Monthly Archives: October 2010

Tarek + Halloween + 48h Video

Tarek participated in the 48h video maker’s competition this year, and the video below speaks to the genious that is Kial & co.

Tarek also looks pretty in his were-trans-wig. Happy Halloween everybody!

full story link:
video link:

Google says its cars grabbed emails, passwords

(Reuters) – Google Inc admitted for the first time its “Street View” cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed — including complete emails and passwords — potentially breathing new life into probes in various countries.

The disclosure comes just days after Canada’s privacy watchdog said Google had collected complete emails and accused Google of violating the rights of thousands of Canadians.

Google says its cars grabbed emails, passwords @ Reuters

WikiLeaks releases 400,000 documents, shit hits the fan

Today, WikiLeaks released additional 400,000 documents, or as we call it, the “motherload.”

While US authorities have attempted (and will continue to do so) to dampen the effects of the released documents, as well as lynch the leak, the paperwork released attests to the fact that hiding things has less to do with tactical information and military strategy, as much as it does with hiding crimes against humanity.

Most of the documentation release contains data on murders, kidnappings, and criminal activities conducted by military that would otherwise stay uninvestigated and hidden from the eyes of the public.

While it makes US look bad, that’s actually the point – if you are going to cry foul, then let that foul mean something, rather than merely hiding acts that by every international convention, someone (lots of someones) should sit in jail for – instead though, we witness authorities attempting to trample the very whistleblowing website and the leak.

Check out HEREWikileaks HERE and the preliminary sifting by the Guardian.

Every email and website to be stored

Meanwhile in England:

Every email, phone call and website visit is to be recorded and stored after the Coalition Government revived controversial Big Brother snooping plans.

It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

Every email and website to be stored @ The Telegraph

Hogan’s holometer: Testing the hypothesis of a holographic universe

In 2008, Fermilab particle astrophysicist Craig Hogan made waves with a mind-boggling proposition: The 3D universe in which we appear to live is no more than a hologram.

Now he is building the most precise clock of all time to directly measure whether our reality is an illusion.

Hogan’s holometer: Testing the hypothesis of a holographic universe @ Symmetry Magazine

Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping

WASHINGTON — Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.

The officials say tougher legislation is needed because some telecommunications companies in recent years have begun new services and made system upgrades that caused technical problems for surveillance. They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.

Officials Push to Bolster Law on Wiretapping @ The New York Times

Science undermined by politics: federal union

A union representing federal scientists has launched a campaign targeting what it calls the government’s “worrying trend away from evidence-based policy-making.”

“If the science isn’t supported … then you’re going to find that decisions are going to be made more at the political level,” Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said Monday as the union launched a website called

The site aims to highlight science done for the public good — much of it taxpayer-funded and carried out by government scientists — and to “mobilize” scientists and the public to pressure politicians to support it. It features interviews with federal scientists about their work, along with interviews with science policy experts.

Science undermined by politics: federal union

Public Science

Mal Zrt. Sludge Spill Updates

Updates on Hungarian Mal Zrt. spill reveal some significant social and scientific developments surrounding a major toxic spill that many compare to recent BP Gulf of Mexico Deepwater oil spill.

For one, Hungarian government has taken over the operations of Mal Zrt. while detaining its Hungarian executive (it has an international executive board) for 72 hours in custody. The authorities say that the company will be paying for damages and cleanup, using public service workers to rebuild a new reservoir. The reservoir will be completed by Tuesday.

The kind of swift action on the part of Hungarian government puts US government and its treatment of Deepwater oil spill to shame. The press and rescue workers did not have to contend with facing private military operations barring them from access to affected areas. Nor is anyone trying to save the money and integrity of Mal Zrt. private operations. Quite the contrary, Hungarian government seems to be tackling the seemingly impossible task of containing a potentially cancerous toxic spill with gusto and a sense of justice.

Meanwhile, the sludge analysis reveals twice as much arsenic in this alumin oxide by-product, as well as high concentrations of chromium and mercury. This chemical soup represents a major concern to both Hungary a neighbouring countries, especially since Danube is relatively close to the spill, as are sources of groundwater. Environment may take years to recover, warn experts, while the villages that received the first wave of sludge may be abandoning their possessions for good, as many will not be able to return to their homes.

European Commission will be fully involved with the cleanup efforts, and the bill for it, will of course, come out of the profit margins of the company at the heart of this major environmental disaster. Mal Zrt. is just not lucky enough to be based in the US.

What happens to government scientists who deny evolutionary theory? Well, some get fired

by Irma Arkus

At least in Israel they do, so we find out. While the last presidential elections in US seemed to consist of Republican creationist beauty competitions, other countries did not find ignorance of science as delightful, especially when exhibited by government agency workers, or even worse, scientists.

Example, Israeli Dr. Gavriel Avital, chosen as chief scientists of the Ministry of Education was quickly shown the door when publicly declaring his lack of support for theory of evolution.

According to the Haaretz article, the minister explained his decision to sack Dr. Avital by stating that “someone who holds [these opinions] cannot serve as chief scientist of the education ministry.”

Cut simple, a scientist who is climbing the political ladder cannot hold key positions in ministry of education, altering or influencing education and curriculum on a wide, national scale, when holding opinions largely lambasted and rejected by leading scientific circles.

The firing was not a simple move on the part of the ministry, but rather a national outcry in Israel, after 10 local Nobel-prize winners called for his dismissal after hearing the controversial remarks, regarding not only his idea of evolutionary development, but also climate change.

According to Dr. Avital, the man placed in charge of national curriculum: “If textbooks state explicitly that human beings’ origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want students to pursue and grapple with other opinions. There are many people who don’t believe the evolutionary account is correct. There are those for whom evolution is a religion and are unwilling to hear about anything else. Part of my responsibility, in light of my position with the Education Ministry, is to examine textbooks and curricula. If they keep writing in textbooks that the Earth is growing warmer because of carbon dioxide emissions, I’ll insist that isn’t the case.”

Also adding “I don’t recycle, I put plastic in the trash. The earth will not be harmed, God promised us. Another scientific field that is problematic is biology, or life and environmental sciences. When your doctrine is based on Darwin’s theory of evolution and its implications, you are standing on unreliable foundations – that is, there is no God, there was only something primeval, and then there are certain random developments which led to the apex of all creation, the human being. A “green crusade” has taken place around the world over the past few years, part of a broader phenomenon that could indeed be called “green religion”. Why are environmental organisations pressuring the government over alternative energy that is both unattainable and probably very costly? These questions cannot be avoided. The answers to them are likely to surprise and possibly disappoint. But the moment science is enlisted for political ends – that is, in the name of ideology – questions arise as to the scientific basis of environmental organisations.”

The example of Dr. Avital serves as a great point of debate that washes over onto international stage. It also serves as a great lesson to those who are using their political positions to push forth their religious dogma.

Nobel Prize for Graphene

For over two decades, scientists have been looking into different forms of graphite, acknowledging that it has a vast potential, especially when reduced to nano-chains, that would transform everything from energy storage to appliances and personal use devices.

Now, two scientists have been identified by Nobel Prize in Physics as leaders in this technology – Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester have successfully isolated a single-atom chain of graphite that can be woven and manipulated – a substance they call “graphene.”

read more HERE.