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Showing posts from March 19, 2015

DRM; Or How To Make 30,000-Hour LED Bulbs 'Last' Only One Month

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[From the Department of Advanced Societal Crapification Studies. *RON*]

Want to artificially decrease the lifespan of your product in order to keep your revenue stream intact? DRM's got your back, yo. It never asks, "Why?" It only asks, "Why not?"

Run out of refills on Proprietary Cat Waste Cleaning Product™ and a $200 luxury litter boxbecomes indiscernible from its $10 counterpart. Like generating a tremendous amount of waste along with your single cup of coffee? Hey, great, but your k-cup refill better be on brand or your expensive coffee maker will be about as active as the one you picked up from a garage sale for $2. Or less so, considering the second-hand one at least generated a funky burning smell before shorting out the kitchen wiring.

But this one tops both of those in what the installed DRM does to artificially shorten the lifespan of the product. (h/t Techdirt reader Kaden)

The IlluMask is a $30 "light ther…

Carpet-bombing Canadians with fear

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["How much longer can Canada's PM continue to cry terrorist to his political advantage?" Harper will extend the mission in Iraq and won't rule out a large expansion of the mission because... war. *RON*]

Antonia Zerbisias, Al Jazeera, 19 Mar 2015
Last fall, when he predicted that Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper would lurch from "mission creep to mission leap", Thomas Mulcair, leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, scored a direct hit.
On Wednesday just outside of Toronto, while addressing factory workers who make hydraulics electronics for the military, Harper announced that, when Parliament resumes next week, he'll be seeking its endorsement to extend Canada's six-month mission in Iraq, currently set to expire April 7.

Harper provided no details, nor did he rule out the possibility of leaping all the way into Syria.

"Let me just say the current authorisation laid open the possibility of go…

Burma's bizarre capital: a super-sized slice of post-apocalypse suburbia

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[Third-world surreality. "The purpose-built city of Naypyidaw – unveiled a decade ago this year – boasts 20-lane highways, golf courses, fast wi-fi and reliable electricity. The only thing it doesn’t seem to have is people, report." Meanwhile, from the plus ça change department: Myanmar sentences journalists over 'defamation'. *RON*]

Matt Kennard and Claire Provost, The Guardian, 19 March 2015

Driving through Naypyidaw, the purpose-built capital of Burma, it could be easy to forget that you’re in the middle of one of south-east Asia’s poorest countries. On either side of the street, a seemingly endless series of giant detached buildings, villa-style hotels and shopping malls look like they have fallen from the sky, all painted in soft pastel colours: light pink, baby blue, beige. The roads are newly paved and lined with flowers and carefully pruned shrubbery. Meticulously landscaped roundabouts boast large sculptures of flowers.

Does RCMP anti-environmentalist rhetoric make us safer?

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[As one of the comments to this article notes, it is perfectly clear what general trajectory Harper is on in terms of weakening our democratic institutions, including the slow erosion of free speech and increasing surveillance into our private lives in favour of an untrammeled corporatocracy. *RON*]
Andrew Gage, West Coast Environmental Law, 16 March 2015

If you are an advocate for climate solutions, if you oppose tar sands pipelines and supertankers, or aspire to have a more balanced Canadian energy policy, you may have recently learned that the RCMP characterizes you as part of a harmful “anti-Canadian petroleum movement” made up of “peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists.”Like many other “peaceful activists”, West Coast Environmental Law* was shocked to see our name in a recently released RCMP memo, and by the implication – with absolutely no justification or evidence – that our efforts to safeguard the environment from the impa…

Feds put protest activity under microscope in compiling national ’risk forecast’

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[Knowing CSIS is monitoring people who attend peaceful protests can't have anything but a chilling effect on citizens expressing their democratic right to legitimate dissent. This can only get worse with the expanded powers of CSIS granted by Bill C-51. Notice how "Citizen journalism that spreads alternative information into the mainstream through social media and other Internet forums" is characterized as a threat. It's also telling that the federal government planned for widespread protests in response to their decision on Enbridge. They were, after all, overriding a majority of the citizens, municipal governments, First Nations and the government of this province when they approved the pipeline and tanker plan. All the more reason to click here to demand the B.C. government adopt their own review for Kinder Morgan. And, while you're at it, help stop Bill C-51. *RON*]
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, 18 March 2015

Use o…

Complete shift to renewable energy within Canada’s reach, academics say

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[It's not a matter of whether or not it can be done. It's a matter of who to vote for to do it. *RON*]
Ivan Semeniuk & Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, 18 March 2015


Canada could shift entirely to renewable sources of electricity by 2035 and eliminate 80 per cent of its greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, says a group of Canadian academics that is aiming to spur government action on climate change.

To get there, they recommend a national carbon-pricing plan, and greater effort to move electricity produced from low-carbon sources such as hydro dams across provincial borders.

In a 56-page policy document scheduled for release on Wednesday, more than 70 scientists, engineers and economists say Canada is in a more favourable position than most countries for a switch to renewable power, including large-scale hydroelectric. The most significant barrier is not technical or economic, but a lack of political will, they said.

The report sa…

Pacific Future Energy proposes B.C. refinery for Alberta bitumen

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[Bomb trains with Stockwell Day advising as the safe alternative to pipelines - what could possibly go wrong? *RON*]
Brent Jang, The Globe and Mail, 18 March 2015


The backers of a bitumen refinery project in northwestern British Columbia believe their made-in-B.C. recipe for getting oil out of landlocked Alberta will win over skeptics.

Other high-profile energy projects – such as Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline – remain stalled amid widespread opposition in B.C., but officials at Pacific Future Energy say their solution is to build a refinery to address fears about tankers spilling oil into the Pacific Ocean.

While the Northern Gateway proposal calls for loading unrefined heavy oil into tankers for export from Kitimat, Pacific Future Energy is seeking to build an $11.4-billion (U.S.) refinery near Prince Rupert that would turn Alberta bitumen into products such as gasoline and diesel.

Stockwell Day, the former federal international trade m…