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UK Government Seeks New Web Censorship Powers 187

oldandcold writes "Given the recent coverage and controversy over Australia's forthcoming web censorship system, it is somewhat surprising (and worrying) that Clause 11 of the UK's proposed Digital Economy Bill seems to have gone by largely unnoticed. It amends the Communications Act 2003 to insert a new section 124H that could give the Secretary of State powers to order ISPs to block pretty much any website for pretty much any reason. Such orders would not require the scrutiny of parliament, or anyone else for that matter, because the Secretary of State would not be required to publish them."

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Craigslist Blocks Yahoo Pipes 164

Romy Maxwell posted a blog piece on Craigslist apparently shutting off access to Yahoo Pipes. Maxwell was working on a project, one of 2,111 using Craigslist as a data source, for a (non-commercial) Pipes-based mashup. He sent Craig Newmark an invitation to the alpha test, after a few rounds of friendly communication — " a rule of thumb, okay to use RSS feeds for noncommercial purposes." The apparent response, 4 days later, was for Craigslist to redirect any request with an HTTP referrer of to the Craigslist home page. Maxwell writes: "It's a sad day for me. I'm not too upset about my own project, as Flippity was already removing Craigslist as a data source. With the likes of eBay and Oodle not only providing open APIs but encouraging and rewarding developers, spending my time wrestling with Craigslist is just plain stupid and exhausting. I'm sure I'm not the only person to have come to that conclusion, and I wish it were different. ... If Craigslist wants to keep its doors shut to the world, so be it."

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Comment Re:Confessions of an (Score 1) 453

I was replying flippantly to my parent post, who seemed to envision China as a warped, frustrated old man determined to turn America into Pottersville. China just wants stability. They buy economic stability by manufacturing stuff for us, and buy currency stability (which facilitates the broader economic stability) with our government debt.

Very smart people on both sides of the Pacific know we're in a death embrace. Sure, they could stop bidding on our debt, but they know that would tank our currency, cause the trillions of dollars worth of notes to dive rapidly towards worthlessness, and kill one of their most important export markets. However we get out of this, it's going to happen very, VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y. China's too big a player in currency markets to dump anything without ruinous consequences for all parties.

Comment Re:You've gotta love this entitlement mentality (Score 2, Insightful) 395

I am so unbelievably tired of hearing this fallacy repeated over and over again, when it is just not true. I mean, it's trivially true, in that the money used to pay the taxes will ultimately come from consumers, because that's where all the company's income comes from. But it is absolutely positively not true that the price must rise dollar for dollar with increased taxation. In fact, price has almost nothing whatever to do with unit cost, especially when a company has an artificial monopoly on a product, as they do with software, and double especially when a company has an actual monopoly on a product, as Windows does with desktop operating systems.

Price is concerned with one thing and one thing only: Supply and demand. And when you have an artificial monopoly, you control supply entirely. If Microsoft decides to produce only 1,000 copies of Windows 7, the price will be astronomical... Well above the marginal cost to produce it. If they decide to produce 10,000,000,000 copies, the price will dive to the basement and end up at pennies per copy, and they may need to open up a new landfill next to where they buried all those copies of E.T. for the Atari 2600.

If Microsoft raises the price of the product to account for this additional taxation, and they sell exactly as many copies as they would have otherwise, that only means that the price they were charging is too low. If that taxation suddenly disappears, I can guarantee that the price won't decline by even a single penny. Don't believe me? Gas is much cheaper now than it was a few years ago, but have the airlines eliminated those fuel surcharges and baggage fees?

If you don't think that corporations should pay taxes, that's one thing. But don't try to scare people into supporting tax dodges for huge, profitable coprorations for fear that the cost of their product will increase dollar-for-dollar.

Comment Re:There are other OS's (Score 5, Insightful) 342

I am an Apple fanboi, born and bred in the soft, comforting womb of the Reality Distortion Field. There is not a single computer or device in my house that was not Designed by Apple in California.

If Apple were to do this on my Mac, or my iPhone, or my iWhateverTheHellElse, I would jump ship like Neo leaving the Matrix*. Apple fanbois are Apple fanbois because we prize elegance and design. Implementing this in OS X would shit on it.

(* Just like in that ONE AND ONLY ONE movie, that had ABSOLUTELY NO sequels... See how good at distorting reality I am?)

Comment For the iPhone, Perhaps? (Score 1) 342

Given the proliferation of ad supported free apps on the iPhone, perhaps Apple is building an ad-display framework for developers to hook into, rather than have them continually re-invent the wheel for each app. And since it would technically be "part of the OS," perhaps this is a defensive mechanism to prevent patent trolls from pouncing once they implement it.

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