Run away the ray-gun is coming: A test of US army's new secret weapon - We've already heard all about the new weapon that makes a person feel like they're on fire so it's not really news to watch this guy zap himself. What strikes me as I read this account, however, is how the tide has turned against non-lethal weaponry. I seem to recall there being a real call for non-lethal weapons in the face of disturbing statistics on gun related injuries. I'm not able to drag anything specific out of Google but my recollection is of a spate of stories about cops shooting inner city kids who were holding toy guns or Three Musketeer bars and one line of thought in response was that police officers needed a non-lethal tool of force - just in case (in searching I found a lot of stories from 1999 that also mention Amadou Diallo). But as bad press for tasers stacks up with outrage over torture accusations against the United States, the ability to manipulate people with excruciating pain does not hold as much promise as an alternative as it may have initially seemed. Somehow, at least in recent media coverage, it's become a tool for the suppression of the irretrievably outraged.
Speaking of bad press for tasers, Wheelchair-Bound Woman Dies After Being Shocked With Taser 10 Times. This actually happened in April of 2006 so it's not clear to me what the new hook is.
Here's another: "Norman 'was handcuffed, leg shackled, hog-tied, blindfolded and tasered numerous times,' according to a news release issued by her attorneys." If I was actually looking for these stories I'm sure I'd find more. These are just the ones I'm coming across as I look at what the online community is talking about.
Speaking of this subject occupying the attention of the online community, "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" Jolts the Web - A round-up of how the phrase has taken the Web by storm.
Why does it seem like the MediaDefender story has been a top headline for a week? Because it's actually three stories and now there are stories about how much this anti-piracy company is getting its butt kicked. Hackers are taking credit for at least three breaches at anti-piracy firm MediaDefender. --Oops, better make that four separate stories of MediaDefender leaks/hacks. Apparently among the anti-piracy strategies employed by MediaDefender is to pollute BitTorrent networks with bogus files.
Once I picked myself up off the floor, I came to the conclusion that I believe the Oscar De La Hoya crossdressing photos are fake. The photos are not exactly naked or graphic but unless you have a really peculiar job, these are not work safe. The most likely explanation appears to be that this is a prank connected to "a bet De La Hoya had previously made with Sugar Ray Leonard over a minor fight in which the loser would then handle ring card girl duties during the subsequent main event."
'Cancer cured' headline of the day: Cancer cure 'may be available in two years' - Y'know, I've been making this joke for a long time and I realized today that it may be losing some of its original edge. For the record, I think these stories - or at least the headlines - border on cruelty. Here's a guy facing a few months left to live, leaving behind a wife and three small kids, trying to keep a positive face. I hope he has a dark enough sense of humor to chuckle when he sees headline after headline announcing new cures.
"This unusual species of flying fox was recently discovered in the Philippines not long after it was deemed not to exist."
"Moral hazard" was not an expression with which I was familiar until I read this bit about Ron Paul putting the question to the Fed chairman. "How can it ever be morally justifiable to deliberately depreciate the value of our currency?"
Mint Wins TechCrunch40 Top Company Award; Takes $50,000 Prize - "Mint is a personal finance application that lets users track and monitor their financials in one place without the need of routine maintenance or accounting knowledge."
"San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders expressed his support for same-sex marriage, after revealing his daughter is gay." This is one of those videos you probably saw on TV in just a few seconds of video with the anchor talking over it. This is the full video of his announcement. Quite moving.
"This video is making the rounds among military folks." NOTE: Ends with a pronounced S bomb -no pun.
List of countries by current account balance - You know whenever you see "list of countries..." that it's meant to show some shortcoming in the United States. Still, it's quite a contrast in numbers.
I don't know what Dan Rather is thinking with his lawsuit against CBS. You'd no doubt heard about the story already so I won't belabor it except to remind you that Rather's downfall marked the coming of age for pundit blogs. There's little doubt they'd love to put on an encore performance of those facts and analysis. For that matter I'm sure there are more than a few liberal bloggers who wouldn't mind re-opening the question of Bush's military service.
I saw an brief story on TV about the role of black bloggers in generating energy for the Jena 6 rally yesterday. Some bloggers feel the cause should have had more support from the progressive blogosphere and bloggers as a whole.
Here's a funny bit of fact checking. Yesterday President Bush said he got a B in Econ 101. "President Bush as an undergraduate at Yale did not in fact receive a grade of B in his economics course. Bush received a grade that would correspond with a C-."
The hard science of making video games. It looks at how the game designers have to figure out how to make the graphics behave like the real world.