Sunday, January 24, 2010

E.T.A. by JUNK

Marvin has the most boring job in the universe - but all is not as it seems...

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Judge slashes "monstrous" P2P award by 97% to $54,000

Judge Michael Davis is the senior federal jurist in Minnesota. He presides over the gleaming 15th floor courtroom where, earlier this year, P2P user Jammie Thomas-Rasset was slapped with $1.92 million in damages for sharing 24 songs. Davis made no comment on the amount of the award and showed no emotion as it was read out.

But now we know how he rely feels about the jury's work in that case: it led to a "monstrous and shocking" damage award that veered into "the realm of gross injustice."

Davis used his power of remittitur today to slash the damage award by 97.2 percent, from $1.92 million down to $54,000—and he suggested that even this lower amount was too high.

Thomas-Rasset, the first defendant to take an RIAA-backed P2P lawsuit all the way to trial, turned out not to be an especially sympathetic defendant.

In recounting the case today, Davis went over the changing history of Thomas-Rasset's testimony. "Thomas‐Rasset previously provided sworn interrogatory answers that there had never been any type of online media distribution on her computer in the three years before the Complaint was filed and that she did not contend that anyone else was responsible for the infringement," he wrote.

"Despite never implicating others during her depositions or testimony in the previous trial, in this second trial, she suddenly leveled new accusations against her children and ex‐boyfriend, asserting that they might have committed the infringement. Thomas‐Rasset’s refusal to accept responsibility for her actions and her decision to concoct a new theory of the infringement casting possible blame on her children and ex‐boyfriend for her actions demonstrate a refusal to accept responsibility and raise the need for strong deterrence."

Later, he refers to the moment when "Thomas‐Rasset lied on the witness stand by denying responsibility for her infringing acts and, instead, blamed others, including her children, for her actions."

Davis also notes that statutory damages, which range from $750 up to $150,000 per infringement in copyright cases, have both a deterrent and a compensatory purpose. It's no good to argue that a damage award is too high simply because it's higher than actual damages suffered; that's part of the point.

But there are limits, and $80,000 per song exceeded them. "Although Plaintiffs were not required to prove their actual damages, statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages," Davis wrote.

In his capacity as a judge, Davis is allowed to alter damage awards in some cases, though not verdicts. (Update: a reader notes that, in some circumstances, a judge can in fact issue a new judgment at odds with the verdict.) He chose to do so in this case by reducing the award to three times the minimum level of $750, setting it at $2,250 per song. This amount is still "significant and harsh" and is a "higher award than the Court might have chosen to impose in its sole discretion, but the decision was not entrusted to this Court."

Instead, Davis simply reduced the jury award to the maximum reasonable level before it veered into "monstrous and shocking" territory.

He noted the difference between what Thomas-Rasset did and the commercial infringement the statutory damage laws were written to stop. "In the case of individuals who infringe by using peer‐to‐peer networks, the potential gain from infringement is access to free music, not the possibility of hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of dollars in profits," he wrote. "The need for deterrence cannot justify a $2 million verdict for stealing and illegally distributing 24 songs for the sole purpose of obtaining free music."

Because of the Seventh Amendment's guarantee to a trial by jury, Davis' decision to change the damage award means the RIAA has to make a choice: it can accept the new $54,000 award or it can exercise its right to go back to a jury for a third full trial.

We asked the RIAA for comment, but the music trade group and its members will only say that they are weighing their options. Davis has given them one week to decide.


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I REALLY like this reimagineering of the Buell 1125... girder and angular bodywork to match the faceted frame, rad hung out in front instead of slabsided....somebody build this before I do....

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If it’s catchy, why bother with the science?

Too many, too soon is one of the sacred mantras of the anti-vaccination movement and its sympathizers who are looking for any remotely plausible argument which would paint vaccines as some kind of poison turning an entire generation of children autistic. Ok, so you can show that timerosal used in vaccines had nothing to do with autism and that the type of mercury it contained wasn’t a neurotoxin. You could even tackle the big issue of how autism is diagnosed and whether parental age has something to do with a rise in the number of diagnosed cases over the last decade and have sound science on your side. But you certainly can’t debate a threefold increase in vaccinations over the last thirty years. And if you can’t debate that, you certainly couldn’t say that three times as many vaccines means that kids’ immune systems aren’t being overwhelmed, right?

Actually, yes. You could. The number of vaccinations is actually a misnomer used to make an argument which firmly casts vaccines as either the villain in today’s pediatric problems, or at least a suspect cause. What has been missed by TV personalities promoting this fallacy, like Bill Maher and Joy Behar, is the fact that today’s vaccines are much more efficient than those given when they were kids. The initial seven vaccines of the late 1970s have been doubled in the last 30 years but their actual antigen load has been lowered from 3,000 to just about 150, only 5% of what the people making this argument were exposed to in their childhoods. For the too many too soon argument to be true, we’d need to see the same kinds of pediatric problems a generation ago and with far greater frequency than we do today. If we weren’t overwhelming immune systems back then, how could we possibly be doing it today with a twentieth of the antigens? And yet, this is the argument being made by the alt med and anti-vaccine crowd.

Either someone is trying to apply the homeopathic idea of dilution and potentization to vaccines, or we’re not being given the relevant fact for the sake of keeping the manufactroversy going. And even if doctors on TV will keep bringing up the massive drop in antigen loads thanks to modern technology, the anti-vaxers will keep on using it by bringing up their other favorite chant. They’ll blame unnamed toxins in vaccines and say that while there are far less antigens, there must be more toxins in the greater number of vaccines. How do these toxins cause whatever pediatric problems they want to blame on them? They don’t know, but the lack of evidence for their position isn’t going to keep them up at night for the simple reason that they can blame doctors for doing bad research to protect their Big Pharma friends or just demonize those who disagree with their agenda as enablers of infanticide. Meanwhile, after vilifying well tested, well proven medical technology, putting almost every study of their efficacy into question over the tiniest if or but, they’ll sprinkle industrial mining chemicals on their autistic kids’ breakfast after seeing a testimonial on an anti-vax blog and call it battling autism.

Give that a moment to sink in. Highly refined, thoroughly tested and very successful vaccines that expose kids to around 150 antigens or roughly 5% of what their parents received in their early childhood are overwhelming immune systems of infants who are exposed to billions of bacteria and viruses from birth. However, a mining chemical which contains benzene, a known carcinogen, comes with no clinical proof of its safety and efficacy, and is marketed by testimonials is perfectly safe to sprinkle over their gluten-free waffles. Yes, maybe it’s not going to actually harm anyone if it’s extremely diluted or administered in small enough quantities, but maybe, just maybe a group with this kind of approach to medical science has its priorities skewed and isn’t a reliable source of information on immunology. So rather then simply repeating the chant of too many too soon, some of the aforementioned TV personalities could take a minute to look up a few studies, read a couple of medical blogs and ask a couple of pointed questions once in a while.

Source, with relevant hotlinks

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Now this is a great idea....


The 31st running of the Dakar Rally is being held in South America for the second year, instead of the traditional African route, due to ongoing security concerns. This year's race began and will end in Buenos Aires, covering a looping 9,000 kilometers between Argentina and Chile over 14 stages. 362 Teams began the race with 176 motorcycles and quad bikes, 134 cars, and 52 trucks. The race is just over halfway completed now, the winners expected to cross the finish line on January 16th. Collected here are several photographs from the first 8 stages of this year's rally.


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The Yikebike...interesting concept... (1:54)

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why so angry?


Travis Pastrana jumps 269 feet in his rally car live on ESPN in Long Beach.

Then, of course, he back flipped into the harbor. (2;04)

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Probably ruined his whole day....(1;29)

Moral.....don't wheelie into a dip.

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What a great idea....

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Just try get this out of your head for the rest of the day :}

Inspector Gadget theme song played on beer bottles

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Analysis of 32 million breached passwords

Imperva released a study analyzing 32 million passwords exposed in the breach. The data provides a unique glimpse into the way that users select passwords and an opportunity to evaluate the true strength of these as a security mechanism.

In the past, password studies have focused mostly on surveys. Never before has there been such a high volume of real-world passwords to examine.

Key findings of the study include:

* The shortness and simplicity of passwords means many users select credentials that will make them susceptible to basic forms of cyber attacks known as “brute force attacks.”
* Nearly 50% of users used names, slang words, dictionary words or trivial passwords (consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys, and so on). The most common password is “123456”.
* Recommendations for users and administrators for choosing strong passwords.

“Everyone needs to understand what the combination of poor passwords means in today’s world of automated cyber attacks: with only minimal effort, a hacker can gain access to one new account every second—or 1000 accounts every 17 minutes,” explained Imperva’s CTO Amichai Shulman.

The report identifies the most commonly used passwords:

For enterprises, password insecurity can have serious consequences. “Employees using the same passwords on Facebook that they use in the workplace bring the possibility of compromising enterprise systems with insecure passwords, especially if they are using easy to crack passwords like ‘123456’,” said Shulman.

“The problem has changed very little over the past 20 years,” explained Shulman, referring to a 1990 Unix password study that showed a password selection pattern similar to what consumers select today. “It’s time for everyone to take password security seriously; it’s an important first step in data security.

PDF of Report

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Take one of these....

Add a shell...

And some mods...

TaDa! 214mpg. yeah, 214.

The Build Diary..Click

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Loved the visual feast of Imax 3d Avatar,...but.... the story seems.....familiar...

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OUT of the utter horror of Haiti, comes a picture of incredible joy.

Meet Kiki, Boy Wonder, alive and well after eight days under the rubble of earthquake-blitzed Port au Prince.

Can you see the joy in the eight-year-old's eyes … he never gave up hope that he would be freed.

The rescue - and a picture that will bring tears to the eyes - defied the myth that people only survive being trapped for a couple of days or so.

Kiki was saved after an incredible operation, in the Nazan district of the Haitan capital, mounted by US earthquake experts.

The heroes and heroines were members of urban rescue squads from New York and Virginia, some of whom had been involved in the 9/11 horrors of New York in 2001.


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Chainlink extreme 4x4 (2;17)

Cams hydraulic Chain-drive 4x4, about 7 feet of up OR down motion on each tire: specs below Engine is a fuel injected Ford 5.0 V8 out of a '93 cobra mustang, c4 transmission and t-case out of an early bronco. 9" w/ 5.38 gears and ARB air locker mounted in the center (below driver) running chain gears on the ends where the swing arms pivot. Swing arms are hydraulically controlled individually or together, and there is coil spring and shock suspension as well. large chains running inside the swing arms turn hummer gear reduction (2:1) hubs at each wheel. tires are 39.5". The steering is linked through the swing arms as well and the steering box is mounted just infront of the axle below the driver. body construction is steel tubing (mostly DOM) and the total weight is 5900 LB.

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Gold.... Some pics stolen from the Big Picture section of the Boston Globe.....

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