Labatt almost sues Montreal Gazette over dismemberer’s photo

They wisely backed off after a Twitter campaign to remind them of the Streissand Effect, but the makers of the least complicated beer in Canada very nearly sued the Montreal Gazette over publishing this photo from Luka Magnotta’s Facebook feed.

What’s the big deal though? It’s a picture of the killer in a club or something, holding a Labatt Blue. Surely even serial killers and snuff film makers who send dismembered body parts to political parties need to wind down too, after a long hard day with the bonesaw!

I’d covered this sicko when news broke, and I’m happy to report that Magnotta was caught after fleeing to Berlin and will not fight extradition back to Canada. Normally I’d be careful to say “alleged” killer, but the evidence is pretty iron-clad, and he’s admitted he “can’t stop killing”, so… yeah.

The victim whose body parts got sent to the Liberals and Conservatives was Jun Lin, a Chinese engineering student. The kid apparently had a promising career ahead of him before Magnotta made him famous. Bloody shame.

But seriously, who drinks Labatt anyway? It’s trying to be a less-offensive Coors Light or something, and failing miserably.

Geek Pride, Towel Day and Glorious 25th of May!

Pulling yet another overnight for work tonight, but I have every intention of taking my towel with me. Today marks three distinct geek holidays all wrapped into one!

Kylie has a post with an infographic up to explain Towel Day, a day to celebrate the life and works of Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. What about the other two, though? Well, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld marks the day as the Glorious Revolution, when people rose up to overthrow Lord Winder and succeeded, very temporarily, until history was rewritten shortly thereafter. You celebrate by hard-boiling an egg.

And Geek Pride Day celebrates geekery in general, but was timed to represent the release of the first Star Wars film. Star Wars is, of course, not the first major sci-fi event to develop a cult following as well as make it big in the mainstream, but it’s certainly one of the largest franchises in geek history.

How are you going to celebrate the geek trifecta today?

Invisible Children #Kony2012 filmmaker detained for masturbating in public

No idea whether he was on something or had a nervous breakdown or what, but apparently this is, um, a bit out of character for Jason Russell. The San Diego police department has taken him to a medical facility after he apparently went something close to crazy in public. Specifically, via NBC:

Jason Russell, 33, was allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something, according to Lt. Andra Brown. He was detained at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Riviera Road.

Brown said Russell was acting very strange.

“Due to the nature of the detention, he was not arrested,” she said at a press conference. “During the evaluation we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying.”

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Fukushima: it gets even worse

As though it wasn’t bad enough already. The NY Times reports that the meltdown may have already escaped containment and begun boring through the concrete floor, according to a computer simulation of the original accident.

Soon after an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11 knocked out cooling systems at the power plant, nuclear fuel rods in three of its six reactors overheated and slumped, the operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, has said.

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Security theatre exposed.

You know all that screening, profiling and backscatter nudie x-rays you have to go through to get from point A to point B via plane, all “for your safety”? It’s a sham. It’s security theatre. It’s not to make you safer, it’s to make you think you’re safer. Know how I know?

A loaded and undeclared .38-caliber handgun tumbled from a checked bag at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday, prompting police to detain the gun owner temporarily.

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Police in Oakland disperse crowd using a flashbang while they try to rescue Iraq vet

Way to go, you jackbooted thugs, you fascist assholes. I hope you feel really big now. These people were trying to rescue the 24 year old two-tour Iraq War veteran you just shot in the face with a tear gas canister — fracturing his damned skull, by the way — and you have the gall to toss a flashbang at their feet. The lack of empathy is staggering. I hope the 1% is willing to bring you into their ranks, because taking orders from them and oppressing peaceful protesters in such a violent manner is simple cowardice. Cowardice that should be rewarded monetarily, because you’re part of the very 99% whose throats you’re stomping otherwise.

Every protest that fights the establishment will have casualties. I hope this guy pulls through, because he’s given his body for his country three times over. It would be beyond sad if the assholes who took his life happened to be countrymen fighting for the rich.

Cuttlefish wrote a lullaby about these events. If I could find a tune, I’d use it to cry myself to sleep.

Unpacking the Astrology Vs Computers lawsuit

The title to this post is grossly reductionist, but it amused me. Regardless, I’m not planning on taking on astrology yet again, just the particular astrologers who are engaged in what I view to be a money-grab along the same lines as the now defunct SCO Group.*

No, no, this is the GOOD kind of astrolabe.

A company called Astrolabe was founded in 1979, the same year I was born (this is probably portentious). It’s an eight-astrologer outfit headquartered in Brewster, Massachusets. In 2008, this company bought from the then-failing Astro Computing Services the ACS PC Atlas, a computerised database of latitudes and longitudes for American cities with some historical time zone data.

On September 30th, Astrolabe decided the open-source Olson time zone database (a.k.a. tz, tzdata, or tzinfo) infringed on the copyrights they owned, and filed a lawsuit against Arthur David Olson and Paul Eggert (complaint as text) resulting in the database, which is relied upon by every computer running pretty well any variant of Unix including Linux and BSD for providing time-accurate historical data, being pulled and replaced with a stub with only data from 2000 onward. This includes a huge chunk of internet servers and services, and means any display of historical times pretty well anywhere on the internet is now potentially specious.
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Ada Lovelace Day: who’s your favorite woman STEM researcher?

While I’ve been so caught up in work and trying desperately to manage blog dramatics today, I very nearly missed writing this post. Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day when you pick a woman who has inspired great change in this world in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and post about how they’ve influenced your life. Lovelace herself, as the daughter of the tempestuous and erratic poet Lord Byron but raised by her mother in a strict scientific framework, is widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Yes, before computers. It’s no wonder she’s a no-brainer for my pick.
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