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News for the ‘news’ Category

Apple Loses another iPhone Prototype in a Bar (also: iPhone 5 release date)

iPhone 5 is scheduled for a potential october release! So save up your pocket money kids, and get ready to give those old 4′s to your mother, friends, or girlfriend.

For the second time in little over a year, an Apple employee has lost an advanced and unreleased iPhone model in a public place, CNET said today.

The most recent incident came after an Apple employee misplaced his iPhone in San Francisco’s Mission District in July. Apple security scoured for the device over the following days and determined that the phone had been taken from a Mexican restaurant.

Apple officials believe the iPhone may have been sold on Craigslist for as little as $200. It’s also highly probable that Apple are intentionally leaking their devices to stir up a storm, given their savvy marketing techniques and their adaptability of leading the way with technological revolutionary items!

While Apple has not announced any plans to release a new iPhone, there have been numerous unconfirmed reports that the company was planning an October launch date for the iPhone 5.

CNET reported that no details about the phone – such as its operating system and design – have been revealed in the latest blunder by an Apple employee.

In April 2010, the gadget blog Gizmodo paid $5000 in cash for a then-unreleased iPhone 4 that a 28-year-old Apple engineer had left in a German beer garden in Redwood City, California.

Two men were charged on misdemeanour theft charges for selling the iPhone 4 to the blog. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday (tomorrow AEST).

The already secretive company reportedly took even more extreme measures to protect itself from information leaks after the 2010 incident, including transporting iPhones in locked and sealed containers to carriers such as AT&T for compatibility testing.

Apple and Craigslist declined to comment on the latest iPhone-gone-missing episode, and the San Francisco Police Department said Apple did not file a police report related to the matter, CNET reported.

Posted: September 2nd, 2011
Categories: consumer reviews, gadget, news, pop culture, technology
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Humorless @VictoriaPolice Think eBay Kid Sales are Srs Fkn Bsns

A great example of how much of an Americanised humorless srs fkn bsns nanny state we’ve become is a recent article I stumbled across on news.com.au relating to a woman who put her kids on eBay. You can see it’s tongue in cheek, but the way the media report on it, and the way the Victorian police are commenting, they make it sound so absurd.

A VICTORIAN woman is being investigated after offering her two young children for sale to the highest bidder on internet auction site eBay.

The woman, in her early 30s, lives near Geelong. She wrote a “lengthy sales pitch” that included photographs of her son and daughter, both aged under 10.

Several people placed bids on the sickening auction, which has alarmed authorities.

Detectives from the Sexual Offences and Child Abuse unit were alerted to the internet page by a horrified member of the public.

The page has been taken down and the woman’s children could be taken into permanent care.

Victoria Police has decided not to press charges against the mum, who claims the act was a joke.

However, police sources told the Sunday Herald Sun they were disturbed by the incident and in particular the genuine bidders who tried to obtain the children.

Officers continue to probe the people who bid on the children and the Department of Human Services is continuing its investigation into the family.

“Investigators from Geelong were notified last week that a mother was trying to sell her two children on eBay,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

“Photos of the children, a boy and a girl both aged under 10 years, were included in the sales pitch.”

The page was posted on Wednesday and was active until late morning the next day.

“The mother wrote a lengthy sales pitch that was very interesting reading,” a police source said.

“She said the page was created as a joke, but what worries us is the people bidding on the auction. Who knows who these people are. They could be paedophiles or anyone. It’s extremely disturbing.”

Officers immediately contacted eBay, which took the page down within two hours. Auction site staff then provided detectives with full details of the woman.

She faced charges under section 493 of Failing to Protect Child from Harm, which carries a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison.

But officers accepted her plea that it was a joke.

However, they have referred the matter to the DHS, which is still investigating the family.

A spokesman said it was possible the children could be taken into care.

“If there is a serious threat to the children’s wellbeing and the situation is so bad that the only safe option is for them to be taken from home, then that is definitely a possibility,” he said.

“This action could attract the attention of the wrong sort of people, whether it was a joke or not, and the family need to understand the risks and receive advice around that.

“We will continue to engage with the family and assess if there are any underlying problems.

“We need to get to the bottom of why she did this.

“Is there a mental illness, is the mother not coping or was it simply a joke? I don’t recall another case like this.”

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/probe-into-kids-for-sale-offer-on-ebay/story-e6frfro0-1226096094802#ixzz1SM12zja3

Posted: July 17th, 2011
Categories: epiclullz, news, oddities, pop culture
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Jamaica? Nah, I Broke my Penis Myself

An erotic dance craze is thought to be the cause of a recent spate of broken penises in Jamaica, and now faces a government crackdown.

“Daggering”, a lewd dance style where couples simulate dry sex in various positions to the beat of the music, is characterised by over-the-top gyrating, heavy pelvis-thrusting and daredevil leaps.

Many couples have taken the “rough” daggering dance from the club to the bedroom, with disastrous consequences.

Jamaican doctors were prompted to issue a warning on the dangers of daggering when presented with a range of fractured penises caused by rough intercourse.

The number of cases tripled in the last year, the UK’s Sun reports.

The rising popularity of the new dance – and subsequent public protests – have prompted the Jamaican government to ban songs and videos with blatantly sexual content.

Jamaica’s Broadcasting Commission, which defines daggering as a “colloquial term used in dancehall culture as a reference to hardcore sex or what is popularly referred to as ‘dry sex’ or the activities of persons engaged in the public simulation of various sexual acts and positions”, enforced the ban in February.

“There shall not be transmitted through radio or television or cable services, any recording, live song or music video which promotes the act of ‘daggering’, or which makes reference to, or is otherwise suggestive of ‘daggering’,” the Jamaican Broadcasting Commission’s official statement said.

Daggering is a newly accepted name for an activity that has been present in Jamaica’s dancehalls for many years. It is roughly the equivalent of the Caribbean’s “cabin stabbing”, another crude style of music and dance.

“Daggering is a dance that makes you unleash the beast! If you ain’t know what I mean think about every sex position and put it in a dance,” commenter Driva said of the dance.

A series of YouTube videos depict daggering as a rough, and sometimes violent, act which can be demeaning to women. One video shows popular group RDX performing its song Daggering live, with one member simulating extremely rough dry sex on the floor with a woman.

The community is divided over the dance, with singers up in arms over the ban, saying it stifles their right to free speech, but others welcome the ban.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/erotic-daggering-dance-craze-causing-bodily-harm/story-e6frfq80-1225720059571#ixzz1SLztuLYz

Posted: July 17th, 2011
Categories: news
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Australian Blimp Pilot’s Courageous Yet Tragic Sacrifice

As a pilot, I’ve flown everything that flies and some things that shouldn’t. I was touched to hear of the forage and selflessness of an Australian who died saving his passengers and feel the need to share the following article with you, my loyal readers, as a small gesture to an honorable man.

Michael Nerandzic, from Balgownie in Wollongong, was attempting to land the A60 Goodyear airship at an airfield at Reichelsheim in Germany, when the blimp caught fire during descent. The 53-year-old and three journalists with him were returning from a local music festival.

It is understood the passengers smelt fuel and heard a loud whirring noise before the blimp caught fire.

Realising the airship was only moments away from disaster, Mr Nerandzic then made the heroic decision to put his own life on the line to save those of his passengers.

Hovering 2m above the ground he yelled for the three passengers to jump from the gondola to safety below.

That decision reduced the ballast weight of the airship which is believed to have caused it to shoot 50m into the air where it exploded with the burning wreckage falling to the ground. Mr Nerandzic was unable to escape and died in the wreckage.

Witnesses said they heard loud noises coming from the air before spotting a “fireball” moments before it crashed into a meadow near the airfield.

“We could hear the cries of the pilot as the fire surrounded him. It was terrible,” one said.

A close friend and former colleague said Mr Nerandzic was a talented pilot with a deep passion for flying.

He said his decision to save his passengers first summed up the type of person he was.

“He has always put other people first. I don’t even think he would have realised he was doing it – it would have just been instinct,” the friend, who declined to be named, said last night. “He will be a real loss to our community.”

The cause of the fire remained a mystery last night but Germany’s Federal Office for Accident Investigation was investigating.

For more on the heroic Australian blimp pilot who saved three passengers only to then die himself go to The Daily Telegraph.

Posted: June 14th, 2011
Categories: journalism, news
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Chinese Prisoners Forced to Goldfarm in MMO’s

Imprisoned for “illegally petitioning” the government over corruption in his town, the former Chinese inmate known as “Liu Dali” has told the U.K. Guardian that in addition to back-breaking manual labor he and other prisoners were forced to play video games for hours on end. Not as a form of punishment or leisure activity, but because their overseers had assembled a massive “goldfarming” operation, wherein they exploited prison labor to earn money playing online games. From the Guardian:

“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu told the Guardian. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”

While the idea of prisoners being forced to play video games may seem chuckleworthy, and it certainly is absurd, it is no laughing matter. Again, from the Guardian:

“If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things,” he said.

Goldfarming is now extremely widespread in China, where the Guardian reports nearly $2 billion in online currency was traded accounting for 80% of the world’s goldfarming. While for some of the world’s poor population, goldfarming could mean a better life, the use of prison labor is bizarre and more than a little troublesome. It also complicates international trade, since some countries refuse to accept exported goods made in prisons.

Liu speculates that many other prisoners are likely still forced into goldfarming operations, and assumes that the practice must be widespread. His belief is backed by University of California researcher Jin Ge, who describes China as “the factory of virtual goods.” One wonders how comfortable gamers would be if they knew that the items and credits purhcased for a game came at the cost of forced labor.

Update: The Telegraph reports that Chinese officials have denied the story, saying that gold farming would allow prisoners to communicate with the outside world, which they would never allow:

[A]n official at the central office for labour camps in Heilongjiang denied that inmates were forced to play games online. “I have never heard of this. If you want to see for yourself, come to one of our labour camps,” he said.

The official, who declined to give his name, said: “We do not allow our inmates to do high-risk occupations, such as coal-mining. We do not have large numbers of computers. And we do not allow our prisoners to have any contact with the outside world. If they were playing these online games they could easily communicate with other people. We would never allow that.”

(U.K. Guardian)

iTunes U, Education in the Digital Age

Most of you know I’m a bit on the nerdy side, my academic peen is huge and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t actively seek to learn a few new things. From the arts to sciences, from landscaping to mechanics, or aeronautics to gaming I proactively seek to hone my skills in every field that catches my interest.

That being said, I can also be a bit of a dolt and in this case was entirely slow of faculty. I discovered iTunes U, I entirely forgot Americans abbreviate university to U (outside the US the common abbreviation is ‘uni’) and expected the U to be oriented around the selfishness of Web 2.0 with everything being self centered, my, u, etc included.

I was surprised to find that it has a mass of lecturers from various uni’s around the globe! My days will no longer have lulls of boredom within them, it really has a mass of interesting lectures to download and listen to from all around the world.

I can’t help but be amazed that I can gain insight from uni lecturers from the middle east, or listen to student workgroups from Russia discussing and covering any number of topics.

So, if you have an iPhone or iPad, I highly recommend cashing in on this free cache of information and wealth of knowledge. This is what the Internet was designed and meant for, it is absolutely brilliant and humbling in a way to see the milestone if where it has, with the help of the sage like prophets of technology and the digital church of awesome, come full circle.

Get downloading and get educated. It’s cool to be smart now, when the dumb kids realized all us nerds are what makes the world go around and that they bask in the technology and science brought about by their victims of bullying and the shunned geeky types in the world.

Expand your mind and you will also expand your future and potential as a human being.

Happy Geek Pride Day!

For all Trekkies, comic collectors and gadget gurus, here’s a day just for you. Today the world celebrates Geek Pride Day.

Geeks, nerds and whoever else wears thick glasses and a pocket protector can publicly boast about their geekiness without being labelled as weird. It happens on May 25 every year, which coincides with the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

The day started in 2006 in Spain – strangely enough – when 300 geeks showed their pride by creating a human “Pac-Man” game. In 2008, it came to the US, where bloggers heralded it as a holiday.

Not sure of your geek orientation? Here are some rights and responsibilities, as outlined in Geek Pride Day’s manifesto. If they inspire you to put on your favourite Dungeons and Dragons cape, then, no question, you’re a geek. So take pride and celebrate.

Your Geekly Rights

The right to associate with other nerds.

The right to have few friends (or none at all).

The right to not leave your house.

The right to not like football or any other sport.

The right to be out of style.

The right to be overweight and nearsighted.

(WIth great power comes great) Responsibilities

Try to be nerdier than anyone else.

If there is a discussion about something geeky, you must give your opinion.

Don’t be a generalised geek. You must specialise in something.

Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.

Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/once-a-year-its-hip-to-be-square/story-e6frfro0-1226062318927#ixzz1NKlH6toB

Posted: May 25th, 2011
Categories: epiclullz, lifestyle, news, oddities, pop culture
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Real Life Functional AT-AT Walker

AUSTRALIA’S status as the world capital of Big Things is under attack.

In February, the citizens of Detroit successfully lobbied for a giant statue of RoboCop to keep its crims in line.

In the same week, news broke that a three-metre tall Arnold Schwarzenegger statue will stand guard outside the Governator’s former home in Thal, Austria.

Both of which kick Robertson’s giant poo-tato and Ballina’s prawn to the kerb when it comes to cool icons for your country.

And now you can add — possibly, unless George Lucas hears of it — a lifesize, fully-functioning replica of a Galactic Empire AT-AT walker to the countryside somewhere in Oklahoma, if Mike Koehler gets his way.

Note fully-functioning — not like that static tat at Disneyland’s Hollywood theme park.

The 16m tall (some nerds experts put them at 23m) All Terrain Armoured Transports featured most famously in the attack on the Rebel forces’ secret base on Hoth in Empire Strikes Back, where one tripped over a bit of rope and exploded.

Another one makes a cameo in Return of the Jedi after a smaller version — an AT-ST — gets smashed by monkeys with logs.

But they look fearsome enough and Mr Koehler has been given the green light by online fundraiser Kickstarter to begin collecting cash to realise his dream.

It’s called AT-AT for America and Mr Koehler’s welcoming any offers of help or donations.

We chatted to him about why his country needs it…

Why did you choose a symbol of the Empire’s destructive capabilities to represent the US?

The AT-AT is not so much a representation of the US as it is a monument to what geek culture and its know-how has done for people in the country and, as I am quickly learning, folks all over the world. The can-do and cooperative spirit that nerdy pop culture has inspired can’t be overlooked in the past 30, 40, 50 years.

I wanted to make something that was: A) Doable. Fast-than-light and force field technology made many options unrealistic. B) Big enough to be awe-inspiring. Many people have made R2 units and Back to the Future Deloreans. The AT-AT is 50-feet tall.

If it proves too difficult, do you have any smaller scale Star Wars projects in mind?

I guess we could do one of the smaller scout walkers, but that seems like copping out.

If it proves easy, would you consider building a Death Star?

The Death Star would involve too much red tape I’m afraid, unless I could get Richard Branson on board.

The original AT-ATs had some notable design flaws. How will you Ewok-proof it?

No Ewoks will be allowed around the build sites. Sharpened logs will also be strictly prohibited. We are working towards some strong anti-log technology.

Have you had any interest from Mythbusters et al?

No word yet from the Mythbusters, though I hope as we continue to build momentum that we will get a lot of help from some of our geek heroes. When I first thought of this, my ideal project managers were Adam and Jamie.

If Detroit can get a RoboCop statue, maybe you should pitch your AT-AT for a permanent public space…

Once we’re done, I would like for the AT-AT to find some place nice to be housed and admired as a monument. Since it will be fully operational, people will be able to ride it. It would be an art piece on par with the Statue of Liberty, but with the ability to mosey around the block.

Have you had any cease and desist orders from George Lucas yet?

We have not heard from Lucasfilm yet, though there is that expectation. All I can say is that we won’t be making any money off this project, we consider it a public work of art and we would gladly locate it where ever Mr Lucas would like us to. This is a testament to how many dreams his work and other work like his has inspired in people my age and younger.

Will you live in it once it’s finished?

No, I won’t live in it.

Can I?

You can’t live inside it, though you are welcome to string a hammock between its knees.

Is there ever a chance that such a monolithic, relentless corporate machine could ever be seen in Australia?

Given enough support and volunteers, the AT-AT, like Oprah, would be happy to visit Australia.

 

Related Coverage

Scientists find asteroid with potential power of 15 atomic bombs. Heading this way. Tonight.

Asteroid 2011 GP59 was spotted hurtling towards us from a distance of less than ten lunar distances just the other night, blinking like a strobe through the night sky, indicating it is cigar shaped and is estimated to be anywhere up to 50m long and dense enough to have the impact of ’15 atomic bombs’ should it make contact. It won’t, so don’t go digging a hole in the ground just yet.

“Usually, when we see an asteroid strobe on and off like that, it means that the body is elongated and we are viewing it broadside along its long axis first, and then on its narrow end as it rotates,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “GP59 is approximately 50m long, and we think its period of rotation is about seven-and-a-half minutes.

Keep in mind it’s 10 lunar distances – or moon is 384,400km away – but tomorrow morning, about 5am, things get a little crazy. For start, Monday’s night’s discovery of GP 59 was just that – a discovery. It was picked up by astronomers at the Observatorio Astronomico de Mallorca in Andalusia, Spain, who’ve since determined that it’s heading towards us.

Tonight, it will miss pass just outside the moon’s orbit – again, comparatively speaking because this is space, folks – at a distance of 533,000km.

However, Mr Yeomans, whose office is responsible for a program called Spaceguard, which tracks and characterises asteroids and comets and is supposed to protect us from this sort of thing, says there’s no need to be concerned. “Although newly discovered, the near-term orbital location of asteroid 2011 GP59 can be accurately plotted,” he said. “There is no possibility of the small space rock entering Earth’s atmosphere during this pass or for the foreseeable future.”

Which is good news, because although 50m might sound smallish, it’s still five times bigger than an asteroid that exploded 15km above Indonesia in October, 2009. That blast released as much energy as three atomic bombs, according to New Scientist, who are supposed to know about such things. Take comfort in the fact that in 2009, no one saw that asteroid coming. At least we were given three days’ notice this time around!

Another upcoming near miss (or hit?) will be Apophis, a massively superior space object in every way; “Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000-38,000 kilometers on April 13, 2029,” Professor Leonid Sokolov of the St. Petersburg State University told Ria Novosti. “Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036.”

You might have noticed he used the word “may”. Again, space is big folks.

Asteroid 99942 Apophis was first discovered to be in the Earth’s impact zone back in 2004, and at roughly 300m wide, is estimated to be able to hit the Earth with the force equivalent to somewhere around two Krakatoas.

More sketchy science puts Australia well out of the path of possible destruction – Apophis could land anywhere in a streak that runs from the Middle East through the tip of South America to the west coast of Africa, according to a paper delivered to the 2007 Planetary Defense Conference.

Which is not to say we won’t feel its impact. A simulation tool devised by the University of Southampton in the UK shows that, depending on where it hits, it could cause up to 10 million deaths.

 

Other Related Coverage

 

Posted: April 15th, 2011
Categories: critical thought, epiclullz, gossip, journalism, news, oddities, pop culture, science, survival horror
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Australian National Broadband Network (ITT: Vaporware)

It’s bad enough in our bipartisan political clime that the other major party are basement dwelling troglodyte technophobes whilst the others are bleeding heart nutjob sycophants who come up with awesome promises then slowly shift away from them, but this NBN has become outright fucking vaporware.

The National Broadband Network is meant to bring Australia up to speed with the rest of the world. Our Trading Practices Act will shank you like a bitch in a jail house if you promise X and deliver an inferior Y but our ISP’s (Telstra, Optus, Iinet and the worst of the worst TPG (who still owe me a few fucking grand I might add)) sell us ‘ADSL 2+’ connections that run at 3 – 5 megabit (ADSL2+ is 24 megabit with a 4 megabit fall off to it’s operational perimeter of 7 kilometers) when you’re located a mere 3 kilometers from the DSLAMM.

That’s ADSL speeds being passed off as ADSL2+ and being charged at a premium rate too.

It’s even worse that the NBN won’t be out until 2030 at current estimates (IF the other party doesn’t get in and can it) but earlier this morning Patrick Flannigan has quit as NBN Co’s head of construction. An acting head of construction has been appointed, Dan Flemming, who was until now the company’s general manager of construction, design and planning.

“We are disappointed with his decision to resign as he was a valuable member of the leadership team,” a spokeswoman for NBN Co told the press, “We wish him all the best for the future.”

This comes after the Government business enterprise last week “indefinitely” suspended tendering for construction firms, saying the 14 quotes they were presented were inflated. According to the NBN Co website, Mr Flannigan was the founding managing director and chief executive of Service Stream, a major provider of infrastructure, construction and maintenance services to the telecommunications sector and broader utilities sectors.

I swear I should just move to a more technophillic nation.

Posted: April 5th, 2011
Categories: consumer reviews, general, gossip, journalism, news, rant, scams, science, technology, vox pop
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Sick of Influenza? A Cure is Almost Here!

A US anti-bioterrorism unit has awarded Melbourne’s Biota a $231 million contract to develop a cure for influenza.

Biota shares soared nearly 60 per cent on the news, pushing the price to $1.60 before the stock settled 35 per cent, or 37.5c, higher for the day at $1.42, the Herald Sun reported.

The deal is worth about $41 million more than the company’s entire value before yesterday’s spike.

The lucrative deal means Biota may not need to partner with a large pharmaceutical company to commercialise its anti-viral drug, Laninamavir (Lani), in the US.

Chief executive Peter Cook said the contract was a “seriously transformational event for the company”.

“We have taken this product much closer to marketability and towards realising the full value for our shareholders than we could in the past because it was necessary to licence out our drugs early,” Dr Cook said.

The deal came about because of the US government’s concerns over bio-terrorism, Dr Cook said.

Several clinical projects to combat bio-terrorist threats are being conducted.

Biota said it was scoping three facilities to see if they could meet stringent manufacturing specifications.

Lani, which is already prescribed in Japan under the brand name Inavir, is effective as a single dose compared with twice daily doses over five days for rival drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

The US Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA), with which Biota has the contract, said the drug would provide “real advantages to doctors and patients during an emergency and would be an important addition to our pandemic influenza arsenal”.

The funds will finance further clinical trials of the drug and be used to prepare a detailed application to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s standards.

It could take five years or more before the drug gets the US regulator’s nod.

The global market for anti-flu drugs was worth $US4.4 billion last year and Biota estimates it could be set to receive about $US1.5 billion from sales of Lani.

Barda, which is in the US Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is not seeking ownership of the drug or exclusive rights.

Posted: April 2nd, 2011
Categories: journalism, lifestyle, news, science, technology
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Messenger Probe sends Back First Pictures of Mercury

Many of you may have seen my incessant tweeting updates of the final leg of this probe, but today NASA has released the first images sent back from it. Whilst the highest resolution version of it looks like they sent an iPhone (version ONE) into space six years ago–isn’t it odd how space cameras are always shit quality?–it’s still a pretty picture to say the least.

The associated press feed reads as follows: –

NASA has released the first picture taken of Mercury’s surface by the US space agency’s orbiting Messenger craft.

“Early this morning, at 5.20 am EDT (2020 AEDT) , Messenger captured this historic image of Mercury,” NASA said.

“This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the solar system’s innermost planet.”

The spacecraft snapped 363 images over the next six hours, and more were expected to be released later today in conjunction with an expert press conference to discuss the findings.

The upper part of the image shows an unusual, dark-rayed crater called Debussy, while the lower part reveals a portion of Mercury near its south pole that has never before been witnessed by spacecraft, NASA said.

NASA’s Messenger craft – which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging – became the first vehicle to orbit Mercury on March 17.

Messenger was launched more than six years ago, traveling through the inner solar system and embarking on flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury.

The first NASA craft to study Mercury since the Mariner mission more than three decades ago, Messenger has already been able to return a partial map of the planet’s crater-filled surface after just a handful of flybys.

This is one of the first images from the orbital craft Messenger, at the apex of it's six year journey to Mercury.

Posted: March 30th, 2011
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Christian’s in Pakistan Fear Massacres (Again)

One particular article I came across on an asian news website I frequent detailed a lot of bigotry and outright attacks based on religion in Pakistan against Christian residents. Now you all know I hate all religions and people equally, but I particularly hate batshit insane religious zealots who go out of their way to victimise, let alone attack people based on what their particular version of the same fucking sky fairy tells them to do.

This is one of those cases. Ftr, I got a Pakistani bloke I know to contact the division of the police department mentioned, they wouldn’t confirm or deny anything (ie: it happened), and had no comment to make on the issue (ie: we got caught). I’d up the mp3 of his resultant call, but … well, it’s not in English and was quite anticlimactic for me. But god they talk fast over there. >_> My two cents of the day.

Article sourced from asianews.com: –

Kot Addu’s Christian community is facing more wrongdoings by local landlords who grabbed Christian-owned fields and shops with the complicity of local police and officials. Christian symbols are desecrated but the blasphemy law is not applied in this case. Local authorities say accusations are all made up but fail to provide legal backing for grabbing Christian property.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – More.. “I have worked all my life to buy this property. My ancestors are buried in the graveyard. I am an old man now with four four daughters. I had planned to save this property for their marriage,” said Boota Masih, as he lamented Christian powerlessness against local landlords grabbing Christian-owned land and property with the complicity of local administrators and police. His woes come as tensions rise the wake of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder. If the authorities do not act, security forces warn, a tragedy like Gojra could happen again.
Kot Addu is a city in Muzaffargarh district, southern Punjab. A fresh wave of anti-Christian violence has swept over it. Last year, Christians suffered discrimination when aid was handed out to flood victims. In July 2009, a Christian man, Anwar Masih, was charged with blasphemy based on false accusations. When his family agreed to give a local Muslim lawmaker their property, they were dropped.

In recent days, Christians have had to endure even more abuse. Landowners in Kot Addu have grabbed Christian-owned stores and fields as well as a Christian cemetery. With the backing of local lawmakers and administrators, they threatened local Christians, desecrated Bibles and crosses in a local church and destroyed 150 tombs.

Local Christian leaders tried to file a case against the attackers at the Jaggi Moor Police station but got nowhere. Station House Officer Zubair Khalid drafted a First Information Report, but failed to include crucial details, thus allowing the culprits to walk free.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Boota Masih, one of the victims of local potentates, said that the local police refused to hear his complaint. Instead, they accused “Christians of illegally occupying the land on which they built their church and cemetery.”

Another Christian, Ghani Masih, noted that even though the attackers “desecrated Bibles, crosses and tombs,” the complaint against them was registered under Section 297 of the Pakistan Penal Code rather than Sections 295- and 295-B, which involve blasphemy.

Tensions have reached a critical point and many people fear outbreaks of large-scale violence like in Gojra, where thousands of extremists attacked Christian residents in August 2009 (pictured), burning eight people alive.

Last January’s murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and yesterday’s execution-style assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti have made the situation worse for Christians, who now fear more than ever blasphemy-related attacks.

A Christian representative from the minority wing of Pakistan People’s Party visited Kot Addu. He promised that action would be taken in support of Kot Addu Christians.

Similarly, a local district police officer denied that anything untoward had actually happened. Instead, he said that the local Christian community made the whole thing up in order to stir up trouble.

When asked about Anwar Masih, who was forced to hand over his property under duress to have false charges dropped, the officer refused to comment.

Baby Polar Bear Knut Found Dead in his Cage

The world famous cute little polar bear Knut who became an international star after his mother rejected him and he was raised by his Berlin Zoo keeper has died.

The cause of four-year-old Knut’s death was not immediately known, said Heiner Kloes, who is in charge of bears at Berlin zoo.

Knut collapsed and was found dead in a pool of water.

He was the first bear to be born in captivity in the zoo for 30 years and the first public appearance of “Cute Knut” in March 2007 attracted 100 camera crews from around the world.

He generated millions of euros for the Berlin Zoo in lucrative merchandising and extra entrance fees.

Knut weighed 9kg at birth and triggered a wave of media coverage after a batshit insane alleged animal activist said he should have been put down after he and his brother, who later died, were rejected by their mother following their birth in December 2006.

Knut was reared by the zoo, with his keeper Thomas Doerflein bottle-feeding him and strumming Elvis Presley songs for him on his guitar.

Mr Doerflein died of a heart attack in 2008.

Later in Knut’s life, he shared his zoo enclosure with his mother, Tosca, and two other females, Nancy and Katjuscha, he was a polar bear pimp.

Hopes that Knut might form a romantic attachment with one of the females were dashed as stories emerged of violent maulings.

One video posted online showed Katjuscha hurling herself at Knut’s throat, in an apparent attempt to bite him, before tipping him into the water.

Theorise have arisen that he was murdered by the other polar bears for being too cute.

Posted: March 20th, 2011
Categories: celebrity, celebrity gossip, general, news
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Trololol gets pwned by a Magistrate, Legal Precedent for Trolling? :O

A magistrate has warned online trolls the “heavy hand of the law will come down on you” if disturbing material is posted on social networking sites.

Jessica Chantelle Cook, 22, pleaded guilty in the Gympie Magistrates Court today to one count of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, The Courier-Mail reports.

The Gympie shop assistant was charged by police in July after she posted hateful comments and crude photographs on a Facebook tribute page set up in the memory of slain Sunshine Coast woman Justine Jones. (If you saw a photo of this trollolol you’d realise why she was angryrawr at any other female who wasn’t as revolting as her in all her chinless splendor! – Bash)

Ms Jones, 22, from Alexandra Headland, was murdered last month and her body was found dumped at the Nambour rubbish tip.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin described Ms Cook’s actions as “appalling, incomprehensible and absolutely sickening.”

She posted offensive pictures including a headless corpse and a vagina on to Ms Jones’s Facebook tribute page.

The court heard Ms Cook created a fake profile and disguised herself by going online under the name Wendy Woods.

Prosecutor Jason Todman told the court Ms Cook was one of the site’s administrators and posted “disturbing material” on the memorial page.

He said Ms Cook boasted online that her actions had gained media attention.

Prosecutor Todman told the court Ms Cook wrote: “I got a story in the local paper today, all my hard work has paid off.”

Ms Cook’s lawyer, Michael Connolly from Connolly Dore Lawyers, said his client was picked on as a child and suffered mental health problems. (He left out “She’s fugly.” – Bash)

He said she used the internet “as a way of venting her frustrations.” (Trofflemao! – Bash)

Mr Connolly would not confirm whether his client knew Ms Jones.

Magistrate Baldwin told the court she could not “even begin to put myself in the shoes of those families” hurt by Ms Cook’s actions.

She described it as a “sick sense of fun”.

Ms Cook fought back tears as she was given a three-month suspended sentence.

If she reoffends she will have to forfeit $3000.

She was released on a three-year good behaviour bond, two years probation and was banned from using social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Richard Peter Coburn, 26, from Sippy Downs has been charged with the murder of Ms Jones and remains in custody.

Read more at The Courier-Mail.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/facebook-troll-jessica-cook-pleads-guilty-to-defacing-a-tribute-page-to-justine-jones/story-e6frfrnr-1225900174784#ixzz0vS60IW21
Posted: August 2nd, 2010
Categories: epiclullz, news, pop culture
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@AustralianArmy Pays Peanuts, Shocked at Getting Monkeys

This morning Australian news sensationalised (gasp, shock) a new Auditor-General’s report reveals more than 13,000 soldiers are not considered battle ready. About 7300 had either failed the basic fitness test – the most arduous element of which is a 2.4km run – or hadn’t done the test in the last six months. About 5800 Diggers failed weapons proficiency tests or were overdue for refreshers.

The Auditor-General found only 18,900 soldiers, about 53 per cent of troops, were ready to go at short notice.

Now let’s draw things into perspective. The Australian Bureau of Statistics cites that the average weekly income of an Australian is $1,268.50 with the average public sector employee being exactly a hundred more at $1,368.50. There are several methods of entry to employment with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), but I’m writing this primarily as a post-grad qualified guy who dabbled with the idea of off-setting university costs with enrolment for some time before realising it just had no financial worth at all. If you’re a professional with even reasonable qualifications you can easily make four to five times in private sector as you would with the ADF. But let’s assume you’re not.

Let’s assume you’re a regular person who signs up at age 18, for the first two years you’ll be getting 2/5ths of the average weekly wage Australian’s would get elsewhere. On completion of training, you’ll get a base wage of $25-$30k based on the salary scale on the ADF website. At the HIGHEST non-commission rank you can reach (and let’s face it, a lot of ADF personel can spend twenty years in and not get a commission) CPO/WO2/FSGT you will be on $1,138.53 so you’re still falling $100 short of the national, or $200 of pub. sec.

The biggest insult of it all is, part time ADF employees don’t pay income tax on their ADF salary, whereas full timers pay the same income tax as civillians. So drop several more hundred off that reach for full-timers as Australia is one of the worlds highest taxed nations (not to mention surprise tax, as I like to call it, on almost everything you purchase, from GST, to stamp duty, to other mythical unicorn taxes, speeding fines, bus lane fines, parking fines that hedge just short of $300 a piece, you name it).

So it’s safe to say we’re a reasonably expensive nation to live in, the ADF are paying fuck all, and then people rage at them for having people who can’t be arsed. Would you do your job for their wage? Would you do THEIR job for their wage? Fuck no.

Food for thought.

1 368.50
Posted: June 18th, 2010
Categories: critical thought, hypotheticals, news, op ed, rant, scams
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Assassins Creed 3 Destined for Win

Posted: June 17th, 2010
Categories: assassins creed 2, game reviews, games, news, reviews, sci-fi
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Israeli Story Flops: Majority of Dead Shot in Back of Head

An international aid ship en route for the beseiged Gaza Strip was intercepted by Israeli troops, the Gaza-based committee awaiting the vessel said.

“The Rachel Corrie has been intercepted 35 miles off Gaza,” a spokesman for the welcoming committee, Amjad al-Shawa, who talked with the boat, told AFP in Gaza City, the vessel 5 nautical miles off coastal waters, thus pushing the case that these seizures in international waters amount to piracy. “Several Israeli boats surrounded them and prevented them from reaching Gaza,” said Mr Shawa.

“They try to take the boat maybe to (the southern Israeli port city of) Ashdod or maybe to another place,” he said. Mr Shawa said communication with the boat had been “completely cut” but the committee would keep trying to reach them. Martin Quigley, a Dublin based spokesman for the vessel, which is carrying 15 people and tonnes of aid for Gaza, could not confirm the information and said he had not been in contact with the boat. “They had agreed to call us the minute they spotted any Israeli ships,” he said, saying he had not been able to reach the passengers on the satellite phone. “It sounds like the phone is off the hook.”

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army denied the boat had been taken over, telling AFP: “No… we are not aware of any information about that”.

Israeli governmental credibility is on the ropes after autopsies on the bodies of nine Turks revealed most were shot in the back of the head or the back, the Turks were killed in an Israeli raid on an aid ship bound for Gaza found they were peppered with bullets and many were shot at close range, a British newspaper said Saturday.  Citing Yalcin Buyuk, the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice on Friday, the Guardian said the men were shot a total of 30 times.

One 60-year-old man was shot four times – in the temple, chest, hip and back, Buyuk said. A US-Turkish citizen was shot five times at close range in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.

Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, Buyuk said.

Israel has said the commandos only opened fire after they came under attack with clubs, knives, guns and other weapons, although no weapons other than deck poles were found on the vessel, and night vision footage taken by the IDF revealed that the crew only began to try and repel the attackers once weapons fire had already commenced against the unarmed civillians on board the ship.

Bulent Yildirim, head of the Islamic charity Foundation of Humanitarian Relief, which spearheaded the Gaza aid fleet, said activists used iron bars in self-defence after Israeli soldiers fired indiscriminately when they stormed the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara.

Posted: June 5th, 2010
Categories: journalism, news, politix
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Man Kills Gods; Creates Life in Lab

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him…”
Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science (1882), s126.

Long have we theorised the above line by a madman bearing a labtern not to be talking about the literal God believed in by so many theists. Instead, we interpret, he is talking about what this god represented for European culture, the shared cultural belief in God which had once been its defining and uniting characteristic.

So to has man thrown off the yolk of theism, every element of the divine has been replicated at large through science, trickery, art, illusionism except one final element; the creation of life.

Until yesterday when flamboyant geneticist Craig Venter held true to the pledge he made nearly 15 years ago, unveiling his magnum opus. This landmark of scientific progress, published in the Journal of Science, stands on the shoulders of his race to decode the human genome in his own laboratory, egotistically his own DNA I might add.

The madman carrying this lantern has indeed created the first instance of purely synthetic life, opening the doors nanoscience falter at with the potential to create designer microbes for special jobs such as production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, through to filtering contaminents from air and water.

“This is the first synthetic life that has been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromasome, made with four bottles of chemcals on a synthesizer from information on a computer,” Dr Venter said.

Lauded as a tour de force by Prof. Mattick from the Australian Research Council, Dr. Venters work is as ground breaking as science gets these days, the applications for man made life are phenominal and limited only by our imagination. That being said, mans imagination can often be self destructive, so think of all the fantastic synthesized zombie viruses the US military will make with this!

The bacterium used decoded DNA from Mycoplasma mycoides imprinting the synthetic DNA and inserting it into living bacterium, in this case Mycoplasma capricolum, allowing the bacterium to flourish with both it’s own and the synthetic DNA within, then finally using an antibiotic designed to kill all but the synthetic DNA allowing only the synthesized organism to proliferate and produce protein strands from the original Mycoplasma mycoides creating, simply, artificial life.

Klatu barada neck-tie?

Botnet Targets Servers for DDoS Use

Amusing article about a not so secret bnet management system and php sploit: –

Researchers at Imperva have discovered an ‘experimental’ botnet that uses around 300 hijacked web servers to launch high-bandwidth DDoS attacks.

The servers are all believed to be open to an unspecified security vulnerability that allows the attacker, who calls him or herself ‘Exeman’, to infect them with a tiny, 40-line PHP script. This includes a simple GUI from which the attacker can return at a later date to enter in the IP, port and duration numbers for the attack that is to be launched.

But why servers in the first place? Botnets are built from PCs and rarely involve servers.

According to Imperva’s CTO, Amachai Shulman, they have no antivirus software and offer high upload bandwidth, typically 10-50 times that of a consumer PC. Are there disadvantages to this? There are simply fewer of them, the attacker needs to find vulnerable machines using PHP, and they appear to need manual control, although Shulman did say that attacks could probably be automated using a separate script.

Imperva uncovered the attack by obtaining the server attack source code, which was simply run through Google, revealing a list of servers infected with it. The company was then able to watch as the attacker used a compromised server to launch a real denial-of-service attack on a Dutch ISP. The purpose is probably extortion-related.

The controller of the botent had used the Tor anonymity system to hide his or her incoming connections, which made it impossible to judge location. The servers themselves were lone servers at hosting companies, perhaps ones not carefully monitoring outgoing traffic patterns.

Would hosting companies or website owners know they were being hijacked by one of the Internet’s oddest botnets? Most likely, only if the authorities or third-party ISP comes calling with complaints of unwanted Internet traffic.

The botnet’s GUI hints that the hijack program, and perhaps the botnet itself, was probably created to be rented out to third-parties. A message in the simple interface reminds its users “Don’t DoS yourself nub.”

Posted: May 13th, 2010
Categories: hack, journalism, news, piracy, pop culture, scams, technology
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