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Posts Tagged ‘video’

A couple of great cat videos

Posted by Richard on November 24, 2010

A friend sent me these two videos recently, and since they're on YouTube, I thought I'd share them. The first one is of a cat with some really big cojones. "You don't scare me, gator!"

[YouTube link]

The second one just makes you go "awwww, that's so cute!" Nice production values and choice of music, too. Enjoy!

[YouTube link]

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Eco-fascist humor

Posted by Richard on October 6, 2010

The big-name, big-budget environmentalist mini-movie "No Pressure" has drawn sharp reactions in the last few days, with criticism coming from both the right and the left. James Taranto did the most thorough job I've seen of taking apart this light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek, gory eco-fascist murder fantasy. He observed that in the past, white supremacists have blown up children, as have Islamic supremacists. "Green supremacists" are still only joking about it — for now: 

There's a new kind of supremacist on the scene: green supremacists. They haven't blown up any children–not in real life. But they've been thinking about it.

A British outfit called the 10:10 Campaign hired Richard Curtis, a writer and producer of cinematic comedies, to produce a four-minute video promoting its effort to encourage people to cut "carbon emissions." The result, titled "No Pressure," struck James Delingpole, a global-warming skeptic who writes for London's Daily Telegraph, as "deliciously, unspeakably, magnificently bleeding awful." He's being too kind.

Read the whole thing. And watch the movie: 

[YouTube link ]
[alternate YouTube link]
[another alternate YouTube link]

Taranto closed with: 

One may hope that Jim Edwards is right when he denies that "this is actually what environmentalists want." But it's bad enough that this is what they fantasize about–and that they manifestly felt no inhibition about airing such a depraved fantasy in public.

But we have plenty of evidence that this — or much worse — actually is what quite a few environmentalists want. We have their own words

We have wished, we ecofreaks, for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us into Stone Age, where we might live like Indians in our valley, with our localism, our appropriate technology, our gardens, our homemade religion — guilt-free at last! — Stewart Brand

Everything we have developed over the last 100 years should be destroyed. — Pentti Linkola

I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems. — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs. — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing….This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run. — Economist editorial

We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight — David Foreman, Earth First!

If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS — Earth First! Newsletter

Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planets…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. — David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans. — Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels. — Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

That's just a portion of the quotes collected at one site. There are many more here, here, and elsewhere. 

The leadership of the environmentalist movement is full of people who are anti-capitalist, anti-industrial-revolution, anti-modernity, anti-progress, and ultimately anti-human. There's nothing amusing about the sick self-loathing that causes a person to wish most or all the members of his species were dead. 

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Obama to negotiate with wildfire

Posted by Richard on October 5, 2010

This "Breaking News" parody is really funny because the premise is completely ridiculous, and yet in character. Enjoy!

[YouTube link]

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Text is better than video

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2010

Heartless Libertarian (who recently returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan; welcome back, man!) wondered if he was alone in this:

I'm sorry, but I hate video blogs.

No offense to the fine folks at PJTV, but please, if you've got something to say, use the keyboard and write it out. I can read faster than you can talk (not to mention I can read it at work without attracting attention) and my mind won't wander off nearly as quickly from the written word.

Please…less v-logging, more blogging.

I'll second that. Yes, there are some things for which video is better than text. And yes, I've enjoyed some of the stuff people like Steve Green and Bill Whittle have done on PJTV. But that said, I'm a text guy — which makes me a Neanderthal, I suppose (heck, I'm old enough to be a Neanderthal).

Video is better at holding my attention than audio alone (sorry, folks, but I'm just not ever going to download and listen to those podcasts), assuming it's well done (and yes, the PJTV stuff is usually very well done). But for most news and information material, I'd prefer to see it in print. Or see the video and also have access to a transcript (yes, I realize that's a lot of additional work).

For one thing, print is much easier to excerpt for a blog post or an email to friends. With video, you end up saying things like, "Hey, David, check out . The first part won't interest you, but the part from 6:41 to 8:54 is relevant to what we were talking about yesterday." Lame. Awkward. And more likely to be ignored by David.

For another, I'd much rather reread a paragraph of text, think about it, and reread it again than try to do the same by repeatedly backing up and replaying portions of a video. It's also easier to compare a piece of text to another piece of text. 

Video has certain advantages, given the right material and presenter. You get nuances and shades of meaning that you just can't get from written material alone. And of course, video is the only way to present things like "We Con the World." 

But if your video is just some talking head reading a script, how about instead of the video, or in addition to the video, you post the script?

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Harmful regulation video contest

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2010

Make a video showing how government regulations are causing harm, and you could win a prize. From Adam Bitely:

The EPA has decided to start a video contest, seeking to gather films promoting government regulations. The prize is $2,500 of stolen cash from the taxpayer.

Screw that.

Americans for Limited Government/NetRight Nation and the Fr33 Agents Network have announced that we will host our own contest. The reward is $2,500 not stolen from the tax payers.

Check out the rules and additional information, and then start making a video.

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Another Gitmo alum collected his 72 virgins

Posted by Richard on June 28, 2008

According to Bill Roggio, a new al Qaeda jihad video features a former Gitmo detainee who killed 13 in a suicide truck bomb attack in Mosul. The Kuwaiti jihadist was presumably one of those released from Gitmo because he was judged low-risk or there was insufficient evidence against him. Now, there's more evidence and his risk level can be retroactively raised:

Al Qaeda in Iraq, through its puppet organization the Islamic State of Iraq, released its latest propaganda video on June 23. The video contains a montage of attacks throughout Iraq, and features two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted strikes in Mosul. One of the operatives was released from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Islamic State of Iraq used footage taken at Combat Outpost Inman by this reporter in Mosul in March of this year.

The 38-minute-long video, titled "The Islamic State is Meant to Stay," was produced by Al Furqan, al Qaeda's media arm in Iraq. Al Furqan has released few videos over the past six weeks said Nibras Kazimi, a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, at his website, Talisman Gate.

Two Kuwaiti al Qaeda operatives who conducted suicide attacks were featured at the end of the video. Abu Omar al Kuwaiti, also known as Badr Mishel Gama’an al Harbi, and Abu Juheiman al Kuwaiti, also known as Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, are both shown on the video, along with their attacks in Mosul, said Kazimi.

Harbi, who claimed to be a "veteran of the jihad in Afghanistan," conducted a suicide car bomb attack on a police station in Mosul on April 26, 2008.

Ajmi was released from Guantanamo Bay and was searching for "a way to reconnect with the jihad." He claimed he was tortured while at Guantanamo Bay.

Ajmi "is seemingly responsible for an earlier truck bombing at the Iraqi Army HQ in the Harmat neighborhood of Mosul on March 23, 2008," said Kazimi. The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Inman, an Iraqi Army base that served as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division.

I'm sure the 42 wounded Iraqi soldiers and the surviving families of the 13 dead wish the U.S. had used stricter standards in determining who could safely be released from Gitmo. 

I guess we Americans should be grateful that Ajmi wasn't released on bond in New Jersey. 

(And don't you dare suggest that Ajmi was harmless before, but was "radicalized" by his treatment at Gitmo. I will smack you. And then point out that he wanted to "reconnect with the jihad.") 


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MPAA guilty of copyright violations

Posted by Richard on December 7, 2007

Oh, the wonderful irony! The Motion Picture Association of America is, together with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), one of the most hawkish organizations anywhere regarding copyright protection. At one time, the MPAA fought to ban VCRs because they "encouraged" people to copy movies. More recently, the MPAA and RIAA have been the driving forces behind the odious digital rights management (DRM) schemes that encumber digital entertainment and restrict our "fair use" rights. So I found this news just hilarious:

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recently released a software toolkit designed to help universities detect instances of potentially illegal file-sharing on school networks. The toolkit is based on the increasingly popular Ubuntu Linux distribution and includes the Apache web server as well as custom traffic monitoring software created by the MPAA. Although the toolkit was previously available from a web site set up by the MPAA, the software was removed last night after the organization received a request from Ubuntu technical board member Matthew Garrett to take it down due to GPL violations.

Many of the components in the Ubuntu Linux distribution, including the Linux kernel, are distributed under the General Public License (GPL). … Distributing software licensed under the GPL in binary format without making source code available to end users is a violation of the GPL and constitutes copyright infringement.

The MPAA, which has consistently lobbied Congress for stricter penalties on copyright infringement, will likely take some much-deserved heat for this embarrassing gaffe.  

Much-deserved indeed. 

Meanwhile, there's more good news for consumers regarding digital music. Retail giants Amazon and Wal-Mart have joined the fight for DRM-free MP3s:

Earlier this year EMI and Universal Music Group started selling DRM-free music. Now, Pepsi and Amazon have teamed up to give away 1 billion DRM-free MP3s. The offer puts pressure on record companies who aren't offering music in DRM-free format to either join the party or miss out.

In the past, retail giant Wal-Mart has sold music with Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM. iTunes, the top online music retailer in the world, sells music compatible only with Apple iPod and iPhone devices.

Now, Wal-Mart is siding with the Smash-DRM movement, claiming it wants to switch to a DRM-free catalogue in 2008 and threatening to leave behind any record label not willing to comply. Meanwhile, iTunes has already started selling DRM-free music. Change is definitely in the air.

A couple of years ago, I pointed out that Microsoft was defending consumers' rights by backing the HD DVD format and insisting that it include Managed Copy, an extension of DRM that restores consumers' fair-use rights. Now, music consumers have a friend in Wal-Mart. Microsoft and Wal-Mart, the little guy's friends — somewhere, a corporation-hating lefty's head just exploded. 🙂

Of course, those corporations are (as they should be) acting out of self-interest. It's really competition and innovation that are the little guy's friends:

Retailers and record labels wanting to sell DRM-free music are hardly feeling an alliance with the open source / free-love crowd. This is strictly business. Universal and others had no problem dealing with iTunes, DRM and all, when the iPod was the only significant MP3 player. But now that practically everybody has cell phones and other non-Apple devices that play digital music, cross-compatibility is looking a lot more interesting.

DRM will become marginalized as Apple's stranglehold on digital music playback weakens.

BTW, on Friday Wal-Mart is selling Toshiba's 3rd-generation HD-A3 HD DVD player for $298, and you get 12 (!) free HD DVDs. If you've been thinking about a high-def player, grab this deal!


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Osama bin rotting?

Posted by Richard on September 14, 2007

I've had doubts about bin Laden being alive for some time now, and the two recent videos just reinforced them. This CNET News Blog post pointed out some fascinating analyses of the videos by Dr. Neal Krawetz at Secure Computing. In As Alive as Elvis, Dr. Krawetz reported his findings regarding the Sept. 7 video, which included:

The video shows Bin Laden in his white hat, white shirt, and yellow sweater. This is the same clothing he wore in the 2004-10-29 video. In 2004 he had it unzipped, but in 2007 he zipped up the bottom half. Besides the clothing, it appears to be the same background, same lighting, and same desk. Even the camera angle is almost identical.

… If you overlay the 2007 video with the 2004 video, his face has not changed in three years — only his beard is darker and the contrast on the picture has been adjusted.

What are the chances of nothing changing (except his beard) in three years? Virtually zero. The clips appear to have been recorded three years ago.

The audio does make reference to relatively current events (people and places). However, these references are ONLY made during the frozen-frame portions and only after splices in the audio track. The animated portions make no references to current events.

The big question is: is the audio from Bin Laden? I'm not an audio expert (yet) and since I don't know Arabic, I cannot tell if there is an accent or if the accent changes. I do know that the room echo and background sounds change during different audio clips. And there are so many splices that I cannot help but wonder if someone spliced words and phrases together.

In a follow-up, Bin Laden Video Image Analysis, Krawetz reported (ellipsis in original):

With regards to Bin Laden's beard… It cannot be detected with any of my tools as being digitally modified. However:

  • The whole inner frame of Bin Laden was resaved at least twice. The number of reseaves does not appear to be enough to distort significant modifications.

  • The colorful border was also saved twice. However…

  • Even though the Bin Laden frame and border were both saved twice each, they were not saved at the same time. I know this because the Jpeg artifacts (8×8 squares) are on the 8×8 grid for the Bin Laden frame, but are shifted over on the border — the border's 8×8 artifacts do not lie on the Jpeg 8×8 grid.

  • The whole video frame (border + Bin Laden) was combined from many parts. Here's the order, starting with the last thing added:
    1. As-Sahab logo, English subtitles, and text below Bin Laden (alternates between English and Arabic) was added last.
    2. "The Solution" and Arabic in the top right corner was the penultimate addition.
    3. The Bin Laden frame and border were combined.
    4. In the Bin Laden frame, there is no indication of manipulation and no indication of a chromakey replacement. In the border, the spinning globe was modified along with the strobing colors.

  • Both saturation and PCA shows fine horizontal stripes on Bin Laden and the background. These came from interlaced video sources. In contrast, the text elements and As-Sahab logo appear to be from non-interlaced sources.

FWIW, interlaced suggests (but only suggests) older video and non-interlaced suggests newer. 

If I had to bet, I'd bet bin Laden is dead, and Zawahiri, the brains behind al Qaeda, is keeping the charismatic figurehead "alive" for his PR value. 

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Cat kneads dog

Posted by Richard on March 21, 2007

"The position of cats is highest when civilization is at its peak. The uses of the cow, the horse and the dog are obvious even to the illiterate, but one must be educated in the uses of a cat."

— Olivia Manning

One of the uses of a cat that I've certainly appreciated is kneading. The late Grizzly used to knead on me with a wonderful dedication, seriousness of purpose, and continuous big purr. God, how I miss him.

It never occurred to me that a dog might appreciate a cat's talent for kneading until Craig Ferguson played this video clip on tonight's Late Late Show. Note: Before the video begins playing, mute or turn down your speakers. The video seems to have been recorded while a shop vac or small jet engine was running nearby.

Hmm, I wonder if the PETA animal-rights types object to a cat being exploited by a dog, or if they only object to both being kept by humans. 

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