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Slashback: Things, Stuff, Items

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the and-other-assorteds dept.

News 260

Slashback tonight with more on patents, Douglas Adams, and becoming a Jedi in New Zealand. Please read below for the details;)

Fitting tributes? SEWilco writes "New Scientist reports that an asteroid was officially named "18610 Arthurdent" on May 9; it is not known if Douglas Adams heard of it before he died May 11."

And dclydew writes "We at Binary Freedom would like to propose "Towel Day." May 25, two weeks after Douglas Adams' passing, all fans worldwide are encouraged to carry a towel around for the day."

It would be nice to see Thursday renamed as well.

Wait till the Jedi control the Senate. Slightly aging news, but CuriousGeorge113 writes "According to this article, the Australian Government has issued yet another warning to Star Wars fans intent on writing in 'Jedi' as their religion in the upcoming census. It appears that this e-mail is beginning to pick up some steam."

Join the parade. Macki writes "Three weeks ago, Ford Motor Company sued 2600 over a DNS entry pointing at the Ford website. A hearing is set for May 18th in Detroit. Supporters are invited to join a caravan to Detroit that will go through up state New York and Canada in time for the hearing. A motion has already been filed for a protective order from legal shenanigans while in Michigan-- it's a good read and gives a thorough run-down of the case."

Open for the public, yes. Delphion may be about to start charging for certain of its formerly free services, but my note that the USPTO should put more documents on the Web was too harsh. A USPTO employee helpfully wrote:

"The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers the entire USPTO Patent database online for free (we've been doing this for some time now) -- just click any of the Search Patents links to get started.

You can search text for all patents since 1976 and view images of all patents since 1790 (except those files lost in the early Patent Office fires and fractional patents). We have the entire available patent database on line. You will need a TIFF image browser plugin (we offer a link to a free plugin on our site).

We also offer Patent Application Publications online. These are pending patent applications received after the new rules went into effect (from March 15 2001 through the present weekly issue). The database consists of the full text of US published applications (including new utility and plant). The full text of a published application includes all bibliographic data, such as the inventor's name, the published application's title, and the assignee's name, as well as the abstract, the full description of the invention, and the claims. All of the words (text) in the publication are searchable."

Thanks for the information. Sorry for being the source of FUD. Now where are the searchable PDFs? :)

cancel ×


Re:The Ford Suit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220603)

Am I the only one who thinks that Ford should, instead of going to court over this, try building decent cars?

Darth Dundee's Definition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220604)

"There are no strict numerical criteria for a religion, but it must show an underlying belief system or philosophy, underpinned by an organisational structure, the ABS said. The census also recognises non-theistic belief systems such as humanism and rationalism." ... IANAA (I am not an australian), but even though Yoda etc. are fictional charachters, Jedi still easily matches the dictionary definition, as well as the aforementioned one.

Philosophy: Regard for the force as a supreme supernatural power
Organizational Structure: The Jedi Council

Re:I guess we'll never know... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220606)

From a lecture at University of Connecticut by Mr. Adams himself: You can't make a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, since some of the ingredients aren't liquid under earthly conditions. The best approximation is to take one liquor store and pour it into another.

Re:towel day (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#220607)

I'm guessing you weren't known as a ladies' man.

Re:New Zealand != Australia (3)

shogun (657) | more than 13 years ago | (#220612)

And anyway Jedi is a formal religion in Australia: []

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 13 years ago | (#220617)

Lying? Just because I am a non-practising Jedi?

A friend of mine is Jewish, but does not keep kosher, and does not attend Sabbath services. Would he be lying if he put down Jewish on his census form?

What about those Christians of various denominations who do not go to church?

You can bet that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of people who will claim to be one religion or another, yet do not practise their professed religion.

Nope, Jedi it is!

Kudos to timothy (2)

Moonwick (6444) | more than 13 years ago | (#220619)

Unlike another certain /. editor, he has the balls to admit when he screwed up.

michael, perhaps you should learn from this example.

Re:FP (1)

pen (7191) | more than 13 years ago | (#220620)

I used mine for taking off the cap off a hot radiator. Would've gotten shot in the head with the cap otherwise. Lots of pressure in that sucker. I still got sprayed with the hot radiator water though.


Re:Why NOT Jedi? (4)

artdodge (9053) | more than 13 years ago | (#220621)

As far as I can tell, Christianity and 'Jedism' would follow extremely similiar belief systems.
Of the good you speak. But what say you of the dark side, Hmmmmm? Jedi and Sith, two sides of the same coin they are!

Re:government curiosity (1)

Wench (9309) | more than 13 years ago | (#220622)

Well, if you are Australian, you don't have to answer this question. All the others are required, this one is optional. Depends if you want to proclaim it.

Personally I have no intention to claim to be a Jedi, since I'm not. And I have no problem ticking the "no religion" box.

The statistics are not frivolous curiosity. They are used seriously - to develop policy on funding schools & hospitals & all sorts of other stuff. Low level policy analysts usually try their best to work out where the population is that needs the schools etc. Then the politicians usually sneak in and screw it up :)

Volume of patents? (5)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 13 years ago | (#220625)


Any estimates on the size of the USPTO's patent database? If it's something that could reasonably fit on a few hundred CDROMs, it might be worth asking them to think about distributing it.

Having an on-site copy of the database for searching and data-mining at your local university or large company's library would raise very interesting applications. Write the correct tools, and you could easily see what the state-of-the-IP-art is in any given field, and I'm sure that organizations like the EFF would like an easier way to peer-review the patent database, too.

OTOH, if you'd need the proverbial 747 full of CDs, this wouldn't be practical.

listening to host headers (2)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 13 years ago | (#220626)

There is a nice little trick that http 1.1 allows called listening for host headers.

This trick can be used to not serve a document to a request with an invalid host header. Or to redirect the request. Or to do any number of things, for example, point the request to slashdot, which is hopefully listening for invalid host headers and redirecting those requests to trolldot.

It's really not a big deal. Even IIS includes the ability to do this.

This whole lawsuit is clueless, and hopefully the judge hasn't been bought and will throw it out immediately upon learning that Ford had options other than a lawsuit.

Damn well bring a towel. (1)

Requiem (12551) | more than 13 years ago | (#220631)

Sorry, but a washcloth doesn't cut it. I'm carrying a towel on the 25th, regardless.

Re:I guess we'll never know... (1)

Malic (15038) | more than 13 years ago | (#220633)

Though discussion of alcohol on \. is something that could start problems, I'll do it anyway. There are lots of recipes for the Pan-Galatic Gargle Blaster. The one that I heard was...
  • 1 2-liter bottle of 7-up
  • 1 bottle Everclear
  • 1 bottle Southern Comfort
  • 1 1/2 gallon of your favorite sherbert
Mix. Drink in Dixie cups. Quickly. Lest the wax holding them together melts...

Re:New Zealand != Australia (5)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 13 years ago | (#220635)

What I find shocking/funny is that someone pointing out that New Zealand and Australia are two different countries is considered +5 insightful! (and that its necessary at all!)

I guess now its "News for Nerds, and Computer Folks Who Never Looked at a Globe".

Next up: Georgia! It's both a state AND a country!


Slightly OT, concerning towels (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#220637)

I am currently reading "Speaker for the Dead," and noticed that Ender clearly knows where his towel is.

Back on topic, I for one will have my towel with me on May 25, with my name proudly displayed in old, unravelling embroidery.


Re:New Zealand != Australia (1)

LL (20038) | more than 13 years ago | (#220641)

I believe the relationship (w.r.t sports and other lethal matters) can be summed up as
"NZ will fight anyone in the world to be the first to beat Australia"

Great moments of esteem and affection :-) can be found by periodic (every day or so) reference to underarm bowling, west island, etc ...


"yet another warning"? (1)

MortimerK (22530) | more than 13 years ago | (#220644)

Uh, no. It's the same warning. The Jedi article is dated 19th April.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (4)

skribe (26534) | more than 13 years ago | (#220648)

P.S.- In America denying someone the chance to put down their religion, whatever it is, would be unconstituational.. is something like this the case in Australia?

I believe this is the relevant article in the Australian Consitution:

116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

DP (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#220650)

So I should have my handheld's screen saver be "Don't Panic!" on May 25th...

Re:Volume of patents? (3)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 13 years ago | (#220652)

Well, the patent disc prices [] are low enough that there can't be too many discs in the set.

Re:To all bloats thinking about putting Jedi down. (5)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 13 years ago | (#220654)

so, the Oz government is really saying "I find your choice of faith... disturbing."?


Why put Jedi as religion.. (2)

MrCreosote (34188) | more than 13 years ago | (#220655)

When you could be a follower of The Invisible Pink Unicorn [] (blessed be her hooves)

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (2)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 13 years ago | (#220660)

Yes, YOU ARE, you can't say you're a practising Jedi, light sabres just don't exist (unfortunatly... ;)

...and according to Episode 1, you'd have to have a particular level of midichlorians in your blood? If you don't have them, the Jedi Council won't train you, therefore you are not a Jedi.

Maybe you can apply with the Sith? I hear they're hiring.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (5)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 13 years ago | (#220662)

No, no... the really disturbing part is

"Yes, of course they're anonymous. Unless we don't like the answers, then we hunt you down and fine the shit out of you."

Anyone else notice this bit? Isn't there something very, very wrong with looking at census results before stripping off the identifying information?

-grendel drago

The Ford Suit (3)

Thalia (42305) | more than 13 years ago | (#220663)

I agree with 2600 that Ford should've asked them nicely first, to remove the pointer of On the other hand, I can understand Ford's point of view. How would you feel if someone pointed the URL of allslashottersareassholes at your site? The problem is that people who see this pointer will assume that Ford owns the site. Yes, people are that stupid. So Ford's just trying to protect itself... not in the smartest way possible, but still reasonably.

As a side note, doing a car caravan to protest actions by a car manufacturer is a fairly bizarre idea, isn't it? Why not do a bicycle rally instead? It might hurt Ford more...


Re:The Ford Suit (1)

aufait (45237) | more than 13 years ago | (#220664)

The first isn't a copyright violation because you didn't COPY anything. You merely pointed the user to it.

I haven't read the court papers. But, I am sure they filed under some law other than copyright. My guess would be misrepresentation or fraud since it might appear to a user that Ford sanctioned the domain name.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

cafeman (46922) | more than 13 years ago | (#220665)

The ABS looks at the census data prior to anonymising to prevent people falsifying information and to make sure information has been entered correctly. Once all the data is confirmed, they strip all identifying information unless you specify that you're willing to have your personal details revealed after a waiting period (in the order of 100 years) to aid researchers and academics. If you're outside the ABS, you can't get access to the identifying information. Once the data has been confirmed, the identifying information is permantently stripped (unless you specify otherwise).

No problems with confidentiality.

Jedi and the Census - the real deal (5)

cafeman (46922) | more than 13 years ago | (#220672)

Unlike most people here, I actually contacted the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics, the organisation that does the census to ask about this. The $1,000 fine for putting false information on the census is an actual penalty. The key issue, though, is knowingly providing false or misleading information. You don't have to answer the religion question if you don't want to. However, if you do ansewr it, you must answer truthfully. Jedi would be a legitimate answer if you can demonstrate a clear belief structure or if you can show that you try to live your life according to those precepts.

The information about religion is used by the government for distribution of funds. For example, a area surveyed with a high number of Orthodox Jews will see a lot of community funding going to Orthodox Synagogues. People who deliberately falsify their religion interferes with this process (making it more difficult for the ABS, which is only trying to do their best).

This isn't a case of 'the man' trying to shut people down. It's a case of a bunch of idiots thinking they're protesting (because they received chain mail that's been circultating since the NZ census - duh) when all they're actually doing is screwing up funding for other people in their community. If you don't want to answer, don't. What's the point? It doesn't matter how many people put Jedi down, it's not recognised as a religion. Before the devil's advocates come out the woodwork, it is not a religion that people currently follow. People could probably build a belief structure around it, but I doubt you could show active Jedi belief. You might as well say Trekkies are religious.

For the record, the person I spoke to at the ABS was very helpful and friendly.

You can't calim jedi unless (4)

stienman (51024) | more than 13 years ago | (#220677)

your midichlorian count is above 250.



Honk if you've never seen a bazooka fired out a car window.
This sig 80% recycled bits, 20% post user.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 13 years ago | (#220679)

What's Imperialism the opposite of?

Use the Force to Mod this up! (nt) (2)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 13 years ago | (#220680)


I've just invented the light sabre! (2)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 13 years ago | (#220681)

Though not impossible, it is improbable that a fully-functioning light sabre will appear in front of me.

Re:I don't know what all the ruckus about "jedi" i (4)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 13 years ago | (#220682)

I dunno. I think ethnicity is kinda cool. I like learning about other people's cultures. I'd hate for those cultures to suddenly melt into one.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

glebfrank (58922) | more than 13 years ago | (#220684)

In America denying someone the chance to put down their religion, whatever it is, would be unconstituational.. is something like this the case in Australia?

If their legal system is based on the British, they might not even have a constitution.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

glebfrank (58922) | more than 13 years ago | (#220685)

I don't know if you are being a troll or just plain ignorant.

Australian Constitution.

That site (found in 5 seconds with Google) seems to have many constitutions of many nations listed, and it might be worth a read next time you feel like insulting some country you know nothing about.

Not all countries have constitutions. Great Britain, for example, does just fine without one.

Thus suggesting that a country doesn't have a constitution does not constitute an insult to that country. Why are you so defensive? I don't have anything against au.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 13 years ago | (#220687)

Lying? Just because I am a non-practising Jedi?

No, lying because you are not a Jedi. While Xtianity might be based on fiction, we know that Jedi do not exist and have never existed.

If I asked you what color your hair was and you answered "blue," it would be true if your hair was blue, but not any other time. Now, the difference is, there is the possibility that your hair is blue, but zero possibility that you are a jedi.

Religion isn't a special category where a new religion pops into existance just because you decide that it might be funny or cool to consider yourself a member. If you can decide that you are a Jedi, then I can decide that I am a pink unicorn and that "pink unicornness" is my religion.

Religion is a deeply held system of beliefs, not semantic tomfoolery.

On 2600 (3)

joq (63625) | more than 13 years ago | (#220689)

Join the parade. Macki writes "Three weeks ago, Ford Motor Company sued 2600 over a DNS entry pointing at the Ford website.

Lets get some facts straight here. This is slander which is illegal, not only that but it is a waste of Ford's resources via way of bandwidth which is unfair. Aside from that 2600 may be whoring themselves in too broad fashions nowadays to make some outrageous statements for "the cause" well which cause of Hacking/Phreaking does General Motors fall into?

2600 which is a semi good magazine should be a slight bit more responsible with their actions, especially now that they're under the gun with e DVD case. I believe they should have the right to say whatever they want, its an Amendment, but they have no right to point Fuckgeneralmotors at Ford's website. I'm sure Ford never authorized it. They should have just created a virtual directory on their own sites with their own petty propaganda.

What if it were Apple making a "FuckLinux" website which pointed to Microsoft? I'm sure they'd be an uproar.

Get responsible 2600

Such a specific title! (1)

baitisj (64922) | more than 13 years ago | (#220691)

You know, the name of this article's title: "Slashback: Things, Stuff, Items" reminds me of the folders that I see in my home directory:


"Web journalists": one part lazy, one part journalist.

May the Force be with you... (1)

deblau (68023) | more than 13 years ago | (#220693)

Anyone given any thought to putting together an organizational hierarchy down under? I think the common beliefs and doctrines are pretty obvious... at least obvious enough to anyone who's seen The Trilogy enough times :)

Any takers? Anyone humble enough to be on the Council? Should we hold elections?

Yoda was played by Frank Oz. There are no coincidences...

Re:The Ford Suit (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 13 years ago | (#220695)

How about something like this? []

Re:I guess we'll never know... (2)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 13 years ago | (#220699)

As someone pointed out, it's in Ottawa :)

That aside, last time I was there, it was an ... erm ... interesing experience. I seem to recall a fair bit of leather, whips, body paint and bikers.

Just to warn all you geeks out there; don't show up in slacks :)

Barclay family motto:
Aut agere aut mori.
(Either action or death.)

Re:Volume of patents? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 13 years ago | (#220700)

That, and they appear to be DVDs. :)

New Zealand is to Australia (1)

hengist (71116) | more than 13 years ago | (#220701)

what England is to Russia.

It is almost 1,200 miles from the nearest point of New Zealand to the nearest point of Australia.

You would hope people at /. would be able to read a freakin' map.

To all bloats thinking about putting Jedi down... (5)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#220704)

Your sad devotion to that ancient religion hasn't conjured up the stolen data plans nor given you clairvoyance enough to find the location of the rebel's hidden forghhghhhg.

Re:The Ford Suit (2)

jesser (77961) | more than 13 years ago | (#220705)

What's the difference between pointing my DNS to your server and copying your entire web site onto my web server? The second is clearly a trademark and copyright violation, so why isn't the first?

Re:If you really want to do it... (1)

SLot (82781) | more than 13 years ago | (#220707)

Why not just put Subgenius [] ? Believe whatever you want, and for only 30 bucks US, you won't be pink to Bob. That's important when the saucers land and you want your reserved seat.

I don't know what all the ruckus about "jedi" is (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 13 years ago | (#220709)

It's the same fight over race questions on census forms. I've been checking "other" and writing in "human" on surveys and other forms since age 14. That pisses the bean counters to no end, but I don't identify with any race/ethnic group OTHER than "human", so they can go fook themselves.

The only documents I've checked a predefined box on are documents that could have gotten me turned down for a security clearance or tossed in jail for failing to obey a direct order. But if they don't specifically tell me to check one specific box on any given form...

Other: Human

Begin Mushy Philosophy.

It's about time more people start identifying with ALL of their fellow humans, not just the few that come from the same place or look the same, or worship exactly the same. (What about running the same operating system?) That's one of the joys of working in the military... The diversity and "brotherhood" at work is rather refreshing after watching petty little race/ethnic/gang wars on TV every night.

End Mushy Philosophy, resume Rabble Rousing.

The Jedi thing down under is just another good step in the fight against the bean counters who feel the need to keep everyone in their separate little worlds, each with their separate, special needs. That kind of enforced stereotyping will keep racial/religious/ethnic groups at each others throats forever. Maybe that's what they want, because they have big government programs devoted to endlessly "solving" them forever? I simply can't believe that's the right answer.

Re:I don't know what all the ruckus about "jedi" i (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 13 years ago | (#220710)

You're right, I don't want ethnic differences to go away, I just don't think that going out of our way to point out these differences is very productive. The purpose of the census is to determine who gets what amount of money, and rather than that money being spread by need (for example), it is being influenced by people's faith, skin color, or ethnic background.

That just encourages divisions and barriers between the various groups. I'm 100% for diversity and I think healthy interaction between groups is great. Collecting government statistics about groups that are separated by only superficial differences, then making policy based on those statistics, just doesn't make any sense to me.

It's bad enough when one religious group feels the need to stomp on another group, and it's worse when the government goes out of it's way to highlight that the groups are, and always will be, exclusive separate parts.

My partial solution - make an honest effort to actually BELIEVE that we're all part of the same human race. Force our politicians to deal with us on that basis rather than on our faith or whatever other groupings they want to stick us in.

towel day (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 13 years ago | (#220711)

for about 5 months in junior highschool i carried a not only a towel, but a fully loaded satchle, among other things containing all 5 books in the series, a cricket corkie, a t-82 graphing calculator with "don't panic" airbrushed on the cover, and a star atlas. I'm not sure were i got the cricket corkie...i've never been to england.

One Word (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#220713)


Re:towel day (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 13 years ago | (#220719)

for about 5 months in junior highschool i carried a not only a towel, but a fully loaded satchle, among other things containing all 5 books in the series, a cricket corkie, a t-82 graphing calculator with "don't panic" airbrushed on the cover, and a star atlas.

A TI-82 graphing calculator? Why, you must be a young 'un -- it was nothing but TI-59s in my H2G2 days. Can we let you into the H2G2 club?

Disclosure time...Do you work for Ford? (2)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 13 years ago | (#220720)

Geeze -- to think that people would confuse as a domain name owned by general motors, and to further still describe Ford's actions as "reasonable"... ..hey wwaaaaitasec here.... I've been gobbled up by the ford troll!

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#220721)

Yes, if it truly was a practised religion then it would be fair to be written on the census. But this really is just a bunch of people with no beliefs trying to 'beat the system'.

(I kind-of ranted this in the reply below too...)

Re:New Zealand != Australia (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#220722)

New Zealand is to Australia as Canada is to the United States...

...except New Zealand has sheep insted of beavers.


Re:Why NOT Jedi? (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#220723)

I don't know if you are being a troll or just plain ignorant.

Australian Constitution [] .

That site (found in 5 seconds with Google [] ) seems to have many constitutions of many nations listed, and it might be worth a read next time you feel like insulting some country you know nothing about.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#220724)

The law is that you must put accurate information onto the census sheet.

Yes, people are constitutionally free to practise whatever religion they choose, however 'Jedi' is not a religion, but a fictional way of life from an 20 year old trilogy of films. So, if you put it on the census, you are lying. Yes, YOU ARE, you can't say you're a practising Jedi, light sabres just don't exist (unfortunatly... ;)

And sorry about the original angry reply, I just haven't had enough caffeine today I think ;)

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (5)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#220725)

But it's just a battle to 'beat the law'. Everyone knows that people don't practise Jedi as a religion, and that it was merly the name from Star Wars.

If there were really a group of people, however small, following 'Jedi' then it should be (and would be) allowed on the census. But there is not; there is simply a bunch of people that think a stupid stunt like this is 'beating the system'.

Re:FP (1)

Scooter[AMMO] (98851) | more than 13 years ago | (#220730)

<chuckle>. While this would be neat, it was the actual Hitchhikers Guide that Ford Prefect carried that had the words "Don't Panic".

It might be cute to walk around with one of those on towel day as well, though :) ...

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#220737)

And, arguably, Christianity is a fictional way of life from a 2000 year old set of scrolls written by some people who had a real fondness for mushrooms and wine. What's your point? In other words, prove to me that Jesus was ressurected, and I'll prove to you that these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Hah. Politics in everything! :-) (1)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 13 years ago | (#220744)

I agree with you. This "freedom of religion" thing that Americans enjoy is meant to keep the government's nose out of arguments for or against religion. I think we also need a "freedom of ethnicity", just to end all this 'racial' (that's a misnomer) crap that the entire world has to deal with. Can't people just understand that we're all people, regardless of heritage, gender, religion, politics, etc? Perhaps compromise would be easier if they/we would...

Towel! (3)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 13 years ago | (#220746)

I think that many of us will be greatly surprised to see how many people actually support "Towel Day" in remembrance of Douglas Adams. I also think that we won't be greatly surprised by the Australian government's refusal to acknowledge "the Force" as a genuine religion. Sorry, Yoda is not your god.

Although that would have been a great twist for Adams to have thrown into one of his stories...

Hail Eris (1)

Marticus (128290) | more than 13 years ago | (#220747)

What about discordianism? That's a religion based on tomfoolery where you are forbidden from believing the tenets.

sad (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 13 years ago | (#220755)

Its pretty damn sad that you could base your so called religion from a movie made in the early 80's. I mean seriously, get over it. It was all a money making scheme by lucas. Don't believe me? Look at the prequels, the merchandising, the advertising, you name it. Your religion is nothing more than the fictional stories of a rich hollywood movie maker.

So whats the deal with jedi in australia? Write in fuckyou for the religion line, what can they do?

already done (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 13 years ago | (#220761)

while literature can often be a poor substitute for a picture, or even video (a picture is worth a thousand words), a video can also be a poor substitute for literature. Upon finding out about the death of Douglas Adams, my friends and I got out our trusty towels, and hung them from our sunroofs, windows, and tailgates as we caravaned slowly with our lights on to blockbuster with black arm bands, rented the hitch hiker's guide to the galaxy (two cassetes!), and retired to john to watch the 3 hour epic.

somewhat depressing was the starwars-ish intro, written by
Douglas Adams, and john speaks out "words from the grave." We all sat in silence as the rest of the "inspiring" words scrolled into the inky blue vastness of space (old 80's VHS color deterioration). They're alright movies. Check em' out sometime.

A great man, no doubt. I'm curious as to what his gravestone will have on it.

"So long and thanks for all the fish"

, no doubt.

Re:I guess we'll never know... (3)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 13 years ago | (#220765)

Well, while it is not with the late Adams' approval, I believe there is a bar in Montreal called Zaphod Beeblebrox's, and of course they serve a drink they'd like to call the pan-galactic gargle-blaster. It is simply a shot from every bottle of hard liquor on the shelf poured into a very tall glass. Personally, I figure a pan-galactic gargle blaster is pure ethyl alcohol with LSD and a thimbleful of pear-flavouring. I'm more interested in how to make a martimmy anyways.

Re:The Ford Suit (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 13 years ago | (#220771)

>The second is clearly a trademark and copyright violation, so why isn't the first?

To violate copyright you must copy something, that's why. In the same manner, to violate trademark law you must use the company trademark, which, in this case, is Ford, on a product similar to something they have the trademark registered for. That's why I seem to recall there being more than one company called Acme, although I bet they all have that name trademarked for the purposes of what they are selling.

I don't think you can't just say "I sell everything" unless you do. I may be wrong, but I think you can lose your trademark if you don't actively defend it, or actively make product under its name.

Does Ford sell Unlawful Carnal Knowledge? If not, I'm not so sure they deserve to win this case, but IANAL, so who knows? :-D (IANAL, get it? Oh boy, it's been way too long a night for that...)

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

sjwt (161428) | more than 13 years ago | (#220775)

There a requirments that have to be
gone though to be consided a religion in

IIRC you must have at lest 500 members,
they must of been practince once a week
for no less then 3 years..

You must also have your canon submited,
and it must in no way contradict with any
australian law..

probly a few other thigns too

I don't get it (1)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 13 years ago | (#220776)

Is there a hidden message in there that "Slashdot is About to Start Charging?

I can see it now... (4)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 13 years ago | (#220785)

Anybody want to take bets on when 18610 Arthurdent will be demolished in order to make room for the Mars-Jupiter expressway?


Re:I guess we'll never know... (2)

grammar nazi (197303) | more than 13 years ago | (#220791)

What about a Jynnan tonnyx, geeN'N-T'N-ix, jinond-o-nix, chinanto/mnigs, or a tzjin-anthonyu-ks? Does this bar serve any or all of these??

Re:New Zealand != Australia (1)

Lieutenant Kije (207553) | more than 13 years ago | (#220792)

Sorry 'bout that, but this has been the first chance that I've had in ages to get a point in first before the massed hordes, and I couldn't resist doing my bit to counter the American dominance of /.

New Zealand != Australia (3)

Lieutenant Kije (207553) | more than 13 years ago | (#220793)

As a New Zealander I should point out that New Zealand and Australia are not the same place. The suggestion that they are is one that people in both countries would find equally offensive ... :-) We've had our census recently and I believe there was a similiar move to make/prevent Jedi being recorded as a religion.

Re:Volume of patents? (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#220794)

Unless you could patent a way to get that much bandwidth from them to you....

Re:towel day (1)

vistas (214241) | more than 13 years ago | (#220795)

I'm guessing you weren't known as a ladies' man. Please, someone moderate that up!!!

Re:Volume of patents? (1)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 13 years ago | (#220797)

well, there is a company ( ) that has a searchable patent db - but it does not include everything. and I can tell you that their non-free db is ~4TB. and am told that it will grow to ~9TB in the next 6 months.

I think it mostly has tech related patents. so I am sure that the uspto db is *large*

and even still several hundred cds would be a lot of plastic.

what would nice is if the offered it in an indexed format. i.e patents *mostly* relating to computers etc... that way they could dist. but I wouldnt hafta subscribe to all the furniture patents, etc.

Re:Deja vu all over again (4)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220807)

Does anyone else remember this game or should I just check myself into a "home" (as my wife has threatened to do to me recently)?

It did exist, we all loved it (that damned babel fish!), and you can play a java version of it here. []

For the Goatse-paranoid, that's

Re:The Ford Suit (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220808)

The fact that people are stupid should regulate the rules of the domain name system? Then we should certainly do away with .org and .net, as they seem to confuse people tremendously. Further, if a person with the same name as a celebrity has a website using their name, then they should immediately turn the domain over to said celebrity. God forbid people have to think!

Re:On 2600 (3)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 13 years ago | (#220810)

Slander is "oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation" (emphasis mine). You're thinking libel, unless the web page talks. Libel is "A false publication in writing, printing, or typewriting or in signs or pictures that maliciously damages a person's reputation". However, the Supreme court has determined that OPINION is protected by the 1st Amendment. is OPINION, not FACT and is not presented as fact, therefore it fails to meet the legal requirements to be libel or slander. There are several "Linux sucks" websites and I for one think that the people who run them have every right to express their opinion.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220812)

Sorry if I offended you, but I was just throwing a thought out, definitely not trolling.

It was just to provoke discussion, not be taken as absolute truth.

One thing I'd like to point out is I put it in a question. If I said, 'Australia's consitution prevents this, otherwise they're the most...' that would be an insult.

Just clarifying.
------------------------------------- -

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220813)

Don't worry about the first comment, I completely understand.

My original thought was not that people actually used the force and lightsabers (as cool as that would be) in this religion, but could do whatever they wanted. I think I remember on the original site linked that to be recognized as a religion it had to have 10,000 people (?) and have a set value base. Well, I don't know if 10,000 people would say this is their religion, but the value base is definitely there, and documented throughout four movies. Also, 'Jedi' could be your name for your beliefs because you feel that living like a 'Good Jedi' is the path to salvation. So one is not necessarily lying about one's religion.

BTW, Buddhism is also vaguely related to Jedism (Lucas, I guess, borrowed liberally from many religions) because of the belief in an all-encompassing 'Force'. Buddhists call this 'Ultimate Reality' if I remember correctly. The point of these examples is also to prove that one could even conclude that Jedism is the best mix of multiple religions. Hypothetically speaking for all of this, of course.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220814)

Well, obviously the flip side of Christianity is Satanism! (Which obviously nobody condones).

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220815)

But doesn't it seem weird that if a heretofore unnamed group of people (not necessarily organized) decided to put this down they suddenly couldn't? Now this specific instance is a joke, but it sets a bad precedent... IMHO, a government shouldn't usually allow people to do one thing but then change its mind because it's a 'joke'.

What if the gov't. decided a vote for Ralph Nader was a joke because he didn't have a chance of winning? Bad idea. Very bad.

Re:Why NOT Jedi? (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220816)

Self-Determination. Imperialism being one country having colonies, self-determination letting them decide what they wanted to be.

Why NOT Jedi? (3)

Omerna (241397) | more than 13 years ago | (#220817)

If they won't let someone put Jedi, why do they let people put Christian? Muslim? Jewish? All of these religions are recognized by some people, while others think the whole religion is full of it. Just because a few government officials don't think that 'Jedi' counts as a religion doesn't mean that it's NOT a religion.

On a side note, it's not like even following the 'Jedi Code' would get one locked up! As far as I can tell, Christianity and 'Jedism' would follow extremely similiar belief systems. Nobody (well, a very small minority) would say that Christianity encourages bad things- murder, rape, etc. Jedism wouldn't either. If I lived in Australia you can bet I'd put Jedi!

P.S.- In America denying someone the chance to put down their religion, whatever it is, would be unconstituational.. is something like this the case in Australia?

Re:I guess we'll never know... (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 13 years ago | (#220821)

Yeah, I got all excited because I am going to Montreal tomorrow, I was going to stop by and have a drink to Mr. Adams' memory... but alas, Ottawa is a bit too far out of my way.

Re:government (3)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 13 years ago | (#220832)

How many people really would fill in Jedi as their religion if their religion meant anything to them?

Well, my religion means something to me (I'm Council President at my church), but my government's curiosity means little to me, and their need to know my religious beliefs means nothing to me. To the contrary, any government's request to know my religious beliefs offends me, and I would gladly enter "Jedi" or just leave the form blank.

Deja vu all over again (3)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 13 years ago | (#220833)

My wife gave me a copy of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide" for an anniversary present many years ago. Upon learning of his death, I went to the library and pulled it down from the shelf and blew off the dust to look at it one more time.

The illustration on the jacket ignited a few brain cells that I thought I had long ago killed with alcohol, and memories of my Commodore-64 days rushed through what is left of my brain. I recalled a "Hitchhiker" game for the C-64 that I had nearly completely forgotten. I vaguely remember being Zaphod and Ford and every other character in the book, saving the universe and everything in 64 k-bytes through a text interface.

Does anyone else remember this game or should I just check myself into a "home" (as my wife has threatened to do to me recently)?

Re:The Ford Suit (2)

nfras (313241) | more than 13 years ago | (#220838)

Funnily enough, 2600 had their domain name hacked at NSI. I have lost the story url but it seems that over the past year persons unknown have hacked into NSI system and removed from the database. It was then registered by another company.
You can check their version of the story out at [] . They don't mention the fact that it was hijacked, but then, if you were a hacker group and had your domain name hacked, would you let the world know. I submitted the story, but it was rejected (as usual). (2)

helphelphelphelphelp (318785) | more than 13 years ago | (#220844)

2600 like to provoke big corporation it don't like, for example they got heat on it but it's still up. If they have to take down the site because of the name what happen to free speech which 2600 lives for. If you are in the New York area listen to 2600 show it interesting it is broadcasted on wbai on wednesdays.

Towel? (1)

SiMac (409541) | more than 13 years ago | (#220847)

I'd like to carry around a towel May 25, but I'm not sure that my teachers would understand. Do you think it's okay if I carry around a washcloth in my pocket instead?


Religion=Jedi? (3)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 13 years ago | (#220848)

Why throw a hissy-fit over it? There are far more kookier religions out there that are "legitimate."


Re:If you really want to do it... (1)

Supa Mentat (415750) | more than 13 years ago | (#220850)

I agree completely. Did it seem like I was saying anything contrary to that?

If you really want to do it... (4)

Supa Mentat (415750) | more than 13 years ago | (#220851)

Put Transcendentalism as your religion. The whole Jedi system is a direct rip off (not that it's a bad thing) of Transcendentalism. Some may argue that Transcendentalism isn't a religion (I agree with them) but hey it's as close as you can come to putting Jedi. Seriously, read "Self Reliance" by Ralph Waldon Emerson, it's a great read and you'll start seeing the references there are to it everywhere in society. "The Force" is really the "Oversoul," and then there's the whole, "evil is simply a lack of good," thing. I could go on for hours, but I did that for English class already, so I'll spare you.

Re:FP (1)

kalashnikov556 (442006) | more than 13 years ago | (#220852)

What would really be useful is a towel with DON'T PANIC on it in large, friendly letters. It would provide both physical and psychological comfort.

Is there anyplace you can get custom printed towels?

Just put Pagan (1)

kalashnikov556 (442006) | more than 13 years ago | (#220853)

Technically that covers everything except christianity, yet they can't prohibit, or not count it, because its also used as a general term for Wicca, Asatru etc. which are definitely real religions.

If I found this domain (1)

Tachys (445363) | more than 13 years ago | (#220854)

I probably would have just assumed General Motors owned it. I mean remember when George W. Bush brought all those domains like They all point to the GWB web site. If I had found this domain name some other way I would have assumed General Motors was trying to pull the same thing.

I guess we'll never know... (1)

reposter (450888) | more than 13 years ago | (#220857)

The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
(Score:5, Funny)
by phossie

What is the origin of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, and how would you make one on Earth?

I need to know.


Unfortunately there are a number of environmental and weapons treaties and laws of physics which prevent one being mixed on Earth. Sorry.

Re:If you really want to do it... (1)

hyehye (451759) | more than 13 years ago | (#220859)

Emerson eh? I shall quote:

great works of art have no more more affecting lesson for us than this: they teach us to abide by our sponaneous impression with good-humoured inflexibility than most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.

--- ralph waldo emerson, 'self-reliance', 1841
[emphasis mine]

The point is, think for yourself... well, see sig. Anything can be a religion, if it is 'right' for that particular person. Who is to judge what constitutes a real belief for another person? We will all have our own opinions, as well we should, but an opinion cannot condemn someone. Of course, this is a joke down in Australia, but so what? Technically, the government has every moral responsibility to uphold the citizenry's freedom of choice and expression. If they choose a Hollywood creation as their religion, so be it. If they choose to express whatever idea they deem necessary, by a civil act such as this, that is within their rights.

Re:On 2600 (1)

disgorged_fetus (452072) | more than 13 years ago | (#220860)

I don't know the law very well but how is this slander? I mean, there are sites like etc, so having the domain name itself doesn't seem like the problem. Is it the fact that people will think that ford paid for the domain name?

Fuck all the consequences, can't afford to care

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