links for 2009-01-28

  • The UK’s Intellectual Property minister David Lammy has said the government will not force internet service providers to pursue file sharers.

    There had been mounting speculation about government legislation on the issue as the music industry steps up its fight against the pirates.

    Other countries, such as France, have supported tough action on file-sharers, who cost the industry millions.

    But Mr Lammy said legislation would be too complex.

    (tags: internet law isp government piracy)

  • While church numbers have been falling for years, these days the trend is for spirituality with no links to organised religion. Now the Church is on a mission to convert the so-called spiritual-but-not-religious, reports Jolyon Jenkins.

    At the Mind Body Spirit Fair, held in Telford last autumn, you could consult a clairvoyant, purchase psychic healing, or stock up on healing crystals. You could also, if you wanted, talk to Mark Berry.

    Mark is a Christian missionary – although he doesn’t like the word much – to Telford, sent there by the Church of England and the Church Mission Society, because Telford has one of the lowest church-going populations in Britain.

    (tags: religion spirituality missionary telford)

  • The number of men having breast reduction operations in the UK is rising dramatically, but is this really the result of the media spotlighting the physical flaws of male celebrities?

    (tags: health media uk moobs dadderies)

  • Wireless access points could be used by hi-tech criminals to spread viruses and worms, warn US researchers.

    Security holes and the popularity of the devices in cities makes them ideal for spreading malware, they found.

    Using modelling methods from real diseases the team showed how a worm could gradually infect all access points in urban areas.

    (tags: technology wi-fi news security)

  • Having followed the cash-for-influence scandal over the past couple of days, I find myself hoping that we’ll now see House of Lords reform move back up the political agenda. Once again we’re reminded of just how unaccountable the Lords are, especially given the fact that, as was famously the case with Jeffrey Archer, the accused Lords will in all likelihood keep their titles even if they are found to have broken the law.

    In my own view this scandal demonstrates the need for a fully elected and accountable second chamber (after all, MPs are subject far stricter rules than Lords), and at the very least it shows that previous reform hasn’t gone far enough.

    (tags: scandal government lords houseoflords reform)

  • Yesterday as I was leaving the DLD Conference in Munich, Germany someone walked up to me and quite deliberately spat in my face. Before I even understood what was happening, he veered off into the crowd, just another dark head in a dark suit. People around me stared, then looked away and continued their conversation.

    (tags: technology blog security techcrunch arseholes arrington)

  • This is a genuine letter of complaint sent to Sir Richard Branson. We know that because we checked with Virgin. Polly in the press office confirmed that Branson phoned the man back because “he always likes to hear feedback”.

    But she wouldn’t confirm rumours that the Virgin boss thought this was the funniest letter of complaint he’d ever received.

    (tags: virgin humor airlines food letter complaint)

  • The administration area of a Web application is a favorite target of hackers and thus particularly well protected. The same goes for WordPress: when creating a blog, the system creates an administrative user with a perfectly secure password and blocks public access to the settings area with a log-in page. This is the cornerstone of its protection. Let’s dig deeper!

    (tags: wordpress security tips tutorial admin tutorials wp)

  • A top doctor has admitted her part in hoodwinking a leading medical journal after inventing a medical condition called “cello scrotum”.

    Elaine Murphy – now Baroness Murphy – dreamt up the painful complaint in the 1970s, sending a report to the British Medical Journal.

    (tags: medicine cello scrotum celloscrotum hoax)

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