08.08.08 is coming (and Summer Olympics)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics Soon it will be Friday, August 8, 2008, or 08.08.08. I guess everyone will be getting married and witnessing the manifestation of biblical prophecies and generally having good luck on this day, yes?

On Friday, the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony will be held at the Beijing National Stadium. It is scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm CST (12:00 UTC) on 8 August 2008. The number eight is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture.

At long last, the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China are almost here, so why is everyone so sad? “Pollution, Internet, doping dominate Olympics lead-up.”

Oh, problems with the internets, you say? While not directly related to government censorship, here are a couple of articles I collected last weekend about broadband Internet provider Comcast (of which I am a customer) and the Federal Communications Commission ruling against its BitTorrent-blocking activities: “The FCC on Comcast: Confusion in spades” and “F.C.C. Vote Sets Precedent on Unfettered Web Usage.” This case is sort of victory for consumers and privacy rights protection . . . as far as lame, baffling victories go.

Speaking of civil liberties, listen to Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig on the coming “i-Patriot Act” and be afraid of his i-9/11 predictions. His perspective on the ramifications of a cyber-terrorism event is interesting, though I think he exaggerates the government’s competence to create an Orwellian state. That said, who is writing bills like the Patriot Act so far in advance and then shelving them . . . to be quickly passed into laws in the aftermath of a national tragedy/crisis?

In other FCC-related news: Satellite radio recently got more interesting following the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Radio, a merger that was held up by the FCC for 18 months: “Sirius Chief Undaunted by Challenge.” Go, FCC, go! Efficiency! Coherence! For the WIN!

I have one more news mention from the recent past: “YouTube Has Speech-to-Text Functionality…and it Works.” Here’s a link to Google’s speech-to-text blog post from July: “Political videos meet Google speech-to-text technology.” Cool. Videos are continuing to become more easily searchable.

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