(democracynow.org) Almost three months after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Japan, new radiation “hot spots” may require the evacuation of more areas further from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency recently admitted for the first time that full nuclear meltdowns occurred at three of the plant’s reactors, and more than doubled its estimate for the amount of radiation that leaked from the plant in the first week of the disaster in March. “What they failed to mention is that they discharged an equally large amount into the ocean,” says our guest Robert Alvarez, former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. “As [the radiation] goes up the food chain, it accumulates. By the time it reaches people who consume this food, the levels are higher than they originally were when they entered the environment.” Alvarez also discusses his new report on the vulnerabilities and hazards of stored spent fuel at U.S. reactors in the United States. Then we go to Tokyo to speak with Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of the group Green Action. She says citizens leading their own monitoring efforts are calling for additional evacuations, especially for young children and pregnant women.
(falkvinge.net) One oft-questioned objective of the Pirate Parties is the dismantlement of the patent system, as in scrapping the concept altogether. Patents are a remnant from the guild era that has never served to advance the rate of innovations, but always to brake it in favor of incumbent industries. It should have been killed when free enterprise laws were enacted worldwide in mid-1850s, but wasn’t.
The patent system delayed the Industrial Revolution by 30 years, broadcast radio by five to ten years, powered flight by 25 years… I could go on and on. And today, it’s no different. The situation certainly isn’t helped by clueless politicians who measure “innovation” as “number of filed patent applications”, which is about as useful as measuring “economic growth” as “number of smashed windows”. It’s not just unrelated, the correlation is strongly negative.
This is important: the patent system hasn’t derailed just recently. It was always a retardant on innovation. It’s just that the pace of ideas has picked up, and so this fact has become much more apparent — and much more damaging.
Engineers hate patents. Almost every engineer I’ve spoken to show the deepest burning sincere hatred for the patent system in their own field of work. At the very best, they haven’t questioned it and so are indifferent. Curiously, most engineers think that patents are necessary outside their own field of work, but in their own, they see how it is a major retardant of innovation. This goes for all engineers acrossall fields of work.
The justification that is constantly brought up across political panels when I criticize the patent system is that venture capital won’t flow into startups if they don’t have patents. Venture capitalists want it, I’m told, or they won’t invest in new startups, which is fueling our entire economy. It is true that startups and small businesses are the backbone of our economy. But I also know that venture capitalists and other kinds of business angels never consider patents to be the determining factor in investing.
Finally, via TechDirt, I learn that some very well-respected VCs are starting to say what they really think. And boy, are they telling it like it is. No punches are spared here.
“I can’t understand why our goverment allows this shit to go on. It’s wrong and its bad for society to have this cancer growing inside our economy.”
“The basic problem with patents is that you’re trying to assign property rights to something that doesn’t deserve property rights. […] The basic problem is that Chris [Dixon] and a bunch of engineers can be sitting at Hunch designing some amazing new feature and somebody unbeknownst to them has a patent on this feature and never actually implemented it and can now screw them over… It’s just not right, it shouldn’t exist.”
It’s great to have the people who supposedly matter politically on the topic coming clear in this very unambiguous language. Thank you, good sirs.
Nobody wants patents except patent lawyers and a few specific companies that can use patents to tax the public. Patents kill ideas, the growth of society, and our backbone businesses.
(wsws.org) The Obama administration has seized upon the popular upheavals in Yemen to step up bombings and missile attacks against alleged Al Qaeda militants, effectively opening up yet another war in the region.
Citing unnamed government sources, the New York Times reported Thursday that Washington is “exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets.”
Testifying at a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, CIA Director Leon Panetta, tapped by Obama to take over the Pentagon as defense secretary, acknowledged that the US military has opened up a fourth theater of war with its attacks on Yemen. He said that Washington was working “with elements there to try to develop counterterrorism.” Read More
(Vanzetti’s Ghost) So this is a long overdue translation of an interview I did a while ago with a Spanish participant in Anonymous and #OpSpain. For reference, the law the anon talks about is the “Ley Sinde” or the law approved by the Spanish Congress, which among other things, gave the government unprecedented control over the internet… I did my best with the translation, so without further ado…
Vanzetti- So what in your opinion is the situation in spain? What motivated you today to find this irc?
Anon- The Spanish government is totally subject to the power of industry, they say that the law is to stop downloads, which they call ‘illegal’. But the truth is that they want control of the internet, they want to control it like television, they want to control the people. And this is why Anonymous exists, to defend rights, to defend the culture without shackles. And responding to your second question: Anonymous is not saught, it’s not found. Anonymous: he is the one that finds you.
Vanzetti- next question, in your opinion what is the role of these “online protests” including DDoS? Do they help or hurt real life demonstrations? What do you perceive as their effect?
Anon- The role of the online protests, is equal to the traditional protests, to demonstrate a non-conformity with an act, non-violently. First, the DDoS attack against the “Law”, has a clear declaration: If they close web pages, so will we”. It’s same as a traditional manifestation, what is sought is to make a lot of noise, that the citizens will listen to us and be able to see beyond the effects. That the manifestations of Anonymous are quite effective. They are as effective as taking down the “Law” in the Senate, or we will make Alex of the church (actual president of ‘La Academia’) resign from office, to understand what has happened with this “Law”.
Vanzetti- if you don’t mind me asking what are your personal political beliefs? I know a lot of people here have trouble with those labels. But if you had to choose where would you put yourself on the spectrum?
Anon- Political party?
Vanzetti- political party or personal beliefs
Anon- I have always defended a phrase of Abraham Lincoln: Government of the people, by the people, for the people. Which is, more or less, what Democracy represents. But in these times, thanks to the internet, the people are waking up, giving themselves an account that this is not a Democracy, rather a tyranny. Personally I think that we must rebuild the government. Clean and start from 0, to culminate in a [this answer seems incomplete now that I translate it. No way to see what the anon was going to say. The feel of it is obvious though. Continuing…]
Vanzetti- the last question being: anyone with access to news has seen the growing role the internet is playing in movements for social change. To you, what is the role of a free internet? What about it is worth saving?
Anon- Internet, like they say about Anonymous, is the future. We see each day, people that hate or have no idea how to use the Internet, all day they are in social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, or Tuenti for example. We see each time there is more demand for culture, and this is why that the citizens are encouraged to share. We want to grow like people, we want access to culture that isn’t unicameral. That no one limits your access to some sites and others not. That no one has to say to you that culture has to be consumed (We want a world without Belén Esteban). We want a free internet.
Vanzetti- Muchas gracias por la entrevista. Es un grand ayuda.
Anon- Gracias a Usted.
Vanzetti- i’ll try to do the situation justice
Vanzetti- thanks again see ya
(rawstory.xom) MADRID (AFP) – Spanish police said Friday they had nabbed three hackers from vigilante group Anonymous for online attacks on Sony PlayStation and the governments of Egypt, Libya and Iran among others.
The trio were suspected leaders of the Spanish operations of Anonymous, a so-called “hacktivist” group that breaks into computers online to pursue an agenda of political activism.
Officers snatched the three suspects in Barcelona, northeastern Spain, Valencia in the east and Almeria in the southeast.
One of the suspects, aged 31, had a server at his home in the northern city of Gijon to run attacks on government, financial and business sites worldwide, police said.
They are accused of hacking the Sony PlayStation online shop, the sites of major banks BBVA and Bankia, Italian power company Enel, and the governments of Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Chile, Colombia and New Zealand.
A police technological investigation squad analysed more than two million lines recorded on web pages and chats to track down the leadership who took decisions and launched the online hacks, they said.
It is unclear if the suspects are accused of a role in the massive online attacks in April on Sony, which only this month restored PlayStation Network services everywhere except Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea