Sunday, 29 January 2012

UnloadTab - a really useful add-on for Mozilla Firefox

It is not the first time UnloadTab seems to have disappeared from the web. Fortunately, I had it installed on one of my computers. Here is a direct link in case you need it:

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Megavideo/Megaupload Killed by New Global Police: Masters Happy, Slaves to Pay

The oligarchs (some (not me, I am too nice for that ;) ) would say: capitalist/corporate pigs) ruling the US of A do very well even without any SOPA. Without a trial, a US judge just killed a Hong Kong-based company last week and "deported" (some would say: kidnapped) non-American citizens living outside his country from (supposedly) sovereign countries to the US so that they can stand trial there and pay for their terrible crimes against American media corporations (apparently some of their customers/users (i.e. not the arrested people) were sharing content without authorization from the copyright holders (youtube anyone?)). Are you feeling like you are a character in a dystopian novel right now? I know I am. Now let us wait for SOPA to be enacted (I am sure it will... under this or different name... in a few months or after a decade... they will not give up).

Follow this link in case you are curious and want to see for yourself the results of work of the new Global Police (formerly known as FBI):

Below some interesting excerpts. The last one shows that many legitimate (even according to the US law) users and companies were hit by this action. I would argue, that the combined loses of those (unimportant, powerless and poor - at least when compared to the oligarchs) people are much higher than the alleged loses of the American media industry whose interest was represented by the US judicial system and the US politicians. Who is going to fight for justice for those slaves? Certainly not the system built to police them.

This proves that offshore operations can still be reached by the long arm of the U.S. law. Also, none of these folks were Americans as far as I can tell. Dotcom is German and Finnish. The lot of them will be extradited to the U.S. to be tried for what are essentially crimes against the state. Citizens of the world, beware!This, to me, is the most interesting situation since the days when the leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega, was dragged out of his bed and thrown in a Florida prison for trafficking drugs.

Web organisations have raised concerns about possible effects of the Megaupload case on the future of file sharing, cloud storage, and Internet commerce.[60][61][62] Various commentators including John C. Dvorak, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Sanchez have written on the topic as well, particularly as it relates US government powers to take down a web site without a trial, even without new laws like SOPA.[63][64][65][66] In fact, the U.S. Dept of Justice was able to rely on PRO-IP, a law passed back in 2008, in order to shut down Megaupload.[67]

People who used Megaupload for personal and business storage, such as large audio and video files for family and work, have also voiced their complaints about the fact that they no longer had access to their files on the service.[68][69] Examples cited in the media included staff at public interest group Public Knowledge who used it for large files, and Android cellphone software writers who described it as "one of the best ways to distribute [software] ... There are a number of similar sites for this use, but Megaupload was always the fastest".[68]

Friday, 20 January 2012

Biologists on Biology and Computer Games

Today, I had an amusing discussion with two of my friends - both of them having background in life sciences (biochemistry, molecular biology, computational biology) and one of them being an avid player of computer games. The argument started when I laughed at the idea by the creators of Assassin's Creed (a computer game) that all memories of our ancestors are stored in our DNA and can be accessed by future generations. My friend started arguing that it was not impossible and recalled the fact that our DNA does change. When I pointed out that the rate of such changes is incomparably slower than the rate of acquiring new memories, the second friend came to rescue my first friend by mentioning epigenetics. Too bad my friends had to leave early as there is nothing more entertaining than a good argument when adrenaline starts to flow and both sides want to prove to the other that they are right no matter what ;). That argument is over now but there is no reason why more people could not join in and present their views here ;). What do you think guys? Is it possible that not only all your memories but also all memories of your ancestors can be stored in just one gamete (this is what my friends argued for)? In other words, is our use of the brain for storing memories (with estimated 0.15 trillion synapses in the cortex alone - now, since our DNA (including epigenetic information) supposedly stores memories of all our ancestors, do not forget to multiply this by 10 000 to 15 000 to take into account all past generations since homo sapiens sapiens appeared... and I will not mention here all future generations as we would potentially end up with a theory claiming that each individual gamete has an infinite memory storage capacity ;) ) a huge waste of energy and space? Could most of our central nervous system be replaced with just one egg or sperm cell? Think about the huge saving on hats alone! And by what means would the memories be passed onto someone's descendants after that someone had already produced their offspring? What evolutionary pressures would contribute to developing such a memory storage? And what about huge epigenetic changes caused by environmental factors other than memories ;)? Maintaining memories whilst still fulfilling the commonly recognized goal of epigenetic changes would require existence of a kind of epigenetic steganography ;). I still think the idea is ridiculous but please, do share your thoughts, I promise I will try not to laugh even if you decide to join my two friends' camp.

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