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September 07, 2007

Comcast shutting down heavy users of internet service, but gives people no information on how much is too much

Shutting Down Big Downloaders - washingtonpost.com

"You have no way of knowing how much is too much," said Sandra Spalletta of Rockville, whose Internet service was suspended in March after Comcast sent her a letter warning that she and her teenage son were using too much bandwidth. They cut back on downloads but were still disconnected. She said the company would not tell her how to monitor their bandwidth use in order to comply with the limits.

"You want to think you can rely on your home Internet service and not wake up one morning to find it turned off," said Spalletta, who filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Office of Cable and Communication Services. "I thought it was unlimited service." As Internet service providers try to keep up with the demand for increasingly sophisticated online entertainment such as high-definition movies, streaming TV shows and interactive games, such caps could become more common, some analysts said.

. . .
Companies have argued that if strict limits were disclosed, customers would use as much capacity as possible without tipping the scale, causing networks to slow to a crawl. . . .
Some AT&T customers use disproportionately high amounts of Internet capacity, "but we figure that's why they buy the service," said Michael Coe, a spokesman for the company.

Scientology Faces Criminal Charges

Scientology Faces Criminal Charges - washingtonpost.com

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- A Belgian prosecutor on Tuesday recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization.

Scientology said it would fight the criminal charges recommended by investigating prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen, who said that up to 12 unidentified people should face charges.

Van Espen's probe also concluded that Scientology's Brussels-based Europe office and its Belgian missions conducted unlawful practices in medicine, violated privacy laws and used illegal business contracts, said Lieve Pellens, a spokeswoman at the Federal Prosecutors Office.

"They also face charges of being ... a criminal organization," Pellens said in a telephone interview.

September 06, 2007

Racism in America: "Do you understand where you are?"

Group News Blog: “Do you understand where you are?”

This is long and beautiful and really moving. please read it. My excerpt doesn't do any justice at all.

“Fuck this!” (much grumbling and “Heys!” from the crowd) “Sorry. Sorry about my language. But, this is 1993! How does something like this happen?”

And then my Uncle R. The supposedly “crazy” Uncle R. (mentioned in comments in Jesse's “Genius” post) stood up, towering in his crisp overalls and bright red work shirt—and brought his frying pan-sized hand down suddenly on a table, and it boomed like a grenade in the lunchroom, stopping us all dead in our tracks.

He thundered, “Ya'll have no clue do you? No clue at all! I read the papers—I hear about what goes on up north. Cops shootin' you down every God-blessed day, but that's okay! That's fine! And then you all come down here, thinkin' everything is fine and mellow. You haven't a care in the world. And you leave your brains at home and forget the simplest things. Do you have the common sense that God gave a gnat? Do you understand where-you-are?”

The room fell silent. He looked around at the assembled and repeated it.

“Do you understand...where-you-are?” He took a breath. “Where we are?”

We all knew what he meant. That where we all had come from—those four corners of the world were not much different. That we had our own silent codes we had to live under. And that in our descending on Tiny Town, N.C., we had forgotten about that place's awful, and indelible codes and behavior because of race. How in this day and age, flouting those codes was still in many ways a potentially dangerous thing. And that we needed to realize that.

(via)

South African women burned to death as witches by high schoolers

BBC NEWS | Africa | SA pupils burn 'witches' to death

Two South African women have been burned to death after a group of students accused them of bewitching their high school with evil spirits.

Msaba Zungu and Thabitha Thusi, both 60, were seized from their homes near Manguzi in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Students and adults dragged them to a sports field where they were doused with petrol and set alight on Sunday.

Manhlenga High School pupils accused the women of being witches after they began to suffer strange crying fits.

Towards sustainable reading

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read

Make up for the environmental impact of the books you buy by planting trees.

(via)