Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Trying a different player... This is the Bottle Rockets - Radar Gun.


" You Don't see that every day." Flash flood...(2:56)


The View - Same Jeans

Happy tune you'll find yourself singing.


New gearhead stuff... a bike hub/drivetrain that uses a continuously variable transmission. No gears, no shifts, little power loss. Cool Idea. Ellsworth is making a bike to showcase the new tech. The vid shows how it works...(2:58)

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I've previously posted about, the one item a day special online store. Specializing in electronica, I wander in now and again to see the daily deal.

There's now a spinoff.....

Similar Idea. One week - One wine. Currently a Napa Valley Cab Sauv , two bottles for 60 bucks.

Check it out.

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9 Confessions From A Former Enterprise Rental Salesman

A former manager in the Enterprise fleet sales division has a guilty conscience to unload at your feet. 9 tips of insider info about how the car rental game really works. Car rental insurance is a scam, but you can flip the script and use if to your advantage. Prices are liquid, and depending on the day of the week and how you butter your agent in certain ways, you can get a good deal. Despite the commercial with the brown-paper-wrapped car, Enterprise employees hate picking you up and dropping you off.

Don't use the tips that require lying. They're just there so you know how the game works.

1. Enterprise doesn't have any set prices. That rate you got when you called in was either the full retail rate, or the first number that popped into the agent's head. There are three main categories of rentals: personal (retail), corporate, and insurance, but on every single contract that goes out the agent manually types out how much you pay per day and he has authority to make it pretty much whatever he thinks you should pay. When an employee makes a reservation it's critical to key in the rate quoted so the branch knows what to charge the customer when she comes in otherwise nobody would know what to charge. A good branch manager trains his employees to adjust the price as needed to keep the lot sitting tight, that means making some way-too-cheap deals when there are too many cars around. It also means someone walking in saying they need a car no matter the price, that customer might get charged twice what he would have paid just asking for a car.

2. By now everyone knows that you don't need that extra rental insurance but just like service contracts at Best Buy, you can negotiate the daily rate of your rental down by agreeing to add all the insurance (we call it "full boat" when some poor soul gets soaked for all of the extra protections--damage waiver, personal accident insurance, and supplemental liability: the trifecta of consumer stupidity). One of the lines that I used to use was, "For just a few bucks a day you got a million dollars of coverage." True, but the full million dollar payout from the supplemental liability doesn't come due unless you die. Gruesomely. Nothing says you can't initial the "decline" box instead once your contract is printed, thereby declining the insurance and paying only your lower rate.

3. Managers are the ones responsible for how much insurance (usually called "waiver") their branch sells--frontline agents ("manager trainees") aren't commissioned, they just look a lot better on paper if they sell lots of waiver, this is also how they get promoted. The branch manager or assistant manager will be just as likely--if not more so--to drop the daily rate in order to sell you his pricey insurance package.

If you want to secure a really low daily rate but stay on that employee's good site (i.e. so you can get the same deal again and again), take your rental by any Enterprise in the region the next day and remove the extra coverage, you can take that coverage off at any time but if you pay for one day's coverage the person that sold you the waiver still gets credit for the sale and you get the cheaper daily rate for the rest of your rental, win-win.

4. This is the big money tip: Most of Enterprise's business comes from insurance replacement rentals. Insurance customers pay a lot less and all insurance contracts have unlimited miles. The only substantial difference between a retail deal and an insurance deal (other than price) is that insurance clients are billed in a calendar day instead of a 24-hour clock, this means you can return a car anytime until closing and you're still charged the day's rate (conversely, if you have the car at 8am you may as well keep it until 6). If you're going on a long vacation this can save you a fortune: that minivan that cost you $69.99 per day retail goes for $37.99 if your car is in the body shop and Allstate is footing the bill, the SUV we roll for $109 per day retail is $50.99 if you're renting because some State Farm customer smashed up your car. The daily rates vary by geography. Insurance rates are negotiated for each region, but they are usually around half of daily retail rates.

Here's how to get that insurance rate on your next rental: Call for a reservation, say your car was totaled and you need a replacement; your insurance company is cutting you a check for $25.00 per day flat so you need something for under $25. Tell the agent that your insurance company is State Farm, or Farmers, or someone big--the big insurance companies have the best rates (rates will vary a few dollars from company to company). You'll need your own proof of insurance when you come in but don't that needs to match what you say here, nobody cares and people utilize different insurance companies for all kinds of reasons (you were hit by another company's insured is probably the main reason). The important thing is that the insurance company is cutting you a check so you're responsible for this rental, you'll bring your own credit card, you don't even know who your adjuster was (if you know the name of a local adjustor you can use it, Enterprise's computer will show the adjustor's name but nobody's going to check, State Farm uses regional teams for their claims so for State Farm you could say "State Farm Team number something, I forget the exact number.").

The agent hates these calls--the cheapest car on his books is more than your lousy $25 allowance. In this case he is supposed to give you 'standard insurance rates' which are midway between what a big insurance company pays and retail, but in this instance he'll usually just source you to State Farm's bargain prices because it's not worth his time. He should offer you an economy or compact for somewhere around the $25. Stick to your guns: you absolutely have to keep under your $25. He can work that price to come to exactly $25 after tax (or close, if not just call another branch). By now you're locked into the insurance company's rates and he knows you're cheap: if you want an upgrade now is the time: "well I did have a Taurus, my adjustor mentioned I should be able to get something like that for $29.99, can we just do that instead? I can't really afford it but I think I need the space for my kids." Remember to be as nice as possible, if the agent likes you he'll make the deal even if he has to go out of his way to get your car (hint: mentioning you might need supplemental insurance can work wonders to seal the deal, see above).

Daily insurance rates are flexible per region and carrier, in my region which was a major Southern metropolitan area daily rates start around $21.99 for the economy, $23.99 compact, $27.99 mid, $30.99 full, $40.99 premium. Minivans start around $37.99, SUVs around $50.99, Luxury is rare on insurance deals but starts around $49.99. This is the bare minimum insurance replacement cost, rates are generally higher in the East and Northeast, a touch lower in the Midwest, and a lot higher on the West coast. Adjust your figures up or down depending on your geography, call two or three branches and you'll have a good idea of all the rates in your region.

5. Enterprise runs the "weekend specials" because there are loads of spare cars on weekends. Airport and tourist-heavy places won't have much for you, but neighborhood branches will be "sitting fat" (way too many cars) 40 out of 52 weeks of every year, a branch that has zero cars on the lot can pull a car from another nearby store that certainly will have too many. Weekends are hard on insurance adjustors' numbers so they push the body shops to get all their jobs done by Friday evening, therefore a ton of rental returns come in on Fridays. Prices for the weekends are especially flexible, entirely dependent on how many cars there are in the area. I usually told my employees to roll a car at ANY price just get it off my books--having a car unrented over the weekend is murder on your branch's numbers, the more expensive the car the more we need to get it off the books for that weekend. If you want the premium car for $14.99 a day and I have one, I'll roll it (only caveat being you have to add my extra insurance if you want that price _and_ unlimited miles...plenty of locations are open on Saturday just stop by and remove the insurance tomorrow but keep your lower price). Enterprise corporate really frowns on cutting the rate and adding insurance but it's a great tool to clear out the lot on Friday afternoon.

6. For the best weekend deal call up on Friday sometime before 2pm and say, "I have all my info, drivers license and credit card, can I get a rental all setup so I don't have to do anything but sign the ticket when I come in?" This is GOLD because now the agent can pre-write your ticket and get that car off his books before the 2pm count (if a car is unrented at 2pm, it counts against the branch for that day so he'll write your ticket before 2:00 and then the car can sit there all day for all he cares). Have your rate in mind and ask for it--don't be afraid to make your own price! If there is a car available, you'll get that car. If you still can't get the rate you want, casually mention you probably need the extra insurance. He'll write the contract now, then you initial the "decline" boxes when you come for the car (so you changed your mind). The contract is already written; he can go back and take off the waiver with just a couple keystrokes, it'll probably cheese him off but you'll get your lower rate and not pay for the insurance.

7. What if you're traveling to a far away city and don't want to use the insurance replacement method? Call ERES at 1-800-Rent-a-Car and tell them you're a State Farm adjustor from [whatever city you're from]. Your wife/mom/dad/whoever is going to be needing a car in [whatever city you're going to]. Here's some jargon for you, say: "I can't exactly send the reservation over on ARMS [the automatic reservation system, which would make State Farm pay the bill] can you help me get her setup with my rates?" Insurance adjustors are treated like royalty at Enterprise, they'll bend over backwards to make you happy.

Any insurance company will do, adjustors are the top of the customer pyramid. A little more jargon to help you look like you know what you're talking about: Ecar is economy, Ccar is compact, Scar is midsize, Fcar is full, P-car is the premium, then SUVs and Minivans are usually just referred to as SUVs and Minivans, an adjustor probably wouldn't ask for a luxury but that's an Lcar. So you would say, "My wife is in Buffalo this weekend I need to get her something close to an F-car, pickup Friday evening drop off Monday, can you get that set up for me? Also, you guys are so good to us, my wife really has to get to her mom's house, can you maybe note on the reservation this is an adjustor's wife and she's really in a hurry so they know to take care of her?" When she shows up at the branch they're going to give her the best car they've got, probably a free upgrade if there is a spare one around, and send her on her way without any hassle about extra insurance (remember, she's married to a state farm adjustor, she certainly knows not to take the extra coverage). It's a courtesy for one region to help out another region's adjustors when they pass through since adjustors refer the bulk of Enterprise's business.

8. Enterprise has what they call "ESQI," like car dealers each branch is rated on how many customers rate our service as 5/5 on the phone surveys. Anything less than 5 is the same as zero. Managers have to answer for this number like you can't believe, so next time you forget to fill the tank or you bring a car back a few hours late, say there was some problem with the car--it smelled smoky, wasn't running right, anything that says you're not entirely happy with your experience. Most people just turn the car in and go; you'd be amazed what you can get away with just so the manager makes you "extremely satisfied." I'd happily waive up to a full day's rental charges if I think that's needed to keep you happy, a grunt doesn't have much stake in the ESQI but he has the authority to do the same. Policy depends on the branch, but it's pretty standard to allow any rep to waive up to a day's rental (or a tank of gas, something equivalent) without even asking if they thought it was necessary to get me a 5/5.

9. One final note: employees truly will give you a better deal the better mood they're in. All employees universally hate 'the ride,' where we have to pick up a customer and drive them back to the shop. If you make us pick you up, even if you're really close, we won't be so happy to serve you as if you'd walked in. Set the deal up on the phone and if you can get a ride in, do it. It seems small but every little bit helps, the agent is holding all the cards until your contract gets signed, you're already getting a way too cheap deal on his car--give the guy a break if you can get a ride in just as easily.

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RIAA VP Laughs At Consumerist's "Worst Company In America" Contest...

David Hughes, a former Vice President of Technology Strategies and Digital Policy for Sony BMG who now serves as the Senior Vice President of Technology for the RIAA, held a question and answer session at Arizona State University this morning. The audience held several Consumerist readers, one of whom asked David about winning the "Worst Company In America" contest. Reader Anthony describes the event:

The RIAA is well-aware that they are becoming irrelevant. They are also aware that nobody likes them, but they don't care about that. Someone also brought up the fact that the RIAA was recently voted as being the "worst company in America", to which David responded with some laughs and a quip about how they've been "beating Exxon-Mobil for years" in that arena.

Other highlights of the talk include Mr. Hughes calling Steve Jobs a "hypocrite," and some protesters crashing the party...

Four people, likely students, walked into the back of the room, all holding cardboard signs. One sign had a scythe attached and said, "Don't fear the RIAAper." Another guy had no pants on and had a sign that said, "The RIAA sued the pants off me." Another girl had a sign that said, "Download like it's 1999."

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Top Ten Songs....
1. I Hate Every Bone in Her Body But Mine.
2. It's Hard to Kiss the Lips At Night That Chewed Your Ass All Day.
3. If the Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me.
4. I wouldn't take her to a Dog Fight 'Cause I'm Afraid she'd win.
5. I'll Marry You Tomorrow, But Let's Honeymoon Tonight.
6. I'm So Miserable without you, It's like you're Still Here.
7. If I Had Shot You When I First wanted To, I'd Be Out Of Prison By now.
8. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend and I Sure Do Miss Him.
9. She Got the Ring and I Got the Finger.
10. I Ain't Never Gone to Bed with Ugly Women But I've Sure Woke Up With a Few

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Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer see the glass as a deadly weapon.

On Jack Bauer's Tax Returns, he has to claim the entire world as his dependents.

Jack Bauer never retreats, he just attacks in the opposite direction.

The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives.

When bad things happen to good people, its probably fate. When bad things happen to bad people, it’s probably Jack Bauer.

When a convicted terrorist was sentenced to face Jack Bauer, he appealed to have the sentence reduced to death.

There are three leading causes of death among terrorists. The first two are Jack Bauer, and the third one is heart attack from hearing Jack Bauer is coming for them.

Jack Bauer quit for just five minutes, and a nuclear bomb went off.

Most people would need months to recover from 20 months of Chinese interrogation. Jack Bauer needs a shower, a shave and a change of clothes.

Once, someone tried to tell Jack Bauer a "knock knock" joke. Jack Bauer found out who was there, who they worked for, and where the goddamned bomb was.

When Jack Bauer ran out of ammo, he caught 3 bullets in his chest and used them to reload.

If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's instructions, it would be called "12"

Withholding information from Jack Bauer is now classified as a suicide attempt.

Bauer is not word, it is a sentence...A death sentence.

If it tastes like chicken, looks like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Jack Bauer says its beef. Then it's f#cking beef.

If you wake up in the morning, it's because Jack Bauer spared your life.

Jack Bauer sleeps with a pillow under his gun.

Explosions do not kill Jack Bauer, they just get stuff out of his way.

Kim Bauer was an accident. Not even the pill can stop Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer has never caught a cold. How do we know? Colds still exist.

Superman is one of the few individuals who could possibly survive a confrontation with Jack Bauer. But that is only because he can fly away.

Jack Bauer arm once wrestled Superman. The stipulations were the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.

Jack Bauer doesn't miss. If he didn't hit you it's because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.

When Jack Bauer goes to the airport and the metal detector doesn't go off, security gives him a gun.

Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.

As a child, Jack Bauer taught his dog to play dead...once.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

Jack Bauer has the heart of a terrorist. He keeps it in a jar on his desk.

The bumper sticker on Jesus's car reads, "WWJBD?"

Jack Bauer could get off the Lost island in 24 hours.

Jack Bauer has been to Mars. Thats why theres no life on Mars.

Jehovah's Witnesses once tried to convert Jack Bauer. After four minutes of interrogation, they admitted Jack Bauer was God.

Simon Says should be renamed to Jack Bauer Says because if Jack Bauer says something then you better f#cking do it.

Jack Bauer once opened a can of whoop ass. All he found inside was a mirror.

Jack Bauer doesn't take fingerprints, he takes fingers.

Jack Bauer once visited the Virgin Islands. They are now The Islands.

Jack Bauer went as himself one year for Halloween.

Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

Jack Bauer went out to the desert, and was bitten by a rattlesnake. The snake died.

When Jack Bauer is running, you'd better f#cking run as well, if he's chasing you, you should just shoot yourself.

The truth may hurt, but it doesn't hurt as much as Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer does not need to use a silencer... he just tells his gun to be quiet.

When 24 airs on the Spanish channel everyones lines are translated except for Jack's. The reason for this, nobody speaks for Jack Bauer.

If Jack Bauer misspells a word, your dictionary is wrong.

Jack Bauer is the 'i' in team.


This is the surface of Mars.

Someone's been busy with the 1400 photos taken so far, this is a panorama you can spin and explore. Pan and tilt until you get dizzy. (uses Quicktime).


Nice photostory of a fellow Valkyrie rider's trip to Windy Ridge, the gnarled route up the eastern flank of Mt. St. Helens here in Washington. This road is one of my all time favourite rides. Surreal landscapes, twisted road, new pavement, little traffic, amazing views, and it ends up in a lot where you can watch the lava dome inside the crater smoke and spit and grow.


Below is music from the show - Weeds. Good soundtrack.

If you click, you'll hear Hill of Beans - Satan lend me a Dollar.



Black Weatherproof disguised Bullet/Stab-proof jacket

This is, without doubt, the best disguised bullet/stab-proof jacket we have ever come across. You won't find it anywhere else and you will never find a protective jacket as smart as this one. The protection levels it offers are quite unheard of in such a light,3 kilo, and discreet jacket.

This jacket offers a protection level to NIJ STD 0101.04 level 11A and European Police Standard for tactical vests RPS B (1999).

The armour protects against 9mm Full Metal Jacket Round Nose (FMJRN) projectiles, with a weight of 8gm (124gr) at 430 m/s. Full Metal Jacket Round Nose (FMJRN) type DM11A1B2 (DN or MEN) projectiles with a weight of 8gm (124gr) at 415m/s. 44 Magnum jacketed Soft Point (JSP) type Norma 11103/61103 projectiles with a weight of 15.6gm (158gr) at 390 m/s. 44 Magnum Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) projectiles with a weight of 15.6gm (240gr) at 430 m/s. Eastern European Tokarev LC 7.62 x 25mm steel core projectile with a weight of 5.5gm at 455 m/s.

This jacket also protects against stabs, cuts, slashes with sharp and blunt edged weapons like hypodermic needles, ice picks, knives and broken bottles up to 25 Joules according PSDB (2003).

This is a mans outdoor jacket made of 100% Polyester Canvas with PU-coating on the reverse. It has a waistband with a pull-chord and velcro fastening at the sleeve ends. It is supplied with a detachable hood. Available in sizes small to XXL in Black only.

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A vigilante resistance movement is hindering the German government's efforts to increase revenue through the use of speed cameras. Despite the use of extreme tactics, police have only been able to catch a handful of the motorists responsible for the uprising, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported. In Osterode, a motorist disgusted by the underposted 70km/h (43 MPH) speed limit ripped out every speed limit sign on the B243 and tossed them into a ditch. Upset police had to cancel fines worth thousands of euros last month. Another motorist successfully destroyed a Harz speed camera by setting it on fire. In Goettingen, a vigilante took the time to remove and run off with an entire, working speed camera assembly. Another camera in Kassel was stolen. Police have no idea who was responsible for any of these attacks. In other cases, a handful of anti-camera activists have been identified. One 75-year-old retiree who had been convicted of shooting speed cameras in Fulda was later arrested for throwing stones at a camera in Goslar. A 22-year-old harassed Peine police by covering his license plate and speeding past ticket cameras with his middle finger extended. He was later identified. On the A44 near Kassel, a 19-year-old smashed a replacement speed camera with an ax and then set the device on fire. Police used DNA evidence from blood at the scene to convict the man after interrogating 140 motorists. The Hesse state makes more than a million euros in annual profit from speed cameras.

Power to the people. Ticket the cellphone-yakkin', makeup-applyin', no signal last minute lanechangers who are actually at fault in most "accidents". Speed doesn't kill, stupidity does.

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Pretty Pictures.
Little bit of Jackson Pollock, but still original looking.
There's a reason for that....
These are made by BUGS.

More Here.

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This is Matt. Months ago, I posted one of his "Dancing" videos. Here it is.(3:42)

I reposted because he recently released an "Outtakes" clip...(4:27)


I watch very little TV. One of my geeky pastimes, however, is watching the Mythbusters.

Recently found this Site, which summarizes ALL their exploits. All of them. Enjoy.

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Below... Citizen Cope - Bullet and a target.

Trying this audio thing again, but it's pretty bug-ridden and cumbersome. I'll keep plugging away until I get frustrated/bored/run out of music I think is bloggable.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Stereo Dock for iPod® with Bath Tissue Holder

(Or, alternatively, the Ipoop.)

Now you can Enhance your Experience in any room (any room you'd need toilet paper) with your favorite music
from your iPod.


• 4 Integrated high performance moisture-free speakers deliver exceptional
clarity and high quality sound
• Charges your iPod while playing music
• Audio selector allows you to play iPod shuffle or other Audio device
• Integrated Bath tissue holder that can be easily folded as a stereo dock
• Requires AC Power (AC Adapter included)
• Easy to remove from Wall Mount


Dimension (W x H x D):
8.25in x 3.68in x 7.12in
210mm x 93mm x 181mm

Power Requirements:
12V, 1.5A AC adapter

2 x tweeters for highs
2 x woofers for lows

No, really. The

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Adam Buxton does good work, these are both his....
Signing for the deaf...(0:52)

Closed captioned....(1:51)


Dirty Youtubin', First up is a jeep being pounded through mud and rocks.

Here's a skilled trials rider...


Gadget Hip Holster

Han Solo wishes he had one of these

Travelling through hyperspace isn't like dustin' crops, boy! For one thing, you've got to make sure you've got all your gear with you. You've got a cell-phone, iPod, headphones, keys, memory stick, sunglasses... Before you know it, your pockets are bulging, and you've got nowhere to hook your thumbs and look cool.

Before you go gallivanting around the 'verse, you've got to have style and panache. The freighter Captain who plays by his own rules, but shows his loyalty and sense of duty when the chips are down... the girls love the intergalactic rogue-type. Especially those space-princesses and ambassador / companions. So, whether you're making the Kessel run, or just smuggling some Alliance branded foodstuffs to some backwards moon, you'll need your stuff.

We found these awesome hip holsters that hold lots of gadgets, and keeps them readily available. You never know when you'll need to grab your cellphone, iPod, memory stick, keys, headphones, pen, shipping license... so we made sure they were right at your hip - ready to go for that heart-stopping moment when your ship gets boarded.

Need one?, Can't wait until someone tries to board a flight with this strapped on. Also available is a shoulder harness that does much the same thing, only it hides under a jacket. I also take no responsibility for the above ad copy, it's a copy-n-paste.

Sixty Bucks.

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This video is what made me want, and eventually get, a Valkyrie....


Hey you, with the cell phone, the Big Gulp, the screaming kids in the car seats - better pay attention to the road. Someone is looking for you, and they've got a ticket pad as thick as a phone book.

Yes, it's time for the annual ''Road Respect” mobilization, when state and local police pop up in greater numbers to nip aggressive and distracted driving in the bud. The bust-fest is playing through April 8.

''You see crazy stuff every day,” said Sgt. Carol MacDonald of the State Police public affairs unit.

In her years on wheels, MacDonald formulated a theory about the one thing that would make highways safer: ''Just get out of the left lane,” she said.

''Somebody comes up behind you - maybe they are speeding - but the smart thing to do, and the thing that cuts down on aggression, is to move over to the right and let them go.”

That simple move can help eliminate those awful moments when normal citizens turn into Incredible Hulks, swollen with road rage. That simple action, ''let them go,” can reduce dangerous and disturbing high-speed vigilante tangos.

''Don't worry about the speed someone else is going,” MacDonald said.

''It's not your job. If you want to report someone driving at high speed, call 911.”

Oh, and by the way, obscene gestures don't seem to help resolve road disputes. Go figure.

Because there will be more uniformed-types around over the next few weeks, Sgt. MacDonald was asked what really aggravated camped-out patrol officers.

''Multiple lane changes get you,” she said. ''That really is dangerous.”

A by-product of the increased enforcement activity during the Road Respect campaign is more arrests for other stuff.

''A bigger net is going to catch more fish,” acknowledged MacDonald, who said you may pull someone over for a broken headlight and find they have a warrant out for their arrest.

''Or you smell dope in the car.”

That will do it just about every time.

Amazing... she actually said, " Just get out of the left lane." Amen.

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An art site recently had a competition to create interesting beasts... here's my picks from the winners' pool.....

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

I HATE these things, mainly because I can't see anything. Nothing. Never have seen anything, probably never will. So, somebody clue me in.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes is one of my favourite strips, full of larger-than-life characters. Like the snowmen. Here's a few full scale homages to the classics....

Someone has a lot of free time.....
Click it for the big version...

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RIAA University Campaign Sputters:
Group Asked To Pay Up For Wasting School's Time

Lately, the RIAA has been on a high-profile campaign to get college students that the RIAA believes have been involved in illegal file trading to settle lawsuits against them at a "discount". As part of this strategy, the company has tried to enlist universities to help them identify and turn over the names of offending students. But it's heartening to see that some universities aren't spinelessly acquiescing to the RIAA's demands. The University of Wisconsin has told the RIAA that it has no obligation to rat its students out unless it's compelled to do so by a subpoena. Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska has told the RIAA that it can't help them identify many of the students accused of file trading. The school's system changes a computer's IP address each time its turned on, and it only keeps this information for month. After that month, the school has no way of associating an IP address with a computer or its user. The RIAA is angry about this, and a spokesman for the group criticized the university for not understanding "the need to retain these records". This is a ridiculous complaint. The university doesn't have a need to retain these records, and there's no reason it should do so out of some obligation to the RIAA. If there were any doubt that the university is really irritated by the RIAA's requests, it has requested that the RIAA pay the university to reimburse its expenses from dealing with this (good luck with that). If all of this back and forth sounds familiar, it's because it very closely resembles what happened a few years ago when the RIAA tried getting ISPs to share data on their users. Fortunately, the ISPs stood up for their users and told the RIAA to get lost. It's too bad the group didn't seem to learn its lesson.

Some of the comments in response to this article are also worth a read.

Also, another RIAA fiasco...

RIAA Can't Wiggle Its Way Out Of Paying Victim's Legal Fees

The RIAA's lawsuit against Patti Santangelo has seen a number of interesting twists and turns, which has made it one of the more high-profile cases out there. If you'll recall, the RIAA tried dropping its case last year when it became clear that it had no chance of winning at trial against the indebted mother of five. But it only offered to do drop the case with the stipulation that it would not have to pay back any of her enormous legal fees. If it got its way, Santangelo's "victory" would have been rather hollow, since it would've left her in pretty bad shape. Fortunately, the RIAA's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice has been rejected by the judge, which leaves the group with two options. It can drop the case with prejudice, which means it would have to compensate Santangelo for her legal fees, or it can proceed to trial, where it's almost certain to lose, and then it would still have to pay for her lawyer. It's not clear which way the RIAA will decide to go, but it's clearly a very bad ruling for the group, as it's finally going to have to pay up for its ongoing abuse of the legal system.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Giant crystal cave in Mexico

In April 2000, brothers Juan and Pedro Sanchez were drilling a new tunnel when they made a truly spectacular discovery. While Naica miners are accustomed to finding crystals, Juan and Pedro were absolutely amazed by the cavern that they found. The brothers immediately informed the engineer in charge, Roberto Gonzalez. Ing. Gonzalez realized that they had discovered a natural treasure and quickly rerouted the tunnel. During this phase some damage was done as several miners tried to remove pieces of the mega-crystals, so the mining company soon installed an iron door to protect the find.

This page has more pics and a complete explanation...

The crystal cavern was discovered within the same limestone body that hosts
the silver-zinc-lead ore bodies exploited by the mine. The cavern was probably
dissolved by the same hydrothermal fluids that deposited the metals with the gypsum
being crystallized during the waning stages of mineralization. The crystals probably grew
relatively quickly to their immense size within a completely liquid-filled cavern.

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Yes, it's a Shell Commercial, but it's pretty.(2:02)


Only in California... You pull a person out of a wrecked car. That same accident victim turns around and sues you. Nice.
Bonus? The "Good Sam" law might not help you. So, I guess if you're in California and witness an accident, don't help.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman accused of rendering a friend a paraplegic by pulling her out of a wrecked car "like a rag doll" may not be protected by California's good Samaritan law, an appellate court ruled.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal wrote in a decision Wednesday that the Good Samaritan law only protects people from liability if they are administering emergency medical care. The perceived danger of remaining in the wrecked car was not "medical," the court ruled.

Attorney Robert Hutchinson who represents plaintiff Alexandra Van Horn, said the state's Samaritan law doesn't require people to render aid. But if they do, he said, they must act reasonably.

Van Horn was in the front passenger seat of a car that slammed into a light pole at 45 mph on Nov. 1, 2004, according to the negligence lawsuit filed against Lisa Torti.

Torti was a passenger in a car that was following behind the vehicle and stopped after the crash. Torti testified she placed one arm under Van Horn's legs and the other behind her neck to lift her out of the car.

Van Horn, who testified Torti grabbed her by the arm and pulled her from the car "like a rag doll," suffered injury to a vertebrae and a lacerated liver. Court documents said that the question of whether she was paralyzed during the crash or when she was pulled out of the car has been disputed.

Torti lawyer Jody Steinberg said he will appeal, saying the Samaritan law should protect everybody.

"There was no evidence that our client was doing anything but trying to rescue a person in need," Steinberg said. "This is a public policy issue that needs to be re-examined by the Legislature."

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4X4 v.s. Honda Civic crunch....


Single? Think you're "Hot"?

There's a site out there for you....

Meet equally narcissistic people just like you.

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Mineral enhanced spring water....

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