Monday, September 1, 275760

Random Disclaimer: This is a blog.

9/23/14 EDIT: For in-depth video game information for various obscure RPGs, check out my gaming blog at

5/29/12 EDIT: I've just created a new blog exclusively for ponies and pony-related news, WITHOUT the stressful news articles on this blog.  It's no Equestria Daily, nor will it ever be, but it's still a pony blog. Feel free to check it out if you please...

This blog contains some controversial posts concerning certain political issues and depressing news stories. If you find some of the content on my blog too controversial for your liking, or you're simply interested in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, go to That is my DailyMotion channel, which is filled with (almost) every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic so far. If a new episode of MLP:FiM comes on, expect to see it on there within a few hours, unless I lose Internet access or my computer dies out on me, which tends to happen on occasion. It might help to take the edge off from hearing or seeing too much stressful stuff (i.e. some of the posts on my blog), and you may walk away with the realization that not ALL things pertaining to My Little Pony suck. In fact, in the case of FiM, it's AWESOME.

BTW, since DailyMotion absolutely ADORES putting ads all over the place, often ruining perfectly good videos by placing ads at the beginning, end, and occasionally, even the MIDDLE of many videos, please consider installing Adblock Plus for maximum pony enjoyment. DailyMotion can be a great deal better and more enjoyable than YouTube, but only if you use Adblock to get around the horribly annoying ads.

If you're interested in MLP:FiM, but you don't want to go to DailyMotion, either because of the annoying random ads or because the videos play slower there than on other sites, there are dozens, if not hundreds of channels on YouTube that have the entire first and second seasons uploaded to their channels, and they're all ad-free, too. I was planning on creating another YouTube channel to upload pony videos to, but it wouldn't allow me to upload videos past 15 minutes unless I gave a mobile phone number, and I don't have a mobile phone, and I'm NOT breaking these videos into parts.

If you're into ponies, but don't particularly feel like watching a pony episode at this point in time for some reason, or don't have the time to, there are still plenty of adorable pony pictures you can look at... I'll post a few links to pony image dumps immediately below.

Pony image dumps:
If ponies aren't your thing, I understand. At any rate, I cannot stress enough that there are PLENTY of depressing pieces of news and controversial opinions about certain subjects on here. But if you can get past this disclaimer, you might find that this blog is fairly interesting and informative. I do my best to post interesting articles from various news sources, many of which provide a glimpse into the harsh realities of the world. Some of them may be easily accessed by searching your favorite news site or clicking on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc, whereas some other news stories are less known for various reasons.

BTW, I've noticed a few people have been searching for "Rainbow Dash Attack", basically a ponified version of the popular Adult Swim Flash game "Robot Unicorn Attack". If you want to play "Rainbow Dash Attack", follow the link below.

If you just want to play the original version, Robot Unicorn Attack, feel free to follow this link...

Saturday, December 31, 275555

A veritable encyclopedia of important links, including search engines, Pastebins, proxies, alternative news sources, etc.

Alternative Search Engines
009  (google)
011  (file search)
012  (library search engine)
019  (file search)
020 (free books)
021  (file search)
022 (file search)
025 (hide my ass)

Friday, January 3, 275000

A Comprehensive List of Suicide Crisis Hotlines across America

If you are feeling suicidal for any reason, please don't throw your life away. Instead, talk with someone you're close to or contact your local suicide hotline. Here is a comprehensive list of all the suicide hotlines across all 50 states.

 Information taken from . If you need more detailed information on the subject of suicide and how to deal with it, please go to the URL and check out any of the links on the left side of it. If you or a loved one or friend is expressing suicidal ideations or behavior, contact the hotline on the list that is nearest to you immediately. 

To find a particular suicide hotline or hotlines in your area, press Ctrl+F, and either type in your state of residence or the name of said hotline.

Thursday, March 6, 2025

CISA 2.0 (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) Frequently Asked Questions

What is CISA?

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. love their acronyms. “CISA” is the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).

CISA is a bad bill. It would risk user privacy by encouraging companies to transfer private information. It also creates new risks by enabling the use of countermeasures or “hack backs,” which endanger the integrity of the internet and further risk exposure of private information. Yet, the bill seems to be a high priority for some members of Congress and we may see a floor vote within the next few months.

What does CISA do?

CISA’s primary mechanism is to facilitate the transfer of “cyber threat indicators,” which are defined broadly enough to include private information such as email content or personal identities.1 CISA even protects companies that transfer “cyber threat indicators” that other privacy laws would have protected.2 It also ensures that companies that pass on information will be protected against court action — liability limits that disincentivize companies from adequately protecting user privacy.
In addition, the bill does little to allow users to enforce their rights even when companies violate the few privacy protections found in the bill. Knowing when rights have been violated would pose its own challenge. CISA’s transparency provisions wouldn’t allow us to know the full impact on users (in fact, it exempts this information from disclosure under federal open government laws).

How can we stop CISA?

First off, you sign our petition.

Then, you can call or write your senators, particularly Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein, to express your concerns. You can also reach out to your local representative to let them know cybersecurity legislation should protect your rights.

Do they really need my personal information?

No, they don’t. Security experts have made clear that personal information need not be shared in order for us to maintain our cybersecurity. Alex Stamos, the Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo! recently said that while information sharing is easy to discuss, it doesn’t fall into the top ten most effective things the government can do to protect users. Even if companies attempt to go beyond CISA’s requirements and remove private information, advanced analytics might still be used on the “cyber threat indicators” to gain access to identities.

What would companies be able to do with personal information after it is collected?

The bill does little to ensure companies would strip private information before passing “cyber threat indicators" to other companies and the government. CISA requires companies to review “cyber threat indicators” and remove what is known to be private at the time of transfer, however a company would not have to remove information it suspects to be private — or which may be used in conjunction with other information that can identify a user.3

But won’t CISA make the internet more secure?

CISA may actually make the internet less secure.

The bill contains a provision enabling the deployment of countermeasures, also referred to as “hack backs,” which enable a company to take action in response to threats to their network.4 While the bill enables countermeasures to protect the rights of a network owner, owners are only prohibited from intentionally destroying other systems. If they perceive that they are acting based on their rights, and they end up causing damage to other systems, they may not be liable. For instance, a malicious hacker may use a botnet, causing companies to use countermeasures that affect innocent users with no knowledge or intent to participate.

Will the National Security Agency (NSA) be involved?
CISA requires the direct transfer of “cyber threat indicators” to every appropriate agency, including the NSA. That would give the NSA immediate access to massive new datasets, even as Congress has so far failed to pass reforms in the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance.5

Is CISA already a law? Who’s behind it?

No. A draft of the bill was recently circulated to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence by Chairman Burr. As of March 4, 2015, the bill has not yet been formally introduced. Vice Chairman Feinstein introduced a version of the bill last year, though it never made it to a vote by the full Senate. While this is the second iteration of CISA, there have been a number of information sharing bills floated around Congress, in this and previous sessions.

How does President Obama feel about the bill?

While President Obama twice threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a similar bill from the House of Representatives, he never made the same threat against CISA, probably because it never made it to a Senate vote. The president did recently introduce his own legislative proposal, which, while not good, is not as bad as CISA.

But now that Sony and Anthem have been victims of high-profile hacks, and President Obama has hosted his own cybersecurity summit, there’s a lot of pressure on him to sign effective cybersecurity legislation. That legislation should not be CISA. President Obama should stand by his past opposition to CISPA and reject the similarly awful CISA.

Here is a letter from Access and a number of other privacy groups urging President Obama to pledge to veto the previous version of CISA.

How do other experts feel about the bill?

Access recently co-signed a joint letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee urging a rejection of the bill. It was signed by dozens of leading digital rights groups, academics, and technologists. You can read the letter here.

What are the alternatives to information sharing legislation?

The government should pass legislation that promotes proper digital hygiene, such as the use two-factor authentication and indicators of phishing attacks, and encourages companies to do the same. It could encourage the integration of digital security into education curriculums, so that students know how to protect themselves and learn about career opportunities. The government could also implement a federal bug bounty program to encourage individuals to find and report bugs.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

TPP deal inching closer, as US caves on drugs

The TPP would be Andrew Robb's fourth and biggest trade deal, adding to pacts with Japan, China and South Korea.
The TPP would be Andrew Robb's fourth and biggest trade deal, adding to pacts with Japan, China and South Korea. Alex Ellinghausen

A potential in principle deal on a historic Pacific Rim trade and investment accord spanning 40 per cent of the global economy has been put on ice until at least Monday in Atlanta.
Trade ministers from 12 Pacific Rim nations including Australia were inching towards an agreement late on Sunday night, but last-minute jitters among several countries over market access issues were holding up a conclusion.

Negotiators were trying to hammer out the final details, with New Zealand making a last ditch push to secure better dairy quotas in the United States and Canada.

The proposed regional trade pact would open up new markets for Australian business across services and improve on Japanese tariff and quota cuts for beef and other farm gate produce secured by the Abbott government in the free trade deal with Tokyo last year.
The accord would set sweeping new rules for trade, investment, intellectual property, labour, data storage, state-owned enterprises and the environment across Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
The accord would set sweeping new rules for trade, investment, intellectual property, labour, data storage, state-owned enterprises and the environment across Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
However, Australian industry stakeholders on the sidelines of the meeting were bracing for only modest market access improvements for dairy and sugar in North America, due to fierce lobbying and political influence of US sugar growers and Canadian and American dairy farmers.
Optimism of a deal was high among the US, Mexico and Japan earlier on Sunday, though Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb was more tempered later in the evening.
"It's not done yet, but we've [Australia] obviously largely completed with the Americans but there is 10 other countries," he said.
The 12 ministers were set to meet shortly before midnight Sunday in Atlanta to iron out late stage differences. 
Japan's economy minister Akira Amari said on Sunday  there had been "major progress" and a solution to the pharmaceutical impasse issue had been found.
Japan's economy minister Akira Amari said on Sunday there had been "major progress" and a solution to the pharmaceutical impasse issue had been found. AAP
A standoff between Australia and the US over intellectual property protections for biologic medicines had held up a final multilateral deal, before the US backed away from its demand for at least eight years of data exclusivity.

Mr Robb and US Trade Representative Mike Froman reached agreement allowing Australia to retain its five years of data exclusivity for biologics without any changes.

"We've got a health system that is delivering effective levels of protection and not putting too much pressure on prices for drugs," Mr Robb said.

A flexible non-binding alternative option is slated for inclusion in the TPP, in a largely face-saving mechanism for the US that will help the Obama administration sell the deal to Congress members urging more protection of pharmaceutical firms.
Japan's economy minister Akira Amari said on Sunday  there had been "major progress" and a solution to the pharmaceutical impasse issue had been found.

"We are making preparations now to announce a deal in principle this afternoon (Sunday US time)," he said.

However, the US-Australia biologics proposal was being shopped around to other countries including Peru and Chile, who wanted a maximum of five years of data protection. Their agreement is required before the TPP is signed.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser was locked in discussions with the US's Mr Froman over dairy tariffs and quotas.

Kiwi dairy industry sources were desperate to improve a modest US offer of lowering barriers for butter, cheese and milk powder that comprise almost 30 per cent of the New Zealand's exports.
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said earlier on Sunday: "We do expect a deal today, yes."

The TPP would be Mr Robb's fourth and biggest trade deal, adding to bilateral pacts with Japan, China and South Korea.

The accord would set sweeping new rules for trade, investment, intellectual property, labour, data storage, state-owned enterprises and the environment across Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

It would be the largest trade deal since the Uruguay Round in the 1994 set up the General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade across 123 countries.

The talks are nearly the final opportunity to seal the TPP ahead of expected rising anti-trade rhetoric in the lead up to next year's US presidential election and Canada's election on October 19.

Talks broke down without conclusion in Hawaii in July and the Atlanta meeting was billed as a crucial event.

​ The TPP is a key part of the Obama administration's "rebalance" to Asia, to take advantage of the 3 billion middle class consumers

Friday, October 2, 2015

Copyright Trolls Announce UK ‘Anti-Piracy’ Invasion

Tens of thousands of Internet subscribers are at risk of receiving piracy settlement demands after copyright trolls announced they are preparing to launch one of the largest ever anti-piracy campaigns in the UK. The new wave of enforcement actions is supported by piracy tracking firm Maverick Eye who work with Dallas Buyers Club and other well-known filmmakers.


So-called copyright trolls were a common occurrence in the UK half a decade ago, when many Internet subscribers received settlement demands for allegedly downloading pirated files.

After one of the key players went bankrupt the focus shifted to other countries, but now they’re back.
One of the best known trolling outfits has just announced the largest anti-piracy push in the UK for many years.

The renewed efforts began earlier this year when the makers of “The Company You Keep” began demanding cash from many Sky Broadband customers.

This action was spearheaded by Maverick Eye, a German outfit that tracks and monitors BitTorrent piracy data that forms the basis of these campaigns. Today, the company says that this was just the beginning.

Framed as one of the largest anti-piracy campaigns in history, Maverick Eye says it teamed up with law firm Hatton & Berkeley and other key players to launch a new wave of settlement demands.

“Since July this year, Hatton & Berkeley and Maverick Eye have been busy working with producers, lawyers, key industry figures, investors, partners, and supporters to develop a program to protect the industry and defend the UK cinema against rampant piracy online,” Maverick Eye says.

“The entertainment industry can expect even more from these experts as they continue the fight against piracy in the UK.”

The companies have yet to announce which copyright holders are involved, but Maverick Eye is already working with the makers of the movies Dallas Buyers Club, The Cobbler and Survivor in other countries.

Most recently, they supported a series of lawsuits against several Popcorn Time users in the U.S., and they also targeted BitTorrent users in Canada and Australia.

Hatton & Berkeley commonly offers administrative services and says it will provide “essential infrastructure” for the UK anti-piracy campaign.

“Hatton and Berkeley stands alongside our colleagues in an international operation that has so far yielded drastic reductions in streaming, torrenting and illegal downloads across Europe,” the company announces.

In the UK it is relatively easy for copyright holders to obtain the personal details of thousands of subscribers at once, which means that tens of thousands of people could be at risk of being targeted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

America's Most Dangerous Cities: 4 Are In CT Including New London

Where are America’s most dangerous cities?

Four of them are in Connecticut, according to new data from online research website Neighborhood Scout.

The website recently released its list of the 100 most dangerous cities in America. The list was created using crime data and statistics from the FBI, U.S. Justice Department and more than 17,000 local law enforcement agencies.

According to Neighborhood Scout, New Haven is the state’s most dangerous city and ranked 36th in the country. According to the data, you have a one in 79 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in New Haven.

Neighborhood Scout’s data shows that in the past year 1,650 violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) have happened in New Haven. “For New Haven, we found that the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation, across communities of all sizes (both large and small).

 Violent offenses tracked included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. According to Neighborhood Scout’s analysis of FBI reported crime data, your chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes in New Haven is one in 79,” the report said.

Other cities in Connecticut that made the list include:
  • Hartford, which was 45th
  • New London, which was 56th
  • Bridgeport, which was 88th
Hartford is considered safer than 7 percent of all U.S. cities, and in 2014 there were 1,495 violent and 5,039 property crimes. There were 23 murders, 75 rapes, 557 robberies, and 840 assaults reported in Hartford last year.

In New London, 301 violent crimes were reported last year and 808 property crimes. New London is considered safer than 14 percent of all U.S. cities. Three murders, eight rapes, 50 robberies, and 225 assaults were reported last year.

For Bridgeport, 1,431 violent crimes were reported, 4,464 property crimes, 11 murders, 116 rapes, 584 robberies, and 720 assaults in 2014. Bridgeport is considered safer than 14 percent of all U.S. cities.

The top five most dangerous communities in the U.S. are: Camden, NJ, Chester, PA, Detroit, MI, Saginaw, MI, and Oakland, CA.

Taking all available data, Neighborhood Scout applies a mathematical algorithm that estimates the total number of crimes and crime rates for each neighborhood, with nearly 90-percent accuracy.

“With this report on the most dangerous cities, what we’re seeing is a really different picture of the types of locations that have the highest violent crime from what many people expect,” said Andrew Schiller, CEO and founder of NeighborhoodScout. “The picture of violent crime in America in many people’s minds is of high rise public housing projects, but once we did the analysis, we realized that the picture of violent crime in America is different today with more of the most dangerous areas dominated by single family homes, abandoned homes, low-income areas in inner-ring suburbs or decaying cities.”

Here is the full list of America’s most dangerous cities, according to Neighborhood Scout.

Springfield, Massachusetts Murder Suspect Caught in New London, Connecticut

A man wanted for murder in Springfield, Massachusetts, was caught Tuesday afternoon in New London, prompting two brief school lockdowns.

Police said Ricardo Valentin-Santos, 24, was spotted in the area of 146 Connecticut Avenue in New London around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers and detectives flocked to the area, along with U.S. Marshals, and chased Valentin-Santos through a backyard before taking him into custody, according to police.

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School and the Jennings School were locked down for about 20 minutes while authorities responded to the scene.

Valentin-Santos has been charged in New London as a fugitive from justice.
Police have not released details of the murder case out of Springfield.

New London, Connecticut man charged with July 15 stabbing in Mohegan Sun parking garage

Mohegan Tribal Police have charged a 30-year-old New London man with the July 15 stabbing of a man in the Riverview parking garage at Mohegan Sun.

Deacon Dahlquist is being held at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution in lieu of $750,000 on a charge of first-degree assault.

He also has pending charges in unrelated cases, including third-degree assault, unlawful restraint, failure to appear in court and violation of probation, bringing his total bond amount to $830,400.

He is due in New London Superior Court on Monday.

He is accused of stabbing Thuwesdia Robinson, 26, of Norwich, who has firearms and narcotics charges pending in the same court.

An arrest warrant affidavit detailing the charges against Robinson is sealed.

Police said after the incident that their initial investigation revealed that the victim and suspect, who knew each other, met at the parking garage about 3:30 a.m. and a confrontation ensued.

Later that morning, New London police stopped a car on Ocean Avenue in connection with the stabbing.

The police found Robinson inside the car and he was taken by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital for treatment of a stab wound to the abdomen.

In 2010, Dahlquist was sentenced to 3½ years in prison for stabbing the son of his former girlfriend.
State police went to the Ephraim's Path home of Kerri Carter-Thomas for a reported stabbing on Jan. 28, 2009. A judge had ordered Dahlquist to have no contact with Carter-Thomas following an earlier incident.

The former couple began to fight, and Dahlquist got a knife and "jabbed" the son in the stomach, causing puncture wounds. He eventually left the residence.

Seven Arrested, Two Officers Injured After Fight In New London, Connecticut

Seven people were arrested in New London after a large fight that left two police officers injured.
Police responded to the area of Blackhall Street and Belden Street around 7 p.m. on Saturday for the report of a large group of people involved in an escalating verbal disturbance. According to police, as officers attempted to disperse the group, individuals in the group became hostile and aggressive towards officers.

Police used a Taser and pepper spray to keep the situation under control. One officer suffered an injury to the hand and the other suffered an injury to his foot, police said. The officer who suffered an injury to his foot was treated and later released from an area hospital.

The following people were charged during the incident:

Tyler Hamilton, 21, of 37 Blackhall Street, New London was charged with interfering with police. He was later released on a non-surety bond.

Robert Hamilton, 38, of 37 Blackhall Street, New London was charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with police. He is being held in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

Tammy Hamilton, 38, of 37 Blackhall Street, New London was charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with police. She is being held in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

Kaitlyne Hamilton, 20, of 37 Blackhall Street, New London was charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with police. She is being held in lieu of a $5,000 bond.

Two juveniles were charged with assault on a police officer and interfering with police. They were both issued juvenile summons.

Another juvenile was charged with interfering with police and issued a juvenile summons.

Woman Stabbed in New London, Connecticut, Receives Minor Injuries, Refuses Treatment

New London — Police and ambulance personnel responded to Bank Street early Sunday night after receiving a report that a woman suffered a minor stab wound in an incident on Colman Street.

Police, who located the woman with a man on Bank Street outside Captain's Pizza, would not comment on the matter as they interviewed the pair. The woman refused medical treatment.

The man, who described the alleged female assailant to police, continually asked police to go to the Colman Street house and check on his 11-year-old son.

It's unclear why the man and the woman ended up on Bank Street.

Dangerous Police Chase in New London, Connecticut Involves Large Knife, Injured Officer, Multiple Cars Struck

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Sept. 15, multiple 911 calls were made to State Police Troop E in Montville, reporting a driver in a silver Chevy Express van hitting multiple vehicles in Montville, then fleeing the scene.

At approximately 1:45 a.m. Troop E officers were informed that New London Police had just been involved in a motor vehicle pursuit with a silver van.

“At this time, troopers began actively looking for the silver van,” state police said in a press release.
“Further information revealed that the van involved in the pursuit with New London was most likely the same van involved in the earlier motor vehicle collisions. Troopers also learned that the van was reported to have intentionally struck other vehicles causing injury to another operator.”

A trooper observed the driver of the van allegedly attempting to run another vehicle off the road.
“The trooper took immediate action and attempted to stop the van,” according to state police. “The van refused to stop and a pursuit began. While being pursued, the operator of the van attempted to strike the trooper’s vehicle several times.”

Extreme Danger to the Public

Troopers deployed stop sticks due to the extreme danger the driver posed to the public, police said. Stop sticks are used to deflate tires with spikes.

The van’s tires were successfully deployed and the van was brought to a stop. The driver allegedly
refused to leave the van and police said was actively resisting arrest.

He then reached for a large knife inside of the vehicle and a state K9 was deployed.

“The K­9 successfully apprehended the suspect without any injury to the K­9,” police said. “One trooper sustained minor injuries while attempting to take the suspect into custody. The suspect was evaluated and treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital.”

Arresting Information
Plainville resident John Bielawski, 63, was arrested on the following charges:

  • Reckless Endangerment Engaging Police in Pursuit
  • Assault 3rd Degree
  • Threatening 2nd Degree
  • Criminal Mischief 1st Degree
  • Breach of Peace 2nd Degree
  • Evading Responsibility
  • Reckless Driving
  • Criminal Attempt to Commit Assault on Police Weapons in a Motor Vehicle
He was issued a $50,000 bond and a Wednesday, Sept. 16, court date.

A History of Arrests

This is not the first time Bielawski has reportedly refused to stop for police. In 1994, he was arrested multiple times after an argument with his spouse. When officers approached his vehicle, he reportedly drove off.

In November 2014, Bielawski allegedly caused a disturbance at a credit union in Plainville, the Bristol Press reported. He reportedly swore at customers and was inconsolable. The police were called to the credit union but Bielawski allegedly left the scene and refused to stop for officers, ultimately allegedly swerving at a police officer’s car.

In January 2015, he was arrested on charges of interfering with an officer/resisting arrest and operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol.

Nintendo Hates You: Massive Takedowns Of YouTube Videos Featuring Mario Bros. Fan-Created Levels

As of late, Nintendo's relationship with YouTube and the YouTube community has been, shall we say, tumultuous. After rolling out a bad policy to share revenue with YouTubers on the basis that those personalities torpedo their reputations by promising only positive Nintendo coverage, claiming the monetization for a large number of "let's play" videos uploaded by independent YouTubers, and even going so far as to lay claim to the review of a Nintendo game created by well-known YouTuber "Angry Joe", Nintendo clearly seems to believe that YouTube is not so much an independent community as it is some kind of official public relations wing for the company. This is really dumb on many different levels, but chiefly it's dumb because it breeds ill-will amongst fans, of which Nintendo used to have many.

And the war drum beats on, apparently, as Nintendo has seen fit to issue massive takedowns of videos of fan-created Mario Bros. levels as the company releases its own Mario-level-builder, Super Mario Maker. What appears to be catching these YouTubers in Nintendo's crosshairs is if they used any emulators or hacks in order to make these levels.
Nintendo is targeting speedrunners and modders in a new round of YouTube copyright claims, issuing takedown requests to users who post footage from modified Super Mario World levels. The mass deletion coincides with the upcoming launch of Super Mario Maker, a Nintendo-licensed level creation toolkit for the Wii U console. Removed videos feature unauthorized Super Mario World levels created using freeware tools, rather than Nintendo’s official level design software.

Nintendo’s recent copyright claims impact speedrunners who have spent years crafting and documenting unsanctioned Super Mario World mods. According to a Kotaku report, YouTube user “PangaeaPanga” states that their channel was “wrecked” by copyright claims, resulting in the permanent removal of many popular videos.
In other words, modders had long beat Nintendo to the punch in creating software that allowed fans of Mario Bros. to create their own levels, upload them, and have folks like PangaeaPanga play them out and eventually master them. This was allowed to go on exactly up until Nintendo decided to jump into this arena, at which time the takedowns ensued. What you may not know is that there has been an active Mario Bros. modding community for these past few years, dedicated to building the most challenging levels for others to play and then post their runs on YouTube. In other words, these are huge Nintendo fans.
Super Mario World enthusiasts frequently create custom levels designed to challenge veteran players. Many of these levels require the use of little-known glitches and quirks within Super Mario World‘s engine, adding a degree of difficulty not present in the original game. Creative application of Super Mario World‘s hacking utilities has also produced unique autoplaying levels, including tributes that link in-game sound effects to backing music tracks.

Under the terms of YouTube’s copyright structure, users who have their videos claimed by copyright owners lose the ability to earn advertising revenue from their creations. Copyright holders have the option of claiming ad revenue from content-matched videos. As part of its most recent round of copyright claims, Nintendo instead opted to delete targeted videos entirely.
So we have Nintendo staring lovingly into the eyes of its biggest fans while pissing on their legs. And for what? Part of the reason Nintendo will likely make a killing with Super Mario Maker is that these dedicated fans had built up an interest in these modded levels and speedruns in the first place. Now, Nintendo intends on swooping in, killing off the videos of these fans, and yet cashing in on the market that the fans essentially created? How charming.

It's not that Nintendo can't do this, it's that it shouldn't. The company gains nothing except another round of fan discontent. Real smart, guys.

Coming To A Surveillance State Near You: Lip-Reading Computers

One of the most famous -- and important -- scenes in Stanley Kubrick's film "2001" is when the two astronauts sit in a space pod in order to avoid being overheard by the ship's computer, HAL, which they believe may represent a threat to their lives. Although they have prudently turned off the pod's communication system, what they don't realize is that HAL is able to follow their conversation by lip-reading, and hence is alerted to their disconnection plans.

Although it is unlikely that the Turkish authorities were inspired by the film, the following incident, reported by in a post on the growing censorship in the country, reminds us that the use of lip-reading for surveillance purposes is not science fiction:
Last week, at the funeral of a solider in Osmaniye, south-eastern Turkey, mourners voiced anger at the government's decision to commit troops to conflict with PKK forces in the south-east, leading to several arrests.

Veli A─čbaba, deputy president of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and his colleagues visited two suspects in prison, and have stated that they were arrested on charges of "insulting the president" after footage of the funeral was scrutinized by lip-reading experts.
Calling in lip-reading experts to check whether somebody was insulting the President of Turkey at a funeral might seem a one-off product of an increasingly-paranoid security apparatus. Moreover, using humans is a surveillance technique that doesn't really scale -- unlike metadata analysis, say -- so you might hope this is unlikely to be a problem for most of us. But it turns out that we are very close to building real lip-reading HALs. Here's a 2014 article from The Week:
A Jordanian scientist has created an automated lip-reading system that can decipher speech with an average success rate of 76 per cent. The findings, in conjunction with recent advances in the fields of computer vision, pattern recognition, and signal processing, suggest that computers will soon be able to read lips accurately enough to raise questions about privacy and security.
Moore's Law and other advances in computing pretty much guarantee that 76 percent success rate will rise inexorably, until high-accuracy lip-reading becomes a standard feature for CCTV surveillance systems, especially as very high-resolution cameras fall in price and are deployed more widely. HAL would be proud.

Police shoot bystander, mistaking his cell phone for gun during standoff

A bystander was shot in the leg then arrested during a SWAT standoff with a man firing an automatic weapon. Police feared the witness was holding a gun, but it turned out to be a cell phone. He was shot while police were arresting the suspect.

Daniel Sanchez was standing with his phone outside his garage when police shot at him several times.

“He was yelling, 'Dad I’m shot, I’m shot,' so I grabbed him inside and closed the garage door. I put a tourniquet around his leg and a clean towel," his father, John Sanchez, told KCRA.
Danny and John Sanchez

The elder Sanchez pointed out four bullet holes in his garage and several more in his car: “You can see how many shots they did: one, two three, four ‒ shooting at my son with a cell phone. C’mon that’s ridiculous," he said.

“He went right there over to that corner and stood there with his phone, trying to get some pictures,” the father told KOVR.

Police swarmed into the Sanchez’s neighborhood after they received a phone call around 2:15 p.m. local time that a man was terrorizing a California neighborhood with what may have been an AK-47 rifle. The man fired round after round at a neighbor’s home, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said.

"The initial call states that a guy was outside just shooting a machine gun off," Sergeant Jason Ramos told KOVR. "Not at any particular person, but just shooting a machine gun off outside of a house."

"He was shooting at the house across the street, and he let off about 100 rounds before the cops got there," witness Kevin Norris told the local CBS affiliate.

When police arrived, the man ‒ later identified as 62-year-old Ben Ledford ‒ was still shooting, leading to a standoff. Ledford then capitulated to the SWAT team and was taken into custody.

"He came out threw an automatic weapon on the ground and surrendered to us," Ramos told KTXL.

It was then that two officers noticed Danny Sanchez go out to the edge of the garage of a neighboring home. Sanchez extended his arm with an object in it that they believed was a handgun, Ramos said.
When they asked Sanchez to drop his weapon, he refused. Officers fired several shots at him.

“He was right here,” John Sanchez told KOVR, gesturing to his garage, “and I think he stepped out to look, and that’s when he got shot. They got [the bullet holes] marked off; they went right through the paneling and hit my car and they kept going and went out the other side of the wall.”

His son was hit in the leg.

Ramos said that officers arrived to a chaotic scene.

“It took us some time to figure out exactly who had what role in this incident,” Ramos told KOVR. 
“[Sanchez] found himself in the midst of things and some of his actions were perceived to be threatening to law-enforcement officers.”

Police arrested Danny Sanchez and another neighbor. They also searched the Sanchez home.

No charges were filed against the injured man, who had surgery on Friday to remove bullet fragments from his leg, John Sanchez told KCRA.

The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.

“They told [Danny] they were sorry that he got shot and everything, that they made a mistake,” Sanchez told KOVR.

Along with the automatic weapon he used, police recovered 45 other guns from Ledford’s home, the sheriff’s department told RT.
Ben Ledford
Officers also found a deceased dog inside a residence across the street, which Ramos said appears to have been the suspect’s primary target, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Neighbor Maria Selgado told KTXL that Ledford has had issues with a number of residents: "Moved in a couple years ago since then it's not been the most comfortable situation."

Multiple area schools were placed on lockdown during the standoff, KTXL reported.

Ledford is being held with bail set at $1 million. He was charged with assault with a machine gun, discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, stalking and cruelty to animals, police said.

The Weather Channel Finally Gets The Message: Announces Plan To Actually Cover...The Weather

Over the last few years, The Weather Channel has been slowly but surely veering away from its core competency in a ham-fisted attempt to cater to the lowest common denominator. While its TV channel now offers a rotating variety of relative-awful reality TV only tangentially related to the weather, (ranging from Prospectors to Fat Guys in the Woods) its website often focuses on non-weather related subjects like kooky buffalo and hard-hitting analysis of the world's "sexiest" beaches. Having anchors stand stupidly around in thundersnow storms is another favorite channel pastime.

But then something interesting happened. When The Weather Channel executives tried to up the rates on cable operators like DirecTV and Verizon FiOS, both companies balked -- and pulled The Weather Channel from their lineups, replacing it with channels, apps and services that actually reported the weather. Apparently, threatening to pull your product from the market if you don't get more money -- only works when people give a damn about your product. Meanwhile, cable companies are having a harder time pushing off programming rate hikes to consumers awash with alternative options.

Initially, The Weather Channel executives responded by trying to claim DirecTV and Verizon were threatening public safety by pulling access to an invaluable public resource (an argument that fell flat on its face since most realize the channel doesn't actually provide that). Then, the company amusingly tried to attack competitors like AccuWeather by actually claiming it offered too much fluff. But with a little time to think about it, The Weather Channel executives appear to have finally learned something.

The company this week announced a notable restructuring that will, amazingly enough, involve refocusing The Weather Channel on actually covering the weather:
"The plan calls for a singular focus "on our unique strength -- and that is the weather." With the cable channel bundle coming under increasing pressure, and "skinny bundles" becoming more common, "it's inevitable that channels will be cut," Weather Company CEO David Kenny said in an interview. With this in mind, "we need to be really clear who we are," Kenny said.

That means paring back its original programming investments (shows like "Prospectors" and "Fat Guys in the Woods") and lifestyle coverage. The priority is essential, live weather coverage -- particularly during periods of severe weather -- and local information.
Granted there's only so many ways you can monetize a quick glance at the five-day forecast, and filling twenty-four hours of eyeball-grabbing airtime in the smartphone era without catering to nitwits will likely be a continued challenge. But it's at least a positive sign that the company sees the cable TV landscape changing and needs to either change with it, or be left behind.

#IstandwithAhmed breaks internet: Millions on clock watch for 9th grader detained for device

#IStandWithAhmed became the number one trending hashtag worldwide on Twitter after 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was handcuffed and arrested for taking a homemade clock to his Texas high school.
Ahmed, a ninth grader from Irving, Texas, was eager to impress his teachers with his newest creation – a clock that he invented in just 20 minutes, consisting of a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display. The clock and its wirings were all strapped inside a case.

However, his excitement turned to fear when he was pulled out of class by the principal and arrested after the clock’s alarm went off during his English period.

“It looks like a bomb,” his teacher told him. The boy was taken to a juvenile detention center and questioned by police before being released to his parents.

READ MORE: 'Looks like a bomb': Muslim 9th grader arrested for bringing homemade clock to school

It was not until two days later that police announced they would not charge the teen for creating a “hoax bomb.” Instead, they dropped the case.

Between Ahmed’s arrest and the announcement that he would not face charges, social media exploded with tweets ranging from funny to supportive. All used the #IStandWithAhmed hashtag.
Many people took photos of themselves with clocks at work.

Pebble, which makes watches, tweeted a comment that was at once snarky and supportive, daring the Irving Independent School District to arrest them for making digital clocks.

Bobak Ferdowsi, an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory nicknamed ‘Mohawk Guy’, offered Ahmed a job in a couple of years.

Other people pointed out the hypocrisy of the school’s reaction ‒ as well as the police’s initial treatment of Ahmed ‒ while offering their support to the frightened teen.

“If you can look at the photo of Ahmed in handcuffs, walking the hallways of his high school, wearing his NASA t-shirt, with the look of fear and anguish on his face and not feel disheartened then you are either 1) cold-hearted or 2) becoming immune to such incidents because it is entirely too commonplace,” Alexandra Russell, an office manager in Washington, DC, wrote on Facebook.

“The adults in this situation have utterly failed him. I hope the rest of us adults can take a moment in our everyday lives to ensure we think more rationally instead of immediately acting out of fear and hatred,” Russell continued. “I feel helpless that this is all that I can do but if it saves another situation like this one from happening again, I'm all in. #IStandWithAhmed.”

Celebrities have also shown their support, from drummers to TV stars and hip hop moguls to politicians. Just as importantly for Ahmed, though, tech industry notables have rallied behind the teen.

Grant Imahara, known for his work as an electronics and radio control expert on the TV show ‘Mythbusters’, noted that he had similar interests to the Texas teen growing up.

So did tech journalist and author Andy Ihnatko, who wrote a blog post called ‘I’m Ahmed. Except I’m Not Brown’ about how his white privilege prevented him from being in a similar situation to Ahmed when he was the same age.

“I recognized this kid immediately. This was me when I was in public school. Even in sixth grade, my classroom cubby contained a lunchbox filled with batteries, wires, and random circuits,” Ihnatko wrote. “During a frustrated, failure-filled period when I was trying to master photographic printmaking, my bookbag might have contained brown bottles filled with stinky chemicals.”

“All of these stories come across as charming and nostalgic tales of a nerdy little kid on his way to a predestined career in science, math, or technology. There was never any negative fallout. Yes, partly because it was more than a decade before 9/11,” the Chicago Sun-Times journalist continued. “But they’re happy stories mostly because I was a white Catholic kid named Andy Ihnatko. Not a brown kid named Ahmed Mohamed, and not a black kid named anything.”

Even Secretary of Education Arne Duncan condemned the school’s actions.

President Barack Obama invited Ahmed to bring his clock to the White House.

Friends also  stepped in to show how well-known the teen’s love of engineering was to the school.

Anil Dash, the founder of Makerbase, is collecting ideas for how to help Ahmed and other students like him ‒ such as Kiera Wilmot in a Google survey.

The family has started a Twitter account for Ahmed, aptly named @IStandWithAhmed.

On Wednesday, they tweeted that they were meeting with a lawyer to “stand for his rights.”

'Looks like a bomb': Muslim teen Ahmed arrested for bringing homemade clock to school

A 14-year-old Muslim boy who loves to invent things was handcuffed and arrested after bringing a homemade clock to his Texas high school. The arrest prompted speculations of Islamophobia, but police say they won't charge him with creating a "hoax bomb."

Ahmed Mohamed, a ninth grader from Irving, Texas, was eager to impress his teachers with his newest creation – a clock which he invented in just 20 minutes, consisting of a circuit board and a power supply wired to a digital display. The clock and its wirings were all strapped inside a case.

But when he showed his engineering teacher the clock, he didn't receive the response he was hoping for.

“He was like, ‘That’s really nice,’” Ahmed said, as quoted by the Dallas Morning News. “‘I would advise you not to show any other teachers.’”

READ MORE: Texas official under fire over FB post insinuating nuke should be dropped on 
Muslim world

Ahmed took his advice, keeping the invention in his bag for the rest of the day. But when the clock's alarm went off during English class, the teacher complained.

When the 14-year-old showed his teacher the source of the beeping, she said: “It looks like a bomb.” Ahmed responded by saying it didn't look like a bomb to him.

Later on, while Ahmed was in his sixth period class, he was pulled out by the principal and a police officer. He was led to a room where four other officers waited. One of those officers, according to
Ahmed, said: “Yup. That's who I thought it was.”

He was then questioned by police, and threatened with expulsion by the principal if he didn't make a written statement.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’” Ahmed said.

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”

The ninth grader was then taken to a juvenile detention center, where he was fingerprinted and had mugshots taken. He was, however, able to meet his parents soon after, and was spared a night in a cell.

He was suspended from school for three days.

Police initially said Ahmed could face charges of making a “hoax bomb,” even though he never told anyone it was a bomb at all.

Even police spokesman James McLellan has admitted there is no evidence that the ninth grader ever pretended the clock was an explosive device.

“We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”

He added that “it could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”

This isn't the first time that Irving has been in the spotlight for alleged anti-Islamic discrimination.

This summer, Mayor Beth Van Duyne made headlines for her anti-Islamic rhetoric, expressing concern that a local Muslim group, which had set up a Sharia court of law, was trying to usurp American legislation.

The arrest, along with Van Duyne's actions, has attracted the attention of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“This all raises a red flag for us: how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,” said Alia Salem, who directs the Council’s North Texas chapter.

“We’re still investigating,” she said, “but it seems pretty egregious.”

The ninth grader's father, Sudan-born Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, said that “because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11, I think my son got mistreated.”

Police will not charge the teen for creating a “hoax bomb,” they announced Wednesday morning, adding that the case against Ahmed has been closed.

Regardless, he has vowed to never bring another invention to school.