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  1. English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States - the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate - that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet including, Wikipedia. This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and it's a decision that was not made lightly. Here's how it's been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the community's discussion. From the public statement, signed by User: NuclearWarfare, User: Risks and User: Billingshurst: It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web. Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, Which Illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming Majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a "blackout" of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA received the strongest support. On careful review of this discussion, the closing administrators note the broad-based support for action Wikipedians from around the world, not just from within the United States. The primary objection to a global blackout came from those who preferred that the blackout be limited to readers from the United States, with the rest of the world seeing a simple banner notice instead. We also noted that roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations. In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. That's a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them. But although Wikipedia's articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently, We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure so that Allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and collecting and summarizing the world's knowledge. We're putting it in context, and showing people how to make sense of it to. But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to. The decision to shut down the English Wikipedia was not made by me, it was made by editors, through a consensus decision-making process. But I support it. Like Kat and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation Board, I have begun to think of Wikipedia Increasingly's public voice, and the goodwill people have for Wikipedia, as a resource that wants to be used for the benefit of the public. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that despite its faults, Wikipedia's heart is in the right place. It's not aiming to monetize their eyeballs or make them believe some Particular thing, or sell them a product. Wikipedia has no hidden agenda: it just wants to be helpful. That's less true of other sites. Most are Commercially motivated: their purpose is to make money. That does not mean they do not have a desire to make the world a better place - many do! - But it does mean that their positions and actions need to be understood in the context of conflicting interests. My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we're doing it for our readers. We support everyone's right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can not pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States - do not advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA? The reality is that we do not think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is silent quite active. Moreover, SOPA PIPA and are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone. Make your voice heard! Bookmark with Facebook Share on Twitter Share on reddit.com Share on Digg.com On January 18, we hope you'll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard. source DJ
  2. Bobsleigher nearly dies from wood in buttock Three Canadian bobsleighers are recovering in hospital after a brutal World Cup training crash in Altenberg in the German state of Saxony that briefly left one of them fighting for his life. One of the four-man crew was able to walk away from the crash Thursday, but pilot Chris Spring ended up with a piece of wood in his buttock, losing so much blood that he nearly died, according to the Vancouver Sun newspaper. Two teammates were also hurt - one with severe bruising and the other with serious leg injuries, the Sun reported. All were airlifted to a local hospital. According to the newspaper, the wood is believed to have come from a crash barrier that the team smashed into, apparently because of a steering error. The AFP news agency reported Friday afternoon that at least one of the injured was due to be released soon. Altenberg, located in Saxony state, is reputed to have among the most difficult bobsleigh tracks in the world. It is one of the key competition spots on this year’s World Cup circuit. Source DJ
  3. Nobody cares to eat alone, but in Germany few people can imagine ringing in the New Year without watching a little-known British comedy skit "Dinner for One." The Local explains a Teutonic tradition. No matter what you do on New Year's Eve in Germany: melting lead, lighting fireworks, or simply knocking back champagne, there is one thing that nearly all Silvester parties have in common. – a 20 minute television interlude to watch a black-and-white sketch in English called "Dinner for One" from 1963. Loved in Germany, it’s virtually unknown in the rest of the world. Dinner for who? Okay, let's start with the basics: The dinner is for Miss Sophie, the last member of an old English family. The sketch, which is also known as "The 90th Birthday," is about the old lady's anniversary celebration in the dining room of her musty mansion with Miss Sophie – played by May Warden – sitting on the head end of the table and Butler James – played Freddie Frinton – making sure no glass (or no eye) in the house stays dry. Why is it so popular on New Year's Eve? The first time the programme was aired on New Year's Eve in 1972, the sketch was more a filler in between broadcasts. But due to its great popularity it quickly gained a regular place in the Silvester TV schedule. It holds the record of the most repeated show on television and regularly attracts millions of viewers to each New Year's Eve. Why is the dinner only for one? Doesn't the old lady have any guests? Sure, Miss Sophie has invited her friends, but they unfortunately all died some time ago. Not to be hindered by this slight setback the dinner goes ahead as usual and her guests are (or were): Sir Toby Mr Winterbottom Admiral von Schneider Mr Pommeroy All men? What a saucy old granny... Well, some people say all of them have been former admirers. Unsuccessful ones, though. Her butler James is the only one who gets lucky on an annual basis, but we'll get to that later. And what’s so funny about the sketch? The sketch's comedy comes from Butler James taking the places of all of Miss Sophie's long dead friends. First he has to serve all "guests" drinks for every course (in his capacity as butler, of course) and as none of them are actually there anymore, he has to empty their glasses himself. So a boozy butler and his mistress fake a party? Pretty much! James slips into the different personas and toasts Miss Sophie in each guest’s appropriate way. For Admiral von Schneider, for example, he clicks his heels together every time and salutes with a loudSkol of the top of his voice. For Mr Winterbottom on the other hand, he puts on a thick northern English accent. We’re still waiting for the joke... Hang on, it's coming. Because with every drink he slugs back, the usually reserved and refined demeanour of Butler James starts to slip as he slurs and stumbles his way around the table. Added to this an unfortunately positioned tiger skin rug, the head of which James has to overcome on his frequent trips to the bar. Appropriate for the era when it was made – the whole routine had a healthy touch of slapstick. And Miss Sophie? The old gal never leaves her place and is totally oblivious about the amount of the butler's alcohol consumption and orders him to serve the respective courses. Dinner consists of: Mulligatawny soup – with sherry Haddock – with white wine Chicken – with champagne Fruit – with port Mulligatawny-what? Doesn't really sound like a German dinner. Well, it isn't! The actors May Warden and Freddie Frinton first performed "Dinner for One" in the British seaside town Blackpool in 1962. The German entertainer Peter Frankenfeld, discovered the duo, brought them to Germany and the sketch was seen on his live show on regional public broadcaster NDR one year later. Really? Wasn't it recorded in Britain? No, it was recorded in Hamburg in 1963. The broadcaster NDR had all the props ready, as well as a polar bear skin rug, that never was used, however, since Frinton brought his own tiger skin. After all, the stumbling over the rug was well rehearsed and depended on the height of the head. The polar bear ended up in the NDR’s prop closet – covered with dust and a sign around its head saying "Freddie Frinton." So far so good, but why is it all shown in English? Despite the Teutonic habit to dub anything foreign on telly, "Dinner for one" was never put into German unlike everything else on TV. The dialogue is simple and repetitive and the introduction of the sketch comes in German. Actor Heinz Piper explains the only two sentences you need to know. Butler James: "Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?" Miss Sophie: "Same procedure as every year, James." Right, not exactly rocket science, huh? Not exactly, no. And still Piper managed to make a mistake in both of the sentences. Instead of saying "AS every year, he said "THAN every year". Protests and angry letters from English teachers across the country made the NDR correct the grammar mistake. It simply got dubbed instead of re-recorded, but when you listen closely you can tell. Does it come at least with German subtitles? Some versions do. In the late 1960s even a colour version was planned, but due to Frinton's sudden death in 1968 it was never realised. In recent years there have been versions in regional dialects like Low German, Swiss-German, or Hessian. But don't worry; you'll know when to laugh, as even the recording crew is giggling along. What do the Brits have to say about all this? Surprising to most Germans – who consider the skit quintessential British humour – hardly anyone in Britain knows it even exists. And for those who do, the significance it has for the Germans and the place it holds in their hearts is rather perplexing. Oh, what was that with the butler getting lucky? Right, in the last scene, Miss Sophie gets ready for bed and calls over her shoulder for James one last time while climbing up the staircase to her bedroom. He slurs: "The same procedure as last year?" and Miss Sophie answers "The same procedure as every year." With James promising he'll do his best "as every year," they both go upstairs together. Source
  4. Global warming could bring 50-degree days A scientist at the University of Kiel has warned of summer temperatures reaching nearly 50 degrees Celsius in Germany if global warming continues. Prof Mojib Latif from the university's Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences told Germany radio culture he had seen the United Nations report on extreme weather due to be published on Friday and that global warming could have enormous effects. "Our whole way of life might be totally turned on its head," he told the radio network. Weak, old and sick people would be badly affected by the increase in temperatures during the summer, when rivers might begin drying up making it difficult to cool power stations, Latif said. "The trends that we are already seeing today would continue," he said. The United Nations report to be released on November 18 predicts a range of catastrophes, according to the AFP news service, Which saw a summary of its conclusions. It says global warming is likely to increase average temperatures by between two and possibly five degrees in the coming years 90th This will increase droughts around the world including in central Europe, North America and southern Africa and also warns that warming oceans will make more powerful cyclones, the AFP reported. Germany has been a leader in trying to tackle climate change but has struggled come to agreement with Major Greenhouse Gas emitters like the United States and China. This summer Chancellor Angela Merkel said time was running out to try to stop global warming. "A number of countries announced (in the wake of the 2010 Cancun summit) voluntary measures, but these will not suffice to reach our objective," Merkel said. "We also need measures, targeted measures, and if possible that treaties are legally binding . That's what will be difficult. But in any case, time is running short as the Kyoto Protocol is soon to expire, "she added. The Kyoto Protocol sets binding targets for Which decreasing greenhouse emissions is set to expire in 2012. Source DJ
  5. Who Knows What Youhavedownloaded.com? You may have never heard of youhavedownloaded.com, but if you recently grabbed movies, music or software from online file-trading networks, chances are decent that the site has heard of you. In fact, you may find that the titles you downloaded are now listed and publicly searchable at the site, indexed by your Internet address. In many ways, the technology behind the site merely recreates in a publicly searchable way what the entertainment industry has been doing for years: It tracks and records information that users share when they download and upload files on public peer-to-peer file-trading networks. But the free service does have the potential to make people think twice about downloading pirated movies, games and music, because it shows how easily this information can be discovered and archived. So far, youhavedownloaded.com has recorded more than 50 million unique Internet addresses belonging to file-sharing users. The site is searchable by file name and by Internet address. When you visit, it automatically checks and lets you know if your Internet address is in the database. Youhavedownloaded.com offers only limited information about its founders. One of them is Suren Ter-Saakov, a Russian native who now lives in a suburb of Philadelphia. I first interviewed for a Ter-Saakov story I wrote in 2009 about the Federal Trade Commission's unprecedented takedown of troubled Web hosting firm Triple Fiber Network (3FN). The FTC alleged it was hard to find any customers at 3FN had that legitimate, legal content. Ter-Saakov, better known in the industry as Russian Webmasters Mauser, disagreed and successfully sued the FTC to retrieve his domains and servers. Ter-Saakov said He Believes youhavedownloaded.com indexes about 20 percent of the file-sharing activity on the Internet. He maintains that the site was created Merely as a proof of concept, and that it does not have any commercial application. "The whole thing started with a theoretical discussion I had with some friends about what is possible through software to track and what is not possible," Ter-Saakov said in a phone interview. The database has some serious limitations. For starters, it may contain incorrect information because it does not take into account that many Internet users have "dynamic" addresses that change from time to time. So many homes and businesses use routers that employ network address translation (NAT), Which can hide multiple users behind a single public-facing internet address, so that a single Internet address listed in the database may reflect file-sharing activity of multiple different users. Ter-Saakov said his servers could store timestamps, machine / browser fingerprints and other data that might help more accurately identify individual users. But he said adding those enhancements would make the project more expensive, and that he and his friends had sought to put together the best system they could for less than $ 300 a month. "If we wanted that to make it more sophisticated or be able [to be able to track a greater share of file-sharing] users, it's going to be more expensive, and we see no reason to do." The feedback from visitors has been mixed. The site Allows Facebook users to comment on their impressions, and the responses range from horror to amusement and anger. Ter-Saakov said he's received so many emails from users whose information was listed but who deny having downloaded any files (he said so people can have their information removed on request). "One guy claimed he downloaded stuff only because his grandmother was ill and he wanted to watch a Harold & Kumar movie to cheer himself up," said Ter-Saakov. "Another kid wrote and said asked to have his information removed because he was downloading porn and was afraid his parents would be able to see what kind of movies he downloaded." I'm often asked Whether I download movies, music and software from file-trading sites. My answer tends to be an unpopular one, but I believe most of this activity is simply wrong and unethical. I know plenty of people who would never dream of five-fingering items from a store, or walking out on a restaurant tab, but who routinely turn to file-sharing networks to download copyrighted content. Whether or not you agree with my views on this subject, it's important to remember that file-trading networks are at extremely common and easy way to spread malicious software Source DJ
  6. The city of Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg has officially named a swimming pool after Spaghetti Western film actor Bud Spencer after rejecting an elaborate internet campaign to name a nearby tunnel after him. On a visit to Schwäbisch Gmünd to officially christen the swimming pool that he had once swum in as a child on Friday, the 82-year-old Italian action star said simply: “I am deeply touched.” “Words fail me,” Spencer said to the small crowd present. “I love Schwäbisch Gmünd.” Hundreds of of reporters and curious onlookers turned out for Spencer’s visit to Schwäbisch Gmünd, where he was feted by city leaders throughout the day. He was scheduled to appear at a later book signing and panel discussion. Best known for his films with sidekick Terence Hill, Spencer acted from 1959 to the early 1990s in more than two dozen action movies that were quite popular in Germany. He also had a short sporting career in his early days, even competing as a swimmer in the 1952 Olympic Games. It was during this time that he swam in the Schwäbisch Gmünd pool that now bears his name. But he once again shot into the public consciousness last summer when internet pranksters started a campaign to name a new local tunnel after him when city leaders asked for the public to vote for names online. More than 20,000 people – most of them from outside the city – voted for Bud Spencer’s name to grace the tunnel. But at a sometimes tumultuous city council meeting in July, city leaders decided to name the pool after him. They later declared that the tunnel would be called the Gmünder Unicorn Tunnel, because the mythical animal is part of the city’s emblem.
  7. 22-year-old German wins poker World Series Pius Heinz, a 22-year-old from Cologne, won the 2011 World Series of Poker on Wednesday, becoming the first German to win the prestigious title and raking in more than $8 million in prize money, organizers said. Heinz had to battle his way through an initial field of 6,865 players from 85 countries in the $10,000 Buy-In No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em scrum, held over 12 days in the US gambling mecca of Las Vegas last summer. Heinz arrived at the finale ranked seventh out of the final nine players but gradually edged out the others, including 2011 "Player of the Year" Ben Lamb, an American who "busted out in shocking fashion" Tuesday night, WSOP said. Heinz then battled top-ranked Czech player Martin Staszko to a final hand in which the German won with an ace-king, walking away with more than $8.7 million, followed by Staszko with $5.4 million and Lamb with $4.0 million. Players from Belize, Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany and Ukraine outnumbered Americans making the cut last July to compete in this week's finale, reflecting the growing global popularity of the game. Last year's champion Jonathan Duhamel hailed from Montreal, Peter Eastgate of Denmark won in 2009 and Australian Joe Hachem triumphed in 2005. Source DJ
  8. Ubuntu 11.10 Final Release You can download Ubuntu online, completely free. Downloadlink Source DJ
  9. Apple faces ban on iPhone and iPad sales A German court has issued an injunction that temporarily bans Apple Inc. from selling or marketing its mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads in Germany. But it’s unclear whether it will have an immediate effect on the company. In a statement to the tech blog theverge.com, Apple said that the ruling, issued on Friday by a court in Mannheim, was simply a “procedural issue,” that “does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time.” The court made the default decision after Apple did not attempt to debunk Motorola's patent infringement claims. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Local and Apple’s internet store in Germany was still selling its products on Monday. The ruling stems from a long-running patent dispute between Apple and Motorola over mobile technology. Apple has been aggressively defending its technology, even succeeding in having some competing Android devices temporarily banned in Germany earlier this year. Motorola is currently in the process of being purchased by Google, which makes the Android operating system. But a ban in Germany, which is Europe’s biggest electronics market, could be devastating for the company, especially if it is accused of violating the ruling which could result in fines of €250,000 per violation. It is not yet clear, however, whether the ruling applies directly to Apple Germany, which is a subsidiary of Apple Inc., and commentators were offering different viewpoints on its effect Monday. Nilay Patel of theverge.com called it a “totally symbolic victory for Motorola” because the ruling doesn’t mention Apple Germany. But intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller wrote on his blog FOSS Patents that the real question is whether the parent company would legally be able to provide product to its subsidiary. If deliveries are blocked, it could make it impossible for devices to be sold in Germany in any event. The law firm Scherer & Körbes wrote on its blog that under the terms of the ruling supplies could “probably be prohibited.” But Apple remains free to appeal to ruling. Source DJ
  10. World Welcomes 7 Billionth Baby The world's population hit 7 billion on Monday amid celebrations and concerns about how the growing number of people will impact the earth's resources. The United Nations chose October 31 to mark the milestone. Although it is impossible to pinpoint the arrival of the world's 7 billionth baby, the Philippines was the first country to publicly declare the symbolic feat. Danica May Camacho was delivered just before midnight Sunday in a Manila hospital. Celebrations were also held in India, which could soon overtake China as the world's most populous nation. While the population's 7 billion milestone is seen as a sign of increased longevity and improved birth survival rates, experts also warn of the growing population's struggle for resources, including food and water. Officials with the U.N. Population Fund say many low-income countries of sub-Saharan Africa and some in Asia have seen a growth in population that is outpacing economic growth rates. Fertility rates in many European nations and Japan have dropped below the replacement rate, causing concern that shortages of labor and productivity could threaten the quality of life. Danica Camacho is cuddled by her mother as they are wheeled out of the delivery room of the Government's Fabella Hospital moments after she was born October 31, 2011 in the Philippines. According to the latest U.N. figures, the world’s population is projected to surge past 9 billion before 2050 and reach 10.1 billion by the end of the century if current fertility rates continue at expected levels. China's population of 1.34 billion is currently the world's highest. India comes in second, with 1.2 billion. Asia's population of 4.2 billion makes it the world's most populous region. Africa's population is expected to triple to 3.6 billion people by the start of the next century. Source DJ
  11. Nervy Checkpoint Charlie standoff remembered Fifty years ago on October 27, 1961, US and Soviet forces took the world to the brink of war at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie. Hannah Cleaver takes the temperature of the legendary Cold War flashpoint today. With tanks facing off just feet apart to see which side would blink first, a row over East Germans checking the passports of American military personnel as they went into Soviet-occupied East Berlin nearly escalated out of control. After a terrifying 16 hours of eye-balling, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev told his soldiers to turn back their tanks, which they did one at a time. The US forces mirrored the gesture tit for tat, averting a potentially disastrous conflict in divided Berlin. Blink while on Friedrichstrasse now and you’re likely to be hit by a bus full of tourists. The checkpoint crossing is alive with visitors, crowding round the temporary hoardings printed up with slices of history and black and white photos, paying a couple of euros to be photographed next to two actors dressed in historical military uniforms. On Thursday – exactly 50 years after tanks took their positions on the street – that road was host to a group of German tourists on Segway scooters, swaying hesitantly as their guide told them the story. A group of sight-seer-carrying East German Trabant cars also rattled past, the smell from their two-stroke engines leaving perhaps the most ‘authentic’ thing of the moment. The Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, a private depositary of Berlin Wall artefacts quietly dominates, but is now surrounded by commercial signs of which side won the Cold War – MacDonald’s is there, as is Starbucks and German chain bakery shops Kemps and Backfactory. The atmospheric Café Adler at the corner, reputedly a meeting place for spies, but also a haven for tourists wanting a taste of older Berlin with their coffee is also gone, replaced by a Cafe Einstein, the historical décor replaced by neon lighting. “Most of the independent shops have gone; they were forced out by high rents,” Karin Radloff told The Local. She owns the Laden am Checkpoint which has been selling tobacco since 1905 and now also stocks newspapers and magazines from around the world. “There is a lot of history here, and I think we are portraying it well. We clubbed together, shops in the area, to build the checkpoint hut. I know that some people are less than positive about it, and the actors standing there, but I like it. At Brandenburger Gate there are people dressed up as polar bears and things. At least here it’s historical, it fits.” A metal plaque is set into the wall covered in sandbags between the two men dressed as soldiers, commemorating the standoff between the Soviets and Americans there. It briefly sketches out the moment the Soviets turned back. Clemens Pfaff, 70, remembers the feeling of the time. The pastor at Berlin’s English-speaking Roman Catholic Mission was showing a friend the site. “I was in England at the time actually, studying theology and preparing to go as a missionary to East Africa,” he told The Local. “There was a very real feeling at the time that there could be another war," he said. "I remember the Cuba crisis afterwards very clearly. You had got used to the Cold War, and the nuclear weapons, but everyone was just hoping it would not come to war.” Those hoping perhaps more than anyone else included Heinz Schäfer, an East German border guard at the time. “We had pistols, the Americans were armed – if only one soldier had lost their nerve, I don’t know if we would be sitting here today,” he said. “It was hard, it was dangerous, but we shttp://fearless-assassins.com/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=new_post&f=209urvived it without bloodshed.” Tyler Willson was in one of the American M-48 Patton tanks. Speaking from his home in Jacksonville, Florida, he told the Jacksonville.com news site the Cold War suddenly seemed awfully hot with Soviet T-54 tanks just about 100 metres away. “One dumb move and I don’t know if it would have been World War III but it wouldn’t have been good,” he said. He said he was thinking, “I’m a dead man if they pull the trigger first. And we weren’t going to pull the trigger first.” Nerves were held, no triggers were pulled, and Berlin lived to eventually pull down its Wall, shake off its division and turn it into history. “We love it, there is so much history here, we are working hard to understand everything here,” said Padmavathy Rajasekaran from Mumbai, on a holiday in Berlin with her family. “It all looks great, you can see where it was all happening back then, almost imagine it.” Source DJ
  12. Munich bans Rammstein on Christian holy day Controversial rock band Rammstein has been banned from performing in Munich on a German Christian holy day commemorating the dead – even though other concerts are allowed on November 20. City authorities forced the band to postpone the sold-out concert in the Olympiahalle as it was not seen as fitting for Totensonntag, or Dead Sunday. An appeal to the courts was rejected and the band is now rescheduling for two days later, as well as offering its fans who cannot go on the Tuesday, their money back. “It appears absolutely arbitrary that a Rammstein concert should be banned, while dozens of other concerts are allowed to take place,” a statement on the band’s website says. A cursory search for other events planned in Munich for November 20 reveals a concert by the rock-folk band Schürzenjäger, a jam session at the Munich jazz club Unterfahrt, a gig by surfer band The Drums, as well as numerous theatre performances, a matinee ballet and a morning classical piano recital, as well as a Murder Mystery Dinner at the Villa im Bamberger Haus. “We do not have any problem with Rammstein and are happy that they are coming to play here two days later. But it is not possible for them to play on Totensonntag,” Munich city spokeswoman Daniela Schlegel told The Local. She said Bavarian law meant that only events “of a suitably serious character” were allowed to take place on such a day. “This does not mean that there cannot be any musical performances at all; just that they must fit with the serious character of the day. Anyone who knows or has heard of Rammstein knows that it is very loud, with strong bass elements to the music and that the entire performance, with lights, pyrotechnics, and perhaps a person on fire, or obscenities, would not fit with the serious nature of the day.” When asked about the other events scheduled for November 20, she said that perhaps pop groups might be asked to focus on their ballads in their performances, and added that if Rammstein were to tone down its performance, “it would no longer be Rammstein.” Rammstein’s number one album Liebe is für alle da or 'There’s Enough Love for Everyone,' was put on Germany’s censorship index in November 2009, meaning those under 18 could not buy it. The censors said the album promoted unsafe sex and portrayed sexuality and power in a sadomasochistic manner. The ban was lifted after six months. But Rammstein fans are not the only ones forced to bend to Bavaria's fierce protection of Christian holy days – each year, Halloween parties are shut down at midnight in the southern German state because of the Catholic holiday All Saints Day on November 1. Source DJ
  13. Court tells Google how to avoid liability for blog posts Germany’s highest civil court has set out a process by which web hosts can avoid liability for libellous blog posts, in a decision which Google described as striking a blow for freedom of expression and information in the internet. The Federal Court of Justice ruled on a case concerning a man who attempted to sue Google for a libellous blog post made by an anonymous blogger who accused him of using a business credit card to purchase sex club services. An initial court hearing went in his favour, but this has now been overruled by the Federal Court in Karlsruhe which said Google had to make more checks and try harder to get in touch with the blogger. However, the Court also set out a process which web hosts should follow to avoid any liability. Someone who believes a blog entry violates the law must inform the hosting company – but allegations of illegality must be “concrete” enough that they can be affirmed “without detailed legal and factual review,” the court ruled. The allegations must be passed onto the blogger who must respond within a reasonable period – or the blog can simply be deleted. If the blogger decides to defend their entry, the complainant must prove that it is illegal, and if this cannot be done, the entry must remain. Google’s company lawyer Arnd Haller said the firm was relieved by the decision as it removed the potential duty of having to screen every blog entry for libel before publication. He said the judgement also meant Google would not have to remove blogs on demand from anyone who felt insulted. Google had argued that the lawsuit against it should be moved to US courts because the company is based in California – generally companies prefer to argue court cases under US law because liability rules are not as strong as in Germany. But the court ruled that it could be held liable under German law if a blog was clearly meant for a German audience, for instance by being written in German. The case has been remanded to an appeals panel to determine if Google met its legal obligations. The plaintiff had previously demanded that Google prevent the libellous content from reappearing on its hosted sites. Source DJ
  14. CIA spied on allied BND American spies have been keeping tabs on their Teutonic counterparts for decades – not only the East Germans of the Cold War, but also allied West Germans, according to newly released documents. US intelligence agencies collected highly personal information on their allies, according to a report in weekly magazine Focus on Monday. Staff at the Central Intelligence Agency were expected to keep tabs on communist East German spies during the Cold War, but US documents show they were doing the same to their supposed friends at West Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). Office politics within the BND as well as details of personal factors such as alcoholism and infidelity were carefully noted, as well as health information such as which agents had suffered heart attacks, the magazine reported. One file entry even records the wooden leg of an aristocratic West German agent. Even after the fall of communism in 1989, the spying continued into the 1990s, with those BND agents with a Nazi past in particular attracting attention. Two former SS members were drafted into a sabotage unit of NATO, according to the papers. The files also suggest the tapping of some telephone calls with the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz), Germany’s domestic intelligence and security authority. Conversations with other security services in Paris and London were also tapped, Focus reported. The BND did not seem surprised by the idea of being spied upon by the CIA, with a former BND counterintelligence expert telling the magazine that he and his colleagues had often thought such operations were being undertaken. When asked whether he thought the CIA was still spying on the BND, he replied using a suitably spooky phrase, saying, “The cat does not let the mouse free.” Source DJ
  15. Turkish state television reports at least 60 people killed and 150 injured after a strong earthquake in southeastern Turkey near the border with Iran. The magnitude 7.2 quake struck Van province Sunday afternoon (at 1041 UTC). Several strong aftershocks were recorded. The town of Ercis is the hardest hit. Authorities in Ercis are quoted local media as saying the wreckage includes multi-floor buildings, hotels and a dormitory. Survivors said cries from those trapped in the rubble were heard hours after the quake. The mayor of Ercis issued a call for urgent aid, saying there are many dead. Television footage showed collapsed buildings and crushed vehicles in the nearby city of Van and people using shovels and pry bars to claw through wreckage for survivors. Major geological fault lines cross the region and small earthquakes are a frequent occurrence. Source DJ
  16. Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, 69, has been killed in an assault by provisional government forces on his coastal hometown of Sirte. The prime minister of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, confirmed Gadhafi's death on Thursday at a news conference in Tripoli. He also said it is time for Libyans to build a new, united Libya, now that Gadhafi is dead. The United States says it received confirmation of the former leader's death from Libyan officials. Footage broadcast on global television networks showed a wounded and bleeding Gadhafi being carried by NTC forces who found him hiding in a sewage pipe on the outskirts of Sirte. Libyan officials said Gadhafi died of gunshot wounds shortly after NTC forces captured him, but it was not clear when he was shot or by whom. NATO said its aircraft attacked two vehicles of pro-Gadhafi forces that were maneuvering around Sirte on Thursday. NTC fighters said Gadhafi and a group of loyalists tried to flee Sirte in the convoy that was attacked Jubilant crowds filled the streets of Tripoli to celebrate Gadhafi's demise. NTC fighters also celebrated the fall of Sirte by firing shots into the air and hoisting Libya's new national flag over what was the last stronghold of Gadhafi loyalists. Jibril said the NTC will formally announce that Libya has been completely liberated from Gadhafi's rule by Friday. The capture of Sirte comes near two months after forces loyal to the NTC took control of the capital Tripoli, forcing Gadhafi and his family to flee. His whereabouts since had been the source of intense speculation, with the possibilities including underground bunkers or refuge in another country. The declaration of victory in Sirte is expected to set in motion a series of political moves leading to elections, a new government and a new constitution - a massive undertaking in a country that has had 40 years of arbitrary, one-man rule. The capture of Sirte follows NTC success in another pro-Gadhafi bastion, Bani Walid, earlier this week. Fighting still continues in southern areas of the country, the vast desert regions bordering Niger, Algeria and Chad. But control of Gadhafi's hometown provides a geographic as well as symbolic victory, uniting the main population corridor along the coast from east to west. Gadhafi forces are in a struggle for survival says Libya scholar Ziad Akl from the Ahram Center in Cairo. "The forces that are pro-Gadhafi, first of all, they are not politically organized, they are not strategically outlined, and they are not fighting actually to gain ground," said Akl. "They are simply trying to defend the positions they have and stop the revolution from moving on and this is a time- constrained battle." Source DJ
  17. Arrests made in Media Markt corruption probe Prosecutors investigating corruption in Europe’s biggest consumer electronics chain have arrested five people, including a top manager and his wife – over allegations of massive bribery. The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday that a Media Markt executive had been arrested in connection with bribes allegedly paid to give one firm exclusive access to sell DSL connections to the chain's customers. The man alleged to have made millions from selling the DSL connections was among those arrested, the paper said. A spokesman at the Media-Saturn group, which includes Germany's dominate consumer electronics chains Media Markt and Saturn, said the manager was going to be removed from the company. Augsburg public prosecutor Reinhard Nemetz told the paper he was expecting to press charges of serious bribery, describing the suspects as having been organised like a gang. A conviction could lead to prison sentences, he said. It is thought that a businessman named by the prosecutor only as Peter N., made €50 million in commissions on DSL contracts that his workers sold at Media Markt and Saturn shops between 2005 and 2010. He had paid hefty bribes to managers at Media-Saturn in order to be the only one selling such contracts in their stores, the prosecutor alleges. The talk is of around €3.5 million in bribes, made in more than 200 payments. This opened the doors of the shops to him, with managers being told to cooperate with his workers. A whistleblower sent a letter to the authorities last year, describing in detail how the operation worked. This sparked raids in July, with around 160 police officers searching 20 flats and offices across the country, including the Media-Saturn headquarters in Ingolstadt. Source DJ
  18. BASE Jumper Parachute Fails, He Survives A BASE jumper from Pensacola miraculously survives an almost 900 foot plunge and it is all caught on tape. 27 year-old Christopher Brewer, took part in the 32nd Annual Bridge Day in Fayetteville, WV on Saturday. Wearing his wing suit, spectators watched as he made the 876 foot fall from the New River Gorge Bridge. To his horror, his parachute did not deploy in time. Brewer plunged into the water travelling about 80 miles per hour. It took about 15 minutes for rescuers to arrive. He was life-flighted to Charleston Area Medical Center. Brewer has a long recovery ahead. He suffered a fractured pelvis, lung and spin injuries. Bridge Day began in 1980 as a small festival and has grown to one of the largest extreme sporting events in the world. More than 400 thrill seekers took part in Bridge Day, drawing in nearly 200 thousand visitors. Brewer may have his wing suit to thank for saving his life. A wing suit is designed to allow the jumper to float forward rather than drop straight down, which may have slowed his fall. The National Park Service is investigating the incident. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SruYoX0e_LA Source DJ
  19. German man possibly eaten by cannibal on South Sea island A German traveller and a local hunter have been missing for a week on the French-governed island of Nuku Hiva in the Pacific Ocean. On Saturday, human remains were found in a dead campfire. DNA tests are currently being carried out on the remains, which include bones, a jaw that with some prosthetic teeth, as well as some melted metal pieces. Investigators said the evidence suggests that a human body was hacked to pieces and burnt. Remains of clothing were also found at the abandoned site, in a valley some two hours' hike from the coast. French chief investigator José Thorel, based on the island of Tahiti, did not rule out the possibility that the remains are from the missing German, but said the DNA evidence, which has been taken to Paris, could take weeks to analyze. Police are searching for a local hunter who was the last person to be seen with the traveller, who was sailing around the world with his partner, a 37-year-old woman. She reported that the hunter offered to take him on a trip into the island's interior. He then returned alone, telling the 37-year-old woman that her partner had been injured in an accident and needed help. Later the traumatized woman told the local Dépêche de Tahiti newspaper that the hunter threatened her, sexually abused her and tied her to a tree. The couple had been travelling around the world in a catamaran, and had landed on Nuku Hiva, one of the Marquesas islands belonging to French Polynesia in the South Pacific, two weeks ago. The missing man is a 40-year-old experienced traveller from Hamburg, though no name has been released. The German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, "The Foreign Ministry and the Federal police are aware of the case and in contact with local authorities." Source DJ
  20. You’re Doing it Wrong: Real Life Seattle Superhero Phoenix Jones Arrested You guys remember the 2010 ultra-violent film adaptation of the graphic novel Kick-Ass, right? Know who else remembers the film? Seattle native 23-year-old Phoenix Jones, a Good Samaritan with too much time on his hands and enough pepper spray to anger a small group of mildly drunken women. The Associated Press reports on Phoenix Jones’ latest incident where he took his love of masked vigilantism too far, resulting in his arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lgB95WVpFg&feature=player_embedded Now, I completely understand the justification of his arrest, but Phoenix Jones meant well. He’s just a big man in a bad world doing his part to help people in need. What the report didn’t reveal though was the true identity of Phoenix Jones, unless Phoenix Jones was the vigilante’s real name, in which case he’s doing exactly what he was meant to do in life. Try not to get arrested though- if you’re a superhero and you’re getting caught by the police, you’re doing it wrong. Know who else is fond of doing things for others in need and has the potential to smash crime in the face? Not FN Cute’s Podcast co-host, Art Director, and resident kick-ass superheroine Shorty. This Saturday she’ll be participating in Not FN Cute’s Shorty Helping Shorties Extra Life 2011 Charity Drive, where Shorty will be playing video games for 24 hours to raise money for underprivileged children and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. If you want to be a real life superhero without squeezing into a rubber suit or getting arrested, then do your part and click on the link below in order to make a tax deductible donation that will change the life of a small gamer! Source Update: Seattle's self-styled superhero Phoenix Jones wrote on his Facebook page that he was back on patrol Monday night, the Associated Press reports. Jones, whose real name is Benjamin John Francis Fodor, says he had to wear a backup costume after police seized his black and yellow outfit Sunday after his arrest for investigation of assault. Jones is accused of using pepper spray on four people who were dancing after leaving a nightclub. He contends that he was trying to break up a fight, but the targets say they were just "frolicking" and he assaulted them for no reason. Jones, who is due in court Thursday, spent about seven hours in jail before posting $3,800 bail, the AP says. Original posting: Jones, who was arrested Sunday on four counts of assault, contends that he was breaking up a fight, although the people involved in the incident say they were only "frolicking" in the streets, The Seattle Times reports. Jones, 23, told KIRO FM's Ron and Don Show that police confiscated his black-and-gold costume, but he has a backup and "should be on patrol later tonight," the Associated Press reports. Source DJ
  21. Intel Confirms Plan to Bundle LGA2011 Chips with Own-Brand Liquid Coolers. Intel to Bundle and Sell Liquid Coolers Separately Intel Corp. recently confirmed intentions to bundle liquid cooling systems into boxes with its next-generation Core i7-3000-series central processing units (CPUs) code-named Sandy Bridge-E. The firm also decided that it would sell the coolers separately so that to address other platforms. The actual devices will be made by Asetek and sold under Intel brand. The bundled liquid-based thermal solution – to be offered with boxed microprocessors and sold separately - will be the first time for Intel to officially support enthusiast-class coolers and will also create an additional selling point of Intel’s next-generation Sandy Bridge E-series (SNB-E) microprocessors in LGA2011 form-factor. Besides, bundling liquid cooler with a CPU will indisputably increase popularity of such solutions among overclocking community. Intel-brand sealed liquid coolers will sport Asetek-made waterblock as well as a large 12cm fan and will be compatible with LGA2011, LGA1155, LGA1156 and LGA1366 platforms. The coolers will also be Intel's first cooling products sold separately from microprocessors. Pricing of the new coolers is unknown. Intel Sandy Bridge E microprocessors due in Q4 2011 are specifically designed for enthusiasts, who demand maximum performance. With liquid cooling systems it will be possible to minimize risks during tangible overclocking, something which essentially boost guaranteed performance of the new Core i7-3800/3900 chips compared to today's offerings even more significantly. According to a document with Intel's performance estimates of the Core i7-3960X processor (six cores, 3.30GHz, 15MB cache) seen by X-bit labs, the forthcoming chip for the LGA2011 platform is clearly - by up to 65% - faster than its predecessor Core i7-990X (six cores, 3.46GHz, 12MB cache) across a range of benchmarks despite of lower clock-speed amid the same amount of cores due to advantages of the Sandy Bridge micro-architecture over Nehalem/Westmere micro-architecture, quad-channel memory controller and other innovations. The rough estimates of performance advantage of the Sandy Bridge E-series Core i7-3960X compared to the model Core i7-990X are the following: +13% in Cinebench 1.5 +12% in POV-Ray 3.7 +36% in 3DMark 11 Physics Test +15% in ProShow Gold 4.5 +34% in SPECint_rate base 2006 +65% in SPECfp_rate base 2006 +111% in Sandra 2011B/Multi-Media FP sub-test +92% in Sandra 2011B/Memory Bandwidth FP sub-test While performance estimates hardly draw any clear picture about performance in real world applications, it is clear that the new Extreme-series chip from Intel will have a clear advantage over predecessor across a range of demanding programs. In Q4 2011 the world's largest maker of chips plans to introduce at least three different Sandy Bridge E-series microprocessors: two fully unlocked models with six cores, 15MB or 12MB of cache, 3.30GHz or 3.20GHz clock-speeds as well as one quad-core partially unlocked model with 10MB cache and 3.60GHz frequency, according to documents seen by X-bit labs. The enthusiast-class central processing units (CPUs) will have quad-channel memory controllers and will require mainboards based on Intel X79 core-logic with LGA2011 socket. Intel plans to refresh the LGA2011 lineup in Q2 2012. According to Intel's internal estimates, Sandy Bridge E-series microprocessors will account for about 1% - 2% of Intel's desktop processor shipments by volume in 2H 2011. By contrast, Sandy Bridge chips for mainstream PCs will represent a half of Intel's desktop shipments in the second half of 2011. source DJ
  22. Is this the Samsung Galaxy S III? Further Details Leak on Samsung’s Next Flagship Today we were greeted with a rather surprising tip in our inbox. An anonymous source forwarded a snapshot of a slide supposedly shown as part of an internal presentation on smartphone evolution to carrier and retail representatives. The slide in particular detailed the progression of Samsung’s Galaxy S line, culminating in an image of and some initial specs for the manufacturer’s next flagship device. According to the image, the Galaxy S III will feature a dual-core 1.8GHz Exynos 4212 processor (no quad-core just yet), 2GB of RAM, a 12MP camera, and a 4.6-inch Super AMOLED Plus HD display. That screen technology would provide HD resolution without falling back on the PenTile technology found in Samsung’s current generation of HD displays. Our source noted that these particular displays are not fully baked at this point in time. The camera would deploy the W750 BSI CMOS sensor and the phone will feature LTE and NFC support. Unlike the upcoming Nexus Prime the Galaxy S III will not use a curved display and the design language of the phone will apparently differ from the current Galaxy S lineup to avoid future legal issues. The GS3 is said to be even thinner than the GS2. While the handset will run on the upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich build, it will reportedly retain four physical buttons. It should be noted that this information is unconfirmed at this time, and we would be remiss to not point out a few obvious flaws in the actual image. The original Galaxy S is listed as shipping with an Exynos CPU and other typos can be found. Could this be a clever fake? It’s definitely possible. Take it with a grain of salt but the details seem pretty spot on in most respects. [Thanks to our anonymous friend!] Source DJ
  23. Microsoft's Streetside better accepted than Google's Street View Microsoft’s Streetside service, which allows users to see virtual views of streets and houses, in a similar way to Google’s Street View is only generating a fraction of the opposition. This time last year, 244 000 Germans had their homes Demanded be removed from the Street View service. But Microsoft has received fewer than 90.000 search requests so far. It plans to launch the service throughout Europe, including Germany, by the end of the year. In "Compared with other services, the acceptance of our service is great," Microsoft spokeswoman Dorothee Ritz told the Süddeutsche Zeitung a statement, citing a "growing appreciation for geo-data services." Another explanation might be that Streetside has generated far less of a buzz than when it did Street View expanded its service to Germany last year. Or that Microsoft has been more proactive in promising to protect Germans' privacy. Earlier this year it promised to make it easy for people to request their homes and property be blurred out online. It also delayed the introduction of the service. In 2010, Deutsch government and media figures expressed concern that Street View was a major infringement on people's privacy rights. Subsequently it emerged that Google had been inadvertently been sucking up personal data via wireless Internet networks on its Street View expeditions - a violation of law Deutsch. Eventually Google said it was no longer sending its camera cars out in Germany, although the company left open the Possibility that it would return in the future. Microsoft has been taking pictures on Deutsch roads since May of this year and this month is in several cities, including Berlin and Dusseldorf, the Sueddeutsche reported. Source DJ
  24. Hackers crack German government spy software Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club on Sunday said the German government’s controversial spy software contained dangerous security flaws while allowing potentially illegal activity. IT experts from the CCC hacked the so-called Trojan spying program during the weekend after obtaining a copy from unnamed sources. The Berlin-based group said the spyware appeared to be of shoddy quality and dubious application. "We are extremely pleased that a competent expert programming could not be found for this computer-bug use of morally questionable," the CCC said in statement. The hackers, who focus on IT security issues, lamented that the spy program did not provide elementary protection for the data it fished from people's computers. "The extracted screenshots and audio data are not completely encrypted, the commands from the trojan's control software are entirely unprotected," the group said. The CCC explained that this could lead to easy manipulation by a third party to incriminate someone under surveillance by the authorities Deutsch. The spyware then apparently Allows the government to engage in unconstitutional activities such controlling the camera and microphone of someone's computer. The hackers also expressed concern that the program sent the data culled it back to the authorities via a server in the United States. Put this potentially sensitive data of Deutsch citizens and companies at risk of exposure in a country that "Actively engages in economic espionage in Germany." Source DJ
  25. Sandy Bridge-E should hit C2 stepping after launch We knew that Intel's Sandy Bridge-E chips were big and complicated to make, but what we didn't expect was that Intel was going to continuously keep running into problems. The current C1 stepping is apparently having problems with VT-d, not a major issue for most consumers' maybe, but it's a huge problem when it comes to Xeon chips and as such Intel is working on the C2 stepping to fix this "errata". The only good news here for Intel, if you look at that way, is that its current Extreme Edition CPU's don't support VT-d, neither does the Sandy Bridge K-SKU CPU's, so as far as the consumer platform is concerned it looks like there won't be any further delays, but the initial batch should be C1 stepping rather than C2. The C1 stepping should be in production by now, or by the latest by next week, although we don't know when Intel will kick off production of the C2 stepping, but it's very possible it won't be until next year as qualification samples of the C2 stepping isn't expected until the very end of the year. As we've mentioned before, Intel will only certify the Waimea Bay platform for PCI Express 2.0 at launch, due to the fact that there aren't enough third party cards to test with. Some PCI Express 3.0 devices are still likely to work, but Intel doesn't guarantee compatibility. This makes us wonder if the current 6-series motherboard with Gen 3 switches will actually work properly once cards and more importantly, Ivy Bridge CPU's arrive. We also have some good news for those wanting to continue to use Windows XP, the Waimea Bay platform will be compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, although Intel won't be providing Rapid Storage drivers for the 32-bit version of XP and as such the standard Windows drivers will be handling things. The platform will also be supporting Windows 8 once Microsoft launches it. We can't but feel sorry for the motherboard manufacturers as well, as we're hearing that Intel has jacked the price of the X79 chipset up by 20 percent compared to the X58 chipset, which puts the X79 chipset somewhere in the US$70 region. This is of course the list price and with various discounts and what not, Intel might very well be selling it for far less. However, we're looking at a chipset that offers nothing new over the X58 chipset in terms of features and it's the size of any of the 6-series chipsets, i.e. it should be cheaper to manufacture than the X58 chipset which consists of the I/O Hub and the ICH10R. Now if there only was some competition… Source DJ
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