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Last night while looking up info on the 2012 DA14, I came across a YouTube video of what was supposedly a meteoric fireball streaking over Russia. I thought about posting it but I couldn’t find any time stamp info on it and there wasn’t anything else on a Russia Fireball online at the time, so I dismissed it. I woke up today and started checking on the Asteroid updates and low and behold there really WAS a meteor in Russian Skies. The YouTube video was legit.

It streaked across the sky in Russia’s Ural Mountains causing damage to buildings and injuring hundreds (some reports say thousands) of people from flying debris caused by a series of sonic booms. So far 3 impact sites have been discovered.

You can get live updates from here:

Other links:

Associated Press (includes video, photos, news and maps)

Huffington Post videos

NBC Slideshow





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In 24 hours, people across the planet are joining a global street protest to bury ACTA for good.

This week our massive 2 million ACTA petition caused shockwaves in Brussels, and we’ve just learned that Germany has put ACTA on ice and other governments are close to following suit. If Europe says no to ACTA, it dies!  We’re at a tipping point — If enough of us join the protest tomorrow, we can secure our online freedom and end the threat of ACTA’s censorship nightmare.

Let’s turn out in thousands to protest or, if we can’t be there in person (most of the protests are in Europe), send messages of solidarity to our fellow citizens who are marching. Click here to use our map tool to find an event near you, or leave a solidarity message for marchers:

Our massive ACTA petition was personally delivered to leading EU politicians in Brussels this week as it grew to 2.2 million signers and beyond. The European Parliament is choosing their new point person on the treaty right now. Let’s make sure that person realises that ACTA is too hot to handle.

Four Eastern European governments and now Germany have just said they’ll stall their decision on the treaty. Now, if hundreds of thousands of people attend thousands of rallies all across Europe tomorrow, we can ensure that all politicians across the 27 EU countries are put on notice that people don’t want ACTA and will continue to take action until the treaty is buried.

Those of us in Europe can join the protests. And we all can send messages of solidarity to encourage the people there and use social media to pile the pressure on key parliamentarian. Click here to check out the action centre, and tell everyone.

Again and again, we’ve shown how people power can work. When our fundamental freedoms are at stake, and we act together, we can forge an unstoppable force that makes politicians turn away from the corporate lobbies, and work in the interests of all of us. Let’s do it again.

With hope and determination,

Alex, Alice, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, Maria Paz, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Acta activates mass opposition (Euractiv)

Acta: Europe braced for protests over anti-piracy treaty (BBC)

Latest pact on internet piracy set to be derailed (Financial Times)

Czech Republic, Slovakia freeze anti-piracy pact (AFP)

ACTA vs. SOPA: Five Reasons ACTA is a Scarier Threat to Internet Freedom

Act on Acta now if you care about democracy and free speech (The Guardian)

The secret treaty: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and Its Impact on Access to Medicines

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We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way.


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In response to the continuing debate of proposed law changes and aggressive attacks on freedom of speech and information on the internet, my state Senator is revealing information about her proposed changes to fight piracy and copywrite infringement without sensoring the internet. I’d like your feedback. What do you think of her proposals?

from Senator Maria Cantwell:

Thank you to the thousands of Washingtonians who raised your voices last week to support an open and free Internet. Thanks for your phone calls and emails to our office regarding the PROTECT IP Act.

Like you, I believe that America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. The Internet allows entrepreneurs in Washington state and around the world to create ground-breaking companies and fuel economic growth. We cannot afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy.

That’s why I opposed the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate from the beginning, and have offered an alternative – the OPEN Act. We need to protect creative content on the Internet from piracy by rogue foreign websites, but we must do so in a way that also protects freedom of speech, innovation and security on the Internet. Read more about the OPEN Act here, or read the full bill text here.

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As many of you know, ÜberSciFiGeek participated in the recent SOPA/PIPA protest by “Going Dark” for a day. All content was blocked and was replaced with information about why we were protesting and how you could learn more. I also took the time to contact my representative via several of the contact forms available through sites like Google and Wikipedia. Today I received a response from my Senator, Maria Cantwell. I felt I should share this with those of you who are following the issue and would like to know where things currently stand.

Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. Under current federal law, U.S. law enforcement officials and holders of copyrights, trademarks, and patents, have limited legal remedies available to combat internet websites that are registered in foreign countries but operate in the United States by selling products, services, and/or content that violates U.S. intellectual property law. If enacted, the proposed legislation would create an expedited process for the Department of Justice and intellectual property rights holders to shut down through a court order these websites by targeting the owners and operators of the Internet site, if known, or the domain name registrant associated with the Internet site.

While I am supportive of the goal of protecting intellectual property, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.

On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the “Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade” (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stop foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission (ITC) for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.

Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a “Cease and Desist” order. The “Cease and Desist” order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question.  This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.

The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nations face. The United States has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.

The Protect IP Act was scheduled to go to the Senate floor for a procedural vote on January 23, 2011. Due to the effective grassroots advocacy and public outcry against the bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pulled the proposed legislation from the floor calendar.

I appreciate Majority Leader Reid’s decision to postpone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act. America’s economy thrives on innovation and freedom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Internet policy that could trample on our innovation economy. The American people clearly spoke and their voices were heard. As we move forward, I’ll continue to advocate for a policy that protects both creative content and online freedom of speech.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

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Today was nuts, right?

Google launched a petition.  Wikipedia voted to shut itself off.  Senators’ websites went down just from the sheer surge of voters trying to write them.   NYC and SF geeks had protests that packed city blocks.

You made history today: nothing like this has ever happened before.  Tech companies and users teamed up.  Tens of millions of people who make the internet what it is joined together to defend their freedoms.  The free network defended itself.  Whatever you call it, the bottom line is clear: from today forward, it will be much harder to mess up the internet.

The really crazy part?  We might even win.

Approaching Monday’s crucial Senate vote there are now 35 Senators publicly opposing PIPA.  Last week there were 5.   And it just takes just 41 solid “no” votes to permanently stall PIPA (and SOPA) in the Senate.  What seemed like miles away a few weeks ago is now within reach.

But don’t trust predictions.  The forces behind SOPA & PIPA (mostly movie companies) can make small changes to these bills until they know they have the votes to pass.  Members of Congress know SOPA & PIPA are unpopular, but they don’t understand why–so they’re easily duped by superficial changes.  The Senate returns next week, and the next few days are critical.  Here are two things to think about:

1. Plan on calling your Senator every day next week.  Pick up the phone each morning and call your Senators’ offices, until they vote “no” on cloture.  If your site participated today, consider running a “Call the Senate” link all next week.

2. Tomorrow, drop in at your Senators’ district offices.  We don’t have a cool map widget to show you the offices nearest you (we’re too exhausted! any takers?).  So do it the old fashioned way: use Google, or the phonebook to find the address, and just walk in, say you oppose PIPA, and urge the Senator to vote “no” on cloture.  These drop-in visits make our spectacular online protests more tangible and credible.

That’s it for now. Be proud and stay on it!

–Holmes, Tiffiniy, and the whole Fight for the Future team.


P.S. Huge credit goes to participants in the 11/16 American Censorship Day protest: Mozilla, 4chan, BoingBoing, Tumblr, TGWTG, and thousands of others.  That’s what got this ball rolling!  Reddit, both the community and the team behind it, you’re amazing.  And of course, thanks to the Wikimedians whose patient and inexorable pursuit of the right answer brought them to take world-changing action. Thanks to David S, David K, Cory D, and E Stark for bold action at critical times.

P.P.S. If you haven’t already, show this video to as many people as you can. It works!

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from ThinkGeek:

Last holiday ever?

We had to chuckle when a spam email reminded us that the Mayans predicted we’ll be outta here before the holly daze of 2012. If that’s the case, ThinkGeek is prepared! We’re ready to rock your under-tree zone with gifts for fans of Star Wars, Portal, and bonsai kitties.

And zombie fans, don’t fret. The Walking Dead is gone until February, but we have plenty of undead for you here.

Star Wars Han Solo in Carbonite Chocolate Bar
Taste the rich chocolate bounty. Getting these Han Solo in Carbonite Chocolate Bars shipped in from a galaxy far, far, away took a long, long time, but they’re finally here! Enjoy this rich chocolate bounty from Tatooine’s Tasty Treats. It’s the ultimate delight for Star Wars fans — or anyone who has ever wanted to eat Han Solo, for that matter.

Take $10 Off – Happy Blue Beanie Day!
We hope you used the Thanksgiving break to upgrade the browsers on the computers of your not-so-tech-savvy relations. If you didn’t, please do it next month and make the web designers and code monkeys of the world super duper happy! In honor of Blue Beanie day and web standards, we offer $5 off $30 or $10 off $50 by using the code BLUEBEANIE, good through 11:59pm ET on 12/02/11.

Find more What’s New items at ThinkGeek!

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Anne McCaffrey

News is just beginning to get out that one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey has died. It is my personal belief that she played a massive role in creating the current fascination with, as well as the mythology for, dragons in contemporary literature. Even if you have never read her work, you have felt the impact of it, however unknowing.

I can remember reading the Dragonriders of Pern series when I was a child. Her writing played a large part in my falling in love with science fiction and fantasy novels. Because of authors like her and Piers Anthony, when other little girls were reading Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew, I was poring over my dad’s collection of thousands of science fiction and fantasy novels, discovering classic authors like Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard and contemporary authors such as Arthur C. Clark and L. Sprague DeCamp.

The literary world has suffered a great loss, but her influence will continue to live on for generations.

from Alpha Airlock:

The literary world has lost one of its greats. Anne McCaffrey, the author of nearly 100 science-fiction and fantasy books, died Nov. 21. She was 85.

Random House, her longtime publisher, confirmed her death to Media Bistro on Tuesday.

Reports are that McCaffrey suffered a stroke, and died peacefully in Ireland, which has been her home since 1970.

Born April 1, 1926 in Massachusetts, and began her writing career with the publishing of Restoree by Ballantine Books in 1967. However, she is best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series, which now counts 22 novels and several short stories. Some included her son Todd McCaffrey as an author as well.

Check out the full article published by Alpha Airlock.

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from ThinkGeek:

Has it been that long?

We love bringing you snippets of geek history as part of our newsletters, but sometimes it makes us feel old. Can you believe that the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released exactly ten years ago today? ThinkGeek was just a wee handful of geeks and products back then.

But like young Harry, we’ve only grown more magical as the years have passed. Geeks don’t get old — we get awesome.

Free Shirt with $25 Order!
Deck the Hulls. GET THIS SHIRT FREE NOW! How much would you pay for a shirt that combines the holidays and our favorite low-earth orbit vehicle? $16.99? $17.99? But wait… there’s more! No, actually, there isn’t. Except for the fact that it’s FREE with $25 purchase.

Take $10 Off – It’s-a coupon code!
Happy birthday to Shigeru Miyamoto, the man behind some of our most treasured video games! Without him, we wouldn’t have Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda, or Star Fox. Celebrate his genius by picking up some old school gaming goodies with code MIYAMOTO for $5 off $25+ orders or $10 off $50+ orders, good through 11:59pm ET 11/19/11.

Find more What’s New items at ThinkGeek!

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from ThinkGeek:

Did you see it?

“We are star stuff contemplating star stuff.” So said today’s birthday boy, Carl Sagan, who was born today in 1934.

We were definitely contemplating star stuff when 1,300-foot wide Asteroid 2005 YU55 passed overhead last night and this morning just 0.85 lunar distances from Earth. And we thanked our lucky stars that it won’t collide with the Earth for at least another 100 years, which oddly enough, will be about the next time we have a binary day. Coincidence?

Gingerdead Men Cookie Cutters
Send a message to Santa: You’re next.

Take $10 Off – 01110011011000010111011001100101
Did you know 11/11/11 will be the last binary day of the century? We’ll have to wait until January 1, 2100 for the next one and we’ll probably all be time travelers, zombies, or slain by Skynet by that point. So let’s live for the moment! Use the code BINARYDAY to save $5 off $25+ orders or $10 off $50+ orders, good through 11:59pm ET on 11/11/11.

Find more What’s New items at ThinkGeek!

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from ThinkGeek:

To the moon, Timmy! To the moon!

For a bunch of overgrown monkeys, we’ve come a long way. On this day in 1959, the Soviet Union smacked the side of the moon with the Luna 2 probe, the first man-made object to touch the moon’s surface. 52 years later, we have the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (or GRAIL) heading up to study its interior and gravitational field.

So what’s next? Don’t know about you, but we’re prepping our spacesuits for a Moon Cruise.

Light Up LED Iron Man Shirt
Officially licensed by Marvel. This may look like a standard t-shirt, but it’s actually the Iron Man Mark IX suit. This latest version is much lighter than all previous versions, featuring a flexible interior with knitted cotton exterior. The Iron Man Arc Reactor Shirt has three components: the t-shirt, a light panel with a long cable, and a battery box. When fresh batteries are in the battery box and the unit is switched on, the arc reactor shines brightly. So this particular arc reactor isn’t going to keep shrapnel from working its way into your heart or power your repulsor beams. What do you expect for under $30? A shirt that glows? That, we can provide.

Take $10 off with ZEROCOOL — Hop in the wayback machine!
It’s been nearly 16 years since the movie Hackers was released. That makes some of us feel pretty old. Reminisce about that time in the mid-90s when Macs ran on P6 Intel chips — oh wait, that never actually happened — and use code ZEROCOOL to save $10 off $40+ orders until 11:59pm ET on 9/16/11.

Find more What’s New items at ThinkGeek!

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from GeekChicDaily:

If the phrase “You shall not pass!” reminds you more of Gandalf the Grey throwing down against the Balrog than something you heard from teachers in school, Mythgard Institute may be for you. You can take fully interactive online courses in Tolkien studies. The first class, “The Great Tales: Tolkien and the Epic,” explores Beowulf and other classics that inspired the world of Middle-earth. Did you already get AP credit for that? No worries. Future classes cover C.S. Lewis and modern mythic superstar Harry Potter.

Since the college is online, you won’t be able to stop by the student union for second breakfast. And Peregrin Took’s championship beer pong streak will have to go unchallenged. But not leaving your computer has one big benefit: you’ll never have to see Gimli in a toga.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of reading to do, so lay off the pipe-weed this Labor Day and log on. You can apply for M.A. credit, audit, or if you’re like us, sleep in and grab a friend’s notes later. Maybe a certain gardener can help out? After all, Samwise Gamgee may not be able to carry the course load, but he can carry you.

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from X3 Productions:

There are only a few weeks left to see the exhibition that has fascinated thousands of visitors this summer! Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology will be showing at the Montréal Science Centre only until Sunday, September 18. The world’s favourite archaeologist will soon be leaving our fair city to seek adventure all over the globe for the next six years, including in Europe and Asia.

Opening hours have been extended until 9 p.m. every day (6 p.m. on Sundays) until the exhibition closes — even on Monday, September 5, for the Labour Day holiday! — so that as many people as possible can enjoy this exceptional experience.

So join the adventure and immerse yourself in the work of real superstars of archaeology, as you explore 14 archaeological regions around the world. See how these exceptional figures managed to unlock the mysteries of mythical sites like Machu Picchu (Peru), the vanished civilization of Ankgor Wat (Cambodia), a royal cemetery discovered in the city of Ur, in ancient Mesopotamia, the Nazca lines in Peru, and much more!

Get a free poster with your exhibit ticket!

“The exhibit is a marvel.”
“The Montreal Science Center’s Indiana Jones archaeology exhibit is an Oscar-worthy performance.” The Miami Herald
“This is worth the trip!” CTV News

Don’t Wait in Line
Buy Your Tickets Online!

Game time!
Make sure you bring the whole family, they won’t want to miss out on the extremely popular treasure hunt. Kids of all ages are invited to find and gather clues throughout the exhibition and collect their own artefacts to be included in our virtual exhibit. It is a fun way to learn about the science of field archaeology while playing at being Indiana Jones.

Did you know that your ticket to Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology not only gets you into this exciting adventure but also gives you free access to all four permanent exhibitions at the Montréal Science Centre? That’s what you can call spending quality time with the young ones.

Made possible by Lucasfilm Ltd., presented by the National Geographic Society and produced by Montréal’s X3 Productions, the exhibition is aimed at kids of all ages, Indy fans, history buffs and budding adventurers and explorers.

Exclusive offer: 10% off all entries after 5 p.m.! Get a 10% discount when you buy a ticket at regular price on the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibition. *This offer is valid only at the ticket office of the Montréal Science Centre and for visits from Monday to Saturday after 5 pm, until September 18, 2011. No monetary value, cannot be combined with any other offer, no reservation by phone or online, one coupon per person.
Montreal Science Centre Box Office
2, De la Commune Street West

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