You’re not in (Topeka) Kansas, anymore – you’re in GOOGLE

There’s a “Wizard of Oz” joke to be made here: The city of Topeka, Kansas has unofficially changed its name to “Google” in an attempt to get on the Mountain View tech giant’s radar as a test bed for new fiber-optic technology that would bring it Internet connections at top speed.

The Topeka Capital-Journal wrote that Mayor Bill Bunten signed a proclamation Monday that designates the town as “Google” for the duration of March, in an attempt to make it a more palatable choice for a test market than some of the other cities in the running–like Grand Rapids, Mich., and Baton Rouge, La. It’s not intended to be as permanent as the Oregon town that actually renamed itself in exchange for some cash, free stuff, and mockery.

The town can’t legally change its name if it intends to change it back, and then there’s the fact that Google owns all sorts of intellectual property pertaining to its brand name. But the Capital-Journal says that there is technically no legal barrier to the issuance of a proclamation gently encouraging people to refer to Topeka as “Google.” You know, it’s sort of like when you’re a little kid and you wish your name were cooler so you start telling everyone to call you by a new one of your choice, and the blitheness of childhood prevents you from noticing the smirks that ensue every time you politely ask an adult to start referring to you as “Jethro Skywalker…”

But hey, if this campaign actually gets the city a super-fast Internet connection, I’ll stop laughing.

Folks outside New Mexico may not know about it; but, the fashion of changing a town’s name for fun and profit got it’s first real boost here.

Next time you’re driving south from Albuquerque down to the new SpacePort outside Las Cruces, stop and have lunch in the town that was called Hot Springs up till it won Ralph Edwards’ 1950 radio contest. When it became Truth or Consequences, NM.

Fossil snake fed on hatchling dinosaurs in prehistoric India

Sanajeh indicus ready to gobble up fresh sauropod

Scientists say they have identified the fossilised remains of a snake that dined on dinosaur eggs.

The 67-million-year-old skeleton was found in a dinosaur nest.

The study, published in the journal Plos One, is said to show the first direct evidence of feeding behaviour in a fossilised primitive snake. This 3.5m fossil snake is believed to have fed on the hatchlings of sauropods, as it was found wrapped around a baby titanosaur…

“It was such a thrill to discover such a portentous moment frozen in time,” said Dr Dhananjay Mohabey from the Geological Survey of India, who unearthed the fossil…

The fossil was first uncovered in India in 1987 but it was not until 2001 that American scientists were able to detect that there was a snake among the dinosaur eggshells.

The researchers now believe that the snake was attacking a hatchling that had just emerged from the egg. The event was then overcome by a natural disaster, possibly a storm, and the whole scene was frozen in time.


Firefighter arrested after farmer trampled by his cows

A firefighter has been arrested after a farmer was crushed to death by stampeding cows that may have been spooked by a fire engine’s siren and flashing lights, it emerged today.

Harold Lee, of Robins Farm, in Burtle, near Bridgwater, Somerset, was fatally injured when he was trampled by his own herd last August.

His family have alleged the animals were distressed by the emergency lights and sounds of the fire engine that was heading to a nearby emergency.

Lee, who was 75, died in hospital five days after he was left with severe head and chest injuries.

Police launched an inquiry and after six months officers confirmed a 49-year old-man from Somerset has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by negligence…

A spokesman for the Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service refused to comment about the arrest. Earlier the service has said the crew was on its way to a traffic collision.

This is so stupid it isn’t even worthy of an attempt at a joke. The farmer’s death isn’t funny. Neither is the absurdity of filing charges against a first-responder driving an emergency vehicle.

I’ve stated before my comprehension of the redirective processes of the human brain enabling our species to perfect itself over time.

Just not in my fracking lifetime!

How one magazine plans to offer a digital alternative

As they display in the video, the concept isn’t limited to any single device or style of device. I know from the several regular IPTV productions we watch on the living room TV set – and several more which only interest me; so, I tend to watch them on my monitor in the study – the devil is in the details of how many formats are worth supporting?

I remember the cyber screams of anguish as DLTV’s offering progressed through a couple generations of growth – to the move of 95% of the talent over to Revision3 – as support was dropped for niche formats which garnered a very small number of eyeballs.

How much time and money do you want to dedicate to offering everyone’s favorite format? I’m perfectly capable of handling it in reverse – as should be any geek. If I find something interesting – one time or ongoing – if I can download and record it, I usually can convert it to stream up to our AppleTV and into the HDTV. Or into iTunes or Quicktime and onto my desktop monitor.

Absalon sinks pirate mother ship – UPDATED

Danish forces boarded and sank a pirate control ship as part of Nato operations off the coast of Somalia

The Absalon, a Danish attack support ship, sank a pirate control ship off the coast of Somalia on Sunday.

The Absalon is the current flag ship of the Nato fleet operating in the pirate-stricken Gulf of Aden off the east African coast and has been involved in numerous pirate run-ins.

The latest saw a pirate mother skiff intercepted by a boarding team from the Absalon before it was scuttled. It had been spotted earlier in the day after leaving a Somali camp outfitted with pirate equipment and supplies.

‘This was a very well executed operation,’ said Admiral Christian Rune. ‘Disrupting the pirates’ capability just off their main pirate camps sends a strong signal to the pirates that Nato and the international community do not tolerate their actions. Disposing of their vessels before they can head to sea hits the pirates before they can present a threat to merchant shipping.’

Another one for the guys with the white hats!

UPDATE: There’s a good TV documentary on the work being done by HDMS Absolon starting to make the rounds. Just saw it this morning on HD Theatre via DirecTV satellite. 5th July.

Thanks, Jägermeister

The Web will be worthless when corporations have 100% control

John Young is a brave and tenacious man, an architect based in New York whose website,, has been a safe online repository for documents that someone, somewhere does not want published…

Thanks to a robust policy on the part of his current internet service provider, his site has remained online despite the best efforts of those who are embarrassed by its contents.

Until last month, that is, when disappeared from the internet after Network Solutions disabled access to the site’s domain.

Mr Young had not revealed military secrets that put the lives of soldiers at risk, or published the finer details of Britain’s nuclear deterrent capability. The document that got the site kicked offline was not a detailed map of the presidential escape route from the White House, or a list of the lobbyists who have visited Downing Street in the last year, but a 22-page document written by Microsoft.

It details how US government agencies can request access to customer data stored on Microsoft servers, like your Hotmail messages, and Microsoft used copyright law to achieve what the US government could not.

It seems that copyright, a legal framework developed over 300 years to ensure a balance between the interests of the wider community and those of the creative artist has become so tipped towards those of the “rights holder” that few of us can go through a day without breaking the law in one way or another

This has got to stop. We have to say “enough is enough” to those who hold copyrights in songs and images and words and videos. We must refuse to remake the digital world in order to serve only their interests…

It would be a tragedy if the network the people of East Africa found, now that they have fast fibre links to the rest of the internet, was locked-down, limited and restricted by laws passed to placate fearful Western rights holders and they decided, as a result, that it wasn’t worth joining.

I’ve been online since 1983. RTFA.

Timorous, reactionary cowards that characterize the world of Anglophone bureaucracy have always been a risk. The newer autocracy of beancounters and their lawyers that grows and envelops the Internet from twin centers of greed in Washington, DC and Hollywood is at least as threatening.

Strokes rising among young, decreasing among elderly

More young people are having strokes while older people are having fewer, according to data from Ohio and Kentucky presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010.

The average age of stroke patients in 2005 was nearly three years younger than the average age of stroke patients in 1993-1994 — a significant decrease, researchers said. Moreover, the percentage of people 20 to 45 having a stroke was up to 7.3 percent in 2005 from 4.5 percent in 1993-1994.

This is scary and very concerning,” said Brett M. Kissela, M.D., the study’s lead author…”What was shocking was the proportion of patients under age 45. The proportion is up, the incidence rate is up…”

Kissela said he became interested in studying the issue after observing an increase in young stroke patients admitted to his hospital.

Researchers examined data from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region, which includes about 1.3 million people. But Kissela said the trend noted is likely occurring throughout the United States because the higher prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and diabetes seen in the young here are also seen throughout the country…

Kissela said, “As physicians, we need to look for these potent risk factors even in young people,” he said. “Stroke is a life-changing, devastating disease.”

Scary stuff. Over the years I’ve rid my life of many health-risk factors. Never enough, I suppose.

But, I’ve already lived a tad longer than my father did. And over 20 years longer than his father.

Frankly, I think part of the equation is that the elderly have continued to learn and take seriously much of what has been learned about healthful living – while many younger adults think they’re immortal.

Owners of the Fat Playstation 3 should stop gaming!

Sony has told owners of older models of its PlayStation 3 console to stop using the machine because of a problem with the PlayStation Network.

The problem is affecting people using the older versions of the PlayStation 3, called the “Fat” model. The problem isn’t affecting the newer PS3 Slim systems that have been on sale since September last year…

We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours,” a statement reads. “In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3, we advise that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.

“We believe we have identified that this problem is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.”

Uh, OK, folks. You heard the man. Obey!