In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

cwnl:

Anonymous Just Deleted CBS.com and Took Down Universal

Taking a shorter break than their last vacation, Anonymous is back at it already. Reports are coming in that they had completely knocked out CBS.com and are continuing their revenge spree. The CBS takedown wasn’t your regular DDoS attack because if you went to CBS.com at the time Anon attacked it, there was nothing except an index page with a single file. That’s it. Basically, Anonymous gained access to CBS.com and deleted EVERYTHING.

CBS.com has managed to put itself back up but we’ll be on the lookout of Anonymous’ next move. This is going to be interesting. Last time Anon went on a revenge spree, well, the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA, Universal, EMI, FBI and others all got a piece of the takedown fun.

Update: Looks like they just took down UniversalMusic.com again too!

Update 2: Anon is now going after websites in Brazil. The Hacker News reports that websites of Brazil’s federal district, the city of Tangara da Serra and popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes have been brought offline in a DDoS attack. Anonymous’ message on the affected websites? “If Megaupload is down, you are down too.”

Update 3: Vivendi, a French media company involved in music, film, TV, video games, etc., has been brought down too. Vivendi used to own Universal

cwnl:

Anonymous Just Deleted CBS.com and Took Down Universal

Taking a shorter break than their last vacation, Anonymous is back at it already. Reports are coming in that they had completely knocked out CBS.com and are continuing their revenge spree. The CBS takedown wasn’t your regular DDoS attack because if you went to CBS.com at the time Anon attacked it, there was nothing except an index page with a single file. That’s it. Basically, Anonymous gained access to CBS.com and deleted EVERYTHING.

CBS.com has managed to put itself back up but we’ll be on the lookout of Anonymous’ next move. This is going to be interesting. Last time Anon went on a revenge spree, well, the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA, Universal, EMI, FBI and others all got a piece of the takedown fun.

Update: Looks like they just took down UniversalMusic.com again too!

Update 2: Anon is now going after websites in Brazil. The Hacker News reports that websites of Brazil’s federal district, the city of Tangara da Serra and popular Brazilian singer Paula Fernandes have been brought offline in a DDoS attack. Anonymous’ message on the affected websites? “If Megaupload is down, you are down too.”

Update 3: Vivendi, a French media company involved in music, film, TV, video games, etc., has been brought down too. Vivendi used to own Universal

MPAA Directly & Publicly Threatens Politicians Who Aren't Corrupt Enough To Stay Bought

wilwheaton:

Reinforcing the fact that Chris Dodd really does not get what’s happening, and showing just how disgustingly corrupt the MPAA relationship is with politicians, Chris Dodd went on Fox News to explicitly threaten politicians who accept MPAA campaign donations that they’d better pass Hollywood’s favorite legislation… or else:

“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,”

This certainly follows what many people assumed was happening, and fits with the anonymous comments from studio execs that they will stop contributing to Obama, but to be so blatant about this kind of corruption and money-for-laws politics in the face of an extremely angry public is a really, really, really tone deaf response from Dodd. 

Wow. Chris Dodd is not only an asshole, he’s a stupid, tone deaf asshole. And so are all the asshole Democrats who are on the wrong side of this issue because they want money from Hollywood. Guess what, Democrats? You’re finally starting to reclaim the populist mantle that could help you win back congress and keep the White House. You may want to, you know, get on the right side of public opinion you idiots.

It shows, yet again, that he just doesn’t get it. People were protesting not just because of the content of these bills, but because of the corrupt process of big industries like Dodd’s “buying” politicians and “buying” laws. To then come out and make that threat explicit isn’t a way to fix things or win back the public. It’s just going to get them more upset, and to recognize just how corrupt this process is. If Dodd, as he said in yesterday’s NY Times, really wanted to turn things around and come to a more reasonable result, this is exactly how not to do it

Not that it matters, and not that I’m some kind of rich mogul, but I’ll say this again: I have lost more money to creative accounting, and American workers have lost more jobs to runaway production, than anything associated with what the MPAA calls piracy. Chris Dodd is lying about piracy costing us jobs. Hollywood’s refusal to adapt to changing times is what’s costing the studios money. That’s it.

supersonicelectronic:

jstn:

LOL


Wow… Fuck you, MPAA.

Wait, Sen. Chris Dodd is the Chairman and CEO of the MPAA?? The plot thickens.

supersonicelectronic:

jstn:

LOL

Wow… Fuck you, MPAA.

Wait, Sen. Chris Dodd is the Chairman and CEO of the MPAA?? The plot thickens.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is at the forefront of efforts to pass the Internet Censorship Act, which fundamentally threatens the internet as we know it.

If the bill passes, corporate copyright holders would be able to demand the government shut down a website based on nothing more than an allegation that the website contains copyrighted material. And the government could do this even without a court order…

Google, which is strongly opposed to the Internet Censorship Act and has an unofficial motto of “Don’t be evil,” is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. But the Chamber’s all-out support of this incredibly dangerous legislation has reportedly caused Google to consider quitting the rightwing organization in protest.

You know that’s what they’re scared of, right?

abaldwin360:

So, I just shared that article about how Louis CK made a million dollars in twelve days with DRM-free downloads

Then, earlier this month, Universal had a video Megaupload owned taken off of youtube, then claimed that they couldn’t be sued for it.

I wonder how much of the million Louis CK would have seen had he gone though a label. I’m guessing they would have gotten a pretty big cut, and that’s exactly why we have things like SOPA making their way though congress. 

The big media companies don’t want to be cut out, they’re the middle men, they make their money off the distribution of media, but today when we have such high bandwidth and anyone can figure out how to use a torrent client or download an MP3 file, there isn’t actually a whole lot of use for a distributor when it comes to home media. 

Anyone could release their work online and directly take the profits and cut the distributors out of the picture.   

And if it sounds like I’m veering into tinfoil hat territory, remember when the RIAA flipped shit over internet radio?

It turns out that of that 56% of music and 70% of unique songs played on streaming internet broadcasts back in 2006 were from independent artists and labels (as cited in the link above).

These big media companies don’t want to be cut out of the game, and they’ll bring down the internet as we know it to accomplish this. 

The fact that there was any debate over whether to call in experts on such a matter should tell you something about the integrity of Congress. It’d be one thing if legitimate technical questions directed at the bill’s supporters weren’t met with either silence or veiled accusations that the other side was sympathetic to piracy. Yet here we are with a group of elected officials openly supporting a bill they can’t explain, and having the temerity to suggest there’s no need to “bring in the nerds” to suss out what’s actually on it… The chilling takeaway of this whole debacle was the irrefutable air of anti-intellectualism; that inescapable absurdity that we have members of Congress voting on a technical bill who do not posses any technical knowledge on the subject and do not find it imperative to recognize those who do.

This used to be funny, but now it’s really just terrifying. We’re dealing with legislation that will completely change the face of the internet and free speech for years to come. Yet here we are, still at the mercy of underachieving Congressional know-nothings that have more in common with the slacker students sitting in the back of math class than elected representatives. The fact that some of the people charged with representing us must be dragged kicking and screaming out of their complacency on such matters is no longer endearing — it’s just pathetic and sad.

An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress

We, the undersigned, have played various parts in building a network called the Internet. We wrote and debugged the software; we defined the standards and protocols that talk over that network. Many of us invented parts of it. We’re just a little proud of the social and economic benefits that our project, the Internet, has brought with it.

Last year, many of us wrote to you and your colleagues to warn about the proposed “COICA” copyright and censorship legislation. Today, we are writing again to reiterate our concerns about the SOPA and PIPA derivatives of last year’s bill, that are under consideration in the House and Senate. In many respects, these proposals are worse than the one we were alarmed to read last year.

If enacted, either of these bills will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. Regardless of recent amendments to SOPA, both bills will risk fragmenting the Internet’s global domain name system (DNS) and have other capricious technical consequences. In exchange for this, such legislation would engender censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties’ right and ability to communicate and express themselves online.

All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but these bills are particularly egregious in that regard because they cause entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under these proposals. In fact, it seems that this has already begun to happen under the nascent DHS/ICE seizures program.

Censorship of Internet infrastructure will inevitably cause network errors and security problems. This is true in China, Iran and other countries that censor the network today; it will be just as true of American censorship. It is also true regardless of whether censorship is implemented via the DNS, proxies, firewalls, or any other method. Types of network errors and insecurity that we wrestle with today will become more widespread, and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.

The current bills — SOPA explicitly and PIPA implicitly — also threaten engineers who build Internet systems or offer services that are not readily and automatically compliant with censorship actions by the U.S. government. When we designed the Internet the first time, our priorities were reliability, robustness and minimizing central points of failure or control. We are alarmed that Congress is so close to mandating censorship-compliance as a design requirement for new Internet innovations. This can only damage the security of the network, and give authoritarian governments more power over what their citizens can read and publish.

The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We cannot have a free and open Internet unless its naming and routing systems sit above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry. To date, the leading role the US has played in this infrastructure has been fairly uncontroversial because America is seen as a trustworthy arbiter and a neutral bastion of free expression. If the US begins to use its central position in the network for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive.

(Source: azspot)