Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Many Takedown Notices Invalid


report

Samuelson Clinic Non-Resident Fellow Co-Authors Report on Cease-and-Desist Letters Submitted to Chilling Effects

November 22, 2005 -- Samuelson Clinic Non-Resident Fellow Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban, Director of the Intellectual Property Clinic at the University of Southern California, have released a summary report of findings from a study of takedown notices sent pursuant to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and submitted by the recipients to the Chilling Effects clearinghouse. The report, titled "Efficient Process or 'Chilling Effects'? Takedown Notices Under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," traces the use of the Section 512 takedown process and considers how the usage patterns found are likely to affect expression or other activities on the Internet, especially in light of the fact that the authors observed a surprisingly high incidence of legally flawed takedowns.

Read the summary report (pdf)
Read the summary report (html)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Not Made Up


Reuters

Angolan wins biggest Brazil prison beauty pageant
Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:36 AM ET

By Terry Wade

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) - An Angolan won Brazil's marquee prison beauty pageant, beating a troupe of contestants born in a country where people are deadly serious about looking good, even in its notorious jails.

Angelica Mazua, 23, was the choice of the judging panel that featured plastic surgeons, entertainers and athletes regarded as heartthrobs.

Inmates from 10 prisons competed in the Thursday night event in Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous and cosmopolitan state.

Prisoners in the audience swarmed stars like the soccer striker Grafite and danced with celebrities as bands played samba and pagode. Near the stage, guards armed with shotguns and dogs patrolled along a walkway between a chain-link fence and a concrete wall topped with razor wire.

Finalists in the categories of beauty, poetry, prose and congeniality had their nails, hair and makeup done by a nonprofit group that provides make-overs to underprivileged women. Female prison guards also helped out.

Many contestants wore donated evening gowns and talked about how the experience gave them a renewed sense of self-respect.

Locked up four months ago after police found cocaine in her bags as she boarded a plane to Africa, 5-foot-10-inch (1.79-metres) tall Mazua is awaiting trial and says an acquaintance tricked her into carrying the drug.

She counts top supermodel Gisele Bundchen, a blond Brazilian, among her idols.

"I like fashion. It's what I want to do," Mazua said, a faux jeweled crown with red flashing lights perched on her head.

Asked if she would call her parents to tell them she won, she said, "There's no telephone here."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Gas Prices & etc.


FuelGauge.com

FuelGauge.com
A place to find energy news, prices and talk about gasoline, petrol, fuel oil and other distillates and oil products and those affecting or impacting the hunger we humans have for energy.
here

UK Sources


http://1001.blogs.com/uk/

Monday, November 21, 2005

Nigerian e-mail scammers jailed


By Reuters

Published: November 21, 2005, 10:01 AM PST

LAGOS-A court has sentenced two men to a total of 37 years in prison for their part in defrauding a Brazilian bank of $242 million, the biggest scam in Nigerian history, newspapers reported on Saturday.

The sentencing of Emmanuel Nwude to 25 years and Nzeribe Okoli to 12 years follows negotiations in which they agreed to plead guilty to 16 of the 91 original charges, and to forfeit assets worth at least $121.5 million to the victims of the scam.

A third fraudster, Amaka Anajemba, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in July after agreeing to return $48.5 million to the Sao Paolo-based Banco Noroeste, which collapsed after the theft.

"The activities of the accused persons not only led to the collapse of a bank in a foreign country, but also brought miseries to many innocent people," Justice Joseph Oyewole was reported as saying.

The fraudsters obtained the money by promising a member of the bank staff a commission for funding a non-existent contract to build an airport in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

Scams have become so successful in Nigeria that anti-sleaze campaigners say swindling is one of the country's main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa.

These are the first major convictions achieved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which was established in 2003 to crack down on Nigeria's thriving networks of e-mail fraudsters.





Previous Next Typically fraudsters send out junk e-mails around the world promising recipients a share in a fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay never receive the promised windfall.

Ranked the world's sixth most corrupt country, according to an index by Transparency International, Nigeria has given new powers to the EFCC, which is prosecuting about 200 fraud and corruption cases.

The antifraud agency has arrested more than 200 junk mail scam suspects since 2003. It says it has also confiscated property worth $200 million and secured 10 other convictions.

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

Googling Literature: The Debate Goes Public


NYTimes

November 19, 2005

By EDWARD WYATT
If there was any point of agreement between publishers, authors and Google in a debate Thursday night over the giant Web company's program to digitize the collections of major libraries and allow users to search them online, it seemed to be this: Information does not necessarily want to be free.

Rather, the parties agreed, information wants to be found.

But when it comes to how information will be found and who will share in the profits, the various sides remain far apart - not surprising, perhaps, since the issue has already landed in federal court.

Publishers and authors are suing Google over its Book Search program (formerly called Google Print), which lets users search for terms within volumes. Though users will see only a few lines of text related to the search term, Google is planning to digitize entire copyrighted works from the collections of three university libraries. The publishers and authors contend that without their approval, that is a violation of copyright laws.

The debate on Thursday, part of the "Live From the New York Public Library" program, was the first time the various parties had faced off publicly.

Allan Adler, a vice president . . .

From FASTCASE


here

"Gripe Sites" – Free Speech, or Defamation?
A New York trial court recently held that a New Jersey man's "gripe site" – alleging that his car insurance company was "blatantly dishonest", "running scams", and "committing fraud on a grand scale" – was protected speech and does not constitute libel. The man's website, which makes negative comments about the car service industry, the auto insurance industry and New Jersey judges, was created in reaction to an earlier court decision, in which the man, Ronald DiGiovanni, brought a small actions claim against Penn Warranty. The two sides settled for $2,500 and DiGiovanni proceeded to post www.pennwarrantylitigation.com on the web, airing his grievances. In a case of first impression in New York, the court held that DiGiovanni's comments were the protected speech of a disgruntled consumer, and statements of his personal opinion.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

GOOG hits new high


look

But it still hasn't taken out the resistance at $400.

Day's Range: 394.11 - 398.85
52wk Range: 161.31 - 398.22

Kinsley Has the NYTimes Dead On


Slate

After Judy
The New York Times' next First Amendment embarrassment.
By Michael Kinsley
Posted Friday, Oct. 21, 2005, at 12:01 AM ET



Here in mediaworld, we're all quite cross at the New York Times and its former star reporter, Judith Miller. She is widely believed to have sought her martyrdom as a career move. And then she gave up after a mere couple of months in jail. What a wuss! And the Times: This great institution let a mere reporter lead it around by its nose, with predictable results. What a super-wuss!! But this latest blow to the reputation of the MSM (mainstream media) cannot be pinned on Miller or the Times. It is the result of a sentimental and self-indulgent view of journalism that is widely shared in mediaworld—including by many of the journalists and media institutions now distancing themselves from Miller and the Times. . . .

He's got it just about right--fair use


Lessig

. . .But there is one great and true part to DeLong's email. As he writes,

Causby was entitled only to the decline in his property value, not to a share of the gains from the air age.

Truly, if there is a principle here, that should be it. The baseline is the value of the property BEFORE the new technology. Does the new technology reduce THAT value. Put differently, would authors and publishers be worse off with Google Print than they were before Google Print?

To ask that question is to answer it -- of course the authors and publishers are better off with Google Print.

Are they as well off as they could be, if the law gives them the power to extort from the innovator some payment for his innovation?

To ask that question is to understand why this case has been filed: Like Valenti with the Betamax, the publishers and Authors Guild simply want to tax the value created by Google Print. They are not complaining about any "decline in [their] property value" caused by Google Print. They are instead racing to claim the value that ancient law is said to give to them, despite the harm that claim produces for "progress."

Le Google


CNET News

French party exploits Google Adwords
By ZDNet France Staff
Special to CNET News.com

Published: November 16, 2005, 8:36 AM PST


France's majority party has admitted to leading a marketing campaign using Google's Adwords system of sponsored links.

Keywords evoking the violent situation in the Parisian suburbs and elsewhere across the country point to a petition in support of Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

Over the weekend of Nov. 5 and 6, Web surfers who entered terms such as "violence," "riots," "suburbs," "burned cars" or even "scum" into the Google search site were presented with an advertisement linking directly to the official UMP ("Union for a Popular Movement") Web site.

More precisely, the link directed Internet users to a petition supporting party President and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's "zero tolerance policy" in response to the confrontations rocking the suburbs of Paris.

"Since the riots began, we've received many e-mails of support, with a number of activists and elected officials circulating as many as 17 petitions backing Nicolas Sarkozy," a party spokesperson told ZDNet France. "So we asked our technical contractor, L'Enchanteur des nouveaux m├ędias, to channel such requests so that Internet users conducting searches surrounding the violence and the UMP come across an (official) document.". . .

Dockets Product Comparisons


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-law-lib
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 10:22 PM
To: law-lib
Subject: Legal Dockets Product Comparisons


While this is a bit overdue, I post the following responses to my original question. Thanks to all - especially Susan Taylor, Jennifer Murray, Jill Allyn, Kelly Devlin, Paul Bush, Nanna Frye, Nora Levine and Christine Stouffer!

See:
http://www.llrx.com/features/docketsupdate.htm
http://www.llrx.com/features/dockets3.htm
http://www.llrx.com/features/onlinedockets.htm

Links from:

Also on Lexis Nexis - Zimmerman's Research Guide - Docket Sheets

Articles by Paul Bush - generally at this place :

Free Court Case Docket Monitoring (April 5, 2005)


The Secrets of Online Document Retrieval (June 4, 2004)


Keeping up with Electronic Docket and Document Retrieval (Oct 22, 2001)

Much older:
Dueling Dockets - 2000 Westlaw 595 PLI/Pat 101
Keeping up with Electronic Docket and Document Retrieval - Westlaw - 1 No. 9 GLEFILR 6

Responder Comments:
=> this is a rapidly changing field
=>best resource may be the one that suits a specific need
=> major players are CourtLink, Legal Dockets Online, CourtExpress (West), West Dockets, CNS Reports
=> suggested evaluative criteria: coverage, timeliness, alert availability, costs

Most recently - Jill Allyn has written "From the Court to Your Desktop: Docket Research Services - Update 2005 in Legal Information Alert, Vol 24 No. 5 May 2005 (recieved in September). Refer to previous LIA articles also.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Google's Literary Quest in Peril


Boston College

2005 B.C. Intell. Prop. & Tech. F. 110301

Dr. Michael Goldstein [a1]
November 3, 2005

I. INTRODUCTION

Recently, Google, Inc. (hereinafter “Google”), owner of the eponymous search engine, partnered with several libraries, in an effort to make their collections available for search on the Internet. This project has come under attack by The Author’s Guild (hereinafter “The Guild”). The Guild complains that scanning and uploading copyrighted works without the authors’ consent violates their rights under the Copyright Act.[1] Google counters that its use of sections from the copyrighted works falls under the “fair use” doctrine described in the Copyright Act.[2] However, the Guild notes that in order to use these sections, Google first reproduced the entire work, violating the rights to reproduction that are protected by the Act.[3]

The question is whether Google’s actions do indeed violate the copyrights of the plaintiffs or whether these actions are protected by the Fair Use Doctrine. Part II of this note will review the facts of this case and its prior history. Part III will discuss the law relevant to the dispute. Finally, Part IV will approach potential arguments for either side, addressing strengths, faults, and previous interpretations of the law....>

The Google Story: An Excerpt


Chapter 26: Googling Your Genes

washingtonpost.com

Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, November 14, 2005; 6:00 AM
.


Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals or transformed access to information as profoundly as Google. I first became aware of this while covering Google as a beat reporter for The Washington Post. What galvanized my deep interest in the company was its unconventional initial public offering in August 2004 when the firm thumbed its nose at Wall Street by doing the first and only multi-billion dollar IPO using computers, rather than Wall Street bankers, to allocate its hot shares of stock.

A few months later, in the fall of 2004, I decided to write the first biography of Google, tracing its short history from the time founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford in 1995 until the present. In my view, this is the hottest business, media and technology success of our time, with a stock market value of $110 billion, more than the combined value of Disney, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com, Ford and General Motors.

The Google Story goes on sale in the United States on Tuesday, Nov. 15, and the extraordinary reach of the search engine has made the book of global interest. The book is also being published in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, China, Taiwan, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea, Czechoslovakia, Holland, South Africa, Turkey, New Zealand and Indonesia.

-- David A. Vise

Chapter 26 -- Googling Your Genes

Sergey Brin and Larry Page have ambitious long-term plans for Google's expansion into the fields of biology and genetics through the fusion of science, medicine, and technology. Their goal -- through Google, its charitable foundation, and an evolving entity called Google.org -- is to empower millions of individuals and scientists with information that will lead to healthier and smarter living through the prevention and cure of a wide range of diseases. Some of this work, done in partnership with others, is already under way, making use of Google's array of small teams of gifted employees and its unwavering emphasis on innovation, unmatched search capacity, and . . .

Friday, November 11, 2005

TVC Alert Research News


Virtual Chase

The Real Deal on Google Books
(8 Nov) USA Today commentator, Kevin Maney, blasted the book publishing industry for distorting the facts about Google's book projects.

"Google has provoked an orgy of angst over its two book-related projects. One is Google Print, Google's program to scan books -- with the publishers' permission -- and make a limited number of those copyright-protected pages available online.

"The other is the Google Print Library project.... That's aimed at making all books in the world searchable online.... But for copyrighted works, Google's Library project gives you only card catalog-like information and a couple of sentences of text -- nothing more.

"The misinformation and misguided attempts to stop these projects are mind-blowing."

RELATED: Why the Sudden Interest in Books?
TVC Alert Research News, 10 November 2005

RELATED: Authors Could Emerge as the Winners in Digitization Wars
The Book Standard, 10 November 2005
("For all the maneuvering among publishers and tech companies last week -- as various groups scrambled to gain a stake in the digital future of books -- an unlikely early winner emerged: the perennially underpaid author.")

RELATED: Pulp friction
The Economist, 10 November 2005
("'INFORMATION wants to be free,' according to a celebrated aphorism from the early days of the internet. Yet this ethos has been creating new headaches recently. As search-engine firms and others unveil plans to place books online, publishers fear that the services may end up devouring their business, either by bypassing them or because the initiatives threaten to make their copyrights redundant.")

Puzzle


A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get it started."

He asks, "What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says, "According to the picture on the box, it's a tiger."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then..." he sighed... "Let's put all these Frosted Flakes back in the box."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Up or Down?


Schaeffer

...
In an interview with Chris Wang from the Associated Press last week, I expressed my concerns with the market. With contrarians believing that the market rarely accommodates the majority, the main reason was simply that too many people were forecasting a year-end rally and with so many looking for it, it raises a red flag that it may not occur.

It could be that the market is just taking a breather before the rally continues, but there have been signs that the sentiment is shifting a little too abruptly. Mark Hulbert from Marketwatch.com noted in an article Tuesday that his Hulbert Stock Newsletter Sentiment Index jumped from -30.1 percent in mid-October to 39.2 percent on Monday. Such as drastic jump in a sentiment index gives me reason for concern.

One other item of note is the low volume this week. Granted the accompanying chart of NYSE volume shows the weekly volume up through this moment with part of today and all of tomorrow yet to be counted, but I would not look for volume to be very high tomorrow considering that the bond market is closed as are most banks for the Veteran's Day holiday. Given this piece of information, volume will more than likely be extremely low. The low volume could be good or it could be bad. Once the volume creeps back up, we should have a better idea whether this is a topping pattern or a consolidation before another leg up. An increase in volume with the market rallying would more than likely indicate that the rally has resumed. A drop below the lower line of the consolidation area with an increase in volume would be indicative of selling pressure and thus suggest that we are in for short-term pullback. ...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't Fear Google



Forbes



Commentary

Nick Schulz, 11.03.05, 11:00 AM ET

Google wants to scan all the books in the stacks of several of the world’s major research libraries to make these books searchable online. But lawsuits are threatening to shut the project down. Should they?

Called the Google Print Library Project, it has produced strong opposition, particularly from the publishing industry and writers’ guilds. Opponents fear this effort violates their property and copyrights and robs them of just desserts. They have some legitimate concerns, but ultimately the project is not just in Google’s (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) interest, but in the interest of writers and publishers as well--and of the rest of the world, too.

Under Google’s plan, searches of scanned books will yield relevant “snippets” from those books on Google’s Web pages. Google hasn’t clearly defined what those snippets might be--hence much of the alarm over their proposal. Theoretically, a “snippet” could be an entire book, which would no doubt be a violation of copyright. The company announced today that it has launched the first part of the project using books in the public domain.

Fortunately, we have a sense ...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Unofficial Google Weblog


link

Waiting for Google’s Real Estate Service
Posted Nov 7, 2005, 10:20 AM ET by Brad Hill

that’s me waiting for Google’s real estate service, and I was encouraged this morning by an article from the NY Times (archived here at the International Herald Tribune) about the “Google effect.” The Google effect is a force field of apprehension affecting many industries, caused by Google’s voracious organization of information. Even Wal-Mart is reportedly afraid of Google’s growing ability to point consumers to the lowest price, wherever it might be. The article cites an anonymous source from inside Google who refers to a nascent real estate service being developed. Such a service would fit perfectly in the already powerful Local/Maps/Earth suite. My wife and I follow real estate listings obsessively; we jump between Maps and Earth to locate properties and assess neighborhoods to whatever extent possible. From the day Google acquired Keyhole (later changed to Google Earth), I have longed for an integration of real estate listings. I’d like to see Google purchase the Multiple Listing Service and Realtor.com, if possible, and do online real estate correctly, at last.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Go Go Google


From Schaeffer's

Google


It is no secret that after its rather rocky reception with Wall Street analysts, Google (GOOG: sentiment, chart, options) has become quite the favorite among traders and the investing community. The shares have tagged another new all-time high today, skipping more than 1.4 percent higher to hit an intraday high of 397.47. Driving today's advance is news that GOOG will offer features similar to computers on cell phones, according to a media report. Making this move possible for GOOG is a deal between Yahoo! (YHOO: sentiment, chart, options) and SBC Communications (SBC: sentiment, chart, options) , which are introducing a cell phone that will link services to YHOO users' accounts, address books and preferences, according to The Wall Street Journal. GOOG is said to be tailoring some of its services for use on wireless devices, and starting today users of more than 100 types of cell phones can access the firm's map database.

Technically, the shares have been phenomenal, rising along the support of their 10-week and 20-week moving averages since April. A look at the chart below is all you need to digest the impressive gains that GOOG has been able to compile since its IPO in August 2004.




But has all this hype gotten out of hand? GOOG has become the perennial bullish pick among the financial media, with The Wall Street Journal bullishly featuring the stock in a August 18 article titled "Google as -- Get This -- Value Play!" and Fortune featuring the company on the cover of its August 8 article titled "Google!, Yahoo!, and the Future of Advertising."

With sentiment like this flying around on the Street, it is no surprise that 18 of the 24 covering analysts rate the shares a "buy" or better, with nary a "sell" to be found. I don't need to tell regular readers of SchaeffersResearch.com that this leaves GOOG very vulnerable to potential downgrades should this much-hyped firm ever disappoint the Street. Fortunately for GOOG, everything seems to be turning up roses for the time being.

Elsewhere, short interest fell by 11 percent during October to its lowest level since September 2004. It would now take less than one day to buy back the 7.4 million GOOG shares sold short, providing little in the way of short-covering support and casting yet another shadow of doubt over the equity from a contrarian's perspective.

Meanwhile, the options crowd is providing the only bearish investor sentiment to be had on the GOOG. In fact, pessimism has been on the rise among these speculative investors, as the security's SOIR has risen from its October 7 reading of 0.73 in the 27th percentile to today's reading of 0.91 in the 69th percentile.

But as the stock has proven time and time again, the market can remain irrational for longer than you can remain solvent. GOOG continues to post impressive gains and has yet to tarnish the shine that is apparently blinding the Street and a slew of investors. It is this technical performance that has earned the stock a Schaeffer's Equity Scorecard rating of 6.0 out of 10.

Just Googling It



NYTimes

November 6, 2005
Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies
By STEVE LOHR

Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, often intimidates its competitors and suppliers. Makers of goods from diapers to DVD's must cater to its whims. But there is one company that even Wal-Mart eyes warily these days: Google, a seven-year-old business in a seemingly distant industry.

"We watch Google very closely at Wal-Mart," said Jim Breyer, a member of Wal-Mart's board.

In Google, Wal-Mart sees both a technology pioneer and the seed of a threat, said Mr. Breyer, who is also a partner in a venture capital firm. The worry is that by making information available everywhere, Google might soon be able to tell Wal-Mart shoppers if better bargains are available nearby.

Wal-Mart is scarcely alone in its concern. As Google increasingly becomes the starting point for finding information and buying products and services, companies that even a year ago did not see themselves as competing with Google are beginning to view the company with some angst - mixed with admiration.

Google's recent moves have stirred concern in industries from book publishing to telecommunications. Businesses already feeling the Google effect include advertising, software and the news media. Apart from retailing, Google's disruptive presence may soon be felt in real estate and auto sales. ...

The Memetic Web


here

The memetic web uses meme IDs from a set of memespace taxonomies to tag web page content. Meme tags greatly improve the precision and recall of search engines.
The memography wiki establishes a new social classification system. It provides taxonomies and pages that describe what each meme is about. Anyone can tag pages with memes from memography, or follow rules to create non-conflicting memes for corporate and personal use. Memelinks to aboutness pages are URIs that can be used as RDF properties for the semantic web.

Memography.com helps companies maximize ROI on taxonomies by using memes.

Beware Your Trail of Digital Fingerprints



NYTimes

. . . The issue increasingly nags at the legal system, as lawyers become aware of the advantages of requesting discovery of the metadata buried in word-processed documents (or debate the ethics of scrubbing the metadata from a file before turning it over to the other side).

"If I get a piece of paper, all I see is a piece of paper," Mr. Kennedy said. "With an electronic document, there's potentially a lot more there." He noted that at a recent conference on electronic discovery, an Oregon lawyer complained that judges there tended to rebuff requests for the electronic versions of printed documents, saying the printed versions are enough.

But for most other instances - and certainly for cases like the Alito memo - the solutions are simple. Sort of.

Saving a copy of a document in "rich text format" (RTF), or as a simple text file first (options in the Save menu), and then converting it into the common "portable document format" (PDF) before circulating it is a good tack, Mr. Kennedy said. Still, some debate remains as to whether traces of metadata from word-processing programs like Microsoft Word are carried through to the PDF file.

For those who want to be extra safe, several third-party tools will scrub metadata and other information from documents, although with each new advance in software design, the number of potential pitfalls grows. ...

The Thames: awash with cocaine


telegraph


By Nina Goswami and James Orr
(Filed: 06/11/2005)



The Thames is awash with cocaine as Londoners snort more than 150,000 lines of the class A drug every day.

The figure is 15 times higher than official Home Office statistics and equates to four out of every 100 people regularly taking cocaine, or up to 250,000 of the capital's six million residents.


Londoners snort over 150,000 lines of cocaine a day

An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph found that, after cocaine had passed through users' bodies and sewage treatment plants, an estimated 2kg - 80,000 lines - of the drug went into the river each day.

Anti-drug campaigners said last night that the findings showed that cocaine use was a ticking "health-care time bomb" and called for the Government to take drastic action.

The Thames investigation, the first of its kind in Britain, was conducted by scientists using the latest technology. It is regarded as the most accurate large-scale drug-detection method available.

Britain's illicit cocaine trade, estimated to be worth £352.8 million a year, is thought to have caused 139 deaths in 2002, the last year of available figures - a seven-fold rise on the 1996 figure of 19.

Doctors fear that, with little routine testing for the drug in heart attack and stroke cases, the real toll may be much higher.

Friday, November 04, 2005

A worldwide shortage of librarians


From down under


Librarians in their traditional form are an endangered species. The library and information profession faces a potential crisis over the next decade as a large percentage of library workers retire. Currently 60 per cent of librarians are aged 45 and over, compared with the national figure of 35 per cent for all occupations, and only 14 per cent are under 35, compared with the national figure of 42 per cent.

There is evidence of a similar crisis in other countries: the United Kingdom has an anticipated shortage of 10 800 public library staff by the year 2010 - only five years away. The United States government is also funding a major study into the future staffing needs of academic libraries....

Stock Market


McMillan


The breakout by $SPX above 1205 and also above 1210 has turned the charts of the major indices bullish. They should stay that way unless they fall back below 1195 again. While there is still considerable overhead resistance, it appears that the current bullish environment is strong enough that a test of the summer's highs could be in order.

Breadth (advances minus declines) has been very strong. That is good, because it not only generates a buy signal from this indicator, but it means the participation in the rally is strong (i.e., a lot of small stocks are trading up). In fact, one might say that breadth has been so strong as to generate an overbought condition already. That could be true, but it is welcome, for any budding bullish market needs to generate overbought conditions early on -- it is an indication of strength in this case.

Volatility ($VIX) finally got its act together, too, and has now confirmed the bullish posture of the index charts and market breadth. $VIX dropped to a new relative low this week -- even gapping down on Thursday. $VXO -- the implied volatility of $OEX options -- is even lower than $VIX. As long as these continue to trend downward (in fact, as long as they don't begin to trend upward), this is a bullish sign for stocks.

The only one of our technical indicators that hasn't joined the party is the equity-only put-call ratio. Both the standard and the weighted ratios have recently raced to very high (i.e., oversold) positions indicating that traders were buying a lot of puts. Since these are contrary indicators, that is a good setup for a buy signal. However, that buy
signal has not yet occurred. There is a little 'hook' on the charts now, which likely will grow into a buy signal if this rally persists for another day or two. But, at this time, the equity-only put-call ratios have not yet signaled 'buy.'

In summary, we are on an intermediate-term buy signal -- much as we've seen in other Novembers. This one is coming off a good technical base, which makes it much better than the post-Katrina rally we saw in September. It's interesting to note that there seems to be a lot of bullish consensus in the media, but we can't trade that -- we can only observe the sentiment indicators we have on hand, and the extremely high levels of the put-call ratios would indicate that traders might have been saying they were bullish for November, but weren't actually trading that way.

Want 'War and Peace' Online? How About 20 Pages at a Time?


NYTimes



By EDWARD WYATT
Published: November 4, 2005
In a race to become the iTunes of the publishing world, Amazon.com and Google are both developing systems to allow consumers to purchase online access to any page, section or chapter of a book. These programs would combine their already available systems of searching books online with a commercial component that could revolutionize the way that people read books.

The idea is to do for books what Apple has done for music, allowing readers to buy and download parts of individual books for their own use through their computers rather than trek to a store or receive them by mail. Consumers could purchase a single recipe from a cookbook, for example, or a chapter on rebuilding a car engine from a repair manual.

The initiatives are already setting off a tug of war among publishers and the potential vendors over who will do business with whom and how to split the proceeds. Random House, the biggest American publisher, proposed a micropayment model yesterday in which readers would be charged about 5 cents a page, with 4 cents of that going to the publisher to be shared with the author. The fact that Random House has already developed such a model indicates that it supports the concept, and that other publishers are likely to follow.

The proposals could also become bargaining chips in current lawsuits against Google by trade groups representing publishers and authors. These groups have charged that Google is violating copyrights by making digital copies of books from libraries for use in its book-related search engine. But if those copies of older books on library shelves that have long been absent from bookstores started to produce revenue for publishers and authors, the trade groups might drop some of their objections....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Google Library Project Launched


Press release

Google Makes Public Domain Books Accessible to the World; Google Print Unveils Collection of Public Domain Books From Libraries at University of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford, and the New York Public Library

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(Business Wire)--Nov. 3, 2005--
Today, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced the
availability of the first large collection of public domain books on
Google Print. This collection, scanned as part of the company's book
digitization project with several of the world's largest libraries,
includes works such as U.S. Civil War history books, government
documents, the writings of Henry James and other materials.
Because they're out of copyright, these cultural artifacts can be
read in their entirety online at http://print.google.com, where anyone
can search and browse every page. They are fully searchable and users
can save individual page images.
"Today we welcome the world to our library," said Mary Sue
Coleman, President of the University of Michigan. "As educators we are
inspired by the possibility of sharing these important works with
people around the globe. Think of the doors it will open for students;
geographical distance will no longer hamper research. Anyone with an
Internet connection can search the text of and read the compelling
narratives, historical accounts and classic works offered today, and
in doing so access a world of ideas, knowledge and discovery."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Google Library Digitization Project


here

A small collection of commentary on the subject.

Tim Lee: "If there had been an Association of Web Site Publishers in 1995, they could have made precisely the same argument about AltaVista. Had they prevailed, it’s hard to predict how things would have evolved, but it seems unlikely they would have gone as well...The most comprehensive search engines might have required users to subscribe, as LexisNexis and Factiva do....If Google Print is copyright infringement, then so is Google itself. I hope it’s obvious to everyone that declaring Google illegal would be a bad idea."

London Girls


Telegraph

How our Piccadilly Commandos had the GIs surrounded
By Neil Tweedie
(Filed: 01/11/2005)



The Americans, as every schoolboy knows, were guilty of three heinous offences in wartime Britain, being over-paid, over-sexed and over here.

But according to a Metropolitan Police file from the Second World War released at the National Archives today, the GIs who inspired so much envy in their war-weary hosts should be forgiven a little for the over-sexed bit.

They were, after all, mere victims of one of the great unsung elite units in history, the "Piccadilly Commandos".

The women so named were the prostitutes and "good-time girls" who frequented the US servicemen's clubs that by mid-1942 had turned Mayfair and much of the West End into what police described as an "American colony".

So numerous and persistent were they that the Foreign Office judged them a serious threat to Anglo-American relations.

The problem began in August 1942, nine months after Pearl Harbor and during the early stages of the huge US military build-up in Britain culminating in D-Day.

In answer to the concerns of the US military, Supt Cole of the West End Central Division of the Met produced a report.

He concluded that the prostitutes who plied their trade in Mayfair had not taken particular advantage of the influx of young, relatively wealthy GIs. However, more recent arrivals tended to congregate in drunken groups in Piccadilly Circus and beyond, attracting "innumerable prostitutes".

In addition to practitioners of the oldest profession, many female munitions workers and other women were drawn to the West End by the promise of well-cut uniforms and disposable cash.

Supt Cole provided a summary of the types of prostitute to be found. The Burlington Gardens variety was "rather expensive", while those in Maddox Street were overwhelmingly French and rarely caused trouble.

In Piccadilly Circus one encountered the "lower type, quite indiscriminate", and in Glasshouse Street "similar to Piccadilly - perhaps a slightly better class". Old Compton Street in Soho gloried in "the lowest type of all drabs".

The Washington Club and 100 Piccadilly, both US Army establishments, were magnets for British women who waited outside.

Supt Cole identified other clubs, the Woolly Lamb, Chappie's and Eve's, as centres of unfortunate activity.

The Americans were not happy. Col WM Clark, the legal adviser to US forces in Europe, told his British counterparts that: "The impression created on the American troops and their mommas at home is bad."

By March 1943, the Foreign Office had become involved. Richard Law, a junior minister, said the scale at which American troops were accosted by prostitutes may have long-term effects on Anglo-American relations.

Reports in American newspapers and in letters sent home by GIs created an unfortunate impression. Mr Law added: "If American soldiers contract venereal disease while in this country, they and their relatives in the United States will not think kindly of us after the war."

American soldiers interviewed after contracting the afore-mentioned complaint spoke regretfully of their encounters with the "Piccadilly Commandos".

But there was strong disagreement about the scale of the problem. In September 1943, Adml Sir Edward Evans, the head of civil defence in London, wrote to Air Vice Marshal Sir Philip Game, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He pulled no punches, prompted by complaints from a friend at the Leicester Square Theatre.

"Of course the American soldiers are encouraged by these young sluts, many of whom should be serving in the Forces," he spluttered. "At night the square, with its garden, is apparently given over to vicious debauchery."

Game replied that talk of debauchery was "rubbish".

The Home Office mandarin Sir Alexander Maxwell was equally unconvinced.

He wrote: "To anyone who knew Paris or even London in the last war, London at the moment is by comparison a Sunday school."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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