Tuesday’s News Roundup

Can you tell I have a backlog of stuff in my Inbox?

– Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, died last Wednesday. He was 79. Roy tended to stay out of the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean that his fierce loyalty to Disney hid in the shadows. When Walt’s son-in-law Ron Miller took the company “in the wrong direction” (in Roy’s view), he led a shareholder’s revolt in 1984 that had Miller replaced with Michael Eisner. When Eisner, in Roy’s view, started neglecting the company’s theme parks and 2-D animation division, Disney again led a shareholders revolt that saw Eisner, one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, retire from the company in 2005. It’s hard to say what will happen to Disney now; I’m not much of a Disney fan, but Roy was the the last of the “old school” Disney board members, and perhaps the last one to have “Walt’s touch”. He will be missed.

– You probably heard last week about how certain militants in Iraq were using a $30 piece of software to spy on the Air Force’s Predator drones. This happens because the Predators’ video feeds use no encryption - none at all. Apparently the Air Force has known about this “bug” since the early 1990s, but hasn’t been able to do much about it, given the proprietary nature of the hardware inside the drones. This article at Ars Technica talks about how the TV sets and DVDs in your home have more encryption than the US military’s spy planes do.

– Last week, the congregants of St. Andrew’s Church of Mt. Pleasant - the largest Episcopal church in the Diocese of South Carolina - voted overwhelmingly to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Anglican Church in North America. Out of 902 total votes, 838 voted to leave TEC and join ACNA, 58 voted to remain in TEC, 4 forms were returned unmarked and 2 abstained. Combine this with September’s victory for All Saints Church at Pawleys Island in the South Carolina Supreme Court (who ruled that the parish’s property belonged to All Saints Parish, Waccamaw Inc. and not to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina) and it’s looking like a great time to be an Anglican in South Carolina. If only North Carolina would get on the bandwagon, too!

– A small study by the University of California found that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may indeed cause obesity, heart disease and diabetes. A test group was given a strict diet which included high doses of HFCS and it was found that they developed “new fat cells around their heart, liver and other digestive organs. They also showed signs of food-processing abnormalities linked to diabetes and heart disease”. A control group given a similar diet (but with non-HFCS sweeteners) displayed nothing out of the ordinary. Don’t get too excited, though: the entire test group consisted of only 16 people. Read more about it here.

– Dame Victoire Risdale, a woman who worked at the Naval Intelligence Centre with Ian Fleming during WWII and who was the inspiration for the character of Ms. Moneypenny in the James Bond books and movies has died. She was 88. Lois Maxwell, the actress who played Moneypenny in the “golden age” of Bond films, passed away in 2007.

– Lastly, it seems that HP’s new line of “face tracking cameras” are… racist. Check this video out:


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