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Ultraforge Online Magazine
The Journal About Everything and Nothing
Current Encrypted Transmissions 
2nd-Jan-2006 07:10 pm - Abominari
Note: The story that follows is a work of short fiction and also a horror story with some subtly disturbing overtones. It also contains a moral if you are adept enough to spot it. However, I will place it behind a cut for those that might not want to read about such things.-ultraforge

"All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
and worms cover you."-Isaiah 14:11


The Horror of the AbominariCollapse )
Abomination
1st-Jan-2006 06:35 pm - Boozin' It Up On New Year's Eve!
I went to a party last night! Wanna' see some highlights?

Minor Incidents of DebaucheryCollapse )

I'm feeling drained.

I think I'll turn in early tonight.

Happy 2006, people!
Ultraforge 15: Wink
30th-Dec-2005 01:00 pm - Woman Marries Dolphin
I'm just...astonished†...by this:

Till death do us part? An unusual wedding ceremony was held in the southern resort town of Eilat on Wednesday, as Sharon Tendler, a 41-years-old Jewish millionaire from London married her beloved Cindy, a 35-years-old dolphin, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The groom, a resident of the Eilat dolphin reef, met Tendler 15 years ago, when she first visited the resort. The British rock concert producer took a liking to the dolphin and has made a habit of traveling to Eilat two or three times a year and spending time with her underwater sweetheart.

"The peace and tranquility underwater, and his love, would calm me down," the excited bride said after the wedding.

After a years-long romance, Tendler decided to embark on the highly unusual path of tying the knot with her beloved dolphin. Last week, she approached Cindy's trainer Maya Zilber with the extraordinary request.

Zilber accepted the challenge and "talked the idea over with the fellow," who apparently consented.


Okay, stop right there for a second. How does a dolphin give consent to be married?

'I'm not a pervert'††

And so on Wednesday afternoon, the thrilled bride, wearing a white dress, walked down the dock before hundreds of astounded visitors and kneeled down before her groom, who was waiting in the water.

Cindy, escorted by his fellow best-men dolphins, swam over to Tendler and she hugged him, whispered sweet nothings in his ear, and kissed him in front of the cheering crowd.

After the ceremony was sealed with some mackerels, Tendler was tossed into the water by her friends so that she could swim with her new husband.

"I'm the happiest girl on earth," the bride said as she chocked back tears of emotion. "I made a dream come true, and I am not a pervert," she stressed.

Tendler said she and her newly wed husband will probably spend their wedding night bowling.

"But what kind of children would they have?" one of the children in the crowd asked his father.


They're going to spend their wedding night bowling? How does a dolphin go bowling? And it's rather sad that a father brought his kid to witness this farce. Can you say "emotional scarring"? Poor kid.

†-Link credit to littlebee55.
††-Yeah, right. Whatever.
Ultraforge 2: O RLY?
29th-Dec-2005 02:05 pm - The Chronic of Narnia
Hahahaha! How many geek points do I earn for posting a link to "Lazy Sunday" by SNL?
Ultraforge 11: Laughing XD
29th-Dec-2005 12:45 pm - I Knew It All Along
Creative people have more sex, study says:

People who are artistically creative, and those who are violent or impulsive, have more sexual partners, new research suggests.

In a survey of 425 British adults, artistic output and reckless behavior were positively linked to mating success. The findings were published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.

Researchers tested participants' personalities for a set of traits commonly found in schizophrenics. Earlier research showed that artists score as high as people with schizophrenia in measurements of recklessness, and show a similar tendency to "magical thinking," according to the study.

The researchers wanted to explain why negative traits associated with schizophrenia persist in society "at significant levels." The study authors suggest that some people with these traits are able to channel them into creative activity instead of succumbing to a psychiatric disorder. This creative activity may, in turn, result in a greater number of sex partners.


A greater number of sex partners? Or possibly a greater amount of sex with the same sex partner if one is monogamous, I'm thinking.

Memo To Self: Be sure to write more poetry and take up painting after the marriage.
Ultraforge 13: Big Grin
27th-Dec-2005 09:25 pm - Steel Cage Match@discussion_hell
Wow. Lot's of drama going on in the discussion_hell right now. If you don't like watching a no-holds barred e-slugfest between amesha_spentas and madincleveland(with all the attendant non-work safe image macros), you should stay away from that community.

On the other hand, if you enjoy watching such things then you should run down there and join up so you can have a ringside seat.

And to those of you who are already members, who would you say is winning this ugly little battle of wills?
Iron Man
26th-Dec-2005 06:55 pm - My Skills Are Improving
WARNING: THIS JOURNAL IS PATROLLED BY KILLER CYBORGS FROM HELL

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Yes, I made that silly cartoon cyborg thing. As you can see, I'm slowly learning how the Microsoft GIF Animator works.

I have a new toy to play with. More to come in the future, I'm sure.
War Machine
25th-Dec-2005 07:55 pm - Google The World
I downloaded the free version of Google Earth today. My fellow cyborgs, this thing is wicked cool. Click on a screenshot to enlarge:















This is just the free version, people. Google also offers Google Earth Plus and Google Earth Pro.

Sometimes, Google makes my head spin. I wonder what they'll develop next?
Wormhole
Check it out:

The Christmas Tree cluster received it nickname when amateur astronomers, first viewing it through small telescopes, observed its triangular outline of stars. It looked like a tree bedecked by dazzling holiday lights. The new infrared image reveals a different view: ribbons of gas and dust swirling like snow blowing in frigid winter winds and adorned by a festive collection of brilliant stars. The complex and breathtaking pattern of nebular emission traces a massive molecular cloud from which the cluster formed only recently.

Astronomers constructed the new image using data from two infrared cameras on Spitzer: the Infrared Array Camera, developed by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer, developed by the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory. The dramatic appearance of the Christmas Tree cluster in infrared light results from heat radiation from ribbons of glowing dust that swaddle dozens of newborn stars just beginning to emerge from their natal cocoons.

-View The Christmas Tree Cluster at SPACE.com


Season's greetings, people!
Homestead
24th-Dec-2005 07:15 pm - Introducing Wafah Dufour
Okay, check out this young woman:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


Do you know who that is? That's Wafah Dufour, formerly Wafah Bin Laden. Yes, she's the niece of Osama Bin Laden. According to some rumors she's been romantically linked with incredibly unfunny comedian Pauly Shore:

And now, a quick trip to the bottom of the barrel of celebrity sightings: Self-described comedian Pauly Shore and Osama Bin Laden's aspiring pop-star niece, Wafah DuFour, cozied up at Banana Republic's ACRIA benefit in East Hampton over the weekend.


Now the aspiring pop-star niece of the terrorist mastermind is seeking acceptance in the West and doing a scantily-clad photo shoot for GQ Magazine:

"Everyone relates me to that man, and I have nothing to do with him," Wafah Dufour, the daughter of bin Laden's half brother, Yeslam Binladin, says in the January edition of magazine, referring to the Al-Qaida leader.

"I want to be accepted here, but I feel that everybody's judging me and rejecting me," said the California-born Dufour, a law graduate who lives in New York. "Come on, where's the American spirit? Accept me. I want to be embraced, because my values are like yours. And I'm here. I'm not hiding."

Dufour, who adopted her mother's maiden name after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that have been blamed on bin Laden, appears in several provocative photos in the magazine.

In one, she is sprawled on a bed wearing lingerie and a feather boa. In another, she appears in a bubble bath filled tub.

The pictures are likely to be considered obscene by conservative Muslims in and outside of Saudi Arabia where women are required to be veiled.

Asked if she would like to perform her music in the Middle East, Dufour says her mother, Carmen Dufour, would be too afraid that "someone would want to kill me."

"Listen, I would love to raise consciousness. Maybe women could hear the songs and realize that I'm doing my dream and hopefully they can, too," she said.

In the interview, Dufour says she would not date a fundamentalist Muslim and that she cried hysterically when she witnessed the attacks on New York while staying with her mother in Geneva.


So far, I'd say she seems sincere.

Personally, I hope this young lady becomes a huge star. Think of the look on the face of every Islamic terrorist who sees the their hero's niece acting like a Westerner. That would be fucking priceless.

And now, time for a completely unscientific poll.

Poll #639854 A Completely Unscientific Poll RE: Wafa Dufour

Is Wafah's apparent Westernized outlook a slap in the face of Islamic Fundamentalism and her terrorist uncle?

Yes. A major slap in the face.
5(41.7%)
Yes. A minor slap in the face.
3(25.0%)
No. A few imams and mullahs might grumble but that's about it.
1(8.3%)
No. Nobody cares.
1(8.3%)
Not sure.
2(16.7%)

Should Wafah be accepted for who she is despite the fact that her uncle is Osama Bin Laden?

Yes, but she'll never be able to escape the shadow of her terrorist uncle.
2(18.2%)
Yes, but she'll have a hard time living down who her family is.
4(36.4%)
Yes, and she'll eventually win acceptance.
4(36.4%)
No, even though she seems like a nice person.
0(0.0%)
No. Blood is thicker than water, after all.
0(0.0%)
No. I don't trust her one damn bit.
1(9.1%)

Since she wants to be perceived as sexy, rate Wafah's appearance on a scale from 1 to 10:

10-I worship at the altar that is Wafah's vagina!
0(0.0%)
9-Let's go steady, girl!
2(25.0%)
8-I'd hit it twice!
0(0.0%)
7-I'd hit it!
2(25.0%)
6-I'd do her just for the bragging rights.
2(25.0%)
5-I'd fuck her just to piss of her uncle Osama.
1(12.5%)
4-I'd need put on some serious beer goggles first.
0(0.0%)
3-I'd need some whiskey and vodka in order to be able to get down to business.
0(0.0%)
2-There's not enough alchol in the world.
1(12.5%)
1-Put her in a burkha, please!
0(0.0%)
Encased In Saline
24th-Dec-2005 06:10 pm - Alas, Poor Yorick...
Apparently, the castle that inspired Hamlet by William Shakespeare is haunted:

"Windows and doors fly open, stacks of paper disappear and reappear elsewhere, and tables set themselves," she said.

Most of the employees have reported strange happenings at the restaurant, such as two seeing inexplicable gray shadows waft by and another claiming to have seen the ghost of an old man in the kitchen, Pedersen said.

Whatever they are, they seemed to be good-natured and don't frighten the guests.


Poll #639836 The Haunting(?) of Kronborg Castle

Do you think Castle Kronborg is haunted?

Yes.
3(33.3%)
No.
3(33.3%)
Not sure.
2(22.2%)
Don't care.
1(11.1%)

Do you care?

Yes.
2(25.0%)
No.
5(62.5%)
They should have waited until October to do this story.
1(12.5%)
Fthagn!
21st-Dec-2005 07:00 pm - AOL Gets In Bed With Google
America Online and Google have signed a $1 billon deal. This deal is expected to give a serious boost to AOL and parent company Time Warner. This is all just part of a continuing industry battle for more email users.

I personally have mixed feelings about AOL. I used to be on the pay version of AOL for about six months due to a free trial offer. I spent a lot of time in their War On Terror chatroom but I eventually got tired of them. Why? The subscription-based version of AOL sucks, that's why. There were too many security loopholes and if I ever had a problem, I would inevitably get some Pakistani with a thick accent whenever I called tech support. They had something called AOL wallet. It was like a cheap knock-off of PayPal and I wasn't about to put any of my hard-earned scratch in that thing. To be honest, I'm liking the free version of AOL a whole lot better. And I'm sure Google can show them what serious fuckin' internet is all about.

The internet business wars are heating up. The winner is us.
The Channel
21st-Dec-2005 11:45 am - The Return of the Micronauts
During the late 1970s, I used to have a collection of Micronauts. These things were wicked cool because you could take them apart and reassemble them in new combinations, as the parts were interchangeable. One of my favorites was the Acroyear:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Some kids had collections that I was envious of:

Freaking huge collection picture!Collapse )

Guess what? The Micronauts are back. A movie based on The Micronauts comic is in the works and Palisades Toys has reissued Micronauts in Series 1 and Series 2 editions. More on the upcoming movie can be found here.

More on the Micronauts can be found at Innerspace Online.

I just gotta' say it. If they actually get a Micronauts movie done, it had better...not...suck.

All pictures from MicroCollection.net.
It's what I do...
20th-Dec-2005 05:35 pm - Girls, Dolls, and...Sociopathy?
Researchers have found a widespread pattern among girls. It seems that a lot of them enjoy disfiguring their Barbie dolls.

Selected nuggets of information:

"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

Researchers from the university's marketing and psychology departments questioned 100 children about their attitudes to a range of products as part of a study on branding. They found Barbie provoked the strongest reaction, with youngsters reporting "rejection, hatred and violence," Nairn said.


My guess is that this is a recent phenomenon. The underlying cause is probably fairly complex but I think I have some idea of what could help to promote feelings of "rejection, hatred and violence" from the Barbie dolls:

Take a peek?Collapse )
Ultraforge 20: Heh
Pop singer Robbie Williams reportedly wears a corset while jogging, according to scources close to him.

Others famous for wearing cosets are pin-up girls Bettie Page and more recently Dita Von Teese, wife of shock rocker Marylin Manson.

M'kay, whatever.

~shrugs~
Ultraforge 2: O RLY?
Ha ha ha ha ha! Check out this news video of a chubby little robber getting seriously pwned by the very clerk he was trying to rob at knifepoint!
Ultraforge 11: Laughing XD
18th-Dec-2005 09:55 am - Huge Bronze "Statue" Stolen
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


See that thing? It's a bronze statue(?) created by artist Henry Moore and it was stolen recently.

You know what's so stunning to me about the theft of this piece of postmodernist crap? Not so much the fact that losers in Britain are mourning it's absense but the fact that anyone thought it was worth stealing at all.

My fellow cyborgs, British culture is slowly circling the drain:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Ultraforge 18: Whatever
16th-Dec-2005 04:20 pm - LiveJournal Upgrades Everything
Well, take a look a this announcement from the LiveJournal higher-ups. The part that really caught my eye?

Give More!
If this puts you in a giving mood, we've got great news for you.

Starting today, when you buy someone a gift of paid time, you'll automatically give them the userpic add-on for free! That means when you buy a gift of 12 months paid time, the recipient also gets upgraded to 100 userpics for those 12 months. If you buy them a 2 month paid account, they get 100 userpics for 2 months, and so on.

The Give More offer only runs for a limited time -- from today until Wednesday December 21st at 12noon PST (-0800 GMT). So head to the Gift Shop and Give More!


I think I know what I'm getting for pacificocean when I get home from work this evening.
Ultraforge 15: Wink
Virgin Galactic has announced plans to build the first commercial spaceport in New Mexico. This is especially interesting when coupled with Space Island Group's plans to build industry on the high frontier. Both of these companies deal with Low Earth Orbit(LEO) commercial space endeavors. In another story, the European Space Agency recently announced that it is developing a plasma engine that could pack much more thrust than conventional ion engines. Who knows? The commercialization of the space race may extend past LEO if the corporations ever get plasma engines of their own. All we need is some way to halt the bone decalcification that the human body undergoes during prolonged exposure to zero gravity.

Do you want to know what the 22nd century will be like? Your descendants will live in a time when it's very crowded up there...
Starships
13th-Dec-2005 09:50 pm - Gorillaz In Concert
Gorillaz: Demon Days Live


I used to dismiss Gorillaz as nothing more than a novelty. I think I was wrong. The virtual band's sound seems to have matured on their latest album. I'll have to watch more of this over the weekend or something.

Your thoughts on Gorillaz?

-Official Artist Site
Ultraforge 22: Peekaboo
12th-Dec-2005 04:55 pm - Overtime
My main job is going into overtime "until further notice", they informed me today. 12 hour shifts, people.

The upside: Overtime pay.

The downside: Did I mention 12 hour shifts until further notice?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Bye, everybody! Got to run to my second job!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

I'm so tired.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us
Ultraforge 8: Angry
11th-Dec-2005 08:45 pm - The Current Iraq Picture
As things stand, the Iraqis are getting ready to elect a new parliament and the U.S. Senate is unsure about a troop withdrawal from Iraq, basically waiting to see what the outcome of the election will be. Amid this, the four christian Peace activists are still missing, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is back, and Saddam Hussein is actually managing to stir up trouble for the election process from behind bars. Furthermore, Iraq looks like it won't pump as much oil as hoped due to terrorist attacks on the Iraqi oil infrastructure.

Elsewhere in the region, Iran is seriously trying to see how much they can piss off the rest of the world and a Saudi official is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

There's a lot riding on this election, people. But more than that, if the Iraqis want democracy they had better grow some balls and fight for it.

Anybody got some good news about the war they'd like to share with me?
Ultraforge 16: Analyzing
11th-Dec-2005 06:15 pm - "Aslan is on the move!"
I saw "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" today. It was definitely a very good movie. I'm amazed at what they can do with CGI these days. And just as expected, the movie had very strong Christian overtones. Huge Spoiler Alert If You've Never Read The Original Book!Collapse )

Predictably, there's already a big controversy surrounding this movie because of the Christian overtones. Some people are bothered by this and call the movie "manipulative". Furhermore, they're saying this movie appeals to "the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America - that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right"...mainly because Aslan is willing to fight for what he and his believe in.

My thoughts?

First, these are the same kinds of people who told the far religious right that the Harry Potter books and movies wouldn't turn kids into practioners of sorcerous rituals (and I don't dispute that thesis, myself) so why are they suddenly worried about a movie with Christian overtones? It's just books (which have been around for far longer than the Harry Potter series) and movies, right?

Secondly, the large battle scene was metaphorical for several things. World War II comes to mind. The White Witch's army could easily have been a stand-in for the Axis Powers. A war of words and ideas is another metaphor that comes to mind. The Reverend Billy Graham (who may be retiring very soon) calls his religious revivals "Crusades". Unlike the Crusades of the Middle Ages, Graham's Crusades have never shed a drop of blood.

Finally, these critics of Narnia's "overt Christian influences" and "religious overtones" are basically oversensitive and intolerant Christophobic weenies and probably hypocrites, as well. If this movie had been a metaphor for Mohammed and Islam, I doubt they would be railing against this movie much. More likely, they probably would have been praising it's "diversity" and "multi-culturalism".

In the pages of this journal, I'm going to be working on a science-fiction novel and some short stories in the same setting. Believe me, I'm going to put a bunch of conservative and religious influences in it. I would like to see it get published. I even hope it makes it's way onto the big screen one day, too. Stay tuned for "Galactic Conclave", my friends.
Wormhole
11th-Dec-2005 01:55 am - Penguins Behaving Badly
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Special thanks to jennersen for showing this to me.
Ultraforge 11: Laughing XD
9th-Dec-2005 05:00 pm - Falling
It's true what they say. Your life really can flash before your eyes. Especially when you're laying face down in the sky and your chute refuses to open under any circumstances. That is what's happening to me right now.

They also say that you never see the bullet that has your name on it. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I of all people, would find myself in this position. When I was in the army, I was a paratrooper. One of the best. Now, I'm a sky-diving instructor. Sadly, the odds have finally caught up with me.

I remember my early life. I remember the Cub Scouts. I remember looking out for my younger siblings. I remember clawing my way onto the list of honor students. My folks were so proud of me.

I remember my first date and the courage and preparation it took to ask her to go out with me. I remember my first fistfight with a rival. I can never forget the time I wrecked the car shortly after getting my licence. Dad was pissed off but he was also glad that nobody got hurt.

I remember joining the army and my first jump. I was completely nervous. I remember the war and my first mission. More nervousness. Some of my friends never made it back but we were still successful. I did manage to take some shrapnel on that one. Got a Purple Heart for it, too.

After the war, I attended college on my GI bill. I met my wife there. We have two children. A third is on the way.

At least my students' chutes managed to open.

It's all true. You rarely see it coming and you usually get a chance at a quick review of the highlights. I'm especially glad I told my wife and kids I loved them before I left this morning. The little things are more important than you realize. Not so little, after all. I try one last attempt to get my chute to open.

Nothing.

I close my eyes and say a silent prayer.
Ultraforge 20: Heh
9th-Dec-2005 04:00 pm - The Narnia Juggernaut
Narnia is coming. Can you say "huge impact", everyone? Marketing + Movies + Christianity:

With Friday's release of the film version of "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the marketing push to promote the sale of Narnia books and other related merchandise is reaching a crescendo - and nowhere more so than in Christian retail stores.

Christian allusions can be found throughout the best-selling fantasy novel, which follows the adventures of four young siblings during World War II who discover a world of fauns, centaurs, unicorns and talking animals inside an armoire.

The heroic lion Aslan, a symbol of Jesus Christ, battles the White Witch, who is seen by some to represent a servant of Satan if not the devil himself. The residents of Narnia refer to a human boy as "a Son of Adam" and to a girl as "a Daughter of Eve."

The movie, which is expected to be a hit, already has boosted sales of the seven-title Narnia series published by HarperCollins.

While the publishing company is distributing the C.S. Lewis books and other related merchandise to general retailers, its Zondervan division, a Grand Rapids-based publisher of Bibles and other religious books, is responsible for getting Narnia items into Christian bookstores and gift shops.

Large, elaborate in-store displays at many stores depict wardrobes, lions, lampposts, knights and other Narnia items and characters. Besides the original books, Christian retailers are stocking their shelves with a variety of movie tie-in products, from music CDs to figurines.

The last time a movie's release had this kind of an impact on sales at Christian retail stores was when "The Passion of the Christ" came out early last year, said Kirk Blank, chief operating officer of Munce Group, an Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.-based marketing group that represents 610 independently owned Christian retailers.

While a huge commercial success, the film's graphic depiction of Jesus being tortured and crucified earned it an R rating. There will be more marketing opportunities with the family friendly, PG-rated "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

"We're hitting a much bigger audience," Blank said.


Christianity is back with a vengeance. It's a marketing juggernaut. This translates to it becoming a cultural juggernaut, as well.

Merry Christmas, everybody!
Ultraforge 13: Big Grin
9th-Dec-2005 02:05 am - The Headless Gecko Boogie
Want to win $10? All it will cost you is a trip to jail and your self-respect:

PORT JERVIS, N.Y. — A 19-year-old man was behind bars this week after allegedly biting the head off a gecko as part of a bet.

The teen was being held in the Orange County Jail on charges of felony animal cruelty, police said.

He was at a friend’s home Sunday when someone bet him $10 that he wouldn’t bite the head off a gecko, police said.

Though the teen won the bet, it wasn’t long before police showed up and placed him under arrest.


Part of me says, "Felony charges? I had no idea that biting the head off of a slimy little lizard was such a serious offense!"

However, the other part of me enjoys seeing this kid pay the price for making an ass out of himself. I'm sadistic like that. It does my heart good to know that retards like this are being kept off the street and away from my place.

Stupid, stupid little bastard.

~shrugs~
Ultraforge Main
7th-Dec-2005 04:25 am - Europe vs. Google
Google: The greatest internet search engine in the history of the world so far. Everybody knows just what Google is and what it's capabilities are. You love Google. I love Google. Everybody loves Google so much they want to serve it breakfast in bed after a night of passionately making hot naughty love to Google. Everybody that is, except for the European Publishers Council:

European publishers warned Tuesday that they cannot keep allowing Internet search engines such as Google to make money from their content.
"The new models of Google and others reverse the traditional permission-based copyright model of content trading that we have built up over the years," said Francisco Pinto Balsemao, the head of the European Publishers Council, in prepared remarks for a speech at a Brussels conference.

His stance backs French news agency AFP, which is suing Google for pulling together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news websites.

"It is fascinating to see how these companies 'help themselves' to copyright-protected material, build up their own business models around what they have collected, and parasitically, earn advertising revenue off the back of other people's content," he said.

"This is unlikely to be sustainable for publishers in the longer term."

The news section of Google's website doesn't display ads. But the Mountain View, Calif.-based company depends on visitors clicking on ads in other parts of its website to generate a substantial portion of its revenue, which totaled $4.2 billion through the first nine months of this year.

Responding to Balsemao's remarks, Google spokesman Steve Langdon said: "Search engines do not reproduce content. They help users find content by pointing to where it exists on the Web." Google removes websites from its news index if a publisher doesn't want the content listed, Langdon said.

Balsemao said consumers were drawn online by free content but this needed to change, he said.

"The value of content must be understood by consumers so that new business models can evolve. Industry must have legal certainty and the confidence that their intellectual property will be protected.

Balsemao said that good quality content produced by professionals would be the "gold content" for new media.

Last March, Agence France-Presse claimed the "Google News" service infringed on AFP's copyrights by reproducing information from the websites of subscribers of the Paris-based news wholesaler.

It is seeking at least $17.5 million (14.85 million euros) in damages. AFP says Google is breaking rules on the "fair use" of copyright material because its news site looks similar to the one seen by AFP subscribers.

Google News, which debuted in 2002, scans some 4,500 news outlets and highlights the top stories under common categories such as world and sports.

Many stories carry a small image, or thumbnail, along with the headline and the first sentence or two. Visitors can click on the headline to read the full story at the source website.

Yahoo has a similar service, though it uses human editors and pays some news sources, including AFP and The Associated Press, for rights.


I don't know about you. But to me it seems like the Europeans are arguing from a weak premise here. They're feeling just a witsy bitsy hurt in the butt that they didn't think of something as awesome as Google before America did and thus reap the attendant profits and prestige of Google. Not that it will stop them from winning this lawsuit necessarily. Where are international business lawsuits tried exactly? That's my question. From what little I've been able to glean, choice of venue in a transnational case can be a thorny matter. I have a feeling that if the case is tried somewhere in Europe, Google could very well lose. Another possibility is that Google's lawyers (who probably don't come cheap and certainly know their trade backwards and forwards) could tie this thing up in court for years. Yet another possibility is that Google and the Europeans could reach an out of court seettlement.

In any case, if you own shares of that much vaunted Google stock, you might want to keep an eye on this and be prepared to sell some of it if you start to see your stock decline. Hey, nothing lasts forever, especially in the business world, right?

Say it with me, boys and girls: Eurotrash scum. Once more...Eurotrash...scum.

Never forget that.
Ultraforge Main
6th-Dec-2005 04:40 pm - Just Thought I'd Share A Classic
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Bug-Eyed Earl rules. Hahahaha!
Ultraforge Main
5th-Dec-2005 06:40 pm - The French Face Transplant Redux
I suppose you've heard about the world's first partial face transplant by now. There's just a little bit of a scandal going on. The doctor who performed the transplant denies that his patient tried to commit suicide before having a large chuck of her face mauled off by her pet Labrador Retriever in circumstances that are unclear at this point. Umm, bad dog? Sorry for the morbid curiosity but what could make her dog do that sort of thing?

~shrugs~

It gets even more gruesome. It turns out the donor of the facial tissue in question hanged herself hours before the groundbreaking operation. The doctor is calling the media coverage odious (and I guess he would include me in that description now, as well). It also appears the patient had been keeping a low profile after being mauled by the Labrador.

Interesting bit:

One of the woman's daughters reportedly told French media that the dog had tried to wake her mother and had had no intention of harming her - a scenario that a local dog trainer said was possible.

"The dog undoubtedly wanted to re-establish contact with (its) master, in any way he could," said Pascal Duplouy, who had no contact with the animal in question.

"It's true that when a dog is in a state of panic, it can scratch and scratch and scratch his master's face, to try to wake her, without realizing the harm it's doing," Duplouy said.


I thought I was just going to be writing about a straight medical breakthrough when Googling up the research for this entry but my morbid curiosity just can't stay away from the weird circumstances surrounding this operation. It's become a weird news piece, as well.

A few thoughts:

1) I'm just guessing but I'd have to say that the woman probably tried to commit suicide (pills, most likely) and her Labrador sensed something was wrong. This caused the poor dog to try to wake her up by latching onto her face and shaking her vigorously. And now she wears a chunk of face from a more successful suicide victim. What are the odds?

2) The patient is taking anti-rejection drugs, of course. Doctors advice: Don't miss a single dose of the anti-rejection medicine. It could be very embarrassing if she was eating lunch at some cafe and her face just sort of fell off while she was munching on a croissant. Just ask Michael Jackson. He'll tell ya' all about that kind of thing.

3) I should have been a coroner or something. Problem is, I don't like to touch dead tissue unless I bought it at the meat department in Wally World.

Okay. I'm just a little bit on the morbid side of things today. Go ahead and slap me. You know you want to. Like you never stared at a traffic accident on the freeway or anything like that.
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5th-Dec-2005 05:35 pm - Fake Goat Burning, Anyone?
Ooooookay. Here's something rather strange for your reading pleasure:

Weird ritual of the burning goat

A giant straw goat erected every year in a Swedish town to mark the festive season has been burned down - again.

Police in the town of Gavle said the 13-metre (43 ft) high billy goat has been set on fire so often it has almost become a Christmas ritual.

It was the 22nd time it has gone up in smoke since the town, north of Stockholm, began the tradition in 1966.

Two men were seen running from the blaze, one of whom was disguised as Father Christmas, said police.

Police spokeswoman Margareta Olander said officers received a call late Saturday evening to report the goat was on fire.

"In just a couple of minutes only a sooty wooden skeleton remained," police spokeswoman Margareta Olander told Associated Press.

Several measures have been tried to protect the goat with varying degrees of success, including fire-proofing, security guards and a web camera.

Just 10 of the goats, which are built in the town's central square, have survived beyond Christmas since 1966.

Most have been burned, sometimes within hours of being built during the first week of December.

The culprits are seldom caught. However, a 51-year-old American tourist spent 18 days in jail after being convicted of setting it alight in December 2001.

-Original Article


What is it about these fake yuletide giant goats that would make people want to burn them? My only guess is that a fake giant goat isn't the same thing as a house full of kids and is therefore a much more acceptable target for losers with too much free time on their hands. Seriously, if I ever got a wild urge to burn a large flammable structure down, I know a giant fake goat would be my first choice. No joke, either. Of course, I have an actual life so this si never going to happen.

On the other hand, haven't these people ever heard of leaving a flaming bag of dog crap on someone's porch, ringing the doorbell, and running away to a safe distance to watch the poor bastard stamp it out with his foot?

Oh, well.

~shrugs~
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