Monthly Archives: November 2015


DeCSS refers to a computer program capable of decrypting or bypassing the anti-copying system used on commercial DVDs.  The digital versatile disc, also referred to as a digital video disc, was invented in 1995 and offered higher storage capacity than the compact disc (CD). To prevent copying, a content scrambling system was developed in 1996 that was widely used until it was broken in 1999 through the development and distribution of a free ware program called DeCSS. This was the same year that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), signed into law by President Clinton, made disabling of a digital rights management system illegal.

DeCSS was a collaborative effort. Although three people are believed to have been involved, only one person, a 15-year-old Norwegian teenager named John Lech Johansen, was ever identified. The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the DVD Copy Control Association (CCA), filed a complaint against Johansen who was taken to court in Norway for computer hacking in 2002.  He faced two years in court. The Electronic Frontier Foundation assisted in his defense.

Johansen pleased not guilty and claimed he had helped create DeCSS so he would be able to view DVDs on his Linux computer. Only by disabling the copy protection on a DVD could he view the contents. He claimed to have used DeCSS on a DVD he owned only once.

There were public protests in support of Johansen during the trial and he became a poster boy for hackers worldwide who believed that making software like DeCSS is an act of intellectual freedom rather than theft. Johansen was acquitted and then re-tried before again being acquitted. Over the years, programmers around the world have created and distributed hundreds of programs equivalent to DeCSS as freeware—which has resulted in a loss of revenue that the motion picture industry estimated at $20 billion a year.

As a result of the trial Johansen quit high school in his first year and eventually became a self-trained software engineer. He was featured in a documentary film Info Wars.



Counterfeit Eggs

I was astounded when I first heard about counterfeit eggs, which are sold throughout China and have been a problem since the mid-’90s. The egg white is made from a mixture of resin, starch, coagulant and pigments, while the egg yolk is made from resin and pigments. Counterfeit eggs are unusual in that they do not involve a trademark.

The best way to tell if an egg is fake is by the shape of the shell, which is uniformly too perfect and often larger than a real shell. The shell is made from paraffin wax, gypsum powder and calcium carbonate. Another way to tell its fake is by cracking it open. The fakes make a hollower sound and the egg white and yolk quickly turn into a mixture.

There are many good videos on fake eggs on YouTube.


However, Josh Tetrick founder of Hampton Creek Foods has come up with an edible, safe product called Beyond Eggs. Now Tetrick’s Beyond Eggs doesn’t involve counterfeiting because he isn’t trying to palm off the product as real eggs. Beyond Eggs are egg substitutes and are made from plant protein.

Tetrick, who is thirty-five, developed the idea for Hampton Creek with a friend in 2011. After securing funding, Hampton Creek was launched and is based in San Francisco. Tetrick wants to change the global food industry that he feels is a mess. He also wants to encourage people to eat healthy. Hampton Creek has a staff that includes two engineers, six biochemists, and 11 food scientists.