It's OK, I wouldn't remember me either.

Google Hot Trends can be a thoroughly depressing page. Unfortunately, Google insist on only having the Hot Trends for the USA, which is doubly depressing as there is no comparison with other countries. Celebrities, sport and stupidity seem to be its main staple. Admittedly, this only shows sudden bursts of interest outside of the normal fare of sex and money, health and celebrities, sport and stupidity. Today's menu includes multiple helpings of golf; a game designed to dislocate various joints in the body when a stroll in the park would be more pleasurable.

The only thing that caught my eye today was "it’s okay. i wouldn’t remember me either." The way the results are organised means it is impossible to tell what people were actually searching for. No, one doesn't have to be a psychic as Google has the data of what these explorers actually clicked.

Not really rich in keywords, but two entries stood out. One was a wannabe starlet MySpace profile - it's OK (or okay), you can click it and be her friend. The other was a line from American Beauty, which I then figured is where everybody else got the quote from.

For Hollywood, American Beauty was a good film. Kevin Spacey was perfect as the seemingly mild-mannered suburban drone who was thrown off the up-escalator and realised that his life really sucked. However, the moral of the film must be that anybody who bucks the system has to pay a price. They just couldn't have Lester Burnham ride off in his 1970 Pontiac Firebird waving one finger at his wife - there are probably far too many Lesters who'd take the cue. Instead, he has to suffer for his short spell of freedom. In the end, nobody really learns anything as tragedy scythes the film to a close. The suburbs may be rotten but a fresh lick of paint should suffice to hide all the cracks.

Interview with Forbidden Science Creator: Do Clones Have More Fun?

Forbidden Science is a sexy, late-night series somewhat like a low budget mashup of Flash Gordon campiness and contemporary posthuman scifi. Julia, the clone of a dead woman, searches for her place in a world where you can inherit somebody's identity and memories, but not their property. A sex droid named Max is abused by his demanding owner. And Bethany, a new hire at mysterious clone and android development company 4Ever Innovations, is more than a little disturbed by some her company's secret projects. Meanwhile, chief geek Penny keeps trying to invent the ultimate sexbot (erm... what's the point when there are flesh-and-blood clones?)

This is an interview with Doug Brode, creator of Forbidden Science, currently showing on Cinemax.

Would You Clone A Baby?

The idea of human cloning never seems very far from the news. The reality of cloning a baby is already here, with only a little nudge needed to make the practice 'acceptable'.

Fertility expert Panayiotis Zavos, founder of the Zavos Organization in Lexington, Kentucky, said to The Independent that "the cloned child is coming... There is absolutely no way that it will not happen." You can even watch the video of Zavos creating the embryos before injecting them into the wombs of women wanting cloned babies.

Transferring cloned human embryos into a womb is currently illegal in many countries, such as the UK and USA, but not in many other countries. Italian Severino Antinori told Oggi magazine that there are already three living human clones, all aged nine years old and living in Eastern Europe. The world is thus split on whether human cloning should go ahead or not. However, why would anybody want to clone a human?

The media loves to spread false futures. A picture of a girl killed in a car crash with the headline "The little girl who could 'live' again" spread the myth that a human clone is a perfect copy of a lost child. the loss of a child is tragic, but that unique individual human being has gone for ever. The motivations for cloning can actually be quite bizarre. For example, there are enquiries from couples who are infertile to clone the person with the fertility problem so that the new copy can possibly be fertile and therefore have children naturally. This latter logic is twisted and ironic in the extreme. It is also a very long wait to be legally able to procreate with the clone.

Cloning a dead child is not going to bring that child back. Yes, they may be genetically identical but we cannot, as yet, duplicate a person's mind so that the clone is really the same person. As soon as an embryo is created its development is subject to environmental influences, from the chemicals ingested by the mother to the experiences of childhood and life itself. The clone of a child may look the same but to live with the attitude that it is 'my dead baby come back to life' is to live with a major delusion that could be psychologically harmful to both the parents and the child.

My Life is Meaningless Says Shia LaBeouf

This is a refreshingly candid point of view from Shia LaBeouf, 22-year old star of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." he has money, he has fame, his parents love him, but deep inside is a little voice that tells him it's all a fluke.

"Most actors on most days don’t think they’re worthy. I have no idea where this insecurity comes from, but it’s a God-sized hole. If I knew, I’d fill it, and I’d be on my way." Well, it's obvious why actors are insecure - they crave recognition but sadly they get it by being someone else. Insecurity is an actor's number one best buddy; after all, people watch you for being someone you're not. Don't give up the day job as you'll miss the money, but just do something else on the side, then fans will love you for yourself. Jeez, that was hard!

“Actors are dependent on being validated by other people’s opinions. I don’t understand what it is I do that people want. [...] I don’t know what I’m doing. To my mind, talent doesn’t really exist. Talent is like a card player’s luck. It is motivation, ambition, and luck. I think acting is a con game.”

Hey, I like this guy! Who is he?

Chomsky on Obama's Rhetoric on Israel and the Middle East

Quoting the Israeli journalist Amira Hass, a leading specialist on Gaza: "The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel's military superiority."

One aspect of the destruction of Gaza that is never reported is the naval blockade which has been driving back Palestinian fishermen since 2000. Not unrelated is the discovery of a rich source of natural gas in the same waters, which Israel is buying from British Gas and zero going to the supposedly Palestinian-controlled Gaza strip. The lack of media attention to this probably makes it of primary importance as, once again, we see politics as a method of obfuscating a real war over natural resources.

As always, Chomsky is good at highlighting the political newspeak and repeatedly points out that behind every initiative is a list of conditions that make them all largely worthless. Israel, backed by the United States, will do whatever it takes to avoid a Palestinian state. Chomsky picks through Obama's Cairo speech and finds numerous restatements of past US positions. All UN resolutions against Israel will be ignored as America pretends it is being an 'honest broker' whilst funding one side.

On nuclear weapons Obama again called for nations to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty whilst failing to mention that Israel is not a signatory to the NPT. In contrast, Iran should be allowed "access" to nuclear technology, meaning access from the outside rather than running its own research and development. The "threat" Iran poses is not of a suicidal first strike against Israel but as a deterrent against further Israeli expansion. The double standards go on and, I suspect, the decades-long deadlock now serves as the pretext for the illusional war on terror, which in itself is really yet another war to control natural resources.

You can read the full Chomsky article here.

Hank Paulson: American Idol or Public Enemy?

AlterNet rarely pulls its punches and in this case the vitriol is aimed squarely at Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs director and professional conman. What sparked this venom was a eulogy to Hank in the Wall Street Journal by one Evan Newmark, who claims "The Wall Street crisis is over." and that Hank Paulson is a "National Hero". What the WSJ fails to mention is that Newmark is also a former Goldman Sucks managing director.

"Exactly what part of Paulson's record is heroic, Evan? The part where he called up SEC director William Donaldson in 2004 and quietly arranged to get the state to drop capital requirements for the country's top five investment banks? You remember that business, right, Evan? [...] Bear Stearns in just a few years had a debt-to-equity ration of 33-1! Lehman's went to 32-1. By an amazing coincidence, both of these companies exploded just a few years after that meeting, and all of the rest of us, Evan, ended up footing the bill, thanks to a state-sponsored rescue of Bear and a much larger massive bailout of Wall Street in general, necessitated in large part by the damage caused by the chaos surrounding Lehman's collapse." The article goes on to list numerous screw-ups that Paulson then had to cover up with public money. Disgraceful, but I'm certain he has no shame as it is all just business to destroy what little democracy is left in the USA.

I guess the financial criminals in the USA will never be tried or convicted. The media likes to chew on a few small fish to draw the venom from a stung public without ever going after the real targets. As everyone along the chain of incompetence gets paid there is nobody left to push for some justice - all the public is left with is direct action, but I guess American Idol is more important.

Need a Job? Join the Shady Lady Ranch as a Male Entertainer

Tired of applying for boring jobs with little satisfaction save for a pay cheque? Broaden your horizons and you too could become a male sex worker! Yes, the Shady Lady Ranch in Nevada's Nye County is accepting male applicants to entertain their female customers. Here's the advert:

The Shady Lady Ranch is Looking for a few good men.

The Shady Lady Ranch will start interviewing Men to entertain women.
We will be looking for men in their early thirty's to mid fifty's.
Have a Good Work Ethic.
Must be Service Oriented.
Have a Willingness to Please.
Have a Positive Attitude.
If you think you have what it takes.
Please send pictures to shadyladyranch
No nudes.
We need to see your body type, shorts no shirts as well as suit or clubbing ware (Dress to impress.)

Some other club owners have poured cold water on the idea, saying that women in general want more than a 'quickie' and therefore could be staring at $500 for a minimum of 2 hours of entertainment up to $2,000 for an all night romp. I'm not sure what the cut is for the male sex worker!

George Flint, spokesman for the Nevada Brothel Association, also points out that there are legal problems with hiring men in that "All of the Nevada Administrative Code is built on the female anatomy." I'll leave it to you to find out the ins and outs of the business.

Hackers Arrested in China After Gaming Feud Causes Major Outage

Four individuals have been arrested in China after an alleged denial-of-service "war" between underground gaming services spun out of control, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The suspects allegedly launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the servers of DNSPod, a Chinese DNS provider and domain registrar. This was motivated by fierce competition between unauthorized online gaming service providers, which lure gamers from official providers with less limited and free access. In order to sabotage "competitors," the suspects began an attack against DNSPod, which provides access to some of those unauthorized gaming sites. Unfortunately DNSPod servers are also used by Baofeng, a very popular video streaming service. As video requests were denied they were passed on to higher level servers causing a chain reaction as these servers didn't know how to handle the requests.

This actually seems an odd story. The DDoS attack was one thing, but the outage was due to rubbish software of Baofeng - who have since recalled their junkware. The authorities are laughing as it will speed up the erection of China's private intranet so that Chinese citizens can sleep safely in the knowledge they will only be hacked by their compatriots.

Win Tickets to Sold-Out Glastonbury Festival

The Guardian is giving away 50 pairs of tickets to this year's Glastonbury Festival.

All you have to do is go to this Win Glastonbury Tickets page, fill in a very quick form and then hope for the best! The closing date is midnight Thursday 4 June 2009. The winners will be notified by telephone on Friday 5 June.

The Glastonbury festival runs from 24th to 29th June 2009.

Headliners include Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Blur, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Prodigy, Doves,Jarvis Cocker, Echo and the Bunnymen, Rolf Harris and many many more. Full Glastonbury Festival line-up also available at The Guardian.

Google Wave Makes a Splash: A Complete Guide

Google Wave was announced yesterday and will start to make waves as it goes public in a few months. Google Waves is essentially a real-time communication platform. This article from Mashable is probably the simplest and yet most complete guide at the moment.

It goes into the details of what precisely a Google Wave is plus all the terminology, from wave to wavelet to blip! A Wave is very much like having a global threaded instant messaging history but with the added ability to go back and edit parts of the thread. A Wave can be constructed by a single individual or a group of people, or even by automated robots. Google Wave will be open source so watch out for numerous applications and extensions.
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