Churchill Banned UFO Report to Avoid Mass Panic

Via Yahoo! News (yeah, i’ve had this in my queue for 2 weeks, i’m lazy busy):

Reports given to Churchill claimed that a reconnaissance aircraft returning to Britain from a mission was shadowed by a UFO as it crossed the British coast.

The plane’s crew were reported to have photographed the object, which they said had “hovered noiselessly” near the aircraft, before moving off.

According to the letter describing this alleged incident: “Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect, ‘This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one’s belief in the Church.'”

News Links 3-15-10

Lip-Reading Mobile Phone Promises to End Noisy Calls [BBC News]
The technology measures the electrical signals produced by muscles when someone speaks. Would presumably be good for a dumb person to communicate as well.
Report: 98.9% Of Downloads On The Android Market Are Free [The Next Web]
An estimated eight million Android users downloaded 289 million apps, of which 98.9% were free to download. Wow, looks like an app market developers would be anxious to get into </sarcasm>

Peter Graves dead at 83 – RIP [Real TV Addict]
I have many, many fond memories of Mission Impossible and Mr. Graves’ character and the plethora of spoofs his character helped architect was key to many of those memories. Here’s a nice 2+ minute series intro to the MI team’s escapades.

World’s Most Precise Clock Created

I’ve always had a fascination with Time. I enjoy reading and hearing about advancements in Time tracking technologies over the centuries. So this article from New Scientist piqued my interest:

The new record-holder for the most precise timekeeper could tick off the 13.7-billion-year age of the universe to within 4 seconds.

If you want the technical details you can find it in this paper (PDF) from Cornell’s Quantum Physics section of their library.

What I want to know is whether entropy will set in across the universe within 13 billion years and if so, will the clock maintain its accuracy as it count backwards? 🙂

IP protectionism gone wrong?

the guys over at TechDirt have pointed out an issue where a comedian was required to re-tape a joke due to Comedy Central not having the licensing for the song “We Are The World”.
The issue here is not really a matter of copyright, but IP protectionism gone wrong.
There is a clear case of fair use under parody with this and such issues have previously been held by the Supreme Court as a first amendment issue when the parody has been intended as a criticism as was the case in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music.

Now, to be fair, in that case the criticism was of the original work. But looking at the specifics of that case, the court deemed that the work was transformative which using a song in a joke would certainly be, provided social benefit by making use of the earlier work which this appears to do as well as the effect upon the the potential market of the original work which in this case I can only imagine would be nil.
The remaining factor is the amount of the original work used in the transformative work. In this case, its four words sung by a comedian… not a singer doing a cover of the song, just singing the four words and that’s it.
The Supreme Court sent that issue back to a trial court to determine if the use of the original work was excessive, but I have to believe that a non-singer using four words to frame a joke about the overuse of the word love with no music from that song to accompany him certainly would not fall under excessive.

My own personal viewpoint is that Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom is in a rather no win situation on this type of issue. If they stand by the fair use principal that opens them up to others claiming fair use on IP that they own the rights to undermining any future attempts to maximize control and the ability to monetize the works they own the rights to. It would be good if they could see the unreasonableness of taking such action, but I doubt they will.

IE continues its slide while Safari stumbles a bit too

Its become fairly commonplace to see Internet Explorer taking yet another small step towards a smaller market share with its browser. While it is still the predominant browser being used out there, the competition in that area is has heated up a bit more with Google’s Chrome Browser who has reciently taken over third place from Safari.
As pointed out by our friends at Endgaget, taking a deeper look at the numbers can reveal some interesting information.

  • Google Chrome made the largest gains while most others stayed flat
  • IE6 remains the top browser by version.
  • By version split, Firefox 3.5 is only about 6% lower than IE 6 or 8.
  • No one really uses the built in browser on the PS3 (so much for convergence in that arena)

Its no surprise to anyone really that the browser which comes packaged with the operating system that has the largest market share would also have the highest share, but this is sure to be good news to Google with its upcoming launch of the G1, rumors of a Google tablet surfacing and the attention Android is getting from everyone.

SF-Fantasy-Mystery-Pulp-Spoof Twitter Novel

Harald Havas alerted me to a novel he’s writing and posting via Twitter. It’s what he claims is the first Twitter-SF-Fantasy-Mystery-Pulp-Spoof-novel.

Here’s the beginning of the tweets that he started last Spring, you can quickly get caught up to the tweets by starting at his web sit listed below:

Hans-Dieter was quite tall for a Znork. But the road through the Paloopah Swamps was arduous even for him. Silently he cursed the two-faced Twin-Znark. Just because his hoofs could cover the distance to Hot Patootie some Milli-Zeks quicker, the Chieftain always sent him. Though Anke, the female part of the Twin-Znark, tried time and again to help Hans-Dieter, Jochen her Second-Face always remained adamant. Squotch. Just some Micro-Zeks of self-pity and here we go, Hans-Dieter thought angrily to himself. His left hoof was stuck in a puddle of sweet, amber-colored Paloopah-goo.

You can find his stuff here:
and (German)