Time magazine has a report on what could be the next high-tech weapon making its debut in the war on Iraq: the HPM, or high-power microwave. The classified weapon is capable of delivering an electronic pulse of as much as two billion watts, a pulse which would basically fry sensitive electronic circuitry, chips, and hardware without harming personnel (except for those with pacemakers). As the story points out, an early, less effective version of this was employed in the Gulf War and Yugoslavia by showering a target with Carbon fiber strips that short out electronics and power plants, but obviously this weapon packs a much bigger punch. I have to say that I just love the nickname given to the HPM by its engineers: “Dial-A-Hurt.”

X-Men Ruled To Be Nonhuman

The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Court of International Trade has ruled that the X-Men, as well as many comic book characters, are “nonhuman.” While a little strange-sounding, this ruling allows Marvel and other action figure companies to receive lower import tariffs because instead of being classified as “human” dolls they are considered “nonhuman” toys. This is especially ironic considering that in the comic books (and movies, now) the X-Men fought for the right to be considered human, albeit with superhuman mutant powers.

How much does the RIAA respect YOU?

Well the RIAA is at it again. Their new idea is to charge the ISPs a fee to cover the loss of revenue from filesharing. So what this RIAA spokesperson is trying to tell us is that EVERYONE who uses an ISP should pay the extra cost (that the ISP would undoubtedly pass on to consumers) in order to make up for a predicted 6% drop in worldwide CD sales in 2003. They claim that the drop is from filesharing with no mention of the FREAKING RECESSION. It seems that they can not stop individual users from filesharing so they will just destroy the medium (Internet) that allows them to do it. I am almost too mad after reading this article to type. I am really afraid that when Bush and Ashcroft get done with this situation we will be paying $30 for a CD that can only be played in a Sony brand CD player for 14 minutes, and will then melt. Welcome to Bush’s corporate America. I find the last quote from the article especially hypocritical. “It’s clear to me these companies are profiting to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. They must be held accountable,” Rosen said. What an f’ing arrogant, out of touch, human (I really wanted to use another word here).

Supreme Court Endorses Copyright Theft

While that sounds a bit extreme, that is pretty much the result of the Supreme Court ruling last Wednesday on Eldred v. Ashcroft. I mentioned this story some time ago but held out hope that common sense would prevail. As Wired Magazine reports, “The 7-2 ruling (PDF) in Eldred v. Ashcroft gives Congress free reign to hand out copyright extensions as long as media companies are around to lobby for them – all while rejecting most arguments brought by the plaintiffs to the contrary.” This piece in Siliconvalley.com also lends some insight on the subject, and the accompanying image in this blog entry is a great, if now illegal, summary of the situation. I am disgusted that companies like Disney (one of the main, and most egregious, defendants) can now profit indefinitely from its work, much of which was based on public domain sources to begin with.

Woo hoo! The Simpsons Is Renewed Through 2005

The Simpsons RenewedAs CNN aptly quotes, “Mmm…renewal.” According the story, the renewal will allow The Simpsons to become the longest-running TV comedy, edging out The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet. I’m really happy to hear that the show is guaranteed to be around for at least a couple more years but worry that it will become tired and stale. Some particularly bad episodes like last week’s make me wonder whether the writing has already sunk to that level. However, in my opinion this season overall has seen a slight upsurge in the quality and humor of its episodes, although still paling in comparison to some of the earlier seasons. Let’s hope this good news doesn’t lead to complacency…

Parole Officers Watch TV!

An arrest warrant was issued for Bobby Brown by a Dekalb County, Georgia judge for violating an order not to leave the state pending his trial on a drunk driving charge. How did they know he had left the state, you may ask? Well, when you perform live at the *televised* American Music Awards in *Los Angeles*, it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. What a dumbass.