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Name Marco Von Ballmoos
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Home page http://earthli.com/users/marco
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The (only) developer at earthli.com.

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1763 Articles
88 Comments

#1 − Check Out “Chained Melodies” on Salon

marco

Salon.com has Chained Melodies, a four page article discussing copy-protection in the age of the Internet, the SSSCA and has interviews with Lawrence Lessig and Edward Felten.

“As a result, if the content companies continue to have their way, the once-freewheeling Net will be reduced to a glorified form of top-down broadcasting: “a digital multiplex and shopping mall,” in Litman’s words; “cable television on speed,” as Lawrence Lessig phrased it in “The Future of Ideas.””

It even offers a look at how the copy-protection is likely to be enforced:

“…everything will likely be encrypted. “For example, instead of sending analog signals to your speakers, you send an encrypted stream of digital data, and the decryption is done in a sealed module built right into the speaker,” he says. “Video is done the same way: Encryption is done in a sealed module built right into the monitor, so you can’t bypass the encryption by tapping into the monitor cables. Disk drive encryption is built into the drive itself, etc., etc.””

So, let me get this straight. I’m going to spend more on hardware to be smart enough to read digital content so that I can use the content I buy in fewer ways? Sounds wonderful. Regardless of the protection enabled here, it should always be possible to circumvent it. However, with the SSSCA and its precursor, the DMCA:

“… it’s the criminalization of the act of copying, and even worse, of the act of discussing copying, that critics find most alarming. Is it really in the public interest to continually increase the level of corporate ownership of ideas and expression? Who should Congress serve?”
(Attached to Article SSSCA Creeps Onward in Technology)

#1

marco

Some of this guy’s comments were a little uncalled for:

<q>Herb Brooks: Amazing to report, the old disciplinarian got a little lax here. Won it all with much lesser players the last time around. … Figure skating coaches: Judging from the evidence at the women’s competition, apparently you need them.</q>

You had to know that there would be those that would love to see Kwan fail precisely because she didn’t have a coach. I mean, who does she think she is? Does she think she’s so good she doesn’t need a coach? Yeah, she does and yeah, she is. But there’s always that subconscious need to make it look like she’s great because she has help. The individual, intelligent acheiver is never popular. Her bronze medal is a vindication for many, I bet. But not in a good way.

(Attached to Article A Toast to a Host With the Most in Sports)

#2

marco

Same problem for this album again (bad link, no extension). I’m just getting old, I guess.

#2

marco

Yeah, sorry about that. I just wrote them wrong (forget the file extension).

(Attached to Article Switzerland 2001 Album Opens in earthli.com)

#1

marco

Yay! I got past level 4. Then, the bonus round that comes after that launches about 30 kids at you. I didn’t get very far.

(Attached to Article Snowball fight in Fun)

#1

marco

CNN reports that Audio problems delay release of bin Laden tape.

*Hushed, Stunned Silence*

<q>Four nongovernmental translators worked on the tape Wednesday to try to provide a “thorough” and “accurate” translation despite the tape’s poor audio quality and instances of more than one person speaking at once, officials said. … U.S. officials said bin Laden’s actions in the tape make it clear he had advance knowledge of the planning and details of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.</q>

So let me get this straight. It’s in Arabic. There are a lot of other people talking. The audio is of “poor” quality. It even cuts out from time to time. It’s only being translated now. And our fearless leader, George Bush, has said that the tape is good enough proof for him?

I always thought that he didn’t speak English well. Now I realize it’s because it’s, at best, his second language, with fluent Arabic coming in first.

(Attached to Article Arabic is <em>hard in Public Policy & Politics)

#1

marco (updated by marco)

CNN has a decent article as well at Critics of new terror measures undermine effort. To Ashcroft’s rhetoric:

<q>To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. … They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.</q>

Senator Leahy responds:

<q>The need for congressional oversight is not — as some mistakenly describe it — to protect terrorists, … It is to protect Americans and protect our American freedoms that you and everyone in this room cherish so much. And every single American has a stake in protecting our freedoms.</q>

(Attached to Article King Ashcroft? in Public Policy & Politics)

#2

marco

Digging through my email, I found a Flash desktop/operating system metaphor for navigating EgoMedia’s site.

(Attached to Article Flash Toys in Fun)

#1

marco

Another Flash toy I just found from a long time ago is a Martial Arts Movie with excellent stick-figure animation.

(Attached to Article Flash Toys in Fun)

#1

marco

In case you think you’re paranoid, the folks at What Really Happened have got most people beat with the article IF I WERE THE GOVERNMENT…..

<q>It’s been three years since Congress discussed removing the government of Afghanistan to make way for an oil pipeline, five months since the US Government told India there would be an invasion of Afghanistan in October, four months since BBC heard about the planned invasion of Afghanistan, nine months since Jane’s Defense got word of the planned invasion of Afghanistan, and of course, only two months since the attacks on the World Trade Towers that got the American people angered into support of the war that everybody on the planet BUT Americans had been told was on the way.</q>

Make sure to note the dates on many of the linked articles. Seems the invasion of Afghanistan comes as a surprise only to us.

(Attached to Article King George in Public Policy & Politics)

#1

marco

The following day, the Newsday published Bush Proposes Secrecy

<q> President George W. Bush is expected to sign the order shortly. A White House aide said that the Supreme Court held in 1977 that former presidents can continue to assert privileges for their records and that the order will simply establish “a procedure by which they can protect their rights.” The aide said “great deference” will be paid to their wishes. … “The majority of former presidents have released virtually all of their records,” the aide added. “This executive order does nothing to change that.”</q>

(Attached to Article Spin and Secrets in Public Policy & Politics)

#1

marco

A better debunking page can now be found at Urban Legends in this full article.

#2

marco

Counterpunch has an article (The Left and The Just War) detailing the reactions of the Left that Chomsky briefly touched on in his latest speech.

<q>The left is getting itself tied up in knots about the Just War and the propriety of bombing Afghanistan. I suspect some are intimidated by laptop bombardiers and kindred bullyboys handing out white feathers and snarling about “collaborators” and being “soft on fascism.” A recent issue of The Nation carried earnest efforts by Richard Falk and an editorial writer to mark out “the relevant frameworks of moral, legal and religious restraint” to be applied to the lethal business of attacking Afghans. I felt sorry for Falk as he clambered through his moral obstacle course. This business of trying to define a just war against Afghanistan is what C. Wright Mills used to call crackpot realism.</q>

#1

marco

Update: An Algebra of Infinite Justice by Arundhati Roy at Common Dreams is almost a month old. It’s somewhat frightening to note how predictable the U.S. response has been.

<q>So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilization and savagery, between the “massacre of innocent people” or, if you like, “a clash of civilizations” and “collateral damage”. The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice. How many dead Iraqis will it take to make the world a better place? How many dead Afghans for every dead American? How many dead women and children for every dead man? How many dead mojahedin for each dead investment banker? As we watch mesmerized, Operation Enduring Freedom unfolds on TV monitors across the world. A coalition of the world’s superpowers is closing in on Afghanistan, one of the poorest, most ravaged, war-torn countries in the world …</q>

<q>The US government, and no doubt governments all over the world, will use the climate of war as an excuse to curtail civil liberties, deny free speech, lay off workers, harass ethnic and religious minorities, cut back on public spending and divert huge amounts of money to the defense industry. …</q>

<q>Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to at least acknowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings who, even if they are not on TV, have loves and griefs and stories and songs and sorrows and, for heaven’s sake, rights. Instead, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US defense secretary, was asked what he would call a victory in America’s new war, he said that if he could convince the world that Americans must be allowed to continue with their way of life, he would consider it a victory.</q>

#1

marco

If the U.S./Saudi Arabia and U.S./Iran histories were interesting, finish up with a history of U.S./Istrael relations on the Christian Science Monitor.

#2

marco (updated by marco)

Curious about the civilian death toll so far? (we know Powell isn’t.) Go to AlterNet and read Where the Bodies Are.

#3

marco (updated by marco)

UPDATE: Speaking of approving the war, here’s a great cartoon from MNFTIU (My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable). (Spoiler: it isn’t really pro-war.)

#2

marco

UPDATE: Here’s a conceptual map of the world from an American viewpoint sent to me that might help explain that 90% approval rating for war.

#1

marco

UPDATE: Aaron McGruder, writer of the comic strip the Boondocks, has been under attack for some of the views expressed in his strip in the last few weeks. He’s even been censored in a lot of newspapers because he’s not “standing behind a unified country.” His latest strips are a pretty thinly veiled attempt to do just that (Wednesday and Thursday).
 

#2

marco (updated by marco)

I believe you did miss something. Here’s a report from the Newsday mentioning the question specifically about the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty):

<q>…Bush said the attacks made him all the more in favor of building an anti-missile shield opposed by Moscow. When he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin later this month, Bush said he would raise the possibility of a hostile nation developing deadly missiles that can reach either country. … “Wouldn’t it be in our nation’s advantage to be able to shoot it down?”…</q>

So you see, this is being seen as an opportunity to guilt the rest of the world into letting us out of the ABM and (somehow) substantiates the MDS. Go to CNN for a full transcript of the press conference.

(Attached to Article Missiles Away in Public Policy & Politics)

#1

marco

The “It’s worth the price” Madeleine Albright quote was mentioned to me the other day, and I found a good list of quotes attributed to her at an AOL member page, of all places. The search for that page turned up this other one on the NY Press site by Alexander Cockburn.

<q>‘We have heard that half a million children have died,’ [Lesley] Stahl said. ‘I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And you know, is the price worth it?’ … ‘I think this is a very hard choice,’ Albright answered, ‘but the price–we think the price is worth it.’ They read that exchange in the Middle East. It was infamous all over the Arab world. I’ll bet the Sept. 11 kamikazes knew it well enough, just as they could tell you the crimes wrought against the Palestinians. So would it be unfair today to take Madeleine Albright down to the ruins of the Trade Towers, remind her of that exchange and point out that the price turned out to include that awful mortuary as well? Was that price worth it too, Mrs. Albright?</q>

#1

marco

I found the lyrics to the song if you don’t feel like downloading it.

(Attached to Article War Satire in Miscellaneous)

#1

marco

Dave Stein of Jackson Heights responds in the Newsday in a letter to the editor (We’re Right…Right?):

<q>We can all thank Mayor Giuliani for stating the case for civilization in its most elemental terms: “We’re right and they’re wrong. It’s as simple as that.” The mayor has a well-documented penchant for concealing information, however, so I think it’s important to fill in some details. Presumably, the greatest exemplars of civilization are the “first world” industrial powers, so we can look to their foreign policies with confidence that they will instruct us in our highest values. Here’s what we learn:</q>

<q>We are right to consume the world’s resources in vast disproportion to our population. We are right to reject international treaties or ogranizations any time they displease us.</q>

<q>We are right to force other governments to harm their own people as a condition of economic assistance. We are right to arm, bankroll and support authoritarian governments or fanatical guerrillas for temporary advantage, regardless of their motivations or the probable long-term consequences.</q>

<q>We are right to bomb civilians and destroy the supply lines and infrastructures that allow them to live, while leaving their governments intact. We are right to pursue vendettas against other governments by killing their people.</q>

<q>We are right to refuse to examine our conduct in the world, insisting that we can do no wrong.</q>

<q>The list can be improved, but the point remains. When we defend civilization, we ought to know what we’re defending.</q>

#1

marco (updated by marco)

Speaking of security, where were the FBI and CIA? Sure, once this disaster occurred, they pop their heads out and demand that we didn’t give them enough money and/or leeway to do their jobs. We’ve given them trillions of dollars over the last few decades and they had <em>no idea anything was going to happen. From the Newsday, a letter (Sleeping Securely) puts it well:

<q>The campaign to get all of us to rally round the flag has prevented the public from asking questions about our internal “security” system. In the past 50 years, trillions of dollars have been put into the military, the FBI, CIA, etc., supposedly to protect our population from attack. Were all these agencies asleep on Sept. 11? They must be held responsible; they have not done their job. Now we are being told that if we just give them more big bucks, and let them shred what’s left of the Bill of Rights, then they can protect us.</q>

<q>Instead of investigating why we have not been protected by these agencies, Congress is planning to inflict horrendous damage to our civil liberties. Wasn’t this country founded by dissenters? Isn’t free speech one of those rights that our country stands for?</q>

<q>We must stop allowing the media to scare us and make us sheep. Our congressional representatives must hear that we are not willing to give up our rights. They must also hear our demands for an investigation into how many of our “protectors” were asleep at switch.</q>

#3

marco

For those that doubt the ranting of Michael Moore (I know I did), here’s some corroboration of the money donated to the Taliban in Afghanistan in May (quoted at $43 million this time).

#2

marco

This article concurs that it would be bad idea to go to ‘war’. It simply risks adding more people to the already swelling ranks of people who will lay down their lives to attack the U.S.

#1

marco

A late entry from Nico is an article by John Pilger of the The Herald. He’s been reporting on terrorism for years and been critical of the U.S.‘s foreign policy towards the Middle East, in particular. Since this article is impossible to find on the web, and the Herald search engine is less than useful, I’ve mirrored it here</php>.

#2

marco

This article at Slashdot discusses how what you an do to keep the government from seizing our civil rights in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’.