Archive for February 16th, 2007
Straight from the Guardian: “The parents of 24,000 children in northern Pakistan refused to allow health workers to administer polio vaccinations last month, mostly due to rumours that the harmless vaccine was an American plot to sterilise innocent Muslim children.
The disinformation – spread by extremist clerics using mosque loudspeakers and illegal radio stations, and by word of mouth – has caused a sharp jump in polio cases in Pakistan and hit global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease…
…Aid workers fear they are being pushed into the frontline of the struggle between the government and tribal militants, some linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida. Last weekend a grenade was lobbed into a Red Crescent compound in Peshawar, damaging vehicles but killing nobody.
Some linked the attack to a fatwa issued in Dara Adam Khel, a lawless town famous for its gunsmiths, just before Christmas. A cleric named Mufti Khalid Shah declared a fatwa on employees of the UN, WHO and all other foreign organisations. “Killing their employees is in line with the teachings of jihad in Islam,” said a notice.”
Straight from Fox News: “SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Ricky Martin, who was a headliner at the 2001 inauguration ball for President George W. Bush, has a message for the American commander in chief about war.
At a recent concert, the 35-year-old singer stuck up his middle finger when he sang the president’s name in his song “Asignatura Pendiente,” which includes the words, “a photo with Bush.” The gesture last Friday prompted cheers from thousands of fans in the San Juan stadium.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “Electric tricycles seem to be a growing trend, and we can now add this VentureOne to that list. This one gives you a choice of either all-electric or hybrid power. It leans when you turn, can reach 0-60 in 6 seconds and goes 100mph with an impressive 100mpg fuel efficiency. Perhaps the most startling of all is its price, $18,000 for the hybrid drive Venture E50, up to $23,000 for the all-electric drive Venture EV.We’re most interested in that all-electric model, even though its top speed is just 75mph with a range of 120 miles. Yeah, those specs aren’t as good as the $42K 125mph PT2 Electric, but still, saving $19,000 for that extra 50mph that you can rarely if ever legally use is a bargain.”
Straight from Bare Knuckle Politics: “TEHRAN, Iran Feb 8, 2007 (AP)— If the United States were to attack Iran, the country would respond by striking U.S. interests all over the world, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday.
Speaking to a gathering of Iranian air force commanders, Khamenei said: “The enemy knows well that any invasion would be followed by a comprehensive reaction to the invaders and their interests all over the world.”
Iranian leaders often speak of a crushing response to any attack. While the remarks are seen as an attempt to drum up national support, Iran’s position on Iraq and its nuclear program have provoked more than usual international pressure in recent months.
President Bush has ordered American troops to act against Iranians suspected of being involved in the Iraqi insurgency and has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf area as a warning to Iran. The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions because of Iran’s refusal to cease uranium enrichment.
“Some people say that the U.S. president is not prone to calculating the consequences of his actions,” Khamenei said in remarks broadcast on state television, “but it is possible to bring this kind of person to wisdom.
“U.S. policymakers and analysts know that the Iranian nation would not let an invasion go without a response,” Khamenei added.
He also addressed rumors about his health a subject that is rarely discussed openly in Iran. Last month, there was speculation his health had deteriorated seriously.
“Enemies of the Islamic system fabricated various rumors about death and health to demoralize the Iranian nation, but they did not know that they are not dealing with only one person in Iran. They are facing a nation,” Khamenei said.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “It seems like nary a week goes by without an intro of yet another electric vehicle, and this week it’s the Silence PT2 by EBW & Silence Inc., an all-electric three wheeler that’s a cross between an electric car, a go-cart and a motorcycle. Its makers say the 13-foot-long pocket rocket has a range of 125-250 miles.The minuscule 900-pound vehicle is not quite as fast as that zero-to-60-in-4-seconds Tesla electric roadster, but then it still has a top speed of 125mph, and at $42K, doesn’t cost nearly as much as the $100,000 Tesla. The company’s taking orders for delivery this spring.”
Straight from Slashdot: “Debbie Foster, one of the many caught-up in the RIAA’s drift-net attacks who was sued back in 2004 has recently seen yet another victory. After having the suit dropped against her “with prejudice” several months back, Foster filed a counter-claim, and has just been awarded “reasonable” attorney’s fees. Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?”
Straight from Joystiq: “When we learned that the PS3 version of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion would not feature the majority of downloadable content found on the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game, it was a blow to fans of horse armor everywhere. An episode of The 1UP Show (02/02) provides the follow-up hook as 1UP relays a juicy bit of info from Bethesda. As it turns out, it may be due to a memory limitation with the Playstation 3 itself.
1UP says that Bethesda simply could not find a way to load every piece of downloadable content without affecting the performance of the game. Considering that the Xbox 360 can pull off this feat without a hitch, that seems quite odd. Bethesda will still be looking into getting that content available for PS3 users, as addressed by their VP of Marketing, Peter Hines, who also comments on the “rumors” regarding the memory issue in an IGN interview.“
Straight from Info World: “AMD’s next-generation processor line, code-named Torrenza, has gone from a block diagram to living, breathing silicon. The first incarnation of AMD’s redesigned x86 CPU is Barcelona, that which your non-co-readers will call quad-core Opteron. Barcelona is genius, a genuinely new CPU that frees itself entirely of the millstone of the Pentium legacy. It’ll do the same for you.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “Shaq’s finally going to get his oversized clown hands on the WowWee Dragonfly RC robot now that Radio Shack has them in stock. $49.99 and some change will get you a green Dragonfly that you can steer around and dive bomb pigeons with. For Valentines, you can even load up a ring on it and ram it into your girlfriend’s head as a romantic way of proposing.”
Straight from Gizmodo: “EMI Group, one of the European labels that his Steveness called out in his missive, looks to be taking up his suggestion to offer DRM-free music. While it’s not clear which “broad swath of its recordings” might be getting the sweet touch of freedom, EMI is discussing selling the consumer-friendly tunes with “Apple, Microsoft, Real Networks and Yahoo,” according to the Times.
The Times makes it clear, though, that we shouldn’t start soiling our sweats for la revolucion just yet, as it’s “far from clear that the company… will reach a deal.” And in iTunes’ case, it’s been pointed out that even tracks which are DRM-less in other stores are locked up tight with FairPlay, so they still might take the all-or-nothing approach, even if EMI does come out for truth, freedom, and the American Way.”