Shared posts

09 Apr 08:43

Forum Post: RE: 1/8 Nemo by Dimensional Designs

by GMorrison



06 Apr 15:57

Sony files DMCA takedown against Creative Commons video

by James Delahunty

Is it ok to (ab)use DMCA this way? Do you really need to ask? :|

Sony files DMCA takedown against Creative Commons videoSony Pictures has filed a DMCA takedown against 'Sintel', a 2010 short film released by the Blender Foundation with all materials available under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

The Blender Foundation develops and promotes the open source 3D graphics program Blender. It is a non-profit organization, funded by donations with the stated goal of providing the Internet community with access to 3D technology.

To showcase what you can do with Blender, the Blender Foundation has released several movies since 2006 that were developed with the system.

The latest movie is Sintel, which was released in 2010 and has been available on YouTube ever since, until now. Trying to view the video on YouTube now results instead in a notification that the video contains content from Sony Picture Movies and Shows.

Of course, there is one slight problem; Sony Pictures does not own the film or anything in it. All the materials used to make the short film were original materials, and have been licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, so you can freely share the material.

The DMCA is most likely an error, but it brings up an important question surrounding DMCA takedowns on sites like YouTube; is it OK that videos can be so easily removed with DMCA takedown requests?

Sources and Recommended Reading:
Sony Demands Removal of Open-Source Indie Short 'Sintel' From YouTube:
Website for Sintel Project:
The Blender Foundation website:‎

Permalink | Comments

04 Apr 06:03


by Ryan Pagelow
03 Apr 23:00

Britain is turning into a country that can't tell its terrorists from its journalists

by Cory Doctorow

Only "turning"...?

Sarah Harrison, a British journalist who's worked with Wikileaks and the Snowden papers, writes that she will not enter the UK any longer because the nation's overbroad anti-terror laws, combined with the court decision that validates using them to detain journalists who are not suspected of terrorism under any reasonable definition of the term, means that she fears begin detained at the airport and then jailed as a terrorist when she refuses to decrypt her files and grant police access to her online accounts. Under the UK's Terrorism Act of 2000, journalists who write because they hope to expose and halt corruption are liable to being jailed as terrorists because they report on leaks in a way that is "designed to influence the government." And "the government," according to the Act, is any government, anywhere in the world -- meaning that journalists who report on leaks that embarrass any government in the world can be treated as terrorists in the UK.

Nor is this an idle risk: Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained under terrorism rules when he transited through the UK, and a UK judge subsequently found that the detention was justified on these grounds, even though no one suggests that Miranda is involved in terrorism in any way. As Harrison writes, "Britain is turning into a country that can't tell its terrorists from its journalists."

The final paragraphs of Harrison's editorial sum it up neatly:

This erosion of basic human civil rights is a slippery slope. If the government can get away with spying on us – not just in collusion with, but at the behest of, the US – then what checks and balances are left for us to fall back on? Few of our representatives are doing anything to act against this abusive restriction on our press freedoms. Green MP Caroline Lucas tabled an early day motion on 29 January but only 18 MPs have signed it so far.

From my refuge in Berlin, this reeks of adopting Germany's past, rather than its future. I have thought about the extent to which British history would have been the poorer had the governments of the day had such an abusive instrument at their disposal. What would have happened to all the public campaigns carried out in an attempt to "influence the government"? I can see the suffragettes fighting for their right to vote being threatened into inaction, Jarrow marchers being labelled terrorists, and Dickens being locked up in Newgate prison.

In their willingness to ride roughshod over our traditions, British authorities and state agencies are gripped by an extremism that is every bit as dangerous to British public life as is the (real or imaginary) threat of terrorism. As Ouseley states, journalism in the UK does not possess a "constitutional status". But there can be no doubt that this country needs a freedom of speech roadmap for the years ahead. The British people should fight to show the government we will preserve our rights and our freedoms, whatever coercive measures and threats it throws at us.

Britain is treating journalists as terrorists – believe me, I know [Sarah Harrison/The Guardian]

(Image: I'm a photographer, not a terrorist, Russell Trow, CC-BY)


28 Mar 05:00

Motion picture industry continues to stagger under piracy with mere record-breaking income

by Cory Doctorow

"Motion picture industry continues to stagger under piracy with mere record-breaking income" sums it up nicely :D

Once again, the "piracy-stricken" motion picture association has had a banner year, with box office revenue breaking all records (as they've done in most recent years). The biggest gains this year come from China -- a market condemned by the studios as a hive of piracy.

Some of the best news in the report is that American movies are seeing success in China, which has become the first international market to reach more than $3 billion in movie sales. The Chinese enthusiasm for US-produced movies comes despite the fact that China continues to restrict the number of foreign-made films that can be released in theaters to 34 imports a year.

But the country at the top of the MPAA's sales charts is also at the top of its piracy target list. Last year, the MPAA placed China on the list of the “most notorious” markets for distributing pirated movies and TV shows. As reported by the LA TimesMPAA spokesperson Michael O’Leary has explained:

The criminals who profit from the most notorious markets through the world threaten the very heart of our industry and in doing so threaten the livelihoods of the people who give it life. These markets are an immediate threat to legitimate commerce, impairing legitimate markets' viability and curbing US competitiveness.

Despite prolific piracy, China's increase in sales has been positively "meteoric," MPAA chief Chris Dodd said at a press conference yesterday, noting a 27 percent increase.

Piracy notwithstanding, MPAA enjoys a “very strong year”—again [Joe Silver/Ars Technica]


26 Mar 22:00

Jimmy Wales tells "energy workers" that Wikipedia won't publish woo, "the work of lunatic charlatans isn't the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'"

by Cory Doctorow

I heartily approve of JW's comment 8)

The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) set up a petition asking Wikipedia to make it easier to post crazy pseudo-science to Wikipedia, specifically information about "Energy Medicine, Energy Psychology, and specific approaches such as the Emotional Freedom Techniques, Thought Field Therapy, and the Tapas Acupressure Technique."

In response, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said "no," very emphatically. He told the petitioners that Wikipedia would continue to accept material published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, but would not "pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse.' It isn't."

No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.

Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals—that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.

What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of "true scientific discourse." It isn't.

Wikipedia founder calls alt-medicine practitioners “lunatic charlatans”


18 Mar 01:00

Gears of war: When mechanical analog computers ruled the waves

by Sean Gallagher

A very interesting read

The Advanced Gun System, left, is intended to take on the role of the battleship's 16-inch guns, right. Aside from its GPS-guided shell, the digital technology of the AGS's fire control system does exactly what the USS Iowa's Rangekeeper Mark 8 did—just with fewer people and less weight.
US Navy

The USS Zumwalt, the latest destroyer now undergoing acceptance trials, comes with a new type of naval artillery: the Advanced Gun System (AGS). The automated AGS can fire 10 rocket-assisted, precision-guided projectiles per minute at targets over 100 miles away.

Those projectiles use GPS and inertial guidance to improve the gun’s accuracy to a 50 meter (164 feet) circle of probable error—meaning that half of its GPS-guided shells will fall within that distance from the target. But take away the fancy GPS shells, and the AGS and its digital fire control system are no more accurate than mechanical analog technology that is nearly a century old.

We're talking about electro-mechanical analog fire control computers like the Ford Instruments Mark 1A Fire Control Computer and Mark 8 Rangekeeper. These machines solved 20-plus variable calculus problems in real-time, constantly, long before digital computers got their sea legs. They were still in use when I served aboard the USS Iowa in the late 1980s.

Read 45 remaining paragraphs | Comments

14 Mar 14:02

Game creation jam to be ruled by insane random game concept generator

by Rob Beschizza

:D I'm not sure if that "sanity" option made things much better

Orteil42, creator of Cookie Clicker and Nested, has published a random game concept generator. The Insanity Game Jam, whereby one must implement one of machine's ideas, is to run April 1-4. The main rule? You have to uncheck the box on Orteil42's concept generator that guarantees "sanity" in its offerings.

Avoid your soul in a sandbox world.
A sim game where you discover the beauty of genetics and you hate every single minute of it.
A role-playing game where you rethink heroes until the end of the world.

The seed "Boing Boing" yields "A shooting game where you nuke eggs with a pickaxe," which sounds about right.


13 Mar 21:33

Time to Punish DMCA Takedown Abusers, WordPress Owners Say

by Andy

I don't think I'm the only one to think that some sort of abuse prevention mechanism should have been implemented to begin with.
But that's just me and I'm not a rightsholder.

copyright-brandedAlthough deceptively small considering its impact, Automattic is a company that touches hundreds of millions of Internet users every day. The company, best known for being behind the WordPress blogging and publishing platform, currently hosts more than 48 million sites on

Servicing 400 million visitors accessing 13.1 billion pages each month is no mean feat, and with so much user-generated content on-board it’s obvious why the company has a keen interest in the DMCA and the protections it offers service providers.

Speaking today during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Section 512 of Title 17, Automattic General Counsel Paul Sieminski spoke about his company’s experiences with the notice and takedown provisions of the DMCA. Noting that the process works well overall, Sieminski said that shortcomings in the system negatively affect freedom of expression and adversly impact companies like Automattic.

Sieminski says that significant resources are being diverted away from product development at Automattic in order to deal with overbroad and abusive DMCA takedown notices. On the one hand the company wants to ensure freedom of speech, but balancing that with its legal commitments under the DMCA is not an easy task.

“At Automattic, we’ve seen an increasing amount of abuse of the DMCA’s takedown process. The DMCA’s takedown process provides what can be an easy avenue for censorship: simply send in a DMCA notice claiming copyrights in a piece of content that you don’t agree with. Regardless of whether you own the copyright, the service provider that hosts the content must take it down or risk being out of compliance with the DMCA,” the lawyer explained.

Sieminski went on to detail several cases where the DMCA had been abused to stifle speech, including one elaborate scam in which someone tried to undermine the work of science journalists by copying their work, backdating it, and claiming copyright in order to take down the original content. Although the journalists filed a counter-notice, it took the full 10 days mandated by the DMCA to get it put back online.

Another case involved a UK-based journalist who reported on a freely-given press statement. The source of the press release changed his mind on having it published, claimed copyright, and had the journalist’s work taken down under the DMCA. Concerned about submitting to the jurisdiction of a US court (those submitting a counter-notice are required to reveal their name and address and agree to be sued in federal court), the journalist chose to back down. His report remains censored to this day.

As reported here on TF on many occasions, wrongful DMCA notices are sent on a daily basis, many the product of automated systems that lack the finesse to correctly identify infringement, much less consider fair use situations. Add these notices to the millions already being sent and they often go undetected, taken down by nervous service providers wary of becoming liable for the infringements of others.

According to Automattic, a solution needs to be found.

“The DMCA system gives copyright holders a powerful and easy-to-use weapon: the unilateral right to issue a takedown notice that a website operator (like Automattic) must honor or risk legal liability,” Sieminski explained.

“The system works so long as copyright owners use this power in good faith. But too often they don’t, and there should be clear legal consequences for those who choose to abuse the system. I’d urge the Committee to add such penalties to the DMCA to deter and punish these types of abuses,” the lawyer concludes.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.

13 Mar 23:07

Forum Post: RE: Merit 1/18th 88mm Flak 36 WiP

by Bish

I should have a new go at the 88FlaK. At least I hope it'd look nicer than the one I build in 2001.

Ok guys, wait is over, I am calling this done.

Bill, I really like the effect that's been left with those pigments. You can really pile up the dust in areas were it would build up, so thanks for that tip.

After everything was put together, I sprayed on AK's dust effects. Once that was dry, I used their pigments mixed with water to add some heavy dusting. I rather like the end result. Though in some of the pics, some areas show up as a bright yellow the real thing isn't quite as bright as that. I also added some chain to the sides of the gun and the box's on the trailers.

I was originally going to make the badges from printing my own decals. But after chatting to plasticjunkie, I decided to try making them out of 6mm MDF. I kept it simple, the 88, I don't think it needs and more of an intro than that, and the DAK insignia.

So, here's the pics.

Thanks to all those who followed along, I hope the wait was worth it. And a huge thank you to all those who offered advice, links and there own pics, especially Johan, Clemans and of course Roy. I really couldn't have pulled this off to this level without your help.

All comments welcome as always. And thanks again. 

13 Mar 12:31

Young Oxford Conservatives leader abuses DMCA to censor reporting of his calling Mandela a "terrorist"

by Cory Doctorow

It seems that the only way the DMCA-tdns are used can be labeled as "disgusting abuse". Surprised? I'm not.

Jeff Vinall, a Conservative Party activist who is director of communications for the Oxford University Tories and is a second year law student at Brasenose College has abused the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act to censor a website that reproduced a posting from his Facebook account in which he called Nelson Mandela a "terrorist," shortly after Mandela's death.

Vinall sent a DMCA takedown notice to the hosts of the UK-based website Political Scrapbook after an initial demand to censor their reporting was declined. The DMCA is an American statute and notices issued under it have no standing in the United Kingdom; furthermore, it's clear that the brief quotation from Vinall qualifies as fair use under the American copyright law and fair dealing under English and Welsh copyright law.

In my opinion, Vinall is trying to have his cake and eat it too. I think he believes that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, but he also believes that saying this aloud brings him and the party into disrepute. At the same time, I think he believes that repudiating his tasteless remarks will alienate a sizable number of Conservative supporters who also hated Mandela and cheered his death -- so using bullying, censorious tactics to suppress the reporting of his remarks is way for him to suppress news of the remarks without having to issue an insincere apology through gritted teeth that would disgust the party's reactionary wing.

However, the Streisand Effect is in full effect; The Oxford Tab has picked up the story and reproduced Vinall's remarks. They have spoken to Apartheid refugees, who expressed shock and horror at Vinall's callous remarks and his willingness to take the side of the totalitarian monsters who branded Mandela a terrorist and imprisoned him for a quarter-century.

The claims have upset some members of OUCA, with one South African member commenting to The Tab: “My family were removed from their homes due to the racist policies during Apartheid – calling Mandela a terrorist is not only deeply personally offensive, but it is also worrying that such a person is a candidate in an OUCA election.”

A student at Wadham, which ends every bop with “Free Nelson Mandela”, said to The Tab: “Wadham had historic close ties with Nelson Mandela, and I’m shocked that anyone could call him a terrorist. Mandela was a great man, and should be remembered as such.”

One senior member of OUCA commented to the Tab: “I have grave concerns about some of Jeff’s behaviour, he needs to understand that OUCA has to rapidly change if it’s ever going to be a proper Conservative society and not just a bunch of oddballs with unsavoury opinions.”

Oxford Tory Soc candidate Jeff Vinall calls Mandela a ‘terrorist’ [The Tab]

Jeff Vinall tries to gag Scrapbook after 'Mandela terrorist' claim [Political Scrapbook]

(Image: Jeff Vinall's Facebook update, used for critical and commentary purposes, without permission, as fair dealing [England/Wales] and fair use [USA])


12 Mar 07:00

the view


I've encountered those pieces of shit in LHE and they're both enfuriating and useless. Why bother with a "self-service" thing if you end up needing an assistant to do it for you, without an exception? :P

07 Mar 00:00



You're a homicidal invader!

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic.
07 Mar 07:23

My howitzer is bigger than yours

by Ralph

" It was unwieldy, had a low rate of fire and never entered service, but it makes for an impressive model."
Well.. how high a RoF do you need when you're shooting nuclear shells? ;) But it is impressive, indeed!

In the fifties, the United States experimented with artillery that could launch nuclear weapons. Not to be outdone, the Soviet Union developed the 2A3 Kondensator 2P self-propelled howitzer. Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka) has built a highly detailed 1/30 scale model of this unusual piece of Cold War history.

Soviet 2A3 'Kondensator' 2P

Early nuclear weapons tended to be on the bulky side. Consequently, whilst many modern self-propelled artillery pieces have a caliber of 155 mm (6.10 inches), the caliber of the Kondensator was a whopping 406 mm (16 inches), which is more in line with a battleship main battery. It was one of the largest self-propelled artillery pieces ever built. It was unwieldy, had a low rate of fire and never entered service, but it makes for an impressive model.

06 Mar 17:09

Free to Play ain’t free

by Warren Spector

" You like something, you buy more of it. You don’t like something, you walk away."
A bit like shareware? ;)

"Make the experience inherently un-fun (unless I pay) and I’m walking away." sums it up pretty nicely.

Recently, ran an article by Kabam’s President, Andrew Sheppard, about the F2P biz model. (You can find it here:

Basically, the story offered some good thoughts and some bad ones.

The good? There are some very smart comments about the desirability of having several workable business models – and the inevitability of multiple models – rather than one winner-take-all model. That was a breath of fresh air, let me tell you! Most F2P guys exhibit a zeal that can, at best, be described as unseemly. Multiple business models? I completely agree.

And I agree completely with the comments about licenses as well. There’s no reason why licensed games can’t rock. And it’s both good business and, often, good fun working with licenses. Developers need to get over not-invented-here syndrome.

But, on the flip side, Sheppard makes some comments about console and triple-A developers being “scared” of F2P, citing the disruption caused by the switch from arcades (25 cents, please… okay, how about another 25 cents?…) to consoles (deposit $60 in our bank accounts, thank you…).

I think the fear factor is non-existent. Sheppard is just wrong about that. And the arcade to console comparison is simply off-base.

I don’t know anyone who “fears” the new business model. I certainly don’t. I just think it’s evil AS IMPLEMENTED by most developers and publishers. And the incremental approach to revenue generation of the arcades is radically different than the approach most F2P folks take today.

Honestly, I think the arcade guys got it right and we could learn some valuable lessons from them. What lessons?

Well, that initial quarter was very easy to spend. You fed the machine a quarter and you got X minutes of play time. If you were having a good time and wanted more content, you fed more quarters into the machine to keep playing for X additional minutes.

That’s a great model – certainly better than overcharging for our product as we always do in the triple-A space. And it’s a model we can and should adopt.

Charge very little for the first hour of play – or give it away if you want. If I’m having fun, I pay a small fee for more of that experience. You like something, you buy more of it. You don’t like something, you walk away. Track what people do as they play and adjust play appropriately as you introduce new content? Fine. Awesome. I’m in.

But start charging me for power-ups and other things I need to succeed (or, worse, hats and cloaks and such with no game effect)? Take planning and skill out of the equation and charge me for things I need to continue making progress (or to dress myself up)? Nope. I’m not down with that at all. And that’s what most of the F2P folks seem to be doing.

It’d be like a television show giving you 25 minutes of entertainment and then charging for the last five minutes. Or giving you all the talking but charging extra for the action. (Okay, bad analogy but I couldn’t think of a better one.)

In other words, most F2P experiences are built on a model that might be described as “bad entertainment for free; good entertainment for cash.”

That’s what I object to. It’s not fear. It’s not that F2P HAS to be evil. It’s just that it IS evil, as usually implemented. That’s what has to change before you’ll make a convert of me. And just to put my money where my mouth is, here are some personal experiences:

I’m a huge fan of the Tell Tale games – and their business model. I like their free content (their “pilot episodes”) so I always buy subsequent episodes. I like the free stuff so I pay them for the not free stuff – just like the old arcades. They don’t charge for new clothes for Clementine or for shotguns that do double damage to zombies! Good on them!

I love Candy Crush Saga (there, I said it), but I’ve paid for exactly one power-up (and won’t ever pay for another) because I couldn’t make forward progress without said power-up. That’s evil. Sorry. No other word for it. On the other hand I’ve happily paid several times for new levels. Again, I like the free content so I’ll pay for more content. It’s my way of thanking and rewarding the developer for providing an inherently fun experience. Make the experience inherently un-fun (unless I pay) and I’m walking away.

There are similar good things going on elsewhere in the F2P or Cheap 2 Play world – Republique… Kentucky Route Zero… – which I’ll happily support.

Free to Play should really BE free to play (and cheap to play is okay, too – developers have to eat). The ages old model of offering value for money (rather than junk for money) is the right model.

Creating inherently enjoyable experiences that don’t NEED to be enhanced by the purchase of power-ups or add-ons is the right answer. I’m convinced of that and not scared at all. Bring on the change, just make sure it’s a change for the better.

(Oh, yeah, I have to confess, I’ve never played a Kabam game so it’s entirely possible they do everything right. Take this post as a condemnation of the predominant F2P approach, not as a comment on any specific company or game.)

06 Mar 22:00

New Project: Building a Fully Animated AT-ST costume

by Joe Bowers

That setup looks like a lot of fun :D

9_cb131104-130801-6Joe Bowers’ bipedal chicken walker costume was made for less than $60 using mainly insulation foam, spray paint, and printer paper.

Read more on MAKE

05 Mar 01:51

Forum Post: RE: Mighty Mini's GB! 1/144 scale

by wing_nut

WOW I thought the end date had passed here.  Great stuff guys. Deattilio that is freakin' awesome work.



I just finished this the other day and if you will allow I offer it up as a 2nd entry. This is the next in my Peanut Butter Panzer series.   A 144th Pantherturm using a Panther G turret from a Dragon Panzer Korp kit and a scratched bunker.  If anyone wants to see them i will be happy[y to put up some of the WIP pics... like the concrete deal I made Stick out make it official.



04 Mar 06:42

David Cameron's porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children

by Cory Doctorow

Yet another fucker caught. How surprising is this?
"Don't do what I do, do as I say!". Bleh.

Patrick Rock, a Thatcherite who served as special advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and played an influential role in the Prime Minister's national Internet censorship plan, has been arrested for possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. The National Crime Agency is conducting forensic analysis of the computer networks at the Prime Minister's office/residence, Number 10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister brought him into Downing Street in 2011 to work in the Number 10 policy unit. He took responsibility for home affairs issues and was among officials who were involved in drawing up controls against internet images of child abuse.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the evening of February 12, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency.

'The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.

'Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

Senior Tory adviser Patrick Rock arrested on child pornography allegations [Nigel Morris/The Independent]

(via Super Punch)


03 Mar 17:36

The Godfather locations, then and now

by David Pescovitz

Cool :D

12104132545 9a628d2785 o


Scouting New York visited the New York filming locations of The Godfather (1972) to see how they look today. Top, Don Corleone gunned down outside Genco (128 Mott Street), and that location now. "The New York Filming Locations of The Godfather, Then and Now" (via Laughing Squid)


02 Mar 00:15

Load’em up for the long flight ahead

by Nannan

A wonderful setup!

This microscale space colony by torerik has all the features of a sci-fi base including, radars, a space crane, an eco-dome, and of course a giant spaceship. The layout covers 10 large grey baseplates and was built over a course of 10 months. Check out more details of the diorama on Flickr.

Bonsol Colony

27 Feb 21:38

Ending A Space War With A Punch In Heat Signature

by Pentadact

Sounds awesome 8)

The next thing I wanna let you do in Heat Signature is take the helm of an enemy ship and fly it yourself. But right now, things go very screwy if you’re on a ship as it accelerates. So I’m redoing all the relative velocity code to make sure the contents of a ship stay stable while it’s jerking around.

I was testing the new code just now, and headed for a small ship to dock with it. It had rubbish heat sensors, so I came in pretty hot, and my ship was still cooling on its hull when I docked and snuck aboard. Unfortunately, at that exact moment, a much, much larger ship with much, much better heat sensors went past – and immediately spotted my still-warm ship latched onto the smaller one.

Ships have heat-seeking missile launchers now, of varying number, and when they attack they fire all of them. So as I’m dealing with the first guard in the small ship, four missiles slam into it. One destroys the module my ship was latched onto, sending it drifting into space. I run for the guard and knock him out, just as a missile destroys the room I was standing in a second earlier.

Two more rooms are blown off the smaller ship, leaving not much left. And once a space war starts, it doesn’t stop: the big ship might not have been aiming for the small one, but they’re enemies now, so they’ll shoot it out until one of them dies. And with four missiles per volley and only three rooms left on this ship, I don’t like our chances.

Heat Signature Knockout

But it suddenly occurs to me that a ship doesn’t have to be obliterated to ‘die’. If you knock out the captain, its lights and sensors go out and other ships see it as defunct. The time between missile volleys is also randomised – somewhere between 3 and 6 seconds right now – so I had no idea if I had time, but I tried it anyway: I sprinted for the cockpit and smacked the captain unconscious. The lights went out, everything went quiet, and… nothing.

I zoomed out just in time to see the bigger ship’s sensor radius slip off screen as it cruised off.

I was still boned of course, stranded on this ruined ship without one of my own to leave in, but it felt like a fantastic moment. I’d never even thought of this as a tactic until I randomly found myself in a situation where it was the only way to survive.

24 Feb 22:51

Ugandan president on the science of why gay sex must be criminalized: 'you can get worms'

by Xeni Jardin

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is trying to please a conservative local faction opposed to homosexuality, but risks alienating Western aid donors. Photo: Reuters, February 22, 2014.

"The mouth is made for eating and kissing, and gay oral sex will give you worms."

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda today gave a detailed explanation of why he believed homosexuals should be jailed for life.

"These mercenary homosexual prostitutes have to be punished," he said. "Just like those who are recruiting them."

"I have failed to understand that you can fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man," the president told reporters as he signed off on controversial anti-gay legislation that includes life prison terms for repeat offenders. "That is a really serious matter. There is something really wrong with you," he said. Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, said the only explanation for being gay was money.

"Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money," he said, asserting that he had taken the time to get scientific advice before signing off on the law.

Got it. Science.

More: AFP. Uganda's harsh anti-gay bill was signed into law today. Imagine what it's like to be a gay, lesbian, trans, bi, or queer person in Uganda right now.


24 Feb 17:15

Dad makes son excellent "Mission Control Desk"

by David Pescovitz

Awesomeness :D

Jeff Highsmith made a fantastic "Mission Control Desk" for his young son who has just started school. It's hidden under a regular desktop.


24 Feb 12:47

Geek vs. non-geek reactions to a flaky internet connection

by Joey deVilla

Yep... :D

Line graph showing the difference between geek and non-geek responses to a flaky internet connection over time.

Chart by Bruno Oliveira.
Click the graph to see it at full size.

File this under “It’s funny because it’s true.”

24 Feb 02:00

How Youtube's automated copyright system lets big music screw indie creators

by Cory Doctorow

Nerdcore rapper Dan Bull earns a good living from his Youtube videos, but he is constantly being dragged away from the studio to fight fraudulent copyright claims from major labels, who are able to censor his work with impunity. The video for his 2010 song I'm Not Pissed has been removed ten times by automated, fraudulent claims from the likes of BMG Rights Management and PRS, who face no consequences for lying about their involvement with his work.

In a new song called Fuck Content ID, Bull slams Google's automated Content ID takedown system, documenting his woes at the hands of Big Content, and with Google, who collaborate in a system of copyfraud that neither one seems to care about.

For his 2010 [NSFW] song “I’m not pissed”, he reveals a screen-grab showing 18 separate claims that have been made against it. While some of them were released after being disputed, two of them, BMG Rights Management and PRS, rejected the dispute and stand by their initial claim.

“It is up to me to prove myself innocent by asking eighteen different publishing companies through an automated system to revoke the automated claims. Each publisher has a month to reply, with no obligation to even do so. If even one of the eighteen publishers says ‘nope’ then it’s back to square one,” Bull explains.

“Any financial loss or restrictions on my channel are entirely on me, and will not be compensated for once the claim is lifted. This has been going on since last year with no end in sight,” he adds.

Why YouTube’s Automated Copyright Takedown System Hurts Artists [Ben Jones/Torrentfreak]


22 Feb 02:00

Whatsapp abused the DMCA to censor related projects from Github

by Cory Doctorow

Prior to Whatsapp's $19B acquisition by Facebook, the company sent a large number of spurious takedowns against projects on Github. In a DMCA notice served by Whatsapp's General Counsel to Github, a number of projects are targeted for removal on the basis that they are "content that infringes on WhatsApp Inc.'s copyrights and trademarks."

This is grossly improper. DMCA takedown notices never apply to alleged trademark violations (it's called the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" and not the "Digital Millennium Trademark Act"). Using DMCA notices to pursue trademark infringements isn't protecting your interests -- it's using barratry-like tactics to scare and bully third parties into participating in illegitimate censorship.

The letter goes on to demand takedown of these Github projects on the basis that they constitute "unauthorized use of WhatsApp APIs, software, and/or services" -- again, this is not a copyright issue, and it is improper to ask Github to police the code its hosts on this basis. It is certainly not the sort of activity that the DMCA's takedown procedure exists to police.

So what about copyright infringement? In the related Hacker News thread, a number of the projects' authors weigh in on the censorship, making persuasive cases that they software did not infringe on any of Whatsapp's copyrights -- rather, these were tools that made use of the Whatsapp API, were proof-of-concept security tools for Whatsapp, or, in one case, merely contained the string "whatsapp" in its sourcecode.

There may well have been some legitimately infringing material on Github, but it's clear that Whatsapp's General Counsel did not actually limit her or his request to this material. Instead, the company deliberately overreached the bounds of the DMCA, with total indifference to the rights of other copyright holders -- the creators of the software they improperly had removed.

Unfortunately, there are no real penalties for this sort of abuse. Which is a shame, because Whatsapp has $19B in the bank that a smart lawyer who wanted to represent the aggrieved parties could certainly take a chunk out of.

(via Hacker News)


22 Feb 19:20

Mechs on a Train

by Carter

This is just beautiful. My #1 favourite detail is that 88FlaK-like gun. Wow.

legorobo:waka shares this awesome armored train carrying a squad of tough looking mecha. The train’s brutal lines and tank turrets evoke a dieselpunk style, with just the right amount of detail mixed in alongside the solid slab-like surfaces.

22 Feb 23:32

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' will have exclusive anti-piracy trailer

by Andre Yoskowitz

"... an exclusive anti-piracy trailer aimed at keeping young people away from film piracy ..."
I still don't see the point of all these "don't copy that floppy" clips in the movie theaters. People have already *paid* to see the movie instead of warezing it... :s

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' will have exclusive anti-piracy trailerSony Pictures has teamed up with UK-based anti-piracy group Industry Trust, adding to the group's "Moments Worth Paying For" campaign.

The upcoming 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' will launch with an exclusive anti-piracy trailer aimed at keeping young people away from film piracy. Spider-Man, played by Andrew Garfield, will be in the footage, ensuring that the character pushes consumers to stick to legal content.

Industry Trust research suggests that 16-34 year-old males that see any of the "Moments Worth Paying For" trailers are then "twice as likely to pay for content."

Liz Bales, director general at Industry Trust for IP Awareness added: "With each trailer execution delivering more traction and success for the campaign, it's key that this momentum continues. We're delighted to have partnered for the first time with Sony Pictures Releasing U.K. on one of the tent pole releases for 2014."

The movie's director, Marc Webb, also added: "The 'Moments Worth Paying For' campaign -- which we're very happy to be partnering with -- is a fantastic way that we can enlighten film lovers, by helping them to experience the levels of work and creativity that go into bringing them the movies they love."

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20 Feb 07:00

Watch people explain UNIX in 1982

IT World: Archive film showcases the promotion of operating system by Bell Labs.

19 Feb 22:35

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $16 billion

by Casey Johnston

Meh. I'm not happy about Zuckerberg buying anything :|

According to an early report from Bloomberg News reporter Sarah Frier, Facebook is set to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion. An SEC filing confirms the acquisition for $4 billion in cash to WhatsApp's security holders, along with $12 billion in Facebook stock and an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock that will vest over four years.

WhatsApp has been one of a handful of booming messaging apps that has grown especially large in the last year (GroupMe, WeChat, Kik, and Line are others). In December, the app was reported to have over 400 million monthly users, and Facebook now reports that the service has 450 million. Meanwhile, Facebook maintains roughly 1.2 billion as of last October.

Facebook has yet to release usage numbers for either its messaging feature on the whole or its dedicated Messenger app. The Verge noted in December that it was "telling" that few other messaging apps release their usage numbers like WhatsApp does, which suggests its user base dwarfs its competitors.

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