Cannabis 'makes pain more bearable'


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12/07/12 PHD comic: 'Amazing'


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via PHD Comics on 12/7/12

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Amazing" - originally published 12/7/2012


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We all have hundreds of DNA flaws

No one is infallible; not even the pope. Was Jesus a bug-free human? He should have been, for his father's sake :p
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Pacific island 'does not exist'

We are facing a major cover-up here. Now they say that an island does not exist and never existed. Tomorrow they'll support the same for Greece :p
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11/07/12 PHD comic: 'Punctuation mark decoder'


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via PHD Comics on 11/7/12

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Punctuation mark decoder" - originally published 11/7/2012

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!


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Μία σύντομη κριτική της προπαγάνδας στον ηλεκτρονικό τύπο (στο .gr domain)

Διάβασα ένα άρθρο στο www.in.gr με τίτλο "Στη δίνη της ψηφοφορίας για τα επώδυνα μέτρα στροβιλίζεται το πολιτικό σκηνικό" [1].

Πίπες. Υποτίθεται ότι η δουλειά ενός site που περιέχει ειδήσεις είναι να ενημερώνει τον κόσμο για τις εξελίξεις, όχι να προβάλει μια κριτική της ποιότητας των μέτρων. [2] (γιατί το "επώδυνα" και γενικά η σύνταξη του τίτλου αυτό κάνει) 

Το πώς θα χαρακτηριστούν τα μέτρα είναι καθαρά υποκειμενικό θέμα του καθενός και σίγουρα δεν είναι κάτι που ένα "σοβαρό" site ειδήσεων πρέπει να αφήνει τον εκάστοτε αρθρογράφο να κάνει.

Μπορεί (δεν ξέρω; απλά υποθέτω*) ο χαρακτηρισμός των μέτρων, ως κάτι που προκαλεί αισθήματα οδύνης, να συμπίπτει με την γνώμη που τρέφει για αυτά η πλειοψηφία των κατοίκων της Ελλάδας (που υπόκεινται στο φορολογικό της σύστημα), αλλά το να παρουσιάζεται αυτός ο χαρακτηρισμός σε πολλά ([3], [4], [5], [6]) άρθρα του site ενός έγκριτου δημοσιογραφικού οργανισμού [7] θεωρώ ότι είναι καθοδήγηση της κοινής γνώμης [8] (αυτή μπορεί να εκλιφθεί από conspiracy theorists σαν υποκινούμενη από διαφόρων ειδών συμφέροντα [9]).

Αυτή είναι η γνώμη μου, αλλά εγώ δεν είμαι δημοσιογράφος και άρα μπορώ να μην είμαι αντικειμενικός.

Euronews FTW [10].

* σε εμένα προκαλούν αίσθηση μίσους για οποιονδήποτε πολιτικό** της δημοκρατικής Ελλάδας, αλλά όχι οδύνη. Δεν θα κλάψω, ούτε λυπηθώ και ούτε θα νιώσω έντονο ψυχικό πόνο [11], πράγματα που έτσι και αλλιώς συνδέονται με την αποδοχή της κατάστασης [12] (και άρα παραίτηση από την αντίδραση [how's that for a conspiracy?]).
** όχι γενικά για μας τους Έλληνες, γιατί όπως ποτέ δεν φταίνε οι υπάλληλοι μιας εταιρίας, αλλά πάντα φταίει ο manager και όπως δεν φταίει το παιδί που συμπεριφέρεται κάπως, αλλά οι μαλάκες οι γονείς του που το αφήνουν [13], έτσι δεν φταίνε οι πολίτες που είναι κάπως μαθημένοι, αλλά οι πολιτικοί που είναι λαμόγια, αλήτες, ρουφιάνοι, αισχροί, προδότες, αρκουδέιδες και καθιζήματα [14] και τους οδήγησαν να γίνουν έτσι.

[9] Wilhelm Reich, "The Mass Psychology Of Fascism" (Section X.3.2 "Objective criticism and irrational fault-finding"), English translation by Theodore P. Wolfe, Orgone Institute Press, New York, 1946
elias a.k.a. diluted


Mars Curiosity Rover takes a high-res self-portrait


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via SlashGear by Craig Lloyd on 11/2/12

Today, NASA released a high-resolution self-portrait of the Mars Curiosity rover taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). The photo consists of 55 images that were stitched together to create one giant photograph of the rover. The images were taken on October 31, and were sent down to Earth this morning.

Obviously, this is nothing short of stunning. The image shows Curiosity in Gale Crater, and you can see the base of Aeolis Mons (or Mount Sharp) in the background, a 3-mile high mountain. To the left on the ground, you can see four small holes where Curiosity was digging around in order to find out if life on Mars ever existed.

However, the photo isn't just for entertainment purposes. NASA uses the self-portrait to track the physical state of Curiosity, like dust accumulation and wheel wear. NASA will take several of these throughout Curiosity's mission to track changes over time. However, due to the MAHLI's location on Curiosity's robotic arm, it's only able to capture a certain portion of the rover.

Then again, Curiosity has 17 cameras on board, which is way more than what most professional photographers have on hand. NASA is making sure that Curiosity takes a lot of photos of different areas of Mars, and you can keep up with all the photos on NASA's website. In the meantime, enjoy the self-portrait and think about the fact that this photo was taken on a different planet.

[via Universe Today]

Mars Curiosity Rover takes a high-res self-portrait is written by Craig Lloyd & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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“Apology” Didn’t Cut It; Apple Ordered to Really Apologize

omg, Apple's butt must be in pain from the judge's spanking :P
hey apple! hey apple! hey apple! [1] can't you simply say "I'm sorry?" [2]
[1] Annoying orange
[2] SouthPark: Season 14 Episode 11, Coon 2: Hindsight (1)


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via xda-developers by jerdog on 11/1/12


Last week, we told you about Apple's creative "apology." We expressed our opinion that Apple failed at following the order from the UK Court of Appeals. The court felt the same way, and has ordered Apple to correct their statement within 48 hours. It must be in at least 11-point font instead of the small text used by Apple and ON the front page rather than a linked page as Apple attempted to do. They called the statement Apple posted as "untrue" and "incorrect" and were, to put it lightly, quite displeased. Judge Robin Jacob had this to say about Apple:

"I'm at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this. That is a plain breach of the order."

Apple's lawyers said that it would take at least 14 days to comply with the order and requested that timeframe, to which the Court denied and had this to say in response:

"I would like to see the head of Apple make an affidavit setting out the technical difficulties which means Apple can't put this on" their website, Jacob said. "I just can't believe the instructions you've been given. This is Apple. They cannot put something on their website?"

What also appears to be missing are the newspaper adverts that Apple was ordered to place, but no mention of them were made by the Court. We'll have to stay tuned to see what else turns up in this now mind-boggling case.

Source: BloombergGuardian


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Voyager 1 encounters mystery at the edge of our solar system


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via SlashGear by Shane McGlaun on 11/1/12

The Voyager 1 probe has been soaring through the solar system for 35 years. Voyager 1 is currently the most distant man-made object from the Earth in history. Scientists believe that the probe recently left the suns protective sphere of influence. The sphere of influence I'm talking about is the Sun's magnetic bubble called the heliosphere.

Scientists analyzing data being sent back from Voyager 1 have discovered a mystery at the edge of the solar system's magnetic boundary with interstellar space. The probe is so far from Earth that it takes over 17 hours for signal to travel from Voyager 1 back to the Earth. Scientists have been anxiously watching key data, including the particle energy count and the magnetic field strength indicator and orientation in an effort to determine precisely when the probe leaves our heliosphere.

Scientists previously believed that when the probe entered an area known as the heliosheath the magnetic field would begin to fluctuate, and the number of high-energy cosmic rays would decrease the magnetic fluctuations. However, scientists looking at the data throughout 2010 found that the opposite actually occurred. When the probe entered the heliosheath, the magnetic field became more chaotic and the number of high-energy particles detected by Voyager 1 actually increased.

This is the mystery that scientists are working to solve right now. The researchers suspect that the magnetic fluctuations in the area surrounding Voyager 1 are somehow energizing charged particles within the heliosheath and therefore, increasing the number of detections by Voyager 1. The scientists are also working now to determine if Voyager 1 has finally left our solar system, and is now cruising through interstellar space.

[via discovery.com]

Voyager 1 encounters mystery at the edge of our solar system is written by Shane McGlaun & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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VIDEO: Greek officials 'lied' about list

to the abyss with thee, greek politicians


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via BBC News - Home on 10/31/12

A Greek journalist goes on trial today after publishing a list of over 2,000 Greeks said to hold bank accounts in Switzerland, some of whom are suspected of tax evasion.


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Martian soil sample 'like Hawaii'


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via BBC News - Home on 10/31/12

The results are in from the Mars rover Curiosity's first taste of Martian soil - and it looks like what geologists see on the Hawaiian islands.


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10/31/12 PHD comic: 'How many Ph.D.s does it take?'


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via PHD Comics on 10/31/12

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "How many Ph.D.s does it take?" - originally published 10/31/2012

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!


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Για ένα παιχνίδι...


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via MyBlog-MαϊΜπλογκ by Maiman on 10/30/12




       Tις προάλλες ήμουν καλεσμένος σε ένα παιδικό πάρτι, όντας συγγενής του εορτάζοντα. Παιδιά 5-8 χρονών παίζανε παιχνίδια υπό την διακριτική παρακολούθηση των γονιών τους. Την ώρα που τα παρακολουθούσα  συγκεκριμένα, παίζανε μουσικές καρέκλες-το γνωστό παιδικό παιχνίδι. Τα παιδιά όσο έπαιζε η μουσική γυρνούσαν γύρω από καρέκλες και έπρεπε να κάτσουν αμέσως σε μία γιατί οι καρέκλες ήταν λιγότερες κατά μία από τα παιδιά και όποιος δεν προλάβαινε να καθίσει έχανε και έβγαινε από το παιχνίδι.
       Ξαφνικά όταν η μουσική σταμάτησε παρατηρώ ένα μεγαλύτερο παιδί να κάθεται στην κυριολεξία πάνω (!)  σε ένα μικρότερο που είχε ήδη προλάβει την καρέκλα .Μάλιστα το στρίμωξε έτσι ώστε να φαίνεται ότι καθόταν πλαι πλαι. Όταν η νηπιαγωγός που επέβλεπε το παιχνίδι ρώτησε τα 2 παιδιά ποιος κάθισε πρώτος ώστε να αποβάλλει τον δεύτερο , σύμφωνα με τους κανόνες του παιχνιδιού, το μεγαλύτερο παιδί με ιδιαίτερη άνεση είπε πως είχε κάτσει πρώτο. Αμέσως είπα τι είχε γίνει ώστε να μη φύγει από το παιχνίδι το παιδί που είχε παίξει σωστά.  Τότε το παιδί που είχε προσπαθήσει να κλέψει άρχισε να κλαίει συνεχίζοντας να υποστηρίζει πως είχε κάτσει πρώτος προκαλώντας το γέλιο σε όσους είχαν παρακολουθήσει την σκηνή.
       Μέσα από τα γέλια άκουσα όμως κι από έναν τύπο να λέει "εσύ τι κάνεις τον ρουφιάνο; " (δεν μου απευθύνθηκε άμεσα αλλά το είπε με τη λογική ότι θα μπορούσε να μου το  έχει πει το παιδί) Φυσικά γύρισα και του είπα "καλύτερα ρουφιάνος παρά λαμόγιο" και η "συζήτηση" έληξε εκεί.
         Σίγουρα ήταν ένα παιχνίδι, αλλά το όλο περιστατικό φανερώνει την κακή νοοτροπία που διακατέχει πολλούς από εμάς. Κάποιοι σήμερα νιώθουν ότι μπορούν να παρανομούν, να κάνουν το δικό τους, χωρίς να έχουν κανέναν έλεγχο.  Το χειρότερο είναι μάλιστα ότι δε διστάζουν να ονομάσουν "ρουφιάνο" και να στιγματίσουν αυτόν που θα κάνει επίπληξη ή να πουν το πιο εύκολο "εσύ να κοιτάς τη δουλειά σου".Έτσι ο καθένας αφήνεται να κλέβει , να χτίζει αυθαίρετα, να φοροδιαφεύγει και πολλά άλλα. Αν επέμβει ένας άλλος πολίτης και καταγγείλει κάτι, τότε  δυστυχώς πολλοί είναι αυτοί που θα θεωρήσουν ότι κακώς ανακατεύτηκε-ειδικότερα μάλιστα σε περιπτώσεις που καταγγείλουμε μια αδικία που δε θίγει εμάς άμεσα αλλά κάποιον άλλον. Αυτή η νοοτροπία είναι που έχει οδηγήσει στον ωχαδερφισμό της σημερινής εποχής.Οι άνθρωποι που προσπαθούν να αλλάξουν όλη αυτή την νοοτροπία παραμερίζονται και χαρακτηρίζονται "ρουφιάνοι" λες και πρόδωσαν κανάν αγωνιστή της αντίστασης στους Ναζί! 
      Εκτός από το "ρουφιάνοι" βέβαια  υπάρχουν  και άλλοι τρόποι και δικαιολογίες να βρεις για να κατηγορήσεις κάποιον που προσπαθεί να κάνει κάτι σωστό. Τον Βαξεβάνη (άσχετα με το ότι δεν τον συμπαθώ και πιστεύω πως έκανε ό,τι έκανε για λόγους προσωπικής προβολής) και τον Αρβανίτη τους κατηγόρησαν για αντιδεοντολογικούς  κ.α. αλλά βέβαια, το "δια ταύτα" ,τα ονόματα της λίστας και το τι συμβαίνει με αυτά  ή αντίστοιχα μια δήλωση του υπουργού για την κακοποίηση των συλληφθέντων δεν ήρθε ποτέ στην επιφάνεια. Ειδικά για την δεύτερη περίπτωση δεν θα μαθαίναμε καν για το περιστατικό αν δεν είχε κοπεί η εκπομπή του δημοσιογράφου.Το κακό με αυτές τις πρακτικές είναι ότι βλέποντας την τύχη αυτών που αγωνίζονται για την αλήθεια , άνθρωποι που έχουν διάθεση να τους μιμηθούν -ιδιαίτερα οι νέοι- πολλές φορές καταλήγουν στο να σιωπούν και να σφυρίζουν αδιάφορα.
         Βέβαια για να έχεις κανείς το δικαίωμα να καταγγέλει και να ελέγχει τους γύρω του πρέπει να είναι και αυτός ανοιχτός σε κάθε έλεγχο που θα του γίνει από άλλους. Αυτό όμως σε καμιά περίπτωση δεν μειώνει το βάρος μιας αληθινής καταγγελίας.Δεν πρέπει να εξετάζουμε σε πρώτο βαθμό το αν αυτός που κάνει μια καταγγελία είναι κακός ή οτιδήποτε άλλο αλλά οφείλουμε να εξετάσουμε το αν η καταγγελία του είναι αληθινή. Εξάλλου κανείς δεν είναι αναμάρτητος  αλλά σίγουρα κάποια ζητήματα, κάποιες παραβάσεις του νόμου και της ηθικής είναι σημαντικότερες από κάποιες άλλες.Το να σκεφτόμαστε "έλα μωρέ τώρα τι καταγγέλεις, εσύ που έχεις κάνει αυτό ή το άλλο" δείχνει διάθεση για ατιμωρησία αλλά και πρόθεση να φιμώσουμε φωνές που καταγγέλουν αδικίες .Μια πρόθεση που ρεαλιστικά εξηγείται μόνο με την υπόθεση πως φοβόμαστε ότι αυτές οι φωνές σε μια άλλη περίπτωση ίσως να αποκάλυπταν την δική μας αδικία/παράβαση. Πρέπει να αποβάλλουμε το φόβο αυτό και να μάθουμε επιτέλους να μπορούμε να ερχόμαστε αντιμέτωποι με τις συνέπειες των πράξεων μας. Έτσι μακροπρόθεσμα θα περιορίσουμε και τις δικές μας παραβατικές ενέργειες που τυχόν κάνουμε στην καθημερινότητα μας .Θα καταφέρουμε το "καθαρός ουρανός αστραπές δεν φοβάται"  και έτσι το αίτημα μας για λιγότερη διαφθορά θα αποκτήσει και μεγαλύτερη λογική και ηθική βάση.
          Είναι χρέος ενός συνειδητοποιημένου κι ενεργού  πολίτη να καταγγέλει φαινόμενα διαφθοράς ανεξάρτητα από το αν αυτά τον επηρεάζουν άμεσα. Η πάταξη της διαφθοράς ξεκινάει από την καθημερινή προσωπική προσπάθεια του κάθε πολίτη και να μην περιορίζεται σε ευχολόγια για τον "δια μαγείας" καθαρισμό του κράτους και της κοινωνίας από τέτοια φαινόμενα Αυτό συμβαίνιει γιατί η διαφθορά βρίσκεται σε όλα τα κοινωνικά στρώματα. Μια κοινωνία που είναι πιο δεκτική σε άνθρώπους που καταγγέλουν μικρές ή μεγάλες ατασθαλίες  και δηλώνει έτοιμη να υποστεί έλεγχο. αλλά και να εκτελέσει έλεγχο φροντίζει αυτόματα η ίδια ώστε να είναι και λιγότερο διεφθαρμένη.(διαφορετικά δεν θα δέχονταν να ελεγχθεί). Με τις προσπάθειες αυτές δίνεται και το παράδειγμα στις επόμενες γενιές καθώς μόνο μέσω της παιδείας και της αγωγής μπορεί να αντιμετωπιστεί μακροπρόθεσμα η διαφθορά. 
           Τελικά ίσως μου πείτε "πολλά λόγια για ένα παιχνίδι". Αλλά αλήθεια ήταν μόνο για ένα παιχνίδι;


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An “Apology” Like No Other


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via xda-developers by jerdog on 10/27/12

Screen Shot 2012-10-26 at 8.57.09 PM

My wife and I thoroughly enjoy the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance. One of our favorite scenes is the following exchange between the two principal characters, Adele (played by Charlize Theron) and Rannulph (Matt Damon):

Rannulph: There something you wanted to tell me?

Adele: Well, I'm trying to think of how to say it, Junuh.

There is a purpose to this visit…

…and that's to apologize.

I'm not an apologetic woman, it takes me longer to organize my thoughts.

I want to seem properly contrite for having gotten you into this match…

…but not seem what I did was ill-intentioned, since it wasn't.

Rannulph: What exactly are you apologizing for?

Adele: For publicly humiliating you.

Rannulph: That'd be a good thing to apologize for.

Adele: However, I think that…

Basically, what I'm trying to say is…

…that I'm sorry.

But it's not my fault.

You're the one to blame.

Rannulph: That's one hell of an apology, Adele.

While it's not often that you see something from the silver screen play out in real life, that little exchange is essentially what happened. If you remember back in July, we told you about a judge in the UK telling Apple that they needed to publicly apologize to Samsung in newspapers and the Apple EU websites, stating that Samsung did in fact not copy the iPad. The judge clearly stated that the notice should provide details about the ruling that Samsung's Galaxy tablets don't infringe on Apple's registered designs. Apple appealed the decision, but lost. They were then ordered to follow through with the judgement. Fast forward almost four months, and Apple has indeed published a notice. First off, let's just post the full statement made by Apple on their UK website:

Samsung / Apple UK judgment

On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic(UK) Limited's Galaxy Tablet Computer, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do notinfringe Apple's registered design No. 0000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the Highcourt is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Patents/2012/1882.html.

In the ruling, the judge made several important points comparing the designs of the Apple and Samsung products:

"The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design."

"The informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool."

That Judgment has effect throughout the European Union and was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 18 October 2012. A copy of the Court of Appeal's judgment is available on the following link www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1339.html. There is no injunction in respect of the registered design in force anywhere in Europe.

However, in a case tried in Germany regarding the same patent, the court found that Samsung engaged in unfair competition by copying the iPad design. A U.S. jury also found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design and utility patents, awarding over one billion U.S. dollars in damages to Apple Inc. So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad.

Now I don't know about you, but this is about the worst example of following a judge's orders I have seen in a long time. Here's exactly what the judge told Apple to do [bold is mine]:

Within seven days of the date of this Order the Defendant shall, at its own expense, (a) post in a font size no small than Arial 14 pt the notice specified in Schedule 1 to this Order on the home pages of its EU websites ("the Defendant's Websites"), as specified in Schedule 1 to this order, together with a hyperlink to the judgment of HHJ Birss QC dated 09 July 2012, said notice and hyperlink to remain displayed on the Defendant's Websites for a period of one year from the date of this Order or until further order of the Court (b) publish in a font size no small than Arial 14 pt the notice specified in Schedule 1 to this Order on a page earlier than page 6 in The Financial Times, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, Mobile Magazine and T3 magazine.

The following notice shall be posted and displayed upon the Defendant's Websites….

"On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronics (UK) Limited's Galaxy Tablet computers, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple's registered design 000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High Court is available via the following link [insert hyperlink]."

The defendant shall arrange for the following notice to be published in The Financial Times; the Daily Mail; The Guardian; Mobile Magazine; and T3 magazine:

"On 9th July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronics (UK) Limited's Galaxy Tablet computers, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple's registered design 000181607-0001. A copy of the full judgment of the High Court is available via the following link [insert hyperlink]."

Now one could argue that Apple complied with the judge's order because they do in fact include the text from the judge. However, they then proceed to completely invalidate his statement by essentially stating that he was misinformed because other courts have found that Samsung does in fact copy Apple. Of course they neglect to mention anything about what the Court of Appeals had to say in their rejection of Apple's appeal (emphasis is mine):

Because this case (and parallel cases in other countries) has generated much publicity, it will avoid confusion to say what this case is about and not about. It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple's iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law. Whether or not Apple could have sued in England and Wales for copying is utterly irrelevant to this case. If they could, they did not. Likewise there is no issue about infringement of any patent for an invention.

So this case is all about, and only about, Apple's registered design and the Samsung products. The registered design is not the same as the design of the iPad. It is quite a lot different. For instance the iPad is a lot thinner, and has noticeably different curves on its sides. There may be other differences – even though I own one, I have not made a detailed comparison. Whether the iPad would fall within the scope of protection of the registered design is completely irrelevant. We are not deciding that one way or the other. This case must be decided as if the iPad never existed.

What we have here is a blatant attempt by Apple to continue Steve Jobs's legacy of a "reality distortion field" in how they view the world. The Court of Appeals went further to speak out against Apple's attempts within the EU to go around the UK judge's orders in sections 78-88 of the appeal ruling, stating that in order to make sure there was no doubt as to what the UK courts had ruled,

"Apple itself must (having created the confusion) make the position clear: that it acknowledges that the court has decided that these Samsung products do not infringe its registered design. The acknowledgement must come from the horse's mouth. Nothing short of that will be sure to do the job completely."

I fully expect the UK Court of Appeals to come down hard on Apple with this notice, given that they did not make things clear. Instead they spent more time attempting to discredit the judgments and trying to save face. This could very well be grounds for the UK Court to hold Apple in contempt and impose heavy fines, so we shall see what the next few weeks brings.

I purposely left out the last bit of the exchange between Rannulph and Adele.

Adele: So, you want my apology or not?

Rannulph: No.

Does this seem fitting? Let's see how Samsung responds.


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A global race...

An excellent article by a very good friend, which provides an analysis of the current economic status in Europe


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via I am no blog! by Kostas Avgeropoulos (Κώστας Αυγερόπουλος) on 10/22/12

"We're in a global race today. And that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline."
- D. Cameron 10/10/2012
Broadcast on Euronews: Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank until October 2011 is answering questions from young Europeans on the crisis, its causes and ways out of it. The questions and answers are moving in a well-known, clichéd pattern: if the Eurobond would be the solution, if the bankers should be so much protected, if austerity leads anywhere and that the way out according to Mr. Trichet is, "as in a household to spend as much as winning."

It is impressive: we are now entering the fifth year of the crisis and yet it seems we, in Greece but also at European level, have not come to a clear conclusion about what caused the crisis and especially how will we get out of it. Conservative analysts and economists insist that the causes lie in fiscal easing and that austerity is the solution that will regain the confidence of the panicky markets. The progressive camp, having rediscovered Keynes insists on the "counter-cyclical" action, pumping money into the market to stimulate growth (creating the well-known cliché now, "austerity versus growth" debate). The more sophisticated insist that the problem lies in the imbalances of the euro. Most populists blame bankers and fund managers for "casino capitalism", for irresponsibility and greed. In Greece, much of the blame is attributed to the "lamogia": all sorts of cheating citizens and politicians. All or at least most agree that the problem is due to the sovereign debt of certain countries and that the all-powerful Europe, if it acts collectively, maybe by two-or three financial tricks (eurobond, debt haircut, printing currency, federalizing economic policy etc.) will be enough to untangle the crisis.

But almost everyone seems to ignore the dramatic changes that have occurred in the global economy over the last decade. In January 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization, 6 years after its founding in 1995. This marked a sharp rise in the Chinese economy that pulled along the entire Southeast Asia region and almost completely reversed the international financial balances. European businesses and their employees, having enjoyed a decade of unprecedented economic boom and prosperity, suddenly found themselves under the unbearable pressure of their new competitors in the global chessboard of international trade. The 2008 financial crisis that started in America simply revealed how weak, unprepared and vulnerable were most European economies towards the new global economic reality.

The first clouds: the end of cheap fuel

The diagram below captures the trade balance of 27 in Europe (source: Eurostat, processing with GNU Octave). The first observation to make is that, after 2002, when the EU had a roughly even trade balance (black line), followed by a rapid decline until the financial crisis of 2008, after which there was a short halt, to reach today the negative of about 160 billion. This means that the EU in 2011 had a 160 billion capital outflow towards its trading partners.

What is striking, however, is that this negative balance is not due to a decrease in any of the traditional export sectors of Europe, namely chemical and heavy industry, as one would expect, but a dramatic deterioration in the balance of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, etc., green line) from 2002 onward.  The EU currently pays more than three times the amount compared to 2002 to meet its fuel needs. As shown in the chart below (source: OPEC), the increase in these expenses was not due to an increase in consumption, but to an increase in fuel prices. The price of oil in dollars more than quadrupled in 10 years, with an annual weighted average increase of 16%.

The dramatic rise in oil prices is attributed to the sharp increase in demand caused by the emerging economies of Asia and South America. Its consequences put all European economies, which had to find ways to meet the ever-growing deficit, under considerable pressure, and dramatically increased the cost of living of their citizens. It is also characteristic that in times of recession, most economies still show strong inflationary trends. Note that the exact opposite happened in supplier countries (eg Saudi Arabia, Qatar) who saw their growth in the same period to run even with double digits.

Greece and Portugal: easy victims

Greece and Portugal were the Eurozone's most unprepared countries to deal with the new economic reality. Countries with traditionally negative balance in all areas, which were trying to meet through tourism and any capital inflows from foreign investment. Their production profile, mainly based on light industry (clothing, manufactured goods and low-tech manufacturing, building materials, etc.) proved highly vulnerable to competition received from the emerging economies. In Greece we have experienced this phenomenon with the rapid deindustrialization throughout the past decade. The situation worsened considerably due to the rise in fuel prices (green line), as described previously.

Both the Greek and Portuguese governments seem to have been found completely unprepared to deal with the coming danger. Their reaction to the new reality was to increase the state debt, creating the famous "debt growth", a policy that proved fatal. The difference is that in Greece the phenomenon took by far the most explosive proportions, with the known political appointments, wastage of public funds, widespread economic criminality of all kinds, etc. The outflows of borrowed capital of Greece and Portugal at the height of the crisis in 2008 totaled 45 and 25 billion respectively, while in 2011, after two years of austerity, it could only reach its 1999 levels, mainly due to the drop in imports.

Spain: the great sick man

A similar situation is observed in the same period in Spain, mutatis mutandis. A country with traditionally high unemployment and problematic production, had the misfortune to carry extra weight due to the mistakes of its financial system with mortgage loans. The deterioration in the trade balance is a tragedy. The amount of outflow in 2008 reaches 99 billion from 41 billion in 2002. It is worth noting that the cause for this bad performance is blow suffered by the industry's heavy, and light industry, probably because of competition from countries within the European Union, while the effect of the negative balance of fossil fuels is apparent.

France: the next big headache?

When people talk about the Eurozone crisis, France rarely enters the list of problematic economies. From what it seems at least from the trade profile in recent years, this will soon change. The course of French balances as shown below is tragic. From a marginally positive balance of 2002 it reaches -85 billion in 2011 and with a still downward trend. As in Spain, the cause lies to the areas of heavy and light industry and fuel prices. The French production seems to be suffering a very deep crisis, which, in contrast to previous countries presented, has not yet halted.

Italy: not so PIG

With the outbreak of the crisis, Italy became a target mainly because of its large debt, which had been created much earlier. However, its trade profile shows a relatively healthy image, much better than that of France and Spain. Although the trade balance is negative (from positive in 2002), the areas of light and heavy industry do not seem to have been severely affected, and already show signs of recovery. It seems that Italy is perhaps the only country together with Ireland who owe their crisis almost exclusively to a large debt and fuel prices rather than problems in the real economy, which indicates that it has a potential to overcome the crisis. However, apart from debt, it faces major challenges, the most important being the fact that its heavy industry competes with the German one, which is strengthening as the crisis continues.

Germany: riding the dragon

Germany is arguably the most successful economy in the last decade in Europe and possibly in the entire western world. Its trade balance improved continuously, only with a halt during the crisis of 2008, from 133 billion in 2002 to 157 billion in 2011. It is also striking that with the exception of the food sector, all other production sectors show positive balances. German companies seem to have grasped the changes taking place in the global economy early on and turned their interest to emerging economies, turning them into highly profitable markets for themselves, while avoiding the trap of falling demand in the western world. In 2002 the balance of Germany towards other European countries amounted to 72 billion and fell by 2011 to 55 billion. Instead inflows from trade outside Europe grew from 61 billion to 102 billion. In other words, when the Chinese dragon began taking off in the beginning of the previous decade, the German economy made sure it was strapped on its back, supplying the emerging urban strata with modern cars, and new industries with equipment. It is also worth noting that it is a myth that Europe is Germany's most important trading partner. The trade gains are currently mostly outside Europe.

Netherlands: the merchant of Europe

The winners' list of the new era of globalized trade also includes the Netherlands, with a stable rating from the rating agencies being triple-A, and with a score often better than that of Germany. The trade balance has a surplus of 45 billion, or 28% of the surplus of Germany, a significant performance for a country with a population of just 17 million, or 20% of the German population. The Netherlands has surpluses in practically all areas of production other than fossil fuels and is among the few countries that seem to be particularly unaffected by the 2008 crisis. The great advantage for the Dutch economy seems to be the trade between Europe and the rest of the world: with a GDP only 25% of  the German one, the volume of goods traded by the Netherlands is 50% of the volume handled by Germany.

Finland: hanging tightly on that precious AAA

Among the AAA countries of the Euro, Finland is one with strong negative trends of an already negative trade balance (Luxembourg has a constant trade deficit, due to the fact that it is a country of services rather than production). Main responsible for the decline is heavy industry with a turning point in 2008. Rating agencies, however, seem to have confidence in the country of northern Europe, perhaps due to the highly competitive economy (third in the world according to the latest report from the World Economic Forum).

...without winners

Trade balance is certainly not telling the whole truth about the economy of a country. Tourism, for example, an important source of revenue for our country, is not reflected in the trade balance. The overall flow of capital into a country is described by the balance of payments in which the trade balance is typically the most important factor. Trade balance, however, expresses in the most emphatic manner the production profile of a country, its position in the global economy and the state of its real economy.

The global economic map began to change dramatically from about 2002 onward. Many of the European countries, especially the European South, were unprepared to deal with the new economic reality and chose to cover deficits in their balances by increased borrowing. They thus entered an unprecedented crisis since WW2, called the "debt crisis" because the first obvious symptom was the inability to borrow, due to the inflated debt and unmanageable deficit. The basic cause of the crisis, however, is the fact that globalized trade has created a new reality with which these countries were unable to cope.

Those countries that have managed to adapt to the new situation, thanks to the foresight and readiness of  their enterprises and their political leadership, were and are the winners of the new situation. Their benefits  even increased as their competitors in Europe collapsed. The example of car manufacturers is representative of this situation, where at a time in which the German VW, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have elevated their profits in recent years conquering the Chinese market, their competitors Renault, Citroën and FIAT, which either did not foresee the collapse of the European market or could not open successfully to the new, more dynamic markets, they see their sales decline and their factories forced to close. The quarrel that broke out in the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, where the president and CEO of FIAT blamed VW of contributing to a "bloodbath" in Europe, highlighted the gap that separates the winners from the losers of the new situation in this field. The losers of the crisis therefore include those industrialized countries of Europe that failed to understand, anticipate and react properly in the face of the new reality, falling "victims" to their competitors in Europe.

The problem is not only in the European South. These countries may be in much greater trouble, but the specter of deficits is gradually spreading across most of Europe, with austerity being applied as the only solution. The dynamism of emerging economies is based among other things on cheap labor (which is often child labor) and the lack of labor rights. In other words, the emerging economies run a the pace and the ways of European Industrial Revolution of the past centuries. This is an advantage that even advanced European economies will find difficult to confront. Until recently, European policy makers insisted that European countries must invest in high technology and innovation to offset their disadvantage in competitiveness. This argument is declining more and more, first and foremost because emerging economies are slowly closing their technological gap but also because innovation and high technology are not by themselves sufficient to sustain a substantial number of jobs when the most "traditional" sectors are collapsing. A striking example is the conflict between European Commission and China on Chinese-made solar panels that flooded the European market and seriously affected the German manufacturers. In other areas, such as the mobile phone industry Europe has lost its primacy in less than 3 years against Chinese and Korean competitors.

Mr Cameron is certainly right: the globalization of trade put all Europeans (and not just the British) competing in a global race. To win this race, they have to "run" faster, in order to tackle the problem of competitiveness, including, among others, cutting wages, labor rights and government spending because taxing is  "counter-competitive". Mr. Cameron does not explain however that the race he describes has no winners. Austerity in Europe, apart from poverty, is leading to a drop in domestic demand, which in turn will lead to a crisis of overproduction and unemployment in emerging economies and therefore a further drop in demand for European businesses operating in those countries while it is questionable whether liquidity injections attempted by their governments can create a sustainable financial situation. The recession-competitiveness spiral which now tends to dominate the global economy can be much more powerful than such superficial measures. Neither the "counter-cyclical" policies proposed by the "left" economists will have any effect. There is no point in injecting liquidity in national economies or economic sectors with a competitiveness, and hence viability, problem. Even the various tricks of Eurobonds or inflationary Euros may have only temporary results at best (at worst they can lead to new fuel price increase making a bad situation worse).

On the other hand protectionism, which is proposed together with nationalists by some "genuine leftists", is the worst and most dangerous solution: when a trading partner is transformed into a mere competitor in  the international natural resources hunt, war against them becomes much more attractive. But if poverty advances, it is certain that the isolationist camp will win, threatening world peace. We have seen the same story unfolding during WW2.

A race with rules

The globalization of trade over the last decade clearly had many positive results. Despite major social problems in emerging economies (lack of civil liberties, inequality, poor working conditions),  it is fortunate that many millions of workers in these countries now have the income to buy a car that until now could be enjoyed only by the European and North American workers, or to travel half the globe to Greece to see the Acropolis and make their holidays enjoying the Aegean Sea. However, the international regulation set by the World Trade Organization has proved inadequate because it can not prevent unfair competition caused by artificially lowering domestic demand by reducing wages or cutting core labor rights such as age limits, hours  of labor (increased working hours means less time spent on consumption and therefore an indirect artificial demand drop). It also failed to prevent global recession caused by the competitiveness hunt. The question ultimately is primarily humanitarian. Do we want to live in a world where our otherwise ultramodern mobile phone is made by the hands of a small child? Do we want it to be our child tomorrow?


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10/19/12 PHD comic: 'Secret Faculty Meeting'


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via PHD Comics on 10/19/12

Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Secret Faculty Meeting" - originally published 10/19/2012

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!


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Victory – HTC Releases Closed Source WiFi Drivers for HTC Amaze 4G!


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Scientists believe planet twice Earth’s size is made of diamonds


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via SlashGear by Shane McGlaun on 10/12/12

A bit over a year ago, we talked a bit about a planet scientists had discovered that they believed was festooned with diamonds. Scientists conducting planetary research led by a team from Yale University have discovered a planet roughly twice the size of the Earth orbiting a nearby star they believed has a thick layer of diamond material. The planet is called 55 Cancri e.

The scientists say that this is the first glimpse we have had of a rocky world with a fundamentally different chemistry from the Earth. The planet is said to be extremely hot with the surface mostly composed of graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond. The scientists believe that underneath that thick layer of diamond is a layer of silicon-based minerals and a molten iron core at the center.

The Earth's surface is mostly covered in granite and water, this newly discovered planet is believed to be mostly covered in graphite and diamond. 55 Cancri e has a radius of twice the Earth's and is eight times more massive putting it into the category of super-Earth. The planet is one of five that orbits a sun-like star called 55 Cancri.

The star is 40 light years from Earth and visible to the naked eye in the constellation of Cancer. The planet orbits its star a very fast speed with a year lasting only 18 hours. The surface temperature of the planet is believed to be about 3900°F. The scientists estimate that as much as a third of the planet's mass could be diamond.

[via Yale]

Scientists believe planet twice Earth's size orbiting nearby star is made of diamonds is written by Shane McGlaun & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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Greece censors Downton gay kiss

The women should start to wear hijabs or even burqas in Greece. FFS


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via BBC News - Home on 10/17/12

Viewers complain after Greek state television edits out a gay kiss from British drama Downton Abbey.


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