Showing posts from October 22, 2014

The True Cost of YouTube's Library of Everything

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[YouTube pays people to post third-rate bad quality copies of music and videos without providing any compensation to the copyright holders. Why are they allowed to do so? *RON*]
By Michael Sugarman, Motherboard /, 20 October 2014

TheKhanly’s YouTube wares are counterfeit. The sound quality of this user's upload of Follow the Leader, the breakout album from nu-metal mavericks KoRn, is low. The artwork is grainy. No credits are given to Fred Durst, Ice Cube, and Cheech Marin, who all have guest spots on the record.

As you could imagine, this phenomenon has wide scope, with YouTube being a safe haven for countless albums and films. After a decade of uproar over piracy platforms, from Napster through Bit Torrent, why is it that YouTube and Google seem to get a free pass? Why has piracy on YouTube only grown more pervasive, with access to just about anything easier than ever? The answer begins with Google’s mission: the quest to archive ev…

B.C. should grow food, not McMansions, warns celebrity farmer

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[Joel Salatin says it will take a food crisis before we realize the need for change. He score 200% in the common sense department. *RON*]

By Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, 19 October 2014

California’s drought might just be the “zombie apocalypse” that gets B.C. thinking seriously about its food security, according to celebrity farmer Joel Salatin.

Salatin — a successful American farmer, former reporter and author of nine books on the food revolution — is able to produce far more food per acre than industrial-scale farms using techniques that make raising beef, chicken, eggs and even pigs palatable to the neighbours.

B.C. communities such as Langley and Surrey could activate thousands of acres of unproductive land in small parcels, he says, but it won’t happen until the fresh food crisis brewing in California really hits us in the pocketbook.

“No civilization on the brink of collapse has ever changed fast enough to avert collapse,” said Salatin.

People d…

Elizabeth Warren Was on Fire This Weekend. Here Were Her 5 Best Lines.

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[I keep saying that I hope she'll run for President simply because it would elevate the quality of the televised debates. *RON*]
By Sam Brodey,, 20 October, 2014
It's good to be Elizabeth Warren. The senior senator from Massachusetts spent her weekend campaigning for Democrats in Minnesota, Colorado, and Iowa, and by all accounts, she tore it up, and got more than a few callsto run for president. (Breaking: she still insists she isn't going to.) These were some of her biggest red-meat lines from the campaign trail:
1. "The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it. We can whine, we can whimper or we can fight back, and we’re here to fight back. We know what we’re fighting for and what we’re up against. We’ve got our voices, or votes and our willingness to fight. This is about democracy, about your future, and about the kind of country we want to build.”
2. "[W]ho does this government work for?…Does it…

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through "Duck Dynasty" Is About to Be Texas' Second-in-Command

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[Meet Dan Patrick, the next lieutenant governor of Texas. *RON*]

—By Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, 21 October 2014

As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He's even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.

A former sportscaster who once defended a football player who'd thrown a reporter through a door (Patrick believed it wasn't the journalist's job to do "negative reporting"), Patrick became a conservative talk radio host in the early 1990s—Houston's answer to Rush Limbaugh. In 2006, he parlayed his radio fame into a state Senate seat—and kept the talk show going. In office, he proposed paying women $500 to turn over new…

Scientists Just Discovered How To Determine If Water Contamination Comes From Fracking

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[This should help although, of course, scientific standards of proof slide enormously depending on whose ox is being gored. *RON*]

By Emily Atkin, Think Progress, 21 October 2014
A team of U.S. and French scientists say they have developed a new tool that can specifically tell when environmental contamination comes from waste produced by hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

In peer-reviewed research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology on Monday, the researchers say their new forensic tool can distinguish fracking wastewater pollution from other contamination that results from other industrial processes — such as conventional oil and gas drilling. Fracking is a controversial oil and gas well stimulation technique that uses a great deal of water, mixed with chemicals, to extract oil and gas from miles deep underground. Once the rock is fractured by the high pressure fluid, fossil fuels follow the fracking fluid…

Revenue Canada's political activity audits biased, think-tank says

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[Broadbent Institute report says not all charities are being treated equally by federal audits. Well, duh. Good to see the issue being raised by a group with some heft, however. *RON*]

By Dean Beeby, CBC News, 21 October 2014
The Broadbent Institute is calling for an independent probe of the Canada Revenue Agency, saying tax auditors are targeting critics of the Harper government while letting right-leaning groups off the hook.
The self-styled "progressive" think-tank released a research report Tuesday citing recent public statements by 10 "right-leaning" or "conservative" charitable groups that it says are political, yet the groups reported no political activities in their mandatory annual statements to the tax agency.

The report says many charities that have opposed government policies have been hit with political-activity audits while other groups, such as the C.D. Howe Institute and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute,…