Benjamin Horst writes "The volunteer effort raising $10,000 to place at least two backpage ads in New York City's free daily paper Metro is now entering its second full week. We've collected over 10% of our goal already and continue to find new pledge donors at a healthy pace. Our project's purpose is to help 'cross the chasm' and bring awareness of OpenOffice.org 2.0 to the large number of computer users who stand to benefit from its broad feature set and range of useful capabilities. This is not the first time an open source project has sought a high-profile newspaper ad buy. In fact, our effort was directly inspired by the Firefox New York Times ad. Firefox's famous effort announcing its arrival on the world stage helped push it from about 10 million downloads to its current tally of over 185 million!"