Australia correspondant, Ross Kendall: “Cycling currently saves the government $227.2 million per year in health costs. The report is called Cycling: Getting Australia Moving and was written by academics from several leading Australian universities on behalf of the Federal Department of Health and Ageing.”
Despite the potential savings in dollars, health, and lives, Australia — like most countries — could stand to significantly improve its support of bicyclists. Still, Ross notes that “big cities have shown increases in bicycle traffic as has the country overall.”
Carectomy’s Josh Liberles adds ”2007 marks the eighth consecutive year that bicycle sales have trumped the car market in Australia, with 1.47 million bicycles sold. In addition to the rise in sales, there’s also an increase in the amount people are riding. Cycling is currently the nation’s 4th most popular form of exercise and there has been a 17% increase in participation since 2001. Work commutes by bicycle in Melbourne have increased by a startling 42% in the same time, with a 22% increase across Australia.””
"Why is C-61 bad for Canadians? The bill faces criticism for several reasons, including the lack of public consultation on the matter by the government, as well as the appearance that the bill is the result of heavy lobbying by the US media industries to replicate the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In particular, the bill replicates provisions making it illegal to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) technologies used to protect copyrighted materials. The bill is bad for Canadians for a number of reasons: 1. It reduces your rights: Consumers will continue to be able to use copyrighted materials for research, private study, criticism, review or news reporting, but will no longer have the means to exercise those rights when the copyrighted materials are protected by DRM. 2. It reduces the usefulness of your media: Consumers will no longer have the right to take commonly purchased physical media, such as DVDs, or downloaded DRM-protected files, such as digital music, and make copies for their personal use. 3. It forces you to buy media you’ve already purchased: Consumers will be unable to unlock media they’ve legally purchased in the past for use on new devices, and hence will be forced to buy the same content again and again. 4. It makes your devices less useful: Consumers will be able to do less, not more, with new devices they purchase, as many of these device may, at any time, limit the user’s access to media they have a legal right to view, modify, or redistribute. 5. It reduces competition and innovation: Consumers will be unable to influence the market by finding new uses for their existing media and copyrighted materials, limiting the application of ingenuity that can lead to the creation of new applications and markets for Canadians and the world. 6. It makes the public domain works inaccessible: Consumers will have the right to re-use works in the public domain, but in cases where those public domain works are protected by DRM consumers will not have the means to exercise those rights and hence lose access to their own heritage."
"In the roughly 36 hours since the Canadian DMCA was introduced, the outrage from thousands of Canadians has been nothing short of remarkable. The CBC has picked up on the story, reporting on the surge in online protests that include approximately 10,000 new members of the Fair Copyright for Canada Facebook group (nearly 50,000 members as of this writing), over 4,000 letters and emails sent through Copyright for Canadians, hundreds of comments on articles in the mainstream press (and this blog), and a huge number of individual blog posts. “
You might have read recently on Boing Boing that Virgin Media has started sending out letters to its customers accusing them of copyright infringement.
Well, guess what landed on the doormat this morning.
“Important: If you don’t read this, your broadband could be disconnected.” said the top-left corner of the envelope in a beautiful legal-red rectangle.
It contained a four-page document. Two pages were written by Virgin Media and the other two were boilerplate from the BPI.
“While it may be okay to store [files] for personal use, it’s unlawful to download or share them without the permission of the copyright owner - for example, the record company or film studio that released them. Otherwise it’s a ‘copyright infringement’, which can lead to legal action being taken against the person responsible.” Virgin Media’s words, not those of the BPI.
It then went on to list some measures I might use to “make sure that these files aren’t downloaded or shared from your Virgin Media internet connection in future” such as securing my wireless network (even though I leave my network open for a couple of reasons - we have three different operating systems running on about six computers in the house, so it’s easier to do it this way. Plus, I’d like to think that sharing my connection means I can borrow one when I need it from the neighbours) and using anti-virus software (I’m a Linux user so it’s not exactly necessary). I refuse to change my router’s security because my ISP says so. Their jurisdiction stops on their side of the cable modem.
Also, that coupled with the fact that I use Tor means that my Internet connection finally drops out to the public Internet unencrypted usually somewhere like Germany or, the other day, Taiwan. So does that of my partner, which means that only encrypted packets flow from my computer through Virgin Media’s routers, although admittedly, I don’t use it all the time. But, when I do, it does mean that traffic from other machines could be dropping out through my pipe because my laptop’s configured as a Tor exit.
“All this will help make sure that no further steps are taken against you,” said the letter in a do-it-or-else voice. I don’t appreciate being talked down to by my ISP, especially when I’m not at fault.
Apparently, someone using my connection decided to download an .mp3 from Ares (a Windows-only P2P and torrent client), which rules out both us Linux users. It also rules out a housemate’s laptop (it’s a Mac). There are two Windows machines in the house and their users didn’t download it.
It’s an Amy Winehouse song.
We don’t listen to Amy Winehouse. Ever. Nothing personal, Amy.
Virgin Media are the only ISP sending out BPI notices. They don’t have to - there’s no law or industry regulation that says so. They just leapt into bed with the BPI and the BPI couldn’t be happier that they’ve got someone doing their “policing” for them.
In September, we’re building a home server in our flat. It’ll be a Tor node so that finally Virgin Media don’t need to worry themselves with what’s flowing through their routers. It’s just data. Like I paid for.
"The crack teams discovered 236.8 tons of cannabis buried in vast trenches in the desert. The drugs had a minimum street value of £225 million, and weighed more than 30 double-decker buses, officials said. Lieutenant General Abdul Hadi Khalid, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, said: "This is a new world record in the global war on drugs.""
"It was another brilliantly sunny day for NASA astronaut Tom Jones. In orbit on his fourth space shuttle mission in February 2001, Jones was outside the International Space Station, installing a new laboratory module. He remembers the moment with great clarity: Gerhard Thiele, another astronaut, called from the ground to relay the news that the robotic NEAR Shoemaker probe had just made the first-ever landing on an asteroid, 433 Eros."
"There was nothing else to do, because the South China Mall, which opened with great fanfare in 2005, is not just the world’s largest. With fewer than a dozen stores scattered through a space designed to house 1,500, it is also the world’s emptiest – a dusty, decrepit complex of buildings marked by peeling paint, dead light bulbs, and dismembered mannequins."
The report is prefaced by retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003. Video Watch why a rights group says there’s evidence of torture » “There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”
"The Canadian Music Creators Coalition is not impressed with the copyright reform bill announced this morning. “As we feared, this bill represents an American-style approach to copyright. It’s all locks and lawsuits,” said Safwan Javed, CMCC member and drummer for Wide Mouth Mason. “Rather than building a made-in-Canada proposal to help musicians get paid, the government has chosen to import American-style legislation that says the solution to the music industry’s problems is suing our fans,” continued Javed. “Suing fans won’t make it 1992 again. It’s a new world for the music business and this is an old approach.” The CMCC is unimpressed by government claims that this bill strikes the right balance between all the stakeholders. It notes that business groups, creators groups and consumer groups have all expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s continued attempts to pass a copyright bill that does not consider Canadian’s interests. “The question is, who gains from this bill?” explained Brendan Canning, co-founder of Broken Social Scene and a CMCC member. “It’s not musicians. Musicians don’t need lawsuits, we don’t need DRM protection. These aren’t the things that help us or our careers. What we do need is a government that is willing to sit down with all the stakeholders and craft a balanced copyright policy for Canada that will not repeat the mistakes made in the United States.”"
On Wednesday evening the Swedish parliament voted yes to a bill that allows FRA, National Defense Radio Agency, to monitor all phone traffic and e-mail traffic in the name of national security. Unlike the police, FRA can listen in on anyone for any purpose without a court order, bringing the level of personal integrity in Sweden to an all-time-low.
The bill was passed after it was debated in parliament, with 143 votes in favor, 138 opposed and 1 representative abstaining. Before the debate the situation was crystal clear. The four party government alliance would win the vote if all party members voted in favor of the bill, but with the seven seat majority the government currently holds, only four representatives had to vote against the party line in order for the bill to fail.
“While Industry Minister Jim Prentice has sought to project an air of unflappability around the outcry over the Canadian DMCA, it would appear that behind the scenes his staff is working overtime to eliminate any negative comments on Wikipedia. Prentice’s Wikipedia entry has been anonymously amended multiple times over the past week with regular attempts to remove any copyright criticism (as I post this there is no reference to copyright). The IP address of most of the anonymous edits trace back to Industry Canada. For example, on May 27th someone from Industry Canada twice deleted the following: Prentice has been responsible for developing new Canadian Intellectual Property laws akin to the DMCA in the United States, partly due to pressure from US-based advocacy groups. While he had promised to “put consumers first”, the draft legislation seems to cater strictly to industrial groups and Prentice has now suggested consumer interests may not be heard for years. Indeed, Prentice has refused to talk to a group of protesters who went to his office to express their concern.”—Michael Geist - Prentice’s Staff Scrubbing Copyright Controversy From Wikipedia Entry