Philip K Dickhead writes: "The US Military Joint Operations University says that a "National Manhunting Agency” is needed to go after jihadists, drug dealers, pirates and other "enemies of the state". Revelations of a CIA program for extrajudicial executions and assassination are criticized for not going far enough in the military's position. "Such a group wouldn’t just go after terrorists. “Human networks are behind narcotics trafficking, arms proliferation, piracy, hiding war criminals from authorities, human trafficking, or other smuggling activities,” Crawford writes. “Human networks also lie at the core of national governments, offering an increased potential to nonlethally influence state actors with precision. A robust manhunting capability would allow the United States to interdict these human networks.”" Given the military and law enforcements history of mission-creep, are "hackers" Gary McKinnon about to show up on a hit-list?"
Philip K Dickhead writes: "Award-winning SF author and BoingBoing co-editor Cory Doctrow has an editorial in today's Times of London. Doctrow elegantly evicerates the basic injustice posed by the imminent Mandelson "3 Strikes" law in Britain. He makes the explicit observation: "The internet is an integral part of our children’s education; it’s critical to our employment; it’s how we stay in touch with distant relatives. It’s how we engage with government. It’s the single wire that delivers freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. It isn’t just a conduit for getting a few naughty free movies, it is the circulatory system of the information age." It is worth noting that Doctrow was influential in the creation of the Creative Commons. He has enjoyed considerable commercial success for his writings, owing in no small part on his insistence that his work be made available for unrestricted electronic distribution and copyng."
Philip K Dickhead writes: "Recognizing that public shame is a potent weapon, the Electronic Frontier Foundation today launched a new Web site — its "Takedown Hall of Shame" — that will shine an unflattering spotlight on those corporations and individuals who abuse copyright claims to stifle free speech. Included in the first batch of "honorees" are NPR, Warner Music Group and Ralph Lauren — the later for an attempt to abuse the DMCA notification mechanism, because Cory Doctrow said they Suck at Photoshop."
John Dvorak researches the background of the US Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, and discovers some very serious questions pertaining to his background and qualifications. Regarding his claimed MS in Information Technology from the University of Maryland? "The registrar has no record of it. After initially posting this article the degree has cropped up apparently at the nearby University Campus in 2001. This was found by Nextgov.Com. But his degree in biology has yet to appear as his record shows a degree from College Park Campus for Psychology and nothing more."
"I first suspected something was fishy about this fellow by listening to... his common referrals to Twitter and Google Docs as some sort of high-tech breakthroughs and a way to save money and empower the public... pure cornball pop culture and the blogosphere, not... computer science or Information technology."
"He hasn't done anything to warrant this appointment. There are no great policy papers. There are no books. There is no invention. There is nothing but vague tech positions in city and state governments. How does this make him a "techno-whiz" as he was portrayed by the New York Times? It took him six years to get a simple undergrad degree in psychology! Was it just because he uses Facebook and likes Twitter?"
These are not the first troubles and dubious circumstances related to Kundra and his appointment."
Philip K Dickhead writes: "From the Super-Size-Me Dept:
Bloomberg is reporting that the World Health Organization discovered a single, surprising characteristic that's emerged among swine flu victims who become severely ill: They are all fat. Infected people with a body mass index greater than 40 suffer respiratory complications that are harder to treat and can be fatal. The virus appears to be on a collision course with the obesity epidemic. WHO officials are gathering statistics to confirm and understand this development. "It's very likely that if we went back retrospectively and looked at people who did poorly during seasonal flu, what would shake out is that obesity would be one of the risks," Fat cells secrete chemicals that cause chronic, low-level inflammation that can hamper the body's immune response and narrow the airways, says Tim Armstrong, a doctor working in the WHO's chronic diseases department in Geneva."
Philip K Dickhead writes: "I almost don't hate country music, after seeing this!
"The Sons of Maxwell" were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn't deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world."
Spot the Sarah Palin lookalike, for extra credit."
Philip K Dickhead writes: ""Frustrated at media portrayals of bisphenol A as a dangerous chemical, food-packaging executives and lobbyists for the chemical makers met this week at an exclusive Washington, D.C., club where they hammered out a strategy, including showcasing a pregnant woman to talk about the chemical's benefits."
The scoop is at Effect Measure at Scienceblogs.com, with a great pointer from "Jimmy" over on BoingBoing.net: "Someone leaked the minutes for a meeting of food-packaging executives and chemical industry lobbyists seeking to find ways to keep consumers buying goods laced with bisphenol-A. Attending companies included Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Alcoa and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).""
Philip K Dickhead writes: "A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world. Vivienne Allan said in an interview with Australian Broadcasting, that the body had confirmed worldwide there had been just seven deaths — all in Mexico — and 79 confirmed cases of the disease. Ms. Allen, of WHO's patient safety program stated "Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation. That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico."
Ms Allan said WHO had confirmed 40 cases of swine flu in the Americas, 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, two in Spain, two in Britain and three in New Zealand."
Philip K Dickhead writes: "An international drug company made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. According to the report in The Australian, saff at US company Merck &Co emailed each other about the list of doctors — mainly researchers and academics — who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action.
The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words "neutralise", "neutralised" or "discredit" against some of the doctors' names. It is also alleged the company used intimidation tactics against critical researchers, including dropping hints it would stop funding to institutions and claims it interfered with academic appointments.
"We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live," a Merck employee wrote, according to an email excerpt read to the court by Julian Burnside QC, acting for the plaintiff."