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SOPA, PIPA THE NEW ARRRRRGH?

In case you've been living with the Amish and missed out on last week's Internet drama, we'll give you an overview of the recent Web madness. In protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), Wikipedia and other popular websites shut down for 24 hours, while Google placed a black bar over its logo as a sign of solidarity, and blog sites such as Tumblr offered users the option of blacking out their blogs for the day. Google also created an anti-SOPA petition entitled "End Piracy, Not Liberty," which received 7 million signatures. (Note: This is not the Gasparilla type of piracy.) Celebrities spoke out as well. Oscar-winning composer and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, author Neil Gaiman, comedian Aziz Ansari and more signed an open letter to Congress, appealing as artists and creators that the bills be tabled. Whether it was people complaining about SOPA or people complaining about people complaining about SOPA, everyone had something to say on the issue, with the result that Congress has frozen both bills, which were supposed to have been put to a vote Tuesday. For now, Internet stubbornness and copyright infringement prevail! (We're not advocating it, but c'mon, you know you've pirated music at least once.) - tb-two* news services

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Dragon of a year

The Chinese New Year - starting the Year of the Dragon - was marked on Monday. According to chinesefortunecalendar.com, 2012 is a strong water year, referring to the Chinese astrology Balance Theory of Five Elements, because dragon is a source of one of the elements, water. "Dragon is a legendary animal," says the website. "Since the Dragon is coated with mysterious color, Chinese consider that the dragon is unpredictable, untouchable and people cannot see its head and tail at the same time. Therefore, we might see something unexpected happening in 2012."

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Playlist

And pirates killed the Internet star

Is this playlist real or virtual? You decide. Scan the code below or go to our Facebook page for the Spotify link to listen.

Video Killed the Radio Star, The Presidents of the United States of America

Now Generation, Black Eyed Peas

Internet Connection, M.I.A.

Get Off the Internet, Le Tigre

Internet Killed the Video Star, The Limousines

Pirates of the Caribbean "He's a Pirate," Hans Zimmer

Pirate Hooker, Zomboy

A Pirate's Life for Me, Forget Paris

A Pirate's Life for Me, Brash

If I Was President, Wyclef Jean

Song for the Republican Convention, David Ford

Tell us what you're listening to, and we might include it in a future playlist.

ALLIE DAVISON,Wharton High, and SARAH SMALL, Tampa Bay Times.

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This 'no' is real, not virtual

The Miami-Dade School Board rejected proposals last week for four new virtual charter schools planning to open this fall for students seeking an education over the Internet.

The four proposals were the first virtual school applications the school board has considered since the Legislature passed a law last year authorizing full-time, Web-based virtual charter schools.

The proposed schools would be "no bricks-and-mortar, no address, completely virtual," said Helen Blanch, the school district's assistant superintendent for school choice.

Blanch's staff concluded that the four schools' applications did not meet school district standards or the state law for virtual schools.

The staff found that the charter schools failed to show how they would offer off-line help to students and how they would communicate with parents, according to a district memo.

- Miami Herald

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