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June 2005 Archives

June 3, 2005

Morse coders beating SMSers

From Make:

Morse coders beating SMSers

Jay Leno did a text off between two text messengers and two Morse coders. Here's a video of it (WMV). The Morse coders handily beat the young whippersnappers with time to spare.

June 9, 2005

Simpsons Film in Preproduction

from movies.yahoo.com:

Ay Caramba! "Simpsons" Movie Going

"I don't know the name of it, and I can't go into details about it, and we'll just have to see how it goes, but I think it's going to be great and the fans are going to dig it," she added.

Producers had always indicated that the movie would likely debut after the TV show ran its course. But with the show continuing to perform well, averaging about 10 million viewers last season, the Simpsons brain trust decided to move forward now, according to a rep for 20th Century Fox, which will distribute the Simpsons film.

"They are working on hammering out a script, but there's no title or production date or release date," studio spokeswoman Antonia Coffman told E! Online Wednesday. "We always wanted the show to end first but it just keeps going. Now they've worked out a team to simultaneously do [both the film and show]."

June 13, 2005

Poker Bot Tournament

From latimes.com:


Gabriel is one of an increasing number of computer professionals who design poker robots, or "bots," that pose as human gamblers but can play endlessly without tiring or losing concentration — for real money.

Though not yet good enough to beat skilled humans consistently, these programs are seen as a threat by online casinos — all based outside the U.S. and out of the reach of American laws — and the gamblers who spend billions of dollars chasing big pots.

"There are already lots of robots playing online, and that's definitely unethical. They should identify themselves," said Paul Magriel, a veteran professional poker player.

The march of the machines will be celebrated in Las Vegas next month with the world's first money tournament for robots — and the $100,000 prize is drawing a handful of coders out of anonymity.

June 15, 2005

Britney Spears Ranked Top Virus Celebrity

From pcworld.com:

Britney Spears Ranked Top Virus Celebrity

Pop singer Britney Spears has edged out Bill Gates as the celebrity most commonly associated with malicious software distributed via e-mail, according to data released today from security software company Panda Software.

Researchers combed through the seven years of virus-laden messages stored in Panda's malware database to determine which celebrities most often had their names involuntarily used in association with malicious spam.


The top ten list of celebrity virus rankings (in descending order) is: Britney Spears, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, Anna Kournikova, Paris Hilton, and Pamela Anderson.

June 20, 2005

Pavement Drawings

Julian Beever's pavement drawings

Julian Beever has made pavement drawings for over ten years. He has worked in the U.K., Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Australia.

The pavement drawings have included both renderings of old masters plus a wealth of original inventive pieces of work.

Even more impressive is his anamorphic illusions drawn in a special distortion in order to create an impression of 3 dimensions when seen from one particular viewpoint. The Portable Computer and the General Election drawings were commissioned by companies as part of a promotion and an event.

Julian Beever's pavement drawings

June 21, 2005

Loews and AMC Combine to Form Evil Empire

Damn them!

AMC Plans to Acquire Loews Cineplex

At a time when most Americans say they would rather watch a movie at home, the country's second largest theater chain, AMC Entertainment Inc., announced plans Tuesday to acquire Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp.

The merged company will have ownership or interests in about 450 theaters in 30 states and 13 countries.

The announcement that the billion dollar movie houses will combine comes as ticket sales are on a 17-week slide — marking the worst low since 1985 when some of the best offerings included the lackluster "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." A recent Associated Press-AOL News poll showed that nearly three-fourths of Americans would rather watch a movie from the comfort of their own homes.

...But Brandon Gray, president of boxofficemojo.com, an online box office tracker, said it makes sense that AMC and Loews would pool their resources.

"The DVD boom has made watching movies more convenient and it seems that the time between theatrical release and DVD release is getting shorter and shorter," Gray said. "Theaters will have to band together to survive."

AMC spokeswoman Pam Blase said the industry always has ups and downs.

"It's safe to say we're in a down cycle right now, but it will go up again and we will be there with a very strong company," Blase said. She could not say if the merger would result in theater closings or layoffs, saying those details would be determined in coming months...

What's up with the random jab at Peewee's Big Adventure? That's a mighty good film.

Reality Show Writers Want a Union

If these writers decide to blow up just how fak these shows are, it might not be a good look for the networks. Then again I wonder how many people would care? I love that the guy producers sent to provide a counter argument is actually named "Counter."

Reality TV Show Writers Want to Unionize

In a push to win union wages and benefits from producers, Hollywood writers are revealing one of the industry's secrets: Television reality shows are often as carefully scripted as any sitcom or crime drama....

...The WGA claims reality shows have become cash cows for the networks in large part because producers don't have to pay union wages and benefits...

..."They want to keep the fiction that it's not written so they don't have to pay us what they pay fiction writers," said Rebecca Hertz, a 28-year-old writer who has worked on shows such as "The Swan" on Fox and "Big Man on Campus" on the WB...

...Unlike a sitcom or drama, a reality show doesn't often employ "writers." Instead, people with titles such a "field producer" or "story producer" make sure each episode follows a script that's often conceived in advance.

In other cases, editors have the job of finding dramatic story lines in hundreds of hours of tape. Producers might boil down 400 hours of footage to create a single 44-minute episode of a show, said Jeff Bartsch, a 26-year-old editor.

"Audiences want to see conflict and resolution. They want to see a progression, to see the characters learn something," he said. That process, argues the WGA, is called writing...

...This month, the WGA sent letters to reality show producers demanding union recognition. The WGA said it was willing to call a strike if producers don't negotiate.

It's a strategy producers say may backfire. "It's an unfortunate tactic," said Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. "It's directly contrary to what they agreed to."

Counter said the organizing campaign also places reality show producers in an awkward situation because some of the workers the WGA is trying to sign up are already represented by the Directors Guild of America or the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

The conflicting demands for recognition would have to be resolved by the National Labor Relations Board - a process that could take years.

Bartsch said much of the action in reality shows is staged. In some cases, producers find cast members who fit predetermined "roles" or personality types, ask leading questions to get the answers the script demands or even splice together pieces of conversation to create desired dialogue - something known as "Frankenbites," Bartsch said.

For example, he said, a producer might take a cast member saying "I can't stand the dinner they served tonight" on one day and combine it with that person saying another character's name on a different day to come up with the statement "I can't stand Suzy..."

Beck is a Scientologist.

Aw man. how could this be? He seems so smart, and they seem so so so so so so evil. My whole world is shattered right now.

Party Poker IPO

Partygaming, owners of Party Poker (Partypoker.com), are about to go all-in (sorry, bad one) in the UK Stock Market.

Party Poker IPO Coming Soon

THE stock market flotation of PartyGaming, the controversial internet poker operator, looked odds-on to succeed last night despite the resignation of a high-profile member of its advisory team.
Sources close to the company, which will go straight into the FTSE 100, confirmed that enough institutions had placed orders in the bookbuilding process to get the initial public offering (IPO) away within the price range set by its adviser, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DKW).

...The apparent success of PartyGaming’s IPO comes despite negative publicity over the legality of internet gambling in the US, its main market, the colourful past of Ruth Parasol, its founder, and the huge sums of money involved. Ms Parasol, who made her first fortune running internet porn sites and sex chatlines, and her three co-owners are selling shares worth more than £800 million in the IPO, while retaining a combined 71.5 per cent.

Richard Segal, the chief executive, will get shares worth £44.4 million at the lower end of the price range and Michael Jackson, the non-executive chairman, will get a one-off fee of £1.5 million.

PartyGaming, which is based in Gibraltar, dominates the burgeoning internet poker market with its PartyPoker website.

June 22, 2005

Ethiopian Girl Rescued by Lions

Wow. I've always felt my cats could sense when I needed love and support, corny as it sounds.. maybe this is that instinct proving itself on a grand scale. Whatever it was, I hope this girl gets a share of profits from the clearly inescapable film adaptation.

Lions Rescue, Guard Beaten Ethiopian Girl

A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said Tuesday.

The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Addis Ababa.

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said.

"If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage," he said.

Tilahun Kassa, a local government official who corroborated Wondimu's version of the events, said one of the men had wanted to marry the girl against her wishes.

"Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people," Wondimu said.

Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry, said the girl may have survived because she was crying from the trauma of her attack.

"A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn't eat her," Williams said.

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their large black manes, are the country's national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Despite a recent crackdown, Hunters also kill the animals for their skins, which can fetch $1,000. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild.

The girl, the youngest of four siblings, was "shocked and terrified" after her abduction and had to be treated for the cuts from her beatings, Wondimu said.

He said police had caught four of the abductors and three were still at large.

Kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in Ethiopia. The United Nations estimates that more than 70 percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural areas where most of the country's 71 million people live.

Google Online Payment System

Suuuure you don't want to compete with Paypal.

Google Confirms Work on Internet Payment Service
Google has confirmed that it is developing an online payment system, although it says it has no plans to take on EBay's PayPal service.

Following media speculation about such a move, the chief executive of the Web search giant, Eric Schmidt, told reporters in the United States that the company is working on payment services that would extend its existing online products and advertising services.

Representatives for Google in the United Kingdom confirmed Schmidt's remarks but declined to give further details.

Google does not plan to launch a person-to-person stored payment system that would compete directly with PayPal, but it is working on a payment system to improve the way e-commerce is done, Schmidt told reporters, according to the U.K. representative.

EBay's PayPal service allows businesses and individuals to send and receive payments online using existing financial infrastructure such as bank accounts and credit cards. Founded in 1998, PayPal now claims over 71 million account members worldwide.

Schmidt said that Google's aim is to solve other problems with e-commerce, according to the representative. Much of the search company's activity today revolves around online advertising and tools such as its Froogle online comparison shopping engine.

Founded in 1998, Mountain View, California-based Google has been credited with disrupting business models with its innovative services, pushing technology stalwarts such as Microsoft and Yahoo to rethink their search and e-mail offerings.

June 27, 2005

U.S. Scientists Create Zombie Dogs

from news.com.au

Boffins create zombie dogs

SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.
US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.


Duing the procedure blood is replaced with saline solution at a few degrees above zero. The dogs' body temperature drops to only 7C, compared with the usual 37C, inducing a state of hypothermia before death.

Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved.

Damaged blood vessels and tissues can then be repaired via surgery. The dogs are brought back to life by returning the blood to their bodies,giving them 100 per cent oxygen and applying electric shocks to restart their hearts.

Tests show they are perfectly normal, with no brain damage.

"The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology," said one US battlefield doctor.

June 28, 2005

Putin Pockets Patriots Ring

From nysun.com

Putin Pockets Patriots Ring

The owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, is missing his 2005 Super Bowl ring, and the bauble appears to have been pocketed by President Putin of Russia.

That is the story that was being pieced together yesterday evening following a report in the Russian press and buzz from an e-mail. In that message, a consultant related details from a businessman who was present at a meeting last weekend between a group of American executives and the steely ex-KGB agent to talk about investment in Russia. According to the account contained in the e-mail and elaborated on to The New York Sun by several sources, Mr. Kraft made the mistake of pulling the diamond-encrusted, 14-karat, white-gold Super Bowl ring off his hand to give his host a closer look.

It was the last time, according to these sources, that the owner of the New England Patriots football team saw the ring, a gaudy piece of jewelry that could easily be sold on eBay at the cost of a small yacht and that its proud owner may not have wished to part with permanently at any price.

June 30, 2005

Forbes Mag: Jenna Jameson the Porn Player

From forbes.com:

The (Porn) Player

Jenna Jameson made millions having sex on-camera. Now she aims to make millions more--without ever again having to deliver so much as an on-screen kiss.

Jenna Jameson, the world's most famous porn star, has done a far better job of exploiting herself than any sleazy peddler could hope to do. Since 1993 the onetime blonde (now brunette)bombshell has starred in 50-odd adult movies, selling millions of copies worldwide. Today thousands of members pay $35 a month for access to her Web site, ClubJenna.com, where they can linger over nude pictures of her, download her racy movies and read her lurid diary. Her fans can rent her digital moan as the ringer on their cell phones and buy Jenna sex toys, action figures--and even a piece of herself, molded in soft plastic, anatomically accurate and priced to move at $200.

But here's the weird part:Jenna Jameson hasn't had sex on-camera with a male partner (other than her husband) in seven years; better yet, she hopes to build her thriving business even bigger without ever again having video sex with anyone--male, female or herself. "I always wanted to be a star," says Jameson, 31. "I've always embraced my hard-core roots, but becoming a household name was an important thing to me."

She has transcended the sex trade to become a bona fide celebrity, hounded by the tabloids and fervid fans. Her memoir, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list last year. She has appeared 30 times on Howard Stern's radio show, most recently to disclaim a rumor that she was sleeping with Britney Spears, and had a small role in his 1997 film, Private Parts. She shows up on such TV talk shows as The O'Reilly Factor. The A&E network is looking at the just-completed pilot for her hoped-for reality series, and she wants to do a film on her life story.

Her holding company, ClubJenna, will hit revenues of $30 million this year, up 30% in a year; the profits may approach half of that. She owns and operates ClubJenna with her husband, Jay G. Grdina, a producer or director of 900 adult films. "This has developed from an individual star into a porn conglomerate," he says. "Her brand has been developed with the reputation of being the best, and now we are capitalizing on that and monetizing the name." They hope to move into Jenna-branded strip clubs, cosmetics, an apparel line and bejeweled sex toys.

About June 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Inane Asylum in June 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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