Monday Linkdump

12.21.09 | Comment?

Did you know that there’s a hexagon on Saturn’s north pole? No kidding! I love this quote:

“Now that we can see undulations and circular features instead of blobs in the hexagon, we can start trying to solve some of the unanswered questions about one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” Baines said. “Solving these unanswered questions about the hexagon will help us answer basic questions about weather that we’re still asking about our own planet.”

Good idea. It would probably help to actually understand how our own weather works before we spend billions of dollars on cap and trade.

The US governement is currently negotiating an international treaty on copyright (ACTA- Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) that “allows for criminal action to be taken against copyright infringers and gives governments broad powers to require ISPs to spy on their users.” But guess what? It’s seeeecrit! See, if they actually told people what’s in the treaty, then the sneaky criminals might be able to circumvent it. Or something. Anyway, it’s a matter of national security* so you can stop asking questions, got it? Only, a couple of senators aren’t buying it and have written a letter (pdf) to the US trade ambassador asking for full disclosure. If this were happening under the Bush administration, the intertubes would be quivering with moral outrage and acusations of tyranny from the Left. Yet, with a Democrat in the office, not so much. Hmph. via (BoingBoing)

The New York Times has an interesting article about a hospital that had to close a dialysis clinic due to being overwhelmed by poor illegal immigrants. It definitely sucks for the immigrants who are too poor to afford dialysis. It also sucks for the hospital, which lost $3.5 million on the clinic last year. It sucks for the poor among our own citizens who have now lost access to this resource.

Whether or not you realize it, there’s a fight going on in Congress over the definition of “journalism”. Actually, calling it a fight might be putting it too strongly. I’m not sure if anyone is actually pushing back. At stake is a federal media shield law being pushed by the big media outlets. However, recent amendments seek to limit the definition of who is a journalists to those in print and broadcast. It has been said that “freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press.” The growth of the internet has reduced the cost of “the press” to next to nothing, which has given rise to a new form of citizen journalism. These amendments would turn a blind eye to the new reality of the 21st century, create special protections for those with the money to run old-school news outlets, and hang citizen journalists out to dry. Nice going.

Over near Detroit, we have an example of what happens when power is left unchecked. It seems that some law enforcement divisions are abusing their power to seize property and using it as a way to make money–even with the person is clearly innocent or the charges dropped.

On a lighter note, how about a bed designed to look like the Millennium Falcon?

Did you know that The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is now available on Netflix instant (streaming) viewing? Well now you do!

Happy Monday.

*Because obviously the security of our nation hinges on our ability to keep pirated copies of Transformers 2 out of the hands of terrorists.

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