ZipK writes: In an Intelligence Squared debate this past October, John Yoo, best known for his authorship of the "Torture Memos," weighs in on the legality of the mass collection of U.S. phone records, and provides his view on the workings of the Constitution:
"But suppose you disagree with the Supreme Court, what should you do? Maybe I, as a policy matter, would draw the line between security and privacy somewhere else. We should decide it the way we decide most of the questions in our society: we have elections. This is not a question, as a democracy, that I think we should leave up to five — no offense to the retired people in the audience — superannuated, elderly people on the Supreme Court probably don't know how a cell phone or smart phone really works I'm sure have no Facebook or Twitter accounts to let you know about their latest opinions. And so if you really want to change the law here, and change what the government does, elect different people to Congress. Elect Rand Paul to President, have them put into affect the policies you want. That's how our constitution is designed to work."
Apparently Mr. Yoo does not believe the Supreme Court should be asked to review appellate decisions, and that the justices themselves are too old to understand a case that involves technology. For the record, Justice Breyer is on both Facebook and Twitter, though, as you'd expect of a U.S. Supreme Court justice, he doesn't use social media to communicate publicly about his cases.
ZipK writes: A glitch in the latest version of EA's franchise football video game "Madden 15" has modeled the Cleveland Browns 6' 2", 235-pound rookie linebacker Christian Kirksey as only 1' 2" tall. On the plus-side, the game's code seems to render the fourteen-inch linebacker in good detail. Too bad they didn't include any special gadget plays for this mighty-might.
ZipK writes: Although there are thousands of podcasts on iTunes and elsewhere that feature commercially licensed (i.e., ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) music, they seem to be flying under the radar, rather than having found a way to legally license the music and recordings for podcasting. Live365 and the MixCloud appear to have cracked the licensing problem for user-posted streaming content, but has anyone found a practical way to license commercial music and recordings for downloadable podcasting in the US? Has anyone successfully coupled the UK's Limited On-Line License with a license for sound recordings to build license podcasts of commercially sourced music? Are there other countries with licensing organizations that more easily admit podcasting?
ZipK writes: Television singing competition The Voice disclosed on Wednesday "inconsistencies" with the tallying of on-line and SMS-based voting. Although host Carson Daly claimed the show wanted to be “completely upfront," the explanation from their third-party vote counter, Telescope, was anything but transparent. In particular, Telescope claims that disregarding all on-line and SMS-based voting for the two nights in question left no impact on the final results, but they haven't provided any detail of the "inconsistency" or their ability to predict a complete lack of impact. Sure, it's only The Voice; but tomorrow it could be American Idol, and by next month, America's Got Talent.
ZipK writes: The co-creator (together with his wife, Sylvia) of Thunderbirds, Fireball XL-5, Stingray, Supercar, Space: 1999 and other unique science-fiction shows has passed away at the age of 83. FAB.
ZipK writes: If you want to compile a list of resources, say car shows that disallow billet, you'd Google "no billet car show." But if the results are too long to read in one sitting, or you want to check each week for new shows, how do you bookmark your place in a Google search so you can pick up where you left off? How do you mark or filter out the results you've already considered, so that each renewal of your search provides new material?
ZipK writes: A few weeks ago, coincidental with the retraction of Qwikster and my cancellation of Netflix's streaming service, a large portion of my active DVD Queue was reassigned to the Saved DVD queue, and made unavailable. Several colleagues have reported the same change. A call to support yielded the explanation that Netflix must license DVDs from the studios for rental, and that licensing for the reassigned titles had expired.
Does Netflix really need to license hard DVDs for rental? Even if they do, how will gutting their DVD library push customers to their anemic streaming library? Has anyone else seen their DVD queue redacted? Does anyone have more detail?
ZipK writes: The countdown to back pedaling has reached zero, and Harold Camping has declared that his predictions were correct, and that the world is now under judgment. He reiterates October 21, 2011 as the day that the Earth will be destroyed. Of course, he fails to mention the falsity of his predictions for worldwide earthquakes on May 21, 2011. And rapture. And all the other things he proclaimed for May 21. If you missed Mr. Camping's post-rapture show of May 23, you will be able to find it in Family Radio's archive. But don't take your time: you only have five months until God destroys the Earth.
ZipK writes: As many already know, Dr. Harold Camping of Family Radio has predicted May 21 will be Judgment Day. Given that Dr. Camping and his organization will have no need of a terrestrial radio network after this date, I challenge him to deed his radio properties to me as of May 22nd. Dr. Camping, if you truly believe your own prediction, you should have no problem signing away the licenses for your vast radio network. Put up or shut up.
ZipK writes: As a subscriber to the New Yorker I regularly get offers to extend my subscription. Unfortunately, the special offers are usually lesser deals than can be found on-line, at the New Yorker's own website. Today's direct mail offer for example, one year at $69.95, two years at $99.95 — with a free tote bag! But the rack rate on the New Yorker's website is $39.95 for one year, $69.95 for two, and $99.95 for three — with a free cartoon calendar. Essentially an extra year just by navigating the series of tubes that brings you to newyorker.com. Why do magazines do this? Do they think their readers are so stupid as to believe an unsolicited renewal offer that declares itself a "professional subscription benefit" at a "preferred renewal rate" is the best they'll find? Or is the average New Yorker subscriber so rich that they prefer to pay nearly double the price being offered on the New Yorker's website?
ZipK writes: Universal Music Group CEO Jim Urie sent an e-mail blast to music bloggers, attempting to enlist their assistance in petitioning government officials. The industry-backed Music Rights Now wishes the government to take more aggressive action, such as enlisting IPSs to monitor and report illegal downloading activity, and they'd like you to lobby your representatives. They've even provided a handy form you can use to contact your U.S. senators and representatives.
ZipK writes: After a few days of bad publicity, Apple's reversed its No-Cash Purchase policy, explaining that the policy was originally implemented to limit the number of iPad's an individual could buy during the introductory period of short supply. Now that supply has caught up with demand — and the story has hit front pages and gained national attention — Apple's reversed their policy. And they've taken the opportunity to put a bow on the story by giving the formerly scorned Diane Campbell a free iPad.
ZipK writes: With their former boss cooling his heels on a 150-year sentence, programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez are now in the U.S. Attorney's crosshairs. They've been arrested and charged with "conspiracy, falsifying books and records of a broker-dealer and falsifying the books and records of an investment advisory." Apparently Madoff's fraud was too large and too complex to be foisted entirely by hand.