geekgirl (r)osiex aka the metal cupcake publishing about interesting things for a really long time!
  • #Facebook’s 2 billion-smackaroo acquisition of #Oculus VR [#geekgirl]



    So the Virtual Reality tech sector is all agog at Facebook’s 2 billion-smackaroo acquisition of Oculus VR, huh? I wonder how Facebook will seek to rampantly monetise the crap out of VR in general now [cue images of gold-farmer beggers and blanket biometric-targeted ads in all their simulated non-glory]? So for now it seems like Project Morpheus, here we come…

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) = Nationally Sanctioned Corporate Monopoly [#geekgirl]

    As the above video outlines, the hyper-secret Free Trade Agreement being currently brokered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership has nothing to do with Free Trade and is, in actuality, the inverse of it. The 12 countries involved in the TPP (which include Australia, Brunei-Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam) are currently secretly negotiating to allow:

    • Drug Companies to increase prices and extend the term of their patents (thereby increasing dramatically the time before generic versions of the patented pharmaceuticals can hit the market)
    • Restrictions on buying local goods and services, with individual countries being denied the ability to implement systems that mandate support of locally based product(s)
    • Making Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labelling illegal
    • Weakening of environmental regulations
    • Severe restrictions on digital copying and electronic transfers, with significant interference with the basic functioning of the Internet
    • Radical enforcement of a system that would make SOPA look weak by comparison
    • Added secrecy to corporate and government alliances, including a deliberate lack of transparency regarding institutionalised information
    • A substantial negative impact regarding the regulation of Financial Services
    • The ruling out of Capital Controls
    • Dampening of national law implementation in favour of Partnership rulings (as Yves Smith says: “The language in [the TPP Agreement]…goes something along the lines of ‘All signatories are required to make their laws and regulations conform to the standard of this agreement.’ They are literally required to make their nation-based laws subordinate to the laws of these agreements [with] liberalised capital flows and minimal restrictions…One of the things to extends…is the [idea of] special panels that companies can go to to get matters adjudicated if they believe that regulations have led them to lose profit. And it’s not even necessarily that they’ve currently lost profit, but it’s that they have potentially lost profit.“)
    • The isolation of China
    • Stigmatisation and removal of worker’s rights, labour agreements and employment protections/support (superannuation, pensions, retirement ages etc).

    So if, like us, you’re preddy much shocked and appalled by the TPP and want to stop it dead in its tracks, watch the video below and take appropriate action.

  • !?!? [Or, Monsanto = Pure Evil] [#geekgirl]

    [From an article published by Upriser here]: “Indiana farmer must pay Monsanto $84,000 for planting second-hand seeds from crops Monsanto hold patents on. That’s right. If you plant soybeans from a soybeans you bought at a grocery store, there’s a good chance you’ll be infringing one of Monsanto’s patents – just like the Indiana farmer did – because Monsanto has a patent on over 80% of all soybeans in existence.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, ordering Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, 76, to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 for patent infringement for using second generation Monsanto seeds purchased second hand—a ruling which will have broad implications for the ownership of ‘life’ and farmers’ rights in the future.

    The sources of the seeds Bowman purchased were mixed and were not labeled. However, some were patented Monsanto seeds. Now this 75 year old man has to pay Monsanto a small fortune for just doing what farmers have been doing for thousands of years – planting seeds from last years crops.”

  • Australian Companies to Get Protection from Activists

    [From The Australian] ‘CONSERVATION groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law.

    The move, which could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!, is to be pursued by the Abbott government.

    Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets.

    “We’ll be looking at the way some of the environmental groups work because we are very concerned about some of the activities they conduct in the markets,” Senator Colbeck said. “They have exemptions for secondary boycott activities under the Consumer and Competition Act. We are going to have a complete review of the act.

    “And one of the things I’d be looking at would be to bring a level playing field back so that environment groups are required to comply with the same requirements as business and industry.”

     The move has strong backing within the Liberal and Nationals parties, as well as among sections of the ALP, concerned about groups targeting the customers of timber and agricultural products in campaigns against old-growth logging and live-animal exports.”
  • “Tony Abbott’s first cabinet is the first in two decades to only include one woman…” [#geekgirl]

  • “Former Abu Ghraib Prisoners Ordered to Pay Contractor $14,000 After Losing Torture Suit” [#geekgirl]

    [From Democracy Now] "A federal judge has ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib to pay nearly $14,000 in legal fees to the military contractor they unsuccessfully sued for their torture. In June, a federal judge dismissed a case brought by the former prisoners against CACI International which accused the company’s employees of directing their torture. One plaintiff said he was caged, beaten, threatened with dogs and given electric shocks. In dismissing the lawsuit, the judge did not directly address CACI’s role in the abuse, instead citing a recent Supreme Court decision restricting lawsuits against corporations for abuses on foreign soil. CACI then sued the former prisoners for legal fees, and a judge has ruled in the company’s favor. Lawyers for the Iraqis say they plan to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal."

  • #Rush of Adrenaline [#geekgirl]

    The Joy of Tech

    [via The Joy of Tech]

  • “Twitter vs Female Protagonists in Video Games” [#geekgirl]

    Video Game Sexism on Twitter

  • “#Skype with care – #Microsoft is reading everything you write” [#geekgirl]

    Bad Skype!

    Bad Skype!

    The H Security reports that:

    “A spokesman for the company confirmed that it scans messages to filter out spam and phishing websites. This explanation does not appear to fit the facts, however. Spam and phishing sites are not usually found on HTTPS pages. By contrast, Skype leaves the more commonly affected HTTP URLs, containing no information on ownership, untouched. Skype also sends head requests which merely fetches administrative information relating to the server. To check a site for spam or phishing, Skype would need to examine its content.

    Back in January, civil rights groups sent an open letter to Microsoft questioning the security of Skype communication since the takeover. The groups behind the letter, which included the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Reporters without Borders expressed concern that the restructuring resulting from the takeover meant that Skype would have to comply with US laws on eavesdropping and would therefore have to permit government agencies and secret services to access Skype communications.

    In summary, The H and heise Security believe that, having consented to Microsoft using all data transmitted over the service pretty much however it likes, all Skype users should assume that this will actually happen and that the company is not going to reveal what exactly it gets up to with this data.”

  • I, For One, *Do Not* Welcome Our New Zuckerberg Overlord [#geekgirl]

    I, For One, *Do Not* Welcome Our New Zuckerberg Overlord

    There’s new rumors swirling in various tech + political circles that Mark Zuckerberg is running his grey matter ragged by:

    “…exploring the formation of a political advocacy group that would focus on topics such as immigration, the economy, education and scientific research funding, according to a person familiar with the matter. Zuckerberg is considering establishing the group with others in the technology community, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public.”

    Public or not, am I the only one to be substantially scared by such potential dabbling by the CEO of a social networking site in all manner of things political, socio-economic, and research-based [which is instead usually reserved for incompetent and bumbling politicos]?