Ireland’s largest ISP Eircom has reached an agreement with music publishers to introduce a “three strike” system that could lead to persistent file-swappers having their Internet access removed.
Arstechnica’s Nate Anderson has a great article on the topic:
One of Ireland’s largest ISPs, Eircom, has capitulated to the major music labels and agreed to implement a full “graduated response” program—complete with disconnections. Users get two warnings regarding file-sharing, and a third violation brings down the banhammer. The music industry has already said that it intends to pursue the same agreement with Ireland’s other ISPs.
The dispute began some time ago when the Irish branches of EMI, Warner, Universal, and Sony filed suit against Eircom. They charged that the ISP was essentially aiding and abetting piracy by doing things like advertising its services on The Pirate Bay, and the labels believed they could get a judge to force the ISP to install network monitoring equipment.
RTE report here.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is a recovering Heideggerian (as demonstrated by this interview I had with philosopher John D. Caputo some years ago.) Add to that the fact that I am currently engaged in preparing a book about Friedrich Nietzsche for the Philosophy Insights series, and you will understand that I have probably already disqualified myself from asking any intelligent questions about science and technology whatsoever.
Nevertheless, I press on.
Professor Luciano Floridi, a philosopher at the University of Hertfordshire, is taking to Second Life as part of a two-year project to investigate the philosophical significance of the identities we create in online virtual environments. Also on Floridi’s radar: the ethical conundrums posed by the (almost entirely mythical) anonymity of the Internet, which gives us the freedom to recreate ourselves in new ways, outside the norms of social convention.
The research, entitled ‘The Construction of Personal Identities Online’, will explore a long list of philosophical questions, explains Floridi via email…
I received a less pleasant blast from the distant past (2007) today –less pleasant than the Proteus story, that is– as I came across notes for an old story about pedophilia-related advocacy editing on Wikipedia.
That story –commissioned by The Guardian (UK)– did not see the light of day as I got waylaid with the small matter of moving continents and never managed to organise the reams of notes, interview transcripts, and email exchanges into a coherent article.
But not too hard: Pedophilia is an extraordinarily difficult topic to write about intelligently, and yet is almost small beans compared to the tangled controversies that surround Wikipedia edits!
Further, the strong personalities involved, including Perverted Justice founder Xavier von Erck, Wikipedia co-founders Jimbo Wales and Larry Sanger, self-proclaimed pedophile activists, and others, provided such conflicting perspectives on the topic that it was almost impossible to separate truth from spin.
Finally, 1,200 words could not do justice to a story that spans pedophilia, Wikipedia, Perverted Justice, Corrupted Justice, Citizendium, social epistemology, and numerous other topics. [Editors: commision a three-part series and I will give you rocket fuel... and some copy.]
In any case, in October 2007, whilst working on the piece (which was inspired by discovering that anti-pedophile activist von Erck had been banned from Wikipedia), I contacted Dylan Thomas, webmaster of a notorious pedophile website to ask about his views regarding advocacy editing on Wikipedia.
I knew the guy would be secretive about his identity.
What I didn’t know at that time was that Dylan Thomas was, in fact, FBI top ten most wanted fugitive Jon Schillaci.
Few outside law enforcement could have.
Schillaci replied to my questions with this email:
Some 15 years after the IRA declared an indefinite ceasfire, a team of British scientists has developed an IRA-proof concrete.
The scientists and engineers from the University of Liverpool created a fibre-reinforced concrete “designed to reduce the impact of bomb blasts in public areas.”
Their research “culminated in a series of high explosion blast tests at RAF Spadeadam, in Cumbria, each representing a typical IRA car bomb.”
Video of a test explosion is will be available shortly here:
In testing, the IRA-proof concrete was found to absorb a thousand times more energy than plain concrete and could, the team claim, “therefore be used for bomb-proof litter bins and protection barriers.”
The IRA has been on a ceasefire since 1994, so why did the tests use a 15 year-old car bomb technology (or equivalent)? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to test the concrete against more modern car bombs?
“The use of IRA bombs as an example was merely for a comparison to give some idea of the blast impact,” a University of Liverpool spokesperson replied via email.
“In regards to your questions on the type and quantity of explosive materials used- unfortunately as you’ll appreciate this information is quite sensitive so we are unable to give you anything further on that I am afraid.”
So, what we appear to have here is a type of concrete that can effectively withstand explosions caused by a 15 year-old explosives technology (the nature of which we cannot discuss) in the event that these mysterious antique explosives are deployed by a non-active guerilla army.
Wanna buy some?
Although not yet used in the UK the Ultra High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) has been utilised in Australia in the design of slender footbridges and in the roofs of government buildings to strengthen them against mortar attack.
The UHPFRC resisted the high explosion blast without any disintegration from the back of the panels causing shrapnel. UHPFRC is concrete with needle-thin steel fibres added to the concrete mix. Typically, steel reinforcing bars are used to to increase concrete’s strength.
The team claims that their concrete has an enhanced tension and compression strength of 500% greater than conventional concrete.
It’s great to see Proteus, the tiny medical robot, back in the news via this BBC News story.
We even had Wired News readers suggest names for the device and James Friend, the lead scientist on the project –and one of the most media-friendly scientists I have ever interviewed– chose Proteus, after the experimental submarine that features in Fantastic Voyage.
But enough of that.
In the past few days, Proteus has been everywhere in the news. What’s all the fuss about?
Well, Proteus is a medical-robot about twice the size of human hair, that can swim through the arteries and perform surgical procedures.
For example, the microrobot might deliver a payload of expandable glue to the site of a damaged cranial artery — a procedure typically fraught with risk because posterior human brain arteries lay behind a complicated set of bends at the base of the skull beyond the reach of all but the most flexible catheters. There’s a high risk of puncturing one of these arteries, which almost always results in the death of the patient.
Friend’s design exploits piezoelectric materials — crystals that create an electric charge when mechanically stressed– to create the bot’s tiny motor. The completed bot, Friend hopes, will, despite its small size, be able to carry a camera.
The team recently published a paper in The Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, demonstrating a working prototype of the motor.
“We’re making good progress,” Friend told me via email. “Brett Watson is still having some problems with fabrication of the motor, but is getting better at it so hopefully all will come out well.”
Back in 2007, Friend predicted that we could have a working Proteus by the end of 2009.