After 18 years in operation, after a federal law mandating that hospitals work to prevent needle-stick, and after two successful lawsuits resulting in BD paying more than $400 million for violating anti-monopoly statutes, Retractable Technologies made only $34 million in global sales last year. BD, with an inferior, more expensive product, sold $8.4 billion, the payouts to its competitor serving only as the cost of doing business. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control estimated 380,000 needle-sticks at hospitals every year. Today, they estimate 385,000. “You turn on the TV and watch politicians talk about unleashing the power of the free market, that’s absurd,” Shaw says. “The American public is being denied a free market, being denied competition.”We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era.
Du Tac au Tac was a 1970s French television programme which brought cartoonists together to create improvised jam drawings based on specific themes, building upon one another's illustrations. Some highlights: Neal Adams (Batman), Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock), and Jean Giraud (Blueberry) open Pandora's Box and in another segment, create a bestiary and draw their favorite comic-book heroes. Jean Giraud and Hugo Pratt (Corto Maltese) create a 3-panel strip using four onomatopoeia provided by Jean Claude Forest (Barbarella) and Jije (Spirou and Fantasio). Goscinny and Uderzo (Asterix) play a game of equisite corpse with Greg (Achille Talon) and Davy (Olivier Rameau). [more inside]
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is currently the most common form of digital transmission protection for high definition digital multimedia, requiring an unbroken chain of licensed products for content to play back for TV systems and computers. A possible "master key" was posted online earlier this week, and created quite a stir around the potential of this leak or reverse engineering. Intel, who developed the initial specification, has confirmed the validity of the "master key", but instead of coming up with a new protection scheme, will use "legal remedies, particularly under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)." In essence, the threat of legal action, rather than cryptography, is [Intel and the media companies] real tool against unapproved uses of digital content. [more inside]
In 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War, with Europe still in ruins, three young Belgian comic strip artists, Joseph Gillain (aka Jijé), Maurice de Bevere (aka Morris) and André Franquin, crossed the Atlantic with the intention of settling in the US. All three would eventually return to Belgium, their hopes of working for Disney ultimately dashed by the turmoil of the McCarthy years. However, in the meantime they made the acquaintance of their colleagues of the Charles William Harvey Studio in New York, including a cosmopolitan young wit named René Goscinny. [more inside]
Like Tintin, Asterix, or even the Smurfs? Step right this way, to the dark, spooky side of French cartooning. Jacques Tardi, relatively obscure in this country, brings you many lovely lonely images of cityscapes and small horrors, mostly within the amazing stories of Adele Blanc-Sec, writer and adventurer. At least one of his books is still in print in English, and most can be ordered from overseas, and are well worth it.