December 20, 2005

OT: Dover ID Prescription Unconstitutional [2:46 pm]

Not my usual beat, but I love these paragraphs from the opinion: Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover School District, et al.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

[...] Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

I guess there’s no hope for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, either? Yaaaar!

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Another “Analog Hole” Attack [10:19 am]

Pro-Hollywood bill aims to restrict digital tuners

A new proposal in Congress could please Hollywood studios, which are increasingly worried about Internet piracy, by embedding anticopying technology into the next generation of digital video products.

If the legislation were enacted, one year later it would outlaw the manufacture or sale of electronic devices that convert analog video signals into digital ones–unless those encoders honor an anticopying plan designed to curb redistribution. Affected devices would include PC-based tuners and digital video recorders.

Can’t find the Thomas link, yet

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NPR’s Morning Edition on BluRay v HD DVD [8:55 am]

It’ll be listed after 8:30 and audio will be available after 8:30 — the crux of the choice, according to this piece, is the fact that Blu-Ray is working to help rights-holders increase their level of control of access.

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Causing Unrest: Keyhole/Google [8:52 am]

One of those slippery arguments in the computer/database age — does the fact that the data exists *somewhere* mean that there are no downsides to making sure its available *everywhere* to *anyone*? How do you know? And how can you tell? Google Offers a Bird’s-Eye View, and Some Governments Tremble

Google Earth is the most conspicuous recent instance of increased openness in a digitally networked world, where information that was once carefully guarded is now widely available on personal computers. Many security experts agree that such increased transparency - and the discomfort that it produces - is an inevitable byproduct of the Internet’s power and reach.

American experts in and outside government generally agree that the focus on Google Earth as a security threat appears misplaced, as the same images that Google acquires from a variety of sources are available directly from the imaging companies, as well as from other sources. Google Earth licenses most of the satellite images, for instance, from DigitalGlobe, an imaging company in Longmont, Colo.

“Google Earth is not acquiring new imagery,” said John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, which has an online repository of satellite imagery. “They are simply repurposing imagery that somebody else had already acquired. So if there was any harm that was going to be done by the imagery, it would already be done.”

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Pending Red Letter Day: Feb 17, 2009 [8:47 am]

My birthday! Oh, and the day that analog TV channels go dark - for the moment: Transition to Digital Gets Closer

As part of the transition, the legislation would provide each household with up to two coupons worth $40 each for converter boxes to attach to analog television sets so they are not obsolete once broadcasters surrender their analog licenses on Feb. 17, 2009, as the new law would require. Not coincidentally, the date was selected to fall two weeks after the Super Bowl and a month before the widely watched National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament.

[...] “This is the government making your TV go black and then only paying part of the costs for some of the people to make it work again, and none of the costs for others,” said Gene Kimmelman, public policy director at Consumers Union.

An estimated 70 million to 80 million television sets now in use are analog and are not attached to cable or satellite services, though experts say that by the completion of the transition, consumers will be using many more digital sets and fewer analog ones.

But mine still won’t be connected to cable!

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Asking “Where’s Boston’s WiFi?” [8:15 am]

Plus a rundown of other programs nationwide: If we’re Tech City, where’s our WiFi? [pdf]

Wireless data networks are being installed free of charge in cities across the nation. But Boston, a city with a reputation for innovation and more than twice the population of some cities already luring big WiFi investments, isn’t among them.

Towns with less than half Boston’s population have gotten companies to pledge millions of dollars for so-called WiFi networks that blanket an entire city, offering little in return except access to light poles and the hope of charging residents and businesses usage fees. Cities like Akron, Ohio, and Tempe, Ariz., and Farmers Branch, Texas, each with populations below 300,000, persuaded a company to spend millions to build the networks, which provide high-speed Internets access to residents and businesses from anywhere in town.

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