Pakistan Cuts Mobile Phone Service in Major Cities Following String of BombingsThe government of Pakistan and mobile phone carriers in the country have cut cellular service in major cities like Quetta and Karachi in the wake of a string of terrorist bombings that have shaken the country. It' the second time this month the government has attempted to disrupt communications between terrorists by taking the rather drastic step of eliminating cell phone coverage to wide swathes of the nation's urban centers.Read on...
Pakistan Stalls Plan to Ban “Obscene” Words in Text Messages
Pakistan recently announced a bold plan to start filtering text messages and censoring them for obscene words. In addition to censoring the obscene words, it seemed like it was part of the plan to censor words that might be obscene in a weird parallel universe, filthy slurs like "mango," "athlete's foot," and the dreaded "kmart." Of course, in addition to the funny ones, Pakistan intended to ban some more truly controversial (but understandble) words such as "Jesus Christ" and any reference to sexual orientation or sex in general. That includes "deeper."Read on...
Pakistan Threatens to Ban YouTube, Google
Not content with simply banning online encryption, Pakistan is now issuing an ultimatum of sorts that could end with Google and YouTube being banned in the country. The threat came from Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who called on the website to work more closely with terrorism investigations lest they be blocked inside the country. Malik is quoted as saying that terrorist groups are using online resources to share information, though he did not elaborate on what kind of information and how it was used. Nor did he explain how YouTube and Google were being used by terrorist groups, or what role they would play in any investigations. Interestingly, Malik also indicated that legal action may be taken against the administrator of Google Pakistan. While Google has been enormously successful, it has struggled with operating in other countries. While this may turn out to simply be the threats of one man and not the intent of the Pakistani government, Google might could have a growing fiasco on their hands. (Times of India via Hacker News)Read on...
Millions of Spiders Blanket Entire Trees in Webs [Pics]
Here's a delightful morning snack: When Pakistan experienced severe flooding last year, it had the unexpected and rather creepy-crawly side effect of driving millions upon millions of spiders to the trees, where they could escape the floodwater. Since the flooding lasted for such a long time, many trees became blanketed in thick layers of web.
But according to the UK government, which assisted in the flood release effort this may have actually had a positive health effect: On-the-ground reports suggest that there are fewer mosquitos than would have been expected after the influx of so much stagnant water. This, in turn, may have reduced the very real risk of malaria to local populations afflicted with flooding. The web-coated trees, however, remain scary-looking.
More photos of creepy, antimalarial trees below:Read on...
“Girls Suck at Video Games”: The Video Game: The VideoFrench animator Stéphanie Mercier has released a humorous animation titled "Girls Suck at Video Games." Don't be fooled by the title: It's a clever little ditty about how life can be tough for a woman who has to juggle a career and a baby-in-stomach -- presented in a SNES-like video game format. It brings me back to the days of Super Mario World and other side-scrollers I played as a kid, like The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (just me?). What is it with the French, their preoccupation with sex/gender, and clever old-school-video-game-esque animations (warning: link NSFW)? Video after the jump.Read on...
Pakistani Lawyer Calls for the Execution of Mark Zuckerberg
Social media and execution seem to be dancing hand-in-hand today, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and cohorts find themselves the subjects of investigation regarding blasphemy against the Islam founder Muhammad.
The Register reports that lawyer Muhammad Azhar Siddique filed an application last month to launch a First Information Report on the Facebook-hosted "Draw Muhammad" page. Most contemporary Sunni Muslims forbid visual depictions of the prophet. If Zuckerberg, his fellow co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, and "Andy," the German woman who initiated the contest, are charged as criminals under a section of the Pakistan Penal Code prohibiting "use of derogatory remark etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet," they would hypothetically face life imprisonment or, worse, the death penalty.Read on...
Pakistan Court Orders Facebook Block Over Muhammed Caricature Group
Everybody Draw Muhammed Day, a satirical protest movement dreamt up in response to the outrage over a South Park episode in which the prophet Muhammed was depicted in a bear costume, has itself led to far greater fallout than anyone might have expected: Now, a court in Pakistan has ordered Facebook to be blocked over an "Everybody Draw Muhammed Day" Facebook group.
Not just the group, mind you -- which Pakistan's department of communications had already blocked by the time the matter made its way to the Lahore High Court -- But the entirety of Facebook, which had close to 1.5 million members in Pakistan as of December and may have since surpassed that number.Read on...