Court throws out FCC penalties for cursing, nudity

Family Guy FCC by paperfetish 450x337 Court throws out FCC penalties for cursing, nudity

“His chin looks like balls, you want me to cover that, too?” (img by paperfetish)

tl;dr you can say shit on TV now.

@Mercury News:

 Broadcasters anticipating a major constitutional ruling on the government’s authority to regulate what can be shown and said on the airwaves instead won only the smallest of Supreme Court victories Thursday.

The justices unanimously threw out fines and other penalties against Fox and ABC television stations that violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on television airwaves.

Forgoing a broader constitutional ruling, however, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs on Fox stations and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC’s “NYPD Blue” could give rise to penalties. ABC and 45 affiliates had been hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million.

Broadcasters had argued that the revolution in technology that has brought the Internet, satellite television and cable has made the rules themselves obsolete. The regulations apply only to broadcast channels. (more…)

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11 extinct (or going) sounds

28154811 73313310ed b 450x594 11 extinct (or going) sounds

Aw, why’d you trash that? You could gut it and install a computer in there more powerful than all of Bletchley Park (bonus if you make the rotary the numpad). (img by inoneear)

Who knew that some noises could eventually become as extinct as the passenger pigeon? Depending on your age, you or your kids or grandchildren may have only heard some of the following sounds in old movies, if at all.

One of the sounds that is on the chopping block is the coffee percolator. As someone who actually enjoys the beverage and is willing to source quality brew in and out of the home that’s sort of a good riddance.

Of course, some of the diminishing tech here is probably a sign of hard things to come. My mom typed 110 words per minute on a manual typewriter. Gave her Hulk hands like you wouldn’t believe. One time she slapped a dog in half.

Hear ‘em all: 11 Sounds That Your Kids Have Probably Never Heard.

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Texting and walking hazardous to your wallet

3786316231 d3ff557b61 450x337 Texting and walking hazardous to your wallet

No, this is totally safe. (img by David Sugden)

We’ve been over the texting thing. Texting and walkingoff a pier, texting and flying… it’s all bad because you can’t divide your attention very well.

“Sure I can,” you say. The news says you, and pretty much everyone else, can’t.

Ft. Lee, NJ agrees. And is fining “dangerous walkers” with jaywalking tickets. I think it’s a great idea, but the most ridiculous thing is how many tickets they’ve given out: 117 so far after a 1 month grace period in which they handed out pamphlets instead.

Get your head out of your phone and look around… not just because you won’t get fined or get creamed by a bread truck, but because you’re missing out on things that happen in the real world – simple things like beautiful people walking by or animals doing cute things or scenery or interaction with the humans who are actually around you.

Belgium agrees:

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NYCLU Releases ‘Stop and Frisk Watch’ Phone App to Fight Back Against NYPD Stops

@NYCLU:

The New York Civil Liberties Union today unveiled “Stop and Frisk Watch” – a free and innovative smart phone application that will empower New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.

“Stop and Frisk Watch is about empowering individuals and community groups to confront abusive, discriminatory policing,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “The NYPD’s own data shows that the overwhelming majority of people subjected to stop-and-frisk are black or Latino, and innocent of any wrongdoing. At a time when the Bloomberg administration vigorously defends the status quo, our app will allow people to go beyond the data to document how each unjustified stop further corrodes trust between communities and law enforcement.” (more…)

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Deaths per gigawatt year

Deaths per gigawatt year Deaths per gigawatt year

Hydroelectricity is the best of all according to the EU study, but comes out worst in the PSI study, because the latter surveyed a different set of countries.

When quantifying the public risks of different power sources, we need a new unit. I’ll go with “deaths per GWy (gigawatt-year).” Let me try to convey what it would mean if a power source had a death rate of 1 death per GWy.

One gigawatt-year is the energy produced by a 1 GW power station, if it operates flat-out for one year. Britain’s electricity consumption is roughly 45 GW, or, if you like, 45 gigawatt-years per year. So if we got our electricity from sources with a death rate of 1 death per GWy, that would mean the British electricity supply system was killing 45 people per year.

For comparison, 3000 people die per year on Britain’s roads. So, if you are not campaigning for the abolition of roads, you may deduce that “1 death per GWy” is a death rate that, while sad, you might be content to live with. Obviously, 0.1 deaths per GWy would be preferable, but it takes only a moment’s reflection to realize that, sadly, fossil-fuel energy production must have a cost greater than 0.1 deaths per GWy–just think of disasters on oil rigs; helicopters lost at sea; pipeline fires; refinery explosions; and coal mine accidents: there are tens of fossil-chain fatalities per year in Britain.

Nuclear power has the lowest rate of fatalities of all power sources. Not that surprised, really.

I’ve just started in on this, I don’t know if it’s any good, I haven’t picked up on its bias so far yet, and the website design is horrible, but it comes pretty highly-recommended: Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air by David MacKay ($free).

Plus MacKay invented the death-per-gigawatt-year unit, and anyone who does stuff like that automatically wins points with me.

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The RIAA claims LimeWire owes them more money than in all existence

Not Sure If Art Or Copyright Infringement The RIAA claims LimeWire owes them more money than in all existence

Think about this the next time you steal a single or literally nuke Western Europe (img by ROFL Photo)

It’s hard to put a price on the damages of online piracy. There’s a lot of reasons for this. Many pirates are not customers, period. They would never pay for the content they copy, and as such can not account for loss. The greatest pirates in the world are simply digital librarians, who pirate content for idealistic purposes.

And let us not forget that piracy has marketable benefits. Pirates generate buzz and demand for content, they are a kind of free advertising.

In fact, many people are arguing that piracy isn’t a serious issue at all, and point to the rapid growth of independent content creators as a strong indication that major content producers are failing because of other, non-piracy-related issues.

That being said, the RIAA wants LimeWire to pay them money they would have gotten a cut of if not for those piratey kids. The money they say they’re owed: greater than all the money. Everywhere. In all the countries put together.

The music industry wants LimeWire to pay up to $75 trillion in damages after losing a copyright infringement claim. That’s right… $75 trillion. Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood has labeled this request “absurd.”

To put that number into perspective, the U.S. GDP is around 14 trillion–less than one fifth of what the music industry is requesting. Heck, the GDP of the entire world is between 59 and 62 trillion. That’s right, the music industry wants LimeWire to pay more money than exists in the entire world.

So think about that the next time you download some pirated content because the officially-supported website’s player uses some proprietary bullshit that skips entire sections and only works in one browser and doesn’t work at all on your Mac or other non-Microsoft computer because of the encrypted streaming that you had to download that God-awful app to watch it that starts up automatically every time you turn on your computer and no-shit ties up 12 percent of your memory just sitting there running in the background doing nothing.

Because if you do that, then you are seriously harming the music industry, to a tune where you could literally nuke Western Europe and still leave the global economy in better shape than before you committed that terrible atrocity.

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