Archived entries for news

Superhero anarchists steal gourmet food for poor

Mark Frauenfelder:
From The Scotsman:

A gang of anarchist Robin Hood-style thieves, who dress as superheroes and steal expensive food from exclusive restaurants and delicatessens to give to the poor, are being hunted by police in the German city of Hamburg.

The gang members seemingly take delight in injecting humour into their raids, which rely on sheer numbers and the confusion caused by their presence. After they plundered Kobe beef fillets, champagne and smoked salmon from a gourmet store on the exclusive Elbastrasse, they presented the cashier with a bouquet of flowers before making their getaway.

Thanks! Bruce!)

I wish there were pictures…

Via Boing Boing

694 million internet users worldwide

DMasia reports that “there are an estimated 694 million internet users worldwide,according to a report from Comscore World Metrix.The study reveals that the internet is truly expanding worldwide,with the US representing less than 25 per cent of global internet users as of the end of March.The ‘major’ Asian countries,China,Japan,Korea and India,currently represent almost 25 per cent of the world’s internet population,with 168.1 million users.Combined,these four countries have a larger internet user base than the US,which has 152 million users, the largest of any single country.China comes in second,with 74.7 million users,followed by Japan with 52.1 million.The report also measured the average hours spent online per visitor during the month of March 2006.Somewhat surprisingly,Israel topped the list,with each user average 57.5 online hours per month,compared to the global average of 31.3 hours per month.South Korea and Taiwan came in at three and five,respectively,with 47.2 and 43.2 hours per month.Though internet use is increasing in Asia, the region is not yet producing online content which globally competes with its US and European counterparts.US companies continue to dominate in terms of global page views”.

Internet population nears 700m

When Company Time and Personal Time Collide

If you’re reading this at work, you might be putting your job at risk. Or not.

Recently, a New York City administrative law judge declined to support the city’s Department of Education to fire an employee for surfing the Web on company time. “It should be observed,” Judge John B. Spooner wrote, “that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work.”

This case further highlights the growing ambiguity of what constitutes “company time” or a “work day.” In today’s always-on business world, many knowledge workers work after hours, whether at home or on the road. Employers don’t complain about that — and in some cases it’s an expectation — so why should they quibble if workers use time during the workday for personal tasks? Progressive, enlightened employers don’t, recognizing the increased blurring of the work and personal spaces. Adding fuel to the controversy are studies suggesting that employees who work from home spend almost twice as much time using the Internet for work use after hours than using it for personal use during work hours.

Ultimately, we may move toward a work model in which much employee pay is based on output of work, rather than hours spent or the “bucket” in which those hours are contained.

Source: Washington Post

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Via FutureWire – futurism and emerging technology

Berlusconi resigns as Italian PM

Silvio Berlusconi formally resigns as Italian prime minister, paving the way for Romano Prodi to take office.

Taking Back the Streets: Cyclist Memorials


We learned the hard way about a Toronto tradition for taking back the streets today- mass memorial rides for cyclists needlessly killed. Hubert Van Tol was a University of Toronto Professor and athlete- we rowed together on Lake Ontario (well, not quite together- he was twice as fast). Last Thursday a dumptruck turning right got him. This happens too often in Toronto (two cylists were killed on the same day) where the few bike lanes are full of cars and when it comes to enforcement, we quote Bob Dylan: “the cops don’t need you and man, they expect the same”. There are few North/South streets in the area of the accident and bike commuters are forced to use the ludicrously named Avenue Road, four fast-moving lanes, none for bikes- it just might slow down the rush hour traffic and we can’t have that.

(This post continues on the site)

We don\’t see much bike accidents around this part of the world, us being in a small medieval bike-friendly town like Treviso, but I think we can all relate to cyclist issues as 90% of us ride our bikes to work…

RIP Jane Jacobs, urban activist

Cory Doctorow:
Jane Jacobs has died at 89 in Toronto. Jacobs was an urban activist and writer about cities. Her book Death and Life of Great American Cities is the best book I’ve ever read about cities — how they work, how they change. Reading that book rendered visible whole rafts of secrets about how the world around me functioned. It was like taking off a blindfold.

“The key with Jane was that she believed that the world was a complex place. It was not a simple place, it was a complex place, and you couldn’t just think in straight lines,” said Sewell.

“You had to think about context, how things fit together. That was the key about her.”

“Jane Jacobs will be remembered as one of the great urban thinkers of our time,” Toronto Mayor David Miller said Tuesday in a statement.

“Her contributions and insights have forever changed the way North American cities are developed.

t: Juan Freire, Flickr)
(Thanks, Dave!)

Abortion now a crime in South Dakota

Xeni Jardin:
From the BBC news item:

Under the law signed by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds, doctors could get up to five years in prison and a $5,000 (£2,800) fine for performing an illegal abortion. (…)
The organisation Planned Parenthood, which runs South Dakota’s only abortion clinic, immediately said it would challenge the new law.

The abortion ban would take effect on 1 July but it is likely that a federal judge would suspend it during any legal challenge.

The law would therefore not take effect unless South Dakota state gets the case to the US Supreme Court and wins.

on the way? Women reading this blog might want to check out this helpful and informative link now, and bookmark this one for later. (via Warren)

Italy cartoon row minister quits

The Italian minister who sparked rioting in Libya after wearing a T-shirt of the Muhammad cartoons resigns.

100-year-old Albert Hofmann speaks at LSD symposium

Mark Frauenfelder:
I marveled at how spry Mick Jagger looked during his Super Bowl performance, but he’s got nothing on Albert Hofmann, the 100-year-old discoverer of LSD, who spoke at the LSD Symposium in Basel, Switzerland.

The LSD Symposium started on Friday morning with a talk of about 20 minutes by Dr. Hofmann, alchemist extraordinaire and discoverer of the LSD molecule. After being introduced and cheered, the magic started. Uncle Albert is a petite, but relatively unwrinkled 100 year old genius who has no problem in talking (in German, but translated on headphones) for more than 20 minutes without going ahem or ahh and without consulting any written notes. It’s unbelievable. He feels that the LSD molecule “called to him” and he tells us that the only reason he discovered it is because he didn’t “work correctly.”


Via Boing Boing

Your pictures: Europe’s freeze

Pictures of the severe cold snap gripping Europe, sent into the BBC by readers.

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