Will this be the impetus for alternate energy research to go mainstream? (& how will the Big Energy firms react?... oh the word is respond!)
Friday, December 30, 2011
Will this be the impetus for alternate energy research to go mainstream? (& how will the Big Energy firms react?... oh the word is respond!)
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Of joy. & a few of sorrow.
Of peace. & some where it was wished for.
Of happiness. Mostly.
Of gratitude. Sometimes for the temporary ability of deafness.
Of forgiveness. Even when it was hard.
Of kindness. Especially when it wasn't deserved.
Of rock-solid support. Even when it seemed like shaky ground.
Of fun. Even when it didn't seem like it at the moment.
My gorgeous wife, Sona, & I, were wished upon us a 'Happy Married Life' 7 years ago.
We gratefully accepted those wishes with very little knowledge of what lay ahead.
We learnt along the way. & still are.
That we have just one another. Even when we had family & friends around.
That Happy-ness is a journey. Not a destination.
That Home is where we decide to keep our hearts. Not an enclosure of walls.
That Children are a blessing. Even when they make their best effort to prove otherwise.
That Madness is a common streak in people. Especially when you're married.
That Decisions are easy to make. Following through with them isn't so.
That Solitude is available. Maybe even necessary. Again, especially when you're married.
That Choices are visible only if you are willing to accept them.
That Sacrifices are essential. But they don't cause as much pain as it's made out to be.
That Sickness is an instant relationship healer. If you allow it to be.
That Health is a constant work-in-progress.
That Kids say the truth always. Especially when you don't want them to.
As we step into the 8th year of our wedded life, & 11th (or is it 12th?) year of having known one another [it's enough that one person remembers those dates! ;) ] I wish us that Irish blessing, modified slightly:
"I wish us enough sun to keep our attitude bright,
and enough rain to make us appreciate the sun more.
I wish us enough happiness to keep our spirit alive,
and enough pain so that the smallest joys in life
appear much bigger than they are.
I wish us enough gain to satisfy your wanting,
and enough loss that we'll appreciate all that we possess.
And I wish us enough "Hello's" to get us through the final "Goodbye".
Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!
Sunday, December 25, 2011
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this post. The internet was not, and is not, solely a new distribution mechanism for Hollywood and for pockets of the music industry; but the power of these incumbents is immense in the Western world, and it is therefore possible, perhaps even likely, that bad law will be legislated to protect decayed and dying industries from being disrupted. Even though the customer suffers as a result.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this post. The internet wasn’t always a global phenomenon. It grew principally from the vision and commitment of US citizens, and as a result there has been a level of US-centricity about its progress and evolution. If the US were to give up this leadership role (which it no doubt will, if SOPA goes ahead) then others will step into the breach. The internet routes around obstacles, we have seen this repeatedly during Arab Spring.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this post. The anchors and frames for this debate have already been subverted; the incumbent lobby has done a good PR job. The commonly held belief is that people against SOPA, by definition support stealing, support denying artists their rightful income. So everyone who tries to attack SOPA goes through that mill, and the mill grinds slowly and exceeding small.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this post. Anything I do may not be enough to stop it happening; it may not matter anyway; and it may damage my reputation unduly and unwarrantedly.
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this post. There appear to be only downsides to my action.
So why am I writing it?
Because the internet matters. It matters to the world. It matters to people who are giving their all to changing historical and broken paradigms in education, in healthcare, in business, even in government. As the price of being connected with smart mobile devices drops, as three billion more people join the ranks of the ubiquitous always-on, we’re going to see amazing changes. Changes that will radically improve the lives of our children and grandchildren.
For that to happen, we have to make the internet a safer place. We. Not me. Not you. We. Much has been done to achieve this, much remains to be done. Sustainable cybersecurity is essential if we wish for a world where health, education, welfare, business and government are transformed anew. And there’s been so much progress in making this happen that wasting it is bordering on the criminal, the insane, the criminally insane.
This transformation, bringing in the power of the collective, making everything more social, more sharable, democratising access and knowledge and power, this transformation is essential if we are to solve some of the core problems we face, in environment, in disease control, in health and nutrition, in climate change, in food supplies, in water. The institutions we looked to in the past cannot cope with the complexity they face. They need the internet and what it represents. And they need it to be safe, secure, reliable.
I’ve read more than I care to list here about SOPA; I can’t claim to understand all of it, I’m neither a lawyer nor a politician. The Wikipedia article is probably a good place for you to start, if you’re interested… the very existence of Wikipedia is threatened by everything that SOPA represents.
There is so much emotion around about SOPA that I wanted to give my readers something fundamentally different to look at, when it comes to forming your views. What I suggest is, leave aside everything else you’ve heard and read about SOPA, and concentrate on this one point:
How do you defend cyberspace while protecting against online piracy?
This research paper by the Brookings Institution: Cybersecurity in the Balance: Weighing the risks of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a must-read in this context. Here’s part of the opening:
This paper does not deal with the questions of economic value, free expression or other issues raised by advocates on both sides. Instead, I highlight the very real threats to cybersecurity in a small section of both bills in their attempts to execute policy through the Internet architecture. While these bills will not “break the Internet,” they further burden cyberspace with three new risks
The “three new risks” mentioned are spelt out further in the article. I summarise them below (my words, my interpretations):
- PROTECT IP and SOPA make it harder and more complex to keep the internet secure, just in terms of architecture and processes
- In addition, as companies and customers are forced to migrate away to less secure places, they will be exposed to greater risks
- Current national and international initiatives to improve security will be undermined, set back, and sometimes even abandoned
We need to frame the argument differently, and the Brookings paper helps us do that.
It’s not “Do you support Hollywood or do you support stealing?”
It is “Do you want a safe internet where health, education, welfare and government are transformed, or do you want a distribution mechanism with protection for Hollywood’s historical business model?”
I hope SOPA does not happen. I hope better, more sensible, more technically feasible, more equitable and more progressive means are found to deal with the problem of decay of Hollywood business models. I hope that the more sensible routes will actually mean that creatives get paid properly, rather than what happens to them today.
Friday, December 23, 2011
2nd Federal Judge Questions SEC Settlement
A federal judge in Milwaukee has criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission for being too soft with corporate enforcement, marking the second time the agency has been criticized for weak settlements in the past month.
Right, so the Bank of America settles with the Dept of Justice to resolve allegations.
No admission of guilt.
Pay a milli-ounce of what passes for flesh, & you're off the hook.
Great system. For the perpetrators.
Another Too Big to Fail bank gets off lightly..
The American Emperor
Managing the Imperial Reality
A Global Strategy of Regions
2. To create alliances in which the United States maneuvers other countries into bearing the major burden of confrontation or conflict, supporting these countries with economic benefits, military technology, and promises of military intervention if required.
3. To use military intervention only as a last resort, when the balance of power breaks down and allies can no longer cope with the problem.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The US government has asked the scientific journals Nature and Science to censor data on a laboratory-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon.
The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity asked the two journals to publish redacted versions of studies by two research groups that created forms of the H5N1 avian flu that could easily jump between ferrets - typically considered a sign the virus could spread quickly among humans.
The journals are objecting to the request, saying it would restrict access to information that might advance the cause of public health.
The request was a first for the expert panel, formed after a series of anthrax attacks on US targets in 2001. It advises the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies about "dual use" research that could serve public health but also be a potential bioterror threat.
"NSABB has never before recommended to restrict communications on research that NSABB has reviewed that has potential dual use implications," Dr Amy Patterson, director of the National Institutes of Health's Office of Biotechnology Activities, said in a statement.
The bird flu virus is extremely deadly in people who are directly exposed to infected birds but so far it has not mutated into a form that can pass easily from person to person.
The National Institutes of Health funded the two research labs' work to see how the virus could become more transmissible in humans, with the aim of getting early insight to contain threats to public health.
The NSABB wants to keep this information from falling into the wrong hands.
The articles involved work done by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist, and Dr Ron Fouchier and colleagues from the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam.
The National Institutes of Health said the health department agreed with the panel's assessment and gave the journals non-binding recommendations to withhold key elements of the studies.
But the NIH said the government was working out how to allow secure access to the information to those with a legitimate need to see it.
"It is essential for public health that the full details of any scientific analysis of flu viruses be available to researchers," the editor in chief of Nature, Dr Philip Campbell, said in a statement.
"We are discussing with interested parties how, within the scenario recommended by NSABB, appropriate access to the scientific methods and data could be enabled."
Dr Bruce Alberts, editor in chief of Science, said the advisory board asked the journal to delete details on the scientific methods and specific mutations of the virus before publishing an article by Fouchier and colleagues.
"The NSABB has emphasised the need to prevent the details of the research from falling into the wrong hands," Alberts said in a statement.
He said scientists who study influenza have a need to know the details of the research to protect the public. He said Science was evaluating how best to proceed.
"Our response will be heavily dependent upon the further steps taken by the US government to set forth a written, transparent plan to ensure that any information that is omitted from the publication will be provided to all those responsible scientists who request it, as part of their legitimate efforts to improve public health and safety," Alberts said.
Other researchers voiced concern over government censorship of science.
"It is a very worrying idea that information from this type of work may be restricted to those that 'qualify' in some way to be allowed to share it," Professor Wendy Barclay, chair of influenza virology at Imperial College London, said.
"Who will qualify? How will this be decided? In the end is the likelihood of misuse outweighed by the danger of beginning a Big Brother society?"
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The scale of this disaster is unimaginable for the survivors - think the impact of the tsunami in 2004...
Question: will it be cheaper AND more valuable?
MIT’s new online courses target students worldwide: [via GigaOM]
Next spring, MIT will launch a pilot of MITx online-only courses geared to reach prospective learners everywhere. The university said it will open source the underlying technology infrastructure for use by other educational institutions.
MITx builds on the near-ubiquity of broadband communications, as well as availability of social networking capabilities that make online interaction for prospective students easier. MITx coursework will incorporate online laboratories and interactive student-to-student communication.
The effort is led by MIT provost L. Rafael Reif. In a statement released Monday, Reif said:
Students worldwide are increasingly supplementing their classroom education with a variety of online tools. Many members of the MIT faculty have been experimenting with integrating online tools into the campus education. We will facilitate those efforts, many of which will lead to novel learning technologies that offer the best possible online educational experience to non-residential learners. Both parts of this new initiative are extremely important to the future of high-quality, affordable, accessible education.
MITx takes some cues from the university’s existing OpenCourseware effort, which offers free, non-accredited online courses. MITx students who do well, on the other hand, can pay a fee and earn an MITx certificate of completion, but not an MIT degree. Charges have not been finalized.
The underlying infrastructure, under development by a team led by Anant Agarwal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) will be available to whoever needs it.
Creating an open learning infrastructure will enable other communities of developers to contribute to it, thereby making it self-sustaining … An open infrastructure will facilitate research on learning technologies and also enable learning content to be easily portable to other educational platforms that will develop. In this way the infrastructure will improve continuously as it is used and adapted.
It’s clear that online learning, once the province of for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix, is of growing importance to traditional colleges and universities seeking ways to reach beyond their traditional constituencies.
Given the choice of a certificate from an MIT or other brand-name institution or a degree from a for-profit school, many students might opt for the former. This is especially true given the debate raging about whether schools are pushing postsecondary degrees for their own commercial purposes. If a non-degreed certification from a respected institution is seen as just as valuable as a postsecondary degree from a non-brand-name school, there could be big shakeup coming in higher ed.
Strikes me as strange that a 78 year old commands the respect of, & popularity with, youth, rather than more "youthful" candidates who, it appears from their utterances, don't know their ass from their elbow..
Ron Paul surges ahead in latest poll
Monday, December 19, 2011
So much for freedom on speech in the "freest country in the whole wide world"!
United Police States of America - sponsored by twitter
Sunday, December 18, 2011
6000$ for a house in Detroit? What's going on here??
50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe
Sixteen former Judiciary staffers lobby on online copyright issues - Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group
SOPA revolvers: Sixteen former Judiciary staffers lobby on online copyright issues - Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Militarily the U.S. does not have the troop strength to quell massive civil unrest without the use of non-conventional force application. Which is it? Is it another Pearl Harbor “let it happen on purpose” like 7 December 1941 and, for that matter, also similar to the 9/11 “made it happen on purpose” gambit used to psychologically traumatize and induce fear into the the American public by fabricating a non-existent enemy striking from the caves of Tora Bora? The threat of NDAA appears to be ‘real’ but, to those of us who understand what it represents, as ludicrous as Emperor Hirohito calling FDR on the phone and telling him that on Sunday, 7 December 1941, he was going to attack the U.S. fleet. Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Perhaps they want to provoke a civil war that would justify to complete deconstruction of America. Perhaps they are simply playing us for saps. It has worked before. It can work again.
"If we think we can do that (occupy foreign lands) and not have retaliation, we are kidding ourselves." - Ron Paul Why is this such a hard thing to understand for the All-lies?
Of course, the peoples of these nations are far too busy with the next big gadget to see how messed up they're leaving themselves & the next generations...
via RT.com: Ron Paul on Iran
The Hindu : News / International : Stomach flu outbreak at Japan nuclear plant
We simply can't afford it. Our food system belongs in the hands of many family farmers, not under the control of a handful of corporations.
check out the health section...
Less Food Is Required As Man Grows Older
Obama has proved himself no different to his predecessor. The legislations passed on his watch will probably have worse implications than any of his (?) Nobel Peace Prize winning work.. (what did he do to deserve the prize again??)
Edit: Very strange, i posted the yahoo link above that reported Obama's approval ratings down to 39%. Doesn't work now! hmmm...
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Expounding a research by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, this article identifies a 2-year old who is suffering from food allergy, but is alive.
Somewhere in this article, a mother gratefully thanking "modern medicine" says, “If we'd been in a third world country, and we hadn't known about the testing, or the awareness of allergies wasn't so high, he probably would have died before the age of one.
The medicine man (or researcher - I'm not sure what he is), says "We know that it is something to do with modern lifestyle because in developing countries food allergy rarely exists, and in countries that are undergoing modern developments, like in China, we're now seeing rates that are rising.”
"Maybe it’s the dark side of those fantastic public health initiatives that we really need to think about, that we're not stimulating our immune system enough. That includes getting out and playing outside, it includes things like exposure to farm animals and pets,” Professor Allen said.
I am more inclined to believe the medicine man.
What if modern messing around the food chain was the reason for the food allergy in the first place? What can be said with certainty is that those "third-world" countries have far less Genetically Modified & packaged food on their store shelves?
Just thinking aloud.
In the last few decades, strong-arm tactics & policies of certain nations, driven by - it is now becoming more apparent - the wolves of private interests in sovereign sheep's clothing - have resulted in a gradual change.
This change has been primarily in habits, daily acts & choices performed by all people, perhaps by need, availability, affordability, & a host of other reasons.
My view of this change has been that this change, whether conspired or otherwise, has led to some fundamental choices that were never seen by the human race before, on a scale as we see now. A classic example was the number of mouths required to be fed as opposed to the resources required to feed those mouths. New age thinking is that with improved productivity & technology, a lesser effort/ resource is required to achieve the same result.
This has inevitably led to the increase in the number of people moving away from a primary activity of growing food to higher paying, quicker turnaround, lesser effort jobs requiring "skill" - insinuating that these agrarian jobs somehow required no skill - just put some seeds in the ground & within a short time you get food.
This ridiculous situation - of prices of food becoming unaffordable - is probably going to be a more common phenomenon as we move towards food scarcity - ironic considering the amount of food that is wasted every day in every single family.
[via yahoo news]
The only ones winning here are the lawyers! Another Jackpot!
I think this building is a stark reminder of the events of 9/11, even if the builder claims otherwise - one that needs to be remembered for the consequences of absolute corruption & greed that private interests have always had.
What about returning several countries that you have occupied back to the people who live in the land back to them Mr. Obama?? You violate someone's airspace (based on your own laws), & now you don't like to be on the other side of the fence? Shame on you!
Monday, December 12, 2011
Well said, Dave.. "stop using women as examples of confused computer users"
& here's why:
"Irrespective of where you live, if you are a woman,
chances are that you are doing more than one job. Your time is fragmented
in complicated ways. One of the natural consequences of this is that your
patience with things that don’t work is lower. In this sense, women become a
gold standard for usability. If you can get it right for women, it’s going to
be right for everyone. If you don’t aim at the beginning point of coming out of
the box and just working and working flawlessly, every time, there are going to
be a lot of women for whom that solution is never going to be a part of their
lives. Not because they don’t understand technology … but because there are so
many other constraints and pressures.” - Genevieve Bell, Social Anthropologist at Intel
will happen soon to a farm near you.. (regardless of where you live)..