It’s Just a Plant is an illustrated picture book about marijuana for the younger members of society. The plot is fairly simple: Jackie catches her folks smoking a joint one evening, and then her mother takes her on a trip the next day to learn more about marijuana.
Egyptians began voting today in the first election since toppling former President, Hosni Mubarak in February. These elections are the first of a programme of elections that will last until March 2012, and although only a tiny proportion of the population has internet access, Google is continuing to do its bit for democracy and hoping to inspire Egyptians to vote.
A far right political group, the National Rebirth of Poland party, came under fire from gay rights activists in Poland on Wednesday. They’d gotten word about a little-known judgement that had been passed allowing the political group the use of a ridiculous logo.
Samsung has had a rather clever dig at the iPhone with its Galaxy S2 smartphone. Having recently surpassed Apple in total worldwide smartphone shipments, the Samsung brand clearly has its eyes firmly set on furthering its handle on the US smartphone market. Spicy.
Microsoft thinks the techies at Amazon and Google will find free bacon hard to resist. And so, they’ve allowed one of their ad agencies, Wexley School for Girls, to set up a food cart outside Amazon.com’s headquarters, before moving to a spot near Google’s offices. There, workers were encouraged to eat free bacon with toppings like spray-on cheese.
Google seems to be dabbling in the censorship game too, these days. They’ve added sites like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, and 4Shared to their “blacklist”, which doesn’t prevent the pages from showing up if searched for, but does prevents the names of sites appearing in their Instant and Autocomplete services.
Yesterday, the ANC decided it would threaten its members who voted with their consciences against the passing of the Protection of State Information Bill in Parliament on Tuesday. Luckily and unluckily, the minutes of proceedings for the vote have to be released into the public domain showing exactly who voted for what.
As part of it’s “off-season spring cleaning,” Google today announced the end of a handful of services, including Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Google Knol. The thinking behind the initiative is to free up resources for Google+ and other higher-priority projects. While some of the shut-downs make sense, others are a little more unexpected.
This is why you always double check if you have clicked “reply”, and not “reply to all”, when sending an email, especially when it concerns your annoyance about something. The email in question has to do with repairs being made to a car at a Johannesburg dealership, and, well, it’s rather self-explanatory. Click through to cringe.
He also called them “absolutely useless”, and he might have a point too. The Duke of Edinburgh, at age 90, rightfully points out that wind farms are heavily reliant on subsidies, and that those who claim they’re one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy believed in “fairy tales”.
Pakistan’s telecoms watchdog, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, has decided that mobile phone operators in that country must block all text messages using offensive words. The list contains over 1 600 words and phrases including, “flogging the dolphin”. Some linguistic purists are expected to be delighted by the move that comes into force today, while George Orwell turns in his grave.
Happy birthday Facebook wall posts just got interesting. It probably won’t be long before one starts scrolling through those birthday wall posts to see who has sent a greeting card with a little bit of a surprise attached. Tech-savvy grannies everywhere will be rejoicing.
The American Senate has officially begun holding hearings on the the ‘Internet Blacklist Bill,’ also known as the “PROTECT IP Act” or the “Stop Online Piracy Act.” It is potentially the most harmful bit of Internet censorship legislation to date, and you should know what’s going to happen if it passes.
Nonhle Thema lost the plot again last night on Twitter. She tried to have another catfight with Bonang Matheba because Bonang had mentioned Nonhle’s name in an interview. But Nonhle ended up battling herself instead. It could also be because Bonang has more Twitter followers than Nonhle, and that Nonhle was jealous over Bonang’s new True Love cover shot.
Indonesians and Malaysians don’t like each other very much. In fact, they dislike each other so much that “Hate Malaysia” and “Hate Indonesia” were even trending topics on Twitter last year after Indonesia lost a football game to their counterparts, that involved laser pointers. Now Indonesian students are being paid to support their archenemies in the Southeast Asia Games.
As reported in morning spice earlier today, James Murdoch claimed yesterday that two of his former senior News of the World executives had failed to tell him the truth about the scale of phone hacking at the News of the World, and that they had misled parliament. They’ve both since issued statements and called his new evidence “disingenuous at best”.
Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, has collaborated with an Afropop group, ironically called the Born Free Crew, to release a single that is getting some airplay on national television and radio stations. Keeping things in the family, the album’s executive producer is Mugabe’s Minister of Information, and of course, it’s about colonialism.
Other than the obvious benefits of the various social networks out there; networking, re-connecting and event-planning, amongst other things, recently they have become a serious law-enforcement tool. In the most recent case, New Jersey police used Facebook to track down suspects in a vicious assault case involving a machete wielding madman.
There have been murders and rapes associated with Facebook, but this is likely to be the first house burning as a result of someone defriending someone else on the social networking website. Jennifer Christine Harris decided it was a good idea to burn down Nikki Rasmussen’s house while Nikki and her husband, Jim, were in their beds sleeping.
One thing the Murdochs probably didn’t do last night, is sleep particularly well – James, especially. Documents released by the parliamentary committee investigating illegal voicemail hacking at News International reveal compelling evidence that James has been lying since at least 2008. Either that, or he is just a really shoddy businessman. Maybe both.
China is renowned for its seemingly ridiculous stance on freedom of speech and the proliferation of unauthorised news – a stance which has seen prominent members of society detained without legitimate explanation and popular social networks such as Facebook banned. Now, it seems, actions like that were only the beginning.
Samsung Africa has unveiled a unique initiative they are calling the Samsung Internet Schools Programme. The initial programme will span five African countries: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. In time it will branch out into other African countries too. The school is a mobile, solar-powered, independent classroom housed in a container.
Rupert Murdoch will shortly face shareholders in the News Corporation annual general meeting that’s taking place in Los Angeles today. It should prove riveting as British lawmaker Tom Watson plans to use the event to reveal new details of what he claims are hidden surveillance practices by company employees.
YouTube is launching something they’re calling the Merch Store. From it, the online video giant will sell all kinds of music paraphernalia like band merchandise, event tickets, digital music downloads, and even band meet-ups.
In preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro has established a huge state-of-the-art surveillance space, boasting 80 interchangeable digital panels, 450 cameras, 80 square metres of surveillance screen space, and an awesome Batcave-esque name: the Control Room. I don’t know how they paid for it either.
Just before lunchtime, a rumour began to do the rounds, courtesy of Sky News, that credit ratings agency Fitch was going to bring more bad news for Britain’s banks. A credit rating downgrade of major banks was possible later in the day. Sky changed their tune and withdrew the statement on TV, but the blog post remained, and now the downgrade has happened.
There is a shareholder advisory campaign calling for the removal of Rupert Murdoch, his two sons, James and Lachlan, and 10 other directors from the board of directors at the next NewsCorp shareholder meeting on 21 October. The radical shakeup would see 13 of the company’s 15 directors removed after the shocking events that took place at NewsCorp.
Millions of BlackBerry users from all over Europe, Asia and Africa have been without online services such as email and BlackBerry Messenger for the last few hours. A spokesperson for RIM has not yet passed comment, but we do know a major fault at the RIM data centre in Slough is responsible.
Dr Rowan Williams, otherwise known as the Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered what some of his aides are calling the “sermon of his career” when he addressed more than 15 000 Anglicans during his controversial visit to Zimbabwe yesterday. He told them that Mugabe’s tyrannical rule was no better than the colonial rule it had replaced.
It looks like the tides that swept up the Occupy Wall Street protest campaign – ongoing after three weeks – have broken national boundaries; ‘Operation Ubuntu’ has been set up to launch a simultaneous protests on the 15th of October in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Grahamstown, as part of the global Occupy Revolution campaign.