Vigilantes

Is this my imagination, or are we entering an era (at least on the Internet) where vigilante justice is the primary mode of law enforcement?

Part of me sees some good in this, actually - citizens enforcing their own justice. But the civil libertarian in my wonders what ever happened to "innocent before proven guilty"? As the Wired articles point out, a false accusation can literally ruin lives. The problem is that an accurate accusation can save them...

The older I get the more the world resembles my beard - gray. Oh, for the black and white clarity of my youth! When Right was obvious and Evil could be completely destroyed, if only we'd set our minds to it.

A pair of coders with a deep hatred of software pirates have gone public with a months-old experiment to trick file sharers into running custom spyware they wrote that scolds users and phones home to a server.

(link) [Slashdot]

Posing as children, members of Perverted Justice haunt chat rooms looking for would-be child molesters. Their goal is to catch sexual predators in the act, but critics say their aggressive tactics may undermine police efforts. A two-part series by Julia Scheeres.

(Part One) (Part Two) [Wired News]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link


Why iPod Can't Save Apple

Brought to you by Apple Computer, proudly dying for 27 years ...

Money Magazine is running an article entitled "Why iPod can't save Apple", which says 'the buzz on the digital music player and "swank" storefronts are masking an ebbing bottom line, noting reduced CPU sales, resulting in a shrinking marketshare.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link


Novelty-seeking teens may be more easily influenced by tobacco ads

Your tax dollars at work! Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention how much it cost these "researchers" to calculate the obvious ...

Teens with higher levels of a personality trait known as novelty-seeking have been shown to be more receptive to tobacco industry promotional campaigns than teens with low levels of the trait. Novelty-seeking is a heritable trait characterized by a tendency toward excitement in response to new experiences; engagement in sensation-seeking, impulsive, and risk-taking behavior; and sensitivity to reward. Scientific data indicate that teens' receptivity to tobacco marketing campaigns may play an important role in the choice to start smoking.

(link) [Science Blog]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link


MSFTs iPod Killer Readied for Europe

If I were Steve Jobs, I wouldn't be losing any sleep over this one: three times the size, three times the cost, plays DVDs and store digital photos... uh, why? How do they think this will "kill" the iPod? By landing on it?

MS has been working with several manufacturers, and is expected to introduce a device which will play movies and songs as well as store digital photos through Microsoft's yet-to-be-unveiled Portable Media Center software...The players are expected to sell for between about $700 to $800. They will play MP3s as well as audio and video recorded in Microsoft's digital format. The player will be significantly larger than the iPod in order to accomodate a video screen.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link


E-Vote Snafu in California County

Imagine this happening in Palm Beach County, Florida, in November of 2000. Without an audit trail, it's literally impossible to do a recount.

Election officials say more than 6,000 votes cast during the state's March 2 primary were missed by an electronic voting machine in Napa County. By Kim Zetter.

(link) [Wired News]

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Nokia Edges Toward Phone Blogging

I probably wouldn't have looked at this product before last week - getting online from the road can sometimes be a royal pain in the ass. None of the hotels I stayed at had Internet access (one didn't even have a dataport on the phone), and, because the blog is set up to be pretty secure, I don't allow editing/posting from any old browser. Something like this might have eased my "lack of blogging jitters" during a very stressful trip.

Nokia unveils Lifeblog, software designed to integrate and organize words, audio, pictures and even video from your mobile phone. Uploading your life to a weblog may be the next step. By Lore Sjöberg.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link


Evolution's meaty twist

This should make our vegetarian friends happy ...

When our human ancestors started eating meat, evolution served up a healthy bonus – the development of genes that offset high cholesterol and chronic diseases associated with a meat-rich diet, according to a new USC study. Those ancestors also started living longer than ever before – an unexpected evolutionary twist.

(link) [Science Blog]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link


Was the Pythia Sniffing Gas?

From rogueclassicism comes this link to an article in Labyrinth, proposing a solution to the question of exactly what went on at the Oracle of Delphi. Here's the teaser:

The oracle of Apollo at Delphi was the most famous and reliable place of prophecy in the ancient world. Seated on a tripod in the god's temple, the priestess or Pythia uttered her predictions in a sort of inspired trance. Where did this inspiration come from? Ancient writers agree that there was a chasm under the temple that emitted intoxicating vapours. Diodorus of Sicily records that the site was first discovered by a goatherd, who noticed his animals jumping and shrieking when they looked into this opening in the ground. Upon investigating, the goatherd also began to leap about and to predict the future, and the people of Delphi built a temple to the god of prophecy on the spot. According to Strabo, the Pythia sits directly above the hole and is possessed by a gas that rises from it. Plutarch adds that the gas has a sweet odour which is sometimes strong enough to be smelled by people in the waiting room outside the adyton, the Pythia's holy chamber.

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