09/26/2015 archive

This Week in Dumb IP Claims

Normally the beat of my Tech Dirt homes, this one struck me because I’m a sucker for Gummy Bears.

Lindt wins legal battle after court rules Haribo claim does not bear up

by Sean Farrell, The Guardian

Wednesday 23 September 2015 12.21 EDT

The decision ended a dispute between the companies that started in 2012 when Haribo accused Lindt & Sprüngli of copying its Gold Bear trademark by launching a foil-wrapped teddy.

Haribo, which invented gummy bears in the 1920s, said shoppers would confuse the two products, even though Lindt’s bears are made of chocolate and gummy bears are a jelly sweet.

Lindt argued that its bears were a variation on its Easter rabbit chocolates. Both are wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon. Haribo’s gummy bear marketing is fronted by a yellow cartoon bear with a red ribbon round its neck.

Last week the European court of justice failed to uphold Nestlé’s attempt to protect its four-fingered KitKat in another long-running dispute between the Swiss company and Cadbury. Cadbury tried to thwart Nestlé’s attempt to trademark KitKat in 2010 after Nestlé blocked Cadbury’s effort to trademark the shade of purple used for its chocolate wrappers.

Georgie Collins, a partner at the law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “The confectionery industry is extremely competitive so it’s not surprising that you often see these rivals coming up against each other.

“The cost of these cases is significant, but it’s about being seen to take action and ringfencing your brand and intellectual property rights as much as you can.”

Why this is at once hilarious and very, very wrong is a little too involved to go into right now, but you should really read Tech Dirt.  And now, a recipe to make Gummy Bears at home-

Take one 3 oz. box of any flavored jello and add sugar according to directions if required (not usually).  Add 7 packs of unflavored gelatin and 1/2 cup of water.  Heat over low in a pan until everything is completely dissolved.  Pour into molds (available at most cooking stores) and chill in freezer for 5 minutes, then refrigerate until very firm.  If you coat the molds with a little flavorless cooking oil spray (canola works) you can remove them easier.  Let them continue to dry unrefrigerated until they have the chewiness you like.

The Breakfast Club (Catapult Propaganda)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgIt’s been a while so let’s review-

The Rules of Opera

  1. It must be long, boring, and in an incomprehesible foreign language (even if that language is English).
  2. The characters, especially the main ones, must be thoroughly unsympathetic and their activities horrid and callous.
  3. Everyone must die, hopefully in an ironic and gruesome way.

Ballet is the same, but with more men in tights and without the superfluous singing.

The case in point is Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.  It’s sometimes called the first English Opera but while it is very early indeed (1689) that honor probably belongs to his teacher John Blow’s Venus and Adonis.

Aeneas you may recognize as the “hero” of Virgil’s Odyssey rip off The Aeneid.  The Roman source is actually kind of a great screaming neurotic rant of self justification about why exactly Romans were such bloodthirsty assholes.

First of all let’s talk about the psychological depravity and inferiority complex that would lead you to rewrite the seminal national text of your cultural superiors who’s land you had violently conquered and whom you were still dependent on for intellectual talent because you’re basically a bunch of frat boy barbarians so that the bad guys were the good guys and the founders of your own state.

Then let’s add the seduction and abandonment of the Queen of the nation that was your chief rival.

I think we’re in Operatown Jake.

So Aeneas, noble warrior of Troy cruelly cheated and defeated by those perfidious Greeks, especially Odysseus who’s story he’s stealing, is sailing with a boatload of refugees to find someplace new to settle down when they are blown off course and shipwrecked due to internecine disputes among the Gods related to the Judgement of Paris.

Oddly enough for this ancestor of the founders of Rome (who were raised by wolves in a sterling example of good parenting) he ended up at the gates of Rome’s great future rival- Carthage.

Dido Queen of Carthage, a widow, falls in love with him and fixes up his ships.  Witches plotting against Dido conjure up a storm and when the couple is temporarily separated one of them, impersonating Hermes, tells Aeneas that he simply must hit the road and found that New Troy in Italy he’s been planning.  Aeneas, being a cad in addition to a credulous dope, promptly shoves off.

Dido, despondent, kills herself.  The End.

Now there were in fact heavy political subtexts to both The Aeneid and Dido and Aeneas.  Virgil was not just stroking the Roman sense of entitlement and righteous justification but, because of Ceasar’s reputed descent from Aeneas, sucking up to the Julio-Claudian Emperors (it was written between 29 and 19 BCE).

With Dido and Aeneas Purcell is alluding to the (for him) recent events of the English Civil War.  Aeneas is said to represent James II and the Witches Roman Catholicism while Dido represents Britain, abandoned due to deception.

Like many early compositions it’s not entirely complete and for performance various arrangers fill in the gaps in a variety of ways.  This particular version is from the San Francisco School of the Arts.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

New York Times Editorial Board: Speaker John Boehner Quits the Arena

Speaker John Boehner’s shocking decision to resign from Congress is a sorry measure of how far right-wing extremism has immobilized the Republican Party and undermined the process of healthy government. [..]

With Mr. Boehner’s decision to retreat and the right wing claiming victory over his ouster, some Republicans seem to think the right wing might drop the Planned Parenthood fight and approve a budget extension bill this month in order to concentrate on the looming leadership fight. This, of course, would be the height of hypocrisy since far-right Republicans have been howling that defunding Planned Parenthood is a matter of life and death.

Now it seems they might welcome a way out of the cliff-hanging scenario they created, since opinion polls indicate that voters would blame the Republicans for any government shutdown.

If nothing else, this intramural brawl makes it ever clearer that congressional Republicans are incapable of governing themselves, much less the nation.

Eugene Robertson: Pope Francis Elevates the Discourse on Capitol Hill

“God bless America” sounds banal coming from politicians but profound when spoken by the shepherd of 1.2 billion souls. In his historic address to Congress, Pope Francis delivered a blessing of encouragement, not admonition – and spoke powerfully about the hot-button issues that keep our political leaders mired in bitter gridlock.

The pope’s words drew warm applause. I wish I could be optimistic that they also touched our leaders’ hearts. [..]

So much of our political life is sour and conflictive. Francis’ message is optimistic and embracing. He reminds us of something elemental but easily forgotten: our common humanity.

With his intellect, charisma, moral authority and irresistible smile, Francis challenges us to remember that whatever our political or theological differences, we are all in this together. For those paying attention, he has shown how to raise our political discourse from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Trevor Timm: Jeb Bush is the ultimate anti-internet candidate

Do you want to live in a country where Internet Service Providers can slow down and censor your internet traffic at will, where the NSA has vastly more power than it does today and where end-to-end encryption may be illegal? Then Jeb Bush is the Republican presidential contender for you: he has positioned himself as the anti-internet candidate in an election where internet rights have never mattered more.

A lot of the White House candidates have made worrying comments about the future of surveillance and the internet – from Chris Christie’s bizarre vow to track 10 million people like FedEx packages, to Hillary Clinton’s waffling on encryption backdoors – but Jeb Bush’s deliberate campaign to roll back internet rights is the perfect storm of awful. {..]

Too often internet and privacy rights get relegated to the end of the table when election season rolls around. But the issues have never been more mainstream – NSA reform and net neutrality rules, unthinkable eight years ago, are all of a sudden inevitable. And the idea that Jeb Bush wants to take those rights away and saddle the internet with yet more corporate control and government surveillance is disturbing, to say the least.

Greg Gonsalves: Martin Shkreli Is Just a Tiny Part of a Huge Problem

Americans were outraged over his 5,000 percent price hike of a life-saving drug. They should see what Big Pharma has in store.

This week, the Internet’s object of hate was Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old hedge-funder turned CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals who jacked up the price of Daraprim, an old drug used to treat parasitic infections in the immunosuppressed, from $13.50 to $750 per pill. At first, Shkreli seemed to relish the controversy, taking to Twitter and various talk shows to defend his actions. But his tone-deaf justifications and brash, antagonistic tweets only fueled the backlash. Shkreli was denounced on Twitter as “human garbage,” “a monster,” and “a sociopath.” Politicians from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump called him out, and even the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PhRMA) disassociated itself from him. Within a few days, Shkreli vowed to reduce the price of the drug-although that did not stop Internet activists from doxing Shkreli by posting his OK Cupid profile, home address, and phone number.

It’s tempting to declare that the Internet triumphed over Shkreli and, in turn, the pharmaceutical industry, but in reality the whole episode is only a tiny skirmish in a long-running battle that drug companies have been waging against the American people. Sadly, the American people are losing the fight-badly-and haven’t paid much attention to the hosing they are getting.

Wenonak Hauter: China Cap-and-Trade Program Not What the Climate Needs

The reported move by China to enact a cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions will not begin to solve our climate crisis. Pollution trading signifies a dangerous reliance on the market to address a problem that only a decisive move away from fossil fuels and to renewables can truly solve.

Through a system of ‘credits’ and dubious and unverifiable offsets, cap-and-trade programs essentially create a commodity out of pollution, allowing for financial corporations to profit from polluting industries.

Furthermore, scrutiny of such programs show they don’t work. A recent analysis of the Joint Implementation (JI) program enacted under the Kyoto Protocol in Europe found that only 14 percent of the claimed greenhouse gas reduction offsets under the program were even ‘plausible.’ The offset program resulted in the equivalent of about 600 million additional metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

Hugh McMillan: Private Water and Fracking, a Dubious Duo

Last week, I got to be a fly on the wall at Shale Insight 2015 in Philadelphia, the annual conference of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which includes companies working at all stages of gas drilling, fracking, processing and distribution As you can imagine, I heard some concerning things I while there, but among the more revealing “break-out sessions” was a love-fest between the oil and gas industry and private water industry, sponsored by American Water, the largest private water company in the country.

American Water has aggressively privatized water systems in Pennsylvania and sees dollar signs in the fracking industry’s relentless thirst for water – up to 10 million gallons of water to frack some wells. [..]

Though this partnership may be great if your goal is to generate profits, it is not in the best interest of Pennsylvania residents, who are concerned with ensuring safe affordable water for generations to come.

On This Day In History September 26

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 26 is the 269th day of the year (270th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 96 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day on 1957, West Side Story premieres on Broadway. East Side Story was the original title of the Shakespeare-inspired musical conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins, written by playwright Arthur Laurents and scored by composer and lyricist Leonard Bernstein in 1949. A tale of star-crossed lovers-one Jewish, the other Catholic-on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the show in its original form never went into production, and the idea was set aside for the next six years. It was more than just a change of setting, however, that helped the re-titled show get off the ground in the mid-1950s. It was also the addition of a young, relatively unknown lyricist named Stephen Sondheim. The book by Arthur Laurents and the incredible choreography by Jerome Robbins helped make West Side Story a work of lasting genius, but it was the strength of the songs by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein that allowed it to make its Broadway debut on this day in 1957.

There are no videos of the original Broadway production which starred Larry Kert as Tony, Carol Lawrence as Maria, Ken Le Roy as Bernardo and Chita Rivera as Anita (Ms. Rivera reprized her role in the movie), so here is the Prologue from the Academy Award winning movie. The area that the movie was filmed no longer exists. The 17 blocks between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, from West 60th to West 66th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he filming took place were demolished to build Lincoln Center for the Preforming Arts.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

5 Easy Meals for the Distracted Cook

 photo 23ROASTEDVEGETABLES-articleLarge.jpg

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

How many dishes can you cook on autopilot?

I’m talking about easy meals that your hands can manage on their own, leaving your mind free to ruminate about your hard day at work or help your kids memorize their multiplication tables.

If the answer is zero not counting scrambled eggs or pasta with jar sauce, read on.

The more often you can just cook without worrying through a recipe, the freer, easier and more relaxed dinnertime will be. You and your family will be better fed, too.

~ Meissa Clarke ~

Meatballs With Any Meat

Making great meatballs is all about memorizing a basic ratio that you can adjust to suit your taste.

Roasted Fish

Cooking fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickness is an old rule of thumb that works perfectly when roasting fillets or steaks.

Scaloppine With Any Meat

You can use any kind of meat to make these dead-simple scaloppine – veal, turkey, chicken, pork, even beef if you can find pieces thin enough.

Vegetarian Skillet Chili

If you keep canned beans, tomatoes, onion and garlic in your pantry, you can make this dish on any weeknight without having to shop.

Roasted Vegetables

The key to roasting all kinds of vegetables is to know the right temperature for cooking them.

The Daily Late Nightly Show (Trevor)

So it’s been 3 weeks, hardly seems it.  I think we know pretty well by now what Stephen’s format is going to be- dancing, a little monologue/guest intro/joke, the playover, a longer desk monologue, break, another monologue/sketch, break.

That’s the first half hour.

Then first guest, break, second guest, break, musical guest.

Unfortunately it is likely that all the good parts are going to be in that first half hour which goes head to head with Larry.  I’m more conflicted than before about what to pay attention to.

Next Week’s Guests

Of that lot the one I’m really excited about is John, but clearly Stephen is downshifting into production mode and not every night is going to be ‘must see’ TV, at least for me.

Tonight we have Malala Yousafzai, Kerry Washington, and the Arcs.

The New Kid

I don’t know what to expect from Trevor and neither I suspect do you.  He’s diversified the writing and correspondent teams.  Most of the senior production team has stayed though there have been some shifting of responsibilities and promotions.  He has a new “social media” co-ordinator who’s supposed to be very good (maybe he can talk to Larry about his terrible site).

He’s been hated on by professional racists his whole life and there are indications he views the United States as amateur hour.  His political orientation is literally unAmerican (in that peculiar way we’ve adopted a term that spans 2 continents to mean only the United States) and says that he’ll be non-partisan.

Less confrontational too and I must say it amazes me that this meme that Jon Stewart was some kind of raving, rabid, radical Lefty has in such a short time become conventional wisdom.

Or maybe not.  That someone as weak tea as Jon (remember his bi-partisany bits?) should be cast this way serves the interests of the neolib consensus “centrists” that pervade D.C. and the corporatist whore Media.

We have always been at war with EastAsia.

Here are some pieces to read-

His initial guests are-