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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 146413 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #2040 on: Nov 30th, 2010, 6:52pm »






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« Reply #2041 on: Nov 30th, 2010, 9:53pm »




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« Reply #2042 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 06:49am »

New York Times

December 1, 2010
Belarus Will Relinquish Enriched Uranium Stockpile
By MARK LANDLER

ASTANA, Kazakhstan — The Obama administration scored a victory in its drive to curb the worldwide spread of nuclear material with an agreement on Wednesday by the hard-line former Soviet republic, Belarus, to surrender its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by 2012.

The announcement came at a European security conference here after a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the foreign minister of Belarus, Sergey Martynov. Mrs. Clinton said the United States would give Belarus technical and financial aid to eliminate its stockpile.

She welcomed the decision as a sign that Belarus would join the United States in its campaign to stem the proliferation of weapons-grade material by converting nuclear plants to run on low-enriched uranium — an effort that is one of President Obama’s most cherished foreign policy goals.

The administration had pushed Belarus for months to relinquish its stockpile without success. As a result, the country was not invited to Mr. Obama’s 47-nation nuclear security summit last April, at which another former Soviet state, Ukraine, agreed to give up its highly enriched uranium.

The authoritarian leader of Belarus, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, sounded a defiant note then, declaring, “Nobody will be allowed to make Belarus bow down.” But he left the door open for talks, saying, “Let us sit at the negotiation table and decide what to do with this big amount of enriched uranium.”

Belarus has been invited to attend the next global nuclear security summit in South Korea in 2012, and has committed to eliminate its uranium stockpile by then. In 1994, Belarus agreed to relinquish the nuclear weapons left on its soil after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There are conflicting estimates of the amount of highly enriched uranium in Belarus. In April, Mr. Lukashenko spoke in news reports of having “hundreds of kilograms” of weapons-grade material, though another senior official was quoted as saying it had only 90 kilograms, about 200 pounds.

Researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies estimate that Belarus has between 170 and 370 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, of which at least 40 kilograms have been enriched to 90 percent — a level of purification necessary to make a nuclear bomb. Officials at the conference said Belarus possesses 220 kilograms of highly enriched uranium.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/europe/02diplo.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #2043 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 06:51am »

New York Times

December 1, 2010
Interpol Issues ‘Red Notice’ for WikiLeaks Founder
By ALAN COWELL and JOHN F. BURNS

PARIS — Interpol has placed the founder of the WikiLeaks whistle-blowing Web site on a so-called red notice wanted list following allegations of sexual misbehavior by a Swedish prosecutor, according to the police organization’s Web site on Wednesday.

The notice said Mr. Assange, 39, was wanted for “sex crimes” on an arrest warrant brought by the international public prosecution office in Gothenburg, Sweden. Interpol is based in Lyon, France. Mr. Assange’s whereabouts were not immediately known.

The development came as several newspapers, including The New York Times, published confidential documents from a mass of some 250,000 diplomatic cables from the State Department in Washington including communications concerning American policy in Iran, Pakistan, Korea and many other places.

The Swedish prosecutor’s office said almost two weeks ago that a court in Stockholm had approved its request for the arrest of Mr. Assange to face questioning on charges of rape and other sexual offenses. Mr. Assange has strongly denied the accusations.

Marianne Ny, director of the Stockholm prosecutor’s office, said in a statement at the time that she had moved to have Mr. Assange extradited to Sweden on suspicion of “rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.” The accusations were first made against Mr. Assange after he traveled to Sweden in mid-August and had brief relationships with two Swedish women that he has described as consensual.

Lawyers acting for Mr. Assange appealed against the arrest warrant at Sweden’s highest court on Tuesday, The Associated Press said in a report that also quoted President Rafael Correa of Ecuador as dismissing an offer of residence in his country made to Mr. Assange by a lower official.

According to Interpol’s Web site, a red notice “is not an international arrest warrant” and it is up to national jurisdictions to decide how to act on them.

“Interpol’s role is to assist the national police forces in identifying or locating those persons with a view to their arrest and extradition,” the Web site said. “These red notices allow the warrant to be circulated worldwide with the request that the wanted person be arrested with a view to extradition.”

The latest leaks — following the release of documents relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — have provoked a furor within the Obama administration.

Visiting Kazakhstan, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the leaking of the documents “a very irresponsible, thoughtless act that put at risk the lives of innocent people all over the world, without much regard for those who are most vulnerable, including journalists.”

But Mr. Assange found a possibly more predictable ally — his mother, Christine Assange, who runs a puppet theater in Australia’s Queensland state, who told Australian radio that she was worried about her son’s well-being, Reuters reported. The Australian government, following the United States, has reportedly launched an investigation into whether Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks had broken security or criminal laws.

“He’s my son and I love him and obviously I don’t want him hunted down and jailed. I’m reacting as any mother would. I’m distressed,” she said. “A lot of stuff that’s written about me and Julian is untrue.”

Mr. Assange has described the accusations against him as “dirty tricks.”

According to accounts his accusers gave to the police and friends, they both had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual. One woman said that Mr. Assange had ignored her appeals to stop after a condom broke. The other woman said that she and Mr. Assange had begun a sexual encounter using a condom, but that Mr. Assange did not comply with her appeals to stop when it was no longer in use. Mr. Assange has questioned the veracity of those accounts.

He had traveled to Sweden in search of a secure base under the country’s broad press freedom laws, but that effort faltered amid the sexual accusations, and Sweden’s immigration board announced last month that it had rejected his request for residence. After six weeks, he left the country, saying he had the prosecutors’ permission to do so, and flew via Berlin to London. His subsequent movements are not known and he has communicated his views from undisclosed locations.

On Monday he addressed reporters by video link and in an interview on Tuesday with Time magazine, Mr. Assange spoke for 36 minutes by Skype, using the occasion to call for Mrs. Clinton’s resignation and to assert that the State Department had rejected a request from WikiLeaks to review some of the material being published.

Mr. Assange said that all the released documents were redacted “carefully.”

“They are all reviewed and they’re all redacted either by us or by the newspapers concerned,” he said, according to Time. He added that “we have formally asked the State Department for assistance with that. That request was formally rejected.”

Asked about his moral justification for publishing the leaks, Mr. Assange denied that his actions constituted civil disobedience. “This organization practices civil obedience, that is, we are an organization that tries to make the world more civil and act against abusive organizations that are pushing it in the opposite direction.”

Alan Cowell reported from Paris and John F. Burns from London.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/world/europe/02assange.html

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« Reply #2044 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 07:06am »

Telegraph

North Korea is “highly likely” to attack South Korea again as its ailing leader Kim Jong-il seeks to bolster the standing of his regime ahead of a planned handover of power, South Korea’s intelligence chief has warned.


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By Peter Foster, Beijing
10:19AM GMT 01 Dec 2010

“There is a high possiblity that the North will make another attack,” said Won Sei-hoon, director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service told a parliamentary committee meeting in Seoul.

He added that phone-tap intelligence last August had hinted at the likelihood of an attack off South Korea’s west coast, months before last week’s shelling by North Korea of a South Korean island, killing four.

The attack had come against a backdrop of economic and political instability in the North, which is reeling under UN sanctions imposed last year after its second illegal nuclear weapons test.

“Internal complaints are growing about the North’s succession for a third generation, and its economic situation is worsening”, he told the committee.

His warning came as the US wrapped up its war games off the Korean peninsula on Wednesday. China continued to push for a resumption of the Six Party talks that would see North Korea receive economic aid in exchange for nuclear disarmament.

The four-day joint exercises involving the US supercarrier George Washington were designed as a show of deterrent force to the regime of Kim Jong-il following the shelling of a South Korean village a week ago that killed four.

The exercises, which were opposed by China as an unnecessary provocation, passed off without further incident, but tensions between North and South Korea remain high.

As the George Washington steamed out of the Yellow Sea, South Korea immediately announced live-fire naval exercises from 29 sites next week, as well as reports that it was deploying short-range surface-to-air missiles in Yeonpyeong, the island attacked by the North's artillery.

North Korea's latest provocation, coming weeks after it revealed a new uranium enrichment program, has revealed stark divisions within the international community over how best to deal with the regime in Pyongyang.

China has repeatedly called for a resumption of the stalled Six Party talks with China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi saying on Wednesday that all parties must avoid actions that "inflame the situation", according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"The parties concerned should keep calm and exercise restraint, and work to bring the situation back onto the track of dialogue and negotiation," the agency quoted Mr Yang as saying.

However Chinese overtures on the North's behalf have been firmly rejected by the US and its allies, Japan and South Korea, who say that resuming talks so soon would reward Pyongyang's attempts to bully the international community back to the table by use of force.

In a visible sign of the divisions, the US, Japan and South Korea will meet for talks on the crisis in Washington – not Beijing – next week, while China has invited two senior North Korean envoys to Beijing for talks this week.

The differences were also highlighted at the UN headquarters in New York where diplomats said that British and French efforts to censure Pyongyang for its artillery assault have been blocked by China.

"Against the wishes of the vast majority of the Security Council members, China is blocking any action on the uranium enrichment plant and there is not much hope of any talk about the attack," a diplomat told the AFP news agency.

"It [China] says it is unacceptable to condemn or even express concern over North Korea. Council talks have come to a standstill. It is now very likely that the Security Council will do nothing about North Korea," the diplomat added.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/8173030/North-Korea-highly-likely-to-attack-South-Korea-again.html

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« Reply #2045 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 07:09am »

Telegraph


The coffin of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F Kennedy, is up for auction.

12:00PM GMT 01 Dec 2010

A Los Angeles auction house said on Tuesday it would sell the simple pine coffin in which Oswald was buried for almost 20 years.

Bidding will start at $1,000 (£640), but the item is expected to fetch strong interest from museums and collectors of presidential memorabilia when it goes under the hammer on Dec. 16.

"There's just a lot of interest in Kennedy and anything to do with his assassination," said Laura Yntema, auction manager at Santa Monica, California-based Nate D. Sanders.

The coffin was unearthed in October 1981 after a legal dispute between Oswald's widow, Marina, and his brother, Robert. Marina successfully sought an exhumation to test a conspiracy theory that a lookalike Russian agent had been buried in her husband's place, according to the auction house.

A medical exam showed the badly decomposed body was indeed Oswald's, and he was returned to Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park in Fort Worth, Texas, in a new casket.

The original coffin, which had suffered extensive water damage, is being sold by Baumgardner Funeral Home, the local undertaker which handled the re-internment.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8173272/Lee-Harvey-Oswald-coffin-up-for-sale.html

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« Reply #2046 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 07:19am »

Geek Tyrant

1 December 2010
by Brian S

I copied everything I did in Galaxy Quest from Bill Paxton in Aliens

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Thanks to i09 we have some cool news straight from actor Sam Rockwell's mouth on his character Guy from Galaxy Quest and his inspiration for his character that he got from Aliens Bill Paxton.

In between shooting on Jon Favreau's Cowboys and Aliens i09 asked Rockwell about his upcoming character Doc;
"I kind of serve as the Jimmy Stewart, Bill Paxton of the piece, I'm sort of like sincere but I have those moments of levity."
And after bringing up Paxton, he found it only right to give past credit where it was due.
"I copied everything I did in Galaxy Quest from Bill Paxton in Aliens, I owe him some credit."

Here's some video comparisons for your eyeballs!







http://geektyrant.com/news/2010/12/1/sam-rockwell-admits-i-copied-everything-i-did-in-galaxy-ques.html

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« Reply #2047 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 12:33pm »

NASA holding news conference on discovery.

Nov. 29, 2010 MEDIA ADVISORY : M10-167 NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2 WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium at 300 E St. SW, in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website at http://www.nasa.gov.

Participants are:
- Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
- Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.
- Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
- Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.
- James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe

Media representatives may attend the conference or ask questions by phone or from participating NASA locations. To obtain dial-in information, journalists must send their name, affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov or call 202-358-0918 by noon Dec. 2.

For NASA TV streaming video and downlink information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA astrobiology activities, visit:
http://astrobiology.nasa.gov

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/nov/HQ_M10-168_SpaceX_Launch.html

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« Reply #2048 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 2:19pm »



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Red Skelton



Red Skelton's recipe for a perfect marriage:

1. Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a
little beverage, good food and companionship.
She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays.

2. We also sleep in separate beds.
Hers is in California , and mine is in Texas .

3. I take my wife everywhere,
but she keeps finding her way back.

4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary.
"Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said.
So I suggested the kitchen.

5. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

6. She has an electric blender, electric
toaster and electric bread maker.
She said "There are too many gadgets, and no place
to sit down!" So I bought her an electric chair.

7. My wife told me the car wasn't running well
because there was water in the carburetor.
I asked where the car was. She told me, "In the lake."

8. She got a mud pack and looked great for two days.
Then the mud fell off.

9. She ran after the garbage truck, yelling, "Am I too late
for the garbage?" The driver said, "No, jump in!".

10. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.

11. I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her
first name was 'Always'.

12. I haven't spoken to my wife in 18 months.
I don't like to interrupt her.

13. The last fight was my fault though.
My wife asked, "What's on the TV?"
I said, "Dust!"

grin

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« Reply #2049 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:08pm »

on Nov 30th, 2010, 6:45pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Phil! cheesy

It's a children's book. I'm proud of it. Thank you!

That's great, Crystal! I'm sure kids love it. smiley
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« Reply #2050 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:57pm »

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/01/scientists-sextillion-stars/

Fox News

Scientists Find 200 Sextillion More Stars in the Sky


Published December 01, 2010
Associated Press

The night sky may be a lot starrier than we thought.

A study suggests the universe could have triple the number of stars scientists previously calculated. For those of you counting at home, the new estimate is 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That's 300 sextillion.

The study questions a key assumption that astronomers often use: that most galaxies have the same properties as our Milky Way. And that's creating a bit of a stink among astronomers who want a more orderly cosmos.

It's one of two studies being published online Wednesday in the journal Nature that focus on red dwarf stars, the most common stars in the universe. The study that offers the new estimate on stars is led by a Yale University astronomer. He calculates that there are far more red dwarfs than previously thought, and that inflates the total star count.

A second study led by a Harvard University scientist focuses on a distant "super Earth" planet and sees clues to the content of its atmosphere -- the first of this kind of data for this size planet. It orbits a red dwarf. Red dwarf stars -- about a fifth the size of our sun -- burn slowly and last much longer than the bigger, brighter stars, such as the sun in the center of our solar system, said Yale astronomer Pieter van Dokkum. His study looks at how many red dwarfs are in elliptical-shaped galaxies.

When scientists had estimated previously how many stars there were in the universe, they assumed that all galaxies had the same ratio of dwarf stars as in our galaxy, which is spiral-shaped. Much of our understanding of the universe is based on observations inside our Milky Way and then extrapolated to other galaxies.

But about one-third of the galaxies in the universe are not spiral, but elliptical, and van Dokkum found they aren't really made up the same way as ours.

Using the Keck telescope in Hawaii, van Dokkum and a colleague gazed into eight other distant, but elliptical, galaxies and looked at their hard-to-differentiate light signatures. The scientists calculated that elliptical galaxies have more of those dwarf stars. A lot more.

"We're seeing 10 or 20 times more stars than we expected," van Dokkum said. By his calculations, that triples the number of estimated stars from 100 sextillion to 300 sextillion.

For the past month, astronomers have been buzzing about van Dokkum's findings, and many aren't too happy about it, said astronomer Richard Ellis of the California Institute of Technology.

Van Dokkum's paper challenges the assumption of "a more orderly universe" and gives credence to "the idea that the universe is more complicated than we think," Ellis said. "It's a little alarmist."

Ellis said it is too early to tell if van Dokkum is right or wrong, but it is shaking up the field "like a cat among pigeons."
Van Dokkum agreed, saying, "Frankly, it's a big pain."

Ellis said the new study does make sense. Its biggest weakness might be its assumption that the chemical composition of dwarf stars is the same in elliptical galaxies as in the Milky Way. That might be wrong, Ellis said. Even if it is, it would mean there are only five times more red dwarf stars in elliptical galaxies than scientists previously thought, instead of 10 or 20, van Dokkum said.

Slightly closer to home, at least in our own galaxy, one dwarf star has astronomers at Harvard taking another step in their search for life. They were able to home in on the atmosphere of a planet circling that star using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The planet lives up to the word alien.

Their paper reports that this giant planet's atmosphere is either dense with sizzling water vapor like a souped-up steam bath, or it's full of hazy, choking hydrogen and helium clouds with a slightly blue tint. The latter is more likely, say the researchers and others not involved in the study.

While scientists have been able to figure out the atmosphere of gas giants the size of Jupiter or bigger, this is a first for the type of planet called a super Earth -- something with a mass 2 to 10 times Earth's. It is more comparable to Neptune and circles a star about 42 light years from Earth. A light year is nearly 6 trillion miles.

And while this planet is nowhere near livable -- it's about 440 degrees (about 225 degrees Celsius) -- characterizing its atmosphere is a big step toward understanding potentially habitable planets outside our solar system, said study chief author Jacob Bean at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

"You wouldn't want to be there. It would be unpleasant," said study co-author Eliza Kempton of the University of California Santa Clara.

Bean and Kempton looked at the light spectrum signature from the large planet as it passed in front of the dwarf star, and the result led to two possible conclusions: steam bath or haze.

The steam bath is the more interesting possibility because water is key to life, said outside scientist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

But an upcoming and still unpublished study by Kempton and Bryce Croll at the University of Toronto points more toward a hydrogen-helium atmosphere, several astronomers said.

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« Reply #2051 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 7:22pm »

200 Sextillion More Stars in the Sky

Now that's a LOT of stars!
Thanks Swampy.
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« Reply #2052 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 7:26pm »

on Dec 1st, 2010, 4:08pm, philliman wrote:
That's great, Crystal! I'm sure kids love it. smiley


Hey Phil,

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« Reply #2053 on: Dec 1st, 2010, 7:29pm »

New York Times

December 1, 2010
Agency Proposes ‘Do Not Track’ Option for Web Users
By EDWARD WYATT and TANZINA VEGA

WASHINGTON — Signaling a sea change in the debate over Internet privacy, the government’s top consumer protection agency on Wednesday advocated a plan that would let consumers choose whether they want their Internet browsing and buying habits monitored.

Saying that online companies have failed to protect the privacy of Internet users, the Federal Trade Commission recommended a broad framework for commercial use of Web consumer data, including a simple and universal “do not track” mechanism that would essentially give consumers the type of control they gained over marketers with the national “do not call” registry.

Those measures, if widely implemented, could directly affect the billions of dollars in business done by online advertising companies and by technology giants like Google that collect highly targeted information about consumers that can be used to deliver personalized advertising to them.

While the report is critical of many current industry practices, the commission will probably need the help of Congress to enact some of its recommendations. For now, the trade commission hopes to adopt an approach that it calls “privacy by design,” where companies are required to build privacy protections into their everyday business practices.

“Despite some good actors, self-regulation of privacy has not worked adequately and is not working adequately for Americans consumers,” Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the trade commission, said. “We’d like to see companies work a lot faster to make consumer choice easier.”

Many of the problems that the F.T.C. is trying to tackle involve third parties that use technology to surreptitiously follow a user around the Web, collecting data and then selling it, usually without the user being aware of the effort.

“Our main concern,” Mr. Leibowitz said, “is the sites and services that are connecting the dots between different times and places that a consumer is online and building a profile of what a consumer is doing.”

The recommendations, which were contained in a 79-page report, were cautiously received by browser companies including Google, Mozilla and Microsoft, who said they would examine the report and provide feedback to the commission.

Mike Zaneis, the senior vice president and general counsel of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said the industry generally supported the concepts proposed, but opposed some of the strict measures preferred by consumer advocates.

The online advertising industry, Mr. Zaneis said, would suffer “significant economic harm” if the government controlled the do-not-track mechanism and there was “a high participation rate similar to that of Do Not Call.” Mr. Zaneis said the industry would continue to build upon a self-regulatory framework and had recently implemented the use of icons on select online advertisements that allow users to opt-out of targeted advertising.

“If your goal is to have a red flashing icon that says ‘click here to opt out of targeting’ and to incentivize people to opt out, then we don’t share that goal,” Mr. Zaneis said.

Currently, millions of Internet users who want to opt out of behavioral tracking have to navigate their browser privacy controls, download plug-ins or opt-out though clicking on an icon near an ad that is part of the industry self-regulatory program.

The report recommends that companies adopt simpler, more transparent and streamlined ways of presenting consumers with their options rather than the “long, incomprehensible privacy policies that consumer typically do not read, let alone understand.” And the report recommends that data brokers give consumers “reasonable access” to whatever data they have collected.

Mr. Leibowitz said that the commission’s report is not a call for legislation, but a guide to lawmakers and regulators.

“Most of us on the commission believe it is time for a do not track mechanism,” Mr. Leibowitz said. But at least one commissioner refused to support the issuance of a report that included a mandate requiring the mechanism.

“I do not think that under the F.T.C.’s existing authority we could mandate unilaterally a system of do not track,” David C. Vladeck, the director of the commission’s bureau of consumer protection, said Wednesday at a conference sponsored by Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit group.

The F.T.C. report asks for the public and industry to comment on its recommendations and to make other suggestions over the next two months.

On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection will conduct a hearing to examine the feasibility of a simple method of opting-out of being tracked online.

If Congress were to mandate a “do not track” feature, it could upend the business models of some advertising agencies and companies who gather consumer data and build profiles of Internet users. But it would not prevent basic targeted advertising, where an individual site serves up ads related to a search terms.

Marc Rotenberg, the executive director for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the proposal of a do not track mechanism was an important step, but not the end of the conversation.

“There’s a growing sense that the online ad industry is out of control from a privacy perspective and that some rules need to be put in place,” said Mr. Rotenberg, whose organization has not yet decided whether to support the do not track proposal. “I don’t think we’re at the point yet where we can say do not track is the silver bullet when it comes to online advertising.”

The makers of the most widely used Web browsers said Wednesday that they support consumer privacy and have already made efforts to protect it as part of their products.

In a statement, Google said, “We agree with the FTC that people should be able to understand what information they share and how it’s used. That’s why we simplified our privacy policies earlier this year, offer control through our privacy tools, and explain our approach to privacy in plain language and through YouTube videos in our Privacy Center.”

Harvey Anderson, general counsel for Mozilla, stated in a blog post: “While we’ll need more time to digest and evaluate the details, we’re encouraged by what we’ve seen so far. In particular, the FTC has proposed a set of principles that align well with the Mozilla manifesto and our approach to software development.”

Apple declined request for comment. In a statement, Microsoft said that the latest version of its browser, Internet Explorer 8, “has some of the most robust privacy features on the market,” including features it calls InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering, which allow a user to browse the Web without being tracked.

But those types of features also illustrate some of the shortcomings that the F.T.C. found in current industry efforts. The Microsoft browser requires a user to set those enhanced privacy controls at the start of every new browsing session.

Chris Soghoian, a privacy and security researcher, said that the use of privacy options in most Internet browsers “doesn’t do much.”

At the Consumer Watchdog conference, Mr. Soghoian said that because many of the companies that make Web browsers are also supported by advertising networks, “the design decisions are motivated by a desire not to hurt their advertising divisions.”

“The situation right now is laughable,” he added. “There certainly isn’t a single one stop shop.”


Edward Wyatt reported from Washington and Tanzina Vega from New York.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/business/media/02privacy.html?_r=1&hp

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Salaries of WikiLeaks Staffers to Be Revealed in New Report
By Kim Zetter December 1, 2010 | 6:51 pm
Categories: Bradley Manning, Wikileaks


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Photo: Kristinn Hrafnsson of Wikileaks (AP/Lennart Preiss)


Expenses and salary earnings for paid WikiLeaks staff will be revealed for the first time in a report expected to be published by the end of this year, according to Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for the secret-spilling organization.

Hrafnsson, speaking Wednesday in London on a panel discussion at the Frontline Club, said that the Wau Holland Foundation — the Berlin-based non-profit that handles most of the money donated to WikiLeaks — will finally be detailing how WikiLeaks has spent funds from the more than $1 million it has raised in the last year. The report has been expected since August.

“At year end [Wau Holland] will give a breakdown of how they have reimbursed our costs and the staff salaries of people who are getting paid,” Hrafnsson said. It’s the first indication that some WikiLeaks staffers have been receiving salary payments for their work.

The report, if complete, should also detail what money WikiLeaks has paid out to date for the defense fund of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who confessed in online chats to a former hacker that he downloaded classified documents from Army networks — including 260,000 U.S. State Department cables — and passed them to WikiLeaks. Manning is currently being held at the U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia.

WikiLeaks has actively sought donations for Manning’s defense. According to an e-mail to Threat Level from Wau Holland Vice President Hendrik Fulda in September, WikiLeaks authorized him to release funds from its account for Manning’s defense sometime that month. The money was expected to go to Courage to Resist, a California-based group that supports veterans. Fulda said at the time that the amount was still to be determined. Courage to Resist director Jeff Paterson said Manning’s legal defense was expected to cost about $100,000 and WikiLeaks was expected to cover “about half” of this.

WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has recently declined to publicly comment on any payment for Manning’s defense, despite soliciting donations for the cause. Assange said at a press conference in Geneva in November that his group had been advised not to talk about it anymore.

WikiLeaks has raised at least $1 million in general donations, according to statements Assange made after April when his site published a classified Army video taken in Iraq. This was before his organization released three massive caches of documents. The first cache published in July included almost 77,000 documents pertaining to the war in Afghanistan. The second cache published in October consisted of 400,000 documents from the Iraq war. The most recent cache — of more than 250,000 U.S. State Department cables — were released to several media outlets and are being published in daily installments of about 80 documents by WikiLeaks. Manning is believed to be the source for the video and the documents.

“The best period of donation was prior to the big releases, when WikiLeaks had to close down for lack of funds,” Hrafnsson said at Wednesday’s panel. “It has gone in curves, and it has been interrupted also because our credit card processor decided to terminate the relationship with WikiLeaks.”

Fulda told Threat Level in July that WikiLeaks had received 640,000 euros (U.S. $800,000) in donations through PayPal or bank money transfers since late December. Most of the money poured in after WikiLeaks went offline last December after running out of money, and pleaded for donations.

As of July, WikiLeaks had spent only 30,000 euros (U.S. $38,000) from that funding, most of it going to pay the travel expenses of Assange and its then-spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, as well as to cover the costs of computer hardware, such as servers, and leasing data lines. WikiLeaks has claimed in the past to have $200,000 in operating costs.

In September, Fulda told Threat Level that WikiLeaks was not currently paying a salary to Assange or other volunteers from this funding, though there had been discussions about doing so in the future.

“If you are drawing from volunteers who are basically doing stuff for free and if you start paying money, the question is to whom, and to whom not, do you pay, and how much?” Fulda said at the time. “It’s almost a moral question: How much money do you pay?”

The foundation manages donations sent to WikiLeaks from people around the world through PayPal and wire transfers directed to a bank account controlled by the foundation. It did not handle donations submitted through Moneybookers, a PayPal-like service, that WikiLeaks had listed on its website as a method for donating until Moneybookers suspended the WikiLeaks account in October. Moneybookers said it halted the account after learning that WikiLeaks had been put on a U.S. government watchlist, though there’s been no other indication that the group was actually placed on such a list, and the U.S. has denied it.

WikiLeaks may have other sources of funding aside from money handled by Wau Holland — perhaps from private donors and other foundations — but Fulda had no knowledge of them.

WikiLeaks approached the foundation last year to manage its donations because of its reputation in supporting the concept of freedom of information. Although the foundation is run by unpaid volunteers, Fulda said its advantage is that it has a more formal structure to manage funds than does WikiLeaks.

Wau Holland began handling donations for the site beginning last October. The foundation adheres to Germany’s rules for accountability.

“We have certain responsibilities for this money, and we are taking this seriously,” Fulda said.

Fulda said the foundation had received only about 5,000 euro (U.S. $6,000) in donations on behalf of WikiLeaks before the organization’s site went down last December. Donations began pouring in once people saw in January that the site needed help, Fulda said. WikiLeaks’ plea for donations indicated the site needed to raise at least $200,000 to cover a year’s worth of operating expenses, increased to at least $600,000 if its volunteers were to be paid.

“Just asking for money [before this] didn’t really work,” Fulda said at the time. “There was nothing coming in. But when the website had to go down because of lack of funds, then money was coming in.”

The site’s pledge break lasted for five months, during which its archive of leaks was largely unavailable. But in April WikiLeaks enjoyed a surge in fundraising when it released its first giant newsmaking leak: the “Collateral Murder” video of a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad. WikiLeaks claimed it raised more than $150,000 in just two days after the release of the video.

Hrafnsson didn’t say how much in contributions the organization has received since the diplomatic cable release this week. But WikiLeaks is demonstrably amping up its fundraising as U.S. pressure on the group mounts.

On Wednesday, Amazon, which was providing cloud hosting for WikiLeaks, cut off the site in apparent response to pressure from Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). WikiLeaks quickly recovered with new hosting, and sent out a message on its Twitter feed — “KEEP WIKILEAKS STRONG” — with a link to its donation page.

The WikiLeaks web site now also includes a separate donation channel for contributions to a legal defense fund for founder Julian Assange, who is facing a sex crime investigation in Sweden.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/wikileaks-salaries/

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