Wednesday, January 26, 2005

FBI chides Hotmail and Yahoo! for sidestepping UK laws: "Ed Gibson, FBI special agent and assistant legal attache of the US Embassy in London, said international ISPs operating in the UK used their international presence as an excuse for not complying with British laws.

'With Hotmail and Yahoo! you can't get data using RIPA [the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act] because information is stored in the US,' Gibson said. 'Why aren't ISPs required to comply with the laws of this country?'"

Two US companies with services available in the UK. The FBI in the UK is complaining that the US companies don't fall completely under the UK RIPA Act because (surprise) the data is stored in the US.

Why is a US law enforcement agency pursuing US companies in the UK? Why not pursue them in the US directly? The inference is that there's some reason why they can't, and that they're going after them in the UK to circumvent US laws.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Tests indicate Viagra may aid enlarged hearts: "Viagra may aid in the treatment of enlarged hearts that can result from high blood pressure, tests on animals indicate.

"Plans are under way for a trial to determine if similar results occur in humans given the drug widely used to treat erectile dysfunction."

Hmmm... Let's review the history of Viagra, shall we? What later became Viagra started life as an experimental heart medication. It was not very effective at its intended purpose, but during animal testing, technicians noticed a common side effect among the male monkeys. It wasn't too long before they stopped testing it as a heart medication and started testing it as a "boner pill."

So it is not surprising that years later, they find it works in narrow circumstances as a marginally-effective, short-term heart medication. It ought to. The only allusion to this in the article is: "White, who was not part of Kass’ research team, noted that sildenafil originally was discovered by researchers studying blood pressure and heart disease."

Talk about missing the story.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Lawmaker wants theaters honest about movie start times: "Frustrated with lengthy advertisements and previews that delay movies and chew up viewing time, a state lawmaker wants theaters to be honest about when a movie actually starts."

It's called SHOWTIME folks -- it's when the show starts, of which the feature is the main attraction. I'd like to send a big shout out to Texas State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann -- you, sir, are an idiot. Of all the petty, insignificant things to complain about.

Now, think about it. If Rep. Idiot gets his way, those of us who arrive on time will be bothered and disturbed by all the other idiots who arrive in a dark theatre and try to find seats. That makes me send another big shout out to Landmark Theatres (owners of the River Oaks Theatres in Houston), who will not seat you after the show has started. Anyone who wants to contribute to a gift of Landmark passes for Rep. Fleischmann, let me know.
Good eye for the gay guy?: "Sebastian White, 22, says he knows many people whose gaydar goes off a little too often. Why?

'Because,' he says, 'the city has such a significant population of Europeans and metrosexuals, two groups notorious for causing gaydar to be wrong.'"

I think the unspoken undertheme is that the only reason gaydar worked in the first place is that (on average) Americans are so righteously homophobic that the exceptions make themselves obvious.

My gaydar works better in San Francisco than Oklahoma, but was pretty much useless in Amsterdam. Does that mean Oklahoma is full of metrosexuals?
Driver in grisly suicide: "A suicidal New Jersey man set a new standard for self-inflicted brutality when he decapitated himself by driving away from a light post with a rope tied around his neck."

Finally, an original idea.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ohio pulls plug on electronic voting: "The battle is over and electronic voting machines, at least in Ohio, are dead.

After years of wrangling and protests, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell announced Wednesday that he will limit Ohio's uncompleted voting-machine conversion to a single device: the precinct-count optical-scan machine.

The decision effectively sidelines the embattled touch-screen voting machines that protesters portrayed as razor-toothed, vote-eating monsters prone to hacking."

A very interesting development in the home state of Diebold Election Systems, from a Republican Secretary of State who chaired Bush's Ohio re-election campaign.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Christian Group Drops Indonesia Orphanage Plan: "An evangelical Christian charity has dropped plans to settle 50 Muslim children orphaned by the Asian tsunami in a Christian-run home after the Indonesian government blocked the move, the group said on Thursday. "

Hmmm... Kinda flies in the face of the statements that it had been approved, doesn't it? I also notice the number plummeted from 300 to 50 -- possibly the difference between how many they planned and how many they had (apparently) already kidnapped.
Group Says It Relocated 300 Orphans: "Brewer said the Indonesian government gave permission for the orphans to be flown to Jakarta last week and was aware that they would be raised as Christians.

['We have no knowledge of this,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said today in Jakarta. 'If confirmed, this would constitute a serious violation of the standing ban by the Indonesian government on the adoption of Acehnese children affected by the tsunami disaster and appropriate steps would be taken accordingly.' He added that he did not believe any Indonesian official would have approved the transfer of the children.]"

Now with links to the source article not just the highlight. Here's the answer to the question posed below.
For tsunami orphans, a Christian home: "A Virginia-based missionary group said this week that it has airlifted 300 'tsunami orphans' from the Muslim province of Banda Aceh to Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, where it plans to raise them in a Christian children's home."

In the long run, I don't know which is more traumatic, losing your parents in a cataclysm or being raised by Baptists. I was raised by Baptists. One thing the article does not appear to address is how the group gained legal custody of the 300 orphans, leaving the impression that they just grabbed them.

That impression is defended obliquely:"These are children who are unclaimed or unwanted. We are not trying to rip them apart from any existing family members and change their culture and change their customs," he said. "These children are going to be raised in a Christian environment. That's no guarantee they will choose to be Christians."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Pair arrested after telling lawyer jokes: "'They put the handcuffs on us, brought us into a room, frisked us, sat us down and checked our driver's licenses to see if there were any warrants out for our arrest,' Lanzisera said yesterday. 'They were very nasty, extremely nasty.'"

Not as obvious as it sounds. The two are anti-lawyer activists. The court alleges they were causing a disturbance and being abusive. Their complaint this day appears to have been that lawyers with security passes could walk right in, while the "peasants" had to wait in line. That's as much a privilige for lawyers as it is common sense -- give passes to the people who frequent the courthouse, but make the occasional visitors go through the full screening. The article notes, however, that there was a lawyer in line a few people ahead of them, so not all lawyers get passes.