Archive for October 25th, 2007
Straight from Slashdot: “Just a few months back, the Net Neutrality debate was all but dead. Luckily for fans of a free Internet, the telcos are their own worst enemies. Recent stories involving Verizon Wireless blocking pro-choice groups, AT&T censoring Pearl Jam’s anti-war comments from a streaming concert, and most recently, Comcast finally admitting to using anti-BitTorrent filters. The Net Neutrality debate would appear to be alive and kicking, with Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) being the first politician to make a public statement sharply criticizing Comcast’s actions.”
Run the latest Ubuntu Linux distro (7.10, the Gutsy Gibbon) from a USB key.
Straight from Pendrive Linux: “This tutorial enables you to install, boot and run Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) from USB. In addition to installing Ubuntu to a USB device and then booting Ubuntu from USB, this tutorial will enable you to automatically save your changes and settings back to the stick and further restore them on each boot using a second “casper-rw” persistent partition. The tutorial was written for those already familiar with working from Ubuntu or another Linux desktop environment. If you do not have access to or prefer not to use a Windows computer, this Ubuntu Linux on a stick tutorial is for you.
Ubuntu 7.10 takes slightly longer to boot than previous releases. However, once it’s up and running, it performs much better than running from the Live CD.”
Straight from Fox News: “NEW YORK — James Watson, the Nobel laureate who sparked an international furor last week with comments about intelligence levels among blacks, has retired from his post at a prestigious research institution.
Watson, 79, and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York announced his departure Thursday.
Watson was chancellor of the institution, and his retirement was effective immediately.
Watson was widely condemned last week for remarks he made in the Sunday Times Magazine of London on Oct. 14.”
Straight from Joystiq: “Though that PS3 price may still require a little more wallet thickness that you feel comfortable with, it’s apparently been low enough to heavily impact Sony’s games division pocketbook. The company has just reported that in the second fiscal quarter of the year, operating losses in the division rose to $841 million, more than double the $381 million in losses for the same period last year.
Sony said losses came from selling PS3s lower than production costs and “the increase in PS3-related inventory write-downs,” which means that the value of the PS3 has dropped, perhaps due to recent price cuts. On the upside, the company as a whole pulled in $787 million, compared to a $182 million loss last year, so it doesn’t seem that Maw and Paw Sony will have to dip into their coffee can full of nickels just yet.”
Straight from Engadget: “It looks like New Mexico’s the place to be for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of a possible future mission to the moon, with the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge set to get underway tomorrow at the Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo. As an added incentive for competitors, NASA is ponying up $2M in prizes, although they’ll have their work cut out for them if they want to take that home. Specifically, they need to show off a rocket-propelled vehicle and payload that “takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then land vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad.” Then they have to do that all over again within a predetermined period of time. To open things up a bit, there’s also two difficulty levels but, as with all challenges of this sort, no one takes home a prize unless they fully meet all the requirements.”
Straight from the Debka File: “It will be announced jointly by secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and treasury secretary Henry Paulson and include branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and the al Qods Brigade sponsor of terrorists.
These steps are unprecedented. DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources recall that the Islamic regime announced in advance that approval of these measures would be deemed tantamount to an American declaration of war on Iran and call forth retaliation. Tehran would target US interests in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan or Israel by means of Special Groups, i.e. Iran’s foreign intelligence networks, Hizballah or Hamas.
DEBKAfile’s sources reveal that these reprisals may be delayed some days because of a profound power struggle taking place in Iran’s leadership. However, since the supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is directly affected as commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces, including the IRGC and its al Qods Brigade, Tehran cannot afford to let Washington’s accusations go unanswered.
The new sanctions package includes US financial penalties for any world firms trading with the Revolutionary Guards. They would apply to more than 1,000 companies in Europe, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and Asia. Our Iranian sources note that since IRGC-owned companies control more than 35 percent of Iran’s economic activities, the new sanctions will have a crippling effect on its national economy. This is already hard hit by Washington’s systematic blockage of Iran’s dealings with international banks, which has left Tehran seriously short of cash flow, foreign currency and basic commodities.
According to DEBKAfile’s sources, Iran very recently sent Indonesia an “emergency appeal” for gasoline and heavy oil, because it has run out of currency to pay for imported refined oil products. Tehran offered to reward Jakarta with a concession for building big new oil refineries, which Iran lacks.
Indonesia has not yet replied. Its government must take into account that no serious world oil enterprise would be willing to cooperate in a refinery project in Iran for fear of a backlash from the American boycott.”