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Monday, February 04, 2013

Disturbing: Burger King Admits Burgers Contain Horsemeat

In a piece of highly disturbing news, Burger King has now admitted after continuous denial that it has actually been selling UK customers both burgers and Whoppers that contain horsemeat. This admission comes just after The Guardian reports that Burger King reps offered a round of ‘absolute assurances’ to customers that it did not ever use horsemeat in its products.
A series of tests done on the burger products now reveal that Burger King has been issuing completely phony statements, with burgers made for the fast food chain from the Irish company Silvercrest containing measurable levels of horsemeat. It’s important to note this is the same company that processes meat for Tesco, Asda, and the Co-op. The managers at Silvercrest have been revealed to be utilizing non-approved ingredients within their burger assortment – even for ‘household brands’.

Burger King Admits to Horsemeat in Whoppers, Burgers

Burger King admitted just a few hours ago that the samples did in fact contain horsemeat:
“Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA… we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.”
It is not yet clear which of these top brands could be containing such concerning ingredients as horse meat and other ‘meat cut offs’. What is known is that tens of thousands of burgers from suppliers like Silvercrest and others in Germany have been shipped into Burger King alone to meet demand just in the UK. According to the Daily Mail report on the study results, the horsemeat contamination can be traced back to a full year, or at least since last May.
The investigation into this issue started after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that burgers out of Ireland contained horsemeat. The disturbing findings highlight yet another reason not to consumer fast food, which contains a host of problematic substances such as ingredients banned in other nations.

Microsoft Claimed that Linux is Wasted Cash

Microsoft has recently gone to Munich claiming that the city wasted a lot of money by dumping its software in favor of Linux. At the same time, the software giant refused to provide proof, so everyone would just have to take its word for it.

According to both Microsoft and HP, the German city made a mistake when it calculated that switching from Windows to Linux saved Munich millions. Apparently, Munich has annoyed Microsoft by claiming that it saved over $14 million up to date. The software giant carried out one of its special Total Cost of Ownership studies, which found out that Munich would have saved more than $57 million if it had stuck with Microsoft.

The German weekly Focus, which had the figures in question, claimed that the software company wanted to say that if Munich had stayed with Windows XP and Office 2003 instead of choosing Linux and OpenOffice.org, it would have saved a fortune. Microsoft confirmed that the Munich’s own calculations didn’t consider all migration costs and compared the migration to a decade-old Linux version with a migration to a newer version of Windows (for instance, Windows 7). In case Munich had stuck with Windows, it wouldn’t have needed any new software.

In the meanwhile, the report found out that 25% of the desktops are still running Windows, as not all apps can be migrated to Linux. The results of the report were leaked to the press by one of the HP employees, but neither HP nor Microsoft are now willing to disseminate it more broadly.

Most of industry experts admitted that they couldn’t understand Microsoft’s reasoning, saying that it would be tricky to see how a Windows deployment can be any cheaper than a Linux alternative. Perhaps, the reason Microsoft wasn’t releasing the report is because the software giant suspected there were some mistakes in it.

After all, the software giant might be going back to the good old days when it used to print bogus reports about the total cost of ownership of Linux with fabled figures simply for marketing purposes

Musicians against CNET

A lawsuit involving Alki David plus a number of R&B and hip-hop musicians and CNET was started last November. The battle was headed by Alki David and involved a handful of musicians who sued CBSI’s subsidiary CNET for encouraging piracy by offering advice on how to use file-sharing platforms. Last July, a federal judge confirmed that CNET’s actions should be scrutinized. Finally, last November the artists asked for a preliminary injunction.

In response, CBS Interactive filed a 25-page memorandum a week ago, claiming that any suggestion that reports on the distribution of legitimate music via the BitTorrent protocol evidences intent to encourage infringement is just absurd. They point out that the injunction plaintiffs seek would substantially damage their business of providing a comprehensive index of software applications and editorial information about them.

The most interesting thing is that the injunction wouldn’t prevent either downloads of BitTorrent client software, or potential infringement of plaintiffs’ content. Even if CBSI were enjoined from linking to services providing downloads of BitTorrent applications, those would still remain available to Internet users and would still be easily found by a simple Google search – albeit without the warning against violation that CBSI provides.

In addition, the public interest would be damaged by denying legal and truthful data about a pervasive technology and by impending non-infringing uses.

The memorandum also stressed the fact that the plaintiffs didn’t prove not only the ownership of works, but also the irreversible damage done by CNET. The company also insists that “vague and broad requests for injunctive relief aimed targeting speech or the press raise serious First Amendment issues”.

CNET explained that it wasn’t planning to give any validation to a product which CBS is considering illegal, other networks considered illegal and one court has already found to violate the copyright act in its application. Except for that, CNET will cover every other product and service, or that’s what the company’s representative said when talking about the company’s decision to prohibit CNET from publishing reviews about such technologies as Dish Network-owned AutoHopper and Aereo’s TV streaming device.

Will the Upcoming Six Strikes Scheme Stop Piracy?

The much-discussed U.S. six strikes anti-piracy scheme is expected to go live within a month. A reputable source told TorrentFreak that February 18 has been selected as the provisional launch date, but CCI denies this. In the meantime we’ll take a look at the expected effectiveness of the copyright alerts system. Will it be able to turn pirates into legitimate customers or will it drive people to VPNs and other means of sharing?
copyright alertsIn a few weeks the MPAA, RIAA and five major U.S. Internet providers will start to warn BitTorrent pirates.
The parties founded the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) and agreed on a system through which copyright infringers are told that their behavior is unacceptable. After five or six warnings ISPs will then take a variety of repressive measures.
This week TorrentFreak learned from a source close to CCI that the system is currently scheduled to launch on February 18. However, a spokesperson for the copyright alerts system denies that there is a hard launch date at the moment, and stated that they are “still working towards implementation.”
Exact launch date or not, it appears that after more than a year of delays the copyright alerts will soon go live. The question remains, however, if the plan will be an effective tool to decrease piracy.
The answer to this question is not an easy one to arrive at, but it’s evident that not all copyright infringers are at risk of being caught.
First it has to be noted that the copyright alerts only target a subgroup of online pirates, namely BitTorrent users. The millions of users of file-hosting services, Usenet and streaming sites are not going to be affected.
Needless to say, piracy on these services is likely to increase rather than decrease.
And that’s just half of the story. Even those who keep using BitTorrent can avoid the warnings by signing up for one of many anonymizer services.
BitTorrent proxies and VPN services are the preferred way for people to remain anonymous while downloading. These services replace a user’s home IP-address with one provided by the proxy service, making it impossible for tracking companies to identify who is doing the file-sharing.
In the U.S. 16% of all file-sharers already hide their IP-address, and this is likely to increase when the copyright alert system goes live.
The above doesn’t mean that the copyright alert system will have no effect whatsoever. In fact, it may be quite effective in deterring a small percentage of casual ‘pirates’. However, we expect that the overwhelming majority of copyright infringers will simply take measures to avoid being caught, while continuing their downloading habits.
Of course this is not news to the copyright holders or the ISPs.
When CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser was confronted with these circumvention options she stressed that the main purpose of the alerts is to educate the public. The participating parties realize that determined individuals can circumvent the system by using a VPN or switching to other means of file-sharing.
“Yes, there are ways around it, and yes there are other ways to pirate,” Lesser previously said, adding that these hardcore pirates are not the target of the system.
How big the real target group is will become apparent in the months to come, when the first statistics on U.S. BitTorrent usage are published after the six strikes come in.

What happens at an atheist church?

Sunday Assembly, photo taken by attendeeHarry Cliff gives his science lecture at the Sunday Assembly in a former church
An "atheist church" in North London is proving a big hit with non-believers. Does it feel a bit like a new religion?
Not many sermons include the message that we are all going to die and there is no after life.
But the Sunday Assembly is no ordinary church service.
Launched last month, as a gathering for non-believers, it is, in the words of master of ceremonies Sanderson Jones, "part foot-stomping show, part atheist church, all celebration of life".
A congregation of more than 300 crowded into the shell of a deconsecrated church to join the celebration on Sunday morning.
Instead of hymns, the non-faithful get to their feet to sing along to Stevie Wonder and Queen songs.
There is a reading from Alice in Wonderland and a power-point presentation from a particle physicist, Dr Harry Cliff, who explains the origins of dark matter theory.
It feels like a stand-up comedy show. Jones and co-founder Pippa Evans trade banter and whip the crowd up like the veterans of the stand-up circuit that they are.
But there are more serious moments.
The theme of the morning is "wonder" - a reaction, explains Jones, to criticism that atheists lack a sense of it.
So we bow our heads for two minutes of contemplation about the miracle of life and, in his closing sermon, Jones speaks about how the death of his mother influenced his own spiritual journey and determination to get the most out of every second, aware that life is all too brief and nothing comes after it.

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Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans
I don't think I'm a charismatic preacher”
Sanderson Jones, with Pippa Evans
The audience - overwhelmingly young, white and middle class - appear excited to be part of something new and speak of the void they felt on a Sunday morning when they decided to abandon their Christian faith. Few actively identify themselves as atheists.
"It's a nice excuse to get together and have a bit of a community spirit but without the religion aspect," says Jess Bonham, a photographer.
"It's not a church, it's a congregation of unreligious people."
Another attendee, Gintare Karalyte, says: "I think people need that sense of connectedness because everyone is so singular right now, and to be part of something, and to feel like you are part of something. That's what people are craving in the world."
The number of people declaring themselves to be of "no religion" in England and Wales has increased by more than six million since 2001 to 14.1 million, according to the latest census. That makes England and Wales two of the most secular nations in the Western world.
Bus with banner ad reading "There's probably no god - now stop worrying and enjoy your life"Atheists are getting more vocal, such as this ad campaign on London buses
Figures such as writer Richard Dawkins and comedian Ricky Gervais have made it fashionable to be more assertive about having a lack of religious faith and to think about what it means to be an atheist.
And writer Alain De Botton has unveiled a Manifesto for Atheists, listing 10 virtues - or as the press has already dubbed them "commandments" - for the faithless.
De Botton says he wants to promote overlooked virtues such as resilience and humour. He came up with the idea in response to a growing sense that being virtuous had become "a strange and depressing notion", which seems to chime with the Sunday Assembly's own mantra "live better, help often, wonder more".
There is a concern among some non-believers that atheism is developing into a religion in its own right, with its own code of ethics and self-appointed high priests.
Jones insists he is not trying to found a new religion, but some members of his congregation disagree.
"It will become an organised religion. It's inevitable. A belief system will set in. There will be a structure, an ethical outlook on life," says architect Robbie Harris.
He believes Evans and Jones have "a great responsibility" if the Sunday Assembly "continues to be as successful as it is now".
"There is a difficulty that it might become cultish and it might become about one person. You could set yourself up as a charismatic preacher, that's the danger."
Fellow congregation member Sarah Aspinall says: "I think Sanderson should step back and see himself as a mediator and an enabler, which I think he is obviously good at, and just bring people up to speak or read."
Jones says it is very early days and future assemblies will be less about him and more about the experiences of congregation members. He bridles at the suggestion he is starting a cult.
"I don't think I'm a charismatic preacher. I just get very excited about things and want to share that with people."
He says he has been overwhelmed by the public reaction to the Sunday Assembly and is exploring the possibility of setting up similar gatherings around the country.
"I wanted to do this because I thought it would be a wonderful thing," he explains.
The Sunday Assembly certainly did better business than at the evangelical St Jude and St Paul's Church next door, where about 30 believers gathered to sing gospel songs and listen to Bible readings.
But Bishop Harrison, a Christian preacher for 30 years, says he does not see his new neighbours as a threat, confidently predicting that their spiritual journey will eventually lead them to God.
"They have got to start from somewhere," he says.


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