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Topics - Telarus

#1
https://boingboing.net/2016/05/28/untangling-the-web-the-nsas.html

Seems to be one guy at the NSA's view of Chapel Perilous. The scanned intro makes me wonder if this wing of the Chapel had any influence.  :fnord:

QuoteNow, at 650 pages, there's far too much to go into in depth here, but fortunately, as you can see from the table of contents...

you don't have to go very far before this takes a hard turn into "Dungeons and Dragons campaign/Classics major's undergraduate thesis" territory. The preface employs a comical number of metaphors to describe what the internet is and isn't - sometimes two a paragraph. But don't take our word for it! According to the NSA, the internet is ...

A Persian's personal library:

Sisyphus' boulder ...

A Freudian psycho-sexual pleasure palace ...

A Borgesian world-consuming knowledge-cancer ...

A labyrinth (with bonus Mino-Troll):

Two quick asides - one, in case your memory needed jogging as to what a clew was, the footnote helpfully provides that information ...

and two, before you cry foul that the beast in the center of the labyrinth is clearly a centaur, Ovid technically just describes the Minotaur as "half-man and half-bull" without specifying which half is which, so that interpretation is valid, if a bit needlessly obscure. But while we're on the subject of pedantic footnotes ...

A shape-changing sea-god:

And finally, jumping ahead 600 pages, an endless frontier/a cemetery of dead ideas/a reminder of your aunt's 15-minutes of fame:

Yeah, still around.... sometimes.
:omg:
#2
Aneristic Illusions / Boyd Bushman | Deathbed Disclosure
November 01, 2014, 03:08:20 PM
Boyd Bushman: 28+ patents while working for Lockheed-Martin, Hughes Aircraft, General Dynamics, and Texas Instruments. Here's a small selection of the actual tech he has designed. (SCIENCE!)
http://patent.ipexl.com/inventor/boyd_b_bushman_1.html
Quote15Boyd B Bushman: Heat radiation detection system. Lockheed Corporation June 27, 1995: US05428221 (4 worldwide citation)
A detection system will detect and identify self-propelled objects, such as missiles, which create a hot exhaust plume. The exhaust plume has radiation which modulates with a frequency range of interest. This frequency range can be detected with various detectors, such as an infrared detector, an ul ...

16Boyd B Bushman: Object detector. Lockheed Martin Corporation August 6, 1996: US05543917 (4 worldwide citation)
A method for detecting objects while eliminating unwanted background utilizes polarizing contrasts. A lens systems focuses light from the field of view through a beam splitter. One beam passes to a digitizer through a polarizer which polarizes the beam at one angle. The other beam is reflected to an ...

17Boyd B Bushman: Airfoil leading edge with cavity. Lockheed Martin Corporation November 17, 1998: US05836549 (4 worldwide citation)
A jet airplane capable of supersonic flight has airfoils with leading edges. Each leading edge has a cavity which extends for substantially the entire length of the airfoil. The leading edge also has a cover which is approximately the same size as the cavity. The cover has an open position and a clo ...


Ok, now we have context. So, just before he died, Boyed filmed this. I will leave it to you all to start the conversation on this video's claims.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPfuZUEbhfc
#4
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/july/voices-culture-luhrmann-071614.html

QuoteStanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.
...
"Our hunch is that the way people think about thinking changes the way they pay attention to the unusual experiences associated with sleep and awareness, and that as a result, people will have different spiritual experiences, as well as different patterns of psychiatric experience," she said, noting a plan to conduct a larger, systematic comparison of spiritual, psychiatric and thought process experiences in five countries.
#6
"And it is hilariously, frighteningly out of touch."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/06/17/the-fbi-maintains-an-83-page-glossary-of-internet-slang-and-it-is-hilariously-frighteningly-out-of-touch/

QuoteAn 83-page glossary. Containing nearly 3,000 terms.

The glossary was recently made public through a Freedom of Information request by the group MuckRock, which posted the PDF, called "Twitter shorthand," online. Despite its name, this isn't just Twitter slang: As the FBI's Intelligence Research Support Unit explains in the introduction, it's a primer on shorthand used across the Internet, including in "instant messages, Facebook and Myspace." As if that Myspace reference wasn't proof enough that the FBI's a tad out of touch, the IRSU then promises the list will prove useful both professionally and "for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren." (Your tax dollars at work!)

All of these minor gaffes could be forgiven, however, if the glossary itself was actually good. Obviously, FBI operatives and researchers need to understand Internet slang — the Internet is, increasingly, where crime goes down these days. But then we get things like ALOTBSOL ("always look on the bright side of life") and AMOG ("alpha male of group") ... within the first 10 entries.

...

Among the other head-scratching terms the FBI considers can't-miss Internet slang:

AYFKMWTS ("are you f—— kidding me with this s—?") — 990 tweets
BFFLTDDUP ("best friends for life until death do us part) — 414 tweets
BOGSAT ("bunch of guys sitting around talking") — 144 tweets
BTDTGTTSAWIO ("been there, done that, got the T-shirt and wore it out") — 47 tweets
BTWITIAILWY ("by the way, I think I am in love with you") — 535 tweets
DILLIGAD ("does it look like I give a damn?") — 289 tweets
DITYID ("did I tell you I'm depressed?") — 69 tweets
E2EG ("ear-to-ear grin") — 125 tweets
GIWIST ("gee, I wish I said that") — 56 tweets
HCDAJFU ("he could do a job for us") — 25 tweets
IAWTCSM ("I agree with this comment so much") — 20 tweets
IITYWIMWYBMAD ("if I tell you what it means will you buy me a drink?") — 250 tweets
LLTA ("lots and lots of thunderous applause") — 855 tweets
NIFOC ("naked in front of computer") — 1,065 tweets, most of them referring to acronym guides like this one.
PMYMHMMFSWGAD ("pardon me, you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a damn") — 128 tweets
SOMSW ("someone over my shoulder watching) — 170 tweets
WAPCE ("women are pure concentrated evil") — 233 tweets, few relating to women
YKWRGMG ("you know what really grinds my gears?") — 1,204 tweets
In all fairness to the FBI, they do get some things right: "crunk" is helpfully defined as "crazy and drunk," FF is "a recommendation to follow someone referenced in the tweet," and a whole range of online patois is translated to its proper English equivalent: hafta is "have to," ima is "I'm going to," kewt is "cute."

One would hope the people tasked with investigating federal crimes could decipher that kind of thing through context clues ... but the Internet is a vast, dizzying place! And both the law and law enforcement, as many, many recent cases have attested, lag painfully behind technology and technology culture — to the detriment of people in those spaces who need help.

So while I might wanna (want to) LMSO (laugh my socks off) over this glossary, it's actually kind of serious, when you TOTT (think on these things).


:lulz: :horrormirth: :lulz:
#7
Aneristic Illusions / Credit Suisse & The List
May 29, 2014, 02:21:43 AM
http://other98.com/credit-suisse-ceo-brady-dougan-release-the-names-of-your-tax-dodgers/

:lulz: Lol, releasing those names is a matter of Swiss National Security. We're never going to see that whole list. Seriously, think about the inverse situation, the US would cry "National Security" in a millisecond. Good meme for collecting folks name, email, and zip, tho.
#9
(Great start, Cain. Thanks for the idea.)

Note in the below that the concept of killing all the cell phone in a region at once is never mentioned. Also, most cell IP holders are incorporated in California, and if this is the spec required by law, its the spec in all phones everywhere. The push for this, then is probably from out-of-state interests.


http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/State-Senate-passes-cell-phone-kill-switch-5464302.php

QuoteSacramento --

California moved one step closer to requiring all smartphones sold in the state to come pre-equipped with antitheft technology in hopes of curbing street robberies that target the pricey devices.

The state Senate approved a bill Thursday that requires kill switches to be activated on smartphones, a mandate that the wireless industry said is unnecessary, although major cell phone manufacturers Apple and Microsoft removed their opposition this week.

The bill's author, San Francisco Democratic Sen. Mark Leno, said he's pleased the bill passed, particularly because it failed its first vote in the Senate last month after several Democrats voted against it. The bill needed 21 votes to pass and garnered 19 ayes on April 24 when it was first heard in the Senate.

On Thursday, the bill was sent to the Assembly after a 26-8 vote.

"This is about making our communities safe," Leno said. "A crime that didn't exist several years ago is rampant in our neighborhoods. Those caught and convicted refer to it as apple picking, because it's such low fruit and it's so easy to do, and we want to make sure that convenience is taken away."

Leno said SB962 would deter cell phone thefts by allowing owners to remotely render their device inoperable if it is lost or stolen, which limits the resale value of a phone.

Many law enforcement agencies and organizations backed the bill, including the California District Attorneys Association, California Police Chiefs Association and BART police.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, one of the leaders pushing for the kill switch, welcomed the vote as a major step forward in a "very hard-fought battle."

3 million robberies
He said that within about three years of implementation, the shutoff feature should make a substantial dent into the problem of smartphone robberies, which hit 3 million people in the U.S. last year.

He said preliminary figures for last year show that smartphones and other mobile devices accounted for 67 percent of San Francisco's robberies.

"We're talking about an epidemic," he said, which had been fueled by an industry that has profited by victimization to the tune of $38 billion or more annually based on replacement of lost or stolen phones.

Oakland leaders called Leno's bill an innovative strategy to reduce robberies and burglaries. According to police data, 84 percent of armed robberies in Oakland so far this year have involved a cell phone.

Oakland Councilman Dan Kalb, who has pushed for the bill in Sacramento and was the victim of an armed robbery, said that nothing short of a mandatory kill switch would make a difference.

A legal mandate
"Voluntary efforts are all nice, fine and dandy, but they don't deter anything," Kalb said, referring to the wireless industry's plan for opt-in antitheft technology, versus the requirements in Leno's bill that would put the onus on the user to opt out.

Sean Whent, Oakland's interim police chief, said a kill switch would make cell phones much less attractive to thieves.

"One of the things robbers frequently ask is: 'Where is your cell phone? Give me your cell phone.' That seems to be the driving force," Whent said.

The wireless industry association, CTIA, said consumers should determine whether they want to have the antitheft technology on their phones.

CTIA announced last month that the wireless industry would offer optional, reversible kill switches starting next year as a way to deter thieves, a move some saw as a way to thwart Leno's legislation. CTIA said its national antitheft approach is better than inconsistent patchwork solutions by individual states.

Industry is opposed
"Given the breadth of action the industry has voluntarily taken, it was unnecessary for the California Senate to approve SB962, which would mandate a specific form of antitheft functionality," said Jamie Hastings, CTIA vice president of external and state affairs. "State-by-state technology mandates stifle innovation to the ultimate detriment to the consumer."
#10
Aneristic Illusions / The CIA What Now?
March 17, 2014, 09:37:32 PM
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-cia-workplace-20140317,0,2858175.story#axzz2wDlQlqBO

CIA suspends chief of Iran operations over workplace issues
Veteran officer Jonathan Bank is placed on leave amid a rebellion against his management style, current and former officials say.
#11
High Weirdness / A UFO/Drone connection?
March 02, 2014, 06:20:32 PM
Many UFO witnesses describe a pattern of lights in the sky that appears to be in the outline of a craft. This "craft" then does things no human-based tech can do, like changing velocity and thrust vectors at such speeds as appearing to pull off 90 degree turns to then go straight up or down (out of or into the gravity well), etc.

These assumptions are based on the idea that this sighted phenomena is a single mass ("a ship") traveling through the atmosphere.

After watching this flock of Drones cruise over some agricultural fields in Hungary, I'm starting to have other ideas... ;)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/26/283090909/robot-swarm-a-flock-of-drones-that-fly-autonomously

#12
RAW wrote about "Fairy Lights" / "UFOs" near Earthquake Faults in a few of his books. Well, there some very interesting new science news around that...

http://thespacereporter.com/2014/01/scientists-solve-mystery-of-ufo-lights-that-appear-just-before-an-earthquake/
#13
Propaganda Depository / Discordian Adventure Game
January 03, 2014, 06:16:48 PM
http://futureproofgames.com/games/ossuary/#demo

Found this today, it's a demo called "The Hodge Podge Transformer", which serves as the prequel to the full game, "Ossuary".

I just talked to a Cabbage. He said, "I am not a good cabbage. Oh, some people are Cabbages. Don't tell."

Interesting so far. Posting here so I can go back and explore more later.
#14
http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/juggalos-illuminati-facebook-war/

(Post now iterated backwards, because Illuminati and shit. No, srs. Also, I love the misspelling in the gothic font in one of the macros. I seriously had to read it 3 times to get it. -Tel)

"In the heady mix of editorial cartoons, Guy Fawkes masks, Anonymous memes, goth makeup, clip art, scantily clad babes, and occult symbols, it can be a little difficult to tease out exactly how or why the Illuminati are supposed to be destroying America. One thing's for sure, though: They're not going to wait around while you figure it out. So grab your weed and assault rifle and join the resistance! It's only a matter of time until some senator tries to outlaw Faygo.

















The Facebook page for Juggalos Against Illuminati Leadership, or J.A.I.L., has drawn more than 600 followers, all "standing up to protect the rights of the people and raise awareness of the corruption within our government!!!!" It's meant to be a hub where people can plan protests and "family events" as well as just "raise awareness." To that end, they share pictorial grievances against gun control advocates, Barack Obama, police, war in the Middle East, the 1 Percent, the Federal Reserve, the Affordable Care Act, "sheeple," marijuana laws, and even Disney.

On paper, the Illuminati and the Juggalos have a lot in common. Both are tightly knit societies whose customs strike outsiders as creepy and cultish, and under no circumstances should either be trifled with. But there's only room for one new world order, and fans of the Insane Clown Posse have banded together to combat what they see as the influence of shadowy conspirators who occupy various seats of political power—mainly with crummy image macros."

https://www.facebook.com/pages/JAIL-Juggalos-Against-Illuminati-Leadership/173163362767311







................I know we have memes and content that would be great for this group. Eh?
#15
GASM Command / Random Idea
December 16, 2013, 06:03:57 PM
Encript some text using the Discordian Date it was written on (noted on the piece) as the encryption key. Possibly useful for hooking new Discordians.
#16
Aneristic Illusions / The Velocity of $ = D$ / T
December 11, 2013, 05:16:39 PM
The Velocity of $ = D$ / T

OR, stated in plain English, the velocity of money can be thought of as the distance it travels (relative to the spender) within a time period.

Money that is spent often (i.e, it is received, then spent quickly, and the new recipient also spends it quickly) has a very high velocity.

Money that is stuffed into a mattress has a very low velocity (near zero, it would seem).

I got the concept from this blog post: http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-ever-slowing-velocity-of-money.html

There are a few graph calculating our economy's velocity, but this one really stood out. Note how the current economic velocity is LOWER than it was during the Great Depression:

(This image was sourced from: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=9wK )

I'm still chewing on this myself, but thought I'd throw it up here.
#17
I've run into so much whack shit today, it's hard to tell where to start. Cain, if you're out there, I would seriously appreciate any comments you may have.


Hm, ok, I'll start here.... My roommate passed this along:

We all may have caught the 'Russia arrests Greenpeace activists' story. I haven't dug into that plot point too much, but it seems some Dutch citizens sailed into Russian waters and boarded an oil platform (state owned, I believe).They escaped into international waters, but were arrested by Russian "border guards" while still in Russias "area of economic interest". OK, just the Aftermath rolling along, right? The interesting stuff happens next.

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131008/184000274/Russias-Putin-Demands-Dutch-Apology-Over-Treatment-of-Diplomat.html

"MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – The stand-off between Russian and the Netherlands escalated Tuesday as Moscow angrily demanded a full account of how one its diplomats came to be arrested by the Dutch police over the weekend."

So, apparently, a group of armed men in camo fatigues grabs the Russian diplomat to the Netherlands, and takes him to a "jail" for quite a few hours. A DIPLOMAT, mind you, on apparently trumped up charges regarding his wife crashing a car or something, and child endagerment of his 2 and 4 year olds.

"The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands on Tuesday confirmed that Dmitry Borodin, deputy to the ambassador at the Russian embassy in the Netherlands, was detained over the weekend and said it would investigate whether the incident had violated any diplomatic rules. Lavrov said the incident was in violation of the Vienna Convention, under which diplomats are granted immunity."

Putin, of course, was PISSED: "Putin, who was attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali on Tuesday, said earlier in the day that the incident with Borodin was "a crude violation of the Vienna Convention," and demanded "clarifications, apologies and the punishment of those guilty."
Specific details about what led to the detention of Borodin, a senior diplomat previously posted in Belgium, Luxembourg and several African countries, remain murky.
Russian state television Rossiya-24 reported that local police forced their way into Borodin's apartment, assaulted him, and then held him at a police station for several hours without explanation.
"

This started some "black-ops bs" thoughts in my head, but then THIS happens:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2013/1016/Beaten-diplomats-and-bad-tulips-Russian-Dutch-ties-get-worse

"Onno Elderenbosch, deputy chief of the Dutch mission in Moscow, was attacked by two men posing as electricians after he admitted them to his apartment Tuesday evening, according to Russian media reports. The intruders roughed him up, tied him to a chair, stole nothing but scrawled the term "LGBT" [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] on his mirror in lipstick together with a Cupid's heart."

My roommate had dug into this side of it a bit (he used to work for Rand a while ago, habit). The Dutch diplomat to Russia was worked over from the neck down, nothing was stolen, and a "calling card" was left. That's a professional job, false flag lipstick non-withstanding.

So, were those really "environmental activists"? What the hell are these people up to. This is like the SAS strolling into the Argentina embassy and capping Assange in the face, then blaming it on Somali pirates.




Where do we turn next? I've been working killer overtime this week, breaking all the games. I really haven't even had time to _think_ about these stories yet. My time is often filled with four hour chunks of unplugging a wire, plugging it back in, and noting the results.

Oh, here's a one off: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/18/dick-cheney-altered-his-defibrilator-to-fight-terrorist-hackers/

*cackle* Ain't nobody hacking the cyborg VP.

But, the more pressing chaos bubbles over there: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-san-francisco-transit-strike-20131018,0,608333.story

And here, the NY Stock Exchange are now letting the 'big boys' practice before trading for really realness: http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=AP&date=20131018&id=17014169

IBM is starting to break the current computer hardware paradign, with their 'electronic blood system': http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24571219

Holyshit that's cool. The electrolyte solution carries power into and then carries heat out of the system. It's based on brain design.

There's an Eclipse tonight, for you non-down under folks (sorry spags): http://local.msn.com/lunar-eclipse-friday-where-to-see-it-2?ocid=ansloc11

Oshit, that's right now. BRB.
#18
Some interesting primate research:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017135206.htm

Marmoset Monkeys Know Polite Conversation
QuoteOct. 17, 2013 — Humans aren't the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking, according to evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 17.

"We were surprised by how reliably the marmoset monkeys exchanged their vocalizations in a cooperative manner, particularly since in most cases they were doing so with individuals that they were not pair-bonded with," says Asif Ghazanfar of Princeton University. "This makes what we found much more similar to human conversations and very different from the coordinated calling of animals such as birds, frogs, or crickets, which is linked to mating or territorial defense."

In other words, both people and marmosets appear to be willing to "talk" to just about anyone, and without any rude interruptions. The discovery makes marmosets rather unique, the researchers say, noting that chimps and other great apes "not only don't take turns when they vocalize, they don't seem to vocalize much at all, period!"

Ghazanfar and first author of the study Daniel Takahashi were especially interested in marmosets because of two features they hold in common with people: they are generally friendly with one another and they communicate primarily by producing vocal sounds. The scientists suspected that those features would support the self-monitored give and take that a good conversation requires.

To find out, they placed marmosets in opposite corners of a room in which they could hear but not see each other and recorded the exchanges that ensued. They found that marmosets don't call at the same time, but rather wait for about 5 seconds after one is finished calling to respond. In other words, they follow a set of unspoken rules of conversational etiquette.

Further study of the marmosets could help to explain not only why humans communicate with each other as they do but also why conversation can sometimes break down.

"We are currently exploring how very early life experiences in marmosets -- including those in the womb and through to parent-infant vocal interactions -- can illuminate what goes awry in human communication disorders," Ghazanfar says.
#20
http://www.dndclassics.com/product/17068/T1-4-Temple-of-Elemental-Evil-%281e%29?src=temple2013&it=1


I'm running this adventure path, but using the Earthdawn 3rd Ed rule set. I've posted some of the early  session stuff, and we've taken a break (mainly because my copy of ToEE is ratty as hell). Ding! perfect timing.
#21
My girlfriend just showed this to me, and nudged me to post it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbqiiY_Pam8

http://westboromingle.com/
#22
Aneristic Illusions / Oh those wacky DEA Agents
August 05, 2013, 08:00:13 PM
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/08/05/more-surveillance-abuse-exposed-special-dea-unit-is-spying-on-americans-and-covering-it-up/

QuoteAs Americans sort through their feelings regarding the disclosure of the massive collection of metadata by the National Security  Administration, we are now learning of what may be a far more insidious violation of our constitutional rights at the hands of a government agency.

Reuters is reporting that a secret U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration branch has been collecting information from "intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records" and disseminating the data to authorities across the nation to "help them launch criminal investigations of Americans."

In this case, the Americans who are being subjected to these investigations are suspected drug dealers.

The unit of the DEA that is conducting the surveillance is known as the Special Operations Division ("SOD") and is made up of a partnership of numerous government agencies including the NSA, CIA, FBI, IRS and the Department of Homeland Security.

While there are suggestions that elements of the program may be legal, there is obvious concern on the part of those running the program—a concern that has not prevented them from going ahead with the collecting and using of covertly gathered data—that the surveillance effort may not be entirely kosher. We know this to be true because, according to documents reviewed by Reuters, DEA agents are specifically instructed never to reveal nor discuss the existence and utilization of SOD provided data and to further "omit the SOD's involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use 'normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.'"

The last line of the directive is particularly disturbing.

By instructing agents to use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD", law enforcement is being instructed to flat out lie when disclosing how they came across the tips or other information provided by SOD leading to an arrest. These agents are directed to give substance to the lie by fabricating a false source or method utilized to gain information leading to an arrest.

[More]

See also:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805
http://gawker.com/the-dea-is-spying-on-us-and-showing-other-agencies-how-1028644034
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/08/did-the-dea-phony-up-criminal-investigations-of-americans--92311.html
http://reason.com/blog/2013/08/05/shocker-nsa-tools-for-spying-on-foreign
#24
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/30/justice/california-dea-settlement/index.html

Daniel Chong, forgotten in DEA cell, settles suit for $4.1 million
QuoteSan Diego (CNN) -- A University of California San Diego student left unmonitored in a holding cell for five days by the Drug Enforcement Administration has settled a lawsuit for $4.1 million, his attorney said Tuesday.

"This was a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions," said attorney Julia Yoo.

Daniel Chong, 25, drank his own urine to survive and even wrote a farewell note to his mother before authorities discovered him severely dehydrated after a 2012 drug raid in San Diego.

[MORE]
#28
This is not a comment on that horrible thread, but I felt that the issue brought up there could use some _serious_ clarification.

Last month, the US 2nd Circuit of Appeals decided Cariou v. Prince.

We have here an interesting case in which the sued party, Prince, at his deposition had disavowed any intention to "comment on Cariou, on Cariou's Photos, or on aspects of popular culture closely associated with Cariou or the Photos." I.E. 'Parody' was off the table.

Cariou had taken a lovely spread of black and white photos of old Rastafarians, and sold them as a book collection in 200 entitled Yes, Rasta. Prince, a highly successful appropriation artist, created a series of thirty canvases he titled Canal Zone. He printed the photos greatly enlarged and then used classic "Cut Up" techniques and abstract painting to visually remix them... to various degrees. He and a dealer sold a number of them for a total of - over $10 million.

Cariou sued and the lower court judge sided with him, declaring these works not falling under "fair use". In granting Cariou's summary judgment motion, the Judge ordered defendants to deliver up the unsold paintings for Cariou to dispose of as he wished, including impoundment or destruction.

Here are some examples, the first being a comparison of the Cariou vs Prince images.











The 2nd Circuit just reversed the lower court's ruling, and I'm going to quote from Lexology.com on what that means (because holyshit, legalese). The impact this case has had is not little. You can check out the buzz via my sources at the bottom.


------><---------

Appellate Decision

The Second Circuit reversed in part, vacated in part and remanded, holding that, contrary to the standard applied below, there is no requirement that the new work comment in some way on the earlier work or popular culture for it to be deemed transformative. The categories of fair use listed in 17 U.S.C. Section 107 are illustrative, not exhaustive, and although some types of fair use such as satire and parody do comment on an original work or some aspect of society, many other types of works which constitute fair use, do not. The essence of the inquiry, the Court stated, is whether the artist has created "new information, new aesthetics, new insights and understandings" (quoting Blanch v. Koons, 467 F.3d 244, 253 (2d Cir. 2006)), however that "new" material may be manifested in the new work.

The Court recognized that many alleged infringers take pains at deposition to justify their use as commenting on or critiquing the original work, but the fact that Prince declined to do so was not dispositive, because the test is whether a reasonable person would find the use transformative. The emphasis is therefore on the works themselves, mandating a side-by-side comparison of each of Prince's works with the Cariou photograph(s) that served as the source.

When viewed under the correct test, the majority of the panel found twenty-five of Prince's works to be transformative as a matter of law. Prince had testified that he had ignored the meaning of the originals and instead created what he called "a post-apocalyptic screenplay" on the "equality of the sexes," an aim clearly different from that which had motivated Cariou. In contrast to Cariou's "serene and deliberately posed portraits and landscape photographs," Cariou's works were "crude and jarring . . . hectic and provocative." Prince had taken Cariou's small format black and white photographs and created vastly larger works on canvas that incorporated color, collage and distortions. In the Court's view, these images "have a different character, give Cariou's photographs a new expression, and employ new aesthetics with creative and communicative results distinct from Cariou's."

The Court acknowledged that not every reworking may constitutes a fair use. "For instance, a derivative work that merely presents the same material but in a new form" would not be transformative (quoting Castle Rock Entm't, Inc. v. Carol Publ'g Grp., Inc., 150 F.3d 132, 143 (2d Cir. 1998)). The majority believed that a further factual record was necessary with respect to the remaining five of Prince's works (including the work called Graduation which had illustrated almost every article and news report on the dispute), and so remanded to the district court to determine whether they were fair use under the Court's formulation of the proper standard.

The Court gave little credence to Cariou's claims of market harm under the fourth fair use factor since the audience and price point for each artist's work were totally different; likewise, there was no indication that Cariou would prepare derivative works or license others to do so in Prince's market sphere. The proposed exhibition of Cariou's work, on which the lower court placed great emphasis, had been canceled because his potential dealer was under the impression that Cariou had collaborated with Prince on his exhibition, not because the market for Cariou's photographs had been usurped. Finally, the Court offered no guidance to the district court on the appropriate standard to apply on remand to the claims of vicarious and contributory infringement by Gagosian (the art dealer).

Consequences

The Second Circuit decision has been largely welcomed in the art world. Many believed that the district court holding—that a transformative use required explicit commentary—if upheld, might have crippled the whole field of appropriation art. The issue had already arisen in the wake of two decisions involving the artist Jeff Koons. In the first, Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir. 1992), Koons' fair use parody defense failed in part because he had been unable to articulate how his sculpture was intended to comment on his source, but in Blanch v. Koons, 467 F.3d 244 (2d Cir. 2006), his use of a magazine advertisement photograph in one of his collage paintings was held to be transformative in large part due to his carefully stated deposition testimony on how he intended to comment on the original. In light of these decisions, transformativeness appeared to pivot around a formulaic and, some would argue, cynical exposition of a "motive" to comment on the original work of art or popular culture. By totally refocusing transformative use on a broad suite of aesthetic considerations such as scale, medium, aesthetic impact, and artistic purpose, the Cariou decision better reflects the creative process and permits artists and their dealers to be more confident that significant reworking of visual sources will not give rise to copyright infringement.

Some commentators have expressed discomfort with the Second Circuit making determinations on the transformative nature of individual works of art based on the extent and character of the artistic reworking, and indeed Judge Wallace of the Ninth Circuit, sitting by designation on the panel, dissented as he was less inclined to discount Prince's own disavowals, and thought that the court on remand was better positioned to make the fair use determination on all of the works, applying the principles set forth in the decision to "such additional testimony as needed." It is not clear what additional testimony Judge Wallace has in mind, whether it be further testimony from Prince or even expert testimony on the application of a reasonable person standard. Commentators were quick to point out the risk that such a burden, going forward, might chill the very artistic creativity that the majority of the panel seeks to promote.


Sources
http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=61aabe60-fe65-4420-98b6-627da7c281bb
http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/237282/Copyright/Copyright+Fair+Use+And+Artistic+Works+Can+A+Work+Be+Transformed+Without+Being+Transformative
http://blog.photoeye.com/2012/08/tomorrow-remix-culture-appropriation.html
http://blog.photoeye.com/2013/05/prince-is-king-flux-and-focus-responses.html
#29
The news from Turkey would be major by itself......

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/world/europe/kurdish-rebel-group-to-withdraw-from-turkey.html
QuoteISTANBUL — The Kurdistan Workers' Party, the main Kurdish rebel group in Turkey, said Thursday that it would withdraw all of its forces from the country by May 8 as part of a peace agreement to end a 30-year conflict with the Turkish state.

Speaking at a rare news conference at the group's base in the Qandil mountains of neighboring Iraq, Murat Karayilan, the commander of the group, known as the P.K.K., called on the Turkish Army not to launch attacks during the rebels' gradual withdrawal into northern Iraq. Any such confrontation will end the P.K.K.'s cease-fire, he said.

Mr. Karayilan, in a statement read in Turkish and summarized in English, outlined the process by which the P.K.K. expected the government to meet its end of the bargain, by giving the Kurds further democratic rights under a new constitution and releasing Kurdish prisoners, including the P.K.K.'s highly influential primary founder, Abdullah Ocalan. However, he refused demands by the Turkish government that rebels disarm before leaving the country, and said his militants would carry weapons strictly for self-defense. He also suggested that foreign observers monitor the withdrawal for any misconduct on either side, reported NTV, a private TV network.

Senior Kurd says hard for rebels to disarm before leaving Turkey
Quote(Reuters) - A top Kurdish politician said on Monday it would be difficult for Kurdish fighters to disarm before leaving Turkey under a peace process, stressing that the key issue was that they depart peacefully without contact with the Turkish military.

...

"Prime Minister Erdogan says disarmament must occur but even he knows that is technically impossible. He says, 'Leave the weapons in a cave or bury them, do whatever you want,' but who will regulate this?," Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Berlin.

"So we shouldn't get too hung up on this issue, and it appears that the government won't turn this into a crisis."

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/04/23/Iraq-PM-temporarily-replaces-two-Kurd-ministers-.html
QuoteIraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has named temporary replacements for the country's foreign and trade ministers, both of whom are Kurds, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

Kurdish ministers have been boycotting cabinet meetings since early March over disagreements about the federal budget.

Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani is to temporarily replace Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, while Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari is to take charge from Trade Minister Khayrullah Hassan Babaker, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The autonomous Kurdistan region and the federal government in Baghdad are at odds over issues including a swathe of disputed territory in north Iraq, oil contracts the region has signed without Baghdad's approval, and power-sharing.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/04/23/world/kurdish-militia-decides-to-align-with-syria-rebels/#.UXoOarXvjTo
QuoteALEPPO, SYRIA – Wriggling through crater-size holes in deserted, bullet-pocked buildings, once-dormant Kurdish militia fighters in the city of Aleppo are providing Syrian rebels a much-needed boost to push back regime forces.

Since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime started more than two years ago, Syria's Kurds, who make up 15 percent of the population, have largely refrained from taking sides, keeping both regime and rebel forces out of their neighborhoods.

But in a momentous development that could potentially change the course of the civil war, the Kurds joined forces with Syrian rebels last month, helping them overrun the strategic Sheikh Maksud neighborhood on a hilltop north of Aleppo.

Sheikh Maksud is currently in the midst of some of the heaviest fighting since the uprising began, with incessant sniper fire and aerial bombardment in the wake of the newfound alliance forcing thousands of Kurdish residents to flee the district.
#30
High Weirdness / PETA: Zerglings Have Feelings Too
March 12, 2013, 07:46:57 AM
http://www.blisteredthumbs.net/2013/03/according-to-peta-zerglings-have-feelings-too/

QuoteSometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Much stranger. Much, much, MUCH stranger. Everyone's "favorite" animal rights group PETA has once again turned their burning, Eye of Sauron gaze towards the video game industry and as always the results are just short of sheer insanity.


:fnord: :argh!: :lulz:
#32
Humans develop an incredible ability to pattern match. So much so that it's built into our DNA. When we see another monkey reach for a fruit, crack a smile, or grow annoyed, our biology immediately 'primes' the exact same muscle groups used for the task seen by queing up signals in the motor cortex, etc (thanks, Gautama, for that piece of the "karma" puzzle). We can mimic expressions, facial or whole body, some of us to the point of "impersonation" (Jim Carry does who?).




Humanity also has the pretty amazing ability to project impressions of humans onto their environmental events (from stormclouds to wild animals), which we call 'anthropomorphication'. Aren't we just the clever monkeys, to have made up a term for that.






----===[This space intentionally left blank for illumination.]===----






This is not a coincidence.


This is a feedback-loop.

Increasing the number of elements that the muscle cortex and related brain areas can model, accelerating the system when the brakes are taken off.



I've got a few more of the damn twisty things intuited out(subconscious feedback loops, that is).. but this is the first one I've managed to pin words to following a bit of parsimony. Look how much negentropy it took to pull that off.  :p
#33
So check this out. Guys is Japan have created a quantum scale "engine" which converts heat to information and then back to energy. WTF you say? Yeah, I had to double-take as well. You kind of just have to read the article, but they've given you a cute little analogy-photo with a little Maxwell's Demon silhouette.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/420996/physicists-convert-information-into-energy/
QuoteHere's a fascinating piece of work. Build a tiny staircase and place a small polystyrene bead on the bottom step (a staircase is fairly straightforward to construct using electric fields).

It's easy to see the bead being jostled around by the random motion of molecules in the surrounding air, the well-known phenomenon of Brownian motion.

Most of the time, the Brownian motion tends to knock the bead down the stairs but sometimes the jostling is powerful enough to push the bead up a step.

Keep a close eye on the bead using a video camera and every time you see it go up a step, change the electric field so that it cannot drop back down again. This is like placing a barrier behind the bead.

As you repeat this process, the bead will move up the staircase, driven by Brownian motion.

This is exactly the experiment that Shoichi Toyabe at Chuo University in Tokyo and a few buddies have successfully carried out. The implication is that the bead is somehow able to extract energy from the environment, which at first sight, looks like a blatant violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics....


http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/08/01/2127225/entangled-particles-break-classical-law-of-thermodynamics-say-physicists
#34
I have been learning to use a very cool tool recently:

V.U.E - Visual Understanding Environment [ http://vue.tufts.edu ]

An open source "Concept Mapping" application that allows you to visually map data. Mostly by hand, as other 'mind mapping' software does, but VUE has some really cool automated tools for importing and extracting data. So, what good is this?

Well, here are the last 10 entries from Justin Alexander's blog (the Alexandrian's RSS feed, to be precise).


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wsAfJej4bjs/UAAHEBqGBnI/AAAAAAAAAjM/fCckBOgwkrs/s800/TheAlexandrianRSS_07_13_12.png

I've dropped all 10 "post" nodes onto the map, then the "hexcrawl" category node. Links are formed due to the meta-data. You can even double-click each node to open that post in your browser window.

[ Then I got fancy and called AlchemyAPI and OpenClais on one post, some web2.0 services, to generate new metadata nodes based on the content of the post! As you can see by the nodes with red outlines, this isn't an exact proccess... it seems they tagged 'Hex' as from the Discworld series.. lol.. Anyway, this step isn't applicable to the use-case I'm leading up to. I just wanted a more complex map to show the relationship features possible with visual relationship mapping. ]



So, what then can we really do with this tool?

Well, obviously we can plot "relationship maps" quickly and easily, with nodes for characters and links for one or two-way relationships.

Even better, once we have laid down nodes and links, then given them labels and keyword-metadata (examples: "NPC", "Treasure", etc), we can use the map-search feature to find unique entities quickly or to extract entities onto a new map (say we need all the NPC's from a certain location, simply search your master NPC database-map for that location tag and generate a new map with all the NPCs tagged with that location name).

Even better (did I say that already?) we can add nodes to other nodes in a nested child/parent relationship, and nodes can take a URI/URL reference. This last features means we can link to any file on our computer OR on the web. The child/parent relationship nesting means we can have multiple resources within a parent node to describe different aspects of it (nodes should be "one cocept" per the VUE specs). A simple doubleclick will then open, say.... the NPC's character sheet (once you've made it, save it, and linked it, of course), or a portrait or token image from your computer or the web (with the ability to preview images in the map itself). Or a PDF file. Or an online Wiki entry...


Have I blown your mind a little yet? (Good, Eris hands out gold stars for that... -><-)

How about this: VUE is FREE AND OPEN SOURCE.

Another one? Ok, so I had to introduce you to the tool for you to understand the next part. This is my main use case, currently:

VUE can import spreadsheet data as CSV files (comma-separated-value text files). So, I am current crawling through Hommlet [T1-4] and jotting down every single NPC listed into a GoogleDocs spreadsheet according to the following Keywords. Who says Hommlet has to be boring? It's just the info-overload that kills it. There's a lot of intrigue and skulduggery in Hommlet, all buried in the Map Key... so we need some way of extracting that semantic data (meaning) behind the repetitious Key.

I've listed these Keywords at the top of my spreadsheet, VUE takes the first row as the meta-data categories for each "row-object" which defines an NPC:

Name: [for unnamed characters use Title(key##), examples: Farmer(01), Farmer's Son A(01), Farmer's Son B(01), etc... this will be our Master Key so they have to be unique]
Location: Hommlet [T1-4]
[Key]: [Location key [##] with leading zero, for sublocations use [##] ## format]
Class:  [examples: commoner, Fighter, etc]
[Hit Die]: [examples: ~[0], [2], etc]
Gear: [the npc's equipment]
Loot: [the NPC's carried valuables... NOT the location valuables]
Militia: [militia = a member of hommlet's militia, civilian = not, other = other]
Faction: [so far I have: Old Faith, New Faith, Rufus & Burne, Lareth's Camp, The Temple, Adventurers, Random Encounters ...not all may apply to hommlet]


Once I have this entered into my spreadsheet, I can drop a pic of the Hommlet map into a background layer in VUE and start laying out the NPCs. I can either auto-cluster them by Faction (If I define that relationship as the Key), or by Map Key## (ditto). I can then make a spreadsheet for the location information, import that and drop those nodes (using a different color scheme). Then, I can associate the two datasets, and auto-link NPCs to their locations.


So, is this something that you all would be interesting in seeing in action? Also, what would be some good Column Headers for my NPC roster?
Have I missed any key 0/1e "metadata" which all NPCs usually have? (Besides the 6 stats..I'm not including stats at the moment.)

Example: If I use an "Image" column, and populate it with URI/URLs from the web or my computer (and set the 'image-key' to that field when I import the dataset), VUE will then grab those images automatically! So, I've been considering that on a second pass at the NPCs. I know there are pics of Rufus and Burne floating around out there....

This is a Work-In-Progress, but I've got a "first pass" done. No color coding (yet), but I have bolded the names of the militia members, and hidden young children under their mothers node (to save space).

I really like what I'm getting so far. Here's a WIP image (note that I have Elmo selected, and his metadata is in the Info window):


https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-tQbHcSHxmSI/UAAXBXZuAJI/AAAAAAAAAjw/Q21GO4Ff7Rg/s767/HommletNPCs_Test01.png

Hope this was useful, stay tuned to see my results. :cool:
#35
Aneristic Illusions / 150+ Page Threads to Nowhere
June 28, 2012, 05:40:54 AM
It's not just us, guys.

Wizard vs Fighter Balance Bullshit (currently 159 pages of screaming and ink throwing)
http://www.therpgsite.com/showpost.php?p=553927&postcount=1565
Quote from: Bloody Stupid JohnsonI don't know about anyone else, but I'm pleased with the outcome of the thread so far. OK, More or less exactly as usual we have 157 pages of ass with no one budging their positions by a Planck length, but at least the damage seems to be contained in this thread, instead of derailing everything everywhere like in tgdmb or rpgnet's D&D ghetto.

(Meanwhile, I have a thread going about my Earthdawn/Greyhawk mashup that has gotten over 200 views and only 4 "2-line" replies.. all from the same guy)

What can we learn from this phenomena...?
#36
Very interesting. I remember 17 being called out in Illuminatus! as having a connection to the 5/23 current. Does anyone remember where that is? I guess I can text-search it.

http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/02/05/is-17-the-most-random-number/

http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/02/09/randomness-wrapup/
#37
I swear to Eris this has nothing to do with that other thread.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/06/advertising-masked-as-science.html

Very interesting tho, as it exposes how the structure of a system can lead to claiming to work towards one goal while driven by other motivations (please do't make me repeat the first line of this post).
#38
http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf087/sf087a02.htm

The Zuni Enigma
The Zunis of New Mexico are different from other Native Americans in many ways. In an impressive, very detailed paper in the NEARA Journal, N.Y. Davis summarizes her investigation of these anomalies as follows:

"...evidence suggesting Asian admixture is found in Zuni biology, lexicon, religion, social organization, and oral traditions of migration. Possible cultural and language links of Zuni to California, the social disruption at the end of the Heian period of the 12th century in Japan, the size of Japanese ships at the time of proposed migration, the cluster of significant changes in the late 13th century in Zuni, all lend further credibility to a relatively late prehistoric contact."

More @ the link



http://www.nytimes.com/1985/06/25/science/underwater-exploring-is-banned-in-brazil.html
UNDERWATER EXPLORING IS BANNED IN BRAZIL
By MARLISE SIMONS
Published: June 25, 1985

A DISPUTE between the Brazilian Navy and an American marine archeologist has led Brazil to bar the diver from entering the country and to place a ban on all underwater exploration.

The dispute involves Robert Marx, a Florida author and treasure hunter, who asserts that the Brazilian Navy dumped a thick layer of silt on the remains of a Roman vessel that he discovered inside Rio de Janeiro's bay.

The reason he gave for the Navy's action was that proof of a Roman presence would require Brazil to rewrite its recorded history, which has the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral discovering the country in 1500.
#39
 :lulz:

This is bad ass:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/6990040586

Black Hole Caught Red-Handed in a Stellar Homicide [hd video @ the link]

NASA image release May 2, 2012

This computer-simulated image shows gas from a tidally shredded star falling into a black hole. Some of the gas also is being ejected at high speeds into space. Astronomers observed a flare in ultraviolet and optical light from the gas falling into the black hole and glowing helium from the stars's helium-rich gas expelled from the system.

Credit: NASA; S. Gezari, The Johns Hopkins University; and J. Guillochon, University of California, Santa Cruz

To read more go to: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/galex/galex20120502.html

[Image from video below]

#40
HOLY TITS ON A TESLA COIL... they went and actually did it.


http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/wicked-lasers-shark/
#43
Techmology and Scientism / Strife in your SpaceTimes
April 25, 2012, 05:27:14 AM
I seriously had to read this three times.

Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday April 24, @04:32PM
from the enjoy-the-headache dept.

Quote from: 'steveb3210 writes'
"Physicists have demonstrated that making a decision about whether or not to entangle two photons can be made after you've already measured the states of the photons."

Here's the article's description of the experiment:

'Two independent sources (labeled I and II) produce pairs of photons such that their polarization states are entangled.

One photon from I goes to Alice, while one photon from II is sent to Bob.

The second photon from each source goes to Victor.

Alice and Bob independently perform polarization measurements; no communication passes between them during the experiment—they set the orientation of their polarization filters without knowing what the other is doing.

At some time after Alice and Bob perform their measurements, Victor makes a choice (the "delayed choice" in the name). He either allows his two photons from I and II to travel on without doing anything, or he combines them so that their polarization states are entangled.

A final measurement determines the polarization state of those two photons.


... Ma et al. found to a high degree of confidence that when Victor selected entanglement, Alice and Bob found correlated photon polarizations. This didn't happen when Victor left the photons alone.'
#44
...turn out to be an asteroid the size of "a minivan" exploding at 33,500 MpH over the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/04/24/0252246/asteroid-the-size-of-a-minivan-exploded-over-california
#45
Techmology and Scientism / Biblical Archeology
April 14, 2012, 04:13:40 AM
This Just In!


(Really old and well established) Samaritan temple edited out of the pre-bible texts once the Assyrians invaded and the religious power shifted to Jerusalem:

Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy
#46
http://undum.com/games/tutorial.en.html

:eek:



I think this forum could have a lot of fun with this.
#47
http://www.wtfcostumes.com/

:lulz: I'm not sure if this will be laughter or ragescream inducing. You decide...

















#48
 :eek:

A Robot Teaches Itself How to Walk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNL5-0_T1D0
#49
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-16/at-t-must-let-beastie-boy-vote-on-net-neutrality-sec-says.html

AT&T Must Let Beastie Boy Vote on Net Neutrality, SEC Says

By Jesse Hamilton

(Updates with Franken comment in eleventh paragraph.)

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has told AT&T Inc. and other telecommunications companies they must include a resolution supporting wireless net-neutrality in annual shareholder votes.

In a letter posted on the SEC website, the agency asserted that net neutrality -- the idea that Internet service providers must treat traffic equally -- has become a "significant policy consideration" and can no longer be excluded from shareholder ballots. AT&T, Verizon Communications Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. must now grant shareholder requests for votes this year on resolutions that would support net neutrality.

"In view of the sustained public debate over the last several years concerning net neutrality and the Internet and the increasing recognition that the issue raises significant policy considerations, we do not believe that AT&T may omit the proposal from its proxy materials," the SEC said in the Feb. 10 letter.

The shareholder resolution would recommend each company "publicly commit to operate its wireless broadband network consistent with network neutrality principles," the letter said. The companies should not discriminate based on the "source, ownership or destination" of data sent over their wireless infrastructure.

"It allows shareholders to come to the table for the first time on an issue that we think is really of preeminent importance," said Farnum Brown, an investment strategist at Boston-based Trillium Asset Management LLC, which led the multiyear effort of shareholder groups. "Persistence pays, I guess is the moral of the story."

FCC Regulation

The Democrat-led Federal Communications Commission approved a regulation in 2010 that bars land-line Internet-service providers from blocking or slowing online content sent to homes and businesses, while still allowing mobile-phone companies to put limits on Internet traffic. Verizon sued the FCC in federal court, arguing the regulator lacks authority to regulate how companies provide Internet service.

Trillium, with the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Inc. and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, had been seeking access to company ballots for at least four years.

Beastie Boys

Trillium is representing three individual AT&T investors -- Michael Diamond, better known as Mike D of the hip-hop band Beastie Boys; his wife Tamra Davis, director of films including "Billy Madison" and "Half Baked"; and John P. Silva, of Silva Artist Management, which represents recording artists Foo Fighters and Beck.

AT&T argued the proposal "would directly interfere with its network management practices and seriously impair its ability to provide wireless broadband service to its customers," David B. Harms, a lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, wrote in a letter to the SEC on behalf of the company. Mike Balmoris, a company spokesman, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the response.

The SEC's Division of Corporation Finance had found in past years that similar net-neutrality proposals fell under the category of day-to-day business operations and that companies could exclude them from shareholder voting. With the agency changing its position, the previous exclusion no longer applies.

"Net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time and today's decision by the SEC was a big win in the fight to maintain a free and open Internet," Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said in a statement. Franken had co-written a Jan. 31 letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro with four other senators, urging the commission to deny the companies' exclusion requests.

Reviewing Next Steps

"We received word last week that the SEC declined," said John B. Taylor, a spokesman for Sprint, in an e-mail. "We understand other companies in our industry received similar guidance. Sprint is reviewing the information received from the SEC and potential next steps."

Bob Varettoni, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon, declined to comment. His company had argued that this latest shareholder proposal didn't offer "any new information that would indicate that 'net neutrality' has emerged as a consistent topic of widespread public debate," according to a Dec. 22 letter to the SEC from Mary Louise Weber, an assistant general counsel at Verizon.

Companies whose requests are declined by the SEC can challenge the regulator's findings in court.

--With assistance from Todd Shields and Tom Schoenberg in Washington. Editors: Anthony Gnoffo, Maura Reynolds

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Hamilton in Washington at jhamilton33@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net.
#50
RPG Ghetto / RPG.net Gold
February 12, 2012, 07:38:55 AM