Food Standards Agency makes everything taste worse again

THE STARVING CHILDREN IN AFRICA, They Sent It Back Too, Monday (NNN) — The Food Standards Agency has announced new mandatory voluntary targets for food manufacturers to cut the amount of salt in bread, bacon, breakfast cereals and soup by 2012.

Cardboard burger, fries and shakeThe FSA says reducing daily salt intake to 6 grams from the present 8.6 grams could prevent twenty thousand deaths from high blood pressure. “The best way we can achieve this is to make food taste as much like cardboard as possible. Sugar’s out too. This will also allow us to meet obesity targets, as no-one will be able to face eating and will merely have to drink themselves to death. ’Cos they can’t smoke any more either.”

McDonald’s has complained of people bursting in off the street, grabbing handfuls of those little salt packets and running out again. Police have warned of gangs of youths shooting each other with knives over contraband seasoning and speaking something that sounds like English but would probably be better transmitted by SMS.

Cardboard manufacturers looked forward to a windfall, with Ryman’s announcing a new line of pre-salted notebooks and filofaxes in salt and vinegar, cheese and onion and crispy bacon flavours. “Just quietly, sir, we’ve got some juicy pens in too, since you’re a regular and all.”

Wolfram Alpha is no iPhone killer

ZDNET, Mediocre Grauniad, Saturday (NNGadget) — I’ve been using Wolfram Alpha, the new web encyclopedia social search networking mathematics engine, for almost ten minutes now.

Stephen Wolfram’s Magic 8 BallAnd I can tell you — despite fears it would create a black hole when switched on, ending all life on earth, it’s no iPhone killer.

It’s good, to be sure, and “I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that” is the appropriate answer for so many queries (and “Wolfram Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input” is for pretty much all the others), but I can’t see Wolfram Alpha successfully vanquishing any such titans as iPhones, Twitter, Windows 7 or Zune.

Stephen Wolfram is less than amused. “Your petty queries miss the point. The queries Wolfram Alpha cannot answer are not worth answering. Until you foolish Internet users realise the value of my brilliant creation, you will merely continue to stumble about, blind and helpless, as your pitiful ‘human’ civilisation has done for so long. I knew I should have charged for it. You don’t deserve it free.”

But can it replace Facebook? Are we worthy of blurry drunk photos of girls we vaguely know from a knowledgeable, curated source? Will Wolfram Alpha add a third answer, “REPLY HAZY TRY AGAIN LATER”? I’ll be sure to be here all month, filling space with the finest analytical prognostication on the subject. It sure beats working.

Cyber attack could bring US military response

SNOW CRASH, The Metaverse, Wednesday (NNGadget) — US Air Force General Kevin Chilton, head of US Strategic Command, has said that attacks on the United States via the Internet could merit a conventional military response.

Atari 5200 Missile Command“I don’t think you take anything off the table. We’re particularly looking toward one group in Seattle.”

The Seattle-based insurgent group is thought to have seeded American government and military computers with millions of copies of malware that allows attackers easy access to any data stored on the computer, or indeed to take complete control of the computer and use it for their own ends as part of a massive “botnet” to mount further attacks. The malware, “Windows,” makes securing a computer running it almost impossible.

“Turning Seattle into a glass crater would only be undertaken strictly as the minimum required surgical military action,” emphasised Chilton, “and not in any way out of twenty-five years’ bitter resentment and frustration at computing machinery.”

Chilton stressed that members of the US military must begin to think of their computers as the front lines. “Do you realize that in addition to adding Windows to computers, why, there are studies underway to Windowsize salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk … ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream! I can no longer sit back and allow Windows infiltration, Windows indoctrination, Windows subversion and the international enterprise licensing conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!”

The Obama administration is currently reviewing the United State’s cyberspace defense policy. “We’re considering all options thoroughly,” said the President, closing his MacBook and looking lingeringly at the red button on his desk.

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Murdoch: the free Internet is over

ISENGARD, Wapping, Monday (NNN) — Rupert Murdoch, speaking out on the news business, stated today that “the Internet free access model is clearly malfunctioning, as I don’t make enough money from it.”

Rupert Murdoch as GollumMedia commentators fear for the future of investigative journalism. “How can we hold governments’ feet to the fire without money to pay our great reporters? Where would you get your recycled wire feeds, your Garfield cartoons?” Publishers hold that it is natural for readers to pay what advertisers once did, just as cows have to make up the difference out of their own pockets when the price of milk falls.

Newspapers have suffered badly since the collapse of their previous business model of selling readers to advertisers on a local monopoly basis. The replacement models appear to involve phlogiston, caloric and luminiferous aether.

“We have to educate people that free doesn’t work, particularly for us,” said Vanessa Thorpe of the Guardian Media Group. “I tried an advertorial repeating several times that nothing will be free any more, to magic it into happening. I also subtly implied the Pirate Bay were Nazis — HITLER! HITLER! HITLER! — so we’ll see if we can make that one fly too.”

Publishers have also explored the notion of getting Google to pay its “fair share” for so parasitically leading people to newspapers’ websites. The Wikimedia Foundation promptly started billing journalists for their reprints from Wikipedia. “We feel this is completely unfair,” said Tom Curley of the Associated Press, “as real news stories spring forth from the heads of accredited reporters in an immaculate creation from nothingness. My preciousss.” Maurice Jarre was unavailable for comment.

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UK economy to be revived through lure of the forbidden

CYBERSPICE, Brass Eye, Saturday (NNN) — Children’s charities are backing a private member’s bill proposed by Baroness Massey to make Internet-based retailers run age verification checks.

Lord PedobearA check on twelve sites found that thorough checks were not being done. “You can buy a case of vintage Burgundy online from France without supplying fingerprints, driver’s license and a DNA sample!” said Baroness Massey. “This sort of thing is clearly responsible for juvenile delinquency and teenage knife crime, as heated discussions over the best pinot noir of the last decade come to blows.”

The move is expected to boost the economy. “It is too easy for children to buy alcohol, knives and violent video games online. If we make it harder, this will make it enticing.”

In a supervised test, a 16-year-old boy bought pre-paid credit cards and then went online to see if he could buy knives, drink, age-restricted DVDs, games and pornographic website subscriptions. The youth cautioned that insufficient data had been gathered and they definitely needed to do another six to twelve months’ testing before he could give any reliable conclusions as to what he had managed to obtain. And a two-terabyte USB hard drive. And a faster Internet connection.

“Our efforts to keep children safe are being seriously undermined by these ‘internet’ arseholes,” said Zoe fucking Hilton, publicity-with-menaces advisor for the NSPCfuckingC, weighing in as usual. “Any retailer we don’t like is a pack of fucking paedos and I hope they fucking die horribly. Cunts. But they can reassure us of their bona fides by giving the NSPCC money. Usual bank account, thanks. That’ll do nicely.”

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Republicans expel infidels and traitors

APPLE PIE, Texas, Friday (NNN) — Facing increased marginalisation, the Republican Party is concentrating on its core audience and values.

Republican cheerleading squad“We are completely against the Obama stimulus spending,” said Rush Limbaugh, speaking through Party chair Michael Steel. “We favour subsidies for no-one and nothing, and feel the Great Recession can best be repaired by moving to a laissez-faire system of primitive hunting and gathering.”

Economic policies are a sideline, however, for the most important Republican stances. “We are firmly in favor of personal responsibility, except to do with sex. It’s necessary to the health and security of America to enforce sex only once a month for procreation, and putting gays or suspected gays in the stocks in the public square. Just Say No!”

Colin Powell, the traitorous Obama-voter, told a GOP audience last week that “the Republican Party is in deep trouble.” Mr Powell also claimed that the Earth goes around the Sun and is not flat. He was burned at the stake later in the evening. “Powell was never a real Republican,” said Limbaugh. “Nor was Arlen Specter. I’ve got my doubts about Lincoln too.”

As a GOP discussion continues, the probability of one participant calling another a “Democrat” approaches one. However, the party will respect the national mood and advance moderates it feels are in tune with its core. “Ideally we’re looking for a creationist Pentecostal abstinence-touting book-banning Alaskan separatist gun nut MILF with crossed eyes like Dan Quayle’s and the conversational powers of George Bush, who’s black. That’d be a candidate with real crossover potential.”

Banks fail Scientology “stress test”

REHABILITATION PROJECT FORCE, Hemet Gold Base, Friday (NNN) — Ten of America’s largest 19 banks have failed the stringent economic “stress tests” based on the teachings of Dianetics.

Tomato auditing L. Ron HubbardSenior investigators from the Office of the Treasury (“Big OTs”) found that, considered as thetans, the banks were too weighed down with engrams, from this and past lives, and the engrams of the many “sub-prime thetans” still attached to them.

The test involves financial executives holding the “cans” in a firm grip while answering questions such as:

2. When others are getting rattled, do you remain fairly composed?
8. Are your actions considered unpredictable by other people?
23. Do you resent the efforts of others to tell you what to do?
24. Is it normally hard for you to “own up and take the blame”?
30. Do you enjoy telling people the latest scandal about your associates?
59. Do you consider the modern prisons without bars system “doomed to failure”?
76. Do you sometimes give away articles which strictly speaking do not belong to you?
124. Do you often make tactless blunders?
125. Are you suspicious of people who ask to borrow money from you?

“The economy’s been like a volcano that’s about to blow,” said US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “Our hope is that banks can get back to the business of banking, staying upstat and producing Valuable Final Product, to lift the cloud of uncertainty.”

Analysts broadly welcomed the results of the stress tests. “The IQ test seems to have been very accurate,” said Eric Kuby of North Star Investment Management. “The fears of entheta and the influence of suppressive persons have more or less disappeared.”

The current Federal Reserve system was set up in the 1950s as the result of a bet between Alan Greenspan and L. Ron Hubbard.

Disks full of porn “sold to military”

MELLIE, Newcastle, Thursday (NNN) — Gigabytes and gigabytes of pornography and highly sensitive login details for gentleman’s art sites were bought by a US military missile air defence base second-hand on eBay.

Blue Tit in helmetThe collected fine artworks of young women in a state of natural aesthetic presentation were found on a hard disk for the SPLORT (Super-Powered Less Obviously Retronymed Thing) ground to air missile defence system, used to shoot down Scud Mag missiles in Iraq.

Dr Andy Jones, a researcher at the base, said “This is the fourth time we have carried out this research and it is clear that records left on hard disks are the twenty-first century equivalent of random pornographic magazines found in bushes and parks by masturbation-crazed eleven year old boys. PHWOAR, LOOK AT THE TITS ON THAT ONE! I’m sorry, I’m just reviewing a birdwatching site. Fabulous display of Cyanistes cæruleus.

“Of significant concern is the number of large organisations that are still not disposing of confidential information in a secure manner. Thank fuck.”

The disk also contained site passwords, credit card numbers and 18 USC 2257 information on … “prospective military contractors,” Dr Jones quickly interjected. “Really. Prospective contractors. We’re getting in touch with them right away.”

Debian forks GlibC over Drepper

RALEIGH, North Carolina, Wednesday (NNGadget) — The Debian project has dropped the use of the GNU project’s glibc C library, substituting the eglibc fork, as glibc maintainer Ulrich Drepper refused patches or bug reports for several architectures Debian relied on.

Computer bum“Any change will negatively impact well designed architectures for the sole benefit of this embedded crap,” said Drepper. “Famously good architectures like x86. Can you believe, these people wanted their C library to work in systems with shells other than bash! They must think they’re signing my paycheck.”

Drepper has, in retaliation, announced his own fork of Debian. It will be created in cooperation with Joerg Schilling and Tuomo Valkonen and be based on the Schilix variant of OpenSolaris, with Ion running on XFree86 as the standard graphical interface. “Keith Packard ruined X,” said Valkonen. “Also, time is actually cubical in nature.” The standard file system will be ext4, given its proven ability to cause data loss in user software that ext4’s maintainers consider ill-written. “Hans Reiser didn’t get back to us. Pity, we always got along with him really well.”

The project will apparently be licensed under both the intersection and union, and probably various algebraic transformations, of the GPL, LGPL, CDDL, MIT License and the thing Valkonen wrote for Ion3. This is not anticipated to be a problem in practice with real-life users, at least not until one exists.

“YOU!” said David Dawes of XFree86. “YOU’VE BEEN TALKING TO THEM, HAVEN’T YOU! YOU’RE CONSPIRING WITH THEM! THOSE GUYS! THEY STOLE IT ALL! THEY PUT A RADIO IN MY HEAD! LINUX/BSD WEENIES! EDUCATED EVIL AND STUPID! I’LL SHOW ’EM! HELL YES! I’LL SHOW ’EM ALL!” “That means he’s onside with us,” said Valkonen. “Dave’s been a bit terse since he finally lost it trying to fix a broken modeline.”

Wolfram Alpha: A new kind of search engine

Guest post by Stephen Wolfram

Some might say that Mathematica, the source of my fortune, and A New Kind Of Science: A Brief History Of My Stupendous Intellect were ambitious projects. But in recent years I’ve been hard at work on a still more ambitious project: Wolfram Alpha.

Stephen Wolfram and his Superior BrainFifty years ago, people assumed that computers would quickly be able to handle all kinds of question. It didn’t work out that way. But a few years ago, I realized that I was finally in a position to do it myself. As I’d always expected I’d have to, of course.

I had the crucial ingredients: Mathematica and A New Kind Of Science. And my truly massive intellect. With these, I had a language to compute anything and a paradigm for complexity from simple rules. And my spectacular brain, which is much more spectacular than anyone else’s, as proven by me being rich as well as smart. Which is smarter: to be a professor, or to be the professor all the other professors pay tribute to? I think my net worth makes the answer clear.

But what about all the actual knowledge that we as humans have accumulated? I realized we needed to make all data computable as knowledge. Of course, natural language is incredibly difficult for computers. So we added the secret ingredient: my jaw-droppingly spectacular brain, undoubtedly the largest on Earth.

I’m happy to say that with a mixture of clever algorithms and heuristics, linguistic discovery and curation, and some casual Nobel-worthy theoretical breakthroughs in my spare moments, we’ve made it work. It’s going to be a website with one simple input field that gives direct access to my superlative brain, in its planet-sized glory.

Our pre-launch testers have been at work as well, and I’m dealing with all manner of queries in spare thought cycles while I jetset around the world, wowing the pitiful minds of gorgeous international supermodels before impregnating them with my superior genetic material. Let’s just have a look at the query stream: "tits" "goatse" "mary whitehouse naked" "4chan" "tubgirl" "2girls1cup" "ITS OVER 9000 LOL" "desu desu desu desu"