Web/Tech Hub

Jon Stewart Explains What's Scary About SOPA: VIDEO


Last night, Jon Stewart was forced to turn to the news after Wikipedia went dark, to explain the dangers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.


The Atlantic reported that it's likely the SOPA/PIPA threat should pass, although lawmakers will continue with similar bills as "the urge to reign in the Internet's free wheel remains." Support for PIPA appears to be collapsing.

However, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released a statement yesterday that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.

"To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America's intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.

“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property."

Google said 4.5 million people signed its anti-SOPA petition yesterday.

Watch Stewart's, per usual, entertaining take on the legislation, AFTER THE JUMP...

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FCC to Pass (Fake) Net Neutrality Measure

A measure that some, like Al Franken, are calling "fake net neutrality" is poised for a vote today by the FCC:

Franken Net neutrality — which broadly speaking is an effort to ensure open access to Web sites and online services — is on the agenda of an F.C.C. meeting Tuesday in Washington. The F.C.C.’s chairman, Julius Genachowski, outlined a framework for net neutrality earlier this month, touching off a debate about the role of the government in regulating Internet access.

As it stands now, the order would prohibit the blocking of any Web sites, applications or devices by fixed-line broadband Internet providers like Comcast and EarthLink, essentially forbidding the providers from picking winners and losers on behalf of consumers, F.C.C. officials said Monday.

The F.C.C. officials also said that the order would broaden the government’s enforcement powers over broadband. They spoke only on condition of anonymity ahead of Tuesday’s meeting on the matter. The F.C.C. order has not been made public.

Said Franken:

“Maybe you like Google Maps. Well, tough. If the F.C.C. passes this weak rule, Verizon will be able to cut off access to the Google Maps app on your phone and force you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it is not as good. And even if they charge money, when Google Maps is free...If corporations are allowed to prioritize content on the Internet, or they are allowed to block applications you access on your iPhone, there is nothing to prevent those same corporations from censoring political speech."

Fair and Balanced Twitter Coverage of Daylight Savings Time

And to think people are saying the parties have polarized and politicized the county on everything. Night.

Screen shot 2010-11-07 at 1.52

Screen shot 2010-11-07 at 1.51






Elton John's Plan to Save Music: Shut Down the Internet

Elton John has some advice on how to deal with what he sees as a dearth of good music today: shut down the internet!

Eltonjohn"The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff. Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn’t bode well for long-term artistic vision. It’s just a means to an end. We’re talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that’s not going to happen with people blogging on the internet. I mean, get out there — communicate. Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet. Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging. I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span. There’s too much technology available. I’m sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today. In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality. And there are more albums released each week now than there were then."

Elton John has been sober for a while now but that's a pipe dream if I've ever heard one.

In related news, social networking sites are being seen in a new UK study as the reason for the shift of power in the music industry away from record labels, as illegal downloading has reportedly hit a new high.

Said John Enser, head of music at Olswang, a law firm specializing in intellectual property rights: "The music industry needs to embrace new opportunities being generated by the increasing popularity of music on social networking sites. Surfing these sites and discovering new music is widespread with the latest generation of online consumers but the process of actually purchasing the music needs to be made easier to encourage sales and develop this new market."

"Gay" Blocked as Legitimate Surname at Facebook

The social networking website Facebook has reportedly blocked its users from entering the name "Gay" as a surname when registering for the popular site (at least in Australia), the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Tyson_gay"It's been revealed that the popular website - which boasts it has more than 30 million members from around the world - does not allow people with the common Anglo Saxon surname Gay to join, assuming it is not a legitimate name. After a story in New Zealand's Dominion Post about 30-year-old Rowena Gay, who was denied entry to site because of her last name, smh.com.au undertook a test and found a person with the last name Gay was indeed not allowed to join. 'Please enter a legitimate name,' the website stated during our attempt. And while the website refused Gay, it had no problem allowing us to join with the last name Hitler."

The paper talked with Australian lawmaker Duncan Gay about the issue: "That's a bit tough, it's pretty ordinary ... it bothers me to the extent that quite often when you give your name you get a twitter. People looking and smirking. This is a continuation of that. While it wasn't tough for me, particularly for my son going through school, with the name ... if they're removing Gay from [Facebook] it becomes a problem for my family. I'm not ruling out protesting vigorously about this."

Pictured, American sprinter Tyson Gay, who may also have a problem with it.

Facebook blocks Gay surname [sydney morning herald]
Gay? Facebook Says No. [same same]

Gay Pride in Second Life Makes Us Yearn for a Third Life


Altoids is holding Gay Pride month at L-Word Island in the online virtual world of Second Life. According to AdRants, "events include a carnival, a date auction, gay prom and two massive parades that sync with the LA, New York and SF ones".

While the intention may have been celebratory, the result is more like direct marketing day on the island of misfit toys.


If the Flickr photostream of the events is any evidence, gay pride is wearing thin in virtual reality as well. Their parade (minus the stench, the drunks, the bare breasts, the dykes on bikes, the kettle corn, and the shirtlessness) lacks any kind of noticeable edge.


Except of course, for the hot girl-on-girl action.

Boy, looks like a lot of fun, doesn't it?


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