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February 28, 2012
Australia hosts secret trade agreement negotiations this week in Melbourne
This Thursday, behind closed doors in Melbourne, representatives from nine countries will take up discussions once again on an ambitious, comprehensive trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific region. Negotiators from Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore will pore over draft treaty text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
, an agreement to cover all aspects of commercial relations between the countries, from competition and customs to e-commerce, rules of origin and labor, from textiles and apparel to telecommunications and intellectual property. The intellectual property chapter for the TPP will lay out lengthy, highly detailed, coverage of all aspects of IP enforcement and protection between the nine countries.
posted by wilful at 8:42 PM PST - 12 comments
The Navy has spent seven years testing out the components of a way-futuristic weapon: a shipboard cannon that blasts bullets over vast distances at hypersonic speeds using bursts of electricity. ... The Navy released video of the first tests, viewable above, on Tuesday. The dramatic mini-inferno in the wake of the slug fired from the railgun is the result of “1 million amps flowing through” the gun, said test chief Tom Boucher, the hypersonic speed of the shot, and the actual aluminum of the bullet — “reactive in the atmosphere” — burning off.
posted by Trurl at 6:22 PM PST - 143 comments
On April 1, the American Mustache Institute hopes to organize a Million Mustache March
on Washington DC, in support of the proposed STACHE act (Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses). “The Stache Act (Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses) aims to earn a well-deserved $250 annual tax deduction for every Mustached American for expenditures on mustache grooming supplies." [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:40 PM PST - 43 comments
"Experience the roadlessness, the bandits, the breakdowns, the yaks, and the camels, without ever having to figure out how to steer and shift a right-driving mini-car through some of the remotest land on the planet. And see it out the windshield just like we did."
Drive across Mongolia in four minutes. [via]
posted by quin at 11:15 AM PST - 6 comments
...Many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”
John Heilemann in New York Magazine
on "The Lost Party"
, part one of a series on the modern Republican party in light of the 2012 presidential election. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:11 AM PST - 246 comments
Paypal is coming down hard
on online erotica retailers. The service has sent demands
to such ebook self-publishing sites as Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks and Bookstrand, demanding that they remove all titles containing bestiality, rape-for-titillation, and incest- including the popular 'pseudo-incest' category of stepparent or stepsibling sex. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 AM PST - 56 comments
In [the USA], buying a good over-the-counter nasal decongestant requires picking a card from an empty spot on the shelf, taking it to the pharmacist, handing over your driver's license, and getting it from behind the counter. Only the larger drug stores bother. Meth, on the other hand, is apparently easier to come by. So here (PDF)
, from the the wonderfully named Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry, is a paper on how to make Sudafed® from Meth.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:37 AM PST - 58 comments
Machinery Scans a showcase for some of the most detailed advertisement engravings produced. During the later part of the 19th century most machinery and equipment makers spent large sums of money to have their tool or piece of machinery converted into an engraving for advertising.
The scans are of engravings produced from the 1850s-1890s.
posted by Mitheral at 2:17 AM PST - 27 comments
...this particular technicolour trench coat is stitched together from black leather, and fastened with a lot of safety pins and zippers: its sinister sounds are both haunted by the past, and haunting us toward the something-to-be-done. Like the saying goes: the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Our traumatized collective unconscious - the victim of social, political, cultural, and environmental shocks - is not a blank slate, but rather a pile of rubble that requires considerable rebuilding. There is much work yet to carry out. And really, why be blank when you can be bleak?
The New Bleak: Trauma, Haunting And The Cultural Obsession With Darkness
posted by timshel at 12:58 AM PST - 21 comments