Friday, May 30, 2003

Coldplay - this millenium's answer to U2 is playing tonight at the SHoreline - a massive amphitheatre. I forked out $70 for tickets. So who can blame me for downloading their best songs from kazaa (actually kazaalite - the same without the spyware) so I can get in to the music throughout the day?
pssst...wanna see barbara's parasol?

that;s what you can do if you link go to the californian coastal protection website which is a project by a rich software engineer to photograph the entire coastline from a helicopter. Barbara Streisand is suing for invasionof provacy because one shot shows her grand Malibu house swimming pool et al - which she argues is not for the eyes of lesser mortals. As if anyone cared...

Thursday, May 29, 2003

The lion lays down with the...well it's not a lamb, perhaps a wounded tiger.

Anyway Microsoft pays AOL 750 million big ones to settle the Netscape anti-trust suit and the two companies promise to cooperate in the future. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Microsoft pays AOL 750 million dollars to settle lawsuit =

New York (dpa) – In a significant step towards ending one of the most famous spats in the technology world, Microsoft Corp will pay AOL 750 million dollars to settle a private anti-trust lawsuit the companies announced Thursday. The 2002 lawsuit stemmed from the software company’s anti-competitive practices against Netscape, the pioneering Interent browser which was bought by AOL after Microsoft had practically run it out of business.

Besides the payment the settlement also included a seven-year licence for AOL to use Microsoft browsing and digital media software and a commitment by both parties to explore making their competing instant messaging systems interoperable.

As part of this agreement, the two companies entered a long-term, nonexclusive license agreement allowing AOL Time Warner to use Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series and future software for creating, distributing and playing back high-quality digital media.
"With Microsoft's media technology expertise and AOL Time Warner's content expertise, we believe we can accelerate the adoption of digital media for the Internet and help content providers across the entire industry," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, in a statement.

"While our companies will continue to compete, I'm excited about the opportunity to work together collaboratively to make the digital decade a reality," Mr. Gates said.

"We welcome the opportunity to build a more productive relationship with Microsoft," added Dick Parsons, AOL Time Warner's chairman and chief executive. "We look forward to others in the media and entertainment industries joining together with us to help to advance the digital distribution of content to consumers while maintaining copyright protection."

then there's this reported out of utah by the NYT and the Salt Lake Tribune. Well what else to expect from the state of weird mormons?

Utah looks for marksmen to serve in firing squad =

New York (dpa) – Officials from the state of Utah have put out a call for marksmen to serve in firing squads that are due to execute two convicted murderers in a hail of bullets next month.

According to The New York Times the Utah Corrections Department has appealed to law enforcement agencies around the state prison near Salt Lake City, and in areas where the two men committed their crimes. "We've asked them to submit names of responsible people," said Jack Ford, a spokesman for the department. "It's standard practice."

But the grisly prospect of death by firing squad is sharpening criticism of the death penalty. This was already coming under fire because of increased evidence of wrongful convictions, and a perception that imposing the ultimate penalty is more suited to the totalitarian regimes the U.S. is committed to opposing than to the self proclaimed leader of the free world.

   "Unlike the more clinical lethal injection, a firing squad is a big show with the condemned as the star," wrote the Salt Lake City Tribune on Thursday. "A firing-squad execution draws the attention of the whole world. And…it is attention that casts all of Utah in a bad light. It is time for Utah to do away with the firing squad, once and for all."

The executions by firing squad will be the first since John Albert Taylor was executed in 1996 after raping and murdering a young girl. Executions are sanctioned by 38 U.S. states but Utah is the only one that allows death row convicts to choose execution by a team of riflemen as an alternative to lethal injection.

Of the two convicts slated to die at the end of June, one, Troy Michael Kell, a white supremacist who stabbed a black prison inmate to death in 1994, says he chose the firing squad because he does not want poison injected in his body. He has initiated an appeal however and it is likely that his execution will be delayed.

The other convict, Roberto Arguelles, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and killing three teenage girls and a 42-year-old woman in 1992. He has not given any reason for his choice of firing squad and has refused legal help and the right of appeal.

Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told the New York Times that death-row inmates sought alternative means of execution for a variety of reasons, one of them to demonstrate what they deem the barbaric nature of capital punishment. "They want to be on display," he said. "They want to show the state to be brutal and bloodthirsty.

this is the first blog -
so far these are of interest today:
cheerleaders aren't just pretty faces and lissome bodies according to the SF Chronicle :

Study: Cheerleaders fit as Olympic athletes =

San Francisco (dpa) – They may wear skimpy outifits, strike stupid poses and twirl pompoms like there’s no tomorrow, but American cheerleaders are serious athletes with strength and fitness on par with Olympic- level soccer players and gymnasts, according to a new study reported Thursday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Researchers led by Hermann Engels of Wayne State University in Detroit measured such things as workout capacity, flexibility and lean body mass in 33 high school cheerleaders. After days of testing on treadmills, stationary cycles and bend-and-reach flexibility tests the researchers found that the competitive cheerleaders showed "superior athletic fitness" similar to results seen in studies of top-level amateur athletes.

Non-competitive cheerleaders – those who just turn out to support their high-school teams - showed more typical traits of teenage girls. Many failed to turn up for the tests, had only average fitness and consumed far too many soft drinks and other sweets, the report said.

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