Saturday, February 20, 2010

Foxconn tries one too many times to be a douche

VIA Gizmodo

Ok so Foxconn has been getting into all kinda fun with the press and their workers. They were caught on camera and by police attempting to kidnap a reporter. (The reporter was later told by police that Foxconn had special status in the area and probably wouldn't be harmed by the legal system. If beating and torturing an employee to the point of suicide isn't enough what is? How about having your security block your employee's rides while you tell your employee's that their ride was stopped by the military. That's what happened in Foxconn's Mexican production facility. I'm sure the Supervisor was feeling pretty smug until the workers set the factory on fire.


Borderlands DLC #3 features ridiculous new weapons

Borderlands DLC #3 features ridiculous new weapons: VIA Destuctoid

Borderlands DLC #3 features ridiculous new weapons screenshot

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx'

So... points worth hearing...

New level of weapon (above orange)
Higher level cap
Boss with an even-higher-than-you level cap
More Skill points
New vehicles
New enemies
Nuff said....

It's Borderlands! I kinda just buy it on reflex at this point. (Which is something I don't usually do; it's just that good.)

Info on Stem Cell legislation.

Up until the Clinton administration, each time human embryo experimentation had come up, it was not allowed.  While Clinton was in office, the Republicans held the Senate and because of their pro-life agenda, were in opposition to the statements of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC).    The bioethics committee found that "scientists should be able to use donated human embryos for biomedical research."  Basically what happened here was that the Republicans were fighting the Democrats.  The Republicans slipped in legislation regarding human embryo experimentation by adding them into stop-gap spending bills.  The NBAC  report also recommended the use of federal funds and the changing of three laws to permit those funds to be used for the stem-cell research that we have today.
      The Department of Health and Human Services decided on its own that stem cells were not governed by the Code of Federal Regulations because they were not embryos themselves, conveniently ignoring the fact that stem-cells are extracted from embryos.  This sparked litigation in the Fourth circuit district court. The court (at the time rendered the hearing moot because no one had standing to bring a suit ) This was appealed with a Writ of Certiorari to which the Supreme Court has yet to respond;  [Mary Doe and the National Association for the Advancement of Preborn Children and Petitioners vs. Tommy G. Thompson Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Department of Health and Human Research, Dr. Harold Varmus in his official capacity as director of National Institutes of Health and National Institutes of Health and Respondents.] This Writ is interesting in that if circumvents the appellate court for the district. Under the doctrine of an Instant Case.  In this petition, they ask the supreme court to review whether or not the District Court erred in dismissing because the case was moot.  They stopped trying the case because  none of the people had interest in the case and so it was rendered moot. 
      The plaintiffs argue that moot does not apply, because in cases involving the government, you have to prove that "prior administration policy could not be reasonably expected to apply in the future."  [Adarand Constructors Incorporated vs. Slater 588 US 222].  In order for moot to apply, the heavy burden of persuading the court to challenge conduct lies with the party asserting mootness.  [supra].  The problem with this argument, however, is that future damages cannot occur to a stem-cell. If it is dead it can't sue. It isn't really related to anyone when it is given to science so no one has standing to sue on it's behalf. The district court found (rightfully in my opinion) agencies in the lawsuit do not have standing to sue. 
       Furthermore, if unborn fetuses are protected by the constitution, how can damages to embryos be proven  when the embryos would have died, anyway?  The "but for:" argument for suing fails here.  If the embryos were not used for stem-cell research, there was a high probability that they would have simply been disposed of, but for the stem-cell research, would the embryos have died?  Probably.  There is a slight chance that one of the embryos could have been adopted, by an infertile mother who could afford to adopt,wanted in vitro versus a live birth, had the money to pay for it, was successfully implanted, carried the child to full term, had a child that was fully developed, and been born as a person.  Assuming 5-10 eggs harvested for in vitro per procedure that's 10-20 million eggs to 2 million people (that being a very very generous estimate based on assuming that 80 percent of people involved in these steps move onto the next stage.I.E. 80 percent of the 6.1 million infertile women want to have children or are of childbearing age and want to adopt.  80 percent of those can qualify for adoption and so on...) Actual live birth rates for non-donated eggs peak at about 24 percent  for under 35 years old mothers []  that means that each egg has a 1-5 to 1-10 chance of survival.  That's a 80-90 percent mortality rate for ANY egg harvested.  This is discounting miscarriages. Chances are the embryo was going to die.  The entire argument put forth here is  ignoring the fact that the only funded research was on embryos donated for science.  The entire pool of which was going to be a component of  scientific experiments. 
        But this is all conjecture anyway.  An embryo does not have standing to sue according to Roe V Wade  The supreme court has defined person as not being applicable to unborn fetuses or embryos. [Roe Vs Wade 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. CT 705, 35 L.ED.2d147 (1973)]. Thus giving an embryo standing to sue would require overturning that decision. The judge in the previous case thought the same thing "[Philosophical and religious considerations aside, the Supreme Court has made it clear that the word "person as used in the Fourteenth amendment does not include the unborn." Supra.  The plaintiffs argue that Roe vs. Wade does not apply, because these embryos exist independent of the mother and do not require the mother to survive this may be true but if embryos are a person a legal obligation as to their care is created. Unless the government is going to pay for their care this would place an unfair burden on adopting patents.  Ultimately, the appeal was successful in that it was not proven that the government would not institute this in the future, which they did with Executive Order 13435.
    In Mary Scott Doe vs. Kathleen Sebelius, the federal courts found that "for the purposes of a standing analysis, to satisfy the causation element, the plaintiff must show that the suffered injury is fairly traceable to the defendant and not the result of the independent acts of a third party who is not a party in the case.  [USCA constitution article 3 section 2].  They also found that the plaintiff must demonstrate that harm will be remedied if the court grants the relief sought. [supra]  This case was a repeat of Doe vs. Obama, involving the same parties and same claims in both cases.  The only differences being that Nightlight Christian Adoption has not requested to be removed from this case as it did in Doe vs. Obama. 
    I think that in cases of donated embryos that federal funding should be allowed for research that develops stem cell knowledge. Stem cells are such a useful and promising discovery that not allowing their research would would retard the growth of humanity. Opponents of stem cell research may say that adult stem cells should be used but adult stem cells are limited in their ability to create any type of cell and in what they can teach us about the cellular ageing process. Ronald m Green (
member of the National Institutes of Health's Human Embryo Research Panel the panel that convinced president Bush to allow the research to take place on existing stem cell lines.) had this to say about the medical use of stem cells " Research showed that the resulting cell lines produce the enzyme Telomerase, which resets the cells' chromosomal clocks and prevents the timed death suffered by most differentiated cells. This resetting allows the cells to be cultured indefinitely during repeated cell divisions (or passages). " (Ronald M. Green "The stem cell debate" ) Telomerase is the chemical in cells that prevents their natural death sequence form occuring. (specifically it is a part of dna) When levels of Telomerase are low cell death begins. It also limits the number of times a cell can divide.  Natural death, disease, and aging could eventually be overcome by research into telomerase and other similar chemicals and interactions only laid bare in embryonic stem cells. []  We will never find out though if the research is not allowed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kitase: FFVII Remake Only Possible If It Can Be Done In A Year [Final Fantasy VII]

Final Fantasy XIII comes out March 9th but all I really want is a real remake of VII. Yoshinori Kitase seems to think that they could only do it if it could be finished in a year. Seems like square has the means to make this happen. Honestly the game holds up pretty well to time. The character models in the overworld are still awful but the backgrounds and battle models still look pretty good considering the game is over ten years old...
Final Fantasy XIII 's Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase - Interview
[via Kotaku via TechDigest via Connected Consoles]

What you can do about your privacy.

One word two parts; opt-out.  My last post was about privacy (specifically Facebook) but it seemed a little whiney to me so I thought I'd write a follow up.  Privacy is not entirely out of our hands it just takes a little effort.  One of my main concerns was tracking cookies. Lots of advertising sites put cookies that monitor your online behavior and report back whenever you stumble onto another site that uses the same advertising company.  What can you do about it? Well you could disable cookies alltogether.  That would prevent you from using a lot of sites that you like though. Any site with login is generally broken when you don't accept cookies. You could try disabling third party cookies (cookies from sites that provide services to the site you're on like ads and video hosting) but this breaks many webmail and media rich sites.  The final solution, and the best in my opinion, because it doesn't degrade the internet experience in the slightest is to opt out of the advertisers programs. This link will opt you out from a number of data collection "services".  This puts an anonymous cookie on your machine that tells advertisers not to follow you around. It's won't protect you from full on malicious sites and you'll still see ads though they won't have creepy voyeuristic tendencies...  You have to keep the cookie on your machine for it to work but there's a handy plugin for firefox users that will restore the special opt-out cookies if they get deleted by accident.  Why would advertisers do this you ask? Isn't userdata their lifeblood?  Simple, if they don't the FTC may decide to intervene.  Right now the advertisers have to play by the rules or uncle sam is going to put the squeeze on them.  So take advantage of this moment of weakness in corporate control and make a habit of looking for opt-out options on every site you visit so we all can take back our data.