Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Spectrum available for free Internet access

David Weinberger writes, "The FCC is suggesting that it will make a slice of spectrum available for free Internet access to users, so long as the providers filter out all the porn...and, if the filters don't work, then the providers have to use 'other means,' which presumably might include blocking entire application types or protocols, or blocking encrypted data. It includes filtering p2p traffic. The idea is now open for public comment. One of the prominent supporters of this idea, M2Z, which is bidding for it, bills itself as a 'free family friendly broadband' company. "

What I fail to understand is what the average Internet user will do with his spectrum of free Internet...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Self expression

"Self-expression is a hallmark of an artist, of art, to get something off one’s chest, to sing one’s song. So that element is present in all art."
And if you are not an artist?
Self expression is a need, not of the artist, not of the singer, not of the writer.
It is a need of the MAN, communication is our goal and our despair.
Since the first hiccup, to the last gasp, we humans (but animals too) look around us and want to communicate.
We are happy to know we are not alone in this world.

"So self-expression is the key to even standing up and saying, "Hey, listen to me."
Self-expression can be based on looking at the world and making observations about it or not."
What we say is not important, at least not for us.
May be it is important for the one who listens.
If we say the right thing, they listen to us.
If we say the right thing we can start a conversation and communication is that: I say something you listen, you say something I listen.

"And these things just flow into your head and you write them. And the writing is the really wonderful part. A lot of this is discovery. A lot of things are lying around waiting to be discovered and that's our job is to just notice them and bring them to life."
This is the way I see the world, this is the way I express myself, this is the picture I draw of the world, the way I see it, the way it reflects through my eyes, through my mind.
What is really art?
It should be a good expression of yourself.
But how could you define a good expression?
May be if I can talk, if I can write, if I can paint and show what I see the way I see it and I can really "communicate", "share", draw in your mind.
May be I am an artist if I can make you feel what I feel, the way I feel it.
Art is about communication, is about life, is about me and you and the world.
How wonderful it would be if I could really paint what I see, the way I see it.
If I could describe what I feel, the way I feel it.
If I could be an actor and show the right expression, if I could reveal my soul with my face, with my voice, with my drawing, with my writing.
Then I could call myself an artist.

ID card for the Online World

Microsoft, Google and PayPal, a unit of eBay, are among the founders of an industry organization that hopes to solve the problem of password overload among computer users.

The Information Card Foundation is an effort to create a single industrywide approach to managing identity online that promises to reduce drastically the use of passwords and create a system that is less vulnerable to fraud.

“There is such a market requirement to solve this problem,” said Paul Trevithick, chairman of the new group and chief executive of Parity, an identity-protection technology company in Needham, Mass., that is developing what it calls an i-card. The foundation, which also includes Equifax, Novell, Oracle and nine industry analysts and technology leaders, will try to set open standards for the technology industry.

The idea is to bring the concept of an identity card, like a driver’s license, to the online world. Rather than logging on to sites with user IDs and passwords, people will gain access to sites using a secure digital identity that is overseen by a third party. The user controls the information in a secure place and transmits only the data that is necessary to access a Web site.

In addition to simplifying online shopping, such information cards will reduce the number of phishing incidents — that is, the fraudulent use of someone’s identity to gain access to financial records, according to Robert Blakeley, a research director at the Burton Group, a consulting firm that is participating in the effort. “You don’t have to depend on a password, so there’s no phishing opportunity,” he said.

One of the biggest tasks facing the group is getting the millions of Web sites to support the new system, a process analysts estimate will take a few years.

“The technology is available today, but what is not available today is a lot of sites that will accept information cards,” Mr. Blakeley said. “The mission of the group is to assure everybody that the industry is working together and that it is not going to be a competitive battlefield.”

Michael B. Jones, Microsoft’s director of identity partnerships, said the information card system would depend on the support of Web site owners in the same way that early Web browsers like Netscape waited for the support of Web server developers. The technology will first be used on desktop systems but will eventually find its way to mobile phones and other hand-held devices, he said.

Microsoft has been working on the concept of an identity card for some time. The new organization will ensure various approaches adhere to the same standard.


Friday, June 20, 2008

What if it is all for nothing?

Not a week goes by without news of a lab breakthrough using rats or mice. But of all the promising medical interventions that make it to animal trials, only a fraction seem to translate into major breakthroughs for humans. Frankie Trull, president of the non-profit Foundation for Biomedical Research (a promoter of responsible animal testing), explains the promise and the pitfalls of pre-clinical trials.

Full Article

When Global means unpunished

They're in our computers, reading our files. The Chinese government, that is, according to two U.S. Congressmen who recently accused Beijing of sending hackers to ferret out secret documents stored on Congressional computers. The Chinese deny any involvement, but if they were lying, would we be able to prove it?

The answer, according to computer and security experts, is probably not.

At least, not conclusively enough for a court of law.

"It's very difficult to track hacker attacks and, even if you can track it, you don't always know with 100 percent certainty if you're right," said James Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

That was the problem faced by the investigators who attempted to figure out who broke into computers used by the staff of Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., and Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va. The Congressmen announced on June 11 that they'd been the targets of several attacks, beginning in 2006.

Full Article

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed

Imagine being able to collect the energy of every person walking up and down the stairs from the Spinnaker Tower viewing platform in Portsmouth, UK. That is the proposal being put forward by David Webb, from the British consultancy of Scott Wilson. His hope is to install miniature “heel-strike” generators underneath the stairs that would capture the power generated by a person as they walk down the tower. His ultimate goal is to install them in every rail station, shopping center and even in your shoes!
The idea behind the technology is remarkably simple. Everything moves, and everything that moves is expending some form of energy - kinetic energy to be precise. Some of this energy generally goes to waste, after all if you hit your foot on the ground, very little will actually happen. But thanks to advances in technology, it is now possible to recover some of that energy and turn it into electricity. The two most common technologies are piezoelectric materials, and heel strike generators.
According to Webb, if these generators were to be installed at the Victoria Underground Station in central London, the power generated by the 34,000 people moving around would be able to power approximately 6,500 lightbulbs. The technology also has application beyond the small steps. Plans are afoot to look into installing these devices in the tower itself, to harness energy from the swaying movement of the building!
Kinetic energy is looking more and more promising, particularly as a way to create small amounts of energy.

Full Article

"European quality and Chinese price".

"European quality and Chinese price".
That is exactly how they convinced me to buy, for my brand new Canon printer a system that "worked exactly as the original ink cartridge" but at 1/tenth of the price.
And the alluring thing was that in the future all I had to do was buying the bottle of ink, filling the small bottles and I could print tons of papers, all the drawings I wanted, with beautiful colors "just like the original".
Well, the hassle began when I received the product.
It took me one day to understand how it should have worked.
Another day to inject the ink, to place the bottles, to modify the printer.
After two days work I had the big delusion it didn't work at all.
I called the supplier, and I was kind of angry and a little bit (or a lot, it depends on the point of view)abusive...not too ladylike jargon...
It came out that the parcel I received was for the old printer type and do not worry, we will send the replacement and bla, bla,bla...
Once received the replacement, I had to spend one and a half day (I got a little bit experienced in the meantime)to repeat the same procedure...
Now it worked, but the colours were completely wrong.
It was because of the bubbles and so on...
I still haven't been able to have it working properly.
The colours are completely wrong (blue instead of black, light red instead of purple and so on...)
But the worst is that I ruined my brand new printer and the European quality turned out to be just Chinese, and the price, considering everything is quite close to the European (without considering the three and a half days spent).
At least now I can consider myself experienced to the point that I will never again buy a "Chinese replacement"...but I found where to look to buy Canon inkjet printer at a very good price, without ruining my printer and being sure to print the colours I need.
At you can find very good deals for cheap inkjet cartridges, discount laser toner, low cost printer ribbons and savings on solid ink.
You can have savings of up to 75% off retail OEM prices. You just have to choose your inkjet printer brand to find the discount printer cartridge you need.
And you have free shipping for orders over $55!
At Number One Inkjet you will find premium ink and other products at factory direct prices.
There are available Laser toners for over 25 brands of printers, including Panasonic, Ricoh, Fuji, Pitney Bowes, Sharp, and IBM.
And if you want to save up to 85% on ALL inks you should shop at
They have brand-compatible and brand-name products at the lowest possible prices.
European quality at Chinese prices...

The creative marketing

I guess the marketing job is getting tough, so tough that they have to be rather creative about it.
Like inventing a new way.
Forget the product, forget the need.
Concentrate on the customer.
How can you convince him that he needs your product?
How can you ACTUALLY making him needing your product?
The more the better.
The smarter you are the more succesfull your product is going to be.

Said in this way it has a certain touch of cheating. But, believe me, it doesn't.
It can just be a way to open your customer's eyes.
Did anybody need a cell phone before they invented it?
Did anybody even think how nice it would have been to be able to be ALWAYS on standby? Always reachable and ready for a conversation, or a message?
Or did anybody need to have a camera with him 24 hours a day, being able to take pictures whenever he wanted?

An effective Search Engine

Just to give an idea of how much the Web grew:

In March and April 1994, the World Wide Web Worm received an average of about 1500 queries per day. In November 1997, Altavista claimed it handled roughly 20 million queries per day. With the increasing number of users on the web, and automated systems which query search engines, top search engines handled hundreds of millions of queries per day by the year 2000.

As a search engine is it better high quality human maintained indices such as Yahoo! or automated search engines that rely on keyword matching?
Usually human maintained lists cover popular topics effectively but are subjective, expensive to build and maintain, slow to improve, and cannot cover all topics. Automated search engines that rely on keyword matching usually return too many low quality matches. To make matters worse, some advertisers attempt to gain people's attention by taking measures meant to mislead automated search engines.
These tasks are becoming increasingly difficult as the Web grows, but with the Internet also hardware performance and technology improve dramatically.

The goal of an effective and usefull search engine is to make it easy to find almost anything on the Web.
Since users are still only willing to look at the first few tens of results, you need very high precision (number of relevant documents returned, say in the top tens of results).
Another problem which limits the effectivness of a good Search Engine is the fact that the Web has also become increasingly commercial over time and it is very likely that it will get even more commercial in the near future.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The size of the ocean can determine Earth’s biology

For years scientists have been trying to find explanations for some of the world’s most mysterious extinction events. Since life began on Earth some 3.5 billion years ago, there have been as many as 23 mass extinction events. Over the past 540 million years, there have been five well-documented mass extinctions, primarily of marine plants and animals, with a stunning 75-95 percent loss of species. Sometimes scientists have been able to pin down the likely culprits for these dramatic events, but often, no clear answer has ever been determined…at least not until now.

Recent research suggests that the size of the ocean itself has been one of the most constant and relentless decider of fates over the last 500 million years. Shanan Peters, lead author of the study, says that sea level has been, and will continue to be, one of the most influential factors in determining Earth’s biology.

Peters' research, which recently appeared in the journal Nature, provides an intriguing perspective on one of nature’s most pervasive mysteries. Most of us correlate Earth's periodic mass extinctions with dramatic and sudden events like a blazing asteroid or a sky-blackening super volcano—the kind of things that have been linked to the demise of the dinosaurs. While dramatic events like these do appear to have played major roles in some extinction periods, they certainly haven’t accounted for all of them. Peters says that is where sea level comes into play. His research provides evidence that convincingly fills in the gaps.

“The oceans might seem to be rather static, but sea levels, in fact, change quite dramatically over geological time. In fact, the rocks right here in Madison, Wisconsin—pretty much in the center of our continent—were in fact deposited in one of these shallow seas that covered much of the present day land area almost 500 million years ago…My results show that the expansion and contraction of these sea waves had a big impact on controlling which animals lived and which animals died…When these seas expand and contract, many of the animals that lived in them were forced to deal with all sorts of environmental changes, and many of those changes caused some animals to go extinct.”

Full Article

What could be news about oil

Suppose for a moment that Congress listens to President Bush's remarks Wednesday and removes the decades-old ban on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Who wins, aside from the oil industry?

Uncle Sam, of course.

Why? Because the U.S. government collects royalty payments and upfront cash from oil companies that lease federal lands for oil and gas exploration and production.

The U.S. Interior Department's royalty rate for deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is 18.75%--up from 12.5% two years ago. This move helped the government take in $7 billion in offshore royalties, rents and bonuses from oil companies drilling in U.S. waters last year.

The government's take would undoubtedly increase if the offshore drilling ban were lifted, though by how much is not immediately clear.

Royalty revenue-sharing agreements would have to be worked out between the states and the feds. One government official estimates that if enough land were made available for drilling, the upfront cash paid to Uncle Sam for one lease agreement could reach $1 billion.

But it's not all about the federal coffers. Plenty of businesses outside of the Beltway stand to make some handsome gains as well. Though profits would most likely ripple throughout the industry, Chevron (nyse: CVX - news - people ), Shell, BP (nyse: BP - news - people ) and Anadarko Petroleum (nyse: APC - news - people ), which have some of the largest offshore operations in U.S. waters, are the most likely winners.

But hold those speculative bets for now.

Bush's call to Congress Wednesday was little more than a political gesture. At a time when the average national price of gas is $4.08, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it builds upon a similar proposal earlier this week by Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, frequently mentioned as vice presidential pick for McCain, was once an opponent of offshore drilling but now favors it.

As Election Day draws near, Congress will become increasingly reluctant to pass any controversial legislation, and energy policy certainly falls under this header. Moreover, by calling for the offshore ban to be lifted, McCain can claim to be doing something to stem high energy prices without going so far as to call for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--something Bush also urged Wednesday.

The offshore drilling debate boils down to an argument over leasing government waters for oil and natural gas exploration and production. Since 1982, the federal government has prohibited this, along most of the Outer Continental Shelf. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order not to conduct further offshore leasing or pre-leasing activities, with exceptions in much of the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Alaska. That order stands until 2012, though a 2006 law expanded leasing in the Gulf of Mexico somewhat.

Bush says he'll drop the executive order if Congress first lifts its 26-year-old ban. But even if lawmakers acted tomorrow, it would be years before the infrastructure could be put in place to support additional drilling. The eastern Gulf of Mexico would be the most likely place to see additional drilling in the near future. Oil companies believe the region holds the greatest potential for new exploration and is the nearest to existing infrastructure.

The biggest wrinkle in the plan, however, may come from the states most likely to profit from the scheme. Many in tourist-dependent Florida would oppose drilling close to the state's western coast. And some states already have in place their own prohibitions against offshore drilling. A new law lifting the federal ban could instigate a string of lawsuits by states seeking to challenge the U.S. government on the issue. For others, revenue-sharing agreements could stall the process.

Full Article

If you want the "true spirit" of the "American Dream" you have to speak italian...

If you want the "true spirit" of the "American Dream" you have to speak italian...
When I was a little girl, we had a distorted view of How USA was born.
As usual you had the "bad" and the "good".
The good of course were the pioneers, painted like heroes, dying in the name of freedom, while the bad were those bastards of Indians whose only sport was collecting enemy's hair and killing mostly children and women.
It was this the spirit of the "Classic" westerns American style.

But the so called "Spaghetti Western", genuinely made in Italy, revealed a reality that was very far from the classical truth.
And Ennio Morricone's music’s were able to reveal the real spirit of such a wonderful open, wild country as America was.

It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak and another to hear.

Our very idea of God implies that He is beyond our powers of perception and understanding.
Then what can we do? Shut our eyes and be silent?
That will not satisfy creatures such as we are.
We cannot know, we cannot name the Divine, nor we can understand its ways.
We ask why there should be suffering and sin, we cannot answer the question.
As we cannot answer most of the questions about religion.
There is no religion which does not contain some truth, none which contains the whole truth, for religion is the light of truth as reflected in human mirrors, and however spotless and pure your mirror may be, there is none which in reflecting does not deflect the rays of light that fall on it.
To give the right answers to our questions about life and religion we can approach the metaphysical learning at the University Of Metaphysical Sciences.
It is a non-profit distance learning facility, where you can download courses from the Internet, or have delivered by mail.
The school has already 2,000 students world wide.
University Of Metaphysical Sciences cares more about humanity than money and in this is different from any other metaphysical school.
You will be able to learn how to achieve breatharianism, which is the nourishment of the spirit.
All here on earth tends toward right, and truth and perfection: the light that feeds the soul.
There are four elements in life:
Fire. The fire is the sun whence all life comes from.
Air. It is what we breath and whence our life force comes from.
Water. It is what we drink to keep alive.
Earth . It is the energy that breatharians absorb by walking on the bare earth.
Once you learn the lesson of breatharianism, you will be able to have a new start in life.
If more people in this world would know astral body projection, ours would certainly be a different and better world.
"You are only returning to what you already are, consciousness that is free to move about in the universe as it chooses."
It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak and another to hear.

It ain't the boomers

It’s not the fault of the Boomers. It’s the fault of us all, for not having the spine to stand up when standing up was necessary.

I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever grow a collective spine.

Richard Blair

We are All good in finding the GUILTY.
And we are all guilty and all responsible for the World as it is.
Half good and half bad.
"Make love, don't make war!"
And infact US finished the Vietnam's war just in time to begin a new one.
"It won't be another Vietnam", infact it looks a little bit worse.
It is the fault of the ones who had the Spine to say yes and of the ones who hadn't the Spine to say NO.
We won't be able to grow a collective spine, but we should grow individual spines and put them together.
They talk about "age of communication".
Isn't this the way?
But more than communication is talking.(mostly on cell phones)
And talking doesn't bring anywhere.
I am in between the bomomers and the non boomers.
I missed the fun of the boomers' age and the fun of the following.
Let's hope I will have a better future in the future's age...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Canada against breaking any kind of digital lock

On Wednesday, Industry Minister Jim Prentice introduced a bill that BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow described as making it "flatly illegal to break any kind of digital lock, or to violate terms in one of those absurd end-user license agreements that make you promise to agree to let the record industry kick your teeth in and drink all your beer, just for the dubious privilege of paying for a song at iTunes or watching a video on Viacom's website.".
This is an extremely troubling case, as all signs point to this being far worse than the US's Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Let's not forget that Adobe under the DMCA had a Russian programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, arrested and imprisoned. His "crime"? Distributing a product designed to remove locks from ebooks so that they could be fully used like regular books.

Especially given that consumers are rejecting DRMed media and moving toward services like eMusic, Amazon MP3, Magnatune and Jamendo, this would be a terrible law to pass. Geist notes that "the DMCA provisions are worse than the U.S. and the consumer exceptions riddled with limitations" -- the provisions include a potential $20,000 per infringement damage award that could see Canadian citizens threatened with legal troubles for uploading a snippet of a song to any video-sharing site.

Full Article

From Gas to Electric

How would you like to drive an all-electric Mini? An EV Smart Car? A PT Cruiser? With the help of Hybrid Technologies, you can. They’ve taken many familiar vehicles, ripped out their engines, and replaced them with lithium batteries and electric motors.

On the surface it makes great sense and it seems there would be a huge demand for this sort of thing. Electric cars are nearly maintenance free. They don’t need oil changes and they have 10% as many parts as a gas cars. Plus, these EVs look like the normal cars that are already popular with many folks.

Cool. How much will it cost? Glad you asked. How about a slick $40,000 for an all electric Toyota Yaris hatchback? Or $60,000 for the Mini? Come on now, I know you wanted that Beemer, but let’s be realistic, the price of gas is only rising and you never liked going to get oil changes anyways.

Given the savings on fuel and maintenance, the company states that they believe their prices are “competitive” with other vehicles when looked at over a 7 to 10 year time frame. Although this is probably true, I see some issues with their business model.

Full Article

One of the characteristics of the 21st century: People being forced to move

Tents, sacks of food and a replica of a burnt-out village hut appeared in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday as a tourist hotspot became a refugee camp to highlight the plight of millions of people displaced in Darfur and elsewhere.

The display, set up to mark World Refugee Day this week, came as the U.N. refugee agency reported a record 11.4 million people were driven from their home countries last year.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said numbers were rising again after several years of decline in which refugees returned to countries including Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Angola.

"Now, unfortunately, with the multiplication of conflicts and the intensification of conflicts, the number is on the rise again," said Guterres, standing amid white U.N. tents erected in the square as part of the "Experience Darfur" exhibition.

"People being forced to move, unfortunately, will be one of the characteristics of the 21st century," he said.

In its annual report released Tuesday, the UNHCR said 11.4 million people were forced to leave their countries in 2007, compared to 9.9 million in 2006. Another 26 million were displaced within their own countries by conflict or persecution, up from 24.2 million the year before.

Nearly half the world's refugees are from war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq. UNHCR said there are 3.1 million displaced Afghans, most in neighboring Pakistan and Iran, and 2.3 million Iraqi refugees, mostly in Syria and Jordan. Another 2.4 million Iraqis are internally displaced, an increase of 600,000 since the start of 2007.

The number of internally displaced people grew last year in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Yemen, as well as in the Central African Republic and Chad, where thousands of refugees have crossed the border from the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Up to 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced since ethnic African tribesmen took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated government five years ago. The government is accused of responding by unleashing the tribal militia known as janjaweed, which have committed the worst atrocities against Darfur's local communities.

Full Article

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Because they’re paying me

“if you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re doing, why do it?”

Because they’re paying me. (Patricia)

Well, this is saying the most with the least.
The point is not doing it, it is doing it well.
And certainly you are enthusiastic of doing something if they pay you well, or if they pay you little, but you need that little.
It really doesn't matter what, but if.
The reason, whatever it can be, is ALWAYS a good reason.
I can be quite enthusiastic if the reward is a good one, because I try to do my best and trying to do your best is a way of being enthusiastic about it. Isn't it?

My favourite Sport is still shopping

There is nothing I love more of life than being able to save while shopping.
It gives me a delightful and deep satisfaction knowing that I paid less than the full price.
And the "more" less the better.
Sometimes I even come to the point of buying things I do not need, just because they are a special offer or special delivery or special whatsoever.
Good that I am lucky to have a big house and a lot of space and a lot of time to put things in order and keep them in the best way, so that whenever I need something, whatever it can be, I HAVE IT.
You would think I am full of junk and worthless stuff.
I can assure you I am not.
I have the best selection of everything, and since prices (in spite of whatever they say) always go up, I can afford things I wouldn't be able to afford if I just bought what I need the moment I need it.
My cousin Virginia, who is a shopper like me (may be it is somehow in the family) used to be proud to be "buyer number first".
Well I am sure I am buyer number second and sometimes I could even surpass her.
My only limit is that I am also quite selfish and usually spend for myself, while she is very generous and cannot resist a bargain, always finds somebody to buy that special item in special offer for...
Well, no wonder our frequent topic of conversation (or emailing)is where to find the best coupon code discounts.
Since they invented the Internet that is one of our favourite sports.
Surfing for the best shopping site with the best discounted price.
"Never pay full price" is our motto and we surely do our best to follow it.
If Virginia is buyer number first is certainly shopping website discount coupons number first.
There you find everything, from computer stuff Dell coupons, Apple store to drugs, Sporting goods, even Babies' products .
Well, you just write what kind of stuff you are searching for, click and there you are: the best selection at the best price.
And if you lack ideas, and you still want to save, you can even find Shopping tips and gift ideas.
The only thing you still need is a valid Credit Card.
And one of Virginia's tips.
When she is really full of everything and has not space for a small pin anymore, and still has the chance to do some good bargains, what does she do?
A garage sale, where she usually sells a lot and makes new space for new shopping and her life goes on...

Good, Bad, call it whatever you like

"For my money, the "we were lied to" chorus only represents the obdurately self-righteous cluelessness in every band of the American political spectrum. We lied to ourselves. We continue to lie to ourselves every day.
We might as well keep on lying to ourselves to pretend that we are not descending into a dark phase of our own history. After all, the true basis of American life these days is to feel good about yourself no matter what you do." JK

We lie because we do not like reality.
We lie because we don't want to believe.
We lie, because we were taught to.
We lie because we have to go on living.
And living the best we can.
And the best is living the way we were used to, we were taught to, the way it was convenient to somebody.
No, it is not our fault.
It is not the fault of the people.
We were brought up believing in technology, believing in a better future and the better future was a world where we had our own house, our own car, our own job, our own future.
And now you come and say it is not true anymore.
The world we believed in is not this, the future we were waiting is not this, that for a very small detail, the lack of oil, our future is upside down.
Well, we accept it, we will stand to our new future, we will like it, just tell what it will be.
This pervading nostalgia for the past, for a world without machines, without rush, without hate, without fight is, I fear, the longing for something never existed.
Man is and was always the same.
The Idyllic world we picture in our past was no more idyllic than today's world.
Man was, is and will be always the same.
You won't be able to change the world, with or without oil.
You can change the way we live, men can adapt to ANY way, but you won't be able to change our life.
Everything had good and bad sides.
And the terrible fact is that WE are not able to choose the good, we do not even know what good is.
May be because there is no good or bad.
There is something which is opposite to something else.
Call it whatever you like.

But where have ALL the Dreams gone?

Wisdom is what you have, when all the rest is gone.
I became wise in riding after I fell from the horse several times and almost broke my neck.
I realized it was a dangerous sport, at least for a non so good rider.
But all the fun was gone.
I became wise in choosing my men after a few disastrous experiences.
I understood where and how to choose my men.
But the fun was gone.

I became wise in my job after I made my mistakes.
But the time had gone.
The future had gone, the excitement of life had gone.

You are wise when you realize that you are not brave enough to live a life full of fun, when you are not able to accept defeats, when you don't want to be unhappy.
You are wise when you prefer boredom to unhappiness.
Probably you get wise when you realize that you are closer to the end than to the beginning.
But where have ALL the Dreams gone?

Who is a good writer

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

The Gary Vaynerchuk Guide to Enthusiastic Copy.
I fail to understand why to write a blog or whatever if those who matter don't mind.
I mean, if you are sure you have no audience, why bother to write?
It's like if somebody began shouting somewhere and nobody gave a damn about it.
Writing for the pleasure of writing.
Writing what you like and think and want.
As if it was enough to be enthusiastic to write well.
Of course some enthusiasm adds to what you write, but being a good writer is also being able to write what you are not so enthusiastic about.
Let's say, you are a good writer if you can become enthusiastic about what you write. Let’s say there is nothing really boring, but there are things you know and things you don't.
And usually you know the things you like, and you know them well.
But my personal experience is that if you go deep into the matter you have to write about, then you usually begin to like it.
There is always a good side on everything, that is explainable by the fact that there are so many matters and the tastes of the people are so different.
Is there something that wouldn't find a follower?
Well, being a good writer is also that: finding followers for a subject nobody is interested in.
Lighting the good sides of it, making them alluring, waking up curiosity.
That begins with the title.
A good writer knows what to say to wake up curiosity.
A good writer is the one who makes you clicking and wanting to read more...
And the magnificent writer is the one who is able, beside making the reader reaching the end of the post, making him happy to have read it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Is this the "Legalized marijuana" year?

May be there is a good chance that this will be the year in which New York will legalize medical marijuana.
Who needs it (for medical purposes) will have to register with the State and will have an identification card to be able to legally purchase it.
They would also be allowed to grow up to 12 plants of cannabis.

The Land of the rising "Flat-flat rate"

In Japan broadband is "flat-flat" rate -- i.e., no volume-related IP service charges, and no time-based facilities fees, just a straight monthly subscription fee -- with the speed/capacity largely varying by medium (copper/DSL, HFC/cable, FTTH).

In Japan as in many other economies that would have to wait for full unbundling/structural separation to achieve the competitiveness boost that the US enjoyed as a result of the Telecom Act of 1996, metered dialup was the dominant (and very expensive) access method until 2000.
DSL and cable internet access were available but pricy until mid-late 2001, when Softbank/YahooBB jumped at the opportunity to capitalize on Japan's new (actually, second attempt) access and metro facilities unbundling mandate to deploy super-fast, super-affordable DSL. Looking back at some old press accounts confirms my own personal recollections
-- e.g., according to Ken Belson ("Fast Connections Catch on In Japan", International Herald Tribune, 6 May 2003):

"In a contrast with South Korea... most Japanese providers have piggybacked on NTT's optical fiber network rather than build their own. That was made possible because of industry pressure on NTT to lower its fees for others to use its equipment. Once that happened in early 2001, prices to consumers fell by half and the number of subscribers soared."

Tom Vest

Charging by the byte: the death of the Internet as it is

"If charging by the byte catches on, expect a dramatic shift in what users will accept in online advertising.

How many people will be willing to pay to download an annoying flash ad or animated gif?"

Sometimes greediness is the mother of failure.
When you want too much, then you get too less.
Teach the people how to save, obliging them to save and your profits will lower.

I personally am against "Eat as much as you can" for a fixed amount.
It pushes the people to eat too much and it is also anti-economic, because the more you eat, the more food is consumed.
Not the same for bandwidth usage.
Or if you want for railroad and buses usage.
I think it could be a very good business model proposing a fixed monthly amount to every citizen (the lower the better)to use public transportation.
Many wouldn't use the car.
It is true he States would loose the taxes on gasoline, but we would breath cleaner air, would save on the energy bill and also on human lives.
How many would still be alive had they used a train or a bus instead of their car?

How to prevent the "Peak"

Since we are more people using water, oil, energy we have to find a way to avoid the future scenario which will be not only higher prices, but shortage of it.
There is a word in the dictionary which is mostly ingnored by all.
That is "saving".
Saving water, saving gasoline, saving gas, saving food.
A little bit here a little bit there.
We have to rethink our present in order to have a future.

May be the Future is NOT what we expect

Who knows?
It can also be better.
Who decided that the future must be Technology, Internet, Computers, Cars and Oil?
Who decided it will be like the present, a little bit more ahead?
Or a lot more ahead?

Couldn't it be so ahead to be a little or a lot backward?
A world machine made or a world hand made?
Or just a world as it can be as it would be, as it will be?
May be the only thing that really counts in the Future is living it, otherwise it is not going to be a Future, at least not MY Future.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank you Ireland

You are our voice.
You were able to shout it, I envy you.
I too would like to be able to say to ALL OUR PEOPLE in Brussel:

GO HOME!!!!!!!

The arrogance of the Cell Phone Business Industry

Picture a business where dissatisfied customers have to pay a penalty to stop doing business with you. Sounds like a dream of a business to own, but not one you'd want to patronize. Well, you don't have to imagine such a business.
It exists, and if you're one of the nation's 255 million cellphone subscribers, you're already a customer.
Consumer advocates fear that the Federal Communications Commission will grant an industry's wish -- and leave customers in the cold. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin promises that won't happen.
The main goal "is to protect consumers," he told us. "If the commission is going to take jurisdiction, then we need to have rules."
Those rules should leave lawsuits to the courts and ensure that disgruntled consumers don't have to stay tethered to cellphone providers they'd rather hang up on.

"> Full Article

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

France blocks online c-porn, terrorism, racism

Ironically, attempts by providers to block access to a class of sites can backfire. Richard Clayton showed how to use one ISP's blocker as an oracle to compile lists of banned sites. The paper is at here's the abstract:

Three main methods of content blocking are used on the Internet: blocking routes to particular IP addresses, blocking specific URLs in a proxy cache or firewall, and providing invalid data for DNS lookups.
The mechanisms have different accuracy/cost trade-offs. This paper ex- amines a hybrid,two-stage system that redirects traffic that might need to be blocked to a proxy cache, which then takes the final decision.
This promises an accurate system at a relatively low cost. A British ISP has deployed such a system to prevent access to child pornography.
However, circumvention techniques can now be employed at both system stages to reduce effectiveness; there are risks from relying on DNS data supplied by the blocked sites; and unhappily, the system can be used as an oracle to determine what is being blocked.
Experimental results show that it is straightforward to use the system to compile a list of illegal websites.

Steven M. Bellovin

Adult Content

"Adult content is a huge business and is one of the few entertainment industries to have withstood economic pressures which have led to sectors such as the music industry, witnessing a decline. On the internet, pornography has been one of the few success stories in terms of revenue generation. Pornography is increasingly becoming available on mobile around the world. Can you afford to ignore adult content?"

How long before search engines are urged, pressured, or ordered to remove search result listings that the government or other groups deem inappropriate under the political criteria of the moment?
In practice, of course -- as I've written many times -- effective censorship of the Internet is impossible. You can make access more difficult or more of a hassle, but in the end censorship efforts even for seemingly laudable goals -- will drive the materials of interest ever deeper underground into forms that make them even more difficult to track. That's just the way it is, like it or not.

Lauren Weinstein

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Small in size, but Big in thinking

Two small nations on opposite sides of the globe are building world class renewable energy proejcts. In Portugal they’re constructing what will become, temporarily at least, the largest solar generating plant on earth. It’s going into eastern Portugal near the town of Moura. This photovoltaic farm is being built in the sunniest spot in continental Europe. Portugal aims to generate over 30% of its own power from renewable sources by the year 2020. It’s already among the leaders in Europe. Here are the European top five, by percentage from renewable sources:
Sweden 2005 39.8%, target by 2020 49%
Latvia 34.9%, target 42%
Finland 28.5%, target 38%
Austria 23.3%, target 34%
Portugal 20.5%, target 31%.
Worst is the UK with less than 2% renewable, lagging even behind relatively impoverished Cyprus.


In the southern hemisphere New Zealand is bereft of coal and oil. Like many island nations they are turning to the sea: wave power to be exact. One of the first projects to be deployed will be at Kaipara Harbor on the North Island. It would place turbines on the harbor floor and they would be driven by tidal flow.

It’s only one of several ocean-powered projects slated for New Zealand. The reports there take heart in the fact that an Irish company is now generating electricity with wave power in Scotland. The firm is OpenHydro which could be providing technology and components for the Kaipara project.

Full Article

How much does it cost your plane delay?

In 2007, travelers lost 320 million hours to flight delays. This means the airlines are paying extra for crew, fuel and maintenance. Passengers are missing connecting flights, business meetings, dinner and hotel reservations. A May report from Congress' Joint Economic Committee put the total losses at $40 billion annually.

Everyone is frowning, except the vendors in the terminal.

In Pictures: Who Profits While You Wait?
In 1990, only about 30% of airport revenue came from retail, parking, concessions and other business partnerships. The majority of revenue came from charges to the airlines: landing charges, passenger and cargo fees, security and hangar charges, and others.

In recent years, however, the portion of revenue coming from non-aeronautical sources has risen to 50%, and at larger airports as high as 60%. An International Civil Aviation Authority study released in September of 53 North American airports found that in 2005, a year in which the airlines lost $10 billion, the airports earned $2 billion. Only five airports failed to turn a profit.

The top 50 North American airports had $4.6 billion in sales, according to the 2007 edition of Airport Revenue News' annual Fact Book. The largest airports by sales volume, Atlanta and Chicago, each do nearly $300 million a year.

Ultimately, the airports don't want the delays, says Pauline Armbrust, the president of Armbrust Aviation Group, which publishes Airport Revenue News. "They need the repeat traffic. Airports don't want delays because it makes people too unhappy," says Armbrust. "But the concessionaires do benefit."

Nobody blames Starbucks when their flight is delayed; in fact, they'll likely buy a latte while they wait. What else is there to do?

"They can see big spikes in their sales when there are delays," says Armbrust.

The concessionaire industry is largely privately owned. Four of the five largest companies are private: the Paradies Shops, Hudson Group, Delaware North Companies and SSP America; the fifth, HMSHost, is owned by the publicly traded Italian firm Autogrill. These firms develop proposals for space in airports around the country and then assemble the shops, restaurants and other services in the space.

Full Article

"Green" cleanings

All Purpose Cleaning Solution:
1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
1 spray bottle

Pour vinegar and water into a spray bottle and shake. Use this for daily wipe-downs of the counter in your kitchen or bathroom, or for small spills on the stove-top. If you want to add some scent use one or two drops of lemon, orange or pine oil and shake the bottle before use. These oils are great for helping to remove stains, and tea-tree and eucalyptus oil work as excellent disinfectants. Don't worry about the smell of the vinegar overpowering the essential oil. Vinegar dissolves quickly and doesn't leave behind a smell.

If you want an all-purpose kitchen cleaner add a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and shake well before use. (For tough stains in the bathtub or toilet bowl, use straight, undiluted white vinegar.)

Window Cleaner:
1 cup Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
1 cup Water
1 tablespoon White vinegar
1 spray bottle

Mix in a spray bottle, shake, and use on glass or chrome surfaces. The rubbing alcohol dissolves rapidly keeping your glass streak-free. For really dirty glass, or for cleaning the outside of windows, use non-sudsing ammonia instead of vinegar. Just be careful not to inhale the fumes and to protect your hands with rubber gloves while mixing in the ammonia.

Furniture Polish:
1/2 teaspoon Olive oil
1/4 cup Vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Pour in a spray bottle and shake. Spray a bit onto a cloth and apply to wood surfaces. The oil replenishes the wood, helping your old furniture look like new.

Full Article

For Designers to be

1. The Best Designs
2. CSS Remix
3. CSS Mania
4. screenfluent
6. Open Source Web Design
7. One Page Love
8. FullSingle
9. One Page Folios
10. We Love WP
11. CSS Divine
12. Design Snack
13. SF art & design portal
14. Design Shack
15. CSSloaf
16. eduStyle

How our Brain works

Women can take comfort from the discovery that it is the quality of connections in the brain, not the overall size, that really matters.

It is increase in the number of synapses in larger animals that allows more sophisticated thought.

For decades, men have gloated over how they have bigger brains, and thus must be smarter, a simple side effect of how they tend to have bigger bodies.

Now female intuition that this is simplistic, misleading, even just plain wrong, has been found by new research on the evolutionary origins of the brain and how it evolved into the remarkably complex structure found in humans.

The research in the journal Nature Neuroscience by Professor Seth Grant, Head of the Genes to Cognition Programme at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, suggests that it is not size alone that gives more brain power.

Instead, he found that, during evolution, increasingly sophisticated molecular processing of nerve impulses - notably by providing more connections in the brain - allowed development of animals with more complex behaviours.

"We are one step closer to understanding the logic behind the complexity of human brains," he said.

Full Article

Malaria Defeatd?

By disrupting the potassium channel of the malaria parasite, a team of researchers has been able to prevent new malaria parasites from forming in mosquitoes and has thereby broken the cycle of infection during recent animal tests.

By genetically altering the malaria parasite through gene knock-out technol-ogy, a research team consisting of scientists at the University of Copenha-gen and John Hopkins University, Baltimore, has prevented the parasite from going through the normal stages of its life cycle and developing a cyst (egg-like structure or occyst), which spawns new infectious parasites." As it is exclusively the parasites from these oocysts that can infect new individu-als, we were able to prevent the disease from being transmitted to the animals in our tests", explains Assistant Professor, Peter Ellekvist from the University of Copenhagen.

The findings have been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, (2008 105: 6398-6402).

The intervention "disrupts" the parasites complex life cycle

The malaria parasite has an extremely complicated lifecycle, which starts with the fertilisation of the parasites male and female gametes and the formation of an oocyst, in the mosquito's stomach wall. The oocyst further de-velops into sporozoittes, which travel up the mosquito's salivary gland and from there are transmitted to people, when the mosquito secures its next blood meal. After residing for a short period in the liver cells, the parasites then infect the red blood cells, thereby wreaking havoc in the human body. The malaria parasites are able to reproduce both through sexual reproduction when they inhabit a mosquito (and are transmitted to the host) and via asexual reproduction when they reside in the human body (replication in the host). For scientists to successfully counteract malaria, they must tackle both the transmission from person to person by the mosquitoes and the spread of the malaria parasites in the infected individual.

Full Article

What's true and what's not in Hypnosis

The Hypnotist will be able to control my mind.

No one can control your mind, unless you let them. Your Hypnotherapist will give you suggestions that you want to be given, based on the Pre-Hypnotic Interview. At no point during your session will you lose control of your mind. If you hear a suggestion that you don't agree with, or don't understand, your subconscious mind will automatically reject it.

I will be made to perform embarrassing acts, such as bark like a dog, or walk like a duck.

This assumption is based on Stage Hypnotism and Hollywood fiction. The truth is, these people volunteer to act on stage, and thy allow themselves to participate in silly suggestions. Hypnotherapy is a serious process of self-improvement, not entertainment.

Hypnosis comes from "Black Magic" or is "Supernatural".

Hypnosis is a natural state that has been studied scientifically. Hypnotherapists are not Psychics or Palm Readers with "special powers". Hypnotherapy is based on many years of clinical research by famous Psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

If I become Hypnotized, I may not be able to snap out of it, or Hypnosis is Dangerous.

Hypnosis is very safe and is in fact, a state of hyper-awareness. Any time there is an emergency, a person would naturally be able to come out of the Hypnotic state by opening their eyes, and stretching or speaking.

I have never been in Hypnosis before.

Every person naturally enters a state of hypnosis at least twice everyday: just before falling asleep at night, and upon awaking every morning, before getting out of bed. Most people easily enter "Environmental Hypnosis" while at the movies, watching TV, driving on the highway, or while reading a good book.

Hypnosis is a "Miracle Cure".

While Hypnosis is a relatively quick method of making permanent improvements, there is no such thing as a one-time "Hypno-Miracle"! Every individual makes progress at his or her own rate. Be weary of those who make wild claims of overnight success.

Hypnosis is a great tool to get someone to "confess".

Hypnotherapy sessions are kept private and cannot be used for court testimony. It is not an alternative to lie detector tests. Hypnosis cannot force anyone to "tell the truth" or to confess.

When Hypnotized, I will lose all sense of my surroundings, and will have no memory of the session.

Hypnosis is not an unconscious state of sleep. In fact, most people report having a heightened sense of awareness, concentration and focus, and can even hear more acutely during a session.

Self-Hypnosis is safer, better, or more effective than going to a trained professional.

Self-Hypnosis can be detrimental when not taught by a trained professional, as a negative attitude or belief about oneself will be reinforced regardless of suggestions given. This can cause more stress and problems in the long run. Hypnotherapy directly accesses the subconscious mind, while Self-Hypnosis cannot.

I can't be hypnotized because my mind is too strong.

Basically anyone can be hypnotized as long as they do not belong to the following groups of people:
- children who are age under 4;
- people who are mentally challenged;
- people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol;
- people who are unwilling to be hypnotized.

Psycho Researches

One, None, 100.000

The problem is the word “Identity. For a hospital it is your body. But for social networking sites you don’t want to give out your one true identity (AKA name/password) – you need to provide proxy authorization or agency. But the rush to monetize can’t wait for such a sophisticated idea. It’s the same as confusing the DNS with trademark (or telecom with railroads). But even in the hospitals we’re still coming to terms of concepts of agency and informed consent.
Bob Frankston

I am on the board of a large health clinic for people of all categories and what we realize is that the only ID that will work is one the patient brings in with every visit: their biometric identity, the iris in their eyes.
A tiny fraction of individuals will not have that due to unfortunate circumstances and those can be handled "offline".
Dan Lynch

This brings up the social shift that underlies all of this, accelerated by the technology - an identity is now no more permanent or significant then a set of clothes.
Using an alias is perfectly legal, and always has been. The most common use is by actors and writers, almost none of which go by or do business under their real names. As long as you do not misrepresent -
What to do about those without a government ID? The government wants to be able to identify and track the citizen/voter/taxpayer version of "you", and be big brother to make sure you're not a terrorist or worse a black democrat. So the threat (beyond the govenment itself) is... everyone wanting to use that ID too like the horribly flawed all powerful social security number, or someone being able to steal that ID. Biometrics make the later rather simple to solve, but that first one is a real problem that those fighting REAL ID and other strong government ID are worried about. And of course to keep things interesting, solving the later problem with biometrics makes the former problem impossible, fun fun!
Mary Shaw

This brings us to a question that has been on my mind for a while -- Why should I have a single "true identity"?
What's wrong with my maintaining multiple personas, either in the real world or the virtual world?
Adam L. Beberg

Friday, June 06, 2008

Three laserjet printers were accused of downloading copies of “Iron Man” and the latest Indiana Jones

A new study from the University of Washington suggests that media industry trade groups are using flawed tactics in their investigations of users who violate copyrights on peer-to-peer file sharing networks.
Those trade groups, including the Motion Picture Association of America (M.P.A.A.) Entertainment Software Association (E.S.A.) and Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.), send universities and other network operators an increasing number of takedown notices each year, alleging that their intellectual property rights have been violated under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Many universities pass those letters directly on to students without questioning the veracity of the allegations. The R.I.A.A. in particular follows up some of those notices by threatening legal action and forcing alleged file-sharers into a financial settlement.

The researchers concluded that enforcement agencies are looking only at I.P. addresses of participants on these peer-to-peer networks, and not what files are actually downloaded or uploaded—a more resource- intensive process that would nevertheless yield more conclusive information.

In their report, the researchers also demonstrate a way to manipulate I.P. addresses so that another user appears responsible for the file- sharing.

An inanimate object could also get the blame. The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of “Iron Man” and the latest Indiana Jones film.
In their paper, the researchers argue for greater transparency and public review of Big Media’s intellectual property enforcement actions.

“Our study scientifically shows that flaws exists,” said Mr. Kohno, an assistant professor in the university’s Computer Science and Engineering department. “It’s impossible to prove that other flaws don’t exist, especially since current industry practices are so shrouded in mystery. Ultimately, we think that our results should provide a wake-up call for more openness on the parts of content enforcers.”

Liberally taken from Brad Stone

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Red wine is good

Red wine does indeed explain why the French get away with a relatively clean bill of heart health despite eating a diet loaded with saturated fats, concludes a new study.

'Red wine' based drug may fight cancer
Antiageing drug shows promise in first human test
Could red wine help us keep fit and thin at 120?
People living in France have a much lower incidence of coronary heart disease than those in Britain, despite their similar intake of saturated fats - a phenomenon known as the "French paradox".

Many have speculated that answer to the paradox lies in their love of a glass or two of wine with a meal and have focused on a chemical found in red wine called resveratrol, also a natural constituent of grapes, pomegranates and other foods.

Earlier studies have shown it can blunt the toxic effects of a diet very high in fat, which causes liver damage, but this is the first study to directly look at ageing.

Full Article

What happened to the Bees?

One year ago, the world was transfixed by the unexplained collapse of honeybee colonies in North America and Europe. Doom was predicted for entire sectors of global agriculture. And then we forgot about it.

Perhaps "forgot" is a bit harsh; the public's attention simply shifted, as is natural, and grocery store shelves are still stocked. But that doesn't mean Colony Collapse Disorder has gone away. On the contrary, as a recent spate of one-year-later news stories show, bee colonies suffered an unusually high winter die-off; beekeepers are scrambling to sustain colonies; and nobody's yet figured out what's killing the bees, but the causes may be many and intertwined: viruses, pesticides, stress, fungus, parasites.

Exacerbating the problem is the nature of modern beekeeping. If any lesson stuck in our collective consciousness after last summer's concerns, it's of the reliance of U.S. agriculture on commercial beekeepers and the reality of beekeeping as an industry that's no more natural than a high-density feedlot.

Full Article

The future for solar panels looks bright and cheap

Based on their research, Travis Bradford says that prices for traditional silicon-based panels should fall from $3.66 per watt (2007 figures) to $2.14 per watt in 2010, and more impressively, thin-film PV should go to $1.81 per watt from $2.96. When coal, currently the least expensive source of power, is around $2.10 per watt to generate*, the expected drop in price for solar will make it far more competative.

Any news that solar is becoming more affordable is great as it will encourage more individuals to install them at home, and businesses to do likewise, either to offset their electricity consumption or installing them in a for-profit initiative. The report, however, also highlights an interesting figure - and companies who are currently building silicon-producing facilities that will come online in the next couple of years, should pay attention: The current global production capacity for silicon and thin-film panels is around 3.14 gigawatts, but will hit 12.36 gigawatts in 2010. That's an increase of just under 400%, an enormous amount that is sure to be welcomed by the environmental community.The demand, however, is only expected to be 6.76 gigawatts, up from 2.94 gigawatts in 2007, leaving over 5 gigawatts of unused capacity. Hopefully this will drive prices further down, resulting in greater demand, but this may have already been reflected in the statistics.

The reason for the drop in prices is due to the expected hike in silicon production, a shortage of which is currently being felt. It is expected that silicon availability will quadruple to 125,302 tons by 2012, providing a massive oversupply of the material to the industry. Thin-film manufacturers who use no silicon will not be affected by this overabundance, however they will have to compete with the dropping prices of conventional panels, hence the drop in price.

It may also, though this is probably wishful thinking, push governments to start offering more incentives to those who install solar in a bid to use up the remaining capacity and financially support their manufacturers who by this point will be a very large industry, employing tens of thousands of people.

Full Article

Gasoline $2.49 per gallon in China

China has been the primary contributor to the increasing oil demand over the last decade; its demand grows 65% faster than the U.S. and four times faster than India. Over the next decade, I don't foresee much change in oil's share of total energy use in China, compared with coal, natural gas and other forms of energy. Energy source substitution is difficult, expensive and takes time.

So, China is now required to import around 4 million barrels of oil a day just to keep its economy going. China has been a net importer of oil since 1993 and exports essentially no oil. Oil imports are likely to rise about 0.5 million barrels a day each year with a healthy Chinese economy. Using a round number of $100 a barrel, China's annual current oil import bill alone is about $144 billion, up about $72 billion this year alone. It's a big number.

Beijing is left wondering, first, how to handle the short-term price shock and, second, what the best long-term strategy would be.

Controlling oil prices in China is a disaster. In the short term, China's inflation rate is over 8%, a figure that's both high and worrisome. So Beijing is holding down many prices--including oil--with a cumbersome price-control scheme.

Consider the following: Since January 2007, global crude oil prices have risen by 109%; gasoline prices in the U.S. have risen by 77% (roughly apace); gasoline prices in China have risen only 9%.

Gasoline in the U.S. now sells for around $4 per gallon, but it sells for $2.49 per gallon in China. Beijing last raised domestic gasoline prices in November 2007, by 9%, and that was the first and only hike since January 2007, when crude was $87 per barrel. A recent rumor that China was about to lift its gasoline-price controls was quickly dismissed by Beijing.

Full Article

One Universal train is the beginning, when will we see ONE ONLY UNIVERSAL PLUG?

Europe is a mishmash of disparate rail systems that predate the European Union, back when governments banked on the incongruity "to protect themselves from invading armies and competition from foreign industries," says Oliver Sellnick, director at the International Union of Railways in Paris. While the European Union has managed to unify most of the continent on everything from a common currency to farm policy, combining railroads hasn't been easy.

Traveling by train from one country to another has long required coordination with multiple national railways. Drivers and locomotives, for instance, are changed at the borders for technical and legal reasons. For travelers, the challenges haven't been as readily apparent as passenger trains have long been given top priority when crossing borders (and high-speed trains, like France's TGV and Spain's AVE, promise to eliminate the few hassles). But the logistics of transporting goods by rail has long been a nightmare.

"If one train was going from, say, Lyon to Warsaw, it could spend 24 or even 48 hours on the borders," says Timothy Jackson, international director of Angel Trains, a British company that leases trains to freight companies. To avoid the hassle, most freight operators use trucks instead.

But now the baby-steps of liberalization are coming to Europe's rails. So when a Swiss company followed Railion's lead in 1998 and asked for a locomotive that could run from Switzerland to Germany, Bombardier saw the future.

Engineers at Bombardier's facilities all over Europe set out to invent a new train that could traverse Europe's patchwork of voltage levels, signal systems and other local quirks - while keeping this feature-rich locomotive affordable.

Full Article

One Universal train is the beginning, when will we see ONE ONLY UNIVERSAL PLUG?

The mystery of "Levitation" solved

Levitation has been elevated from being pure science fiction to science fact, according to a study reported today by physicists.

Now, in another report that sounds like it comes out of the pages of a Harry Potter book, the University of St Andrews team has created an 'incredible levitation effects’ by engineering the force of nature which normally causes objects to stick together.

Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing this pheneomenon, known as the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts.

Full Article

Once parents had many children, now children have many parents

One day in the summer of 1971, my parents held hands, closed their eyes and jumped out of their conventional marriage into something strange and new. I was 9 years old at the time, and we were camping at Betsy Lake in the High Uintas Wilderness with another family of five. We were halfway into the camping trip when the six of us kids realized our parents had mixed and matched: My father was in the tent with their mother, and their father was in the tent with my mother.

No sound came from either tent. I remember the smell of mosquito repellent. I remember gray ripples in the lake, squirrels scrambling up pine bark and us kids nervously discussing. I remember trying to believe my life hadn't shot off its safe, predictable tracks.

Of course, it had. We began seeing the other family at least once a week; one of my parents spent each Sunday at their house and one of theirs at mine. And then we all moved in together. The arrangement felt uncomfortable, if only because no one else's parents were doing anything like it. One day, as I lay reading on my bed, the girls from the other family came downstairs with moving boxes in their arms. That night, the adults erected a screen to separate the dining room from the living room. In place of our dark varnished table and the buffet with its china and silver appeared a king-size bed. Downstairs, the salt-and-pepper sofa and the desk where my father tracked investments gave way to bunk beds for two of the girls. Over the next few days, my brother and I learned to grab for our bathrobes when our new sisters slipped through our room on the way to the toilet in the morning. They learned to duck behind closet doors when we trespassed through their bedroom on our way upstairs.

Full Article

Demand for plots in community gardens

As food prices continue to rise, many urbanites are beginning to share Fairman's reasoning. From Boston to Seattle, municipal officials and community organizers are finding an increased demand for plots in community gardens as more residents look to grow their own food.

For city dwellers who don't own outdoor space, community garden plots -- which are typically owned by cities or nonprofit organizations -- are their answer to suburban backyard gardens.

Under a common type of community garden model, users pay an annual fee for the privilege of growing plants on a plot of land within a larger garden. In Portland, Ore., the fee for a 400-square-foot plot of land is $50. But the value of food grown on that land, according to Leslie Pohl-Kosbau, the director of the Portland Parks and Recreation community gardens program, can be many times greater.

"A person, if they're a really good gardener, can raise $500 to $1,000 worth of food on a 20-by-20-foot plot, depending on their skills and by the way they garden," she said.

Pohl-Kosbau said that, generally, it's the desire for fresh, higher quality produce that largely drives Portland's community gardeners. But the recent increase in demand for plots in the city, she said, is at least partly due to rising food prices.

Full Article

For amateur filmmakers

LOS ANGELES--(Business Wire)--
Today Omelet, a hybrid advertising, entertainment, marketing agency that merges creativity, strategy and seamless execution, announced its role in the creation of an experience-based marketing and advertising campaign - The Ultimate Video Relay
( - UVR). The program is specifically designed to the online community to do what it does best - find new talent.

Developed along side Microsoft's Windows Vista Ultimate team, UVR allows amateur filmmakers the opportunity to use their PC's to showcase their work by submitting scripts to be judged by peers for their chance to help complete a short film. The campaign will progress in three acts or relays - ultimately culminating with the discovery of the next Hollywood 'it' filmmaker.

"Inviting customers to experience the benefits of Windows Vista Ultimate and 'Ultimate PCs' is an infinitely more powerful influence vehicle than building a web site that explains to them the benefits through pictures and prose," said Barry Goffe, Director of Product Management for Windows Vista, Microsoft Corporation. "In helping us bring the Ultimate Video Relay to life, Omelet has established a new
industry standard for creativity through the execution of experiential marketing programs."

The contest is inspired by a five-minute short film titled "The Cube" that was written and directed by Kyle Newman, an up-and-coming Hollywood talent and director of the highly anticipated feature film "Fanboys."

Full Article

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

What do we learn from...Animals?

Although we share 99,6 per cent of our make up with chimps, for most people the differences obscure the similarities.
Chimps reason, plan, trade, work fight and play, are affectionate, bear grudges.
They have a social hierarchy and have an incest taboo.
They live in groups and dislike strangers, but occasional sexual transgression helps avoid genetic stagnation.
People with brown hair owe it to their monkey anchestors who could hide from predators among the coconuts.
We have too high an opinion of ourselves.
We align ourselves with the angels instead of the primates.

What do we learn from Animals?
We know what we are, why we are and what we will be.
Indifference to the past reduces human experience to a life span rather than one of thousands of years.

What I learned from...Animals

What We Learned from Animals (and Robert Hruzek)

If you cannot compare, how can you define something?

"All humans are HOMO SAPIENS: humans are EXEMPT from the fundamental rules of BIOLOGY."
"Jewish people are the most intelligent. They win almost 40% of the Nobel Prize's and they have a small population of only 14 million."

Everybody is entitled to his own view.
I had a friend who insisted that men are superior to women. "In History you find very few famous women.
Most Geniuses are men"
He forgot for centuries women were denied culture and education.
A woman's place was in the kitchen (and when necessary in bed).
I think there are women who are smarter than certain men and men who are smarter than certain women, just like Jewish who are smarter than other races and vice versa.
I also think a person is made by his genetics and also by his environment.
If you are richer you certainly have more chances to be more educated, but not necessarily rich means educated or intelligent.
God ( or whoever you believe in) made people white, black, red and yellow.
Smart, stupid, ugly and beautiful.
The intelligent people wouldn't be intelligent if there were not stupid’s, just like the beautiful.
Beauty exists because there are ugly things.
If all was the same, being intelligent would just mean being normal.
There is no limit to stupidity just as there is no limit to intelligence.
But one exists because there is the other.
If you cannot compare, how can you define something?

Making $$$$$$ with garbage

When we think of waste, we don’t usually think utility. Yet, as we face droughts, limited landfill space, and depleting natural resources, we’ve been forced to reconsider our castoffs, with interesting results. These five case studies show that with innovation and a little planning, our dumps, sewers, and piles of manure are not necessarily the end of the line. Instead, they’re just the beginning.

Sewage into Showers
Last summer, while the rest of the southwest was grappling with one of the most severe droughts in recorded history, a county in Georgia was sitting high on the water table. Twenty years ago, Clayton County recognized that growth and limited rainfall would make a water shortage inevitable, so they built a unique water treatment center to ensure reservoirs would remain full even in a drought. The center incorporates a 4,000-acre wetland, where treated wastewater runs through a serious of graded pools surrounded by thick vegetation to help filter out any leftover toxins. Clean water then runs into reservoirs for future use. With this system, the county is able to reclaim ten million of the twenty-six million gallons of water used annually. Although the treatment center requires a significant amount of open space, it’s cheaper than building a regular treatment plant and doubles as a nature preserve.

Garbage Power
If one person’s trash is another’s treasure, then our collective trash may be worth its weight in gold—or at least oil. That’s because when trash decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, a polluting gas that is traditionally dealt with by incineration or allowed to escape. Instead of letting this gas escape and pollute the air, some waste management companies are employing a capture and purification system that allows them to convert the landfill gas (LFG) into energy.

In California, LFG is fueling over 300 of the same garbage trucks that collect the trash. At an East Kentucky Power Cooperative, they use landfill gas to generate enough power to fuel 7,500–8,000 homes. And the University of New Hampshire is planning on getting 80 to 85 percent of its total energy from a nearby landfill.

According to the EPA, there were approximately 445 operational LFG projects in the United States in 2007.

Poo Power
If we can generate energy from a dump, then it only seems logical that we can generate energy from the ultimate waste product—poop. Manure is the fifth largest contributor to methane emissions in the U.S., but the waste product doesn’t have to be a nuisance; instead, it can be converted into energy rich biogas and useful byproducts. At the AA Dairy in New York, for instance, manure and animal bedding (newspaper, hay) are scraped from the barn into a digester where the methane is collected and processed, ultimately generating enough power to run the farm with some leftover to sell. The solid waste is composted and sold, providing a dual financial incentive. And farms aren’t the only industries to benefit from manure methane. Long-Trail Brewing Company, located in cow dense Vermont, will soon be getting all of its energy from dairy farm manure, while the farm gets a waste product from the brewery—mash, a mixture of barley and water, which is used as cow feed.

Full Article

Green Guys get more girls

Just in case you needed another reason to care about the environment: It turns out girls dig guys who dig environmental technology.

According to a study conducted by GM as part of this year's Challenge X competition:

Nearly 9 in 10 women (88 percent) say they'd rather chat up someone who owns the latest fuel-efficient car versus the latest sports car.
Eighty percent of American car buyers would find someone with the latest fuel-efficient car more interesting to talk to at a party than someone with the latest sports car.
More than 4 out of 10 (45 percent) 18- to 43-year-olds say it's a fashion faux pas nowadays to have a car that's not green or environmentally friendly.
Little did we know we've been fashionable all along! (OK, maybe not me - I'm still tooling around in my old Sentra.) No one seems to have told 80 percent of America that it's actually greener to keep driving your current car than to invest in buying a new one.

Full Article

The secret to keep young

Hanging out with younger, healthier people might help the elderly to live longer, suggests a study of fruit flies.

15 genes linked to a long life
Short people could live longer
Antidepressant may hold key to long life
The research also supports the notion that old people are more likely to thrive if with a younger peer group, or with their children and grandchildren, than if they are with their aged peers in a home.

Scientists have already gathered a range of evidence that having a social network is healthier than leading a solitary life: the healthy effects of attending church could be as significant as those enjoyed by people who give up smoking, according to one study of 4,000 elderly people in North Carolina.

Another study at the University of Chicago found that loneliness is a major risk factor in increasing blood pressure and could raise the risk of death from stroke and heart disease.

However, the underlying reason why being sociable has health effects have not been well understood. Now, fruit flies are set to provide the answer, after the discovery that fast-ageing flies that socialise with normal flies live longer than if they live with their peers.

Full Article

Organic marries Fast

The history of the demand for organic food starts where you would expect: at a little farm in the country, with a farmer picking his way through his field.

That's nice and quaint, but not business for the masses. Co-ops brought the food to more people. Farmers markets caught on, even blocking traffic on busy streets in big cities like New York and Washington. Whole Foods transplanted the idea into corporate America, helping the growth of vast fields of organic produce throughout California.

Now there is organic fast food, and the options for it in the Washington area are about to grow. Organic to Go, a Seattle company founded in 2004, said yesterday that it has purchased locally based High Noon's four cafes, as well as its catering operation, and plans to turn the lunch hot spots into places where office workers can flee their cubicles and devour a meatloaf sandwich made with organic beef.

"We're trying to get more food that is of higher quality from organic and natural producers in the path of where people work, and that will in turn help to grow our company," said Jason Brown, Organic to Go's founder and chief executive.

The company is taking the Whole Foods prepared-food concept out of the grocery store and into places where people work and spend their days. With High Noon, Organic to Go gets District locations in busy business downtown corridors, including at 15th and K streets, and 19th and F streets. "If you stand outside High Noon and look around, there are great offices all over filled with people," Brown said. "That's who the customers are."

The average lunch customer is probably different from a decade ago, when standard fast-food fare would have done just fine. People who eat meals out increasingly want more nutritious food.

Full Article

The "Healthy" drinks that do more harm than good

Whether you are on a hardcore diet trying to lose major pounds or just someone trying to stay in good shape, you should be aware that there are a lot of so-called "healthy" drinks out there that will do you more harm than good. To help you steer clear of these devilish drinks, Men's Health has compiled a small list of 5 of some of the most unhealthy drinks. The drinks, inside...

5. Worst "Healthy" Drink
Glaceau VitaminWater (any flavor 20oz bottle)
130 calories, 33 grams of sugar.
Vitamins and water might seem like a good idea but what they don't advertise is that this water contains nearly as much calories and sugar as a can of soda. It should be no surprise that this stuff is made by The Coca-Cola Company.

4. Worst Juice Imposter
Arizona Kiwi Strawberry (23.5 oz can)
360 calories, 84 grams of sugar.
These bottles which are just 5 percent juice cost 99 cents which makes them one of the cheapest source of empty calories in the country.

3. Worst Smoothie
Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo'd Power Smoothie (30 oz)
169 grams of sugar, 30 grams of fat
Whether you call it a smoothie or a milk shake, it has more sugar than a bag of chocolate chips.

2. Worst Summer Cocktail
Pina Colada
625 calories, 75 grams of sugar
Because of the super sweet pineapple juice and fatty coconut milk, the only wise thing to consume here may be the garnish. Try a lime daiquiri or mojito instead and save 400 calories.

1. The Unhealthiest Drink In America
Baskin Robbin's Large Heath Bar Shake (32. oz)
2,310 calories, 266 grams of sugar, 108 grams of fat
73 ingredients go into this milk shake.
66 teaspoons of sugar.
11 Heath bars equal the calories in this shake
8-12 minutes to consume this drink.
240 minutes on a treadmill running at a moderate pace to burn it off.

Full Article

Is mobile a good thing?

Just about everyone I talk to is very excited about mobile Internet.
In 2006, the Japanese government proudly announced that more people used the Internet through their mobile phones than through their computers. Online services are all talking about their "mobile strategy" and VCs are flocking to fund the latest "mobile startup".

I don't think there is anything wrong with mobile or with some of the great new mobile applications and devices, but we have to be careful to remember that most mobile networks that actually work are built on infrastructure that is operated by a small number of mobile operators who use a lot of regulated and closed technology.

The reason that we have vibrant startup driven innovation is because the Internet is open by nature. Anyone can participate without asking permission and anyone can compete with anyone else at every layer of the stack. This DNA of open and free competition (except for the occasional semi-monopoly) is what allows startups like Google to come in and displace incumbents. If it weren't for the Internet, I'm positive that the telcos would have determined that it was the most efficient that THEY design and operate the "online directories".

We can criticize Google for becoming large and dominant in the market, but a huge percentage of the money that Google makes goes back into distributing money to startup companies and even non-profits like Mozilla. Google acquires many companies and buys equipment from vendors that mostly create open platforms.

The money that the mobile operators make mostly goes to boated and expensive internal R&D and paying for equipment from a small number of vendors that make the telecom equipment.
People point to the hacked iPhone as an example of how "we're making mobile open." I do applaud it and I think it's great that we can now run our own apps on the iPhone. However, what do you get at the carrier level. Yay, you now can chose Vodaphone or Sprint instead of AT&T. This doesn't solve the basic problem that at the carrier level, we're still closed.

In the short term, MVNOs like e-mobile will help drive prices down, but they are still built on an architecture that isn't really open to competition and the prices will only go down so far. What we need in the long run is open spectrum and alternatives to 3G.

In Japan, services like Mixi have announced that their web usage is decreasing, their mobile usage is increasing and that more of their users are using their services from mobile and than the web. I don't think mobile monetizes as well (for the company) as the web. I think that if we move over to mobile too quickly we're risking moving our game to a platform where the DNA is not what we're used to on the Internet and most importantly, putting money in the pockets of people who do not redistribute it to startups, but instead feed giant vendor ecologies instead.

Maybe those smart companies in the mobile space like Vodaphone and Nokia who see the future should create a fund to invest in open innovation on mobile. We definitely could make the argument that in the long run, a healthy ecology on mobile is better for at least the strong companies involved in the ecology, just like the Internet increase the telecom economy as a whole. It reminds me of the big oil states investing in alternative energy. If this could happen, this could be a good thing and I'd be happy to help. ;-)

David Farber

I really do not believe companies like Vodaphone and Nokia would ever do anything against their monopoly.
It reminds me the arrogance of companies like Epson which sell printers and earn on the Ink refill.
Printing is so expensive not because of the cost of the technology or the ink, but because it is a monopoly.
And I also have problems in believing that the microwaves and other waves are safe for the health.
Looking at the increasing number of brain cancer and altzehimer disease, I would think these have something to do with the waves pollution...

Scientists find new 'quasiparticles'

Weizmann Institute physicists have demonstrated, for the first time, the existence of 'quasiparticles' with one quarter the charge of an electron. This finding could be a first step toward creating exotic types of quantum computers that might be powerful, yet highly stable.

Fractional electron charges were first predicted over 20 years ago under conditions existing in the so-called quantum Hall effect, and were found by the Weizmann group some ten years ago.

Although electrons are indivisible, if they are confined to a two-dimensional layer inside a semiconductor, chilled down to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero and exposed to a strong magnetic field that is perpendicular to the layer, they effectively behave as independent particles, called quasiparticles, with charges smaller than that of an electron. But until now, these charges had always been fractions with odd denominators: one third of an electron, one fifth, etc.

The experiment done by research student Merav Dolev in Prof. Moty Heiblum's group, in collaboration with Drs. Vladimir Umansky and Diana Mahalu, and Prof. Ady Stern, all of the Condensed Matter Physics Department, owes the finding of quarter-charge quasiparticles to an extremely precise setup and unique material properties: The gallium arsenide material they produced for the semiconductor was some of the purest in the world.

The scientists tuned the electron density in the two-dimensional layer – in which about three billion electrons were confined in the space of a square millimeter – such that there were five electrons for every two magnetic field fluxes. The device they created is shaped like a flattened hourglass, with a narrow 'waist' in the middle that allows only a small number of charge-carrying particles to pass through at a time.

The 'shot noise' produced when some passed through and others bounced back caused fluctuations in the current that are proportional to the passing charges, thus allowing the scientists to accurately measure the quasiparticles' charge.

Quarter-charge quasiparticles should act quite differently from odd fractionally charged particles, and this is why they have been sought as the basis of the theoretical 'topographical quantum computer.' When particles such as electrons, photons, or even those with odd fractional charges change places with one another, there is little overall effect. In contrast, quarter-charge particle exchanges might weave a 'braid' that preserves information on the particles' history.

To be useful for topologically-based quantum computers, the quarter-charge particles must be shown to have 'non-Abelian' properties – that is the order of the braiding must be significant. These subtle properties are extremely difficult to observe. Heiblum and his team are now working on devising experimental setups to test for these properties.

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science

This news is brought to you by

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How online newspapers should be

Anyone reading this is already well aware newspapers are making the (slow) transition to digital, and just like the preferred format of music has moved from CD to mp3, newspapers will eventually move from print to entirely web-based/RSS operations. It’s just so much better and more efficient way of receiving information. Print is still hanging around but it won’t last.

Unfortunately newspaper Web sites, on the whole, are still playing by the old rules of the Web and are not nearly as nice as professional blogs to read and follow. A few things I’ve noticed from this perspective that are especially frustrating:

Taking down stories/changing link structure
Some papers get it and don’t change links on us or take down old stories, but I’ve seen plenty of sites take down stories after 30 days or so, or change the link structure to archive a story somewhere. The Internet is not the same as print media, it is not a broadcast medium, it is a communications medium. A story shouldn’t disappear after 30 days, it should remain up there as bloggers and social media types love to do research, piece things together and remix news as they see fit. Linking to a story only to find a few weeks later it’s down is about the most frustrating thing a news site can do, and will ensure I don’t like to that site again.

Not linking to external sources to reference things
Newspapers are still clinging to the old way of things. They still have the attitude of “if we print, it, it’s true and doesn’t need to be sourced.” That’s actually false – if you have a source on something, link it for us to check it out. It makes a site far more credible. A side note, The New York Times is one of the few sites that actually gets the web, does tons of external linking and is even developing a brand new API. Should be neat to see what this looks like, they could set a good example for the industry.

Forcing users to login to view stories
Don’t news sites want more readers and subscribers? The easiest way to discourage this is to force users to create a username/password, fill out a profile, then check their email address to activate that profile before they can view a story. It leaves a bad taste in most people’s mouths, and they are losing readership by doing this. If you’re going to play by the new rules, go in all the way and don’t cling to forcing people to fill out forms before they can access content.

Full Article