The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Secret video of the failed North Korean missile launch

Kim Jon-Un may be calling for some heads to roll, after this secret video of North Korea's failed missile launch has been leaked, but I think we can all breath a momentary sigh of relief after watching their launch attempt.

As a technologically advanced national sometimes the proven methods are the ones the great leader insists his military uses, not always to the best result.  Have a look for yourself:

Click here to watch.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is digital content priced to high? In an word: Yes

English: Third generation Amazon Kindle
Image via Wikipedia
Let's review the history of a television show such as the 1990's show Homicide: Life on the Streets. It was a successful show with a long run that had plenty of advertising revenue attached to it. Enter the golden age of DVDs. You have a show that has hauled in a sizable profit from the first run, then more from syndication, and then a good dollar stream fromVCR tapes. Then, new life is breathed into the income stream with the advent of DVDs. You're looking for a pricing model and you figure $49.99 seems right, and what a bonus, you have seven full seasons. You're really looking at $350 in retail revenue for the entire box set.

The problem with this model is that it excludes many buyers who are not willing to pay the high price, notably myself. If it had been more reasonably priced, say around $20 per season, I would have bought in. And likely so would have thousands of others. In my opinion,  many of the DVDs were priced far too high, and many, many sales were lost as a result.

Fast forward to the age of digital content. I'm thinking about buying James Patterson's new hit book 11th Hour from Amazon. I can buy the Kindle version for $14.99 or the hardcover version for $18.77. If I purchase the hard copy version, I can read it, give it away, loan it out, or even sell it. If I purchase the digital version ... well I can read it. End of story.

 Publishers for years have bemoaned their high business costs, notably the printing and distribution costs. The claim always has always been that these two costs contributed to the lion's share of the book's cost. Somehow this "lion's share of the costs" amounts only to a miserly $3.78 savings for the consumer purchasing the digital version which virtually eliminates the two largest costs.

When digital products are priced too high, piracy in encouraged. Back in the era of CDs, prices rose to a whopping $24.99 for a new release CD, a price that help kill the entire market. iTunes hit the magic number of 99¢ a tune (now a slightly overpriced $1.29) that made the purchase of a song cheap enough enough to make piracy too bothersome for most people.

In business, it's adapt or die. The major content companies have long history of resisting change (remember it took a computer company to introduce viable digital music sales) of any kind. As well, there is often the mentality of getting the maximum dollar per sale, sometimes to make up for piracy. A great example of doing it right is the Netflix pricing model. At $8 per month, it's hard to imagine the need to illegally download any of the content they offer.

My solution is simple.  Lower prices, increase sales, reduce piracy. It's called the new math.

Read: First crack in digal content wall

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The first crack in the digital copyright wall? Company sells "used" iTunes songs

iTunes icon
Image via Wikipedia
My biggest complaint about digital consumer content is the lack of personal ownership. When I buy a Kindle book from Amazon the content is effectively stranded on my devices. I cannot give it to another person (except for the lame two week loan Amazon allows) after I have read the book. Likewise with music and video content. Contrast this with the hard copy counterparts. I finish a book and can pass it on to a friend. I buy a CD and realize I don't really care for it and give it to someone. I recall bringing in a box full of DVDs to a resaler and walking out with a pocket full of cash. I had watched all the DVDs and had no further use for them.

Finally, someone has challenged the ownership concept and is offering used iTunes songs and MP3s for sale. Is it legit? That's a question that will be answered in the courts, since they are being sued by Capital Records, EMI and I'm sure there are many more lawsuits to follow.

The company, ReDigi, claim they have researched the law and what they are doing is completely legal. Capital Records and EMI beg to differ. ReDigi says the legal action "reflects a profound misunderstanding of how ReDigi works and have no merit." The company says it uses a "Forensic Verification Engine" which determines if the uploader truly owns the rights to the music. They sell the tracks for a fraction of the original cost.

I tip my hat to ReDigi and hope this is simply the start of a movement allowing consumers to take back ownership of their content, just like in the good old pre-digital days. Read more here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ten Mark Wahlberg quotes – from 9/11 to George Clooney

Kristian20 via Flickr
We've read about tough guy Mark Wahlberg's apology about his 9/11 quote, so I thought it would be a good time to have a look at Marky Mark's other bits of wisdom:

In case you missed it Marky on 9/11: "If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn't have went down like it did." 

•"All that running around in my underwear put money in my pockets. I can focus on working in interesting movies without having to worry about supporting myself." 

•"Clooney is just a pretty boy, man, and that's it, OK? I carried him on my back long enough. I'm on my own." 

•"I have more money now than I know what to do with." 

•"I never lie. I believe everything I say, so it's not a lie." 

•"When I was a rapper, the groupies didn't have to try too hard with me. Just show up at the hotel." 

•"Immortality... Is that a super power?" 

•"He's a legend and I respect his work, so I went down and paid my respects when Charlton was on the set. He was nice but I think he lied a little. He said it was an honour to be in a movie with me, but I don't believe it." 

•"I'm trying to work as hard as possible to be the best person I can be, to everybody. I mean, my faith and the love that I have in my heart is something that I want to share and spread." 

•"Hockey is probably one of the most expensive sports. You have to have a place to play. You have to have the proper equipment. You have to have the transportation to get there."

Ten viral videos you must see including drunk woman at office party

This is a video list put together by BuzzFeed, featuring ten must see items. I'll start the ball rolling with number one: The drunken girl at the office party. Been there, seen that? Probably at one time or another in your life you'll have encountered something similar. The real tough part for the woman in the video must have been the next day. Video hangover.


See the complete list on BuzzFeed here.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Five crazy things found in people's rectums

1. This week police in North Carolina found a 10 inch gun hidden in a prisoner  Michael Leon Ward's  bum. An initial strip search failed to find the weapon. The gun was not loaded, but was in working condition. No word on where he hid the bullets.

2. A 60-year-old man told authorities that thieves shoved entire Coca-cola bottle in backside.  Let's hope he didn't waste this on a lame diet Coke.

3.  Maybe you remember the Seinfeld episode where George's father ends up with a pasta statue up his rear. This is life imitating TV. A Georgia lawyer claimed he was showering with his cell phone and managed to slip and fall and land right on top on his ringing cell phone. He's not taking any calls at the moment!

4.  The kitchen sink approach: This Florida man packed 17 Oxycodone pills, 1 cigarette, 6 matches, 1 flint, 1 empty syringe with an eraser over the needle part, 1 lip balm container, 1 condom, 1 CVS receipt, and a coupon. I guess he forgot the car at home,

5. This woman in the Netherlands either ingested an entire giant squid, or madame, you have an entire set of cutlery up you ass! Indeed she did. Obviously planning a dinner party.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What if the United Nations was just a Facebook page?

united nations, geneva, switzerland
Image by :: Radar Communication :: via Flickr
The United Nations is an incredibly bureaucratic and expensive way for 193 member countries to sit down now and then and yap. In fact. let's face it: It's an insane asylum. When countries with the worst human rights records sit on the Human Rights Committee, you know that madness prevails. With its $5-billion yearly budget and 63,000 people on its payroll we've managed to create an international monolith so large that is almost impossible to respond effectively to any situation. In face, their feeble attempt at justifying their numbers is even incorrect. From the UN website:
"The number of people employed worldwide by the UN in all capacities - nearly 16,000 people by the UN Secretariat and some 63,450 by the entire UN system - is remarkably small for a system of organizations engaged on a global scale in virtually all areas of human welfare, from promoting peace to furthering development, to organizing humanitarian relief. By comparison: the United States Department of Education employs nearly 71,000 people; the city of Ontario, Canada, has over 80,000 public employees; and the Coca Cola Company has 74,000 employees."
The UN in action
The first problem with this justification is that Ontario is a province in Canada, not a city. Great research for an organization filled with researchers. And frankly, does the U.S  Department of Education even need to exist, given that education is a state controlled issue? Comparing itself to another inept bureaucracy, doesn't really give it any more credibility. Coca Cola!!!

Yes, the UN does lots of good work as well,  but what if the organization was simply a Facebook page? Think of all the fun with the friends and groups restrictions. And the apps. How about a Peace Keeping app? Want to send the troops somewhere? Just create a simple member's poll. And on and on.

Obviously, this isn't really possible, but what a great Facebook Timeline it would produce!

"I have a dream" – oops that just cost $10. Watching Martin Luther King's heroic speech is going to cost you

Want to watch a video clip of Martin Luther King giving his inspirational "I have dream speech"? Better get your wallet out. You won't find video or audio of this speech on YouTube or other portals on the interweb. The reason is the King family, along with British music publishing conglomerate EMI Publishing, owns the rights to the clip. You can buy the audio clip directly from the family on their website.

This is not new information, but it does have a certain resonance at the moment given the controversy over the crippling Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Interestingly, the King family has protected its copyright quite well without SOPA in placs, which makes you wonder just how badly the entertainment industry botched their digital content strategies. Given that it took a computer company, Apple, to create a realistic model for the sale of their digital content, this is no great surprise.

I tried to show you the speech being used in an Alcatel commercial, but if was removed as I was embedding it! 

 Here's what King had to say about capitalism:
 "The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. It can make men so I-centered that they no longer are Thou-centered. Are we not too prone to judge success by the index of our salaries and the size of the wheel base on our automobiles, and not by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity? Capitalism may lead to a practical materialism that is as pernicious as the theoretical materialism taught by Communism."

 I have a dream and SOPA ain't part of it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Republican candidates speaking in tongues – Video of Jon Huntsman speaking Madarin

We know that Mitt Romney speaks French and that this fact has insanely been used in attack ads against him. Why does knowing and speaking a foreign language make anyone less qualified to be president of the United States? In fact, I think it makes them slightly more qualified, implying a certain worldliness to their character.

Thirty former presidents were at least bilingual. Teddy Roosevelt and John Adams were masters of six and wine loving Thomas Jefferson spoke ten languages. This brings us to Republican candidate Jon Huntsman. Remarkably, he speaks Mandarin, an incredibly difficult language for any English speaker to learn.

Huntsman learned the Chinese dialect while on a Mormon missionary trip in Taiwan. He proved it at a town hall meeting in South Carolina, which unfortunately left some people, including the Donald, cold.

"I didn’t think the Mandarin thing worked at all. I thought it was ridiculous,” Donald Trump told Fox News. “And frankly, I think Huntsman’s stance toward China is – it’s almost like he’s an Obama plant.”

Former head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele Huntsman commented on MSNBC,  “I thought he was ordering takeout.” Ouch!

Here's a clip of Huntsman speaking near perfect Mandarin:


Given that China is the most populated country in the world and one of the U.S.'s largest trading partners (love it or hate it),  it might be a good idea for some of the other candidates to start brushing up on their Mandarin .

For those with that extra intimate relationship, this  might be fun place to start:


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Obese patients sent to the zoo for CT scans

Patients in Britain who are too obese to fit in the hospital CT scanners are now being shipped over to the zoo to be scanned, according to British newspapers. As obesity becomes more and more of a problem, the number of patients too obese to fit in the scanners is increasing and finding oversize scanners for them to fit in is becoming an issue.

Warmblood horse being scanned  at the University of Pretoria

The problem with the story is that it appear to be an urban legend.  The London Zoo has denied scanning obese human patients.The Royal Veterinary College did acknowledge that they have been approached about the scans. Their spokesman said: "We have been approached on several occasions but have always said we are only licensed to perform scans on animals.’ It is not known whether any veterinary colleges are seeking licenses to perform the procedure." 

Is this happening in America? It appears that it might have  been attempted. The American College of Radiology (ACR) reported on their website that a doctor in New York referred a patient to the Bronx Zoo for a scan:

When 407-pound Jennifer Walters kept complaining of acute back and leg pain, her doctor made an unorthodox referral for a diagnostic scan: Go to the zoo. Aware that the New York City woman was too large to squeeze into an MR scanner, the physician reasoned that if the nearby Bronx Zoo could image hippopotami, elephants, rhinos, and other large animals, surely it could accommodate her.
Outraged, Walters complained to the New York Post, whose editors promptly turned her private humiliation into a public joke that circled the globe. One media source spoke for the insensitivity of many when it ran the headline: "Fat Lady Sent to Zoo for MRI." [editor's note: ACR chose not to link to that particular article] "It's humiliating," Walters would later tell a reporter. "It was like I was an animal."
"Executive director of the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians Joel Pond "routinely fields calls from radiologists and other physicians looking for supersized scanners for their plus-sized patients. Individually, the calls typically don't annoy Pond, but they add up. It didn't help when the NBC television comedy "Scrubs" recently depicted a morbidly obese character being told to go to a zoo for a diagnostic scan." 
CT scan image
"Very few zoos own a CT machine — only one of which is known to me — and none own MRIs," Pond says. "And that one zoo, along with veterinary specialty practices that do have this larger equipment, obtained them from the human side. Zoos do not have any special imaging equipment for large animals that is not already available in the human field. Our 400-pound gorillas are imaged with standard radiograph machines and would not fit into any CT or MRI we could currently use. No matter how you slice it (pun intended), a 40-inch-wide ape will not fit through a 27-inch opening in a CT scanner." 
 "Recollecting one incident, Pond comments, "A radiologist called and said, ‘We have a large person that we'd like to bring over to see your CT.' I told him we don't have one. There was this silence, and then he said, ‘Well, my colleague here, Dr. So and So, said they brought patients to your zoo all the time. And I said, ‘No, you can't bring patients to a machine that we don't have.'" Pond says some physicians offer to airlift or transport their patients themselves. When Pond politely turns them down, some get angry."
Even though there is a real problem here, we'll have to put the urban legend stamp on this one.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Pollution haze cause China to disappear in NASA satellite photos

In North America we love to bitch and complain about the smog in Los Angeles, but compared to China it's almost walk in the country. These two NASA images, taken one day apart, show what the area around Beijing looks like when the pollution particle cloud descends, virtually obscuring the region from satellite views.  In fact the pollution level was so bad on January 10 this year, that the Beijing airport was forced to cancel 43 flights and delay 80 more in the morning hours, when visibility dropped to 200 meters. 
                  January 10, 2012                                                                           January 11, 2012                   Credit: NASA
 From NASA: 
One major constituent of haze is particle pollution, such as dust, liquid drops, and soot from burning fuel or coal. Particles smaller than 10 micrometers (called PM 10) are small enough to enter the lungs, where they can cause respiratory problems. The density of PM10 reached 560 micrograms per cubic meter of air on January 10, said the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau. By contrast, U.S. cities exceed air quality standards when PM10 concentrations reach 150 micrograms per cubic meter. 
But most of the pollution that makes up haze isn’t PM10; it’s finer particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5). These particles can embed themselves deep in the lungs and occasionally enter the blood stream. The fine particles are highly reflective, sending sunlight back into space.
The Chinese government does not currently measure PM2.5, but the U.S. Embassy in Beijing reports their measurements hourly in a Twitter feed. On the morning of January 10, PM2.5 measurements were off the scale, though by afternoon they had dropped to moderate levels. The Beijing Environmental Bureau will start releasing PM2.5 measurements sometime before January 23, the Chinese New Year.
Read more from NASA here.

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North Koreans who didn't cry for Kim Jong-il sent to labour camps

When North Korea's fearless leader Kim Jong-il passed away the country mourned with great, orchestrated public displays of tears. But for those few who could not make the tears pour out, it looks like the labour camps are their next stop. Disturbing reports out of the impenetrable kingdom are saying that citizens who did not shed tears or had the guff to avoid the public mourning sessions altogether, are being shipped of to labour camps for six months. And if they happen to say a bad word about successor Kim Jong-um, they are being shipped off to the camps as well.

 Newspaper Daily NK claims a source has told them that 'criticism sessions' have now finished and tough sentences are being given out. The source is quoted as saying, "The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labour-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn't seem genuine. Every day from 7am until 7pm they have vehicles for broadcast propaganda parked on busy roads full of people going to and from work, noisily working to proclaim Kim Jong-un’s greatness."

It's reassuring to think that this  country with nuclear weapons is in the hands of such enlightened leadership. Hail to the king!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Saudi man decides to sell son on Facebook for $20 million

The government has just shut down your illegal debt collection business and denied you welfare because you're over the age limit. Times are tough for this Saudi man. The natural solution here is to sell your son on Facebook for $20-million to avoid "living in poverty".

Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry claims selling his son is the only option to continue providing for his wife and daughter. He does have some tough conditions for the sale, though. He must know what city the buyer is in before he will complete the transaction. Thoughtful dad.

 It's unlikely Facebook will allow the sale to go ahead, but you have to wonder about this dad of the year's moral compass, even if this turns out to be a publicity stunt. On the other hand, I'll bet Junior can come up with some real interesting father's day gifts for the old man, perhaps a small IED.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Video: 31 megapixel cameraphone with remote wireless lens – nice try but why?

WVIL's 31 megapixel camera/phone,  shown at the CES in Las Vegas, with a detachable wireless lens (which has the CMOS full frame sensor built in) is obviously too good to be true, and indeed it is a fake. This is quite a pathetic attempt at creating a viral video, but then again the lameness of the attempt may encourage it to go viral.

 The brain trust behind the project is design company Artefact, whose website says they are "dedicated to creating the future for humanity." Humanity has been served.


Video: A guide to safe texting while walking (for dummies I guess)

The New York Times is worried about your ability to text and walk so has created this safe texting video for you to watch. This will make you a better and safer person. Really. Not kidding. The maker of the video had this to say:
"I wanted to make a movie about this issue for years, and got started after a discussion with my friend Benny Safdie on the proper, courteous way to text while walking. By mastering the etiquette of texting, I hope we can gain more control over our increasingly electronic lives. Let’s stop acting like hollowed-out zombies, with BlackBerrys and iPhones replacing eye contact, handshakes and face-to-face conversations. It’s time to live once again in the present and simply be where we are." 
 Next up: Safe Texting in the Bedroom.


Ron Paul to other candidates: Get the hell out of the race

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...
Looking presidential already     Wikipedia
MANCHESTER, NH - JANUARY 10:  Republican presi...
Ron Paul on the go      Getty Images via @daylife
Mitt Romney scored a convincing win in the New Hampshire primary, but Ron Paul was no slouch either, coming in second well ahead of the rest the pack. Paul had this to say in his speech on the night of his silver medal win, "I called Governor Romney a short while ago before he gave his talk and congratulated him because he had a clear-cut victory, but we are nibbling at his heels. There was another victory tonight. He had a victory, but we have had a victory for the cause of liberty."

It was a good showing for Paul who frankly has done much better than I would have believed. Still there is a long way to go in the race for the office of president. That's what makes this call by Paul's campaign for everyone, except Romney, to get the hell out of the way, somewhat comical.  Here's the full statement issued from the Paul camp:
"Ron Paul tonight had an incredibly strong second-place finish in New Hampshire and has stunned the national media and political establishment.
When added to Paul’s top-tier showing in Iowa, it’s clear he is the sole Republican candidate who can take on and defeat both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. 
The race is becoming more clearly a two-man race between establishment candidate Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, the candidate of authentic change. That means there is only one true conservative choice. 
Ron Paul has won more votes in Iowa and New Hampshire than any candidate but Mitt Romney.
Ron Paul and Mitt Romney have been shown in national polls to be the only two candidates who can defeat Barack Obama.
And Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates who can run a full, national campaign, competing in state after state over the coming weeks and months. Ron Paul's fundraising numbers -- over $13 million this quarter -- also prove he will be able to compete with Mitt Romney. No other candidate can do all of these things.
Ron Paul is clearly the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney as the campaign goes forward.
We urge Ron Paul’s opponents who have been unsuccessfully trying to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney to unite by getting out of the race and uniting behind Paul’s candidacy 
Ron Paul has the boldest plan to cut spending, a dedication to protecting life, and a lifelong dedication to the Constitution and limited government. He also has the necessary support to campaign nationwide against Mitt Romney.
Our campaign is already planning ahead for South Carolina, Florida, and beyond. Soon Ron Paul will head to South Carolina to begin a feverish round of campaigning.
Ron Paul is in this race for the long haul. And he is ready to fight.
See you on the campaign trail."
And a long trail it is.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The sale of used underwear banned in Zimbabwe

Ladies' underwear advertisement, 1913
Could this underwear be sold in Zimbabwe?                Wikipedia
I don't believe there is much of a market for used underwear in the western world, but there apparently is in impoverished Zimbabwe.  The government is having no part of it and has passed a law forbidding the sale of used undergarments.

 Statutory instrument 150 of 2011: "The importation of articles of second-hand undergarments of any type, form or description, whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner, is now forbidden."
"I am told we are now even importing women's underwear in this country," finance minister Tendai Biti, the brain trust behind the law, said . "How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed. If I was your in-law, I would take my daughter and urge you to first put your house in order if you still want her back."

The local newspaper NewsDay even ran an editorial supporting the law:
"Wearing used underwear is most dehumanising and no government worth its salt should allow its citizens to be abused to this extent. It is a fact that our flea markets receive bales of clothing, some of which is exclusively used underwear, some of which is soiled. What nation have we become that knowingly subjects its people to humiliation and disease? It is inconceivable for a country to open its borders for the importation of used underwear – to allow our women to wear undergarments that other women in other countries have used and discarded."

One must remember that this is country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world – over 90 percent – run by brutal madman Robert Mugabe.  Truly a madhouse.

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