Technology | Anorak - Part 32

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Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.

Liam Stacey gets 56 days prison for racist Fabrice Muamba tweets

LIAM Stacey has been jailed for 56 days for posting offensive tweets about Bolton Wanderers’ player Fabrice Muamba. Liam Stacey, 21, was a third-year biology student at Swansea University when he made tweets defined as racially aggravated harassment. At Swansea Magistrates Court, District Judge John Charles told him:

“It was racist abuse via a social networking site instigated as a result of a vile and abhorrent comment about a young footballer who was fighting for his life. At the moment not just the footballer’s family, not just the footballing world but the whole world were literally praying for his life, your comments aggravated this situation. I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you have done.”

Stacey cried.

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Posted: 27th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (19)

Using Ashleigh Hall to create a Facebook paedo panic

IN “I posed as a girl of 14 online. What followed will sicken you” Mark Williams-Thomas told Daily Mail readers that he was “shocked by what I encountered when I spent just five minutes on a social networking site posing as a 14-year-old girl”.


“Within 90 seconds, a middle-aged man wanted to perform a sex act in front of me.”

How do we know it was middle-aged man? Middle-aged men on Facebook have been known to pose as 14-year-old girls.

…I wasn’t surprised that a vulnerable teenager, Ashleigh Hall, was groomed on Facebook before being brutally raped and killed.

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Posted: 26th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment

Giles Walker’s ‘Last Supper’ – photos of a scrap yard Jesus

THIS is an art installation by Giles Walker entitled ‘Last Supper’ – a fully animated sculpture consisting of thirteen mechanical figures who interact around a table – at the Black Rat Projects gallery in Shoreditch, east London. What can it mean to replay the Last Supper from man-made scrap?

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Posted: 22nd, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Jon Ronson takes on @Jon_Ronson over wasabi dumplings

JON Ronson takes on @Jon_Ronson over wasabi dumplings. Jon Ronson has arranged to meet the creators of  twitter’s @Jon_Ronson. It’s a great discussion in which Ronson appears to be sat in a dock before a panel of magistrates who have a different agenda to his.

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Posted: 22nd, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

How Google Plus works – and other visons of hell

YOU e-card of the day will explain how social media works on Google Plus:

Posted: 21st, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

We are all Azhar Ahmed now – State control online will hurt us all

AZHAR Ahmed, 19, was in the dock at Dewsbury magistrates’ court today. Azhar Ahmed was there because he posted an odious badly written Facebook comment that allegedly breached the rules of the Communications Act 2003. He had been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. That was ridiculous.

Mr Ahmed, from Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, denied the new charge.

He will stand trial at Huddersfield magistrates’ court on July 3.

Outside court, an estimated 50 far-right protesters staged noisy demonstrations when he arrived and left.

On the same day, Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire were being repatriated.

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Posted: 20th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comments (4)

Fabrice Muamba tweeter Liam Stacey might go to prison

WHEN Liam Stacey wrote odious tweets about Fabrice Muamba, he was hounded on twitter. Stacey’s name was forwarded to the police. Stacey offered excuses and apologised on twitter. But that was not enough. Liam Stacey was arrested.

Stacey, from Pontypridd and studying at Swansea University, has stood in the dock before Swansea magistrates to answer for his tweets. He had spent the previous night in custody.

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Posted: 20th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Fabrice Muamba alleged troll: Liam Stacey caught by twitter’s police snitches

LIAM Stacey has been named as the 21-year-old Swansea University student arrested over allegedly “sick” comments about Bolton Wanderer’s football Fabrice Muamba. (You can read the comments by @LiamStacey9 here). Perhaps as part of the 2003 Extradition Act, the US can send Chet Walken over to the UK to answer for his allegedly racist tweets?

On the left you can see other tweets form that address in which the tweeter apologises and claims his account was hacked – Click to make bigger.

The Mail picks up internet news that Liam Stacey is a biology undergraduate, originally from Pontypridd, South Wales.

He “posted tweets saying the remarks were not his and insisting he was not a racist. He claimed his account had been hacked and he hadn’t had access to his phone at the time the remarks were made.”

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Posted: 19th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment (1)

UPDATE: Fabrice Muamba twitter hunt – Liam Stacey arrested?

FOLLOWING comments made about Fabrice Muamba on twitter, South Wales Police have arrested a 21-year-old man. When Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba stopped breathing during his side’s FA Cup tie against Spurs, nasty tweets were made on the blog @liamstacey9. That twitter page has been shut down. Apparently, so too has a Facebook pave belonging to a man billed as “Liam Stacey”.

Muamba, 23, is in a critical condition at the London Chest Hospital.

You can read the comments here.

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Posted: 18th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (21)

Fabrice Muamba and the twitter hunt for @LiamStacey9

FABRICE Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers player who collapsed during his side’s FA Cup match with Spurs, is stable. Muamba has a son named Joshua and is engaged to Shauna. Fabrice Muamba is 23.

On twitter the hashtag #prayformuamba is showing that people can come together.

Not everyone is generous and humane. @liamstacey9 – now shut down – went against the grain. Tweets from that address contained the hashtag #muambasdead, a “LOL” and the word “coon”.

A twitter hunt is underway for Liam Stacey. In the US a Chet Walken tweeting from @WalkenG4OP revels in his bigotry:

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Posted: 17th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comments (7)

New iPad not greeted by rioting mobs – is this the start of the end of apple?

SOMETHING really rather strange has happened over at Apple. They’ve released a new product and yet we have no reports of stampeding crowds or rioting mobs screaming into the stores to get their hands on one.

Indeed, it’s rather the opposite:

Braying hordes of fanbois hungry for new iPads failed to turn up outside Blighty’s Apple stores today despite months of rumour, hype and speculation. Although slab shoppers were nonchalant in London, they were positively wet in Scotland. A queue of hundreds swiftly ebbed away outside the fruity tech titan’s Regent Street outlet, allowing at least one punter who rocked up at 9am to grab the improved fondleslab five minutes later.

The line was much more muted than previous iPad launches during which unlucky fans were turned away empty-handed.

A queue that only lasts an hour after the doors have opened just isn’t what we’ve come to expect from an Apple launch.

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Posted: 16th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

The iPad 3 is an ‘I Was There’ moment – the shoppers in photos

THE iPad 3 going on sale has become an I Was There Moment. To help you gadget and apple fans recall the glory of shopping for a computer, we’ve taken picures of you in queues outside apple stores, insides apple stores and emerging from apple stores grinning like a Cheshire Cat with a new litter tray…


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Lukas from Germany is the first to get the new iPad at the Apple store in a shopping mall in Oberhausen, western Germany, Friday, March 16, 2012. Apart from a few countries, there is an internationally coordinated simultaneous release of the iPad. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)



Posted: 16th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

Murder gets its own twitter feed

TWITTER twatter of the day is New Orleans murder @NOLAMurderMap – the feed that tweets murders in New Orleans – possibly not yet in real time:

New Orleans murder @NOLAMurderMap

Created, managed by Ryan Smith (@rsmithtp) of The Times-Picayune. View every murder in 2012 on an interactive map:

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Posted: 16th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Face of The Day: Zohaib Ali and the iPad 3 landfill hunters

FACE of The Day:  The first person in the queue for the new iPad 3, is  Zohaib Ali, from Uxbridge, who has queued since 11am on Saturday March 10. He sits outside the Apple Store on Regent Street in London.

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Posted: 15th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (4)

The Sun spot Active Region 1429 – incredible photo

THIS is a photograph of the Sun spot Active Region 1429 as seen by Alan Friedman.

Discover explains:

Alan uses an Hα filter, which cuts out almost all the light from the Sun except for a narrow slice of color emitted by warm hydrogen. This reduces the glare hugely, and reveals delicate structures in the Sun’s plasma. He then inverts the image, so bright things appear dark, and vice-versa. That’s an old astronomer’s trick that makes fainter things easier to see. He also used a false color palette to make it appear reddish. That’s actually a good idea, since the color of light emitted by the hydrogen is at 6563 Angstroms, right in the middle of the red part of the spectrum!

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Posted: 15th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (6)

10 Pi Day-themed items

HAPPY Pi Day!  It’s March 14 – 4.14. How can you celebrate? Why, with Pi merchandise.  It’s also Albert Einstein’s Birthday. Here’s the the hairy Pi:


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Posted: 14th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

iPhone 4S owner sues Apple for false advertising over too-intelligent Siri

IS the Apple iPhone 4S a dud? Siri is the “intelligent assistant”, there to command with the power of your voice. Frank M. Fazio, of New Yorker, says it’s rubbish. So bad is it that he’s suing Apple for false advertising. He doe snot only want his money back. He wants to make a point. It is – as fee-hungry lawyers would like it to be – a matter of principle.

Mr Fazio’s lawsuits claim the iPhone 4s Siri is not like it promises to be in the telly adverts. Fazio says the ads are “fundamentally and designedly false and misleading”.

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Posted: 13th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Tramps are now made useful by being turned into WiFi hotspots

TRAMPS. They’ve got an awful life. When the weather’s bad, they feel it most. The die in doorways and have septic extremities. And to think, they’ve got the paucity to actually ask you for money while you’re throwing a sandwich in the bin because it was a ‘bit dry’.

Either way, vagrants are being put to good use as a New York ad agency has decided to turn them into walking WiFi aerials.

Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty (BBH) handed out free MiFi gadgets to the panhandlers along with t-shirts sporting their names alongside the words “I’m a 4G hotspot”. The hobos will be bothering people with their excellent connective properties at hipsterfest, SXSW.

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Posted: 13th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment

How the QWERTY Effect alters the words we type

WHY do we choose to use certain words over other when we type?:

“We know how a word is spoken can affect its meaning. So can how it’s typed,” said cognitive scientist Kyle Jasmin of the University of College London, co-author of a study about the so-called “QWERTY effect” in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. “As we filter language, hundreds or thousands of words, through our fingers, we seem to be connecting the meanings of the words with the physical way they’re typed on the keyboard.” The effect may arise from the fact that letter combinations that fall on the right side of the keyboard tend to be easier to type than those on the left. “If it’s easy, it tends to lend a positive meaning. If it’s harder, it can go the other way,” Jasmin said.

Change the keyboard and improve your English.

Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Tumblr site of the day – Batman Running Away From Sh*t

BATMAN Running Away From Shit is our Tumblr site of the day:


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Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Daily Express readers live 20 year longer (and so do their mice)

IN “PILL TO EXTEND LIFE BY 20 YEARS”, the Daily Express has news of a life-extending “gene“. Given the title’s demographic, that pill might soon be administered free at the point to sale to all Express readers.

Lucy Johnston takes up the story:

A GENE that could hold the key to extending life by up to two decades has been identified.


Scientists hope the discovery will lead to the creation of a pill to help older people stay fitter, healthier and live longer – a breakthrough akin to finding “the fountain of youth”.


The gene is found in all mammals and is known to protect against age-related cell damage. Scientists manipulated the gene, SIRT6, in laboratory mice and found it extended their lifespan by up to 15 per cent.

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Posted: 11th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2)

Origami: Art + Mathematics – Between The Folds

ORIGAMI is impressive, isn’t it. Hell, a swan made from towel sat on a bed aboard a Nile cruise junk is impressive. A paper hat is impressive. The stuff David Huffman “UCSC computer scientist and a pioneer of mathematical origami” produced is incredible. You can see his work at the “Origami: Art + Mathematics,” an exhibit at UC Santa Cruz from April 8, at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College.

“This type of origami is not your father’s origami. This is computational origami, and it will blow your mind,” said Linda Pope, director and curator of the Smith Gallery.

Here’s a taster:


Posted: 8th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Can Propranolol cure racism?

CAN Propranolol, a beta blocker, prevents/ cure racism? In tests, those given the drug scored lower when tested for “implicit” racist prejudices and fears. The Telegraph reports:

Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear.

Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. The drug is also used to treat anxiety and panic.

Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”

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Posted: 8th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

The Moon sank the Titanic (global warming too)

ACCORDING to the boffins – Donald Olson and Russell Doescher – of the Texas State University-San Marcos, the moon caused the Titanic to sink. The report in Sky & Telescopestates:

One question, however, has often been overlooked: Where did the killer iceberg come from, and could the moon have helped set the stage for disaster?

Says Olson:

“Of course, the ultimate cause of the accident was that the ship struck an iceberg. The Titanic failed to slow down, even after having received several wireless messages warning of ice ahead. They went full speed into a region with icebergs—that’s really what sank the ship, but the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic.”

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Posted: 7th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2)

Mobile trade show seduces customers with Russian escorts

WERE you one of the executives offered an escort at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by CBOSS? The incentive for doing business was “champagne, caviar and a beautiful girl”.

CBOSS, a Russian telecoms operator offered visitors a “romantic dinner” with one of the women during which they could conduct a “deep market inspection [of] telecommunications business trends”.

To raise its profile, CBOSS hosted a big stand festooned with dancing girls who perform on the hour.

The aim, of course, is to rise CBOSS’s profile.

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Posted: 6th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment