cats, cat signals, games, internet freedom

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Internet Freedom-- who's Freedom House?

Freedom House Downgrades Israel, Based on Palestinian Deceit
Gatestone Institute
This self-appointed, proclaimed monitor of freedom, not only cites Arab and radical propaganda taken off the internet as fact, with no checking, in order to declare Israel less free, but condemns the Jewish State for protecting itself from the ...

Read the full article at the link above.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Internet Freedom: The Role of the U.S. State Department

Internet Freedom: The Role of the U.S. State Department | Brookings ...

Internet Freedom at State
From 2008 to 2012, the State Department will have spent close to $100 million on internet freedom related activities. The grants are used to fund a range of activities. As the Department put it in its May 2012 grant solicitations (a detailed official version is available here): Since 2008, State and USAID have invested $76 million in efforts to advance human rights online. Through this call we intend to support at least $23 million in additional programs in the following areas: 1) anti-censorship technology, 2) secure communications technology, 3) digital safety training, 4) emergency response support for netizens and civil society organizations under threat, 5) policy and advocacy, 6) research and evaluation on the technology and political context for Internet repression, and 7) research on technology options for expanding the free flow of information in extremely constrained environments."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Internet Censorship in China

Wonder why so many oppose efforts by the UN to take control of the internet and impose censorship? Here's what is happening in China:

The Great Internet Firewall of China - Businessweek: "This time it’s the New York Times that has Chinese Internet censors raising the digital gates. Shortly after the publication of a lengthy article on Oct. 26 asserting that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family members “have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion,” the media company’s English and Chinese websites were blocked within China. Then came the official government condemnation. “Some reports smear China and have ulterior motives,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing when asked about the censorship of the story. China’s Internet is managed “in accordance with laws,” the spokesman said. This follows an earlier online clampdown on Bloomberg LP, which owns this website and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Both its website and that of Bloomberg Businessweek have been blocked since Bloomberg News published a report on June 29 detailing how the extended family of Vice President Xi Jinping came to control assets worth $376 million. Xi is expected to take over from Hu Jintao as China’s next top leader at a once-every-five year Party Congress, opening Nov. 8 . . .  The rise of the vibrant Chinese net—with 538 million Chinese Internet users and 274 million individual weibo or microblog accounts—has certainly complicated things for China’s censors, however. That has led to something of a game of cat and mouse between Chinese who post comments and link to articles that have been blocked elsewhere, and censors who quickly scrub them from the Internet after finding them. With the publication of the latest New York Times article on the premier’s family wealth, the censors seem to be winning: All Weibo posts related to the piece are quickly being removed from the Web."

Every totalitarian regime in the world resents the openness and freedom of the internet--and the UN is guilty of being a tool used by the most repressive governments.  Keep the internet free!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

German Pirate Party falls from grace

Pirate Party was once the leading advocate for internet freedom--

Germany: Pirate Party falls from grace
GlobalPost (blog)
Germany's once popular Pirate Party, one of Europe's leading internet freedom political organizations, has fallen out of favor with voters, according to Der Spiegel. The Pirate Party’s political philosophy was born in Sweden out of the controversy surrounding The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site that has played a game of cat and mouse...More recently, the party's philosophy has since taken root worldwide. It's political ideology has perhaps found the greatest success in Germany. . . .

Read the full story at the link above--the downfall of the Pirate Party has nothing to do with lack of support for internet freedom.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cat Fashion Show at Meet The Breeds?

Pics from the Cat Fashion Show at Meet The Breeds | Death and Taxes: ". . . My only regret was leaving early. About an hour after I left, the cat owners threw their yearly cat fashion show, which I had to witness through texts from an excited friend (“You just missed a cat dressed up as a prince that hated it so much he clawed his owner!!! hahahaha”). Thank goodness for the Internet! Today The Sun published a whole list of annoyed looking cats in costumes from Meet the Breeds. Here are our favorites. And here’s a link for Meet The Breeds so you can go next year. . . "

People, cats don't wear clothes! We have natural fur coats!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age

Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age « "Internet and Academic Freedom in the Digital Age" "During the talk, I stressed that there are two simultaneous phenomena occurring throughout the world. On the one hand, we see the enhanced use of technology to monitor, censor, and chill free expression, including through attempts to intimidate intellectuals and stifle independent thought via surveillance, threats, interrogations and detentions. According to the OpenNet Initiative, for example, 960 million Internet users still live in countries that impose worrisome restrictions on content — that’s 47 percent of all Internet users. On the other hand, we are also seeing incredible progress and intellectual ferment produced by the interdisciplinary cooperation between scientists, academics, human rights workers, diplomats, NGOs and businesses. Organizations like AAAS, for example, are using scientific advancements to document the destruction of villages in Darfur. Others, like the U.S. Institute of Peace, have an entire center devoted to science, technology and peacebuilding. All of these efforts are rooted in principles articulated in the U.S. Constitution and subsequently incorporated into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Protecting the right of freedom of expression is not merely an international obligation of states; it is also essential to the unfettered thinking that produces scientific advancement in the first place. The U.S. government has therefore made it a foreign policy priority to protect the Internet as a platform for, inter alia, scientific discourse. As I described in a recent editorial for Science magazine, we launched a coalition of like-minded countries to protect global Internet freedom. In addition, we have in place many programs to expand infrastructure investment and lower the cost of access for many people worldwide. . . . "

Monday, October 22, 2012

Curious Cat Discovers 2,000 Year Old Catacomb in Rome

Cat 'Archaeologist' Discovers 2,000 Year Old Catacomb in Rome | Care2 Causes: "This past Tuesday, a cat chanced upon a 2,000-year-old catacomb in a residential area of Rome near the Via di Pietralata. Mirko Curti and a friend followed the cat from their apartment building to a low rock cliff of tufa, a porous stone that has been used for digging tombs over millennia due to its softness. Curti and his friend heard the cat meowing and, following it, discovered themselves in a small opening in a cliff full of niches like those the ancient Romans dug into the rock to hold funeral urns. Around their feet was a telltale sign of where they were, human bones. . . . “The Italian government is always talking about the importance of our culture and heritage, but the fact is they have been cutting funds for the sector” — namely, funds for archaeological sites and archaeologists. It’s perhaps all the more reason to laud the cat who found the catacombs as it did so gratis, for no fees."

Stray cat discovers ancient Roman catacomb in a residential neighborhood
There so many ruins, ancient constructions, and grave sites in Rome that it's hard to do any construction project without running into some sort of priceless archaeological artifact. In fact, there are apparently so many yet undiscovered Roman artifacts and ...


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Felines: Fashion's New Muses

OK--so now I am a fashion muse--

Kimberly Couzens: Felines: Fashion's New Muses: "Perhaps the public profile of the female cat owner is on the upswing as well. Fashion darling Kim Kardashian recently got a fluffy white kitten named Mercy, Tina Fey graced the cover of Entertainment Weekly holding a cat, Allure magazine recently partnered with Iams for a promotional giveaway of gift bags of kitten food and accessories, and one fashion blogger arrived at fashion week dressed in head-to-toe cat prints. As a volunteer for a cat rescue group, I've come across a great number of cats that fit the description of fashion diva -- particularly the longhairs. After all, cats were worshiped in ancient Egypt and given jewelry in hieroglyphics, so modeling in Vogue is probably not much of a stretch for most. V magazine's Sarah Cristobal tells Buzzfeed that cats' personalities "do match the fashion set -- they're beautiful and graceful but also kind of finicky.""

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reddit founder on internet freedom and activism

Recommended: Reddit founder describes riding the ‘Internet 2012 Bus Tour’ to stir internet activism | VentureBeat: "Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian talked today about his passion for fighting for Internet freedom, taking on attempts to censor it and clamp down on intellectual property rights. At the CEA Industry Forum event, Ohanian described how he and a bunch of other tech friends got involved in the Internet 2012 Bus Tour because of last year’s political battles over online publishing rights. Ohanian, who left Reddit for a new startup, got involved in fighting the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) last year. Reddit, which now has 43 million unique users, was a big part of the campaign that stopped the anti-piracy legislation. That movement stirred his passion for defending startups and the Internet against politically motivated crackdowns. . . "

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Judge tells copyright troll: put up or shut up

Trolls, lawsuits, abusive legal process--

Judge tells copyright troll to put up or shut up on porn lawsuits | Ars Technica: "Pennsylvania federal Judge Michael Baylson shares others' skepticism about Malibu's tactics. "While Plaintiff’s strategy may sound rational on a superficial level, the joinder of multiple John Doe defendants could very well lead to litigation abuses," he wrote in an order last week. "The purpose of the joinder rules is to promote efficiency, not to use federal district courts as small claims collection agencies, by putting economic pressure on individuals who do not have substantive liability." And Judge Baylson has come up with a clever way to put Malibu's arguments to the test. Out of the dozens of John Does sued by Malibu in Eastern Pennsylvania, five have filed objections to Malibu's subpoenas seeking their contact information. One of them filed a declaration specifically denying he had been trading files on BitTorrent. Another raised a number of legal objections to the subpoenas. Judge Baylson has decided to move forward with a "bellwether trial" against these five defendants to determine how credible Malibu Media's accusations actually are. If Malibu can prove that the five Does really did infringe its copyrights, the judge is likely to let the lawsuits proceed against the other defendants. If, on the other hand, Malibu's evidence proves flimsy, the judge will view the lawsuits against the other defendants with skepticism. Copyright trolls often drop their lawsuits when faced with defendants with the resources and inclination to fight back. But Judge Baylson strongly hinted that Malibu shouldn't try to back out this time. "The Court assumes that Plaintiff will welcome this opportunity to prove its claims promptly," Judge Baylson wrote in last week's order. But, he warned, "if Plaintiff decides instead to continue to 'pick off' individual John Does, for confidential settlements, the Court may draw an inference that Plaintiff is not serious about proving its claims, or is unable to do so."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Best Story About The Web This Year

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. --Abraham Lincoln, (attributed) 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

Why The Internet Cool Kids Think Gawker Outing Reddit's Violentacrez Is The 'Best Story About The Web' This Year - Forbes: "On Friday, Gawker published a piece that the Internet Cool Kids had been waiting for. In it, Adrian Chen unmasked one of the volunteer moderators of Reddit, a site for sharing news, info, pics and links that, like Facebook and Google, sends a lot of traffic to news sites and thus is a place in which the Internet Cool Kids are very interested. This particular Reddit user, who went by the handle Violentacrez, created and moderated some controversial sub-Reddits, including Jailbait, a place for sharing photos of sexy, underage girls, . . ."

Monday, October 15, 2012

"A conference sponsored by the United Nations in Dubai this week bears careful watching"

The internet is NOT broken but you wouldn't know it watching the United Nations and others try to grab control and censor the internet--

Internet is not broken | Bangkok Post: news: "A conference sponsored by the United Nations in Dubai this week bears careful watching. The good news is that Thai representatives at the ITU Telecom World 2012 are well aware of the hidden agenda of the conference. The bad news is that some influential governments and self-interested groups want to use the meeting to undermine the freedom of the internet. Russia and China will try to ram through changes that will reduce the freedom of the internet to the censorship of the lowest common denominator of the most repressive United Nations members. We have been here before. In the 1980s, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) was hijacked by zealots who were determined to break the back of a free press. Their soothing, seductive line was that the pre-internet media was controlled by big western interests and must be reined in to provide an opportunity for "third world" media to get their message across. Journalists should be licensed by government, to ensure approved messages were heard. What they meant, of course, was that a free press threatened dictators and tyrants by making information freely available.The Unesco hijacking eventually ended, and the unit went back to its proper tasks. But the idea of government control of media on a global scale lives on. . . . This is what lies behind this week's attempt to control the internet by a small but sophisticated group of countries. The would-be controllers of the Dubai conference have worked in recent months in two ways. The first is to revive the reliable anti-Americanism of Unesco's 1980s propaganda. The US "controls" the internet, goes the second tack, by controlling the main machines that run the network of networks. The world deserves to share this control. The problem with this argument is obvious: No nation, group or individual ever has been banned from the US-run internet, which is run on a strict laissez-faire basis. But the goal of the "reformers" is precisely to start using sanctions on those they judge to be bad. . ."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The War on Internet Freedom: An Update

Internet Freedom - constant vigilance is required:

The Tyee – The War on Internet Freedom: An Update: " . . . As the International Telecommunication Union's December negotiations move closer, more worrying developments are coming to light. OpenMedia recently posted about some of the main concerns raised by the secretive negotiations, which threaten to change the Internet as we know it. This week a report by Rohan Samarajiva at LIRNEasia confirmed these concerns. Looking at the "ETNO" proposals, and the more complex and insidious shift in definitions proposed by Egypt on behalf of the Africa Region, Samarajiva explains the potential impact on Internet freedom and on developing countries. The European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO) are concerned about the success of online content providers, and are trying make sure they can cash in on that success. Samarajiva explains that the ETNO proposals would designate content providers as "call originators" who would have to pay Big Telecom a rate based on how much bandwidth the content uses. Content providers like YouTube or Hulu already commercially negotiate the leasing of network capacity from Internet service providers and pay for quality control. However giving this the force of law as the ETNO proposals require "turns the concept into a government-sanctioned leveraging tool operators can use to extract high sums from content providers with no room for negotiation." The report highlights concerns that have also been raised by the Centre for Democracy and Technology: that the ETNO proposals are particularly harmful to the developing world because accessing content will become more expensive as content providers have to pass these extra costs on to Internet users. Some content providers might choose to simply stop servicing regions with customers that have limited buying power. . . "

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cat Video Awards Shows as Art

More on Cat Videos as Art:

Awards shows finally treat cat videos like the art they are — Online Video News: ". . . there are enough fans out there to make cat videos one of the Internet’s most enduring and popular genres of web content: “No matter how successful you are here on the Internet on your own terms, it’s de rigueur that you still have to do something with a cat,” blogger and Google employee David Marx was quoted as saying to Wired. Oddly, though, it’s only this year that we’ve seen any efforts to bring some structure to the cat video universe. Normally, the marketplace is as unpredictable as the animals documented, but in 2012 two separate initiatives set out to honor this content. . . ."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Google Virtual Brain Technology Recognizes Cats

The composite image at left represents the ideal stimulus that Google’s neural network recognizes as a cat face. 
Credit: Google and Technology Review

Google Puts Its Virtual Brain Technology to Work - Technology Review: "This summer Google set a new landmark in the field of artificial intelligence with software that learned how to recognize cats, people, and other things simply by watching YouTube videos (see "Self-Taught Software"). That technology, modeled on how brain cells operate, is now being put to work making Google's products smarter, with speech recognition being the first service to benefit."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion?

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? [Classroom Drug Educational Film] from Jason Willis on Vimeo.

Catnip is all the rage with today's modern feline, but do we really understand it?

Is it a source for harmless kicks, or a potentially crippling addiction? Is it a tool to expand one's consciousness, or a downward spiraling path that can eventually lead to insanity?

Once and for all the facts about this controversial substance are frankly discussed, in the long-lost drug educational film that never-was, "Catnip: Egress to Oblivion?".

Written and Directed by Jason Willis -

© 2012 by Jason Willis

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Internet Freedom map and report

photo of map showing internet freedom

If you don't live in a "green" country, you probably don't have internet freedom. More info--

Freedom in the World | Freedom House: "Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication, is the standard-setting comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the survey ratings and narrative reports on 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories are used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders to monitor trends in democracy and track improvements and setbacks in freedom worldwide.  The Freedom in the World data and reports are available in their entirety on the Freedom House website."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Internet Cat Video Film Festival Redux

Cat Videos Get Their Moment at Minn. Film Festival
 ... The Walker Art Center, a well-regarded museum of modern art in Minneapolis, on Thursday is presenting its first "Internet Cat Video Film Festival" to showcase the best in filmed ...With about 70 videos over 60 minutes, the Walker is mounting a social experiment as much as a film festival. At issue is whether cat video lovers used to gorging on the clips in the privacy of their homes will do so in public - an online community of fellow aficionados interacting face to face for the first time. "It is a cultural phenomenon that raises some interesting questions," said Katie Hill, the Walker program associate who first suggested the festival. But Hill, a self-described "art historian and cat lady," was quick to add: "I'm not a behavioral psychologist, I'm not a sociologist. I just think they're funny and cute, and I think a lot of other people do too."

If you somehow missed this--you can still catch the videos--

Internet Cat Video Festival « Open Field: "View the playlist of videos screened at #catvidfest here after the event. And click here for a playlist of honorable mentions. While normally viewed alone on a computer screen . . .  Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together. . . ."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mauled NY man: I wanted 'to be one with the tiger'

Mauled NY man: I wanted 'to be one with the tiger' - News - "New York City police say they plan to arrest a man mauled by a tiger at the Bronx Zoo. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Saturday that 25-year-old David Villalobos told investigators that he deliberately leaped into a zoo exhibit because he wanted to ‘‘be one with the tiger.’’ Browne says the hospitalized victim will be charged with trespassing"

Correction: he wanted to be eaten by the tiger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

US won’t surrender Internet control to UN agency

Thank God somebody in Washington has some sense--

Official: US won’t surrender Internet control to UN agency - The Hill's Hillicon Valley: "U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer vowed that the United States will not compromise its principles on human rights, free speech and other issues during negotiations of an international telecommunications treaty in December. "If there are things that are completely objectionable, that violate our fundamental views about human rights, about free speech, about economic opportunities--if they fundamentally violate it--then we will just say no and absolutely we won't proceed," said Kramer, who is leading the U.S. delegation during the negotiations, at a press conference at law firm Wiley Rein on Friday."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How To Get Out of Your Mobile Phone Contract - #13

#13 is the "killer"--

10-13 - How To Get Out of Your Mobile Phone Contract | "13. Even the carriers won't charge a dead person. If you die, you're out. If you'd rather not die, but still want out, switch your phone and contract over to the name of someone who might soon cross over. Upon his or her demise, you provide proof and you're home free. You're also a horrible, horrible person."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scientists discover gene that gives tabby cats their markings

Scientists discover gene that gives tabby cats their markings - Chicago Cats | "The discovery was made by researchers who contributed to the sequencing of the genome of the domestic cat, a project that was completed in 2007. They were especially interested in the gene or genes that change the typical tabby pattern from vertical, tiger-like stripes to the less common blotchy . . . The British called silk from the region “atabi,” and applied the word “tabby” to the cats that had markings resembling the stripes on the silk.

There are several different patterns for tabbies. Classic tabbies have blotches in addition to stripes, which often appears to be a swirl of stripes on the cat’s sides. Generally the stripes are very well defined, and this pattern is a favorite among cat owners. This pattern is caused by mutations in the Taqpep gene.

The mackerel pattern is the most common, and is characterized by stripes that run vertically down the cat’s sides and one wide, dark stripe down the cat’s back and up its tail. The backs of its feet are dark in color; usually the same color as its stripes, and there is no ticking, or the agouti “peppering” that is so common to wild animals."

WCIT - Google News

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feline - Google News