Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Brother In Space ?




Yes, Big Brother down here on Earth, watching Outer Space contestants.
That's what we might need, and sooner than we think. A sponsored TV-Reality show like 'The Apprentice or 'Big Brother' that seeks ratings by moderating, keeping tabs on, recording and sharing worldwide could be prove to be very useful in International Space Relations and Commerce.

I am bringing up this 'Big Brother/Apprentice-type' idea because the highly-touted International Space Station ( ISS ) has run into International issues between its current Cosmonauts and Astronauts. The issues in question are those of sharing the exercise and toilet facilities, among other things. Here are some of the gripes being aired, brought to us by the unflinching folks at FOXNews

' MOSCOW — Squabbles on Earth over how cosmonauts and astronauts divide up the space station's food, water, toilets and other facilities are hurting the crew's morale and complicating work in space, a veteran Russian cosmonaut said, according to an interview published Monday.

Gennady Padalka told the Novaya Gazeta newspaper as saying space officials from Russia, the United States and other countries require cosmonauts and astronauts to eat their own food and follow stringent rules on access to other facilities, like toilets.'

Imagine an International group of hand-picked astronauts and Space Tourists, all attempting an experiment to solve the problems that are now presenting themselves regarding Commercial ventures and partnerships in Space. The winner would be given a fully-financed contract to operate the first Lodging facility in Space. The General Manager of, say the ISS Hilton Hotel and Conference Center would have his work cut out for him, ensuring that the itinerary and facilities for those attending are literally out of this world. The Highest standard of Excellence would also be an award to aim for, with complimentary cocktails and unrestricted use of the facilities included, in the hopes of creating a successful Flagship commercial enterprise.

Not too far-fetched an idea, from my experience as a former NASA-area Hilton Manager.

Full story from FOXNews here

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Your ISP Can and WILL Tell All



This piece came about as the result of a previous comment about ISPs I made on March 21, in response to Esta's article, Is Google Committing Theft

Excerpted :

'...to send the entire file from your PC to another is considered illegal on the part of the ISPs which will have to surrender all the records about the offenders if requested. The ISPs are the ones caught in this mess as well and ultimately their records and the users' PCs are the ones that are used to create a Copyright Infringement case....

That's only the tip of the iceberg'....


Closer to home, AT&T, my own ISP declares it is now keeping closer tabs on
Copyrights Violations offenders.
That means that AT&T and others like
Cox Communications, Comcast and Verizon have tweaked their
record-keeping methods to enable more thorough, faster
access to their own
version of the Criminal Offender Database.
All this extra work, in spite of the massive layoffs and cutbacks occurring everywhere !

Perhaps the current 8.1% unemployment rate will drop with this latest effort by the ISPs who are spurred by highly-paid lawyers bent on extracting fines for their Media Mogul financiers.


NEW YORK - AT&T Inc., the nation's largest Internet service provider, will start sending warnings to its subscribers when music labels and movie studios allege that they are trafficking in pirated material, according to an executive.

The phone company thus joins other major ISPs that either go beyond legal requirements or interpret their duties under the law to mean that they have to forward such notices.....

......Copyright holders like movie studios can, in many cases, identify Internet users who download or provide pirated material by their numerical Internet address, but cannot match it up with a subscriber name without the cooperation of the Internet service provider.....

....ISPs have previously identified their customers to copyright holders who bring court orders. The copyright holders and their representatives, like the RIAA, have then been able to sue the customers.

Sites where Hackers, Spammers and Pirates run amok often come up along with Freebies when I do a Search for a video or song file. Which is how I learned that there are tons of unreleased, private audio/video and software available for me to Download. Curious about the process, I dug deep and gained free access to the files. So here's my take on 'How-it-works'.......

If I want to play with the 'big boys' of Downloading I have to go through their initiation and ranking process, which would include opening up and sharing of my PC with them in exchange for all the 'free' stuff they are willing to give me. Freebie files are often uploaded as Torrents

that they have created by ingenious deciphering, collecting and re-engineering what were once parts of private internet archives and transmissions. Theirs is a massive, worldwide operation that offers so much by way of free instant gratification that they appear to many as the 'real' internet. However, the freebies are free only for so long in the hierarchical set here.

Like some Freeware which is only of the 'Trial Period' kind, the free Downloads I'm speaking often come at a heavy price, often months later when the user's confidence has been won over. In the long run, the freeloader who doesn't return the favor by uploading files frequently sees his ranking go down even while compromising all the private, personal info on his PC. This is how higher-ranking members often have 'bought' Premium memberships to these sites - with stolen Credit Card numbers.

Here is where the Instant Karma distributor morphs and leaves behind just the burnt-out shell of a PC for the user to rail at, to no avail. No traces of anything to incriminate in a Copyrights Violations case - or so it would seem. But that's where the ISP, the middle man steps in and becomes The Man who helps put people away, simply by retrieving and turning over all relevant info on the user's downloading habits, sites visited and repeat Warnings that they sent out (which were repeatedly) ignored. Those Warnings are unofficially the '3 Strikes and you're out' rule. The difference is that in Baseball parlance it's part of the game, not the precursor to legal proceedings.

Cox, the fifth-largest ISP in tAmerica with about 4 million Internet customers, interprets the law as requiring it to forward thousands of notices per month and has cut off a few repeat offenders, spokesman David Grabert said..

So would you be willing to give up any of your personal records for a bootleg
HD copy of Slumdog Millionaire or its Audio tracks available in Spanish, French,
Tamil, whatever ? I hope not. There has to be some sort of give and take, there is
no real free ride from ISPs. If you don't like their Terms of Service, tough.

Use your Public Library to access some of your favorite sites and see how
much fun that is.

The whole Yahoo news article is here






Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Cosmote Strategy


You could call it this a mash-up of Greek proportions, a 'Greek Chorus' of voices
performing a superbly crafted original piece of original choreography set to a swaying
melody, under the waychful eye of the conductor onstage at Athens' largest acoustically-balanced theatre. But this is far from a Greek tragedy. Rather, it is a triumphant celebration worthy of any Olympic showcase of the future. The performance involving Mobile phones, landline Phones and Laptop PCs is a neat and impressive piece of creative media advertising for the leading mobile telecommunications provider in Greece, Cosmote.

Cosmote, like most of it competitors worldwide seeks to widen its base by actively participating in local and national events, events that naturally require vast amounts of data to be transmitted at the fastest rate possible. Their programs for working to improve the lives of children and People with Disabilities by donating substantial revenue amounts to charities is just one way they stay ahead in their market.

I personally like their statement for the 'Cosmote Ranking List' in competitive Sailing:
"that which takes on a journey, brings us closer together"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And Now I Give You All...The (USB) Finger !


USB Ion Air Purifier
The Memlite
USB Memory and Lighter

Sushi USB sticks


Teddy Bear USB


The actual Prosthetic finger USB
used by Jerry Jalava
USB warming slippers, USB warming kneepads, USB warming mice, USB warming gloves, USB Ionic Air Purifiers and even USB-heated shawls. There's so much of innovation going on in the USB market, it's impossible to expect anyone to keep up with the latest twist on these truly universal devices. No longer does the USB of yore just enable one to Plug and Play, transfer/save data and media files and conveniently hang around one's neck for instant access in case a USB-enabled PC lies within reach.

Now the newest, most innovative and kind of creepy twist to the USB comes from
Finland, where a Finn whose finger was finished in an accident found that a faux
finger fashioned by his physicians functioned fully as a removable storage device.
But enough of the 'F' word and on with the Jerry Jalava story from the
Telegraph.co.uk

Using a traditional prosthetic finger Jerry has been able embed a 'USB key' - like the ones used in traditional flash drives - giving him the world's only two gigabyte finger.

The finger is not permanently attached to his hand meaning it can be removed when plugged into a computer.

"It is not attached permanently in to my body, it is a removable prosthetic which has USB memory stick inside it," said Jerry.
Source: telegraph.co.uk



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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Fans for Bob Dylan



KTLA Report from Behind Dylan Residence uploaded by Fred Miller
KTLA Report from Behind Dylan Residence
see larger video
Be prepared for journalists' creative juices to start flowing for this story from The LA Times yesterday. They're all racking their brains for famous Bob Dylan songs they can mine for the latest news about him.

Music Icon and long-time resident of Malibu, California Bob Dylan has a new set of fans aimed in his direction. But these aren't hordes of new, adoring music fans. No, these are 5 industrial, electric fansaimed at Dylan's residence by his neighbors. And the protests they have aren't exactly Dylan-esque. See, Mr. Zimmerman (Bob's real name) has employees that have to use an outhouse when they have to, you know.... GO. So like a lot of other celebs who seek to keep the hired help secluded, his contract with them thoughtfully included Port-a-Potties.

Now how cool is that ? Pretty cool, but not for the neighbors who soon discovered the odors from the portable loos linger around, like one of Bob's classic lyrics. Problem is, his lyrics didn't stink anywhere near as much as these toilets. The nieghbors are now seeking some answers as to what is being done to stop the stench of sewage, and all they're getting is bad jokes that say the answer, my friend is 'Blowin' in the Wind'.

....But Dylan's neighbors who contend their patience has run out have plenty to say about the odor.

"It started in September. I'd go into the frontyard and get nauseous," said Cindy Emminger, 42. "I couldn't figure out at first where the smell was coming from."
Her 8-year-old son, David Jr., was sickened by the stench. Then she became ill too.

"We both have allergies and are sensitive to chemicals," she said. "I finally noticed that they had moved the porta-potty directly in front of my front door."

Source: latimes.com


"Mr Civil Rights is killing our civil rights!" David Emminger told reporters, while pointing out the controversial, blue portable lavatory, which is behind a storage container next to a wire fence that marks the border of Dylan's property.

Source: independent.co.uk

Dylan's property, Point Dune remains one of the most valuable bits of real estate property in North-Western California but right now it's costing his neighbors downwind an increase in electrical bills, thanks to the industrial fans they have installed.

Does Dylan care about those fans ? His Management agency in New York won't say.


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

R.I.P. KATE PUZEY : the Benin Blogger

video
Video from myfoxatlanta

The power of International Newsvideo usually surpasses that of
traditional reporting via printed media. A direct example of this
is the report filed by an off-air reporter named Kirit Radia who
blogs for ABC News. His blog dated March 12th has been
slow to find its way to major news publications, probably due to
the fact that the incident he reported occurred in Badjoude,
Benin,
situated in a remote part of West Africa. The incident
involves the death of Catherine 'Kate' Puzey, a young
Peace Corps volunteer stationed there as an English teacher
at a rural public school.


March 13, 2009 5:51 PM

Radia_2 ABC News' Kirit Radia Reports:

Today the Peace Corps identified the
victim of this week's tragedy in west Africa
as 24-year-old Catherine "Kate" Puzey
of Cumming, Ga.

Puzey was found dead outside her home Thursday in a
small village in the western African nation of Benin. There
is still no official word on the circumstances of her death,
though officials say it appears she had been murdered.
~from '
Political Radar', ABC news Blog


As a Blogger, I immediately sought to read the last Blog post of
this 24-year-old girl, in order to get a glimpse into the life of a
young American female who would sacrifice the 'American Dream'
to survive instead in a hut without running water and electricity.


What I found was a Blogpost dated October 2008, entitled,
'What A Summer !' Fittingly immortalized as one of the last
published words of a smart, beautiful, fun-loving, selfless and
genuine young woman.


In my opinion, the entire Blog now has the makings of a novel,
screenplay and film, so colorful and strong are her words -
and pictures.

Because she wished to record the details of her life with her
family, friends and neighbors,

the photos she uploaded still exist at her albums on
Google's Picasaweb. I have uploaded only a few
pics from those albums because they offer revealing insights
into her life in Benin, but there are thousands more

in the collection which hopefully will remain available for all to
view and cherish -unless someone decides to deprive us of her
legacy. I personally feel she realized the great amount of personal
dedication, sacrifice and responsibility involved in her situation
and that she chose to leave her mark on the world with her words,
deeds and photos.

Catch the web albums while you can, and also read Kate Puzey's
final Blog posting at http://beinginbenin.blogspot.com/

Deep gratitude and kudos to Boing Boing's illustrious blogger and
all-round knockout Xeni Jardin for first bringing
this story to the world via her Flickr photo.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Some of the Women I Learn From

Ayaan Hirsi Ali : Caged Virgins | Video 02

sourced by Fred Miller
Ayaan Hirsi Ali : Caged Virgins | Video 02


Opressed or not ?

Opressed or not ?

uploaded by Fred Miller

On this International Women's Day 2009, when people worldwide unite
to celebrate Women, their struggles, achievements and contributions
to Mankind, the theme this year for the United Nations Organization
has been chosen as "Women and men united against violence
against women and girls".

But wait....here's the UNO's theme from two years ago :
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2007

Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls

followed by the highlighted words : "Violence against women has yet
to receive the priority attention and resources needed at all levels
to tackle it with the seriousness and visibility necessary."

Secretary-General’s in-depth study on violence against women (2006)
(A/61/122/Add.1)

From that same 2007 page, further down, noble sentiments and
aspirations:
Eliminating violence against women remains one of the most
serious and urgent challenges of our time. Every one has a responsibility to
act when confronted with violence. Each one of us has a duty to support
and sustain a political and social environment where violence against
women and girls is not tolerated; where friends, family members, neighbors,
men and women, intervene to prevent perpetrators to go unpunished.
http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2007/background.shtml

Same old, same old, the fight goes on. When will the violence stop ?

Let's stop and think for a moment, folks. Will the violence against women
ever stop
during our lifetime ? The answer is NO ! Not as long as women
are forced to live in those societies where their demands are made invalid
on the grounds of religious and political law. The best of the best at the
UNO and its ilk may have their say, hold a Day, hope and pray but the
violence will never stop.

Rape, Sexual Harassment, Incest, forced Female Circumcision,
Domestic violence and other forms of abuse occur everywhere all the time.
I have female friends and family members whose stories of humiliation and
physical violence are forever etched in my memory. Now add to that the
Internet Age and we see a whole new era of violence emerging. The Free
Speech that we so desire online comes riddled with questions of just how
much may be said without fear of repercussion. I am thinking of the 
MySpace 'cyberbullying' case. And of the unstoppable attacks being
perpetrated on women daily by hackers, Moral police and self-appointed
Monarchs who are out to lay down the law, create chaos and ruin via the 'Net.

Lately I was moved to comment after a memorable sentence made by an
Iranian lady, the victim of a recent blinding acid atack
(
linked to NP coverage by Tina Kells )

Speaking to Spain's principal Radio station, Cadena SER, and seeking
retribution from the courts of Iran, she was granted a tiny iota of their
version of justice, the removal of ONE of the assailant's eyes:

"They have told us that my two eyes are equal to one of his because
in my country each man is worth two women. They are not the same," 
she told Cadena SER.

That one sentence reminded me that Iran, like all Islamic countries will always
follow its own laws as long as the religious leaders have their way. Leaders who
are laying down the law even in Western countries.

Because many of the oppressed women do not have the resources and the
education to free themselves and are unwilling to give up their family and
religious ties, they must find new means of fighting back. Unseen by the watchful
eyes of society and the media, knowing that they face public humiliation, disgrace,
slander, ex-communication, violent beatings and possibly death, these are the
women I celebrate first on this day International Women's Day 2009.
For by them, and the others who support them in what must be their never-ending
fight, we are forced to learn and share their stories, in the hope of improving
the lot of women everywhere.

Below, a photo and poem by Firoze Shakir, a friend who is quite
possibly the most extraordinary Blogger in the Universe.

Muslim Woman in a Mans World

she begs
while they pray
her words
they wont hear anyway
muslim male dominated society
mullah powered
fatwa generated
fire and brimstone
a woman has no say
born in a cradle
to her grave
she will go by the way
triple talaq
a sword hanging on her head
either way they slay
a mother a sister
a daughter
an aunt
she is a woman
you dont
need to repay
a toy
made of blood sinews
and a bit of clay
her world stark
black and white
no shades of grey

'Muslim Woman in a Man's World'
~ used with kind permission from Firoze Shakir on Flickr

LINKS
UN.org statement from 1995

Salon.com on Blank Noise: challenging sexual harassment in India

The Plight of the Afghan Woman from Afghanweb.com


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a leader in the fight for Women's Rights. Amongst the 
100 Most Influential Persons of the World, Time Magazine 2005.

news.com.au lists some Famous Victims of Domestic Violence

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Friday, March 06, 2009

The Women I Celebrate on IWD 2009


video


On this International Women's Day 2009, when people worldwide unite to
celebrate Women, their struggles, achievements and contributions to Mankind,
the theme this year for the United Nations Organization has been chosen as
"Women and men united against violence against women and girls".

But wait....here's the UNO's theme from two years ago :

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2007
Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls

followed by the highlighted words :


"Violence against women has yet to receive the priority
attention and resources needed at all levels to tackle it
with the seriousness and visibility necessary."

Secretary-General’s in-depth study on
violence against women (2006)
(A/61/122/Add.1)

From that same 2007 page, further down,
noble sentiments
and aspirations:


Eliminating violence against women remains one of the most
serious and urgent
challenges of our time. Every one has a
responsibility to act when confronted with
violence. Each one of
us has a duty to support and sustain a political and social

environment where violence against women and girls is not
tolerated; where friends,
family members, neighbors, men and
women, intervene to prevent perpetrators
to go unpunished.
http://www.un.org/events/women/iwd/2007/background.shtml

Same old, same old, the fight goes on. The violence must stop !

Let's stop and think for a moment, folks. Will the violence against women
ever stop
during our
lifetime ? The answer is NO ! Not as long as women
are forced to live in those societies where their demands are made invalid
on the grounds of religious and political law.
The best of the best at the
UNO and its ilk may
have their say, hold a Day, hope and pray but the
violence will never stop.


Rape, Sexual Harassment, Domestic violence and other forms of abuse
occur everywhere all the time.
I have female friends and family members
whose stories of
humiliation and physical violence are forever etched in
my memory.
Now add to that the Internet Age and we see a whole new
era of violence emerging. The Free Speech that we so desire online
comes riddled with questions of just how much may be said without fear
of repercussion. I am thinking of the MySpace 'cyberbullying' case.
And of the unstoppable attacks being perpetrated on women daily by
hackers,
Moral police and self-appointed Monarchs who are out to
lay down the law, create chaos and ruin via the 'Net.



Lately I was moved to comment after a memorable sentence made by
an Iranian lady, the victim of a
recent blinding acid atack
(
linked to NP coverage by Tina Kells ).

Speaking to Spain's principal Radio station, Cadena SER, and
seeking retribution from the courts of Iran, she
was granted a tiny iota
of their version of justice, the removal of
ONE of the assailant's eyes:

"They have told us that my two eyes are equal to one of his
because in my country each man is worth two women.
They are not the same," she told Cadena SER.
~ from Yahoo news

That one sentence reminded me that Iran, like all Islamic countries
will always follow its own laws as long as the religious leaders

have their way. Leaders who are laying down the law even in
Western countries.


Because many of the oppressed women do not have the resources
and the education to free themselves and are unwilling to give
up their
family and religious ties, they must find new means of
fighting back
. Unseen by the watchful eyes of society and the
media,
knowing that they face public humiliation, disgrace,
slander, ex-communication,
violent beatings and possibly death,
these are the women I celebrate first on this day in March
designated International Women's Day. For with them, and the
others who support them in what must be their never-ending fight,
we are
forced to learn and share their stories, in the hope of
improving the lot of women everywhere.

Below, a photo and poem by Firoze Shakir, a friend who is
quite possibly the most extraordinary Blogger in the Universe.

Muslim Woman in a Mans World

Muslim Woman in a Mans World by firoze shakir photographerno1.
she begs
while they pray
her words
they wont hear anyway
muslim male dominated society
mullah powered
fatwa generated
fire and brimstone
a woman has no say
born in a cradle
to her grave
she will go by the way
triple talaq
a sword hanging on her head
either way they slay
a mother a sister
a daughter
an aunt
she is a woman
you dont
need to repay
a toy
made of blood sinews
and a bit of clay
her world stark
black and white
no shades of grey

~
used with kind permission from Firoze Shakir on Flickr

LINKS

UN.org statement from 1995

Salon.com on Blank Noise: challenging sexual harassment in India

The Plight of the Afghan Woman from Afghanweb.com


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a leader in the fight for Women's Rights. Amongst the
100 Most Influential Persons of the World, Time Magazine 2005.

news.com.au lists some Famous Victims of Domestic Violence

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dig These Single Guys

Women are often said to drive men crazy and it looks like this time around they may have succeeded, but in a positive way. They've got some men literally digging for wives in the remote Indian village of Barwaan Kala.

Amarnath Tewary wrote this piece for the BBC.co.uk
More than 100 unmarried villagers in India's Bihar state are working
flat out to build a 6km (3.7-mile) road to help their efforts to get married.

Some 121 villagers aged between 16 and 80 remain bachelors, they say,
because of the remoteness of the village
Source:
news.bbc.co.uk
It's not that the hilly terrain of the remote village is inaccessible that
keeps outside women and men alike away. There is the fear of Maoist
militant operations in the area, severe lack of basic amenities and
a government school that has no teacher. Not quite the setting for any
'Batchelorette' to nab a groom. Speaking of which, this would be one
'Bachelor' Reality show I would actually tune in to.

BBC, can you hear me ?

Full story at the BBC.co.uk


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