Comment on Katie Hopkins Gets Fat to Prove She’s a Bitch by JoAnn        
It defies logic that every single fat person is lazy and undisciplined or that every single thin person is. It's amazing that there are still people who feel the need to insult and demean those who are different from themselves rather than trying to understand and provide an answer.
          Responsable IVVQ - Produits radio (H/F) - Thales - Gennevilliers/CRISTAL        
CE QUE NOUS POUVONS ACCOMPLIR ENSEMBLE : En nous rejoignant, vous vous verrez confier les missions suivantes : Vous avez en charge la stratégie d'IV des produits radio logicielle de nouvelle génération Vous supportez les équipes projets pour présenter l'IVVQ produit aux clients Vous êtes en charge de la cohérence des moyens pour les produits radio france et export. Vous êtes en charge des moyens d'essais (Bancs, cartes/modules , postes) pour les différentes plateformes...
          Ziox Mobiles announces Sushant Singh Rajput as its Brand Ambassador along with Rs. 300cr investment for FY17 - 18        
Launches its newest Mobile phone ‘Ziox Duopix’
        Forays into LED TV and Consumer Durables Segment
        Plans to open 2 new manufacturing units and R&D facilities with investment of Rs. 200cr.
        Plans a 360-degree marketing campaign with a budget of
Rs. 100 Cr.
by Shrutee K/DNS
In the light of its vigorous expansion, Ziox Mobiles under the aegis of Sun Air voice Pvt Ltd, one of the fastest growing Mobile handsets brand, ropes in the very versatile, Sushant Singh Rajput, as its Brand endorser who truly lives up to the brand name.  While Ziox mobiles is a preferred brand across the country through its outstanding innovation and quality, the other has won the hearts of a million Indians as he slips into any role with nonchalance. Both the brand and its ambassador ride on the precepts of resilience, hard work and steady growth. A rare blend of energy, perseverance, and popularity coupled with his ability to connect to people, Sushant Singh Rajput is a fine addition to the Ziox Mobiles family. This association will further boost the legacy of Ziox Mobiles as the actor resonates to the brand promise: Quality that Speaks.
Answering strong demand and an overwhelming response from the Indian market, Ziox Mobiles also chalked out a detailed expansion plan and the roadmap for FY 2017-2018.The Brand aims to establish a stronger foothold in the Indian Market, with the total investment of over Rs. 200crore which shall span for a year, the Brand announced its plan to set up 2 new manufacturing units (in Sikkim and Noida) and R&D facilities apart from the existing New Delhi unit, with a holding capacity of around 1 Million units per Month. With the induction of Sushant Singh Rajput as its brand endorser along with the total investment of Rs. 100 Cr. this FY 2017-2018, Ziox aims to achieve an estimated revenue of Rs. 1,000 Cr and a sale of 10 million product units.
Commenting on this association and a promising future, Mr. Deepak Kabu, CEO Ziox Mobiles said “The future looks bright, Ziox Mobiles has a range of phones in the pipeline with exciting new launches. We are enthralled to present Sushant Singh Rajput as the new face of Ziox Mobiles. With Sushant Singh Rajput on board, it will help augment sales and further its reach in the market. The partnership with him is timed with Ziox Mobiles’ next phase of expansion on a pan-India level” Mr. Kabu further adds, “Sushant embodies talent, youthfulness and style. More importantly, he blends well with the core values of hard work, reliability, and is the epitome of our brand philosophy. Today our target audience is the young, driven, forward-moving generation, who have ever changing needs. Sushant understands the pulse of this audience well and has a great rapport with them. That is why, with immense preparation, he goes on to entertain his fans with one performance after another just as Ziox Mobiles constantly strives to understand the changing needs of its customers.”
Speaking on the association, Sushant Singh Rajput said, "I have always known Ziox Mobiles to be an inspirational brand in terms of their persuasion to becomes India’s biggest mobile brand. I am happy to be associated with a brand which is very young, and has a journey that is very similar to mine. I love how this brand designs its products to suit every need of its customers and are constantly innovating themselves as I see myself doing that while working on a role. I look forward to being part of the Ziox Mobiles family and to contribute to its fascinating growth journey in India." The ever-evolving brand has slated a major strategic transformation that entails the signing of a new brand endorser, an aggressive expansion and launches of it new products. The Brand at the event also announced the launch of its newest smartphone Series ‘Duopix”, Phone Series with Dual Cameras. Designed to fulfil the brand promise of providing users with superior camera performance and quality, ‘Duopix’ comes equipped with wide angle Dual front camera (8.0MP + 2.0) front +8.0MP Rear. The latest Dual 4G model runs on Android 7.0, with 5inch HD IPS Display along with 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM all packed in 2500mAh battery. Some of the key features includes strong battery life & also the fast charging capability. The budget friendly Smartphone comes equipped with various other features like 21 language support with multilingual phonebook, MP3 player, FM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity to help you stay connected. The phone will be available across all retail stores in few week’s time. Along with the smartphones, the brand also announces its foray into LED TVS and Consumer Durables category.

About Ziox Mobile: Ziox Mobiles, part of Sun Airvoice Pvt. Ltd., incepted in the Year 2015, with a singular motto to break the boundaries while offering technologically superior products without compromising on quality. Headquartered in New Delhi, Ziox Mobiles has built up an impressive product portfolio of more than 40 distinguished products and constantly innovating to make superior products.
Empowering consumers with affordable technology through quality products- the brand has truly demonstrated quick and robust expansion since inception, showing profitability and growing sales since the first year of operations. Being considered as one of the most innovative and fastest growing brands in the Mobile category, the brand has established its presence across India through its wide network comprising of its various branch offices and system integrators across several states in India.

          Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)        

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) partners with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA)

~A culturally enriching and riveting morning hosted by Malaysian Palm Oil Council with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai~

by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai, August 8, 2017 : In April 2017 in conjunction with the visit to India of the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri’ Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) signed a MoU with Mumbai Dabbawala Association (MDA). Taking this MoU forward, on the morning of August 8th, MPOC and Mumbai Dabbawalas flagged off an event to create awareness for Malaysian Palm Oil and its benefits.

The event took place at the Lower Parel Bridge, where Dabbawalas wore the T-shirts and topis branded with MPOC message. They then delivered the dabbas carrying a booklet of recipes of dishes that can be cooked in palm oil and the benefits of using palm oil. The Dabbawalas are in a unique position to promote MPOC and raise awareness to the positive nutritional attributes of Malaysian Palm Oil. This becomes particularly useful in Indian cuisine as most dishes are cooked in oil. Substituting for a healthier oil can do no harm, besides besides providing the added bonus of eating delicious food cooked in a healthy oil that is nutritious for the body.

To kick off this event, Dr. Kalyana Sundaram, CEO of MPOC, was present, encouraging the use of palm oil and showing appreciation to our Dabbawalas for their exceptional work. The morning was most enjoyable, entertaining and culturally riveting as some of Maharashtra’s best dancers performed the traditional Lezim Dance, a true delight to have watched! For those unaware of the Lezim Dance, it is a Maharashtrian folk dance performed to the beat of the Dholki, a percussion instrument.

Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Kalyan Sundaram, CEO, MPOC, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be here this morning. Dabbawalas have been an integral part of this city and they define what Indians stand for: hardworking, responsible and efficient. They work relentlessly with a smile on their face, be it rain or storm. Malaysian Palm Oil has been a very important part of the Indian diet and with this unique initiative we wish to create awareness for this wonderful oil and its several health benefits. Our association with the Mumbai Dabbawalas allows us to spread the message of healthy cooking to a large number of households and encourages a healthier cooking lifestyle”


Mr. Subhash Talekar, Association Spokesperson of Mumbai Dabbawala Association said “We Dabbawalas unfailingly deliver thousands of dabbas to hungry people daily, they are undoubtedly the best people to directly reach out to households and create awareness about palm oil and the health benefits of using it. This is a very exciting new chapter, and we are glad to be partnering with MPOC.”

India is the world’s largest importer of cooking oils. Palm oil constitutes about two-thirds of India’s steadily increasing vegetable oil import. The price, in comparison to competing oils and the proximity of origin, Malaysia, has made Malayisan Palm Oil a highly preferred oil. Now the Dabawallas have taken it upon themselves, with the help of MPOC, to inform families about the benefits of palm oil and how exquisite food can be cooked in palm oil in alternative to other vegetable oils.

Amongst some of the benefits we came to learn about during the event was that palm oil is rich in natural chemical compounds essential for health and nutrition. It has a rich source of carotenoids that are rich in Vitamin A, a potent natural antioxidant, Vitamins D, E, K, fatty acids, and other important fat-soluble micronutrients that boost the human immune system. The health benefits from using palm oil are tremendous - it reduces chances of Cancer, protects against heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and helps children with Vitamin A deficiency.

The oil is great for cooking; it is of vegetable origin, making it free of cholesterol and apt for vegetarians, vegans, and Jains. Furthermore, the oil has a neutral flavor - you needn’t worry about changing tastes, it does not oxidize easily – making it perfect for frying food, and produces less gummy materials and helps in the cooking area maintaining a non-greasy surface; so, most bakers prefer to use a palm-based margarine for baking goods.

With people now more conscious about their health and food habits, palm oil is definitely the healthier choice to make whilst cooking and a step towards healthier bodies and practices.  What better way to create awareness than directly reaching out to the households through our Dabbawalas.


Note to Editors:
MPOC is a Council under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia.  Its role is to promote the market expansion of Malaysian palm oil and its products by enhancing the image of palm oil and creating better acceptance of palm oil through awareness of various technological and economic advantages (techno-economic advantages) and environmental sustainability.

The Council has set up a network of ten offices all over the world, mainly in China (Shanghai), India (Mumbai), Pakistan (Lahore), Bangladesh (Dhaka), Middle East (Istanbul and Cairo), Europe (Brussels and Russia), Africa (Durban) and Americas (Washington DC)  to support, promote and venture into new areas for the industry.
                                                                                                             

The plantation industry, particularly palm oil, is one of the main pillars of the Malaysian economy.  The palm oil sector has contributed significantly towards providing a continuous inflow of export earnings through the export of raw commodity and valued-added products to the global market. In 2016, palm oil contributed USD 9 billion in export earnings for Malaysia and accounted for 33% of the world’s palm oil production and 39% of total palm oil exports.

          Giuseppe Genna: Grande madre rossa        
Oggi è il primo di agosto e sono piuttosto insoddisfatto di me stesso in generale e di questo blog in particolare. Vorrei scrivere qualcosa di incisivo e pregnante. Come al solito, non ci riesco. Invece, ho deciso di riciclare una recensione a Grande madre rossa di Giuseppe Genna che scrissi tre anni fa per un sito commerciale e che ripubblico qui di seguito, con minime variazioni. E' brutta, ma se non altro vi trapela un po' di entusiasmo: qualcosa che al momento mi manca.

Che libro è Grande madre rossa? In prima approssimazione, è un thriller. Ma, se incontrate l'autore, non insistete troppo su questa definizione. Tempo fa, Giuseppe Genna dichiarò che avrebbe regalato una copia del Codice da Vinci al primo che gli avesse detto che lui scriveva thriller. Inutile aggiungere che Genna non è precisamente un estimatore di Dan Brown.

Ecco la trama. Una spaventosa esplosione polverizza il Palazzo di Giustizia di Milano, facendo più di mille vittime. L'attentato non è stato rivendicato, ma se ne temono altri e il commissario Guido Lopez della Questura di Milano, sulla traccia dei colpevoli, lotta contro il tempo e forse contro ostacoli e depistaggi dei servizi segreti italiani e di quelli stranieri...

Certo, trattandosi di un thriller, sarebbe delittuoso (appunto) svelare ulteriori dettagli. Non lo farò. Dovete fidarvi della mia parola quando vi dico che il libro l'ho letto per intero e tutto d'un fiato.

Mentre Genna scriveva questo romanzo, vivevo e lavoravo a Milano (tra l'altro abitavo nel quartiere popolare di Calvairate, che Genna conosce bene e di cui spesso parla nei suoi romanzi, compreso questo). Ricordo benissimo la paura, che in quel periodo serpeggiava, di un nuovo e terribile attentato. Infatti, dopo l'11 settembre e dopo la strage della stazione ferroviaria a Madrid, tutti temevano che il prossimo bersaglio dei terroristi sarebbe stato la metropolitana di Milano: la quale, in quegli anni, l'undici di ogni mese risultava stranamente meno affollata rispetto agli altri giorni... Grande madre rossa rende assai bene quel clima di psicosi collettiva.

Ma è veramente un thriller, Grande madre rossa? E' un romanzo di spionaggio, di fantapolitica? E' un romanzo "realistico", qualunque cosa questa parola voglia dire? - Consentitemi di riportare per esteso la nota apposta al suo romanzo da Giuseppe Genna a mo' di premessa.

"Le vicende qui narrate sono finzioni letterarie al 100%. In esse compaiono nomi di persone e circostanze 'reali' in qualità di pure occasioni narrative. I nomi di aziende, strutture istituzionali, media e personaggi politici vengono utilizzati soltanto al fine di denotare figure, immagini e sostanze dei sogni collettivi che sono stati formulati intorno a essi, e si riferiscono quindi a un ambito mitologico che non ha nulla a che vedere con informazioni od opinioni circa la verità storica effettiva degli avvenimenti o delle persone - in vita o scomparse - su cui questo romanzo elabora una pura fantasia."

Attenzione: non si tratta del solito disclaimer messo lì solo per motivi legali (del tipo "ogni riferimento ecc. è del tutto casuale"). In questo romanzo i riferimenti non sono affatto casuali, tuttavia quando Genna usa le espressioni "sogni collettivi", "ambito mitologico" e "pura fantasia" dobbiamo prenderlo sul serio.

Di fatto, Genna dimostra con questo romanzo una eccezionale capacità di giocare con l'inconscio collettivo, di evocare sogni o incubi metropolitani, e di svelare (o forse di creare) archetipi remotissimi e affascinanti. Da questo punto di vista Grande madre rossa è molto più vicino a Lautréamont, ai surrealisti francesi, a William Burroughs, di quanto non lo sia a Grisham o a Ian Fleming.

Ho trovato veramente straordinaria tutta la parte del romanzo ambientata nel Cimitero Monumentale di Milano. Opera architettonica ottocentesca di notevole cattivo gusto, in questo senso equivalente milanese (anche se meno celebre) del Vittoriano di Roma, nonché una delle parti più neglette ed ignorate della città di Milano, nelle pagine di Genna il Cimitero Monumentale diventa genialmente il luogo dell'inconscio e del rimosso ove risiede la verità nascosta della città. Da gustare, in questo romanzo d'azione, crudo e hard-boiled secondo le migliori tradizioni del suo genere, il "cameo" dedicato al Manzoni:

"Non c'era più posto nel Vecchio Famedio, tempestato di lapidi in ogni centimetro quadro. Il tempio del tempo scaduto per Alessandro Manzoni. Manzoni: polvere sul mogano della cattedra, polvere di gesso. L'epidemia ubiquitaria, transgenerazionale, scolastica, che colpisce ogni italiano quindicenne: Manzoni.
Cosa c'entra Manzoni oggi?"


Fin dai tempi di Emilio Praga e della scapigliatura, Manzoni è il bersaglio polemico dell'avanguardia artistica milanese... Anche da questo punto di vista, Genna è veramente figlio della sua città. Qui, però, non è realmente chiaro se Genna stia polemizzando contro l'autore dei Promessi sposi, o non piuttosto contro la nostra epoca, così degradata da non trovare più posto per un Manzoni.

Bellissimo è poi il finale del romanzo, che descrive una ipotetica Milano post-catastrofe, in apparenza uguale ma forse enigmaticamente diversa, forse migliore. La piazza dove prima si trovava il Palazzo di Giustizia, distrutto dall'immane esplosione:

"La nuova piazza, larga, aperta, immensamente chiara: il luogo dove sorgeva, come un sogno, il Palazzo.
Come puntine da disegno e graffette, in controluce, i nonni e i bambini, che giocano, a passeggio, nell'incredibile spazio bianco della nuova piazza."


E, nella piazza,

"il monumento di marmo bianco, una colonna altissima, messo in verticale, l'architrave di quello che fu il Palazzo di Giustizia.
E' la nuova colonna infame."


Ed ecco, dunque, che abbiamo ritrovato anche il buon vecchio Manzoni... L'autore della Storia della colonna infame non poteva essere liquidato così facilmente, dato che la riflessione sul rapporto tra diritto e giustizia è uno dei temi portanti di Grande madre rossa.

Grande madre rossa è stato inserito da Wu Ming 1 nel "canone" delle opere più significative del cosiddetto "New Italian Epic", di cui tanto si è discusso negli ultimi due anni. Se fra le caratteristiche del "New Italian Epic" c'è anche quella di sapersi mantenere su livelli elevati di elaborazione mitico-simbolica, direi che questo romanzo merita ampiamente di rientrare nel novero. Parlando di mitologia, va detto che in Grande madre rossa si trovano quei puntuali riferimenti al matriarcato (il leggendario ordinamento sociale preistorico in cui comandavano le donne, studiato fra gli altri da Bachofen, da L. H. Morgan e da Engels) che il lettore legittimamente si attende da un romanzo con tale titolo.

Il romanzo di Genna può essere interpretato anche come una grandiosa, veramente "epica", fantasia di rivalsa. In questa sede non posso essere più preciso, ma consiglio ai lettori di tenere bene a mente la citazione da Ulrike Meinhof posta in esergo.

A proposito, ho letto recentemente un passo di Bachofen che sembra un commento anticipato a Grande madre rossa:

"Questo diritto materno materiale è il più sanguinario di tutti i diritti. Esso impone la vendetta anche là dove mentalità superiori la fanno apparire come un delitto. [...] Il diritto materiale della prima epoca mostra che la sua legge è quella del sangue [...]. L'idea della giustizia superiore, che considera ogni circostanza [...] proviene dal cielo. In precedenza esisteva solo la vendetta sanguinaria che non ascoltava alcuna difesa e che proveniva dalla materia. [...] L'età del diritto femminile è quella della vendetta e del sanguinario sacrificio umano, quella del patriarcato è l'epoca del tribunale, dell'espiazione, del culto senza spargimento di sangue".

BIBLIOGRAFIA

- Giuseppe Genna, Grande madre rossa, n. 1550 del periodico "Segretissimo", aprile 2009; prima edizione Mondadori, Milano 2004 (attualmente esaurita, spero che venga ristampata presto, perché il libro lo merita assolutamente).

- Johann Jakob Bachofen, Il matriarcato. Storia e Mito tra Oriente e Occidente, [antologia] a cura di Giampiero Moretti, Christian Marinotti Edizioni, Milano 2003, pp. 65, 66-67.

- Sul "New Italian Epic", vedi la relativa voce in Wikipedia.

- Il sito Internet di Giuseppe Genna.

- Per chi ne fosse curioso, la recensione di Genna al Codice da Vinci.
          Sulla critica del diritto nel giovane Gramsci        
E' successo che, preparando un commento all'ultima sortita di Saviano a proposito di storia della sinistra italiana, ho ripreso in mano, dopo anni, il vecchio volume dell'Einaudi (Torino, 1960) che raccoglie i corsivi pubblicati da Gramsci sull'"Avanti!" nella rubrica Sotto la Mole (1916-1920). Qui mi è capitato sotto gli occhi il commento di Gramsci alla sentenza sui "fatti di Torino", cioè (annotano i curatori dell'edizione) "lo sciopero generale per il pane e contro la guerra, che sfociò nella sommossa del 23-26 agosto 1917". [1]

Il commento di Gramsci fu pubblicato sull'"Avanti!" il 20 ottobre 1918: il testo, come di frequente, uscì con vistosi "vuoti" dovuti all'azione della censura. Eccolo qui di seguito [2].

BELLU SCHESC' E DOTTORI!

Il giudice Emanuele Pili non è senza storia, come gli uomini e i popoli felici. Ma la storia del giudice Emanuele Pili ha una lacuna; iniziatasi col protagonista autore drammatico, riprende ora col protagonista «ragionatore» di sentenze, e riprende con una gloriosa e strenua pugna: il «ragionamento» della sentenza per i fatti di Torino, che nell'ultimo numero della «Gazzetta dei tribunali» il misuratore di crani prof. Vitige Tirelli qualifica «dotta».
Benedetto Croce ha scritto: «Chi ha pratica dei tribunali sa che molto spesso un magistrato, presa la decisione e stabilita la sentenza, incarica un suo piú gio [dodici righe e mezzo censurate]. E il giudice giovane ha fatto sfoggio di dottrina; e il giudice giovane — poiché nella prima gíoventú aspirava alla gloria di Talia e dedicava le sue fresche energie intellettuali a scrivere commedie nei vari dialetti di Sardegna e non poté studiare tutti i risultati delle ultime ricerche sulla natura del diritto e delle costituzioni — ha ragionato [una riga censurata] nella sentenza dei fatti di Torino, rovistando nei vecchi cassettoni, rimettendo alla luce tutti gli imparaticci scolastici del primo anno universitario, quando ancora si frequentano le lezioni e si prendono gli appunti.
[Venticinque righe censurate].
Gli sono estranee le correnti del pensiero moderno che hanno ringiovanito tutta la dottrina dello Stato e del Giure — superando le concezioni puerilmente metafisiche della dottrina tradizionale, degli imparaticci da scoletta universitaria — colla riduzione dello Stato e del Giure a pura attività pratica, svolta come dialettica della volontà di potenza e non piú pietistico richiamo alle leggi naturali, ai sacrari inconoscibili dell'istinto avito, alla banale retorica dei compilatori delle storiette per la scuola elementare. Il «ragionamento» del giudice Pili è solo una filastroccola di banalità retoriche, di gonfiezze presuntuose: esso è il ridicolo parto di un fossile intellettuale, il quale non riesce a concepire che lo Stato italiano almeno giuridicamente (e come giudice questa apparenza della realtà doveva solo importare al «giovane» da tribunale) è costituzionale, ed è parlamentare per tradizione (l'on. Sonnino è gran parte dello Stato attuale, ma crediamo che il suo articolo Torniamo allo Statuto! non sia ancora diventato legge fondamentale del popolo italiano): [cinque righe censurate]. La «dottrina» del giovane da tribunale infatti si consolida (!) in esclamazioni enfatiche contro chi ha «resistito» o è accusato di aver resistito: non cerca (come era suo compito) di dimostrare, alla stregua delle prove concrete e sicure, un delitto per passare l'esatta commisurazione alla sua entità di una pena contemplata nel codice. No, il «giovane» vuole sfoggiare, come una contadina ricca del Campidano di Cagliari le vesti multicolori che hanno servito alle sue antenate per le nozze e per decine e decine di anni sono rimaste seppellite in un vecchio cassettone a fregi bestiali e floreali tra lo spigo e una dozzina di limoni: e sfoggia tutti i vecchiumi, tutti gli scolaticci dei vespasiani giuridici chiusi per misura d'igiene pubblica.
Il giudice Emanuele Pili ha scritto una commedia dialettale: Bellu schesc' e dottori! (che bel pezzo di... dottore!) L'esclamazione potrebbe essere la conclusione critica della lettura di una sentenza, cosí com'è il titolo di una commedia.

La prima lacuna è stata integrata facilmente dai curatori del testo gramsciano. Si tratta di una citazione dalla Logica di Croce, riportata come segue:

«Chi ha pratica dei tribunali sa che molto spesso un magistrato, presa la decisione e stabilita la sentenza, incarica un suo piú giovane collega di "ragionarla", ossia di apporre una parvenza di ragionamento a ciò che non è intrinsecamente e puramente prodotto di logica, ma è voluntas di un determinato provvedimento. Questo procedere, se ha il suo uso nella cerchia pratica o giuridica, è affatto escluso da quella della logica e della scienza» (B. CROCE, Logica come scienza del concetto puro, Bari 1917, pp. 87-88).

Quando Gramsci nel suo corsivo parla delle "correnti del pensiero moderno che hanno ringiovanito tutta la dottrina dello Stato e del Giure", si riferisce appunto alla filosofia del diritto di Benedetto Croce. Croce aveva infatti affermato l'assoluta separazione tra morale e diritto, e aveva sottoposto il diritto alle categorie dell'utile e della forza. Nella concezione di Croce, il diritto è forza, che viene applicata per il raggiungimento di uno scopo ritenuto (da chi agisce questa forza) utile; il diritto è inoltre amorale, in quanto prescinde dal giusto e dall'ingiusto.

E' interessante notare che qui Gramsci si serve della teoria del diritto di Croce per porre un'istanza di garantismo giuridico. Infatti, ciò che Gramsci rimprovera al giudice Pili, estensore della sentenza sui fatti di Torino, è di aver confuso il diritto con la morale. Il giudice avrebbe dovuto limitarsi a vagliare le prove, accertare se fosse stato commesso un reato, e, in caso affermativo, determinarne la pena secondo le norme del codice. Invece, questa sentenza (scrive Gramsci) pretende di condannare gli imputati non sulla base della legge, bensì sulla scorta di considerazioni di ordine moralistico, la cui infondatezza giuridica è mascherata dal ricorso all'enfasi e alla retorica.

La linea del ragionamento gramsciano è abbastanza riconoscibile, nonostante i buchi lasciati dalla censura, e nonostante un probabile refuso tipografico [3]. Comunque, in un poscritto all'articolo del giorno successivo (Le vie della divina provvidenza, 21 ottobre 1918), Gramsci scrive:

P.S. Nell'articolo pubblicato ieri sul giudice Emanuele Pili la censura ha lasciato solo la parte «floreale» che può far supporre aver noi scritto un puro pamphlet per insolentire un magistrato. La censura ha imbiancato le giustificazioni delle insolenze: la giustificazione filosofica trovata nella Logica del senatore Benedetto Croce; la giustificazione storica trovata in una notizia pubblicata dal «Journal des Débats» l'8 novembre 1817 (milleottocentodiciassette!), la giustificazione costituzionale trovata nello Statuto albertino. Un'insolenza giustificata da «pezze» di tal genere crediamo non sia piú insolenza, ma espressione plastica della imparziale giustizia. La censura pertanto ci ha solo diffamati, senza che le leggi ci diano il modo di dar querela.

La "giustificazione filosofica" delle critiche che Gramsci rivolge al magistrato corrisponde, lo abbiamo visto, ad una citazione da Croce. Rimane la curiosità di sapere quali potessero essere le altre due "giustificazioni"  imbiancate dalla censura.

La "giustificazione costituzionale", che corrisponde alla lacuna di cinque righe, si trova, dice Gramsci, nello Statuto albertino; e potrebbe forse trattarsi di uno degli articoli che, in quel testo costituzionale, tutelavano i diritti civili: per esempio l'art. 26, secondo comma, "niuno può essere arrestato e tradotto in giudizio, se non nei casi previsti dalla legge, e nelle forme che essa prescrive".

Naturalmente, non è da pensare che Gramsci si facesse particolari illusioni circa l'effettività delle garanzie prescritte dallo Statuto. Sappiamo, invece, che Gramsci sempre ritenne la borghesia italiana incapace di creare un vero Stato di diritto che tutelasse le libertà individuali [4]. Un articolo di Gramsci di qualche anno successivo a quello che stiamo ora esaminando (Lo Stato italiano, in "L'Ordine Nuovo", 7 febbraio 1920) contiene una puntuale critica, da questo punto di vista, allo Statuto albertino:

Lo Stato italiano [...] non ha mai neppure tentato di mascherare la dittatura spietata della classe proprietaria. Si può dire che lo Statuto albertino sia servito a un solo fine preciso: a legare fortemente le sorti della Corona alle sorti della proprietà privata. I soli freni infatti che funzionano nella macchina statale per limitare gli arbitrî del governo dei ministri del re sono quelli che interessano la proprietà privata del capitale. La Costituzione non ha creato nessun istituto che presidî almeno formalmente le grandi libertà dei cittadini: la libertà individuale, la libertà di parola e di stampa, la libertà di associazione e di riunione. Negli Stati capitalistici, che si chiamano liberali democratici, l'istituto massimo di presidio delle libertà popolari è il potere giudiziario: nello Stato italiano la giustizia non è un potere, è un ordine, è uno strumento della Corona e della classe proprietaria. 

Gramsci sottintendeva questo tipo di considerazioni anche all'articolo qui in commento, laddove scriveva che lo Stato italiano "almeno giuridicamente" (cioè solo formalmente) era costituzionale, ed era "parlamentare per tradizione", nel senso che lo Statuto albertino non istituiva una vera e propria democrazia parlamentare, bensì l'ordinamento parlamentare dello Stato derivava da una semplice consuetudine che poteva essere in ogni momento abrogata: così come aveva proposto di fare Sidney Sonnino nel suo articolo del 1897, appropriatamente richiamato da Gramsci, Torniamo allo Statuto!,  e come poi farà il fascismo.

Tuttavia, il fatto che la monarchia sabauda fosse uno Stato di diritto carente e imperfetto non avrebbe dovuto esimere il magistrato dall'applicare comunque quelle garanzie (pur se insufficienti) che la legge disponeva a favore degli imputati: "come giudice questa apparenza della realtà doveva solo importare" al giudice Pili, osserva giustamente Gramsci.

La "giustificazione storica", che corrisponde alla lacuna di venticinque righe, è data (scrive Gramsci) da una notizia pubblicata sul numero dell'8 novembre 1817 del "Journal des Débats". Internet consente oggi di consultare facilmente quel numero di giornale per cercare quale potesse essere la notizia che costituiva la "giustificazione storica" invocata da Gramsci.

Una delle notizie ivi contenute, che possono essere state utilizzate da Gramsci ai fini del suo commento, è una corrispondenza dalla Gran Bretagna datata 3 novembre, che riporto qui di seguito in una mia traduzione (il testo originale è in nota):

Quattro individui di nome Booth, Brown, Jackson e King, prima delle ultime assisi di Derby, erano stati condannati a morte per crimine di ribellione. Condotti sul patibolo, al momento stesso della morte hanno avuto l'audacia empia di arringare la folla, affinché li venisse a liberare. Questa folla era composta da loro vecchi amici che li avevano frequentemente visitati in carcere; ma il luogo dell'esecuzione era sorvegliato da folti distaccamenti di cavalleria e di fanteria, e la legge ha avuto esecuzione [5].

Inizialmente ho pensato che questa notizia potesse aver attratto l'attenzione di Gramsci (per analogia con i fatti di Torino) perché riferita a un episodio di ribellione delle classi subalterne conclusosi con una condanna penale. Episodio che forse è leggibile nel quadro della fase di irrequietezza sociale che fu caratterizzata, in Gran Bretagna, dalle proteste contro la legge sul grano del 1815, fase che sfociò nel massacro di Peterloo.

Tuttavia, non ho trovato alcun elemento che potesse suffragare questa ipotesi. Non è chiaro neanche se i quattro uomini giustiziati a Derby nel 1817 siano stati effettivamente condannati a morte per reati politici, o non piuttosto per reati comuni; in un elenco dei giustiziati nel carcere di Derby, compilato da Celia Renshaw, una storica locale, questi Booth, Brown, Jackson e King risultano essere stati condannati per aver appiccato il fuoco a dei covoni di paglia [6]. Inoltre è noto che Gramsci non amava gli atteggiamenti tribunizi e teatrali, né apprezzava particolarmente i gesti individuali di ribellione: lo si evince dal suo stesso comportamento di imputato durante il "processone" del 1928 [7], nonché dal suo commento, contenuto nei Quaderni del carcere, ad un libro che raccoglieva i resoconti di una serie di processi contro anarchici libertari [8]. Perciò mi sembra improbabile che, nel suo corsivo del 1918 che stiamo ora commentando, Gramsci possa aver preso ad esempio il comportamento di quattro condannati a morte per reati contro il patrimonio che, dal patibolo, incitano la folla alla rivolta.

C'è però un'altra notiziola, sempre nella prima pagina  del "Journal des Débats" dell'8 novembre 1817, che potrebbe aver attirato l'attenzione di Gramsci. Si tratta di una corrispondenza da Losanna datata primo novembre:

Il Cantone Esterno di Appenzell ha da poco emesso una singolare sentenza contro un ragazzino accusato di alcuni piccoli furti. Lo hanno condannato a 50 fl. di ammenda e a trenta colpi di verga. Gli sarà inoltre assegnato un posto particolare in chiesa per un periodo di due anni: dovrà trovarsi colà per due volte ogni domenica, e sarà punito severamente in caso d'inosservanza [9].

In questa notizia di cronaca (un ragazzino condannato con sentenza penale ad andare a messa due volte la settimana) troviamo un esempio estremo e grottesco di quella perniciosa, pre-moderna confusione tra diritto e morale, che Gramsci stigmatizza nella sua polemica col giudice relatore della sentenza sui fatti di Torino. Perciò ritengo che sia stata questa la pezza giustificativa di quella parte dell'argomentazione gramsciana, che la censura ha cancellato lasciando nell'articolo un buco di venticinque righe.

Note

[1] Sempre secondo l'apparato critico dell'edizione citata, la sentenza fu emessa dal Tribunale militare di Torino il 2 agosto 1918; il testo della sentenza è reperibile in "Rivista storica del socialismo", n. 2, 1960.

[2] A. Gramsci, Sotto la Mole, ed. cit., pp. 447-48. L'articolo è stato poi raccolto nella più recente edizione degli scritti gramsciani precarcerari: A. Gramsci, Il nostro Marx 1918-1919, a cura di Sergio Caprioglio, Einaudi, Torino 1984, pp. 360-2. In Internet si trova qui: http://www.liberliber.it/mediateca/libri/g/gramsci/sotto_la_mole/pdf/sotto__p.pdf, p. 269.

[3] "Passare l'esatta commisurazione alla sua entità di una pena contemplata nel codice" è frase di cui si capisce il senso, ma che sembra guasta anche grammaticalmente. Penso che Gramsci abbia invece scritto "fissare l'esatta commisurazione della sua entità ad una pena contemplata nel codice".

[4] Cfr. Leonardo Rapone, Cinque anni che paiono secoli. Antonio Gramsci dal socialismo al comunismo (1914-1919), Carocci, Roma 2011, pp. 162-6.

[5] Quatre individus nommés Booth, Brown, Jackson et King, antérieurement aux dernières assises de Derby, avoient été condamnés à mort pour crime de rebellion. Amenés sur l'échafaud, ils ont eu, même au moment de la mort, l'audace impie de haranguer la multitude, et de l'engager à venir les délivrer. Cette multitude étoit composée de leurs anciens amis qui les avoient fréquemment visités dans leur prison; mais le lieu de l'exécution étoit gardé par de forts détachements de cavalerie et d'infanterie, et la loi reçut son exécution.

[6] Fonte: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/DERBYSGEN/2009-08/1250276359

[7] Cfr. Giuseppe Fiori (a cura di), Antonio Gramsci: cronaca di un verdetto annunciato, I Libri de "l'Unità", supplemento al numero del 4 aprile, Roma 1994. 

[8] Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere, edizione critica a cura di Valentino Gerratana, Einaudi, Torino 1975, pp. 6-7 e 1896-7.

[9] Les Rhodes extérieurs d'Appenzell viennent de rendre une singulière sentence contre un enfant accusé de quelques petits vols. Ils l'ont condamné à 50 fl. d'amende et à trente coups de bâtons. Il lui sera d'ailleurs assigné une place particulière à l'église pendant deux ans; il devra s'y trouver deux fois chaque dimanche sous des peines séveres.

          Su "My Favorite Things" di John Coltrane        
Il 16 novembre 1959 debuttava a Broadway The Sound of Music, di Richard Rodgers e Oscar Hammerstein, uno dei musical più popolari di tutti i tempi anche grazie alla versione cinematografica che ne fu tratta nel 1965 (regia di Robert Wise, protagonista Julie Andrews, la versione italiana porta il titolo Tutti insieme appassionatamente).

Una particolare canzone tratta da questo musical ha avuto fortuna immensa. Di My Favorite Things, infatti, si contano centinaia di cover; l'elenco preparato dai redattori di Radio Rai è lungo sedici pagine.

Qui mi occuperò della versione forse più celebre, quella incisa in studio da John Coltrane il 21 ottobre 1960. Per capire quest'ultima, però, è opportuno partire dalla versione originale di Richard Rodgers. In questo articolo mi avvarrò dell'analisi condotta dal massimo studioso di Coltrane, il musicologo Lewis Porter, nella sua fondamentale monografia (Blue Train. La vita e la musica di John Coltrane, traduzione di Adelaide Cioni, Minimum Fax, Roma 2006, pp. 277-80).

La canzone è musicalmente molto semplice. Si tratta di un valzer in mi minore di quattro strofe, A-A-A'-B. Le prime tre strofe hanno la stessa musica, salvo che nella terza strofa, A', dove ci sono otto battute in maggiore. La quarta strofa, B, usa una diversa melodia e finisce in sol maggiore.

Qui di seguito copio il testo della canzone, di Oscar Hammerstein, cui faccio seguire una traduzione, volutamente molto pedestre, che ho preparato grazie all'ausilio del traduttore automatico di Google:



(A) "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A) Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A') Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

(B) When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad!"

"Gocce di pioggia su rose e baffi di gattini
Bollitori di rame luminosi e caldi guanti di lana
Pacchetti di carta marrone legati con corde
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Pony color crema e croccanti struedel di mele
Campanelli e campanelli da slitta e schnitzel con tagliatelle
Le oche selvatiche che volano con la luna sulle ali
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Ragazze in abiti bianchi con sciarpe di raso blu
Fiocchi di neve che rimangono sul mio naso e sulle ciglia
Inverni bianchi d'argento che si sciolgono in primavere
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Quando il cane morde
Quando l'ape punge
Quando mi sento triste
Non ho che da ricordarmi delle mie cose preferite
E allora non mi sento così male!"

The Sound of Music è ambientato a Salisburgo, fra le due guerre. Richard Rodgers ha naturalmente cercato di tener conto della tradizione musicale austriaca: My Favorite Things, come detto, è un valzer; negli altri brani si sentono riferimenti allo jodler, al laendler, al canto gregoriano, ecc. In un numero c'è anche un singolare omaggio ad Haydn: la canzone So long, farewell è eseguita da un coro di bambini che, uno alla volta, abbandonano il proscenio, finché a cantare rimane una sola bambina, così come, nel finale della Sinfonia degli addii, tutti gli esecutori smettono uno alla volta di suonare facendo concludere la sinfonia da un solo violinista.

Come ci si potrebbe aspettare, il testo di My Favorite Things fa uso di un immaginario prettamente alpino, o comunque nordeuropeo: bollitori per il té, guanti di lana, slitte che corrono sulla neve... Se di questa canzone volessimo realizzare un video-clip animato, seguendo pedissequamente il testo, dovremmo adoperare in prevalenza le tinte chiare, e in particolare il colore bianco, la cui presenza, in corrispondenza della terza strofa (quella con le otto battute in maggiore), diventa quasi ossessiva: abiti bianchi, fiocchi di neve, inverni bianchi... (Nella versione cinematografica quest'aspetto "eurocentrico" della canzone è ancora più sottolineato dal forte accento british di Julie Andrews).

Molti si sono chiesti cosa potesse avere indotto un artista come John Coltrane, che da lì a poco sarebbe diventato un'icona della cultura afro-americana, a musicare una sua versione di questo brano, il quale inizialmente c'entrava così poco con il jazz.

Secondo Lewis Porter, è un errore "dare per scontato che Coltrane trovasse la canzone sciocca e che per questo volesse abbellirla". Al contrario, Coltrane ammirava sinceramente questa canzone e, nella sua versione, la trattò "con rispetto". Il "messaggio" della canzone, "che le cose buone ci aiutano a superare le cattive", è secondo Porter "del tutto sensato e prezioso - per nulla sciocco - è solo che utilizza esempi alla portata di un bambino, perché nel copione la canzone si rivolge a dei bambini".

Qui però l'ottimo Porter ha preso una cantonata. Nel film, è vero, Julie Andrews canta la canzone a dei bambini. Il film, però, è del 1965, quindi è posteriore all'incisione di John Coltrane, che a quell'epoca poteva conoscere solo la versione teatrale di questo musical; e, nella versione teatrale, la protagonista canta My Favorite Things in una delle scene iniziali, che si svolgono in un convento di suore, e non la canta ai bambini, bensì alla Madre Badessa del convento.

Sembra, in realtà, che Coltrane non fosse attratto tanto dal "messaggio" della canzone, quanto invece dalla sua manipolabilità sul piano strettamente musicale. Ecco come si espresse Coltrane in un'intervista: "Questo valzer è fantastico: se lo suoni lento, senti un elemento di gospel che non è per niente sgradevole; se lo suoni veloce, possiede altre innegabili qualità. E' molto interessante scoprire un terreno che si rinnova a seconda dell'impulso che gli dai".

Quindi, si direbbe che il valzer di Rodgers fosse per Coltrane quello che il valzer di Diabelli era stato per il Beethoven dell'op. 120: poco più che un pretesto, un canovaccio utile per imbastire una serie potenzialmente infinita di variazioni che poco o nulla hanno a che fare con il tema originale. E, in verità, Coltrane eseguì in concerto My Favorite Things moltissime volte (secondo Wikipedia, sono state documentate su nastro non meno di 45 esecuzioni), creandone versioni sempre più lontane dalla canzone originale, fino a renderla irriconoscibile.

La versione sull'album si compone di un'introduzione di quattro battute, suonata due volte; viene poi esposto un vamp (breve inciso ritmico, costantemente ripetuto, che è per il jazz quello che nel rock si chiama riff e nella musica barocca si chiama ostinato), cui fanno seguito un primo assolo di Coltrane, un altro assolo di McCoy Tyner al pianoforte, e un assolo finale ancora di Coltrane, per complessivi 14 minuti circa. Nel primo assolo Coltrane esegue le prime due strofe (A) in minore, poi c'è un interludio in maggiore, poi altre due strofe (A) in minore. Gli altri due assoli seguono lo stesso schema, salvo che per la parte finale dell'assolo conclusivo di Coltrane, di cui dirò fra poco.



La prima cosa che si nota all'ascolto è che Coltrane ha spostato molto lontano dall'Europa il baricentro etnico del brano. La ripetizione ossessiva, ipnotica, di un inciso ritmico in tempo dispari; la voce acuta dello strumento a fiato (un sax soprano, fino ad allora poco usato nel jazz); il clima di fissità tonale e il senso del tempo molto dilatato, sono tutti elementi che richiamano la musica orientale. (A me il brano fa venire in mente una danza sufi). Porter nota che Coltrane era appassionato di musica indiana, era un ammiratore di Ravi Shankar, ed era profondamente interessato alla musica folk e modale di tutto il mondo, nonché alle scale pentatoniche (pare che certe volte, nelle sue esercitazioni, eseguisse col sassofono determinate sequenze del Concerto per orchestra di Béla Bartók). Sempre secondo Porter, in My Favorite Things si possono anche scorgere influenze musicali provenienti dall'Africa occidentale.

La cosa per me più sorprendente è che, nella musica originale di questa canzone, Coltrane abbia sentito un "elemento gospel". Per quanto ascolto e riascolto la canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein, devo confessare che questo elemento gospel non riesco assolutamente a percepirlo. Ma è significativo che, per Coltrane, la canzone avesse qualcosa a che fare con le radici stesse della musica nera americana. Questo forse ci aiuta a far luce su un'altra singolarità della versione di Coltrane.

Abbiamo detto che la versione coltraniana di My Favorite Things è basata sulla strofa A della musica originale. Che fine ha fatto la strofa B, quella il cui testo contiene, secondo Porter, il "messaggio" della canzone e che si conclude in modo maggiore?

Alla fine del suo assolo conclusivo, Coltrane esegue anche la strofa B, senza apportare particolari variazioni alla musica. Però la esegue in mi minore, dandole, secondo Porter, "un effetto più pensoso, riflessivo".

Il testo originale della strofa B fa riferimento ad api che pungono e a cani che mordono, per delineare scherzosamente una situazione da "giornata storta", in cui le cose, chissà perché, non vanno per il verso giusto. Ma questa situazione si supera (dice la canzone) richiamando alla mente le piccole cose belle della vita. Se si fa in questo modo, l'atteggiamento cambia e ci si accorge che non si sta poi così male. La canzone si chiude così, trionfalmente, in sol maggiore.

Qui, però, è meglio fare ricorso alla bella traduzione ritmica di Antonio Amurri (quella utilizzata nella versione italiana del film), che ha colto al meglio il senso di questa strofa:



"Se son triste, infelice, e non so il perché,
io penso alle cose che amo di più
e torna il seren per me!"

Immaginiamo ora di sentire queste parole sovrapposte al mi minore del sax di John Coltrane, nelle battute finali del suo secondo assolo (a partire dal minuto 12'33''). L'effetto è di un'ironia indefinibile, profonda, pungente, tristemente consapevole. Uno speciale tipo di sarcasmo, composto e controllatissimo, ma inequivocabile.

Per me (e sottolineo: per me) in questo minuto e dodici secondi di musica c'è l'essenza stessa del jazz. Ogni volta che l'ascolto, mi commuovo.

Provo a spiegarmi meglio.

Il cantante e chitarrista Huddie W. Leadbetter (1885-1949), uno fra i musicisti più influenti della musica nera americana del secolo ventesimo, tentò una volta di definire a parole quel particolare complesso psicologico che porta il nome di blues. Possiamo leggere le sue parole come una specie di negativo fotografico della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein:

"Quando la notte sei sdraiato nel letto, e ti giri da una parte e dall'altra senza riuscire a prendere sonno, non c'è niente da fare. I blues si sono impadroniti di te... Quando ti svegli al mattino, ti siedi sulla sponda del letto, e puoi avere vicino a te padre e madre, sorella e fratello, il tuo ragazzo o la tua ragazza, ma non hai voglia di parlargli... Non ti hanno fatto niente, e tu non hai fatto niente a loro, ma che cosa importa? I blues si sono impadroniti di te".

Così commenta Arrigo Polillo nel suo classico Jazz. La vicenda e i protagonisti della musica afro-americana (Mondadori, Milano 2009, p. 43): "Avere i blues è qualcosa di diverso dall'essere triste dell'uomo bianco. E' essere afflitti da un tedio esistenziale, da una malinconia greve che non lascia spazio alle fantasticherie, vuol dire autocommiserazione, rassegnazione, vuol dire disperazione sorda, grigiore, miseria. E' una poesia fondata sulle cose di tutti i giorni, su personaggi familiari, visti in una luce realistica, con occhio disincantato. Non c'è, né ci vuol essere, nel blues, trasfigurazione lirica, che è un lusso da bianchi; non c'è dramma, perché il dramma è fatto di ombre ma anche di luci. C'è invece la consapevolezza di una tragedia in atto, che non finirà mai. Il blues singer non canta la vita, ma il non morire, parla sempre di ciò che non ha e che non avrà mai".

Ecco il senso del mi minore con cui si conclude My Favorite Things di John Coltrane. Non c'è consolazione, e non c'è neanche protesta. E' la constatazione oggettiva di una situazione fondamentalmente tragica. Il "messaggio" della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein è sovvertito. Vista in questa luce, non solo la canzone, ma la stessa cultura (musicale e non solo) cui essa fa riferimento, viene radicalmente messa in questione.
          Baricco e il postmodernismo da quattro soldi        
Sul "Primo Amore" Antonio Moresco ha pubblicato una bella lettera aperta ad Alessandro Baricco, in risposta a un'intervista concessa da quest'ultimo al "Venerdì di Repubblica".

Baricco, parlando del suo ultimo romanzo, non si limita ad esporre la sua personale poetica di scrittore, ma pretende di far assurgere quest'ultima al livello di teoria generale della letteratura valida per tutti. Moresco rimprovera giustamente a Baricco l'arroganza di tale pretesa.

Baricco non è nuovo a questo genere di smargiassate, così le chiamava il mio professore di filosofia del liceo (si riferiva alle teorie pseudo-storiciste di Francis Fukuyama, ma la definizione è adatta anche a quelle di Baricco). Nel 1992 lo stesso Baricco pubblicò per l'editore Garzanti un testo teorico sulla musica moderna (oggi reperibile in edizione Feltrinelli) dove, con piglio zdanoviano, condannava tutta la musica "atonale" in quanto non adeguata ai gusti della "gente". Nel 2003, qui, pubblicai una recensione di questo libro. La ripropongo ora qui in calce, con minime variazioni. Non mi piace molto com'è scritta, però contiene un'idea che, dopo aver letto il fondamentale libro del collettivo Wu Ming sul New Italian Epic, mi è diventata più chiara: l'idea, cioè, che il "postmodernismo da quattro soldi" sia una delle forme più pervasive e insidiose in cui si presenta oggi l'ideologia dominante. Ecco la recensione.

Alessandro Baricco, L'anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin. Una riflessione su musica colta e modernità, Garzanti, Milano 1992, pp. 101.

Avvertenza per gli estimatori di Alessandro Baricco: la presente è una stroncatura.

1. Riassunto dei contenuti del libro

Nel primo capitolo, intitolato L'idea di musica colta, Baricco individua l'origine del concetto di musica colta nell'idealismo romantico dell'Ottocento, la cui figura principale, Beethoven, stabilisce il paradigma a cui tutti i successivi compositori, nonché gli interpreti e il pubblico, si attengono: "una musica impegnata, spirituale e difficile" (p. 19). Tale concetto è oggi, secondo Baricco, sopravvissuto a se stesso, dato che ne sono venuti meno i presupposti storici, ideologici e sociali ("qualcuno sa cosa significa spirito?", p. 20). Ma gli esecutori e i fruitori della musica colta si ostinano a riproporre questa concezione ormai superata, e a riproporre i capolavori del passato in forma mummificata e inerte, secondo un malinteso concetto di fedeltà al testo, fondamentalmente perché - sempre secondo Baricco - hanno "paura" della modernità.

Nel secondo capitolo, come alternativa alla prassi corrente, Baricco propone la "sua" idea di interpretazione. La musica "colta" del periodo classico si proponeva di organizzare il caos entro un preciso ordine formale; compito dell'interprete di oggi è, secondo Baricco, di far esplodere tale ordine per far sì che le "schegge" del materiale musicale si possano ricomporre secondo nuove geometrie provvisorie, momentanee, ogni volta diverse, secondo costellazioni di senso sempre rinnovate, piacevoli e sorprendenti.

Il terzo capitolo è dedicato alla musica atonale del Novecento. Baricco parte da un'audace constatazione: ma questa musica, dopo più di settant'anni, ancora non ha un suo pubblico! Gli ascoltatori, per quanto si sforzino, non la apprezzano e non la capiscono! Hanno torto loro? No, naturalmente: hanno invece avuto torto Schoenberg e i suoi successori (tutti quelli che hanno composto musica atonale, vale a dire i tre quarti dei compositori del Novecento da Berg a Webern fino alla scuola di Darmstadt e oltre).

Baricco spiega il perché: esistono "invalicabili limiti fisiologici" (p. 55) che impediscono all'orecchio umano di apprezzare la musica atonale. Infatti ogni brano musicale, continua Baricco, altro non è che un "meccanismo di piacere" (ibid.) basato su un gioco di previsione da parte dell'ascoltatore/risposta da parte della musica: se si cancella la logica tonale, sparisce l'orizzonte della previsione e si elimina il "piacere dell'ascolto" (p. 56).

La musica seriale è ormai superata, e anche qui Baricco non manca di dare la sua spiegazione sociologico-storica: l'atonalità di Schoenberg e seguaci nasce come espressionistico grido di orrore di fronte alla tragica realtà dei massacri e dei totalitarismi del Novecento. Ma nel secondo dopoguerra, "una volta sfumata quella follia" (p. 63) e venuti meno i conflitti ideologici e sociali che caratterizzarono la prima metà del secolo, anche tale giustificazione per l'atonalismo viene a mancare. Perciò non ci sono più motivi validi per i quali i compositori debbano ostinarsi a frustrare "le legittime aspettative del pubblico" (p. 65) continuando a proporre musica così inascoltabile, e perpetuando "lo strappo profondo e grottesco tra quella musica e la gente" (p. 66).

Occorre dunque richiamare i compositori "ai doveri della modernità" (p. 67), "ricreare una sintonia col sentire collettivo. Con una certezza: la modernità è innanzitutto uno spettacolo" (p. 73) e la gente vuole innanzitutto divertirsi, anche nelle sale da concerto: i musicisti devono dunque accettare "l'allegra realtà di un'umanità inconsapevolmente e sanamente drogata" (p. 70), di una modernità dove "la spettacolarità del reale e quella delle forme di rappresentazione si inseguono in un'escalation per la quale anche l'orribile diventa meraviglia" (ibid.).

Nell'ultimo capitolo del suo libro, Baricco propone ai compositori contemporanei due modelli da seguire: Puccini e Mahler. Secondo Baricco, questi due autori avrebbero accettato la concezione moderna di spettacolarità, senza temere di adottare un linguaggio musicale primitivo, né d'infarcire le loro opere di elementi volgari o di cattivo gusto, pur d'intercettare il bisogno di spettacolo dell'ascoltatore odierno, precorrendo così l'estetica del cinema.

2. Critica

Sui primi due capitoli non c'è molto da dire: si tratta di luoghi comuni che Baricco espone come se si trattasse di trovate sue; interpreti come Pierre Boulez (nella sua attività di direttore d'orchestra) e Maurizio Pollini adottano da sempre prassi esecutive antiformalistiche senza bisogno di attendere lezioncine da parte di Alessandro Baricco: di propriamente suo c'è solo un certo superficiale edonismo.

Circa i restanti capitoli del libro, premesso che reputo agghiacciante ognuna delle frasi o espressioni di Baricco che sopra ho citato tra virgolette (reazione molto soggettiva, lo ammetto), la prima osservazione critica da fare su questo testo è che Baricco propone un'estetica normativa, vale a dire un'estetica che pretende di prescrivere agli artisti come devono lavorare (non dovete più scrivere musica atonale, dovete farvi capire dalla "gente", ecc).

Ora, ogni estetica normativa è un'aberrazione, indipendentemente dal suo contenuto. Se poi si vuole valutare quest'ultimo, bisognerà osservare che Baricco si accosta ad Andrej Zdanov, il "teorico" sovietico del realismo socialista: anche lui pretendeva dai compositori una musica dal linguaggio semplice, tradizionale, accessibile alle grandi masse popolari. Zdanov avanzava tale pretesa in nome del superiore interesse del socialismo, Baricco in nome della "modernità" e della fine delle ideologie, ma il risultato non cambia. Baricco, nella sua irritante e dilettantesca superficialità, non sembra neanche rendersi conto del totalitarismo implicito nella pretesa che gli artisti debbano conformare la loro produzione ai gusti della "gente".

D'altra parte neppure si capisce bene quale pubblico Baricco abbia in mente: il pubblico che frequenta le sale da concerto è così esiguo che non vale neanche la pena che i musicisti si affannino per compiacerlo: e peggio per tale pubblico se non riesce ad apprezzare Anton Webern. Viceversa, il pubblico che non ha mai messo piede in un auditorium e non ascolta Schoenberg e Stockhausen, nella sua stragrande maggioranza non ascolta neppure Mahler e Puccini, ed evidentemente non per motivi ascrivibili al solo linguaggio musicale.

In ogni caso, dal fatto che la lettura di questo libro non mi ha impedito neppure per un minuto di continuare ad ascoltare il mio CD con i pezzi per pianoforte di Schoenberg, deduco che quella degli "invalicabili limiti fisiologici" è una colossale sciocchezza, con cui Baricco cerca malamente di giustificare la propria opposizione ideologica alla musica d'avanguardia.

La sua valenza ideologica è in realtà l'unico aspetto un poco interessante di questo libro. Esso, con la sua esaltazione del disimpegno, delle gioie del consumismo e della "gente" che vuole divertirsi, appare come un esempio tipico di quella versione euforico-ebetudinaria del postmoderno che ha furoreggiato nel nostro paese durante tutti gli anni '80: un'epoca nella quale a molti intellettuali non è parso vero di poter finalmente riproporre (nell'aggiornatissimo linguaggio filosofico post-strutturalista) l'antico, tradizionale qualunquismo italiano. Appare tristemente ironico che alcuni di quegli intellettuali si scaglino oggi dalle pagine dell' "Unità" o di "Repubblica" contro le impreviste (ma prevedibili) conseguenze politiche della loro stessa filosofia.

P.S. Ad un certo punto del suo testo, Baricco inserisce alcune oscure insinuazioni a proposito di presunte "coperture politiche" di cui gli artisti dell'avanguardia musicale avrebbero goduto nel nostro paese. Sorge allora la tentazione di leggere questo libro, il cui valore teorico-critico è nullo, in chiave direttamente pratica: forse Baricco si è proposto di approntare un "manifesto" per i musicisti della cosiddetta scuola neo-romantica?

Mi sono allora comprato un disco antologico di un esponente di questa corrente musicale, che ebbe anch'essa un effimero momento di notorietà nel corso degli anni '80: Marco Tutino, Operas, CD Aura Music AUR421-2, 2000, Euro 4,25. Si tratta di composizioni carine, indubbiamente orecchiabili, il cui linguaggio musicale si colloca fra le colonne sonore di Bernard Herrmann e i balletti di Aaron Copland, il tutto realizzato senza troppa fantasia e con circa trent'anni di ritardo.

Bene, ho fatto un piccolo esperimento. Un brano di questo CD di Marco Tutino l'ho fatto ascoltare ad un mio coinquilino che ascolta solo reggae ed hip-hop (e che, così facendo, qualche volta supera gli invalicabili limiti fisiologici delle mie capacità d'ascolto), e poi gli ho fatto sentire qualche minuto di Contrappunto dialettico alla mente di Luigi Nono (1968). Nessuno dei due brani gli è piaciuto, ma ha trovato di gran lunga più interessante quello di Nono.
          Stella rossa sull'Europa        
"Buongiorno, Anne. Buon anno".
"Buongiorno, Valentin. Buon anno anche a te. Novità?"
"Sì. Un nuovo arrivo. Sabato notte. Hai il colloquio già fissato per le undici. Trovi tutti i dettagli in agenda".
Anne Dupont, psicologa del Centro di Prima Accoglienza di Calais, entrò nel suo ufficio, accese il terminale e consultò la sua agenda elettronica.

Lunedì 5 gennaio 2011, ore 11,00. Colloquio con Monsieur Philip Brasser. Cittadino britannico. Età 38. Celibe. Operazione di salvataggio in mare, Canale della Manica, acque internazionali, 3 gennaio u.s. Condizioni fisiche buone. Non parla francese. Attribuzione provvisoria: codice blu.

Bene, pensò Anne. Un rifugiato politico. Iniziare l'anno nuovo con un codice blu era di buon auspicio. Il colloquio era di lì a due ore. Non c'erano altri impegni per la giornata. Completò con calma alcuni referti clinici iniziati la settimana precedente, fece una partita a Tetris, chattò con alcuni amici in Internet. Quando fu il momento, si aggiustò il make-up e si recò in sala colloqui.

Era una stanza non troppo ampia, arredata come un normale studio specialistico ma con qualche accorgimento per mettere gli ospiti a proprio agio: colori pastello, luci soffuse, lettino basso, comoda poltrona. Su quest'ultima, di fronte alla scrivania della dottoressa, era già seduto il signor Brasser.

"Good morning, Mr. Brasser. Prima di tutto, come sta?"
La domanda non era solo formale. L'uomo appariva molto provato. I tanti capelli bianchi, la pelle del viso magro solcata da numerose rughe, le profonde occhiaie dietro le lenti spesse, lo facevano sembrare più vecchio di dieci anni rispetto alla sua età anagrafica. Al posto degli abiti che indossava al momento del suo salvataggio, fradici e inservibili, gli avevano fornito un nuovo completo, che era tuttavia di due numeri più largo e accentuava la gracilità del suo fisico. Gli tremavano le mani.
Quegli scafisti maledetti, pensò Anne.
"Adesso sto meglio, grazie. Certo, suppongo che la notte passata all'addiaccio su quel canotto non abbia migliorato granché la mia cera. Ma ho fatto una buona dormita, qui da voi, e la vostra cucina è ottima". La sua voce era ferma, con una sfumatura d'ironia. "Solamente, non sono riuscito a procurarmi neppure una sigaretta, dottoressa..."
"Dupont. Ma può chiamarmi Anne. Temo che non ne troverà neppure in futuro. Nell'Unione non se ne producono più. Fino a qualche tempo fa, le importavamo dal suo paese".
"Oh, già, ora ricordo. Le esportazioni cessarono sei anni fa. Troppo pochi fumatori, qui da voi. Non c'era abbastanza profitto. Lo so perché all'epoca lavoravo in un'agenzia di rating".
"Lei è analista finanziario?"
Il signor Brasser rise. "No. Laureato in agraria. Da Troody's ero operatore al call center. Ogni grande compagnia ha il suo. E' la mansione che ho sempre svolto, durante tutta la mia carriera. Ho lavorato per almeno trenta società diverse, ogni volta per non più di sei mesi. Si imparano tante cose, sa?"
"Non ho dubbi. Ma veniamo al punto. Lei ha chiesto lo status di rifugiato politico. Data la sua provenienza, certamente la sua richiesta sarà accettata. Lei diventerà fra breve, a tutti gli effetti, cittadino dell'Unione delle Repubbliche Socialiste d'Europa. Già adesso, comunque, lei è libero di circolare in tutto il territorio dell'Unione, ed eventualmente anche di tornare da dove è venuto..."
"No grazie! Non ci tengo affatto".
"Dicevo per dire. In genere, qui da noi i rifugiati si integrano abbastanza in fretta. Tuttavia, non si può escludere che, all'inizio, lei si trovi un po' spaesato. Il nostro sistema sociale è molto diverso da quello da cui lei proviene. A sua richiesta, lei può fruire di adeguata assistenza psicologica e culturale, per superare eventuali difficoltà di adattamento. In questa fase iniziale, se vuole, mi consideri pure come suo referente".
"Oh. E quanto dura questa... fase iniziale?"
"Può finire anche subito, se crede. L'unico suo obbligo, se intende rimanere nell'Unione, è di iscriversi nelle liste di collocamento e nelle graduatorie per gli alloggi. Non credo che le sarà difficile trovare un lavoro e una casa. Se lei non ha esigenze particolari, penso che troverà una sistemazione accettabile nel giro di un paio di settimane. Fino ad allora, comunque, può rimanere qui, o spostarsi in una delle altre strutture di prima accoglienza nel territorio dell'Unione".
"Sembra magnifico. Dov'è la fregatura?"
"Ecco. Era proprio ciò che intendevo. Non c'è nessuna fregatura, per quanto lei sia abituato a pensare che debba per forza esserci. Non pretendo che lei mi creda. Presto se ne accorgerà da sé".

Non c'erano straordinari da fare, quel giorno. Alle tredici, Anne spense il computer, salutò i colleghi che arrivavano per il turno pomeridiano e, senza passare dalla mensa, prese l'elio-tram che, serpeggiando silenziosamente lungo la costa, la portò a casa sua in dieci minuti. Era una magnifica giornata di sole. Il mare era inusualmente calmo, in quei giorni. Una fortuna, per Brasser. Aveva evitato il triste destino di tanti boat-people che partivano clandestinamente dalla riva inglese ma non riuscivano a raggiungere i nostri mezzi di soccorso nelle acque internazionali.

Anne abitava da sola. Si preparò un leggero pranzo macrobiotico, poi un caffé d'orzo. Accese la radio; la spense. Si guardò nello specchio del soggiorno. Sorrise. Tutto sommato, si piaceva. Si chiese come sarebbe stato il suo sembiante, alla sua età, se anziché in Europa continentale fosse vissuta in quell'inferno che doveva essere Londra. I profughi le avevano raccontato storie orribili. Inquinamento, degrado. Se andava bene, orari lavorativi di dieci o dodici ore. Altrimenti, la disoccupazione, l'emarginazione e la pazzia. Oppure, per una ristretta minoranza, la ricchezza e il potere, ma a costo di rinunciare a qualsiasi barlume d'umanità. Un'altra forma di follia, in fondo.

Mercoledì 7 gennaio, ore 10,00. Secondo colloquio con Monsieur Brasser.

Quella mattina l'aspetto di Mr. Brasser era molto migliorato. Anne glielo disse.
"Grazie, Dottoressa. Lei è gentile quanto bella".
Anne Dupont ignorò il complimento.
"Se ho chiesto un nuovo colloquio" continuò Brasser, "non è per ottenere assistenza psicologica".
"Davvero? E perché, allora?"
"Ho due domande da porle".
"Le risponderò, se posso. Ma prima, permetta che le faccia io una domanda. Cosa sa, lei, dell'Unione?"
"Poco, in realtà. So che dapprima ci fu la Rivoluzione d'Ottobre, in Russia, nel 1917. Poi, tra il '18 e il '20, il capitalismo fu abbattuto in Germania, in Ungheria e in Italia. In rapida successione, tutte le colonie europee in Asia e in Africa conquistarono l'indipendenza. L'India nel 1925, la Cina nel '27, e così via. Poco dopo fu la volta dell'Algeria e del Marocco, e a quel punto la rivoluzione scoppiò anche in Francia e in Spagna. Alla fine degli anni '30, tutta l'Europa continentale era socialista.
Frattanto, il crollo di Wall Street nel 1929 aveva gettato l'America nella crisi più nera. Le elezioni presidenziali del 1940 furono vinte da Charles Lindbergh, un fanatico antisemita che instaurò negli U.S.A. una dittatura razzista, appoggiata dal grande capitale. Presto quel regime si circondò di una serie di stati-satellite che coprivano tutta l'America del Sud e del Nord.
Negli anni '80, quelle dittature iniziarono ad implodere, dapprima in America Latina e poi in Canada. Quando nel 1989 cadde il Muro di Tijuana, finalmente il capitalismo crollò negli stessi Stati Uniti. Da allora, secondo la nostra propaganda, il Regno Unito di Gran Bretagna è rimasto l'ultimo baluardo del libero mercato e della civiltà, contro la barbarie socialista che ha travolto tutto il resto del globo. Questo è quanto".
"Bene - disse la dottoressa - a parte la faccenda del baluardo, il quadro storico è corretto. Non le sarà stato facile ricostruirlo..."
"No, infatti. Da noi, formalmente, la cultura è libera, e ognuno può leggere ciò che vuole. Si possono prendere in prestito, nelle poche biblioteche rimaste, anche testi di Marx o di Lenin, e persino di Fabio Volo. Non è vietato. Di fatto, però, ci sono materie che non conviene approfondire troppo. Se si viene a sapere che lei fa certe letture e che ha determinate idee (e si viene a sapere sempre), non speri di trovare lavoro tanto facilmente. Io me la sono cavata con i call center, solo perché le mie origini non sono troppo umili. Quando avevo vent'anni, i miei riuscirono persino a mandarmi all'università. Certo, oggi non potrei più frequentarla. Da allora le rette sono decuplicate."
"Ah, lei ha letto Fabio Volo? Complimenti. Da noi, molti lo considerano un autore troppo difficile".
"Sì, è molto rigoroso e denso, ma se si ha tempo da dedicargli, è un pensatore affascinante. Le consiglio la Critica del tempo unidimensionale, se non l'ha ancora letta. A me ha aperto la mente. In realtà, uno dei motivi per cui mi sono deciso ad espatriare è che anche studiare per conto proprio da noi è diventato impossibile. Troppo costoso, da quando il dizionario è stato privatizzato".
"Il dizionario?"
"Sì. Tutti i sostantivi che iniziano per vocale appartengono alla Mircosoft. Quelli che iniziano per consonante sono del gruppo Murdogh. Gli avverbi sono di Merdaset, e così via. Per leggere o per usare comunque le parole bisogna pagare il noleggio ai legittimi proprietari. Quando lei scrive una e-mail, oppure quando chatta o quando telefona, un sistema di contatori automatici calcola la cifra e l'addebita sul suo conto. Ottimo sistema, fra l'altro, per controllare i contenuti della comunicazione. Io, per esempio, ho fatto quindici giorni di carcere per uso illecito di marchio registrato, la volta che in una mia mail ho scritto che la Cocca Colla mi faceva schifo".
"Senta, Mr. Brasser. Quali sono i suoi progetti? Cosa intende fare, ora che è venuto qui da noi?"
"Primo, togliermi una curiosità che mi ha tormentato a lungo. Ed è la prima delle due domande che volevo farle, si ricorda?"
La dottoressa Dupont sbuffò. "Va bene. Spari".
"La domanda è: perché non ci avete invaso? Come avete potuto lasciarci a mollo in quella fogna?"
Anne si appoggiò sullo schienale della sedia. "Beh, alcuni partiti in seno all'Internazionale erano per dichiarare guerra. Ma infine prevalse l'idea che il socialismo non può essere imposto con i carri armati. Se ci avessero attaccato, ci saremmo difesi. Per fortuna non accadde. Oggi, poi, molti sostengono che una pluralità di sistemi sociali diversi non è necessariamente un male. In India, in Giappone e in Sud America, dove la transizione al comunismo è molto avanzata, stanno già smantellando le strutture dello Stato, per sostituirle con vari tipi di organizzazione non statuale. In Europa e in Africa ci troviamo ancora nella fase socialista, in vari stadi di sviluppo a seconda dei territori. Forse è bene che ci siano delle zone dove ancora vige il capitalismo."
"Sarà un bene per voi, che ci osservate dall'esterno come se fossimo allo zoo! Ma per noi che siamo in gabbia è un altro discorso".
"Lei ora non è più in gabbia. Comunque, mi sembra che il suo atteggiamento nei confronti del suo paese d'origine sia un po' troppo negativo, non crede?"
"Mi dica lei cosa ci vede di bello, in quel letamaio", ribatté Brasser.
"Beh, che so... Avete una scena musicale molto vivace. Un sacco di gruppi pop, rock, punk, post-punk... Wim Wenders ci ha fatto anche un film. Poi, comunque, il vostro sistema ha ancora una base di consenso popolare".
"Si riferisce a West End London Social Club, vero? Quel film mi dà la nausea! Le televisioni del regime lo replicano senza tregua. L'unico film d'autore trasmesso in prima serata, e senza interruzioni pubblicitarie."
"Ecco, ad esempio - lo interruppe la dottoressa - Perché lei parla di televisioni di regime? Da voi ci sono sei o sette canali, se non sbaglio, tutti privati e in concorrenza fra loro..."
"... e trasmettono tutti le stesse schifezze. Non si distinguono l'uno dall'altro. Anne, lei non ha capito: da noi l'economia è allo sfascio, la società è in piena decadenza, la cultura è morta e sepolta. L'unica attività che va a gonfie vele è la manipolazione del consenso per mezzo dei mass-media. Quella è l'unica industria che non conosce crisi!"
"Non volevo farla arrabbiare. Si calmi. Lei ora è al sicuro. Andrà tutto bene. Respiri profondamente, e mi faccia la seconda domanda che voleva pormi".
"Mi scusi. La domanda è questa. Lei è libera stasera? Ho letto sul giornale che in un cinema d'essai a Dunkerque proiettano L'Atalante di Jean Vigo. E' una vita che desidero vedere quel film, e mi chiedevo se... lei volesse venire con me a vederlo, ecco."


Pubblicato su Evulon in due puntate: la prima il 7 gennaio 2011 qui, e la seconda il 12 gennaio 2011, qui.
          Rango: Pixologic Interviews Our Team!        

Here you can check a cool interview with our talented team of artsists at ILM, presented by Pixologic, makers of the software ZBrush:                 Thanks to our model supervisor Geoff Campbell for the opportunity and thank you Pixologic for the great job putting this interview together!!! -Kris
          'Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.' (no replies)        
'..America's pension crisis is a big part of the $400 trillion pension time bomb threatening the global economy and it is deflationary and bond friendly.'

- Leo Kolivakis, America's Corporate Pension Disaster? August 4, 2017


'In order for the Maestro to be right, US inflation expectations have to pick up in a significant way. This won't happen and to understand why, read Gary Shilling's recent comment on three things central bankers don't get about wages.'

- Leo Kolivakis, Is the Maestro Wrong on Bonds? August 2, 2017


'Very recent data confirms slumping household saving ratios in both the US and UK. This was last seen in 2007, just before the bursting debt bubble blew the global economy and financial system to smithereens. The Fed and BoE should surely hang their heads in shame having presided over yet another impending disaster. Why will politicians and the people tolerate this incompetence? Indeed they won’t.'

- Albert (Shades of 2008: UK and US Savings Rate Plunges, Debt Comes Full Circle, August 3, 2017)


'It’s no mystery why central bankers are mystified: Collectively, they are economically illiterate fools engaged in Keynesian and Monetarist group think.

..

On deck is another round of destructive asset price deflation, brought about by Central banks who cannot see the obvious.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Central Banks Puzzled as Global Inflation Hits Lowest Level Since 2009: Solving the Puzzle, August 3, 2017


'..history and logic both show that concerns over consumer price deflation are seriously misplaced.

Worse yet, in their attempts to fight routine consumer price deflation, central bankers create very destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse, setting off what they should fear – asset bubble deflations following a buildup of bank credit on inflated assets.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Historical Perspective on CPI Deflations: How Damaging are They? March 30, 2015


'BIS Deflation Study

The BIS did a historical study and found routine deflation was not any problem at all.

“Deflation may actually boost output. Lower prices increase real incomes and wealth. And they may also make export goods more competitive,” stated the study.

It’s asset bubble deflation that is damaging. When asset bubbles burst, debt deflation results.

Central banks’ seriously misguided attempts to defeat routine consumer price deflation is what fuels the destructive asset bubbles that eventually collapse.'

- Mike “Mish” Shedlock, How Twisted Minds Function, August 2, 2017


Context

'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

'..a 30-year bear market..'

          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism.' (no replies)        
'..until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

'Economists pondering about human action distinguish between four types of individual incomes; the Koran permits only two, which explains much poverty in the Muslim world. Economists speak of labor income which flows from services rendered either in self-employment or working for an employer; the Koran smiles upon this basic kind of income. Economists also discern interest income which, reflecting human frailty and mortality, flows from the differences between man’s valuation of present economic goods and future goods; the Koran condemns “riba”, that is, interest income, and threatens all creditors who may be tempted to demand “riba” with “the fire prepared for unbelievers.” Economists also like to wax eloquent about entrepreneurial income, commonly called profits, which may be earned through correct anticipation of economic changes; failure to anticipate changes correctly may inflict entrepreneurial losses. The Koran simply prohibits economic activity that involves uncertainty, risk, or speculation and may earn “ghara.” The prohibition obviously discourages and hampers economic changes, adjustments, modernizations, and improvements that are uncertain and risky.

..

Muslim clerics are the tutors and preceptors not only of Islamic theology but also of social and economic ideology. Surely, they may not descend to the level of envy but may fly into anger and passion about the sinful behavior of all non-believers, that is, Christians and Jews, who grow rich in market economies, engaging in uncertain, risky, and speculative economic activity and prospering on riba and ghara. For some clerics the United States is the “Great Satan” and Israel his little offspring. It cannot be surprising that faithful followers abhor, fear, and hate the Great Satan and wish him evil. When a few Muslim fanatics flew into the World Trade Center in New York, killing more than 2,900 men and women, and another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon, killing 189 employees, jubilant masses thronged streets across the Muslim world, celebrating and rejoicing about the destruction and massacre.

..

..Today, the United States is in the early stages of a long struggle with radical Islamism that has been waging war against this country for some thirty years. Radical Islamic states have been breeding, sheltering, and financing the terrorist armies and radical clerics are invoking divine favor upon them.

The Western world, and especially the United States, is facing the prospect of a long and bitter war with a fanatical enemy. It is a desperate enemy because powerful forces of change are eroding its very ideological foundation. Modern communication technology has opened the windows of the world and is allowing people everywhere to observe Western mores and living conditions. A network of communication satellites, for instance, is continuously receiving, amplifying, and rebroadcasting signals to earth. Western ideas are reaching the minds of people everywhere and changing social, economic, political, and educational institutions. It cannot be surprising that Muslim autocracies like to keep the windows closed by monopolizing and disallowing access to such technology.

It is doubtful that the U.S. military will crush and completely render inactive a desperate enemy consisting of an organized guerilla force of Allah-fearing men and women. A small army of suicidal fanatics, a diminutive percentage of one billion and three hundred million Muslims in 206 countries, may wear away the patience and resolve of the American public and its political and military commanders. Such a possibility does not in any way intimate a victory and sway of Muslim fanatics over the forces of the West. Its paramount strength does not rest on brute military might but on its free and open way of life, its private property order and individual enterprise system. Its windows are wide open and its busy subjects are at work all over the world, simple ambassadors or even missionaries of its order. Even if the United States should ever stumble and lose its way, the windows are wide open and the bright light of individual freedom and the private property order would remain visible in many other parts of the West. It is unlikely that it can ever be extinguished.

The U.S. military is not going to conquer many Muslim countries, but individual freedom and the private property order may in time..

..

We shall know the future only when it comes. But our thoughts like to live in the future, and what they see is another Cold War that may last even longer than the war with world communism. They see the Muslim world in a crisis which causes a few revolutionaries to strike at Americans. Insurgents may continue to lash out until Muslim scholars find a Koran key to the free world and lead their followers to an entrance.'

- Hans F. Sennholz, In Another Cold War, 2004


Context

'..the battle of ideas taking place in the Muslim world..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) - '..is it possible to build a truly Evolutionary-Teal school?'

          '..dismantle the Marxist myth..' - 'Karl Marx, False consciousness' (no replies)        
'Every once in a while, even The Economist gets it right. In a review of an intellectual biography of Marx (Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion), published this past fall, they argue that “the myth is more impressive than the reality”. Echoing, in fact, several arguments from the book—written, surprisingly enough, by a scholar with Marxist leanings—, they point out how out of step Marx was with the theoretical developments of 19th century economics, and how dense and often nonsensical his writings were.

As refreshing as it may be, this perspective on Marx is hardly a new one. We know that throughout his work, Ludwig von Mises has exploded many of the fallacies of the Marxist school of thought, particularly those concerning the workings of a socialist system and the idea of class struggle. But Mises had, in several of his publications, also criticized the myth of Marx, pointing out inconsistencies and errors in his research, as well as criticizing his writing style.

Even if it will take a long time to dismantle the Marxist myth, I’d like to think that it will be Mises’s view of the world that will prevail.'

- Carmen Elena Dorobat, Mises on the Myth of Marx, December 26, 2016


'..Karl Marx .. the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

'COMMUNISM collapsed nearly 30 years ago, but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Marxist approaches are found in some of the most interesting history and sociology being published today. Marx’s works, including “The Communist Manifesto”, written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, may have had more impact on the modern world than many suppose. Of the manifesto’s ten principal demands, perhaps four have been met in many rich countries, including “free education for all children in public schools” and a “progressive or graduated income tax”.

..

The overriding impression from this book is that Marx’s reputation (at least in some quarters) as an unrivalled economist-philosopher is wide of the mark. Marx had planned to write “Capital” in multiple volumes. He finished the first. But when it came to writing the second, on realising that he would face insurmountable intellectual hurdles, he pleaded illness (though seemed quite able to do other sorts of research). “Karl” was in the thick of the intellectual developments of the 19th century. But the myth is more impressive than the reality.'

- The Economist, Karl Marx, False consciousness, August 25, 2016


Context (Praxeology) - '..Menger’s experience stressed subjective factors..'

(Praxeology) - '..his or her subjective values .. to explain all economic phenomena as the results of what people do..'

(Praxeology) - 'Economics .. is about human choice and action.' - '..books by Mises, Rothbard and Hayek are already translated .. online bookstore in China..'

(Praxeology) - Savings - Economic Growth - 'We Need More Wealth, Not Necessarily More Employment' - Entrepreneurship


'..You really have to be able to think about the post-bureaucratic world..'

'..economic growth cannot be conjured into being by top-down interventionism in the form of monetary pumping and deficit spending..'

' “Monetary policy… after all, is extremely important” – is an understatement.' - Doug Noland


'..have organizations that are more and more adaptable and far more humane..'

'When Jan Patocka wrote .. the phenomenon of human conscience..' - Václav Havel

'..the phenomenon of wave after wave of economic ups and downs is ideological in character..'


Praxeology '...the primordial fact of individual human action.'

          KDE4: is it usable for you?        

KDE Project:

I know it is not so nice to complain and bash a project when you don't contribute to it. And yes until now, I did not contributed to the KDE4 desktop as I wished. I compiled it regularly and used the libraries, but did not run the KDE4 desktop or KDE4 version of the applications except KDevelop and Quanta.
But as 4.0 is approaching, I decided that it is time to test, use, report bugs and even make fixes to it. I use KDE since a long time (~7 years), I think I always compiled from source, and for several years I compiled from CVS/Subversion regularly. I wasn't afraid to use the alpha/beta/whatever version as my daily desktop.
But with KDE4 somehow I feel lost. I tried a few days ago to start a KDE4 session. After getting through some issues that the libraries were not found unless LD_LIBRARY_PATH is modified (and knotify even with this setup has problem to find libkaudiodevicelist.so), I finally got it running. Well, it looks nice at first. So what to do there? I can start the KDE4 applications from the Run Command dialogbox. This dialog is a nice improvement over the old version, especially the autocompletion is handy.
In my version the menu was still missing, which isn't nice, but I don't care that much. What I care more is the speed, or to be exact, the lack of it. I blamed first the debug version of the libraries and the desktop, so I did a complete fresh build without debug information (a sidenote: my KDE3 is compiled WITH debug info and works fast enough). Sadly, it isn't faster. An example: right click on the desktop, and until the menu is shown, 3-4 seconds can pass. During this time Plasma and XOrg are heavily using the CPU. Moving around a window makes again ~58% CPU load (by kwin). Moving the mouse over the taskbar gives me 60% CPU usage by plasma AND 50% CPU usage by XOrg.
This slowness if everywhere on the desktop. I click somewhere and it takes some seconds until it reacts. The "natural" reaction is to click again, which makes things worse. What is the reason of this slowness, I don't know. But I am worried about it, because I have a fairy decent computer here, everything is fast except my video card: AMD Opteron 180 Dual Core (2.4Ghz), 2GB Dual Channel RAM, 7200RPM SATA HDD, Nvidia FX5500 card (with the binary drivers). The card isn't the state of the art one, but should be more than enough for desktop usage. I tried compiz with it, and it works OK. I can see the reaction lag with compiz as well (compared to the KDE3 version of kwin, which is lightning fast), but it is still quite usable.
I tried to remove kwin and use another window manager. This made at least the window operations faster, but the desktop was still slow.
That's about the speed.
Now about the usability side: I have no idea if what I tried is implemented at all or not, if there are plans to do them for the final release or not, but certainly I can say that as it is now, it is close to be unusable. There is the panel on the bottom with the taskbar and the clock. The taskbar let's say works, but I couldn't figure out what really a left/right click on an empty area of the taskbar does. It minimizes/restores the running applications, but I don't see the logic. I also don't know how to move around the taskbar on the panel. I don't know how to move the panel. It is possible to add new applets to the desktop, but I don't know how to move those applets to a panel. Moving them around on the screen is terribly slow.
There is also an Unknown Applet on my panel which "could not be created". I have no idea what it is or how it appeared there.
I also saw some bugs, like black boxes on top of windows appearing when you move a window over an applet, but this kind of issues are just simple bugs, acceptable at this stage of the development.
Unfortunately this experience can have only one outcome: I cannot use KDE4 as my daily desktop. Not even as a testing desktop.
So the solution is to test only the libraries and the applications. Luckily it is pretty easy to have a setup where you can run KDE4 applications under KDE3. Well, the first and one of the most important applications is Konqueror. I'm writing this blog from Konqueror4. Altough I feel a slowness here as well (when navigating through the menus, for example), this isn't a big issue, it is usable. I saw some rendering bugs, an ugly infinite loop when loading a certain page, but I saw similar issues with the old Konqui as well.
There is a problem with the editor area where I write the blog text (home bring to the beginning of the text, not the beginning of the line, mouse scrolling does not work) and the closing buttons on the tabs do not work, but again, in beta stage these are "normal" bugs.
For the applications the solution is to report the bugs or try to fix them. :) I will happily report them.

My conclusion: as it is now, the KDE4 desktop should not be released. Luckily we have some months left until the final release, so who knows, it might really be usable. I have more confidence in the base libraries and the applications. I think there only some polish is needed, in general they should be usable, but as I said, I didn't test many of them either. But what I started up for a quick test seemed to work.


          Why for many interviews go horribly wrong        
Interviews can go wrong and your entire dream can get crushed because of many reasons. Here we highlight few of the causes: Lack of confidence: psychological factors Lack of communicative skills: skill related issues Lack of preparation: failure to switch on to active mode Lack of basic knowledge: subject related False psychological disposition: anxiety, fear, […]
          Unlocking G Suite for Nonprofits: Improve internal workflow and communication        

Whether you have a team of five or 500 a seamless, collaborative workflow is critical in the digital age. Our goal is to make sure that your nonprofit is able to focus on changing the world by using technology to save time -- not waste it. In the digital age though, information sharing can often be complex; your team might not work in the same office, or even the same timezone. Some team members might be in an office with computer access, while others are in the field on mobile devices. Who from your team should be able to access confidential documents?

This brings us to a key question: How do you empower team members to work together towards a common goal, and use technology to enable it?

Great question. We’d like to introduce you to G Suite - (formerly  Google Apps for Work ). G Suite aims to help teams work together in real-time -- no matter where they are in the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting a few nonprofits to share how their teams  are using Google tools and apps to improve workflow and internal communication.

Mercy Beyond Borders - Internal Communication with Sheets & Sites

Mercy Beyond Borders (MBB) is a U.S. nonprofit that aims to forge opportunities for women and girls in extreme poverty to learn, connect, and lead. Utilizing a small office in the U.S. as home base, MBB targets rural areas in Haiti and South Sudan. In both of these areas, cultural norms and poverty prohibit full participation of women. In fact, these areas offer minimal education and opportunities for employment, which often  impedes the development of leadership skills or positions. Mercy Beyond Borders focuses its programs on providing trainings, scholarships, leadership camps, and business loans for women.

To achieve their mission, Mercy Beyond Borders faces the challenge of balancing US-based operations with field work in remote areas like South Sudan and Haiti. Their nonprofit partners range from large organizations to local schools to individuals. So how does Mercy Beyond Borders ensure that all staff, vendors, and partners stay connected and working together in sync?
MBB-trained nurse in South-Sudan village
MBB-trained nurse in South Sudan village. Photo credit: Mercy Beyond Borders

Mercy Beyond Border began using G Suite to streamline its workflow, connecting their team across the globe. Using G Suite, MBB’s team is able to access, share, and collaborate together in real-time. Take a glimpse into how they do it:

  • Track Finances: MBB manages their overseas program budget expenditures in Google Sheets. Using this tool, the domestic office tracks monthly vendor payments in Haiti. This enables the staff to wire more money as needed in order to ensure program success. Additionally, using Sheets enables the team to provide transparency in the organization, clarifying spending and creating a simple overview of total annual expenses. This standardized and collaborative approach to data enables better efficiency and communication between domestic and international offices.

  • Store images: Mercy Beyond Borders regularly takes photos in the field to keep the domestic office up to date on progress and communicate stories to their donors. The team overseas is able to upload the pictures to Google Drive, which allows them to share or retrieve the images at any time.

  • Share Information: It’s imperative that MBB shares frequent updates with the Board of Directors, highlighting current developments, areas for growth, and new opportunities. To keep the Board of Directors apprised of progress, the team created a MBB Board website with Google Sites as a way to provide updates outside of meetings. The site functions as a central hub, where the Board can find all relevant information and resources at their discretion. The website is organized in subsections including internal updates from the Executive Director, background articles on country conditions and descriptions of new partnerships. To take it one step further, MBB also added a comment section for board members to engage in open communication.

“It [G Suite] helps to better connect, engage, and keep Board members up-to-date in between meetings, or  if they are unable to make a meeting (in which case they can view the Meeting Archives page),” said Adrienne Perez.


MyFace - Increasing productivity and improving internal workflow by remote access

Established in 1951, MyFace was founded to address the medical, surgical and psychological needs of those living with facial deformities. The organization offers access to care and treatments --- regardless of the severity of the anomaly, the length of treatment, or the family’s ability to afford care. In America alone, 1 in 650 children is born with an facial cleft. Every year, MyFace helps more than 1,000 patients seek treatment. Of this population, 85% are children, 70% live in poverty, and 95% require long-term care. The costs involved in this are high and verges on insurmountable for low income families. With this in mind, MyFace ensures that all children receive highest quality interdisciplinary and comprehensive reconstructive care by doctors who provide their services pro bono.

As a small nonprofit (their staff of eight including their therapy dog, Bentley), employees are required to perform a variety of different tasks. On any given day, team members might be responsible for website design, grant proposal writing, and marketing strategy. And oftentimes, what one employee starts today is  picked up by another employee tomorrow. Because it’s often all-hands-on-deck, collaboration is particularly key for MyFace.

Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP Carolyn Spector Executive Director MyFace

To address their challenge, MyFace began using Google Drive to centrally store, access, and share information from anywhere at anytime. Drive helped decrease the amount of time that MyFace spends on administrative tasks, like sending documents back and forth or working with out-of-date data or information. Drive’s tools like Docs and Sheets enable the team to collaborate both in and out of office.

MyFace also deals with an overwhelming amount of data and information. The team needs this data to not only be easy to store, retrieve, and share — it needs to be secure, since it contains confidential and personal patient information. G Suite offers that as well, ensuring that all information is kept private and secure. (Want to know more about G Suite security and how safe they really are? Read more about it here).

“Our mission of changing faces and transforming lives can be fulfilled with the help of technology from G4NP because it offers invaluable resources to nonprofits of any size at no cost,” stated Carolyn Spector, Executive Director of MyFace.

MyFace Staff photo
MyFace team. Photo credit: MyFace

Having global teams of different sizes with varying access to technology can make timely communication difficult, if not impossible. While nonprofits like Mercy Beyond Borders and myFace strive to accomplish unique missions, both organizations are passionate about changing the world. And about using the right technology to help. Utilizing tools like G Suite has been key for nonprofits like these in order to improve internal workflow and communications. For Mercy and my Face, making information shared, up-to-date, and secure has been crucial for navigating the Technology Age.

Interested in learning more about the tools available to your nonprofit? Check out our website to see how G4NP can help your nonprofit with real-time, up-to-date communication and data sharing.

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

Footnote:  Statements are provided by Nonprofits that received free products as part of the Google for Nonprofits program, which offers free products to qualified nonprofits.


          3 Reasons why Chromebooks might be a good fit for your nonprofit        
Nonprofits - 08_11 - Chromebooks.JPG

When we speak with nonprofit organizations, we often hear about the challenges related to technological resources. So when it comes to investing in new technology, it’s important to consider three primary factors:

  • Security: Does it keep my information private and secure?
  • Compatibility: Does it work with the programs I use?
  • Price: Is it within budget?
To address these questions, Google created the Chromebook, a series of laptops built with ChromeOS. The vision behind Chromebooks is simple — to create a safe, accessible, and affordable laptop. To improve user privacy and security, Chromebooks  automatically update to provide virus protection, encryption and safe browsing. For easy access and collaboration, they’re outfitted with Gmail, Google Docs, Hangouts (and nonprofits receive the full Google Apps bundle with 30GB of space per user at no charge). What’s more, they start at $169 USD & that’s for a laptop that has up to 10+ hours of battery life!
Nonprofits_-_08_11_-_Chromebooks2.width-1600.png
ASUS Chromebook C201 ($169)

Case Study

Charity:water, a non-profit organization that provides clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries, has a “100 percent model,” where every dollar donated goes directly to fund clean water projects. As a result, resources are limited. In order to cover operational costs like salaries and supplies, the organization relies on a few passionate and dedicated supporters. With this in mind, Charity:water transitioned to Chromebooks to improve the efficiency of its staff’s workflow. Now, employees can spend more time focusing on their goals and working towards their mission to nourish the world.

Want to learn more?

Chromebooks gives nonprofits unified access to the Google Apps suite, including:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides: Allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time. They’re automatically backed up online, and you can also open and edit Microsoft Word, Powerpoint or Excel files.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts can be used to make phone calls, screenshare, and video chat.
  • Google Drive: Store, sync, and share documents in the cloud for secure and easy access.

As a nonprofit, you also receive discounted access to Chrome licenses, which give you management controls via the Chrome Device Management. Chrome Device Management is a unified way to manage all of your nonprofits’ users, devices, and data. For nonprofits, the Chrome management license is discounted to only $30 dollars — in comparison to $150!

Chromebooks are our vision for providing cheaper, easier to use, and more secure laptops. Installed with Google Apps out of the box, nonprofits can maximize impact, while saving both time and resources.


To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours free access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.

To learn more about Chromebooks for nonprofits, take a look at Google for Work’s Chromebook’s website. To take advantage of the Google Nonprofit license discount, a Google partner will reach out to you once you fill out the Contact Us form.


          I know, I know, I'm a terrible blogger        
Silas has taken to pooping in the house in the same exact spot every time. Like it's his own personal carpeted potty. He'll do it right after he comes inside too. I'm really not sure what to do about it. I'm about to break down and pay for a flipping dog whisperer or something. I mean. Really.
Also he keeps nipping at us. And sometimes it hurts. And he still has puppy teeth. I can't even imagine what it will feel like once he has his big boy teeth.
On top of everything, work, my crazy dog, my messy house and did I mention work? On top of everything, people have been really difficult to deal with lately. I don't know if it's cause I'm tired or stressed or a combination of the above, but I take everything anyone says or does at a very personal level and I've been crying at the drop of a hat.
For instance. The boy's little sister wrote a blog post on her myspace about her faith and about religion in general and I commented in a way that I would to any of my friends. I talk to people as if they are intelligent human beings and I want to engage them in logical and thoughtful discussions. Is that such a crime? Well, in any case, one of her friends commented below mine saying, basically, not to pay attention to that "dumb girl your brother is datin" because she is all up on her high horse and who does she think she is? And I got upset. Like crying and almost hysterical upset. And I have no idea why. I cried because some 15 year old kid made fun of me on myspace??? Seriously? I don't know, I think it probably boils down to frustrations over my feelings that the boy's family thinks I'm just another "stupid girl" that he is "datin" even though we've been together for 2 and half years and are very committed. I don't think they'll ever take me seriously, or at least not anytime before our ten year wedding anniversary, which for all I know could be 40 years away.
And then someone else removed me from her facebook friends. And I shouldn't be upset about that. Because I really don't ever want to be friends with her again. We had a huge row about a month ago, and even before that she treated me (in my opinion) quite poorly and did not make me feel happy, which is what I think friends should do. But seriously? Removing me from your friends list? Are we 12????
The end.
PS: I promise to not be such a Debbie Downer with the next post.
          Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad Credit To Delay The Further Worsening Of Credit        
The importance of debt consolidation loans can be best understood by people who are suffering with bad credit history. Debt consolidation loans for people with bad credit provides a manner in which they can prevent their financial condition and credit status from further deteriorating.

A debt consolidation loan replaces several small and big debts that a particular person might have incurred. Under this arrangement, a single loan is used to repay all debts of the borrower. Since the loan taken at this instance is not immediately repayable, borrowers get enough time to prepare for repayment.

Borrowers are referred to as bad credit when they have defaulted on debts in the past. Mortgage arrears, County Court Judgements, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, all count towards tarnishing the borrowers’ credit history. Credit history of borrowers is referred to in order to get data about the credibility that a borrower enjoys. A bad credit history would thus imply that the borrower has lesser credibility and thus make him a bad case for debt consolidation loans.

This however is not so. Borrowers with bad credit history are also considered for debt consolidation loans. The logic behind this is that by taking debt consolidation loan, the borrower with bad credit history is making positive efforts to change his/ her credit status. Thus, debt consolidation loan is readily available to people with bad credit history.

A slightly higher interest payment is what you are required to make on the debt consolidation loan if you have a bad credit history. You however need to distinguish between lenders who are charging the justifiable rates of interest and those who aren’t. The task is not as difficult. Just see what other lenders are offering to borrowers with similar circumstances. If that is not enough, you can request a select group of lenders to send their debt consolidation loan quote. The quote provides information about the rate of interest that will be charged, the period for which the loan will be offered and other important terms on which the loan will be granted. It is certain that on comparison, a few quotes will be rejected and some will be selected for further screening through several processes.

Once a debt consolidation loan provider is selected, the process of eliminating debts is initiated. The first step in any debt settlement process will be to make a list of the debts. The list must be as exhaustive as possible so that all debts are included.

The list of debts with the persons to whom each debt is due and the interest rate that each carries will be supplied to the loan provider. Debt consolidation loans have a special feature that borrowers are guided in the debt settlement process. The guiding principle of every debt settlement process is to save maximum for the debtor. Only through a proper negotiation can creditors be forced to write off a particular debt or a part of it. Borrowers do not have the necessary time and skills to make this happen. Thus, the service of the debt consolidation loan provider becomes necessary.

Debt consolidation loans come in either of the two forms, i.e. secured and unsecured loans. A secured debt consolidation loan is one in which the repayment is backed by a collateral. An unsecured debt consolidation loan, on the other hand, has no direct stake on any asset. There are subtle differences in the rates of interest and other terms that make secured debt consolidation loans more preferred in spite of the risk on assets.
          You can literally throw your negative thoughts away        

Take the trash out: According to new research in Psychological Science, writing down your negative thoughts and tossing them in the garbage can erase your bad mood.Take the trash out: According to new research in Psychological Science, writing down your negative thoughts and tossing them in the garbage can erase your bad mood.



          Who's your daddy? DNA clinic sparks concerns        
A mobile DNA testing facility that looks more like a motor home than a medical clinic is raising questions about the ramifications of quick and easy tests to determine paternity and other biological connections.
          The Angel of the Bottomless Pit: The Theological and Philosophical Underpinnings of the Cthulhu Cult        

Why you should answer Cthulhu's call.

The post The Angel of the Bottomless Pit: The Theological and Philosophical Underpinnings of the Cthulhu Cult appeared first on The Blood Sprayer.


          Protecting Our Houses of Worship: Guest Column by Security Expert / Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant         

By ALAN SCHISSEL

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Integrated Security Services

  • According to the Washington Post, “it’s been a bad 2017 for Jews.” During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Montana to intimidate the town’s small Jewish population.

    This, of course, was followed by another unprecedented press conference by our President during which two reporters were moved to ask Mr. Trump about the rise in anti-Semitism. Many of us were aghast at the President’s rude and dismissive response, and his unwillingness to address the question seriously. The fact is, the country is experiencing an alarming increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and this has been trending upward since 2015. A security report issued by the Department of Homeland Security on protecting houses of worship stated that the United States has approximately 345,000 religious congregations representing 230 denominational groups and roughly 150 million members. Despite being sanctuaries from the troubles of the world, houses of worship have also been targets as violence has spiked across the country in recent years. The killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was the largest mass shooting in a house of worship since 1991, when nine people were shot at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix.

    [Under relentless pressure, the President subsequently denounced anti-Semitism.]

  • Empathy and action: Muslims unite to help fix vandalized Jewish cemeteries


  • The intent of this column is to generate awareness and provide a short guide which contains security practices for religious institutions, parishioners and our non religious communities to help deter threats, mitigate hazards and risks, and minimize the damage caused by an incident in or around a house of worship, including mass casualty events.

    I preface with the word “short” because there is a wide range of methods from programmatic and procedural considerations to technological enhancements that religious facilities and their leadership may consider implementing based upon the most likely threats to their facilities and their available resources. Basic security principals would suggest taking a blended approach to security and safety with the goal of hardening the facility to deter, detect and/or delay a criminal occurrence before it happens. The next steps are equally important and this is where lives are saved and mass casualties are reduced. Selecting the appropriate response to a threat or armed intrusion will help facilitate a safe transition into an effective recovery and restoration of services mode.

    Identifying Your Threats & Vulnerabilities

    Identifying and evaluating a known or potential threat to a given facility is the first step of a security assessment. The results of which will guide the process of developing a security plan. A proper readiness plan will aim to deter a threat or mitigate a threat by reducing the religious facility’s vulnerability to those threats.

    Natural Hazards vs. Targeted Violence

    As stated before, all life safety solutions should be designed using a blended approach to managing risk. Protecting a religious facility means your emergency management plan(s) must address an all-hazard approach to both natural hazards, e.g., infectious diseases and illnesses, fire, and seismic and weather-related events (hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods) as well as targeted attacks. Spontaneous and pre-planned attacks are likely to occur by individual(s) who use firearms; improvised explosive devices (IEDs); vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs); chemical, biological, or radiological attacks; or arson in order to inflict a number of casualties and damage to religious facilities.

    Protective Measures

    As previously mentioned earlier, a house of worship environment is managed by creating layers of protective measures in collaboration with state and local partners that allow religious institutions to deter, detect and delay threats. These layers also allow an institution to consider a threat as soon as possible and to more effectively respond to, further deter, eliminate or mitigate that threat.

    • Technological sensors such as CCTV surveillance cameras or alarms (fire, smoke, wind, and intrusion detection) will trigger informed decision-making.

    • Barriers, such as locked doors or fixed barriers or uniform security personnel should be in place to deter or delay a threat and afford more time for effective decision making.

    • Having the correct inbound and outbound communication network in place will influence a number key decisions. Time, or the lack of time, is a principle disrupter of effective decision-making. Sound communication strategies such as emergency email blasts, voice activated alert systems, and silent alert systems help to improve response to and during a crisis. An effective communication protocol should expand the window of time available to leaders to make sound decisions.

    Additional Measures to Consider:

    • Reporting Procedures

    • Establishing Collaborative Planning Teams

    • Starting an Emergency Operations Plan

    • Define Roles and Responsibilities

    • Notification Procedures

    • Evacuation Lockdown and Shelter‐In‐Place Policies and Procedures

    • Plans for Diverse Needs of Children and Staff

    • Necessary Equipment and Supplies

    • Common Vocabulary

    • Emergency Drills

    Call us at (212) 808-4153, or write us to tell what you think or how we can be of more assistance and remember, always dial 911 first in an emergency!







  • Integrated Security Services


  • About Alan Schissel










  • Cool Justice Editor’s Note: By way of disclosure, Cool Justice is an occasional denizen of Integrated’s Hartford office and once in a while even does a little work …

  • more COOL JUSTICE

  • Hartford PI Stars in Network Real-Life Manhunt Show

  •           Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

    UPDATES:





  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Burn After Reading        

    Who’s Who
    What’s What

    In the World of CIA Fronts, Partners, Proprietaries & Contractors




    NEW BOOK:

    The Almost Classified Guide to CIA Front Companies, Proprietaries & Contractors
    By WAYNE MADSEN
    ISBN: 978-1-365-11196-9


    Cool Justice Editor's Note: Following are excerpts from author Madsen's introduction and the body of the work. Additional suggested reading: News story about Madsen's book via the Washington, D.C. based Justice Integrity Project [link at the bottom of this post].

    EXCERPTS:

    From the Introduction


    One of the most pervasive uses of companies as intelligence partners was under the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD. During the Cold War, the CIA, often with the approval of corporate executives, infiltrated their agents to work as journalists in newspapers, radio and television networks, wire services, and magazines. The following pages in this book are rife with examples of this penetration of the Fourth Estate – all too many in the opinion of this journalist. The CIA admitted to at least 400 journalists on the agency’s payroll at the height of MOCKINGBIRD. The CIA traditionally understates its capabilities, especially when its covert activities become publicly known. Moreover, the end of the Cold War did not stop the practice of the CIA in infiltrating the media and slant news reports to its wishes.

    *

    An insightful look behind the veils of secrecy into the CIA’s use of fronts, proprietaries, and partners calls into question the purpose of the CIA. Created by President Harry S Truman to serve as a central collector and repository of intelligence, the CIA became much more than that. A few weeks after the United States witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy in the middle of downtown Dallas, Truman penned an op-ed piece that appeared in several newspapers around the country. In it, Truman shared his regret for having created the CIA in 1947:

    “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency—CIA . . . For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.

    "I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”

    *

    The 21st century’s CIA’s partners are more likely to be found among high-tech companies marketing the latest and greatest mobile applications and data mining programs than among banks, law offices, and advertising agencies. However, in the post-World War II era, the CIA’s top and middle echelons were normally found operating through cover as typewriter-pecking journalists, traveling Madison Avenue admen, corporate lawyers, and chain-smoking oilmen. In the 1970s and 80s, CIA contractors and partners began showing up in the high-tech field, with database, local area networking, and on-line information retrieval systems attracting the most interest by Langley.

    *

    As this book went to press, the smart phone game application Pokémon Go fad was sweeping the planet. Unbeknownst to many of the on-line game’s avid fan’s was the connection of the game’s developers to the CIA’s venture capital firm IN-Q-TEL. All users saw their geo-location and other smart phone data being swept up by a CIA partner firm.

    SELECTED ENTRIES

    Amazon, Inc. [CIA contractor]. Company provides cloud computing services for the CIA. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.

    American Historical Society. [CIA partner]. Many society officials were OSS/CIA officers.

    American Press Institute. [CIA front]. Operating out of Columbia University, the institute’s director in the 1950s was a CIA officer.

    AmeriCares. [CIA partner]. A non-profit organization that is often the “first in” at refugee situations. Founded by tycoon J. Peter Grace, a board chairman of the CIA front, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) and a trustee of another CIA front, the American Committee for Liberation from Bolshevism, AmeriCares was involved in funding the Nicaraguan contras. The group has also provided the CIA with recruiting opportunities at mass refugee sites, particularly in Latin America and Asia.

    Bechtel Corporation. [CIA contractor]. Bechtel is a large construction company that has included former CIA director Richard Helms, CIA pseudonym “Fletcher M. Knight,” among its executive ranks. Bechtel was active in providing corporate cover for the OSS in the Middle East during World War II. Bechtel has been a consummate service company for various CIA operations, including support for the CIA-inspired coup against the Syrian government in 1949, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq in 1953, and President Sukarno of Indonesia in 1965. From the 1960s to the 1970s, Bechtel provided cover for CIA agents in Libya under both the regime of King Idris and his successor, Muammar Qaddafi. Sometimes called a “secret arm” of the CIA, Bechtel’s executives included those who would join President Reagan’s Cabinet, including Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

    Before World War II, Steve Bechtel formed a military-industrial complex partnership with John McCone. McCone later became the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and later, director of the CIA. The CIA has used Bechtel to provide cover for non-official cover CIA operatives abroad.

    Blackstone Investment Group. [CIA front]. With offices in Washington, DC and Moscow, arranged for the purchase of KGB documents following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Among the documents sought by the front company were any related to illegal CIA activities during the Cold War, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    Bourbon and Beefsteak Bar and Restaurant. [CIA front]. Opened in 1967 in King’s Cross in Sydney, Australia. Served as a rendezvous point for CIA, Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), and organized crime figures. Its proprietor was Bernie Houghton, a CIA operative with links to Nugan Hand Bank, CIA weapons smuggler Edwin Wilson, and CIA clandestine services officers Theodore Shackley, Rafael Quintero, and Thomas Clines.

    Center for Democracy. [CIA front]. Administered under the aegis of Boston University, the center maintained offices in Boston, Washington, DC, Guatemala City, and Strasbourg, France. Involved in CIA operations in eastern Europe, Central America, and Africa.

    Colt Patent Firearms Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Hartford, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    Daddario & Burns. [CIA partner]. Headed by former OSS officer Emilio Daddario, a Democratic Representative from Connecticut, the Hartford-based law firm provided services to the CIA.

    DC Comics. [CIA partner]. Worked with the International Military Information Group (IMIG), a joint CIA/Pentagon unit at the State Department, to disseminate propaganda comic books, featuring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian, to youth in the Balkans during the military conflicts in that region.

    Disney Corporation. [CIA partner]. CIA agents who were adept at creating front companies and shell corporations in Florida, worked closely with Disney in preparation for the construction of Disney World near Orlando, Florida. OSS veteran “Wild Bill” Donovan and CIA shell company expert Paul Helliwell helped create two fake Florida cities, Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, as well as a number of shell corporations, to keep secret the plans for Disney World. This kept land prices low because real estate speculators were unaware of the prospective value of the land in a desolate area of central Florida.

    Emory School of Medicine. [CIA partner]. Located in Atlanta, Georgia. Involved in the CIA’s MK-ULTRA behavioral modification project.

    Enron Corporation [CIA partner]. Houston-based firm that was used by the CIA to provide commercial cover for its agents around the world. There were at least 20 CIA employees on Enron’s payroll. Andre Le Gallo, a former official of the CIA’s Operations Directorate, went to work as a corporate intelligence officer for Enron.

    Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). [CIA front]. Officially established by American Trotskyists, the group was penetrated by CIA operatives. The FPCC New Orleans office was a CIA front that provided cover for the anti-Fidel Castro activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, and David Ferrie, among others. The New Orleans FPCC office was located at 544 Camp Street and shared the same building entrance with Guy Banister Associates, Inc., a private detective agency, the address for which was 531 Lafayette Street and around the corner from 544 Camp Street.

    In December 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the FPCC ceased all U.S. operations.

    General Electric Company. [CIA partner]. Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad.

    General Foods Corporation. [CIA partner]. Advertising account at CIA’s Robert Mullen Company handled by an active CIA employee.

    Google, Inc. [CIA partner]. Developed as a result of a research grant by the CIA and Pentagon to Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. The CIA referred to the research as the “google project.”

    Greenberg Traurig. [CIA partner]. Washington, DC “connected” law firm.

    Guy Banister Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New Orleans private detective agency headed by former FBI agent Guy Banister. The detective agency coordinated the activities of various anti-Castro Cuban groups in New Orleans, including Banister’s own Anti-Communist League of the Caribbean, as well as the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, Friends of Democratic Cuba, and the Crusade to Free Cuba Committee.

    Banister and Associates shared office space with the CIA’s New Orleans front, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, headed by Lee Harvey Oswald.

    Hale and Dorr. [CIA partner]. Boston-based law firm that provided cover for CIA’s Independence and Brown Foundations.

    Halliburton. [CIA contractor]. Based in Houston, it is the world’s largest oil service company. Recipient of a number of CIA sole-source contracts for services worldwide.

    Harper and Row, Inc. [CIA partner]. Manuscripts submitted to the New York publisher that dealt with intelligence matters, particularly CIA operations, were turned over to the CIA for censoring edits before publication.

    Hewlett Packard Corporation. [CIA partner]. Sold computers to Iraq for Saddam Hussein’s missile program with the knowledge and approval of the CIA.

    Hill & Knowlton. [CIA partner]. Public relations firm that teamed with the CIA on a number of operations. Hill & Knowlton’s numerous offices abroad provided cover for CIA agents. One known Hill & Knowlton office that was a CIA front operation was in Kuala Lumpur.

    Kerr-McGee. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating overseas.

    Kissinger Associates, Inc. [CIA partner]. New York-based international consulting firm founded by former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is a co-owner. The firm provided support to the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation and the Bilderberg Group. Much of the 1982 seed money for Kissinger Associates was provided by Goldman Sachs.

    Knight Foundation. [CIA partner]. Also known as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Based in Miami, the foundation provides funding for various CIA-connected media operations in the United States and around the world.

    Kroll Inc. [CIA partner]. Founded in 1972 by Jules Kroll, who had links to both U.S. and Israeli intelligence. Based in Manhattan. French domestic law enforcement believed Kroll’s Paris office was a CIA front. Kroll handled the security for the World Trade Center after the 1993 terrorist bombing and continued to be responsible for security up to, during, and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Kroll employed former FBI assistant director for counter-terrorism John O’Neill, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

    Lincoln Savings and Loan. [CIA partner]. Based in Irvine, California and headed by notorious swindler Charles Keating, Jr., involved in laundering funds for the Iran-contra scandal.

    Lone Star Cement Corporation. [CIA partner]. Based in Stamford, Connecticut and linked to the Bush family, provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad. Involved in the Iran-contra scandal.

    Mary Carter Paint Company. [CIA front]. A money-laundering operation for the CIA. Involved in casinos in the Bahamas.

    Monsanto. [CIA partner]. The firm contracted with former CIA official Cofer Black’s Total Intelligence Solutions (TIS), a subsidiary of the CIA-connected Blackwater USA, later Xe Services, to monitor animal rights groups, anti-genetically modified (GM) food activists, and other groups opposed to Monsanto’s agri-business operations worldwide.

    National Enquirer. [CIA partner]. The tabloid’s founder, Generoso (Gene) Pope, Jr., worked for the CIA’s psychological warfare unit and the agency’s Italy branch in 1950. In 1952, Pope acquired The New York Enquirer broadsheet and transformed it into a tabloid, renaming it The National Enquirer. This transformation bore the imprimatur of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program.

    Newsweek. [CIA partner]. Magazine reporters and stringers fed information to the CIA. Newsweek’s stringers in southeastern Europe and the Far East were CIA agents. When Newsweek was bought by The Washington Post Company in 1961, cooperation between the magazine and the CIA increased. It was a participant in the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD media influence program. Much of the staff of Newsweek was absorbed into a new online publication, The Daily Beast, which continues to disseminate CIA-influenced articles. See Washington Post.

    Nieman Foundation. [CIA partner]. Located at Harvard University, the foundation awarded Nieman Fellowships, some on behalf of the CIA, for foreign journalists to study at Harvard. The journalists were subjected to CIA recruitment efforts prior to their returning to their home countries.

    Pamela Martin & Associates. [CIA partner], Escort firm run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called “DC Madam.” During her 2008 trial for mail fraud, Palfrey attempted to invoke the Classified Information Procedures Act in order to discuss her relationship with the CIA. The U.S. Court refused Palfrey’s request and she was convicted and later said to have committed suicide before her sentencing hearing in Washington, DC. One of her clients was Randall Tobias, the head of the CIA-connected USAID. Another was Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter.

    Paris Review. [CIA front]. Literary magazine edited by George Plimpton. Published works by Jack Kerouac and Samuel Beckett. The magazine’s co-founder, Peter Matthiessen, relied on his affiliation with the magazine as his CIA cover.

    Quaker Oats Company. [CIA partner]. Worked with the CIA and Atomic Energy Commission to place trace amounts of radiation in breakfast cereal served to boys at the Fernald School for the mentally retarded in Waltham, Massachusetts.

    Radio Corporation of America. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover for CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Iran, Philippines, Japan, and West Germany. Provided technical assistance to CIA-financed clandestine and propaganda radio stations worldwide, including Radio Free Europe. RCA founder David Sarnoff was a major supporter of CIA operations, including propaganda dissemination around the world. RCA chairman and chief executive officer Thornton F. Bradshaw was active in the operations of the CIA-linked American Ditchley Foundation.

    Reily Coffee Company. [CIA partner]. Also known as William B. Reily Coffee Company and based in New Orleans, this company employed Lee Harvey Oswald and a number of other U.S. government employees, many of whom were suspected CIA officers.

    Robert M. Mullen Company. [CIA proprietary]. A Washington, DC public relations firm, it was used as a front for CIA activities. E. Howard Hunt, the CIA agent, worked for Robert Mullen when he was arrested in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington in 1972. The Senate Watergate Committee reported that “the Mullen and Company has maintained a relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency since its incorporation in 1959. It provided covers for agents in Europe (Stockholm), Latin America (Mexico City), and the Far East (Singapore) at the time of the Watergate break-in.”

    Rockefeller Foundation. [CIA partner]. Used by the CIA to direct scholarships and grants to the Third World and Eastern Europe. Rockefeller Foundation money was funneled to the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), created in 1948. The chairman of ACUE was OSS chief William J. Donovan and the vice chairman was Allen Dulles. One of ACUE’s board members was Walter Bedell Smith, the first CIA director.

    Summa Corporation. [CIA partner]. Owned by Howard Hughes, Summa is believed to have skimmed gambling profits from the Sands, Desert Inn, Frontier, Silver Slipper, Castaways, and Landmark casinos in Las Vegas and Harold’s Club in Reno for the CIA and the Mafia. Provided financial cover for the CIA’s Glomar Explorer project.

    Teneo Intelligence. [CIA partner]. Branch of Teneo Holdings, which is headquartered in New York. Teneo Holdings’s intelligence branch includes former CIA officials. Teneo is closely linked to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Teneo Intelligence has offices in New York, London, Rome, Brussels, Dubai, Bogota, New Delhi, and Tokyo.

    Texas Commerce Bank (TCB). [CIA partner]. Houston-based bank founded by the family of James Baker III. Texas Commerce Bank was used to provide commercial cover for CIA agents. After serving as vice president for Texas Commerce Bank in Caracas from 1977 to 1979, Jeb Bush joined his father’s presidential campaign in 1980. Serving with Bush on the campaign was Robert Gambino, the CIA deputy director of security who gave Bush his orientation brief at Langley in 1977.

    Kenneth Lay, the chairman of Enron, which had its own links to the CIA, served on the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Texas Commerce Bank was acquired by Chemical Bank in 1987.

    The bank provided major loans to Howard Hughes’s Summa Corporation. See Summa Corporation.

    United Fruit Company [CIA partner]. Involved in 1954 CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala. Published the Latin America Report, a publication that was a CIA front used for clandestine activities. The CIA transferred weapons to United Fruit employees in Guatemala who were involved in undermining the Arbenz government. The joint CIA-United Fruit plan was code named OPERATION FORTUNE. Company provided an airfield in Guatemala for the CIA’s training of Cuban exiles for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

    U.S. Rubber Company. [CIA partner]. Headquartered in Naugatuck, Connecticut and later called Uniroyal, provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad. Included those operating under the cover of the Dominion Rubber Company of Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. Rubber Company.

    U.S. Youth Council (USYC). [CIA front]. Founded in 1945 and based in New York. Some 90 percent of its funds came from the CIA. USYC received funding from the Foundation for Youth and Student Affairs (FYSA), a CIA front. The USYC was composed of American Youth Hostels, Camp Fire Girls, 4-H, American Unitarian Youth, National Catholic Welfare Conference, National Students Assembly, YMCA and YWCA.

    Wackenhut. [CIA contractor]. Wackenhut, a Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based security firm, stood accused of providing the CIA with specialized services around the world, including Chile, Greece, and El Salvador. Its Venezuelan branch, Wackenhut Venezolana, C.A., was accused in 2002 of involvement in the CIA’s coup against President Hugo Chavez. William Casey served as Wackenhut’s outside counsel before becoming CIA director in 1981.

    Wackenhut eventually merged into the global security firm G4S.

    Washington Post. [CIA partner]. The Washington Post was part of the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD, the agency’s media influence project. Post publisher Phil Graham was a close friend and associate of MOCKINGBIRD chief Frank Wisner, Sr. and CIA director Allen Dulles. Wisner assisted Graham in acquiring The Washington Times-Herald and WTOP radio, creating a sizable CIA-influenced media operation in the nation’s capital.

    W. R. Grace. [CIA partner]. Provided corporate cover to CIA officers operating abroad, particularly in Latin America. Provided donations to CIA front foundations.

  • News story about Madsen's book via The Justice Integrity Project



  •           ã€7月】【喵萌茶会】【雏逻辑~from Luck & Logic~】【MP4】【02】【720P】        
    STORY: 樱花飘落的春天。天真烂漫的小国的公主利欧涅来到了北海道的学校。在那里为了培养者保护世界和平的定理者,ALCA来运营的特别教育机关。利欧涅进入的1年S班,从定理者的妮娜开始,每个都是非常有个性的同学。定理者的雏鸟们带给大家,热闹又可爱的每一天。 ...
              Tại sao không nên tin vào chính mình?        
    Bertrand Russell có một câu nói nổi tiếng là “Vấn đề của thế giới chính là lũ điên thì lại chắc chắn về bản thân mình còn người thông minh thì lúc nào cũng trăn trở về điều đó.”

    Sau nhiều năm chiêm nghiệm, tôi đã nhận ra được tầm quan trọng của việc tìm kiếm sự an yên giữa những bất ổn và mơ hồ, giữa những thắc mắc về niềm tin và mộng ước, và hơn cả giữa những hoài nghi về chính bản thân mình. Trong các bài viết trước đây, tôi thường xuyên lặp đi lặp lại một thông điệp là bộ não của chúng ta thực chất không hề đáng tin chút nào. Chúng ta không hề có bất cứ một cơ sở nào về việc chúng ta đang nói, nghĩ, làm,…

    Nhưng tôi chưa có dịp để đưa ra những lý giải và dẫn chứng cụ thể cho vấn đề trên. Và bây giờ là lúc thích hợp để chúng ta cùng nhau khám phá ra 8 lý do theo góc nhìn tâm lý học tại sao chúng ta không nên tin chính bản thân mình.

    1. CHÚNG TA CÓ XU HƯỚNG THIÊN VỊ CHO BẢN THÂN VÀ TRỞ NÊN ÍCH KỶ DÙ KHÔNG HỀ NHẬN RA

    Có một thuật ngữ trong tâm lý học mang tên Góc nhìn sai lệch của người quan sát (the Actor-Observer Bias).

    Chẳng hạn nếu bạn thấy một người vượt đèn đỏ ở ngã tư đường, có thể bạn sẽ nghĩ người này thật đáng trách, chỉ vì không kiên nhẫn chờ nổi vài giây mà đã gây nên nguy hiểm cho bao nhiêu người đi đường.

    Ngược lại, nếu bạn chính là người đang vượt đèn đỏ, bạn sẽ tự nhủ với bản thân mình rằng đó chỉ là do vô ý mà thôi, bởi vì cái cây chết tiệt kia chắn mất tầm nhìn, bởi vì xưa giờ người vượt đèn đỏ có gây ra hề hấn gì đâu.

    Cùng một hành động, nhưng nếu người khác làm thì họ nghiễm nhiên trở thành một tên khốn, còn nếu bạn làm thì đó chỉ là do vô ý.

    Chúng ta đều có những lúc như thế, đặc biệt là khi phải đối diện với các vấn đề mâu thuẫn. Khi nói về một người đã từng làm tổn thương mình, chúng ta sẽ mô tả họ như một giống loài vô cảm, thiếu trách nhiệm, có ác ý làm hãm hại người khác. (1)

    Tuy nhiên, khi chúng ta nói về việc mình đã làm tổn thương ai đó, chúng ta sẽ viện đủ lý do chỉ để biện minh rằng hành động của chúng ta hoàn toàn hợp lý. Trong trường hợp này, tâm trí chúng ta ngụy biện rằng những tổn thương mà chúng ta gây ra cho người khác không đáng là bao, thế nên việc bị buộc tội bản thân thật là vô lý.

    Cả hai góc nhìn này đều hoàn toàn sai. Nhiều nghiên cứu tâm lý đã chỉ ra rằng cả thủ phạm và nạn nhân đều sẽ xuyên tạc sự thật bằng cách kể lại câu chuyện kèm theo quan điểm của mình.

    Steven Pinker gọi hiện tượng này là Lỗ hổng Luân lý (Moralization Gap).(2) Bất cứ khi nào xung đột xuất hiện, chúng ta thường sẽ đánh giá quá cao thiện chí của bản thân và ngược lại, đánh giá xấu chủ ý của người khác. Điều này khiến chúng ta luôn tin rằng những người kia đáng để bị trừng phạt trong khi chúng ta phải được khoan hồng.

    Tâm trí chúng ta lúc này hoạt động một cách vô thức vì kể cả khi đang biện minh cho chính mình, chúng ta đều luôn nghĩ nó hoàn toàn hợp lý. Nhưng thực ra sự thật không phải như vậy.

    2. BẠN KHÔNG HỀ BIẾT ĐIỀU GÌ LÀM MÌNH HẠNH PHÚC (HOẶC ĐAU KHỔ)

    Trong cuốn sách Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gibert, nhà tâm lý học tại đại học Harvad, đã chỉ ra việc chúng ta rất tệ trong việc nhớ điều gì tác động đến cảm xúc của bản thân trong quá khứ cũng như tương lai.

    Chẳng hạn, nếu đội thể thao ưa thích của bạn bị thua tại giải thi đấu lớn, bạn sẽ cảm thấy vô cùng buồn. Nhưng hóa ra trí nhớ về việc bạn cảm thấy buồn như thế nào lại không liên quan gì đến việc bạn cảm thấy buồn trong một khoảng thời gian nhất định. Nói cách khác, mỗi khi nhớ về những điều tệ hại lúc xưa, chúng ta thậm chí còn thêm thắt quá nhiều cảm xúc tiêu cực so với tình hình thực tế lúc đó. Tương tự, khi nhớ về những kí ức tốt đẹp lúc trước, chúng ta thường cho là chúng vui hơn so với thực tế lúc đó.

    Thế nên khi hoạch định về tương lai, chúng ta thường đánh giá quá cao niềm hạnh phúc mà những điều tốt đẹp sẽ mang lại cũng như tin rằng những điều không may mắn sẽ làm chúng ta cảm thấy tệ hại khôn cùng. Để rồi chúng ta thường không nhận ra được bản thân mình đang thực sự cảm thấy như thế nào trong thời khắc của hiện tại.

    Đây cũng là một lý do mà mọi người biện minh về việc không thể theo đuổi được hạnh phúc. Tất cả mọi thông tin chỉ ra rằng chúng ta thậm chí còn không biết hạnh phúc thực chất như thế nào thì làm sao có thể thực sống trong hạnh phúc.

    3. CHÚNG TA DỄ BỊ LỢI DỤNG ĐỂ ĐƯA RA NHỮNG QUYẾT ĐỊNH SAI LẦM

    Bạn đang đi trên đường thì bỗng có một người lạ lịch sự đến gần với mong muốn được tặng cho bạn vài cuốn sách báo “miễn phí”, ngay khi bạn cầm lấy chúng thì họ hỏi bạn tham gia cái này cái kia và quyên cho họ chút tiền vì họ đang gặp khó khăn. Đã bao giờ bạn lâm vào tình huống này chưa? Bạn biết là điều này thật kì cục và bạn muốn từ chối. Nhưng mà, cái này được tặng free đấy với cả bạn chả muốn bị coi là kẻ hờ hững với hoàn cảnh khó khăn chút nào.

    Yeah, đó chính là mấu chốt của vấn đề.

    Hóa ra là, quyết định của con người dễ bị chi phối bằng nhiều cách khác nhau, một trong số đó là việc tặng “quà” cho họ trước khi yêu cầu họ trả lại (điều này khiến khả năng giữ lại món quà cao hơn).

    Hoặc thử cách này, lần tới nếu bạn thấy một dòng người xếp hàng dài ngoằng và muốn chen lên trước, chỉ việc đưa ra một lý do cho mọi người – bất cứ lý do nào – chẳng hạn “Tôi đang vội” hoặc “Tôi đang ốm”. Theo thí nghiệm, chỉ cần nhờ lý do ngắn gọn này mà bạn có đến 80% cơ hội thành công để chen lên trước hơn là không đưa ra lời giải thích. Điều tuyệt vời nhất là: cái lý do bạn đưa ra không cần phải logic hay có ý nghĩa gì cả.(3)

    Các nhà kinh tế học thành vi đã chỉ ra rằng chúng ta dễ dàng có xu hướng tập trung vào một loại giá thành hơn các loại khác dù chả vì lý do gì. Hãy nhìn vào hình vẽ dưới đây:

    Ở phía bên trái, sự khác biệt về giá có vẻ lớn và không hợp lý. Thế nhưng, nếu thêm chai rượu mức giá $50 như hình bên phải thì đột nhiên, chai rượu với giá $30 bỗng trở thành một mức vừa phải và có lẽ là một món hời.

    Hãy thử xem một ví dụ khác nữa. Có người nói rằng bạn cần phải chi $2,000 cho chuyến đi Paris bao gồm bữa ăn sáng hoặc một chuyến đi Rome kèm bữa ăn sáng hoặc một chuyến đi Rome không kèm bữa ăn sáng. Hóa ra việc đưa thêm một lựa chọn “Rome không kèm ăn sáng” đã giúp cho nhiều người chọn Rome kèm ăn sáng hơn Paris. Tại sao vầy? Bởi vì nếu so sánh với chuyến đi Rome mà không có bữa ăn sáng, việc đi Rome kèm bữa ăn sáng có vẻ là một món hời. Thế là não bộ của chúng ta nhanh chóng quên đi mất chúng ta vẫn còn một sự lựa chọn nữa mang tên Paris.(4)

    4. BẠN THƯỜNG CHỈ DÙNG LOGIC VÀ LÝ LUẬN ĐỂ LÝ GIẢI CHO NHỮNG NIỀM TIN CÓ SẴN CỦA BẢN THÂN

    Các nhà nghiên cứu đã chỉ ra rằng kể cả những người đã bị tổn hại chức năng thị lực trên não bộ vẫn có thể “thấy” được ngay cả khi họ không nhận ra. Những người mù hay nói rằng họ không thể nhìn thấy được tay của mình ngay cả khi đưa nó ra trước mặt. Nhưng nếu có một ánh đèn lóe lên ngay trước mắt họ, dù ở phía bên phải hay trái, họ vẫn thường đoán chính xác được đèn lóe lên bên nào.

    Và dù vậy, họ vẫn cứ nói bạn rằng đó hoàn toàn là đoán đại mà thôi.

    Họ không hề có một gợi ý nào về việc đèn sáng bên nào nhưng vẫn có nhận định được ánh đèn nằm ở đâu.

    Điều này thể hiện một sự trớ trêu nực cười: kiến thức và cảm giác biết kiến thức đó hoàn toàn không liên quan đến nhau.(5)

    Và cũng giống như những người mù, chúng ta đều có kiến thức mà lại thiếu đi cảm giác biết kiến thức. Nhưng điều ngược lại, bạn có thể cảm tưởng là mình đã biết điều đó rồi mặc dù thực ra bạn không hề, cũng hoàn toàn là thật.

    Đây chính là nguồn cơn cho mọi thiên vị cũng như ngụy biện. Chúng ta không nhận thức được sự khác biệt giữa cái mình thực sự biết và cái mình tưởng là mình biết. Do đó, các lý do kèm động cơ và các ngụy biện đã được xác nhận cứ liên tục diễn ra trong đời sống hàng ngày.

    5. CẢM XÚC CHI PHỐI NHẬN THỨC CỦA BẠN NHIỀU HƠN BẠN NGHĨ

    Nếu giống như hầu hết mọi người, bạn thường có xu hướng đưa ra những quyết định tồi dựa trên cảm xúc. Đồng nghiệp chỉ buông vài câu bông đùa về đôi giày của bạn mà bạn đã nhảy dựng đứng lên, bởi vì đó là di vật bà người bà đã mất trao lại. Thế là bạn quyết định “phải bằm nát lũ người này ra”, bỏ việc và sống dựa vào tiền phúc lợi. Đây hoàn toàn là một quyết định không hợp lý.

    Nhưng việc tệ nhất chưa phải nằm ở đây đâu.

    Kể cả khi chúng ta đã nhận thức được việc cảm xúc chi phối các quyết định, chúng ta đã tránh việc đưa ra các quyết định trong lúc đang có nhiều cảm xúc trong lòng, thì đây vẫn không phải là một giải pháp lâu dài. Bởi vì, cảm xúc có thể ảnh hưởng đến chúng ta hàng tháng, hàng năm, kể cả khi chúng ta đã nguôi giận và bắt đầu “phân tích” tình huống trước đó. Những cảm xúc ngắn hạn tại một thời điểm nào đó, hóa ra, lại có tác động lâu dài đến các quyết định chúng ta đưa ra sau này.(6)

    Lấy ví dụ như thế này. Một người bạn bỗng muốn rủ bạn đi uống nước. Nhưng vì lý do nào đó, cơ chế phòng vệ của bạn bỗng được dựng lên. Bạn không muốn gật đầu cái rụp dù bạn cũng rất quý anh bạn ấy và muốn được trò chuyện với anh ta nhiều hơn. Bạn thận trọng trong việc đưa ra một phương án dù bạn không hiểu tại sao mình phải như vậy.

    Điều mà bạn đã lãng quên chính là bạn đã từng có một người bạn tính tình nóng lạnh thất thường trước đây. Anh chàng đó cứ thỉnh thoảng lại nổi đóa lên bất thường với bạn. Bạn bước tiếp trong cuộc sống và dần quên mất những chi tiết đó trong quá khứ. Mối quan hệ giữa bạn và người cũ thậm chí còn quay trở lại bình thường.

    Lúc đó bạn đã có đôi lần cảm thấy tổn thương và bực bội. Có thể về mặt nhận thức, bạn đã quên đi câu chuyện cũ, nhưng cảm xúc của bạn thì không. Nó vẫn đã từng nhớ mình đã cảm thấy buồn bã như thế nào. Để rồi khi giờ đây đối diện với một người hoàn toàn khác, trong một tình huống hoàn toàn khác, nó vô thức dựng lên hàng rào bảo vệ cho chính bạn.

    Chúng ta thường dựa vào kí ức về những cảm xúc mà chúng ta đã có trong một thời điểm nào đó trước đây để làm nền tảng đưa ra nhiều quyết định sau đó. Vấn đề là, bạn hoàn toàn không có ý thức về điều này. Cảm xúc mà bạn đã có 3 năm trước đây có thể ảnh hưởng đến bạn bất cứ lúc nào.

    Bàn về trí nhớ…

    6. TRÍ NHỚ KHÔNG HỀ ĐÁNG TIN

    Elizabeth Loftus là một trong những nhà nghiên cứu tiên phong trong lĩnh vực trí nhớ và cô ấy là người đầu tiên nói với chúng ta rằng trí nhớ của mình hoàn toàn không hề đáng tin.

    Về cơ bản, cô nhận ra rằng trí nhớ của chúng ta về các sự kiện trong quá khứ thường bị thay đổi bởi các sự kiện khác lúc xưa và/hoặc các thông tin thiếu chính xác mới. Cô đã khiến cho nhiều người nhận ra rằng lời khai từ nhân chứng không hẳn là một chứng cứ đáng tin.(8)

    Loftus và các nhà nghiên cứu khác đã chỉ ra rằng:

    Trí nhớ của chúng ta không chỉ bị mất dần mà còn dễ đưa ra các thông tin sai lệch theo thời gian.
    Cảnh báo mọi người rằng kí ức của họ chứa các thông tin sai lệch cũng không giúp làm giảm đi các thông tin sai lệch.
    Bạn càng có tính cảm thông nhiều bao nhiêu thì bạn càng dễ đồng nhất các thông tin sai lệch vào trong trí nhớ của mình bấy nhiêu.
    Trí nhớ của chúng ta không chỉ bị thay đổi bởi các thông tin sai lệch mà có thể toàn bộ kí ức của chúng ta đã bị tạo ra. Điều này thường diễn ra khi người tạo ra kí ức của chúng ta lại chính là những người mà chúng ta tin tưởng.
    Vì thế, kí ức của chúng ta hoàn toàn không hề đáng tin như mình đã nghĩ – thậm chí với những việc chúng ta nghĩ là đúng thì chỉ có phần chúng ta nghĩ là sự thật mà thôi.

    Trên thực tế, các nhà thần kinh học đã dự đoán lúc nào con người sẽ nhớ sai thông tin dựa trên các hoạt động trí não của bạn. Tại sao vậy?

    Họ lý giải điều này dựa trên việc so sánh trí nhớ với bộ nhớ của máy tính. Ban đầu, bộ nhớ sẽ ghi lại hết tất cả mọi thứ được đưa vào. Sau đó, chúng chậm dần, làm mất hoặc hư các file dữ liệu ngay sau khi bạn đã tạm dừng sử dụng. (10)

    Nhưng bộ não của chúng ta không chỉ chứa spreadsheet, và file chữ hay GIFs. Trí nhớ giúp chúng ta học được từ các sự kiện trong quá khứ để từ đó đưa ra những quyết định đúng đắn hơn cho tương lai. Nhưng trí nhớ thực chất còn có 1 chức năng quan trọng và phức tạp khác mà chúng ta ít khi nghĩ đến.

    Là người, chúng ta cần sự nhận dạng, chúng ta cần có cảm giác về việc “chúng ta là ai”, để từ đó điều hướng được các tình huống xã hội phức tạp cũng như để hoàn thành xong công việc. Trí nhớ giúp chúng ta biết được sự nhận dạng nhờ các câu chuyện trước đó.

    Bằng cách này, việc kí ức có chính xác hay không không quan trọng. Điều mấu chốt chính là các câu chuyện của quá khứ đã tạo nên nhận thức về chính bản thân. Và thay vì phải sử dụng trí nhớ với độ chính xác tuyệt đối để thực hiện điều này, chúng ta thực chất chỉ cần các kí ức mờ nhạt, sau đó thêm thắt vào các chi tiết khác nhau để phù hợp với “cái tôi” mà chúng ta tạo ra và chấp nhận.

    Có thể bạn nhớ rằng anh hay bạn bè đã từng bắt nạt mình rất nhiều và mình đã cảm thấy tổn thương như thế nào. Với bạn, đó là lý giải cho việc bản thân dễ nhạy cảm, hay lo lắng và khá e dè. Nhưng có lẽ kí ức đó không hề làm bạn tổn thương nhiều như mình đã nghĩ. Có lẽ khi nhớ về việc anh trai đã bắt nạt bạn lúc xưa, bạn đã dùng những cảm xúc ngay lúc này – nhạy cảm, lo lắng và e dè – và neo nó vào kí ức cũ, dù đống cảm xúc đó có khi lại chả hề liên quan gì đến việc anh trai đã bắt nạt bạn.

    Kể từ giờ phút này, kí ức về việc ông anh trai đã nhẫn tâm và làm bạn tổn thương, dù đúng hay không, cũng đã gắn vào đặc điểm nhận dạng của bạn – một người dễ nhạy cảm, hay lo lắng. Đồng thời, đặc điểm này đã khiến bạn đưa ra những hành động đáng xấu hổ và tạo thêm nhiều đau khổ trong cuộc đời mình.

    Có phải bạn đang hỏi tôi là: “Mark, vậy thì việc “tôi nghĩ tôi là ai” chỉ là một đống những ý tưởng bịa đặt do não bộ tạo ra thôi ư?”

    Vâng, đúng thế đấy.

    7. ‘BẠN KHÔNG PHẢI LÀ ĐIỀU MÌNH NGHĨ

    Hãy xem xét khía cạnh này: cách bạn thể hiện bản thân trên Facebook có lẽ không thực sự giống như cách bạn thể hiện bản thân khi rời “thế giới ảo”. Cách bạn hành xử lúc ở gần ông bà có lẽ sẽ khác khá nhiều so với lúc đi chơi với bạn bè. Bạn có “cái tôi tại công việc”, “cái tôi tại nhà””, “cái tôi trong gia đình”, “cái tôi khi ở một mình” và còn rất nhiều “cái tôi” khác nữa mà bạn dùng để điều hướng và sống sót trong thế giới xã hội phức tạp này.

    Nhưng đâu mới là cái tôi “đích thực”?

    Chúng ta có thể nghĩ rằng có lẽ một trong những bản sao ở trên thể hiện chính mình thực nhất. Nhưng một lần nữa, tất cả những việc bạn làm chỉ là lặp đi lặp lại câu chuyện vốn đã chiếm hữu trong đầu mình, những câu chuyện được tạo ra bởi các thông tin sai lệch.

    Trong hơn một vài thập kỉ, các nhà tâm lý học xã hội đã khám phá ra một sự thật mà chúng ta khó lòng nào chấp nhận: cái tôi đích thực (core self) – cái tôi không thay đổi, cái tôi bất biến – chỉ là ảo tưởng mà thôi. (11) Một nghiên cứu mới đang bắt đầu chỉ ra việc cách thức bộ não tạo nên cảm giác về cái tôi cũng như việc sử dụng các thuốc gây ảo giác có thể tạm thời làm thay đổi sự vận hành của não bộ, khiến não tạo ra những ảo giác tạm thời về các định dạng bản thân.(12)

    Điều trớ trêu là tất cả những thí nghiệm này – tuy được xuất bản trong những cuốn sách đắt tiền, được viết bởi những chuyên gia có tiếng – hóa ra chỉ đang lặp lại các triết lý truyền thống phương Đông mà các thiền sư giảng giải trong suốt hàng thế kỉ nay. Trong khi việc duy nhất mà các thiền sư làm chỉ là ngồi yên trong các hang động và không nghĩ gì cả trong vài năm.(13)

    Ở phương Tây, con người thường xuyên đề cao cái tôi cá nhân trong nhiều nền văn hóa – chưa kể tới trong ngành công nghiệp quảng cáo – khiến chúng ta không ngừng tìm cách “định dạng” bản thân mà hiếm khi chịu dừng lại đủ lâu để tự vấn rằng liệu điều này có cần thiết để lao đầu vào hay không. Có lẽ ý tưởng về việc “nhận dạng bản thân” vừa hại vừa giúp chúng ta. Có lẽ nó đang trói buộc chúng ta nhiều hơn là giải phóng chính mình. Tất nhiên, thật tuyệt khi bạn biết mình muốn hoặc thích gì, nhưng bạn vẫn có thể theo đuổi ước mơ và mục tiêu của bản thân mà không cần phải dựa vào ý niệm chắc chắn về sự định dạng.

    8. TRẢI NGHIỆM THỂ CHẤT CỦA BẠN TRONG THẾ GIỚI NÀY KHÔNG HOÀN TOÀN LÀ THẬT

    Chúng ta đang sở hữu một hệ thống thần kinh phức tạp. Nhờ có nó mà thông tin không ngừng được truyền đến não bộ. Theo một số tính toán, hệ thống giác quan – thị giác, xúc giác, khứu giác, thính giác, vị giác và sự cân bằng – gửi 11 triệu bit thông tin đến não chỉ trong vài giây. (14)

    Nhưng kể cả như thế, chúng ta vẫn không thể nhận thức được những sự vật sự việc li ti, khó nhìn thấy. Ánh sáng mà chúng ta thấy được chỉ là một phần nhỏ trong dải quang phổ điện từ. Chúng ta không thể thấy được điều này trong khi các loài chim hay côn trùng lại có thể. Chó có thể nghe và ngửi được những thứ mà chúng ta thậm chí không ý thức được sự tồn tại. Hệ thần kinh của chúng ta hoạt động vừa như bộ máy thu thập thông tin vừa như bộ máy lọc thông tin.

    Hơn hết, tâm thức của con người chỉ có thể kiểm soát được 60 bit thông tin trong một giây khi chúng ta đang tham gia vào các hoạt động gắn với trí thông minh (đọc sách, chơi nhạc cụ, …) (15)

    Có nghĩa là, bạn chỉ có thể ý thức được khoảng 0.000005454% phần thông tin mà não bộ nhận được trong khi đang còn tỉnh.

    Để dễ hiểu hơn, hãy tưởng tượng là với mỗi chữ mà bạn nhìn thấy và đọc trong bài viết này, có 536,303,630 chữ khác mà bạn không thể nhìn thấy.

    Về cơ bản, đó là cách chúng ta sống trong thế giới này mỗi ngày.

    Tác giả: Mark Manson
    Dịch: Hạnh Nguyên
    Nguồn: https://markmanson.net/trust

    Ghi chú:

    1. See Roy Baumeister and Aaron Beck’s Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty.↵
    2. See: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker, Chapter 8, to be exact.↵
    3. These experiments and more explained in Robert Cialdini’s timeless book Influence.↵

    4. This is a shitty summary of an experiment conducted by Dan Ariely of Duke University, discussed in his excellent book Predictably Irrational.↵

    5. In fact, your brain has completely independent processes for each of these and both function independently of logic and reason. See Dr. Robert Burton’s book On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not.↵

    6. Andrade, E. B., & Ariely, D. (2009). The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109(1), 1–8.↵

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    Tendencias del Empaque Flexible

    Las mas marcadas son:

    Gradual sustitucion del aluminio: Ya sea por costos o por politicas internas la mayoria de empresas estan sustituyendo la barrera del aluminio en lamina por la de los metalizados y coextruidos, la barrera de un metalizado puede llegara ser superior a las del aliminio a la hora de presentarse en el punto de venta pues en el manejo y traslado se puede quebrar o agujerear el aluminio en lamina (foil) lo que anula su caracteristica de barrera.

    Coextrusiones mas tecnologicas: Con la nueva generacion de coextrusoras se puede formar laminas de materiales compuestos que son altamente superiores a los monocapa en barrerras y rigidez asi como en precio por unidad de venta. Las coextruisiones pueden llegar a sustituir a las laminaciones, como por ejemplo la bolsa de leche para UHT de coextruision que da tres meses de vida a la leche, aun que esta por debajo del tetra pack en vida de anaquel el costo es bastante mas bajo.

    Incremento de la impresion en Flexografia: La mejora en calidad de esta tecnica de impresion y la incursion de materiales nuevos que sustituyen a las tradicionales planchas fotosensibles ha permitido que empresas que no tienen requerimiento de alta grafica migren a este sistema por sus bajos costos de fotomecanica y rapidez de desarrollo.

    Polipropilenos: Existen muchos desarrrollos nuevos en este campo por parte de las empresas fabricantes como la Mobil, por ejemplo desde hace años tienen materiales de baja memoria (quese mantienen doblados) y con distintas apariencias, sin embargo su porduccion aun es limitada y de alto precio por lo que aun no estan disponibles en la region.

    Descenso en los gramajes de las estructuras: Se esta trabajando fuertemente en desarrollar materiales mas delgados que hagan lo mismo que los materiales actuales, esto baja costo y reduce en impacto ambiental por unidad vendida.
              Empaque flexible y sus materiales mas comunes        
    Breve descripcion del Empaque Flexible:

    Se llama empaque flexible los materiales que se pueden transformar en laminas, que ya sea solos o en conjunto (estructuras) y que se presentan en primera instancia como rollos o bobinas para ser transformados en bolsas o pliegos con la finalidad de contener un producto para mantener o resguardar su integridad.
    Regularmente es usado como envase primario pero tambien se puede presentar como empaque secundario (bolsa docenera) y hasta embalaje (sacos).

    Materiales que se utilizan en el empaque flexible:

    Dentro de los materiales que al momento se utilizan y que se prevee a un futuro proximo y lejano se seguiran usando prevalecen los polimeros (polietilenos de varias densidades, poliesteres, polipropilenos, PVC etc.), el aluminio (como lamina o metalizacion), los papeles, el celofan, las parafinas, los adhesivos (con y sin solvente) las tintas y los solventes.

    Polietilenos: Estos constituyen la mayoria (en porcentaje por peso) de los materiales flexibles usados en el mundo, son exclelentes para laminar materiales, dar cuerpo a las estructuras y para sellado, lamentablemente no ofrecen ninguna barrera significativa al vapor de agua y al oxigeno a menos que sean modificados con otros componentes o polimeros de otros tipos durante su proceso de extrusion. Para empaque flexible se pueden extruir por cortina y por soplado (blow extrussion) que puede a su vez ser por proceso de una sola capa o de varias capas en cuyo caso se llama coextrusion.

    Polipropilenos: Conforme han avanzado tecnologicamente se han converrtido en la tendencia a seguir, se han desarrollado altas barreras, bajos grosores, mejoras en la resistencia y mejores apariencias ademas del precio, se podria decir que son los materiales que dominan la industria del empaque en cuanto a desarrollos. Su limitante radica en que son muy susceptibles a deformarse en el proceso de transformacion, empaque y sellado por su sensibilidad a la temperatura, requieren de maquinaria de empaque de alta presicion.

    Poliesteres: Tambien llamados Nylons (por ser la marca del poliesterde Dupont) se destacan por su resistencia a las altas temperaturas a la hora de sellar y la hora de congelar, poseen buenas barreras cuando son metalizados y exelente maquinabilidad ademas de buena resistencia al rasgado y ponchadura.

    Aluminio: La mejor de las barreras, aun que esta depende en gran parte de el manejo que se la va a dar al producto (muy facilmente se fractura en los dobleces) y a la calidad del productor pues presentan una cantidad definida de agujeros (pin holes) por metro cuadrado y cuando esta supera los estandards de la industria la barrera se compromete. Por ser un metal su precio es muy alto en comparacion con los demas materiales flexibles.

    Adhesivos: Son de dos tipos, los con solventes que se usan para industria que no requiere contacto con alimentos y altos niveles de adhhesion (bond) y los sin solventes que son de relativa reciente utilizacion y que son usados para unir sustratos (capas de materiales) de estrucuturas para la industria de alimentos.

    Papeles: Sirven para dar aspecto, ayudar a eliminar memoria (que el material se resista a permanecer doblado), dar cuerpo y como capas absorventes. Cuando son brillantes para impresion llevan por fuera un recubrimiento de caolin, loshay de distintos tipos como kraft, tissue etc.

    Celofanes: Se fabrican a partir de cululosa (similar al papel) y antes del surgimiento de los poliesteres y polipropilenos eran la opcion que habia para poder empacar alimentos, actualmente estan en desaparicion dado que por sus carcteristicas y precio no puede competir con con materiales mas modernos su demanda es menor y ya hay solo pocos productores.

    Parafinas: Estas se usan como capas sellantes en caliente y antes de la tecnologia de los adhesivos se usaba para laminar sustratos para la industria de alimentos pero daban un bond muy debil. Su barrera es baja y son muy sensibles a la temperatura.

    Tintas: Son pigmentos de color que disueltos en un solvente se adhieren a la superficie del empaque (ya sea por fuera o por dentro) para dar los efectos deseados en la impresion. En conjunto con los costos de desarrollos de artes graficas son la parte mas cara gramo por gramo de costo total del empaque. Hay tintas genericas o basicas (cyan, magenta, amarillo y negro) de las que se forman todas las demas y tintas directas como las que son emblematicas de una marca como el rojo Marlboro. Hay tambien tintas para rotograbado y flexografia que son las dos formas de impresion industriales en nuestra region centro americana, hay empresas que estan ya ofreciendo impresion inkjet para empaque flexible.



              Popular Science: "Are We Alone: Searching for Life in Space"         

    Popular Science (part of Time) is offering a supermarket glossy booklet “Are We Alone? Searching for Life in Space”. 96 pages.

    There are some highlights not seen before in other booklets like this.  One is an examination of the seven earth-like planets around the Trappist M-star 39 light years away, with planet E having the best chance for Earth-like temperatures, and an artist’s rendition of the surface of a moderately cold Planet F.

    There is some discussion of the earth-like planet around Proxima B. an M-star and the closest to Earth at 4.2 light years.


    There is a lot of attention to Europa and its subsurface ocean and likelihood of life, as well as Encedalus.  But Titan gets mentioned only in passing with the possibility of silicon-and-methane based life.  Ironically, my own Science Honor Society project in 1960  had speculated about silicon-based life, but I was hardly as accomplished as Jack Andraka (who came 53 years later, however, and that matters).  I had tried some experiments in my father’s workshop with an acetylene torch that I recall very little about now.

    There is also an article about the idea of aliens eating electricity, which has been the subject of horror movies before (“Kronos”).

    There is mention of the possibility of a Dyson Sphere around Tabby’s Star, as well as other theories, and a nice drawing of what it could look like.
     

    There’s also an essay about keeping Mars biologically clean. 

              Book publishing site reports that Amazon is aggressive in deleting less-than-valid book reviews of self-published books         

    A site called “Just Publishing” offers what looks like good advice to new authors especially with self-published books, especially POD.

    “Why did Amazon delete my book reviews?  Because there was a problem with how you got the reviews”, link.

    I can certainly understand that paying for reviews is unethical (although you would wonder if people pay for Yelp and Angie's List, which both companies adamantly say you cannot).

    I can understand that family is off limits.  But the article also implies social media friends is a no-no.  That’s getting difficult, and I hadn’t heard that before.  People who network enough to sell their books the old fashioned way probably would attract quality Facebook friends and Instagram and twitter followers.  Such a policy would sound a bit self-defeating.

    It is true that there are industry statistics on the expected reasonable ratio of books sold to reviews – it’s high.



    I’ve noticed something else about the POD business.  POD companies often mark the list prices high, which will be only slightly discounted on the Amazon and BN sites, and perhaps some others.  Then they encourage authors to try copies themselves by buying hundreds of copies at maybe 50% off or so.  An author who really wants to operate her own wholesale (with bookstores) and retail (with consumers) could mark them up to about 60% or so and make a profit.  But that would be so time consuming that the author wouldn’t have time for new material.

    It’s frankly very difficult to sell books, or sell advertising on a blog, unless you have built a reputation first in some niche that relates to something people will pay for.  Fiction sometimes provides an exception, but even then it is often niche-like.  Hopefully it’s legitimate (not porn). Given the “gofundme” culture online today (which has become much more prominent than it was two decades ago when I got into this) there is probably opportunity to “sell” in the special needs area – but I have my own psychological and perhaps moral qualms about this.



              Bari Wood: "The Tribe"        

    Today, I had a reason to remember the 1981 novel "The Tribe" by Bari Wood (that is Bari Ev Wood Posterman),

    I read the Signet paperback when living in Dallas, It concerns a modern day NYC cabal of Jewish concentration camp survivors, who get chased by ghosts from the past called golems.

    As I recall, the golem is something of a invention of idol worship, where the celebrant wants to invent a god on Earth.

    This was a graphic and compelling novel.  As far as I know, it never became a movie, but it should have. Maybe the subject matter would drive Hollywood away, but there is a taste of "Rosemary's Baby" in the style.

    I guess a "Tribe" can be a vehicle for distributed consciousness.

    Immigration attorney Jason Dzubow used a cartoon image of a golem for a blog post on "The Asylumist" today, here.  Dzubow, however, called the illustration a picture of Godzilla. (v. Bambi).



              Popular Science: "The Future of Space Travel"         

    Popular Science offers a “Special Edition” mag “The Future of Space Travel”, 96 pages, from Times Books.

    There are many short illustrated articles in 5 parts, “Places We’re Going”, “How We’ll Get There”, “How We’ll Survive There”, “Other Tools of Exploration.”.

    There is a wide variety of interesting information. One fact is that Proxima Centauri, in a 3-star system that is the closest to the Earth, may have a rocky planet in the “GoldiLocks” zone. The shortest time that it is technologically possible to send a robotic probe on a photon light sail with laser accelerator would be about 20 years, which means it would take 24 years to get the photos and information back as to what the planet looks like.  It is about 8000 times as far to this star system as it is to Pluto.



    The other most interesting section is “The Everyday Life of an Astronaut”.  This would be very important for a voyage to Mars, for example.  It raises questions as to who would go:  what about childless or single people?  The long exposure to zero gravity is bound to cause physical deterioration, so this is not a place for pretty preppies.  Essential body functions are different.  You bathe with soap that does not have to be rinse off but stays on the skin to disintegrate. Without gravity, it is hard for your body to sense when it needs to urinate.
     
    There is an artist’s closeup of Europa on page 8, a closeup on Pluto on p. 16.  There is an article on space mining on p. 16.  I didn't see any discussion of Titan.


              Simple Equations are No Good When the Variables are Meaningless        
    A few weeks back, I reflected on why mathematical biology can be so hard to learn—much harder, indeed, than the mathematics itself would warrant. The application of mathematics to biological evolution is rooted, historically, in statistics rather than in dynamics. Consequently, a lot of model-building starts with tools that belong, essentially, to descriptive statistics (e.g., … Continue reading Simple Equations are No Good When the Variables are Meaningless
              200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind - CNN        

    CNN

    200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind
    CNN
    Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN) In 1962, as the United States and the Soviet Union wobbled toward nuclear confrontation, then-President John F. Kennedy got his predecessor on the phone. "What's your judgment as to the chances they'll fire these things off?
    FactCheck: Trump misfires on nuclear weapons boastPhilly.com
    AP FACT CHECK: Trump's unjustified boast about US nuke powerMiami Herald
    Fact Check: Trump's Unjustified Boast About US Nuke PowerNBC New York
    Twitter -Whitehouse.gov -The White House -Department of State
    all 113 news articles »

              Skomentuj Usługi stomatologiczne – chirurgia szczękowa, którego autorem jest Implanty dentystyczne w london | Polski dentysta Londyn        
    […] https://polski-lekarz.london/portfolio-view/uslugi-stomatologiczne-chirurgia-szczekowa/ […]
              Skomentuj Usługi stomatologiczne – chirurgia szczękowa, którego autorem jest Implanty dentystyczne | Implanty zębów        
    […] Umieszczenie implantu w kości wykonuje się w znieczuleniu miejscowym i jest całkowicie bezbolesn… […]
              Skomentuj Usługi stomatologiczne – chirurgia szczękowa, którego autorem jest Gdzie do Polskiego lekarza w Londynie | Polska przychodnia Londyn, Polska klinika w Londynie.        
    […] https://polski-lekarz.london/portfolio-view/uslugi-stomatologiczne-chirurgia-szczekowa/ […]
              Apple MacBook A1534 schematic – 820-00244 – Apple X260 MLB schematic        
    The motherboard schematic for Apple MacBook A1534  Logic Board,  X260 MLB DRAWING TITLE: SCHEM,MLB,X260 DRAWING NUMBER: 051-00532 Part Number:  820-00244 REV:  Total sheet: 67 File size: 1.64 MB Price: $11.5 Block Diagram:
              Comment on ĐỊNH LÝ SAU CÙNG CỦA FERMAT (FERMAT’S LAST THEOREM) by trantancuong        
    Fermat cho dieu kien x,y,z.n la so nguyen .n>2. chung minh khong the co phuong trinh dung x^n+y^n=z^n. Gia su: x^n+y^n=z^n. tuyet doi dung phai co mot so nguyen (a) nao do, khi can bac a cua z, so do phai la so vo ty. Vi du. z la so 100. can bac hai cua 100=10 la so nguyen. nhung can bac 3 hay la bac 4 hay la bac 5 cua 100 phai co mot so trong do la so vo ty. O day can bac 3 cua 100 la so vo ty. Cho nen ta chon so a=3 de co z^1/a hay la z^1/3 la so vo ty. Giai doan nay de ta nam duoc truoc het chac chan co mot so vo ty la z^1/a. Sau do ta dan dat mot cach logic sao cho z^n=f(z^1/a) la so vo ty . chang han nhu o bai toan nay toi se chung minh khi gia su x^n+y^n - z^n ta se dua ra z^n=z^1/a.(x^1/a+y^1/a - z^1/a).f(x,y,z) dieu nay vo ly vi z^n phai la so nguyen. vi x^n+y^n=z^n nen x¹/a+y¹/a=/ z¹/a ta dat delta d la sai so nen (x¹/a+y¹/a)=(z¹/a+d) hay la (x¹/a+y¹/a)^na=(z¹/a+d)^na. khai trien phuong trinh theo luy thua bac na.Viet don gian: x^n+nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a+y^n=z^n+naz^(na — 1)/a.d+….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na. vi da thuc co chua x^n,y^n,z^n nen don gian chung: nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a - [naz^(na — 1)/a.d+….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na]=0 vi trong da thuc co chua naz^(na — 1)/a.d nen dat rieng mot minh o mot ve. naz^(na — 1)/a.d =nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a - [+….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na] vi d=(x¹/a+y¹/a - z¹/a) nen chia hai ve cho d. naz^(na — 1)/a={ nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a - [+….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na] } / (x¹/a+y¹/a - z¹/a) vi na.z^n=na.z^1/a.z^(na — 1)/a nen ta nhan ca hai ve cho z^1/a de co tri so cua na.z^n. naz^(na — 1)/a=z^1/a.{ nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a - [+….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na] } / (x¹/a+y¹/a - z¹/a) dem mau so (x¹/a+y¹/a - z¹/a) nam chung voi [z¹/a / (x¹/a+y¹/a — z¹/a)] cho de thay ro [z¹/a / (x¹/a+y¹/a — z¹/a)] la mot so vo ty khong the choi cai duoc. na.z^n=[z¹/a / (x¹/a+y¹/a — z¹/a)]. {nax^(na — 1)/a.y¹/a+….+nax¹/a.y^(na — 1)/a — [….+naz¹/a.d^(na — 1)+d^na]} na.z^n khong the la so vo ty vi Fermat cho nhu the. ket luan chung minh gia su da dua den ket luan khong hop ly hay da chung minh xong : x^n+y^n=/z^n.
              MyHeritage Acquires Millennia Corp. and its Legacy Family Tree Software        
    Israel-based genealogy website MyHeritage announced late yesterday that it has purchased Millennia Corp., developer of Legacy Family Tree software and the Legacy webinars program.

    "The acquisition will introduce MyHeritage users to Legacy’s valuable genealogical webinars, and will also provide Legacy’s hundreds of thousands of users with improved resources and access to new services," say spokespeople Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage and Geoff Rasmussen of Millennia in a joint email.

    Here's what this means for you:

    Legacy Family Tree Software
    Legacy Family Tree software will continue to be offered. The next version (10), now underway, will feature optional syncing with family trees on the MyHeritage website and with the MyHeritage mobile app.

    Legacy Family Tree already syncs with the FamilySearch unified Family Tree, but it's currently the only one of the top genealogy programs that doesn't sync with a website that allows members to keep their own, limited-access family trees. Competitors Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic software both sync with Ancestry.com member trees in addition to the FamilySearch tree. 

    Family Tree Builder Software
    MyHeritage has its own software, a free program called Family Tree Builder that syncs with MyHeritage online trees and with the MyHeritage app. Horowitz told me that Family Tree Builder also will continue to be offered, but I wouldn't be surprised if MyHeritage eventually streamlines its software offerings.

    Webinars and Discounts
    Legacy Family Tree customers will receive discounts on MyHeritage services and DNA kits, and MyHeritage will keep offering Legacy Family Tree webinars. All Millennia employees will be retained as employees of MyHeritage.

    See more details on the MyHeritage blog and Millennia's Legacy News blog.


              How I Created a Genealogy Timeline To Show My Grandfather's Life        
    My grandfather Joe moved around a lot during his lifetime: Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, back to Texas, elsewhere in Texas, Ohio, more places in Texas, various Ohio cities, South Dakota, Ohio again. 

    Timelines organize an ancestor's or a family's family tree data—dates, places of residence, jobs, historical events, children's births—in an orderly fashion. I love them.

    So when I was making a photo book about my grandfather as a Christmas present for my dad, I thought a timeline was just the thing to help summarize all those migrations. Matching up the timeline with a map of all the places would be even better.

    My Grandfather's Migration Timeline
    Here's the timeline and map I came up with:



    The right-hand page lists each place Joe lived, with dates and details about what he did in that place. The information comes from my research in censuses, city directories, newspapers and other genealogy records. I'm lucky to have copies of a job application my grandpa filled out with his work history.



    Looking at it now, I can see some things I'd change. But overall, I'm pleased with it.

    For the map, I first tried customizing a Google map using free numbered place markers downloaded from here (Google's marker options don't include numbers). To create your own Google maps timeline, add a generic place marker to the map, click the paint can to edit the marker style, choose More Icons, then Custom Icon, and select the marker image file from your computer. You'll need a Google account to save the map.

    I didn't love the result for my photo book, though, so I imported a map image into desktop publishing software I have access to through work, and added numbered place markers I created myself. Then I exported the file as a JPG to use in the photo book. 



    I know a few tricks, but I'm not a graphic designer, so there's probably an easier and more artful way to go about making the map.

    Using Timelines in Your Genealogy Research
    Timelines are among your best genealogy tools. In addition to helping you easily share genealogical information, they let you: 
    • get an overview of a person or family in historical context

    • sort out a confusing jumble of information you've found in records

    • spot problems (why was Great-grandpa here and Great-grandma over there?)

    • note periods of missing information

    • brainstorm answers to research questions, such as why a relative immigrated or where your great-grandparents met
    Our new independent study online course Using Timelines in Your Genealogy helps you take advantage of all these genealogy benefits of timelines.

    It'll show you how to use timelines to understand your ancestors' lives and solve research problems, and how to create a timeline by hand or using websites such as Twile and Treelines. Best of all, you can take this independent study course at your own pace and download the videos and research guides to keep.

    See all the details for our Using Timelines in Your Genealogy course and register at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

    SaveSaveSave
              Why FamilySearch Is Ending Microfilm Rental & How to Get Genealogy Records Now        
    Guest blog post by Family Tree Magazine Contributing Editor Sunny Jane Morton



    For 80 years, the FamilySearch Family History Library (FHL) has made its enormous stash of microfilmed genealogy records available to researchers through an inexpensive rental service through local FamilySearch Centers.

    That's about to change: FamilySearch has announced that this service will end Aug. 31. Reasons include declining demand for film, dramatic increases in the costs of reproducing films, and the difficulty of supporting aging microfilm technology.

    It’s easy to be dismayed by the news, even when you acknowledge it was bound to happen. Many of us have solved family history mysteries with these microfilmed records. 

    Fortunately, most FamilySearch microfilm is already been digitized and posted on the free FamilySearch website or another genealogy site. That's more than 1.5 million rolls, including the most popular ones. “The remaining [eligible] microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020," according to the announcement. "All new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment."

    I've been a grateful user of the film rental program. And the millions of records FamilySearch makes available online for free more than offset offsets this inconvenience to my research.

    But after Aug. 31 and before 2020, what can we do about accessing records that aren't yet digitized? Try these seven ideas:

    1. Keep using the FamilySearch online catalog of the FHL's books and microfilmed records.
    You can order microfilm up through Aug. 31 (click here to see how); you'll get 90 days to view the film. When digitized films are posted at FamilySearch, the item's catalog entry links to the online collection. Even if you don’t find a borrowable item in the catalog, it's useful for identifying records you may be able to access elsewhere (see below). Here are our tips on searching the catalog.

    2. Check other libraries.
    If you find a noncirculating item described in the FamilySearch catalog, click the link to view the catalog record in WorldCat.



    It'll take you to this item's listing in WorldCat, a free catalog of holdings in libraries around the world. You'll see libraries that have the item, and link to their lending policies. You may discover records in other formats, such as digitized, in a book or original manuscript records.

    3. Search for digitized versions of the records.
    Search the web for the names and descriptions of records you've identified in the FamilySearch catalog. You may find digitized versions at free sites such as HathiTrust, Internet Archive, state library websites, and others. Also search the database catalogs on genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com, MyHeritage and Findmypast.

    4. Visit a genealogy library such as ...
    5. Use library lookup and photocopy services.
    Some libraries fill requests for lookups and photocopies for a fee. Check the website or call for instructions; usually, you must provide the book or microfilm title and specifics such as a name, date or page number. Firms offering research at the FHL include Genealogists.com.

    6. Hire a researcher.
    If you need someone to search through records—not just check an index or flip to the page you specify and copy it—consider hiring a researcher by the hour. Many libraries offer in-house research services, or they may supply a list of local researchers.

    7. Find original records.
    It might be easier to access original records, if they exist, than microfilmed versions. Start with the FamilySearch catalog listing. Look for the name of the repository that provided the original records (often under "Author"). Search that repository’s website to see if the records are still there. Another option is to search ArchiveGrid, a catalog of archival items in US repositories. Here's how to use ArchiveGrid.

    FamilySearch's renewed focus on digital efforts means its free online genealogy resources will grow even faster. Watch ShopFamilyTree.com for my Aug. 21 webinar on the free FamilySearch website, in which I'll share my search tricks for getting the most out of this website.

    Meanwhile, grab my must-have comparison of the "big three" commercial sites, Ancestry, Findmypast and MyHeritage. I'll help you decide which one's right for you.

    SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave
              Grants Are Now Available for Preserving WWI Memorials!        

    WWI Memorial in Jackson, Miss. (Library of Congress)

    Here's a project for your history- and preservation-minded genealogical society, civic group or scouting troop: The 100 Cities/100 Memorials matching grant program is accepting applications through July 10 (an extended deadline) for projects to adopt and preserve WWI memorials.

    Up to 100 WWI memorial restoration projects around the country will receive matching funds of up to $2,000 apiece from the US WWI Centennial Commission in Washington, DC, and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago.

    Any municipal government, organization or individual can apply. You'll find details and the application on the 100 Cities/100 Memorials website.

    World War I, also known as the Great War, began in Europe just over 100 years ago, July 28, 1914. The United States entered the war April 6, 1917, and an armistice ended fighting Nov. 11, 1918. The July 2014 Family Tree Magazine includes a research guide to records of World War I service, as well as a guide to tracing women who served as nurses and volunteers overseas and on the home front.

    Also find our downloadable guide to the top 10 WWI genealogy websites in ShopFamilyTree.com.


    WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress)
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              InfraRecorder, le logiciel libre de gravure sous Windows        
    InfraRecorder est un logiciel libre de qui vous permettra de graver vos CD et DVD sous Microsoft Windows, il apporte bon nombre de fonctionnalités pour toutes sortes de gravure. En réalité, c’est une interface graphique pour cdrtools (anciennement cdrecord), une sorte de K3b sous Microsoft Windows. Parmi les fonctionnalités qu’il apporte: Création de CD/DVD de données, CD [...]
              Ueagle Center 0.1.1 alpha (MàJ)        
    Nous sommes heureux de vous annoncez que le logiciel (pour lancer la connexion ADSL) que nous vous annoncions depuis longtemps est finalement terminé “exécutable”. Ueagle Center vous épargneras les lignes de commandes que vous aviez l’habitude de taper pour lancer votre connexion ADSL. Notez néanmoins que c’est une version alpha, elle peut s’avérer donc assez instable, vous [...]
              Merlin confirmed nesting in Illinois for the first time!        
    BirdsMerlin by John Picken

    Merlin. Photo Â© John Picken / www.picken.com

    Last week, the Field Museum Bird Collection received a batch of specimens from Willowbrook Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in the Chicago suburbs that has been a long-time partner of ours. Not every animal that enters the rehab facility survives, and when they don't, they end up as research specimens at the Field Museum. Among the specimens was a hatchling raptor that was picked up alive, but underweight and in poor health, by Willowbrook volunteer Hans Lim on July 22 in Mt. Prospect, in northwest Cook County. Despite Willowbrook's efforts, the bird didn't survive. The bird was so young that it still had some of its natal down and its primaries were not fully grown, indicating that it couldn't fly, or at least couldn't fly far. The bird, understandably, was originally thought to be a Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus), a local and uncommon breeding species in northeast Illinois, but not unheard of. It's a species that we infrequently add to the collection, averaging fewer than one per year from Illinois over the last decade (almost all of which came to us from Willowbrook). Even rarer is getting such a young bird, even though all birds, raptors included, have high rates of mortality in their first year of life.

    merlin_chick_img_1762_hanslim.jpg

    Merlin chick in Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    This Merlin chick seemed to have fallen out of nest. It was in poor health and was taken to Willowbrook Wildlife Center, but it didn't survive. It represents the first nesting record for the state of Illinois. Photo by Hans Lim.

    Because of the specimen's rarity, we prioritized it for preparation. As I walked through the prep lab on Wednesday, I saw it sitting out, waiting for Tom Gnoske to prepare it as a study skin. But it immediately struck me as off for a Broad-winged Hawk. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a Merlin!

    Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small falcon that typically breeds in the boreal forests well to our north and has never before been confirmed nesting in Illinois. However, they have been seen a few times in summer in the state in recent years and they've been expanding their breeding range south in recent decades. Over that same period of time, much like Cooper's Hawk and Peregrine Falcon, they have been adapting to urban landscapes. Many birders predicted that it wouldn't be long before Merlins were confirmed breeding in Illinois, and it has finally happened. In the 2013 volume of the Illinois state ornithological journal, Meadowlark, Steven D. Bailey discussed this very scenario:

    One species that appears to have Illinois in its crosshairs for expanding its breeding range southward is the boreal-nesting Merlin...This year [2012], two Merlins were well-documented with photos, both in July, and one as far south as central Illinois. As I write this, a female and two juvenile Merlins have been discovered at Pokogan State Park in Indiana near its border with Michigan, likely representing that state’s first nesting record. Merlins showed the largest increase in population in a recent study group of boreal-nesting bird species (Niven et al. 2004), and the species has made a fairly rapid movement into urban and suburban city breeding locales over a large part of their range relatively recently (Warkentin et al. 2005), including agricultural and urban areas of nearby Wisconsin (Cutright et al. 2006). In Ontario, Canada, only one urban nesting Merlin was found during their first breeding bird atlas project in 1986, but by the time their next atlas project was completed in 2006, the Merlin had become the most common breeding raptor in some Ontario cities, including Ottawa (Cadman et al. 2007). Illinois birders should be on the lookout for nesting Merlins in the years to come. They don’t build their own nests but often choose old American Crow (and so also likely old Cooper’s Hawk nests), often near water, especially wetlands.

    Merlins have become more common in winter in Illinois, as well, and no doubt they will be found nesting again in our state. In Massachusetts, for example, Merlin was first found nesting in 2008, and has since become a regular breeding species there. In the case of the Mt. Prospect nest, just one young bird was found on the ground. Given that the average number of chicks per nest is 3.5-4 (Sodhi et al. 2005), we can hope its siblings survived and will come back to breed in the area next year. 

    merlin_crop_img_3678_engel.jpg

    Merlin chick in the prep lab
    The Merlin chick in the Field Museum's prep lab, before being prepared as a research specimen. In the photo you can see the remaining fluffy white natal feathers as well as the partially-grown primaries. Photo by Josh Engel.

    Thanks to Hans Lim for providing photos of the bird and details about the circumstances around picking it up, Ron Skleney for providing additional details, and John Picken for providing the banner image. 

    Literature cited

    Bailey, S.D. 2013. Field Notes: The 2012 Breeding Season. Meadowlark: A Journal of Illinois Birds. 22: 9-44. 

    Cadman, M.D., D.A.Sutherland, G.G. Beck, D. LePage, and A.R. Couturier (eds.). 2007. Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Toronto: Birds Studies Canada et al. 706 pp. 

    Cutright, N.J., B.R. Harriman, and R.W. Howe (eds.). 2006. Atlas of the breeding birds of Wisconsin. Madison: Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. 602 pp.

    Niven, D.K., J.R. Sauer, G.S. Butcher, and W.A. Link. 2004. Christmas Bird Count provides insights into population chance in land birds that breed in the boreal forest. American Birds. 58: 10-20. 

    Warkentin, I.G., N.S. Sodhi, R.H.M. Espie, A.F. Poole, L.W. Oliphant, and P.C. James. 2005. Merlin (Falco columbarius). The Birds of North America (P.R. Rodewald, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/merlin/ DOI: 10.2173/bna.44

     

     

     


              Of Ivory Gulls and Parasites        
    BirdsIvory Gull by Nathan Goldberg

    Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) photo by Nathan Goldberg.

    On the morning of January 7, I received a phone call from our former intern Nathan Goldberg, currently a student at Cornell University, who was birding in northeast Minnesota. "I just found a roadkill Spruce Grouse, do you guys want it?" That was an easy question: "Of course we do," I replied. Spruce Grouse is a bird of the North Woods, far from Chicago, so this was an excellent opportunity to get a fresh specimen of a species that rarely comes into the collection. Plus we have all of the necessary permits to receive specimens from Minnesota.

    That was just the beginning of the story. One of the main reasons Nathan was in that area, along with dozens of other birders, was to see the rare Ivory Gull that showed up a week earlier on the Duluth lakefront and was being seen daily.

    Not long after his phone call, I saw a distressing message on Facebook--an Ivory Gull had been found dead, mostly eaten by a mammal, just across the border in Wisconsin. Only the head and wings remained. Laura Erickson, a birder who lives in Duluth, went out and salvaged what was left of the specimen after learning of the bird's demise. As is the norm these days, all of this was known in real-time thanks to social media.  Nathan then contacted Laura to ask if, while he was at it, he could take the Ivory Gull remains to the Field Museum along with the Spruce Grouse that was already in his trunk. She agreed. In the meantime, a living, breathing Ivory Gull was seen again in Duluth! (I highly recommend reading Laura’s account of the remarkable situation). Late the following night, Nathan, knowing that his mother wouldn't approve of a big bag of dead birds in her freezer, stopped by my apartment on his way home from Minnesota to drop off the specimens.

    nathan_ruffling_img_4212.jpg

    Nathan Goldberg ruffling
    Nathan Goldberg and I examine the Ivory Gull specimen for ectoparasites. Photo by Lynne Remington.

    As an intern at the Museum, Nathan had worked with Jason Weckstein, a former staff scientist whose research focuses on birds and their associated parasites. Not wanting to miss an opportunity for further study, Nathan asked that we wait a week to prepare the specimens so he could come in to the museum and examine them himself for lice. That wasn't a problem, and we both knew Jason would be thrilled to receive anything that he found. 

    The following week Nathan came to the museum to do just this. We had pulled the birds out of one of the Bird Collection’s many freezers that morning, so they were thawed and ready to be "ruffled," the term for rummaging through a bird’s plumage to collect its ectoparasites: lice, mites, fleas, and ticks in particular. We find ectos, as we call them, on roughly 50% of the birds we check; today, however, the success rate was 100%. Nathan found lice on both the Ivory Gull and the Spruce Grouse as well as a mite on the gull. It's entirely possible that some of the parasites represent new species. We checked the “Bird Louse Bible,” and it turns out that several louse species have been found on Ivory Gulls—the first was described way back in 1780! Just one species is known from Spruce Grouse.

    ivgu_louse.jpg

    The Ivory Gull's louse, in the genus Quadraceps. Photo by Nathan Goldberg.

    Tom Gnoske, our Assistant Collections Manager, then prepared both birds as specimens. The Ivory Gull specimen consists of one wing, the head feathering, the skull, plus additional feathers. The Spruce Grouse was prepared as a study skin, with a partial skeleton saved as well. As we do for every specimen that comes through the prep lab, tissue samples were saved from both birds to preserve their DNA. A quick search of VertNet, the online database of museum bird collections, shows that the Ivory Gull tissue sample may be only the second one in a museum collection. 

    Ivory Gull is a rare bird, making this a unique opportunity to study its parasite fauna and collect a tissue sample that can be used for genetic studies in the future. It is classified as Near-threatened by BirdLife International because it “has declined rapidly in part of its range,” indeed by as much as 80% in Canada over the last thirty years. Part of the problem may be mercury poisoning, which increased in their systems by 45 times in 130 years. Whether or not this is related to birds showing up so far out of range is yet to be studied. But thanks to the quick work of birders and the wonders of social media, when it is studied there is no doubt that this specimen will be used.

    ivory_gull_specimen_img_2514.jpg

    Ivory Gull and Spruce Grouse specimens
    The prepared specimens: the Ivory Gull's wing and head feathers, along with the Spruce Grouse and a Least Bittern.

     


              Allied Universal turns 1        
    08/02/2017

    Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

    In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

    Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

    Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

    “We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

    In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

    •    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

    •    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

    •    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

    •    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

    •    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

     


              Urology & Andrology        

    A Urologist is a Medical Specialist who has specialized knowledge and skill regarding problems of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs Urology Specialties Pediatric Urology Urologic oncology Renal transplantation Male infertility Urinary tract stones Female urology Neurourology Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) Andrology Andrology is a medical discipline dealing with men’s […]

    The post Urology & Andrology appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Gynaecologic laparoscopy        

    The post Gynaecologic laparoscopy appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Atividades para estimular o raciocínio e alguns pré requisitos necessários à alfabetização        
    Estímulo à criatividade e raciocínio: (completar os desenhos criando animais):



    Sequência, percepção visual, atenção:
    (alunos com dislexia também podem se beneficiar com estas atividades)




    Conceitos básicos (tamanhos, distâncias...), atenção, coordenação motora, percepção visual/visomotora:









    Quebra cabeças de animais:


    Colar as estrelas no local correto:



    Esquema corporal, coordenação motora...:


                                

    Percepção de figura fundo:




    Reconhecer cores, formas geométricas, percepção visual, atenção...

    Colorir as formas geométricas conforme os comandos, realizar a contagem de cada forma:



     Encontrar as letras perdidas:




    Completar as letras usando cor diferente para cada uma:




     Colorir as letras iguais ao modelo:




     Descobrir os objetos escondidos:




    Cobrir os pontilhados:



    Encontrar as figuras em destaque na cena:


    Palavras chave: atividades escolares de educação infantil, pré requisitos necessários à estimulação, coordenação motora, esquema corporal, noção espacial, quebra cabeças, psicopedagogia, alfabeto, figura fundo, criatividade, sequência lógica, dislexia, desafio, raciocínio lógico, contagem, formas geométricas.

    Keywords: school activities in early childhood education, prerequisites for the stimulation, coordination, body schema, spatial concept, puzzles, educational psychology, alphabet, backyground figure, creativity, logical sequence, dyslexia, challenging, logical reasoning, counting, geometric shapes.

              Are atheists really morally depraved? The idea defies logic        
    Even in secular countries people are instinctively biased against atheists, a study has found. But the prejudice will hopefully die out soon, says Bob Holmes
              Memo to all tech bros: Sexism, not biology, holds women back        
    Women are not biologically predestined to be bit players in tech firms no matter what one (ex) Google engineer thinks of diversity programmes, says Lara Williams
              Westinghouse Receives Final NRC Approval for Advanced Logic System® Safety System Solution        

    Westinghouse Electric Company announced today that it received the final Safety Evaluation Report from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the Advanced Logic System® (ALS) platform, the company’s next generation safety system instrumentation and control solution for operating plant safety system upgrades and new nuclear plant opportunities.

    (PRWeb September 18, 2013)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/WestinghouseALS-SER/091813/prweb11135113.htm


              Hand Therapy Using Hand Bath        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical to AH1N1organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.


    Hand bath is a steaming and washing therapy. The hot steam from an herbal decoction is used to heat the hands which are then soaked in the warm decoction after it gradually cools down. Diseases can be cured by the hot stimulation applied to the meridians and acupoints of the hand and by the gradual absorption of herbs through the skin.

    1. Origin and classification of steaming and washing therapy:

    Steaming and washing therapy originated in ancient times. Among 52 ancient herbal therapy recipes unearthed from the Han Dynasty Mawangdui Tomb, eight were used for steaming and washing therapy. This indicates that steaming and washing therapy has been used by Chinese people to treat diseases for at least 2,000 years. This therapy is also mentioned in classical medical books of the Han (206 B. C.-220) and Jin (265-420) dynasties. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), this method was used to treat carbuncles, cellulitis, skin rashes, dermatitis, frostbite, hand and foot diseases, and gynecological and eye disorders. In the Kin (1115-1234) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties this method was classified as an essential medical therapy. In the Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911 ), Wu Shangxian, a famous physician of traditional Chinese medicine, divided this therapy into smoking, steaming, shower, sitz bath, and hot ironing. It is a folk treatment used by common people to treat acute sprains, bone injuries, and contusions with a good therapeutic results.
    Steaming and washing therapy can be classified as general and local. Local treatment includes steaming and washing therapy for the hand, foot, and eye, and sitz baths. Hand bath is steaming and washing therapy for the hand.

    2. Function and characteristics of hand bath:

    As demonstrated by the experiments of modern medicine. steaming and washing therapy with hot and moist air can promote the absorption of herbs through the skin, dilate the skin's small blood vessels, promote the circulation of blood and lymph, enhance the phagocytic functions of the reticuloendothelial system, increase the permeability of cellular membranes, and promote metabolism by stimulating the sensitive sensory nerves scattered along the skin. The effective components of herbs used in steaming and washing therapy can directly kill the pathogenic germs on the skin. According to the theory of traditional medicine, the meridians of the hand are closely related to the organs and meridians of the entire body. Therefore, this therapy can clear stagnation in meridians, adjust bodily deficiency and excess, and promote circulation of qi and blood.
    The hand bath is simple, cheap, and easy to learn and practice, with numerous indications and good therapeutic effects, and without any harmful side effects. It is most useful for patients proscribed from taking drugs.

    3. Methods of manipulation:

    1) The proper recipe is selected according to the diseases and the basin, towel and sheets are prepared in use.
    2) The hot decoction of herbs is poured into the basin and the hands and arms are put over the basin. Cover the arms and basin with a sheet to reserve the hot air from quickly escaping away. Some boiled water may be added to the basin to maintain the temperature. After the decoction is cooled down to an adequate temperature, the hands may be soaked and washed in the decoction.
    3) After steaming and bathing, the hands should be dried with a towel and protected from attack of wind and coldness.
    4) The steaming and washing therapy may last for 20-30 minutes, twice a day.

    4. Precautions:

    I) The water used to boil the herbs should be adequate to prepare a decoction of the proper concentration. Aromatic and volatile herbs should be boiled for only 10-15 minutes; and roots, stems and herbs in large clumps should be boiled for 30
    minutes.
    2) The temperature of the decoction for bathing and soaking the hands should be monitored to avoid burning the skin.
    3) These decoctions are not for oral administration.

    More information from TCM and health: Hand Therapy Using Hand Bath
              Hand Therapy Indications, Characteristics, and Precautions        

    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

    In TCM, A/H1N1 belongs to epidemic febrile disease of TCM which is the same as human avian influenza and SARS and similar to A/H1N1 flu syndrome differentiation and treatment of TCM prevention and cure. It is advocated “dispelling wind, reducing fever and dissipating dampness in clinical.

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.


    1. Indications: 1) Painful diseases: Neurotic headache, trigeminal neuralgia, toothache, angina pectoris, chest pain, intercostal neuralgia, neuralgia sciatica, and abdominal pain. 2) Chronic diseases: Bronchitis, peptic stomach ulcer, chronic gastroenteritis, diarrhea, diabetes mellitus, rheumatism, soft tissue injury, chronic nephritis, hemiplegia, arthritis, and muscular strain of the waist. 3) Functional diseases: Irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, functional disturbance of vegetative nervous system, intestinal paralysis, and stomach spasms. 4) Neurological diseases: Neurasthenia, spasm of facial muscles, facial palsy, and neurotic deafness. 5) Inflammatory diseases: Tonsillitis, pharyngitis, stomatitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, periarthritis of shoulder, cholecystitis, nephritis, and arthritis. 6) Acute diseases: High fever with convulsions, acute angina pectoris, acute attack of epilepsy, acute larygopharyngitis, acute conjunctivitis, and acute gastritis.

    2. Characteristics: 1) Holistic principles in the treatment of disease are followed. This includes treating internal diseases with external therapy and treating general diseases with local therapy. 2) Hand therapy is a simple treatment with numerous indications, including common internal diseases, surgical problems, and gynaecological, pediatric, and ENT disorders. 3) This treatment is cheap, convenient and safe. 4) It can be used to treat diseases as well as improve the health of normal people. 5) It can be done by the patients themselves for early diagnosis and treatment. 6) It can produce good therapeutic results without harmful side effect. 7) The techniques of hand therapy can be widely popularized for broad application.

    3. Precautions: 1) Care must be taken in treating pregnant women at early and later stages of pregnancy. 2) It must be used with care in potential surgical conditions such as acute appendicitis with indication of surgical intervention. 3) Hand therapy is prohibited for patients with necrotic, infectious, or pyogenic skin lesions of the hand.


              About Magnesium: Why We Need It and How to Get It        

    Did you know that magnesium is an important factor in over 300 biological reactions? This important mineral can sometimes get overlooked, but it’s involved in many essential bodily activities. Here’s what you need to know about magnesium, including how to ensure you’re getting enough: About Magnesium There are many ways in which magnesium contributes to your more...

    The post About Magnesium: Why We Need It and How to Get It appeared first on Natural Factors.


              Philosophical questions about programming        

    Combining philosophy and computer science might appear a bit odd. The disciplines have very little overlap. Both philosophers and computer scientists get taught formal logic at some point in their undergraduate courses, but that's probably as close as they get.

    But the fact that the disciplines do not overlap much might very well be the reason why putting them together is interesting. In an article about Design and Science, Joichi Ito (from MIT Media Lab), describes the term antidisciplinary and nicely summarizes why looking at such unusual combinations is worthwhile:

    Interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines work together. But antidisciplinary is something very different; it's about working in spaces that simply do not fit into any existing academic discipline.

    [When focusing on disciplines, it] takes more and more effort and resources to make a unique contribution. While the space between and beyond the disciplines can be academically risky, it (...) requires fewer resources to try promising, unorthodox approaches; and provides the potential to have tremendous impact (...).

    As you can see from some of my earlier blog posts, I think the space between philosophy and computer science is an interesting area. In this article, I'll explain why. Unlike some of the previous posts (about miscomputation, types and philosophy of science), this post is quite broad and does not go into much detail.

    At the danger of sounding like a collection of random rants, I look at a number of questions that arise when you look at computer science from the philosophical perspective, but I won't attempt to answer them. You can see this article as a research proposal too - and I hope to write more about some of the questions in the future. I wish antidisciplinary work was more common and I believe looking into such questions could have the tremendous impact that Joichi Ito mentioned.


              Miscomputation: Learning to live with errors        

    If trials of three or four simple cases have been made, and are found to agree with the results given by the engine, it is scarcely possible that there can be any error (...).

    Charles Babbage, On the mathematical
    powers of the calculating engine (1837)

    Anybody who has something to do with modern computers will agree that the above statement made by Charles Babbage about the analytical engine is understatement, to say the least.

    Computer programs do not always work as expected. There is a complex taxonomy of errors or miscomputations. The taxonomy of possible errors is itself interesting. Syntax errors like missing semicolons are quite obvious and are easy to catch. Logical errors are harder to find, but at least we know that something went wrong. For example, our algorithm does not correctly sort some lists. There are also issues that may or may not be actual errors. For example an algorithm in online store might suggest slightly suspicious products. Finally, we also have concurrency errors that happen very rarely in some very specific scenario.

    If Babbage was right, we would just try three or four simple cases and eradicate all errors from our programs, but eliminating errors is not so easy. In retrospect, it is quite interesting to see how long it took early computer engineers to realise that coding (i.e. translating mathematical algorithm to program code) errors are a problem:

    Errors in coding were only gradually recognized to be a significant problem: a typical early comment was that of Miller [circa 1949], who wrote that such errors, along with hardware faults, could be "expected, in time, to become infrequent".

    Mark Priestley, Science of Operations (2011)

    We mostly got rid of hardware faults, but coding errors are still here. Programmers spent over 50 years finding different practical strategies for dealing with them. In this blog post, I want to look at four of the strategies. Quite curiously, there is a very wide range.


              How my brother found us...Part 2        
    The Ballad of Kathy Flynn - (2012) - Julian Littman

    Long ago, young Kathy Flynn took a train to London Town
    She fell in love with an Indian hero - he turned her heart around
    With a Vir Chakra into his jacket - how could she resist?
    He took  her to his hotel room and there they more than kissed
    He said;"Kathy, will you marry me?"
    Of course, she answered yes.
    She dreamed of life in far Madras - an Indian Princess.

    He telephoned long distance to his father in Madras
    And told him of his intention to wed the Irish lass
    The old man flew into a rage and said your future's been arranged
    Marry her and you'll die without a rupee to your name
    Without a word he slipped away leaving not a trace behind
    And left poor Kathy waiting -  out of sight and out of mind.

    Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the dreams she could not keep
    I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

    She met a man of magic - the Great Marlo was his name
    They took a mind reading act out on the road and found some kind of fame
    Pretty soon she realised a child was on the way
    Her Indian hero had left her with more than a broken heart that day
    She cast her fate to the Mother Church who duly took her in
    She gave away the boy at birth and never saw him again.

    Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the boy she could not keep
    I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

    The boy grew up in a happy home but when his folks had gone
    The boy was curious to know more about his mum
    He traced her to a little town and called her on the phone
    But she hung up when she heard his name - shaken to the bone.
    She wrote him a letter saying never a day goes by
     When I don't think about you, boy, but I must go on living a lie
    You see, I've a family of my own  - our secret's never been told
    The truth would tear this house apart and I'm too frail and too old.

    2nd chorus again
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Julian knew he was adopted from about the age of 8 or 9. He came home from school one day and asked his mum a question that he was constantly being asked at school. "Mum, why is it that I'm a different colour to J (Julian's adoptive parent's natural son) and you and Dad? His mum told him in a very matter of fact way that he was adopted and his biological parents were an Anglo Indian pilot in the Indian Air Force and his mum was an Irish actress.

    Julian's dad, Anthony Ignatius Kenneth Suares, was an Indian hero; he had been awarded the Vir Chakra in 1949 and you can read about it here. He died some time ago and Julian never managed to trace him. He still wants to explore that side of his family.

     My mum came to England from Ireland in 1948, aged 16, as a Nanny for a family in Edgeware. When she was 18 she was 'discovered' in Lyons Corner House in Marble Arch by the man I knew throughout my childhood as 'Uncle Marlo'. Marlo, or the 'Great Marlo' to give him his stage name; was a magician and mum was his assistant;  'Georgette'. They did a mind reading act together and travelled all over the UK. Mum had a tiny speaking part in a film about boxing in the 1950s, but we've never been able to discover the title. She would never have described herself as an actress but she always said she had been 'on the stage'. She and 'The Great Marlo' often did publicity stunts for their act; below is a still from British Pathe news item  - narrated by Eamonn Andrews - and available here on youtube; where mum was buried alive for one such stunt. It was a very cold day; everyone is wearing overcoats but mum appears dressed in a bra and skirt - some things never change when it comes to women...



    As children we loved Uncle Marlo - he used to make sixpences and shillings appear out of his ears or from up our sleeves! He lived just off Church Street market in London; and he and his wife were very good to my mum because she when she applied to St. Pelagia's to have Julian; she gave her address as their address; she must have been living with them throughout her pregnancy.

    What I have found out is Julian's birth was something that probably only one other family member; my Aunty Betty, knew about. Betty's name appears on the St.Pelagia documentation as mum's next of kin. In the latter stages of pregnancy mum could have told her four sisters; all of whom were living in London at the time, she was away touring with the Great Marlo. My dad never knew about Julian; in Julian's adoption paper's this is made clear as they state the adoption forms to be signed by mum must be sent in a plain brown envelope addressed solely to my mum.



    This is my mum's oldest sister, Aunty Peggy's, wedding in 1950 or 1951 in Paddington, London; mum would have been 18 or 19 at the time. Mum is on the far left in the plaid dress; next to Aunty Betty, (her confidante); behind Mum is Aunty Mary and next to her, Aunty Ita.

    Much of what Julian puts in the song above 'The Ballad of Kathy Flynn' is true but not all. We don't know how, when and where mum and Julian's dad met. We don't know if it was a one night stand or a relationship. We think the asking to marry bit is right because it's stated in the documentation Julian gathered together in his search for mum. I think it highly possible that getting married would have entailed mum moving to India and that she probably didn't want to leave England - but we'll never know.

    Julian went to drama school aged 16 and has spent the rest of his life performing, singing, playing and composing. You can see his bio here. It's very strange to think that when I was a student nurse in the early 1970s I used to watch 'Rainbow' - a children's programme on at midday - in the nurses lounge whilst eating my lunch. I must have seen Julian on TV dozens of times but never knew he was my brother!

    By 2005, Julian's adoptive parents had died. Julian knew a lot about his birth mother and her subsequent family, but he couldn't out find where she lived. One evening, after a gig two fans came back stage to see him; he found out they ran a business tracing adopted children's birth parents and or families. Within two weeks they had found mum living in Kettering; and as the song says a phone call was made and mum wrote Julian a letter, but didn't want to meet.

    I've read the letter she sent Julian and it is a beautiful letter. But, I still find it really difficult to understand (although I do, in many ways) why she didn't want to meet him. By 2005, mum knew she had COPD and that it would it kill her soon. As her children, we would have been delighted to meet Julian and would have welcomed him with open arms and would never have judged mum's actions. Mum must have known that about us as well as we were all very, very close. I'm just so sorry that they didn't get to meet because mum would have had almost four years left with Julian in her life.

    You must be curious to know how Julian did eventually find us and I'm now coming to that part...

    Julian discovered mum had died using 'Google' (God bless the internet - it's a marvellous invention but what a horrible way to find out about your mum's death). We had published a small notice of thanks in the local Kettering paper after the funeral in 2009. Julian waited for several years (I can only marvel at his restraint) and one day in 2013 he was on his way to the Derngate theatre in Northampton, with a group he was managing at the time. They knew his story and pointed out that Northampton was only 14 miles away from Kettering and as he knew my brother Mark still lived in the same house he and mum had moved to in 1999; he should, at least, drop a card through the door. So, he did!

    When I rang him that morning in February 2013 we spoke for two hours! We arranged for Julian to come to Bedford the following weekend and we would all go out for a meal and get to know each other. So, we did!

    4th March, 2013


     At my house looking at Julian's paperwork. Seated L to R:  Brother Julian, me, brother Mark and standing, brother Tony. Someone's cracked open the beers!
    Image may contain: 5 people, indoor
    After the meal we went to a local wine bar and had a few more beers and bottles of wine...that's my OH, Wesley on the far left.
    Image may contain: 4 people, indoor 
    Time to go home, lads!
      
    It has been a wonderful experience meeting our 'new' brother. I have to admire his magnanimity and his generosity of spirit; he holds no hard feelings about his circumstances. He is not bitter that my mum wouldn't meet him. (I think I would have been, had it been me given up for adoption). We share a mother and although Julian was raised in the Home Counties in a nice middle class home and we were raised in the inner city, children of poor, working class immigrants, we have nothing but love and affection for each other.

    We meet as often we can - Julian is always busy (thankfully, in his line of work). The one nice thing we were able to do for Julian was ask him to help us scatter mum's ashes (her ashes had been living in the sitting room for four years) later that same year; 2013. We videoed the ceremony - it was just laughter and jokes all the way.

    RIP Mum - I'm sorry you had to live in such unenlightened times but your four children are united in their love for you.


              How Plastic We've Become        

    Our bodies carry residues of kitchen plastics

    Food for Thought

    In the 1967 film classic The Graduate, a businessman corners Benjamin Braddock at a cocktail party and gives him a bit of career advice. "Just one word…plastics."

    Although Benjamin didn't heed that recommendation, plenty of other young graduates did. Today, the planet is awash in products spawned by the plastics industry. Residues of plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment—and in our bodies.

    A federal government study now reports that bisphenol A (BPA)—the building block of one of the most widely used plastics—laces the bodies of the vast majority of U.S. residents young and old.

    Manufacturers link BPA molecules into long chains, called polymers, to make polycarbonate plastics. All of those clear, brittle plastics used in baby bottles, food ware, and small kitchen appliances (like food-processor bowls) are made from polycarbonates. BPA-based resins also line the interiors of most food, beer, and soft-drink cans. With use and heating, polycarbonates can break down, leaching BPA into the materials they contact. Such as foods.

    And that could be bad if what happens in laboratory animals also happens in people, because studies in rodents show that BPA can trigger a host of harmful changes, from reproductive havoc to impaired blood-sugar control and obesity (SN: 9/29/07, p. 202).

    For the new study, scientists analyzed urine from some 2,500 people who had been recruited between 2003 and 2004 for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Roughly 92 percent of the individuals hosted measurable amounts of BPA, according to a report in the January Environmental Health Perspectives. It's the first study to measure the pollutant in a representative cross-section of the U.S. population.

    Typically, only small traces of BPA turned up, concentrations of a few parts per billion in urine, note chemist Antonia M. Calafat and her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with hormone-mimicking agents like BPA, even tiny exposures can have notable impacts.

    Overall, concentrations measured by Calafat's team were substantially higher than those that have triggered disease, birth defects, and more in exposed animals, notes Frederick S. vom Saal, a University of Missouri-Columbia biologist who has been probing the toxicology of BPA for more than 15 years.

    The BPA industry describes things differently. Although Calafat's team reported urine concentrations of BPA, in fact they assayed a breakdown product—the compound by which BPA is excreted, notes Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. As such, he argues, "this does not mean that BPA itself is present in the body or in urine."

    On the other hand, few people have direct exposure to the breakdown product.

    Hentges' group estimates that the daily BPA intake needed to create urine concentrations reported by the CDC scientists should be in the neighborhood of 50 nanograms per kilogram of bodyweight—or one millionth of an amount at which "no adverse effects" were measured in multi-generation animal studies. In other words, Hentges says, this suggests "a very large margin of safety."

    No way, counters vom Saal. If one applies the ratio of BPA intake to excreted values in hosts of published animal studies, concentrations just reported by CDC suggest that the daily intake of most Americans is actually closer to 100 micrograms (µg) per kilogram bodyweight, he says—or some 1,000-fold higher than the industry figure.

    Clearly, there are big differences of opinion and interpretation. And a lot may rest on who's right.

    Globally, chemical manufacturers produce an estimated 2.8 million tons of BPA each year. The material goes into a broad range of products, many used in and around the home. BPA also serves as the basis of dental sealants, which are resins applied to the teeth of children to protect their pearly whites from cavities (SN: 4/6/96, p. 214). The industry, therefore, has a strong economic interest in seeing that the market for BPA-based products doesn't become eroded by public concerns over the chemical.

    And that could happen. About 2 years after a Japanese research team showed that BPA leached out of baby bottles and plastic food ware (see What's Coming Out of Baby's Bottle?), manufacturers of those consumer products voluntarily found BPA substitutes for use in food cans. Some 2 years after that, a different group of Japanese scientists measured concentrations of BPA residues in the urine of college students. About half of the samples came from before the switch, the rest from after the period when BPA was removed from food cans.

    By comparing urine values from the two time periods, the researchers showed that BPA residues were much lower—down by at least 50 percent—after Japanese manufacturers had eliminated BPA from the lining of food cans.

    Concludes vom Saal, in light of the new CDC data and a growing body of animal data implicating even low-dose BPA exposures with the potential to cause harm, "the most logical thing" for the United States to do would be to follow in Japan's footsteps and "get this stuff [BPA] out of our food."

    Kids appear most exposed

    Overall, men tend to have statistically lower concentrations of BPA than women, the NHANES data indicate. But the big difference, Calafat says, traces to age. "Children had higher concentrations than adolescents, and they in turn had higher levels than adults," she told Science News Online.

    This decreasing body burden with older age "is something we have seen with some other nonpersistent chemicals," Calafat notes—such as phthalates, another class of plasticizers.

    The spread between the average BPA concentration that her team measured in children 6 to 11 years old (4.5 µg/liter) and adults (2.5 µg/L) doesn't look like much, but proved reliably different.

    The open question is why adults tended to excrete only 55 percent as much BPA. It could mean children have higher exposures, she posits, or perhaps that they break it down less efficiently. "We really need to do more research to be able to answer that question."

    Among other differences that emerged in the NHANES analysis: urine residues of BPA decreased with increasing household income and varied somewhat with ethnicity (with Mexican-Americans having the lowest average values, blacks the highest, and white's values in between).

    There was also a time-of-day difference, with urine values for any given group tending to be highest in the evening, lowest in the afternoon, and midway between those in the morning. Since BPA's half-life in the body is only about 6 hours, that temporal variation in the chemical's excretion would be consistent with food as a major source of exposure, the CDC scientists note.

    In the current NHANES paper, BPA samples were collected only once from each recruit. However, in a paper due to come out in the February Environmental Health Perspectives, Calafat and colleagues from several other institutions looked at how BPA excretion varied over a 2-year span among 82 individuals—men and women—seen at a fertility clinic in Boston.

    In contrast to the NHANES data, the upcoming report shows that men tended to have somewhat higher BPA concentrations than women. Then again both groups had only about one-quarter the concentration typical of Americans.

    The big difference in the Boston group emerged among the 10 women who ultimately became pregnant. Their BPA excretion increased 33 percent during pregnancy. Owing to the small number of participants in this subset of the study population, the pregnancy-associated change was not statistically significant. However, the researchers report, these are the first data to look for changes during pregnancy and ultimately determining whether some feature of pregnancy—such as a change in diet or metabolism of BPA—really alters body concentrations of the pollutant could be important. It could point to whether the fetus faces an unexpectedly high exposure to the pollutant.

    If it does, the fetus could face a double whammy: Not only would exposures be higher during this period of organ and neural development, but rates of detoxification also would be diminished, vom Saal says.

    Indeed, in a separate study, one due to be published soon in Reproductive Toxicology, his team administered BPA by ingestion or by injection to 3-day-old mice. Either way, the BPA exposure resulted in comparable BPA concentrations in blood.

    What's more, that study found, per unit of BPA delivered, blood values in the newborns were "markedly higher" than other studies have reported for adult rodents exposed to the chemical. And that makes sense, vom Saal says, because the enzyme needed to break BPA down and lead to its excretion is only a tenth as active in babies as in adults. That's true in the mouse, he says, in the rat—and, according to some preliminary data, in humans.

    Vom Saal contends that since studies have shown BPA exhibits potent hormonelike activity in human cells at the parts-per-trillion level, and since the new CDC study finds that most people are continually exposed to concentrations well above the parts-per-trillion ballpark, it's time to reevaluate whether it makes sense to use BPA-based products in and around foods.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.


              No Peanuts for Your Peanut        

    Youngsters are developing peanut allergies earlier because of exposures in babyhood

    Food for Thought

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows up is falling.

    Today, peanut allergy typically emerges in early toddlerhood, a team of Duke University researchers reports in the December Pediatrics. "That's almost a year earlier than what we knew, scientifically, a decade ago, "explains A. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist who coauthored the new study.

    Although children outgrow many allergies, peanut allergy is not typically one of them. Among people who develop immune reactions to this food, 80 percent retain their allergy for life.

    The new study began, Burks says, after Duke immunologists noticed that they were encountering younger patients with peanut allergy. To investigate, the researchers pulled entry records and medical charts for all 140 young patients who had come in with the allergy since 1988. Poring over the records confirmed a fall in age at first diagnosis throughout this period—one that proved more dramatic than expected, Burks told Science News Online.

    Nationally, the rate of food allergy appears to be increasing, according to a 2006 report of a National Institutes of Health expert panel. The most striking increase, it noted, has been for peanut allergy, which is also the most common food sensitivity. Because some allergies can be avoided by delaying a child's initial introduction to certain foods, in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents "consider" keeping peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish out of the diet of kids under age 3.

    Burks acknowledges that most parents aren't aware of this recommendation. On the other hand, most peanut allergy shows up in children that had already exhibited allergic reactions to other foods—typically eggs or milk. Many affected children also had skin sensitivities as infants, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, and a parent or sibling with allergies, although not necessarily to food.

    Against that background, you would think parents of the most vulnerable kids would be especially careful about introducing peanuts into the diet. And they might well have been. Indeed, Burks suspects that most initial introductions to peanuts in his young patients were inadvertent. Either a child encountered items that contained unlabeled traces of peanuts—perhaps a jelly bean, certain flavorings used in medicines, or any of several baby lotions (see Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergy). Or perhaps the kids encountered peanut allergen in the air when others were eating, handling, or cooking foods that contained the legume.

    But for now, Burks' team has no firm leads on why peanut allergies are showing up earlier. The Duke group and others will be probing that in the next few years.

    Homing in on the problem

    Children with peanut allergy in the new study showed the expected history of vulnerability. For instance, four in five had parents or a sib with some form of allergy. Four in five children also had personally experienced atopic dermatitis, two in every three suffered from asthma, and more than half had allergies that triggered runny noses. Moreover, blood tests from two-thirds of the youngsters turned up antibodies highlighting sensitivity to other foods, typically eggs or tree-nuts.

    Half of the young patients were born between 1988 and 1999, the rest between 2000 and 2005. The average age of their peanut allergy's onset was significantly different between the two groups—roughly 29 months old for the pre-2000 birth group, versus 15 months for children born since 2000. Within the first group, half of the children developed peanut allergy by 21 months of age; for children born since 2000, half developed their allergy by the time they were 14 months old.

    In hopes of teasing out factors that contributed to the trend of earlier allergies, Burks' group is participating in a Food Allergy Research Consortium that has been given $17 million to study food allergies—especially to peanuts. One facet of the 5-year program, which is sponsored by NIAID, is investigating the use of shots to desensitize people with peanut allergy. In addition, some 400 infants with milk and egg allergies will be studied for signs of immunological differences that distinguish those who outgrow their allergies from those who retain them lifelong.

    Currently, some 30,000 people a year are hospitalized for food allergy in the United States, and 200 die during an allergic episode. One concern, Burks notes, is that children who develop peanut allergy earlier than in the past might face a lower-than-usual chance of outgrowing their life-threatening affliction—one that requires constant vigilance.

    Such an allergy can even crimp one's social life. Consider the poor teenage girl whose lips swelled up after being kissed by her boyfriend (see A Rash of Kisses). Hours earlier, the boy had eaten peanuts, to which the girl was allergic.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

    Web site: [Go to]

    A. Wesley Burks

    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

    Duke University Medical Center

    DUMC 2644

    Durham, NC 27710

    National Institutes of Health

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Office of Communications and Government Relations

    6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

    Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

    Web site: [Go to]
    Further Reading

    Helmuth, L. 1999. Allergy vaccine may take fear out of nuts. Science News 155(April 3):213. Available at [Go to].

    Long, A. 2002. The nuts and bolts of peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 346(April 25):1320-1322. Extract available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2003. Unexpected sources of peanut allergy. Science News Online (March 15). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. A rash of kisses. Science News 162(July 20):40. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. The mango that thought it was poison ivy. Science News Online (Aug. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1997. A whiff, a sniff—then asthma. Science News Online (Feb. 1). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Peanut allergy found common and increasing. Science News 150(Sept. 7):150. Available at [Go to].

    _____. 1996. Family allergies? Keep nuts away from kids. Science News 149(May 4):279. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2003. Tough nut is cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions. Science News 163(March 15):163. Available at [Go to].

              Troubling Meaty 'Estrogen'        

    High temperature cooking can imbue meats with a chemical that acts like a hormone

    Food for Thought

    Women take note. Researchers find that a chemical that forms in overcooked meat, especially charred portions, is a potent mimic of estrogen, the primary female sex hormone. That's anything but appetizing, since studies have linked a higher lifetime cumulative exposure to estrogen in women with an elevated risk of breast cancer.

    Indeed, the new finding offers a "biologically plausible" explanation for why diets rich in red meats might elevate breast-cancer risk, notes Nigel J. Gooderham of Imperial College London.

    At the very high temperatures reached during frying and charbroiling, natural constituents of meats can undergo chemical reactions that generate carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (see Carcinogens in the Diet). Because these compounds all have very long, unwieldy chemical monikers, most scientists refer to them by their abbreviations, such as IQ, MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP.

    Of the nearly two dozen different heterocyclic amines that can form, PhIP dominates. It sometimes accumulates in amounts 10 to 50 times higher than that of any other member of this toxic chemical family, Gooderham says. Moreover, he adds, although heterocyclic amines normally cause liver tumors in exposed animals, PhIP is different: "It causes breast cancer in female rats, prostate cancer in male rats, and colon cancer in both." These are the same cancers that in people are associated with eating a lot of cooked meats.

    However, the means by which such foods might induce cancer has remained somewhat elusive. So, building on his team's earlier work, Gooderham decided to probe what the heterocyclic amine did in rat pituitary cells. These cells make prolactin—another female sex hormone—but only when triggered by the presence of estrogen. Prolactin, like estrogen, fuels the growth of many breast cancers.

    In their new test-tube study, Gooderham and coauthor Saundra N. Lauber show that upon exposure to PhIP, pituitary cells not only make progesterone, but also secrete it. If these cells do the same thing when they're part of the body, those secretions would circulate to other organs—including the breast.

    But "what was startling," Gooderham told Science News Online, is that it took just trace quantities of the heterocyclic amine to spur prolactin production. "PhIP was incredibly potent," he says, able to trigger progesterone production at concentrations comparable to what might be found circulating in the blood of people who had eaten a couple of well-done burgers.

    The toxicologist cautions that there's a big gap between observing an effect in isolated cells growing in a test-tube and showing that the same holds true in people.

    However, even if PhIP does operate similarly in people, he says that's no reason to give up grilled meat. Certain cooking techniques, such as flipping hamburgers frequently, can limit the formation of heterocyclic amines. Moreover, earlier work by the Imperial College team showed that dining on certain members of the mustard family appear to detoxify much of the PhIP that might have inadvertently been consumed as part of a meal.

    The human link

    Three recent epidemiological studies support concerns about the consumption of grilled meats.

    In the first, Harvard Medical School researchers compared the diets of more than 90,000 premenopausal U.S. nurses. Over a 12-year period, 1,021 of the relatively young women developed invasive breast cancers. The more red meat a woman ate, the higher was her risk of developing invasive breast cancer, Eunyoung Cho and her colleagues reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine last November. The increased risk was restricted, however, only to those types of breast cancers that are fueled by estrogen or progesterone.

    Overall, women who ate the most red meat—typically 1.5 servings or more per day—faced nearly double the invasive breast-cancer risk of those eating little red meat each week.

    Related findings emerged in the April 10 British Journal of Cancer. There, researchers at the University of Leeds reported data from a long-running study of more than 35,000 women in the United Kingdom who ranged in age from roughly 35 to 70. Regardless of the volunteers' age, Janet E. Cade's team found, those who consumed the most meat had the highest risk of breast cancer.

    Shortly thereafter, Susan E. Steck of the University of South Carolina's school of public health and her colleagues linked meat consumption yet again with increased cancer risk, but only in the older segment of the women they investigated. By comparing the diets of 1,500 women with breast cancer to those of 1,550 cancerfree women, the scientists showed that postmenopausal women consuming the most grilled, barbecued, and smoked meats faced the highest breast-cancer risk.

    These data support accumulating evidence that a penchant for well-done meats can hike a woman's breast-cancer risk, Steck and her colleagues concluded in the May Epidemiology.

    PhIP fighters

    Such findings have been percolating out of the epidemiology community for years. Nearly a decade ago, for instance, National Cancer Institute scientists reported finding that women who consistently ate their meat very well done—with a crispy, blackened crust—faced a substantially elevated breast-cancer risk when compared to those who routinely ate rare- or medium-cooked meats.

    However, even well-done meats without char can contain heterocyclic amines, chemical analyses by others later showed. The compounds' presence appears to correlate best with how meat is cooked, not merely with how brown its interior ended up (SN: 11/28/98, p. 341).

    At high temperatures, the simple sugar glucose, together with creatinine—a muscle-breakdown product, and additional free amino acids, can all interact within beef, chicken, and other meats to form heterocyclic amines. In contrast, low-temperature cooking or a quick searing may generate none of the carcinogens.

    Because there's no way to tell visually, by taste, or by smell whether PhIP and its toxic kin lace cooked meat, food chemists have been lobbying commercial and home chefs to reduce the heat they use to cook meats—or to turn meats frequently to keep the surfaces closest to the heat source from getting too hot.

    The significance of this was driven home to Gooderham several years ago when just such tactics spoiled an experiment he was launching to test whether Brussels sprouts and broccoli could help detoxify PhIP. "I bought 30 kilograms of prime Aberdeen angus lean beef," he recalls. "Then we ground it up and I gave it to a professional cook to turn into burgers and cook." Professional cooks tend to move meats around quite a bit, he found. The result: His expensive, chef-prepared meat contained almost no PhIP.

    In the end, he says, "I sacked the cook, bought another 30 kilos of meat and prepared the burgers myself. It was a costly lesson."

    Once restarted, however, that study yielded encouraging data.

    One way the body detoxifies and sheds toxic chemicals is to link them to what amounts to a sugar molecule. Consumption of certain members of the mustard (Brassica) family, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts (both members of the B. oleracea species)—can encourage this process. So Gooderham's team fed 250 grams (roughly half a pound) each of broccoli and Brussels sprouts each day to 20 men for almost 2 weeks. On the 12th day, the men each got a cooked-meat meal containing 4.9 micrograms of PhIP.

    Compared to similar trial periods when their diets had been Brassica-free, the volunteers excreted up to 40 percent more PhIP in urine, the researchers reported in Carcinogenesis.

    Experimental data suggest that two brews may also help detoxify heterocyclic amines. In test-tube studies, white tea largely prevented DNA damage from the heterocyclic amine IQ (SN: 4/15/00, p. 251), and in mice, extracts of beer tackled MeIQx and Trp-P-2 (see Beer's Well Done Benefit).

    The best strategy of all, most toxicologists say, is to prevent formation of heterocyclic amines in the first place. In addition to frequently turning meat on the grill or fry pan, partially cooking meats in a microwave prior to grilling will limit the toxic chemicals' formation. So will mixing in a little potato starch to ground beef before grilling (see How Carbs Can Make Burgers Safer) or marinating meats with a heavily sugared oil-and-vinegar sauce (SN: 4/24/99, p. 264).


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Janet E. Cade

    UK Women's Cohort Study

    Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    30/32 Hyde Terrace

    The University of Leeds

    Leeds LS2 9LN

    United Kingdom


    Eunyoung Cho

    Channing Laboratory

    Department of Medicine

    Harvard Medical School

    181 Longwood Avenue

    Boston, MA 02115

    Nigel J. Gooderham

    Biomolecular Medicine

    Imperial College London

    Sir Alexander Fleming Building

    London SW7 2AZ

    United Kingdom

    Susan Elizabeth Steck

    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

    Statewide Cancer Prevention and Control Program

    Arnold School of Public Health

    University of South Carolina

    2221 Devine Street, Room 231

    Columbia, SC 29208
    Further Reading

    Raloff, J. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part II—Beyond the heart. Science News Online (July 7). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Concerns over genistein, part I—The heart of the issue. Science News Online (June 16). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Pesticides mimic estrogen in shellfish. Science News 170(Dec. 16):397. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. No-stick chemicals can mimic estrogen. Science News 170(Dec. 2):366. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Meat poses exaggerated cancer risk for some people. Science News Online (March 25). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Beer's well done benefit. Science News Online (March 5). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Carcinogens in the diet. Science News Online (Feb. 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Uranium, the newest 'hormone'. Science News 166(Nov. 13):318. Available to subscribers at [Go to].

    ______. 2001. Fire retardant catfish? Science News Online (Dec. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1999. Well-done research. Science News 155(April 24):264-266. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. Very hot grills may inflame cancer risks. Science News 154(Nov. 28):341. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Another meaty link to cancer. Science News 149(June 8):365. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. 'Estrogen' pairings can increase potency. Science News 149(June 8):356. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1995. Beyond estrogens: Why unmasking hormone-mimicking pollutants proves so challenging. Science News 148(July 15):44. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1994. Meaty carcinogens: A risk to the cook? Science News 146(Aug. 13):103.

    ______. 1994. Not so hot hot dogs? Science News 145(April 23):264-269.

    ______. 1994. How cooked meat may inflame the heart. Science News 145(March 12):165.

    ______. 1994. The gender benders. Science News 145(Jan. 8):24. Available at [Go to].

    Smith-Roe, S.L., et al. 2006. Induction of aberrant crypt foci in DNA mismatch repair-deficient mice by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Cancer Letters. 244(Nov. 28):79-85. Abstract available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent responses to 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP), a food-borne carcinogen. (Abstract # 514). Toxicologist 90(March):105.

    ______. 2006. Mlh1-dependent suppression of specific mutations induced in vivo by the food-borne carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo [4,5-b] pyridine (PhIP). Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis 594(Feb. 22):101-112. Abstract available at [Go to].

              Rosyjski samolot przeleciał nad Pentagonem, Kapitolem i CIA        

    Rzecznik Pentagonu Dan Gaffney potwierdził, że rząd USA wydał zgodę na lot, powiedział jednak, że nie może potwierdzić trasy przebytej przez tupolewa, dopóki nie skończy misji obserwacyjnej, a ta podzielona jest zazwyczaj na kilka przelotów w ciągu kilku dni.

    Według portalu Flightradar24 rosyjski samolot przeleciał na pułapie ok. 1,1 km nad śródmieściem Waszyngtonu oraz nad bazą lotniczą Andrews w stanie Maryland, gdzie stacjonuje prezydencki samolot Air Force One. Według cytowanego przez CNN źródła w siłach bezpieczeństwa maszyna przeleciała też nad rządowym ośrodkiem wypoczynkowym Camp David, polem golfowym należącym do koncernu prezydenta USA Donalda Trumpa w Wirginii oraz nad pilnie strzeżonym bunkrem podziemnym w Mount Weather w tym samym stanie, służącym jako schronienie dla rządu amerykańskiego i generałów armii w razie katastrofy narodowej.

    Na pokładzie tupolewa, wyposażonego w sprzęt umożlwiający gromadzenie informacji, znajdowali się przedstawiciele amerykańskich sił powietrznych - powiedział informator CNN.

    Według dwóch innych źródeł, na które powołuje się ta stacja, następny zaplanowany lot tupolew ma odbyć nad Bedminster w New Jersey, gdzie Trump obecnie spędza urlop.

    Lot rosyjskiego samolotu wojskowego w USA za zgodą władz amerykańskich był możliwy na mocy Traktatu o Otwartych Przestworzach (Open Skies Treaty), którego sygnatariusze zobowiązują się do udostępnienia całego swego terytorium dla nieuzbrojonych lotów obserwacyjnych pozostałych państw traktatu. Ma to na celu m.in. poprawę transparentności działań wojsk, zwiększanie zaufania i unikanie nieporozumień. Od wejścia traktatu w życie w 2002 roku odbyło się ponad 1,2 tys. takich lotów.

    Jak informuje Pentagon, przed każdym przelotem państwa sygnatariusze otrzymują plan lotów w ramach misji, a na pokładzie samolotu przeprowadzającego leci zespół eskortujący, który ma za zadanie upewnić się, że lot odbywa się regulaminowo. Po każdym locie państwo goszczące otrzymuje kopię wszystkich zdjęć i nagrań wykonanych przez samolot obserwacyjny.

    Jak wskazuje Associated Press, wysokiej rangi przedstawiciele amerykańskiej armii i wywiadu wyrażali obawy, iż Rosja działa wbrew duchowi traktatu, wykorzystując w tym celu nowe rozwiązania technologiczne. Agencja przypomina, że były dyrektor ds. kontroli zbrojeń w Departamencie Stanu Steve Rademaker podczas przesłuchań w Kongresie wskazywał m.in., że Rosja nałożyła ograniczenia na obserwacje prowadzone nad Moskwą, Czeczenią oraz w pobliżu Abchazji i Osetii Południowej, dwóch separatystycznych regionów Gruzji.

    PAP


              Re-Invent the Future        

    Many companies find themselves at a crossroads. The next few years will decide which business models will survive and which will undergo sweeping changes. Technological evolution, the modern consumer and the total market compel us to answer that one crucial question: who is prepared to re-invent their company as well as themselves? This deckand the accompanying presentation will introduce you to a philosophy that makes it possible for people and organizations to re-invent themselves. The objective is learning how to be relevant and successful in a tumultuous market.
              LSE Director's Dialogue with Stephen Green [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, Stephen Green | As the world's financial order is in a state of flux, how do we align our desire to improve material human wealth, and capitalism, with our spiritual and psychological needs? Do businesses and banks in particular have a duty to society that goes beyond the creation of profit? Does open market capitalism remain our best hope for creating wealth that benefits all of society? Green and Davies discuss history, politics, religion and economics. This event marks the launch of Stephen Green's book Good Value.
              DE PAI PRA FILHO II        

    Feito histórico: o agora ex-jogador Rivaldo atuando ao lado de seu filho Rivaldo Júnior




    Mais um craque anunciou sua despedida dos gramados. Neste sábado o agora ex-meia Rivaldo anunciou sua aposentadoria aos 41 anos de idade e daqui por diante seguirá com sua carreira de cartola dirigindo o Mogi-Mirim, clube que o revelou para o Brasil e no qual também fez sua última partida.

    Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira, nascido em Paulista/PE em 19 de abril de 1972 ganhou o mundo da bola nos anos 90 e começo dos 2000. Começou sua carreira no Santa Cruz de Pernambuco, mas seu nome veio aparecer de verdade no Mogi Mirim, time que ficou famoso como o "Carrossel Caipira" em 1992 juntamente com os meias Leto e Válber. 

    Passou com brilho por Corinthians, Palmeiras, Deportivo La Coruña, Barcelona e seleção brasileira. Neste período faturou uma Copa do Mundo e o título de melhor jogador do planeta em 1999. Outras passagens foram mais discretas como no Milan e no Olympiakos da Grécia, apesar de também ser ídolo por lá. Já o final de carreira foi um tanto melancólico com atuações por times obscuros ou de menor expressão (à exceção do São Paulo, obviamente) como Bunyodkor do Uzbequistão, Kabuscorp de Angola e São Caetano.

    Mas Rivaldo não colecionou apenas jogadas geniais, brilho, belos gols e troféus. Justamente em sua última partida conseguiu um feito histórico e que muitos atletas sonham com ele: o de atuar com seu filho em uma partida. Aconteceu justamente na última de sua carreira de 22 anos dentro dos gramados contra o São Bernardo pelo Campeonato Paulista deste ano em 18 de fevereiro no empate por 1 a 1. O pai chegou a dar um passe para o filho Rivaldo Júnior, atacante de 18 anos, mas que não resultou em nada.

    Confira abaixo o momento em que o fato histórico ocorreu.



              87th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Hello, and welcome to the annual edition of my pretending to understand how the average-age-55-years-white-American-old-men vote to find the best movie of the year! It's almost like how the new Pope is picked. Almost.

    Note 2: Post 3.0 is going to be awesome, just like my previous two posts. Also, this year, a bunch of us got together to make an AWESOME app for Oscars - Award Street. Check it out!
    ------------


    This year is pretty much going to be Boyhood vs. Birdman. A lot of people are going to get their predictions wrong this year depending on which way The Academy leans, unless your prediction is that a movie whose name starts with the letter 'B' is going to take home the grandest prize, and you can be sure about nailing it. Personally, I want to be screaming "It's a boy!" when it's announced. That man, Linklater, deserves a trophy by now. He got nominated for the last 2 movies of the 'Before' trilogy, and has made cult classics like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, and School of Rock. He might just walk away with 3 trophies in his hands this year and that would be AWESOME. If The Academy leans towards Birdman instead of Boyhood, it will be sad, and them trying incredibly hard to be cool. Boyhood is an achievement, period. A movie event we are going to be talking about for a long, long time. It will be fitting if Boyhood is announced for the Best Picture, and this plays:

    I don't wanna be a big man
    Just wanna fight like everyone else


    No major controversies with the nominations, although no love for Nightcrawler, The Lego Movie, and no cinematography nod for Interstellar broke my heart a little. But then, what's an Oscar without a little heartbreak, right?

    Right then, let's get on with it.




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the YearBoyhood
    I think this category isn't even a contest. Boyhood is by far the best movie on this list. Also, instead of the standard Film/Director split the Academy is known for doing, I think this year is going to see a Film/Writing split, between Boyhood and Birdman.'You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.'Miss. Birdman. Oh well.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMichael Keaton, Birdman
    Another year, BC! This year's going cleanly to Mr. Keaton.'A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.'Miss. Well, I am glad. Great performance by Eddie Redmayne in Theory of Everything.
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleJulianne Moore, Still AliceRosamund Pike, Gone GirlThe chills Rosamund Pike gives you! Goodness. I wish she won this one, but she won't.From Gone Girl: 'I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJ.K. Simmons, Whiplash
    The only thing going for Whiplash. Simmons' powerful performance made this movie worth a while. His performance took me back to when I was in school.'There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RolePatricia Arquette, Boyhood
    Boyhood could very well have been called 'Motherhood', and it would have remained as true. Patricia deserves this gold!'I just thought there would be more.'Hit! YAY!
    Best Achievement in DirectingRichard Linklater, Boyhood
    Please. Starting to feel a little bad for Mr. Anderson though. Maybe Mr. Anderson is destined to be seventh time lucky another year.'I finally figured it out. It's like when they realized it was gonna be too expensive to actually build cyborgs and robots. I mean, the costs of that were impossible. They decided to just let humans turn themselves into robots. That's what's going on right now. I mean, why not? They're billions of us just laying around, not really doing anything. We don't cost anything. We're even pretty good at self-maintenance and reproducing constantly. And as it turns out, we're already biologically programmed for our little cyborg upgrades. I read this thing the other day about how When you hear that ding on your inbox, you get like a dopamine rush in your brain. It's like we're being chemically rewarded for allowing ourselves to be brainwashed. How evil is that? We're fucked.'Miss. Iñárritu, Birdman. Oh well. Another year, bigger movie, Linklater!
    Best Original ScreenplayBirdmanBoyhoodThis is going to be a close call, but I think Birdman will pull through in the end. Also, if it does, the Best Picture announcement is going to induce double the nervousness. Writing/Film split seldom happens. The last time this happened was with Argo (2012), and Million Dollar Baby (2005) before that.From Boyhood: 'I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? Yoy know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?'Hit!
    Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Imitation Game
    The better crop are the ones in the original writing category. The adapted is pretty non-exciting, unless American Sniper takes it because of the emotions involved.'Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes... hollow.'Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearHow to train your Dragon 2
    No nomination for The Lego Movie was really disappointing. Nothing much here.
    'Some of us were just born different.'Miss. Big Hero 6. Blah. I couldn't care less without The Lego Movie nomination.
    Best Achievement in CinematographyBirdmanThe Grand Budapest HotelNo nomination for Interstellar was a disappointment. A win for Grand Budapest would redeem it.'You're looking so well, darling, you really are... they've done a marvelous job. I don't know what sort of cream they've put on you down at the morgue, but... I want some.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingBoyhood
    This is a no contest. Editing footage spanning 12 years into this masterpiece!'I find myself so furious at all these people that I am in contact with just for controlling me or whatever but you know they are not even aware they are doing it.'Miss. Whiplash. :/
    Best Achievement in Production DesignThe Grand Budapest HotelInterstellarWell, I am going to pick Interstellar for whichever category it's nominated in!From Interstellar: 'Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignThe Grand Budapest Hotel

    'You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingThe Grand Budapest Hotel
    A lack of Theory of Everything here was a little bit surprising.'I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreInterstellar
    Zimmer's score made Interstellar more grandiose than it already was. Just 1 win for him from 9 nominations, I think he can use another win, and deservedly so. Theory of Everything has a good chance of taking it away.'Those aren't mountains, they're waves.'Miss. Grand Budapest Hotel. This movie is on a roll tonight! Desplat deserved a win, nominated for 2 movies this year, and 7 before this.
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original SongSelmaThe Lego MovieI like 'Lost Stars' from Begin Again. But my pick is The Lego Movie because it was AWESOME, and these buggers did not give it a nod for Animated Feature.From The Lego Movie: 'All this is true because it rhymes.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingInterstellar
    There was a bunch of controversy around Interstellar's sound. It doesn't matter. A couple of IMAX viewings is what those buggers need.'You're telling me it takes two numbers to measure your own ass but only one to measure my son's future?'Miss. Whiplash. For not giving it to Interstellar, I tell you, Academy, "Not my tempo."
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingInterstellar
    see: above. Although, American Sniper might snatch this one. Also, I think Fury should have gotten a nod here.'And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.'Miss. Sniper made a headshot at TARS.
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsInterstellar
    This is a no-contest. Why are there even other nominees?!'Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'Hit! Although it's sad that Interstellar might end its count with this.
    Best Short Film, Live ActionThe Phone CallButter LampThis is the first time I got to watch all the live-action shorts before the event. Pretty great movies, all. My favorite's got to be Butter Lamp, for the sheer ingenuity of script.
    Hit!
    Best Short Film, AnimatedFeast
    It's a dog's life.
    Hit!




    Total:
    13 / 21


    Who are you rooting for?


    87th Academy Awards...

              Agreed        

    In reply to We ned both...

    We do need to have a variety of information on this board. Some people really need to have the cheerleaders in their corner to give them the courage to fight this damn disease. It's easy for a newbie to be overwhelmed by the technical nature of some posts, so it's nice to have others on here that can communicate to us commoners. Some of us want to know the details and facts of this disease so they can make informed decisions and challenge their medical staff to see if they are the right people to help them fight this using all of the latest tools in their arsenal. There has always been something for everyone here, and the members are constantly evolving. Their desire to get answers and information keeps growing. The information that once satisfied their needs will become inadequate and they will seek more indepth information from the likes of Neil, TW, etc. I'm thankful for everyone on this site. From the cheerleaders to those who are able to be logical and tell it like it is.

    BLKJAK

    P.S. I guess my post helped to generate some activity on this board! :)


              START OF FALL CLASSES AT ECU SET FOR MONDAY, AUG. 14        

    Anticipation is high on the East Central University campus for the beginning of the 2017 fall semester on Monday, Aug. 14.

    Enrollment is still open through Friday, Aug. 18, and prospective students have the choice of more than 80 majors in undergraduate degree programs offered through the College of Education and Psychology, College of Health and Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

    New master’s degree programs are available, including the new master’s degree option in Sport Psychology as part of the Department of Psychology’s Master of Science in Psychological Services (MSPS); Master’s in Management degree program as part of the School of Business and the M.S. Water Resource Policy and Management degree program as part of the School of Graduate Studies.

    For more information visit www.ecok.edu or call 580-332-8000.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              NEW SPORT PSYCHOLOGY OPTION ADDED TO THE MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES AT ECU        

    Approval has been granted from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for East Central University to institute a new degree option – Sport Psychology - in the Department of Psychology’s Master of Science in Psychological Services (MSPS).

    The area of sport psychology has been a growing field and represents an interdisciplinary science that incorporates various fields including biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology and psychology.  This applied knowledge is needed in the development and use of psychological skills for the optimal performance and well-being of athletes. 

    There is currently no other M.S. degree offered in the area that focuses on this branch of psychology.  According to the American Psychological Association, “sport and performance psychology is a career field that is growing rapidly. Projections for jobs in the field of psychology generally suggest that growth will occur at a rate of 11 percent between now and 2022, with an average of 5,590 new jobs each year.” 

    The program change should align to at least two certifications for candidates; Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP Certification) and Licensed Behavioral Practitioners (LBP Licensure). 

    The curriculum is designed to address the performance and psychological concerns associated with sports involvement affecting athletes, coaches and families as well as the developmental and social aspects of sports participation. The curriculum will consist of 27 hours in psychological and counseling foundation courses and 33 hours in the specialty of sport psychology.  These courses include those such as Sports in American Society, Advanced Sport Psychology, Applied Biomechanics, Sports Performance Enhancement Strategies, and Health Psychology, among others. 

    To lead the implementation of this program, the ECU Department of Psychology has hired Dr. Suzanne Pottratz, who recently graduated with her Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. The College of Education

    and Psychology is excited to expand its current master’s options to include the high demand area of sport psychology and is currently enrolling students in the program.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              Appropriate Use of Drug Testing in Clinical Addiction Medicine        
    Biological drug testing is a tool that provides information about an individual's recent substance use. Like any tool, its value depends on using it correctly; that is, on selecting the right test for the right person at the right time. This document is intended to clarify appropriate clinical use of drug testing in addiction medicine and aid providers in their decisions about drug testing for the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of patients with, or at risk for, addiction. The RAND Corporation (RAND)/University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Appropriateness Method (RAM) process for combining scientific evidence with the collective judgment of experts was used to identify appropriate clinical practices and highlight areas where research is needed. Although consensus panels and expert groups have offered guidance on the use of drug testing for patients with addiction, very few addressed considerations for patients across settings and in different levels of care. This document will focus primarily on patients in addiction treatment and recovery, where drug testing is used to assess patients for a substance use disorder, monitor the effectiveness of a treatment plan, and support recovery. Inasmuch as the scope includes the recognition of addiction, which often occurs in general healthcare settings, selected special populations at risk for addiction visiting these settings are briefly included.
              Treating Women Who Are Pregnant and Parenting for Opioid Use Disorder and the Concurrent Care of Their Infants and Children: Literature Review to Support National Guidance        
    imageObjectives: The prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) during pregnancy is increasing. Practical recommendations will help providers treat pregnant women with OUD and reduce potentially negative health consequences for mother, fetus, and child. This article summarizes the literature review conducted using the RAND/University of California, Los Angeles Appropriateness Method project completed by the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to obtain current evidence on treatment approaches for pregnant and parenting women with OUD and their infants and children. Methods: Three separate search methods were employed to identify peer-reviewed journal articles providing evidence on treatment methods for women with OUD who are pregnant or parenting, and for their children. Identified articles were reviewed for inclusion per study guidelines and relevant information was abstracted and summarized. Results: Of the 1697 articles identified, 75 were included in the literature review. The perinatal use of medication for addiction treatment (MAT, also known as medication-assisted treatment), either methadone or buprenorphine, within comprehensive treatment is the most accepted clinical practice, as withdrawal or detoxification risks relapse and treatment dropout. Medication increases may be needed with advancing pregnancy, and are not associated with more severe neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Switching medication prenatally is usually not recommended as it can destabilize opioid abstinence. Postnatally, breastfeeding is seen as beneficial for the infant for women who are maintained on a stable dose of opioid agonist medication. Less is known about ideal pain management and postpartum dosing regimens. NAS appears generally less severe following prenatal exposure to buprenorphine versus methadone. Frontline NAS medication treatments include protocol-driven methadone and morphine dosing in the context of nonpharmacological supports. Conclusions: Women with OUD can be treated with methadone or buprenorphine during pregnancy. NAS is an expected and manageable condition. Although research has substantially advanced, opportunities to guide future research to improve maternal and infant outcomes are provided.
              Inpatient Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate Detoxification: A Case Report Describing Day-to-day Therapeutic Management        
    imageBackground: Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a synthetic drug increasingly used by consumers of psychoactive substances. The sought after psychoactive effects of GHB have resulted in an increase in recreational use in Europe. GHB is considered to have a high dependence potential, and abrupt discontinuation after long-term use can result in a severe withdrawal syndrome. Despite a large number of publications related to GHB withdrawal and detoxification, to date, no evidence-based protocol or consensual international therapeutic guidelines are available (over and above the administration of benzodiazepines). We hereby present a day-to-day description of inpatient GHB detoxification management, from admission to discharge. Case Summary: This case report pertains to a 47-year-old patient hospitalized for a severe GHB use disorder. The patient had independently made several unsuccessful attempts to stop GHB use. Following to these failures, the patient was oriented to our addiction department for inpatient detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms appeared 4 hours after the last dose of GHB, and consisted of diaphoresis, coenesthetic hallucinations, tremors, motor instability, tachycardia, and a hypertensive peak. Symptoms were successfully managed with diazepam titration and nonpharmacological treatment. The duration of hospitalization was 13 days. At discharge, detoxification was complete and the patient was engaged in relapse prevention therapy. Three months after discharge, the patient had maintained abstinence. Conclusions: GHB withdrawal, which can be severe, is better prevented or attenuated by daily medical monitoring and adjustment of treatment dosage. Failure of outpatient detoxification should be included in the indication criteria in the guidelines for inpatient detoxification.
              Sex Differences Among Opioid-Abusing Patients With Chronic Pain in a Clinical Trial        
    imageBackground: The characteristics of patients with co-occurring chronic pain and prescription opioid abuse have not been well described, and even less is known about differences between men and women in this population. Objectives: This study evaluated sex differences in the demographic, diagnostic, and behavioral attributes of patients with chronic pain and opioid abuse. Methods: Data were collected via self-report and semistructured clinical interviews from 162 patients (120 men and 42 women) who screened for a study investigating the abuse liability of prescription opioids. Results: There were no differences between men and women in age, race, education, marital status, or employment status. Participants had used prescription opioids for 5.4 ± 6.7 years. The majority of participants (60%) had low back pain in addition to opioid dependence as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition. More women reported more arthritic pain than men, but otherwise there were no differences in types of pain. Pain exerted a greater effect in women on mood, walking ability, and social relations. Men reported more of certain aberrant behaviors, including abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs, unauthorized dose increases, contact with street culture, and being arrested by police. Women were more depressed than men. Conclusions: The demographic profile of opioid-abusing patients with chronic pain presenting for treatment in a clinical trial was similar between sexes; however, some important differences were observed. Women reported more psychiatric comorbidity and endorsed greater pain-related physical and social impairment. Men reported more aberrant behaviors. These differences suggest that men with chronic pain and opioid abuse/dependence may benefit by closer monitoring of aberrant behaviors whereas women may benefit from closer attention paid to physical and psychological effects of pain.
              This new plant-inspired tech could be the first step towards self-powered smartphones        

    We’re living in a marvellous technological age. With the touch of button, we can summon cars, transfer money and do pretty much anything on our magical smartphones. But we still need to charge them, which sucks. However, Australian scientists at RMIT University have created a new electrode that might be the first step to self-powering smartphones, laptops, and cars — all thanks to ferns. Sunlight possess enough energy to power all of our daily gadgets, but the problem is how to make them work when the sun isn’t shining. That’s where storage steps in. Supercaps are frequently combined with solar technologies to store and discharge harnessed…

    This story continues at The Next Web
              Rosja chce wzostu własnej produkcji ekologicznej        
    Rosja ma ambitne plany, by stać się największym światowym dostawcą ekologicznej żywności.
              Jose's Malaga Research        
    For those interested in the Malaguenos in Spain which sailed to Louisiana and founded New Iberia, José Manuel de de Molina works on this research in Spain and can be contacted. On his website he states:

    "My webpage I offer my professional services as Historian, Archivist and Genealogical Professional. I have a wide experience and a comprehensive academic studies, providing legal services according with Spanish Law. You can read the different pages in the left menu including my references and activities tracing history and genealogy in Lousiana to Spanish ancestors. If you are looking for your family line in Spain and you need a professional genealogist service, I can help you. "

    See: http://www.demolina.es/ (Spanish and English)
    Email: jmdemolina@darrax.es

              CANARY ISLANDS LOCALES AND THEIR ASSOCIATED LOUISIANA FAMILIES        

    This compilation is a finding aid to help document the islands and villages from which our Canarian ancestors came.


    The present work is a refinement and expansion of two earlier articles:
    "Some Canary Island Locales and Their Associated Louisiana Families (Based upon Diocese of Baton Rouge's published records, volume 2)", by Paul Newfield III, published in Louisiana Genealogical Register (the quarterly of the Louisiana Historical Society), v.35, #1 (March 1988), pp.23-26, and,
    "More Canary Islands Locales and Their Associated Louisiana Families (From the Archdiocese of New Orleans Sacramental Records, volumes 3 & 4)", by Paul Newfield III, published in 'L'Heritage' (the quarterly of the St. Bernard Genealogical Society), v.13, #50 (April 1990), pp.118.

    The scope of this article is limited, and it should NOT be taken as a complete listing of Canarian family names. In each of my earlier articles I began with the seven major islands of the Canarian archipelago, listing their particular towns and villages. Then, using the geographic data from the published sacramental records of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I assigned those family names to the respective islands and/or villages.


    http://thebrasscannon.com/locales9.html

              Hyundai Unveils All-New Kona Compact Crossover        
    With a history of bringing small, affordable vehicles to market, it seems logical that the subcompact crossover segment would be a perfect fit for Hyundai.
              Nevedia ako ma majú volaÅ¥. (kvasnak)        
    Som ako každý iný. Som chlapec ktorý ukončil Strednu zdravotnícku školu a aj vysokú skolu v odbore ošetrovateľstvo a teraz pracujem v Spišskej Novej Vsi na krásnom neurologickom oddelenie a pacienti nevedia ako ma majú volať.
              2357 is a prime number        

    I shared this on Facebook 2 years ago: 2/8/15

    The first 4 prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7.

    2357 corresponds to 23 and 57 which when combined become "I Am 57" as follows:

    I (9) Am (14) = 23 conjoined with 57 = 2357

    "I Am 57" (2357) touches close to home for me as I turned 57 earlier this week on 2/5/15.

    Here are a few more numerical correspondences:

    23 cycles of 2357 days prior to 2/5/15 brings us back to 9/03 in the year 1866 - exactly 130 years prior to the day my father passed in 1996.

    9/03 is always 23 "I (9) Am (14)" days from 8/11 the Divine Birthday.

    23 "I Am" cycles of 2357 days from 9/03/96 - the day my father passed - brings us to 2/5 in the year 2145 which will be the 187th anniversary of my birth. 2/5 is always 187 days from 8/11 in non-leap years.

    Another way my father fits in here is that 23 X 57 = 1311 which was the address - 1311 Chicago Avenue - here in Evanston where my father and mother first lived after they were married in 1951.

    18 cycles of 1311 days prior to my 57th birthday 2/5/15 brings us back to 6/28/50 which was EXACTLY one year prior to the day my father an mother were married in 1951.

    Years later I lived at 1400 Chicago Ave which was EXACTLY 89 from 1311 Chicago Ave.

    The 89th block north of State & Madison in downtown Chicago is the block that begins at Dempster St and ends at Greenwood Street in Evanston. 1400 Chicago Avenue sits on the NW corner of Greenwood and Chicago Ave. Right next door to the north of 1400 Chicago Ave is 1406 Chicago Ave which - years ago - was Pembridge Hall where my mother first came to on the day she arrived at Northwestern as a junior college transfer student on 9/10/48. That was the same day she met my father on a blind date. He wouldn't leave her alone for if he didn't I wouldn't be typing this post.

    Across the street from 1400 Chicago Ave - on the SE corner of Greenwood & Chicago - was a house that my father lived in with his fraternity buddies after he graduated from NU in 1949.

    What does this all mean? These are simple examples of the powerful numerical correspondences that fill our daily lives.

    89 was mentioned above. 89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4 which is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.

    Does 89 have anything to do with Northwestern?

    On August 11, 1853 the founders of Northwestern University - my and my parents alma mater - purchased 379 beautiful acres along the shores of from Dr. John Foster.

    379 is a prime number that's the sum of 23 "I (9) Am (14)" and 89 which is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Back to 1311 Chicago which is located on the 89th block north of State & Madison Streets...

    23 "I Am" X 57 (2357) = 1311

    In the digits of pii you will find that the first appearance of 8989 - that's 89 prime X 101 prime - occurs at EXACTLY the 1311th digit of pii - do NOT include 3. in the count just the decimals.

    As mentioned above, 1311 Chicago - where my parents first lived - is 89 from 1400 Chicago where I once lived.

    From 1400 Chicago Ave - located on the north side of Greenwood which is the 89th block north of State & Madison in downtown Chicago - I moved to 1106 Greenwood - located 3 blocks east. And from there we moved to our current address 3242 Harrison.

    3242 - 1106 = 2136 = 89 prime X 24

    The gentleman whose most responsible for changing the streets of Chicago to a logical grid pattern that begins at State & Madison Streets in downtown Chicago was Edward Brennan. He lived at 6446 N Wayne Ave in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

    6446 - 3242 = 3204 = 89 prime X 36

    6446 - 1106 = 5340 = 89 prime X 60

    Enough!


              Some numbers from this week        

    Originally posted on Facebook 1/28/17:

    My numerical mentor, the late Dean Fagerstrom, passed away on 2/27 in the year 2014. He wrote in his writings and told me in person that Emanuel Swedenborg had actually appeared to him 2 or 3 times during his life. These experiences had a profound impact on his life.

    Emanuel Swedenborg - one of the greatest mathematician-scientist-inventor-theologians in world history (his IQ was ranked #2 by Stanford University next to Goethe among thousands of creative people who have contributed to mankind's spiritual and scientific advancement) - was born 1/29 in the year 1688.

    2/27 = 227

    1/29 = 129

    227 + 129 = Leo (356)

    Leo (356) factors into 89 prime X 4

    Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.

    Swedenborg wrote in his writings that 89 was a very special number.

    Six months prior in a letter to the noted English minister John Wesley Swedenborg predicted his departure (death) from this world. He passed away on 3/29 at 5 pm in 1772, the exact date and time which he announced to his housekeeper.

    3/29 was the 89th day of the year 1772.

    329 + 227 = 556

    556 mirrors 5:56 am which is the completion of the Leo (356th) minute of each new day.

    Summary points:

    1) Birth date (Swedenborg) 1/29 (129) plus the passing date (Fagerstrom) 2/27 (227) adds up to Leo (356)

    2) Passing dates (Swedenborg) 3/29 (329) plus (Fagerstrom) 2/27 (227) = 556 (5:56 am which is the completion of the Leo (356th) minute of the day.

    3) Swedenborg's passing 3/29 in the year 1772 was the 89th day of the year.

    4) 89 is the highest prime factor of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4

    5) Swedenborg's birthdate 1/29 (129) mirrors 1:29 am which is the completion of the 89th minute of each day.

    6) Dean Fagerstrom was born on 2/07 (207) which is 122 (1/22) from 3/29 (329) the day Swednborg passed away.

    1/22 was the day my father was born.


              What does the year 2015 have to do with the year 1984?        

    I wrote this down in my iPhone notes back during the year 2015, but didn't get around to posting it on this blog as follows:

    What does the year 2015 have to do with the year 1984?

    Both have the same conjunctive prime factors - ie. the highest prime factor. 

    1984 factors into 31 prime X 64

    2015 factors into 31 prime X 65

    31 is the conjunctive prime - the highest prime factor - of this phrase "The Lord God" as follows:

    The (285) Lord (3694) God (764) = 4743 = 31 prime X 153

    65 corresponds to ON (65).  

    So you could say that - by simple multiplication and prime factoring - today "The Lord God" is ON.  

    Another small note:

    4743 "The Lord God" minus the year 2015 = 2728 = 31 prime X 88

    This means that 2015 marks the beginning of the 89th cycle of 31 "The Lord God" prime.  

    89 is the prime of Leo (356) which is the astrological sign for the month of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.  

    Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4

    If we move ahead 31 "The Lord God" years from 2015 we will arrive at the year 2046 which is ONE (1) from 2047 which is the end of the 23rd cycle of 89 years. 23 corresponds to I (9) Am (14) = 23 prime which is our Lord's original name and title given to Moses on Mt. Sinai - ie. "I Am....the Lord thy God..." Exodus 20:2.  89 is the prime of Leo as seen above....

    In the middle of the first 1000 prime numbers - right in the center - you will find 2389 which conjoins 23 prime and 89 prime together.  This is actually the Leo (356th) prime number - you must include ONE (1) in the count for for thousands of years ONE (1) was always considered to be a prime number. 

    Which brings us back to 2015....

    2015 + 31 = 2046 which factors into 31 "The Lord God" prime X 66.

    66 is 23 "I (9) Am (14)" from 89. 

    If we multiply 89 "Prime of Leo (356)" X 31 "The Lord God" the result is 2759 which is TWO (2) X Leo (356) = 712 from 2047 which is 23 "I (9) Am (14)" X 89 Prime of Leo (356)"

    So the bottom line is that 31 - the core prime essence of the year 2015 - is EXACTLY TWO (2) Leo's (356 X 2 = 712) from the "I Am Leo" year of 2047 - (23 "I (9) Am (14)" X 89 "Prime of Leo (356)".

              Colonel Sir George Everest        
     I shared this on FB 2 years ago on this day 12/23.


    Colonel Sir George Everest (/ˈiːvrɨst/; July 4, 1790 — December 1, 1866) was a Welsh surveyor and geographer, and the Surveyor General of India from 1830 through 1843.

    George Everest's numerical age (NA) at the time he passed was 27908 which factors into 6977 prime X 4.

    6977 prime days from 17900704 brings us to August 11th in the year 1809.

    He passed away on December 1, 1866 - a mo/day date which is always 23 "I (9) Am (14)" plus 89 "Prime of Leo (356)" days from August 11th. 

    Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4

    Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.  August 11th in 6 BC is the day our Lord was born - this according to the mathematical proof outlined in the late Dean Fagerstrom's 1400+ page "The Book of Anglion."



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Everest
              Google is a number        
    Google is a number.

    G-7, O-6, O-6, G-7, L-3, E-5

    Google (766735)

    Google (766735) factors into the following prime numbers:

    Google (766735) = 1723 prime X 89 prime X 5 prime.

    89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4. 

    Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart - see below. 

    The Universal Numerical Date for Google (766735) brings us to November 8th in the year 2093.

    11/08 is always 89 days from August 11th which is the Divine Birthdate of our Lord God Jesus Christ (6 BC).

    The gentleman that taught me this stuff, Dean Fagerstrom, wrote a 1400+ page book (The Book of Anglion) that outlines a mathematical
    proof - using prime numbers - that our Lord God Jesus Christ was born on August 11th in the year 6 BC.

    The dates, times, events, births and deaths that happen throughout history are connected to August 11th in 6 BC in many amazing patterns that appear to glorify and shine light on that date. Google (766735) is just another one of many examples.

    Also outlined in Dean's book are equations and numbers that refer to November 8th in 7 BC as the actual date of the Divine Conception of our Lord God Jesus Christ.

    11/08 (1108) factors into 277 prime X 4.

    277 is the prime of Divine (494955) Love (3645) = 498600 = 277 prime X 1800.

    In leap years August 11th is always the completion of the 277th "Divine Love" day from/including November 8th in the previous year. 

              "Have a good one."        
    This phrase seems to have become one of THE most commonly shared phrases in the English language. it's commonly shared when we leave others after sharing some time.

    I've never examined this phrase numerically but I thought I would do so this morning as follows....

    Have (8145) A (1) Good (7664) One (655) = 16465

    16465 = 89 prime X 185

    This is an AMAZING result!

    89 is the conjunctive prime of the word Leo (356) - ie. it's the highest prime factor of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.

    The key date is August 11th.

    8/11 (811) is the 142nd prime number and 8/11 is always 142 days from the end of each year.

    Sun (135) days from August 11th is always 12/24 Christmas Eve which is when the Sun - after standing still for 2-3 days since Winter Solstice - begins the first 1 degree of its ascent which culminates on Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the provincial Divine Birth of our Lord God Jesus Christ.

    Every year in the northern hemisphere the Sun STOPS FALLING on the Leo (356th) day of the year which is the Winter Solstice.

    And if you are ever in the Chicago area on August 11th you can witness the Sun rising on August 11th at EXACTLY 5:55 am in the morning. 5:55 am is the advent of the Leo (356th) minute of the NEW (555) day. Some years it will be 5:54 am, but either way by the end of the Leo (356th) minute the full disc of the Sun will be visible above the eastern horizon of Lake Michigan.

    I'll keep digging into this, but this finding is really cool!

    "Have a good one!"

    Note: The late Dean Fagerstrom taught me this Divine Science of Numerical Correspondences years ago. An amazing man! You can find the mathematical proof of our Lord's Divine Birth - that's embedded in the prime number system - when you read and study his 1400+ page "The Book of Anglion."  

    http://www.emanuelswedenborg.com/

              108 is Great!!        
     Snip:

    "Grant DePorter, who insists destiny and numerology will propel the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years, pointed his phone at the scoreboard behind the left-field wall at Wrigley Field, started recording and put his theory to test.

    It was was Oct. 7, Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. Javier Baez, the Cubs’ second baseman, was at the plate facing Johnny Cueto, the Giants’ starting pitcher.

    DePorter’s video showed Cueto’s pitch count — 107 at that point in the game — just moments after DePorter predicted that Baez would hit a home run on pitch 108."



    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/cubs/2016/10/24/world-series-108-years-1908-harry-caray/92693996/


    Personal notes:

    One tidbit already sticks out worth noting: Charles Webb Murphy (born January 22, 1868 in Wilmington, Ohio – died October 16, 1931 in Chicago). My father was born on 1/22/25 - 57 years after Charles Murphy was born. My father turned 57 in 1982 which was the year my wife turned 23. 

    My father and mother first lived at 1311 Chicago Avenue here in Evanston - after they got married in Montana where my mother is from. 1311 is an amazing non-prime number for it's the result of multiplying 23 and 57 - 2, 3, 5, 7 are first 4 prime numbers after ONE (1). If you examine the digits of pi you will find that beginning at digit 1311 you will find 8989 which factors into 101 prime X 89 prime. 

     89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4. Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart. 

    Why is 89 so important to the current World Series? Well do the math: the 2016th World Series is the 112th which is the sum of 23 "I (9) Am (14)" and 89 which is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4. 

    Much of the Cubs loaded young talent were born in between 1992 and 1994 - which means they came into their 23rd "I (9) Am (14)" season of life just as the Cubs surged into the new light of this recent historic run. 2389 is a prime number composed of those 2 special prime numbers and it just happens to be the Leo (356th) prime number. 

    Examining the Digits of pi: 

    The string 108 occurs at position 2,534 counting from the first digit after the decimal point. The 3. is not counted. 2534 factors into 181 prime X 14. 181 is the prime of We (55) Are (195) One (655) = 905 = 181 prime X 5. You could say that the year 1991 provided a foundation for the current Cubs run for all of the young Cubs players were born in 1992 or beyond. 1991 = 181 prime X 11.

    Speaking of 181 X 11 (1991).....when you combine 181 and 11 it forms the number 18111 which mirrors 010811 and 1811. Our Lord was born on 8/11 in 6 BC. When you correct for the 2334 days in BC time that he lived the "corrected year" becomes Year 1. 010811 corresponds to Year 1, Month 8, Day 11. Charles Murphy's numerical age (NA) on 10/25/16 - Day ONE (1) of the 112th World Series was 54333 which factors (partially) into 18111 X 3.

    Another note on Charles Murphy (born January 22, 1868 in Wilmington, Ohio – died October 16, 1931 in Chicago):

    His Numerical Age (NA) was 23277 which is isn't a prime number but is composed of 23 prime and 277 prime.  

    23 corresponds to I (9) Am (14) which is our Lord's original name and title given to Moses on Mt. Sinai - "I Am...the Lord thy God..." Exodus 20:2. 

    277 is the highest prime factor of this phrase "Divine Love" as follows: 

    Divine (494955) Love (3645) = 498600 = 277 prime 1800. 

    So you could say that Charles Murphy - even for as much as he was a "hated man" - lived a Numerical Age that corresponds to the phrase "I Am Divine Love." 

    23277 factors into 7759 prime X 3 prime. 

    7759 days prior to January 22, 1868 - Charles Murphy's birth - we arrive at October 25 in the year 1846 which was EXACTLY 170 years prior to October 25, 2016 which was Game ONE (1) of the 2016 World Series. 

    If we move ahead 23277 "I Am Divine Love" days from October 25, 1846 we will arrive at July 19, 1910.  This is a significant date for a few reasons: 

    1) 7/19 is always 23 "I (9) Am (14)" days from August 11th, the Divine Birthdate

    2) 7/19 (719) corresponds to "Christ The Lord God GO" - which mirrors "Chicago" as follows: 

    Chi (389) is the Greek letter "X" which stands for "Christos" which is where the English "Christ" originated from

    Ca (31) is the prime of The (285) Lord (3694) God (764) = 4743 = 31 prime X 153

    GO (76) 

    Chi-Ca-GO = Chicago (3893176) 

    Christ (389912) The (285) Lord (3694) God (764) Go (76) = 394731 = 719 prime X 549. 

    3) The Year 1910 = 191 prime X 10 which is the prime of God (764) = 191 prime X 4.

    https://www.angio.net/pi/bigpi.cgi 

     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Murphy_(baseball)
              The Greeks called it ἀκρασία        
    Day 12: ἀκρασίαI first ran into the term akrasia, acting against one's own self-interest, in a post by Mark Sisson. I've had blogging about akrasia on my to-do list for a while, and tonight I finally sat down to do it. Grabbed a chocolate chip cookie before I started writing. Sigh. Paleo, huh.

    I have to admit that I found Mark's first article on the subject kind of abstruse and difficult to follow, even though I minored in philosophy way back in the last century.  He talks about free will, the weakness of the flesh, and the interesting concept that we only have so much decision-making strength in a day, that having to make trivial decisions all day long leaves us without the ability to make important ones by evening. A second article by Mark explores the physiological roots of cravings - lack of sleep, lack of certain nutrients, fear of social exclusion. All of these can lead us to toss aside our carefully reasoned choices and decisions and just go with something we know will make us miserable in the long run. I like these ideas,but I think the real answer may lie deeper in our psyche. Not that I claim to have that answer, mind you.

    My real catalyst for writing about akrasia, aside from my own regrettable weakness for gluten- and sugar-filled treats that will make me pay dearly at 3 a.m., was a lovely comment that was left yesterday on this blog, on a post I wrote over a year ago - one of my first posts, in fact. It was about fighting the lizard brain, Seth Godin's term for the resistance. the part of our brain that shuts us down and fills us with fear. I think there is a relationship between akrasia and the lizard brain, although I'm not sure exactly how it works. It's something to think about - expect more posts about this in coming weeks.

    What do you think, do you sense a connection between self-sabotage and the fear of success? What kind of words do you think we could build to flesh out that connection? Talk to me!



              a feeling of wanting to punch people when I heard them eating        
    Researchers have discovered a biological basis for misophonia (previously): "Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in the emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds." The full text of the study was published last week in Current Biology (open access): The Brain Basis for Misophonia.
              "We are largely doomed"        
    "Thanks to Cornell University researchers, the world can now predict how fast a zombie outbreak would spread from a single undead person. Using data from the 2010 U.S. census and the SIR model, an epidemiological tool that can project the progress of actual infectious diseases, the scientists created "large-scale exact stochastic dynamical simulation" of a such an outbreak. Their findings were to be presented Thursday to the august American Physical Society. Here's the zombie modeling map to play out all your Walking Dead scenarios.
              why we care about what we wear        
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Why Can't a Smart Woman Love Fashion?
    I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance. For serious women writers in particular, it was better not to dress well at all, and if you did, then it was best to pretend that you had not put much thought into it. If you spoke of fashion, it had to be either with apology or with the slightest of sneers. The further your choices were from the mainstream, the better. The only circumstance under which caring about clothes was acceptable was when making a statement, creating an image of some sort to be edgy, eclectic, counterculture. It could not merely be about taking pleasure in clothes. ... I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself—an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. I like to think of this, a little fancifully, as going back to my roots. I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman's seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously.
    *Pacific Standard - What to Wear? *Avidly/LA Review of Books - Lady Professor Conference Fashions *Racialicious - Haute Couture In The 'Ivory Tower': "The spread presumes that when a professor walks into a classroom she is a blank slate, a model to be adorned in fine clothing and given an identity. The reality is that scholars of color, women, and other groups whose bodies are read as non-normative have never been able to check their race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation at the door. As soon as we walk onto campus, our bodies are read in a certain (often troubling) manner by our students, our colleagues, and school administrators. Our professionalism and our intellectual competence are largely judged by how we style ourselves. Therefore, we are highly aware of how we adorn our bodies. And, like our foremothers and forefathers who innovated with American "street fashions," we, too, use our fashion sense to define ourselves, our professionalism, and our research and teaching agendas on our own terms." Tamara Shayne Kagel: The Feminist's Dilemma: Why We Can't Stop Caring About How We Look
    I find myself constantly trapped in a world where I desperately want to be judged by my work but at the same time, I want other people to think I'm pretty. I'm permanently berating myself for caring about my appearance, because I am aware on a mental level that to care at all is to be superficial. But at the same time, I find myself squirming uncomfortably when I run into someone at the supermarket when I'm a sweaty, disheveled mess... This cognitive dissonance is a state that most modern women inhabit all the time, but refuse to acknowledge. Instead, we talk and write and judge like we live in a post-superficial world. [...] It's a rare breed of woman who truly doesn't care about her appearance, and there are some women who only care about their appearance. But most of us fall in the middle -- wanting to be appreciated and loved and valued for more than how we look, but unable to completely expunge all interest in our outward image. If this is where most of us live, shouldn't we be asking for acceptance to be in this middle space?... Isn't it normal to hope that the picture of you is not taken from a horrible angle the moment you wake up and at the same time be concerned with society's obsession about the ubiquitous worship of an unattainable ideal of the female form?
    Sociological Images - The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes (previously): "And, of course, all women are going to get it wrong sometimes because the boundaries are moving targets and in the eye of the beholder. What's cheeky in one setting or to one person is flirty in or to another. So women constantly risk getting it wrong, or getting it wrong to someone. So the consequences are always floating out there, worrying us, and sending us to the mall." *This Kind Choice - I Am Woman, Watch Me Shop? Part 1 – The Ever Changing Clothes *Part 2 – Appearance as Identity, A Double-Edged Sword *The Nation - For Women's Office Wear, Who's Making the Rules? *The Atlantic - No, It's Not Sexist to Describe Women Politicians' Clothes *Feministing - Learning to dress "professionally" in a white man's world Already Pretty: Why Caring About Your Appearance Is Valuable to Self-Care
    In order to move through most peopled societies, we are required to wear clothing. Nudist colonies aside, we've all got to get dressed every day if we want to leave our homes for any reason... And in my opinion, since we've got to get dressed anyway, we might as well do it expressively and in ways that feel good. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Dress, grooming, and overall appearance constitute the first levels of information about ourselves that we offer to the observing world. They may not be the most important, but they are the first, which makes them worthy of effort and attention. ...I've already acknowledged that how you look isn't the most important thing about you... But thinking of your body as a brain-and-personality-holder strikes me as short-sighted. Consider this: Someone who focuses virtually all attention, care, and love on their body is generally considered to be vain. So why would focusing virtually all attention on your intellect, creativity, and personality be any less imbalanced? You're not a zombie – a body that moves through life without a functioning brain. But you're also not a brain in a jar – thinking and creating in the abstract alone. You have a body. As long as you are alive you will have a body. In fact, without your body, your intellect and creativity and personality wouldn't exist. Pitting your mind against your body is like cooking up a personal civil war.
    Bridgette Raes - Are You a Devaluist and Don't Even Know It? (Guest Post): "Clothing is often seen as a superficial shell, and fashion a frivolous, flighty thing that gets in the way of the serious stuff. The real stuff. But I don't believe that. I don't believe we can neatly divorce the way we look from the way we live. I believe the way we look is a reflection of the way we live." Dress A Day - You Don't Have to Be Pretty: "You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female". I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.)" (responses to "The Princess Effect", previously on MeFi) *Washington Post - Being informed and fashionable is natural for women *Flavorwire - The Catch-22 of Women's Magazines *Kat Stoeffel - Finally, 'Serious' Women Are Standing Up for Fashion Magazines: "As long as we all need to get dressed each morning, clothing will be a communication tool... Men and women both choose how they deploy the language of fashion; but women, deprived of the suit-as-uniform, still face unique challenges in fashion fluency... Women's magazines — especially when they work with women like Clinton, Abramson, and Mastromonaco — offer other women a map for navigating style and other sexist minefields without compromising their intellectual integrity. For that, we should celebrate them. And if we want to level the playing field, we should start by posing the same "frivolous" questions of men." *Ms. Magazine - If the Clothes Fit: A Feminist Takes on Fashion: "If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it. Fortunately, history has shown that feminists can, instead, harness fashion and use it for our own political purposes." *GirltalkHQ - Fashion Vs Feminism: Can You Like Both? We Break It Down *Greta Christina - Fashion is a Feminist Issue: "In fact, fashion and style are so much like a language, I'm always a bit baffled when people say things like, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the clothes I wear." It's a bit like saying, "I want to be judged on who I am, not on the words that come out of my mouth." ...Fashion is a form of expression. A language of sorts. An art form, even. It's also one of the very few art forms/ languages/ forms of expression in which women have more freedom than men... And I don't think it's an accident that it's typically seen as shallow, trivial, and vain." Medium (Backlash Book Club) - And Another Question: What Ever Happened to Pantsuits?: "Faludi writes about fashion as if women were totally subservient to its dictates (and as if its dictates were unified), but, of course, most women—precisely because they are judged so much by their appearance—know how to manipulate, subvert, and use clothes. To some extent, they're tools, like hammers." The New Inquiry, Vol. 20 - Sept. 2013, "Off Brand" issue (link opens PDF file) "We are told we must be clothed, and then that our clothes are not good enough.That fashion is predicated on this cruelty—making luxury of necessity, and necessity of a luxury—makes it as morally questionable as the behavior of foodies. Fine: We accept this. But we are also told that we must be bodies and that our bodies are not good enough, and fashion (at least for those who fit into it) can provide an escape from the disappointment of our flesh. Some of us feel we were born into the wrong body; for that, fashion is the first corrective. For others, fashion is the first rebellion... In selecting appearances, we want not only to be seen but sometimes to be heard before we speak. Fashion can be a weapon of the silenced, even when it is seized and wielded by those who have always talked loudest." *Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa - Fashion for Feminists: How fashion and dress shape women's identities *Migrant Woman Magazine - Asalet Tulaz: I like being the colour of feminism *Buzzfeed - How Iran's Young Women Are Using Fashion To Influence Politics *Minh-Ha T. Pham - Why Fashion Should Stop Trying to be Diverse *À l'allure garçonnière - Fashion Blogging Culture: Demanding Substance Over Style *Tanisha C. Ford - You Betta Werk!: Professors Talk Style Politics: "Below are excerpts from some of the interviews I conducted with women professors of color. Together, these interviews illustrate that studies on fashion and adornment politics offer a powerful lens through which we can explore other important issues such as women's rights, motherhood and relationship status, pleasure and sexuality, and the politics of "respectability."" Alison Bancroft - How Fashion is Queer: "The feminine is as much of a minority interest in culture as it is anywhere else in life. The only exception to this is fashion. This is why fashion is a radical creative space where heterosexual gender binaries are irrelevant and queer is the default setting, and it is also why fashion is routinely denigrated and dismissed." Final Fashion - so, is fashion feminist?: "Why is the visual aspect of fashion so inextricably linked to feminism, and why is it worth considering how to dress like a feminist?" Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously on MeFi: the danger of a single story
              BRAIN Initiative        
    President Obama recently announced a big new effort to map and understand the human brain. What are we trying to learn about our brains? One thing we will earn is how our brains are structured, "not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order." Another is how much of mental illness is shaped by experience and society, as opposed to chemical or structural factors. What do we already know about our brains? 12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works. And we know that unconcious processing improves decision-making. That brain structure may be linked to placebo response. And that unconcious brains can read and do math. We know a little bit more about how the brain responds to addiction. And we know that "genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms" in childhood can have permanent ill effects. We think that differences in our brain reflect political differences. But we know that a lot of pop neuroscience is bollocks. What could we do with new information? Could we reverse-engineer AI? Manipulate our brains, neuron-by-neuron? Make better soldiers? Or record dreams? Or activate neurons with light? Or make better, crowdsourced brain maps? Neurotechnology, Social Control, And Revolution
    In our neuro-centric world-view, a person is equated to his brain. The neuro-discourse has penetrated all aspects of our lives from law to politics to literature to medicine to physics. As part of this neuro-revolution, huge military funding is supporting neuro-scientific research; a huge body of basic knowledge on memory, belief formation, cognition and sensory modalities has been gathered over years, with fieldslike social neuroscience, cultural neuroscience, neuroeconomics and neuromarketing has emerging to improve our lifestyle; neurotechnological know-how from wireless non invasive technologies to neuroelectronic interfaces is exponentially advancing; and neurotechnology business reports indicates the rapid increase in neurotechnological start ups and the willingness of bringing neurotechnological products to the market. In my opinion, all the aforementioned indicators indicate that neurotechnology can be potentially used to control social dynamics.

              Fix your Xperia X10        
    Many reviewers test a product over a period of 1 week and feel they can adequately give someone advice on whether or not to buy a certain product. I’ve lived with the Xperia X10 for almost a year now so my review is very personal and will touch on all the –ve’s and positives for the phone.

    Camera

    The camera on the phone is great and it was one of the key buying points when I got the phone. I have however realised that I don’t use the camera nearly as often as I thought I would. The camera is good compared to other phones, but no where near as good as a good 5 megapixel camera – such as Canon IXUS range.

    The dedicated camera button can take 4-10 seconds to launch camera app – that is annoying. I have not found a fix for that yet.

    TimeScape and MediaScape

    Those 2 apps were another reason I bought the phone. They were great for about 2-3 weeks, after which I wanted toknow how to get rid of them. The problem with those 2 apps is that you can get many apps on the market that can do a better job. For example, I don’t use MediaScape for music or video – instead I use PowerAmp and RockPlayer. Not X10 users I know use MediaScape. As for TimeScape – I used it for 1 week and never touched it again. It’s a shame that these are the 2 apps that hold back quick Android updates on the X10 – one has to wonder just how important they are to Sony Ericsson (yes no user would mind if you got rid of them)?

    Perhaps Sony Ericsson would do well to offer a customised version of X10 and a non customised version. If there was ever a phone that could have toppled the iPhone it was this phone. Sony Ericsson needs to be very careful not to fall in the Microsoft trap – for 10 years Microsoft thought it had the formula for Smartphones figured out. Users view their Smartphones like Computers. When a new OS comes out – give me the ability to update. If Sony Ericsson employees have computers, they will understand how important it is to be able to remove manufacturer add-ons – like MediaScape and TimeScape. Instead of wasting money on MediaScape why not just buy PowerAmp????

    On the Move Music Player Test

    You cannot select music using MediaScape if you’re walking. IMPOSSIBLE! The buttons are too small and the swipe bar at the bottom is just too thin. iPhone music player buttons are bigger and easy to select music as you walk. Blackberry Bold is also easy, albeit not touch screen. Sony Ericsson – maybe it’s time you fired you UX team! Seriously, pick uo one of the phones and walk at a moderate pace and try and select Album – Scroll to one in the middle of the list – select a song in the middle of the album! IMPOSSIBLE! Yet, this is an afterthought for iPhone or people who download a 3rd party app!


    Fixing Headset Volume on Xperia X10

    A quick look around on any train ride and ½ the people have headphones on. Music player functionality just has to be spot-on in this day and age where the iPod/iPhone set the benchmark over 3-4 years ago.

    The headset volume of Xperia X10 running Android 1.6 is just terrible. Many of you will say that the X10 is now on Android 2.1 Éclair. Great – so I retested and decided that the 2.1 results would be the best and most up to date. I compared it to 2 of my old phones – the iPhone 3G the Blackberry Bold (9000) and my wife’s iPhone 4. I conducted the test with a pair of in-ear JVC-FXC80 headphones and over-ear AKG 701. The X10 volume is still terrible. It is about ½ as loud as the iPhone 3G. The Blackberry Bold is very loud and clear – the iPhone 4 has no reception but sounds great all the same.

    I downloaded PowerAmp and tried to boost the volume that way. DISTORTION! That’s right, when it’s loud the music is simply too distorted. This is obviously not the fix for the volume. PowerAmp is a great music player, but it is definitely not going to sort out your music playing experience on the X10.

    I did a quick search using Google and there were suggestions that the Nordic ROM would fix the headphone problem. So at last after almost 10 months I decided to download a custom ROM and root my phone whilst I was at it.

    So I went here - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=835308 and downloaded the custom ROM, loaded it on the X10 and fired up the music player.

    FIXED!

    Yes, the music is now louder. Shame on you Sony Ericsson!

    Saving Battery

    Here is the best tip anyone can give you. Download a plain black background and use it as your wallpaper. Turn down your screen brightness (contrast is better with the black wall paper) and there you have it. 20-30% better battery!

    Keyboard

    Does anyone actually use the Default X10 keyboard? I use SwiftKey.

    Making Phone calls

    The buttons are now bigger and pressing the call button does not tale you to another menu item like in 1.6 but makes the call! Good job. I think the calling functionality is good. Just make the letters a little bigger on the contacts menu.

    Hindsight

    In hindsight I probably should have gone for the Google Nexus One. The fact that it receives updates before any other phone is justification enough. I have lived on Android 1.6 for almost 12 months and my contract ends in 6 months time. Logic would suggest – once bitten twice shy. The other reason is the volume on the Nexus One. I could play my music properly.

    My next phone will run be an HTC or Vanilla Android. I’m not interested in silly customisations that delay software upgrades – HTC somehow has their upgrades figured out.

    In 6 months time I’ll upgrade to a phone with better than 640 x 960 resolution. If Samsung can get AMOLED screens to 640 X 960 then they have a winner. But it would be silly to play catch up with the iPhone. I would suggest 640 X 1024.
              EMPREGOS AUXILIAR DE SAUDE BUCAL – GUARUJÁ -SP        

    Auxiliar de saude bucal guarujá ensino medio experiencia como auxiliar odontologico e atendimento Salario 1300 + vt va am ao Horário de Trabalho: A combinar. Dias a trabalhar: A combinar. Atividades: As atividades a serem realizadas pelo profissional devem ser com total responsabilidade, eficiência e qualidade. Disponibilidade de início imediato.

    O post EMPREGOS AUXILIAR DE SAUDE BUCAL – GUARUJÁ -SP apareceu primeiro em Emprega Baixada.


              PERSEPSI UJARAN MANUSIA        

    Persepsi ujaran atau adalah proses yang membawa sensasi yang dihasilkan oleh gelombang bunyi pada sistem pendengaran serta menghasilkan gambaran pengertian pemahaman terhadap karakteristik-karakteristik linguistik ucapan tersebut
    Sumber dari bunyi adalah paru-paru. Semua bunyi yang dibuat dengan udara melalui hidung disebut bunyi nasal. Sementara itu, bunyi yang udaranya keluar melewati mulut dinamakan oral. Pada mulut terdapat dua bagian: bagian atas dan bagian bawah mulut. Bagian atas mulut umumnya tidak bergerak sedangkan bagian bawah mulut bisa digerakkan. Bagian-bagian ini yaitu bibir, gigi, alveolar, palatal keras, palatal lunak uvula, lidah, pita suara, faring, rongga hidung, dan rongga mulut.
    Persepsi terhadap ujaran bukanlah suatu hal yang mudah dilakukan oleh manusia karena ujaran merupakan suatu aktivitas verbal yang meluncur tanpa ada batas waktu yang jelas antara satu kata dengan kata yang lain.
    Di samping itu, suatu bunyi juga tidak diucapkan secara persis sama tiap kali bunyi itu muncul. Bagaimana suatu bunyi diucapkan dipengaruhi oleh lingkungan di mana bunyi itu berada. Dalam rangka memahami bagaimana manusia mempersepsi bunyi sehingga akhirnya nanti bisa terbentuk komprehensi, para ahli psikolinguistik mengemukakan model-model teoritis yang diharapkan dapat menerangkan bagaimana proses persepsi itu terjadi. Sampai saat ini ada empat model teoritis yang telah diajukan yaitu model teori motor untuk persepsi ujaran, model analisis dengan sintesis, fuzzy logical model, model cohort, dan model trace.
    Pada dasarnya ada tiga tahap dalam pemrosesan persepsi bunyi (Clark dan Clark dalam Dardjowidjojo, 2012:49):
    1.       Tahap auditori: Pada tahap ini manusia menerima ujaran sepotong demi sepotong. Ujaran ini kemudian ditanggapi dari segi fitur akustiknya. Konsep-konsep seperti titik artikulasi, cara artikulasi, fitur distingtif, dan VOT sangat bermanfaat di sini karena ihwal seperti inilah yang memisahkan satu bunyi dari bunyi yang lain. Bunyi-bunyi dalam ujaran itu kita simpan dalam memori auditori kita.
    2.      Tahap fonetik : Bunyi-bunyi itu kemudian kita identifikasi. Dalam proses mental kita,kita lihat, misalnya apakah bunyi tersebut [+konsonantal], [+vois], [+nasal], dst. Begitu pula lingkungan bunyi itu : apakah bunyi tadi diikuti oleh vokal atau oleh konsonan. Kalau oleh vokal, vokal macam apa – vokal depan, vokal belakang, vokal tinggi, vokal rendah, dsb. Seandainya ujaran itu adalah Bukan nangka , maka mental kita menganalisis bunyi /b/ terlebih dahulu dan menentukan bunyi apa yang kita dengar itu dengan memperhatikan hal-hal  seperti titik artikulasi, cara artikulasi, dan fitur distingtifnya. Kemudian VOTnya juga diperhatikan karena VOT inilah yang akan menetukan kapan getaran pada pita suara itu terjadi.
             Namun demikian, sebagai pendengar kita tetap saja dapat menentukan bahwa kedua bunyi /p/ yang secara fonetik berbeda merupakan satu bunyi yang secara fonemik sama. Karena itulah maka betapa pun berbedanya lafal suatu bunyi, pendengar akan tetap menganggapnya sama apabila perbedaan itu merupakan akibat dari adanya bunyi lain yang mempengaruhinya. Dengan kata lain, alofon-alofon suatu bunyi akan tetap dianggap sebagai satu fonem yang sama.
           Persepsi terhadap suatu bunyi dalam deretan bunyi bisa pula dipengaruhi oleh kecepatan ujaran. Suatu bunyi yang diucapkan dengan bunyi-bunyi yang lain secara cepat akan sedikit banyak berubah lafalnya. Akan tetapi, sebagai pendengar kita tetap saja dapat memilah-milihnya dan akhirnya menentukannya. Pengetahuan kita sebagai penutur bahasa membantu kita dalam proses persepsi.
             Faktor lain yang membantu kita dalam mempersepsi suatu ujaran adalah pengetahuan kita tentang sintaksis maupun semantik bahasa kita. Suatu bunyi yang terucap dengan tidak jelas dapat diterka dari wujud kalimat di mana bunyi itu terdapat.
    DAFTAR PERTANYAAN
    1.      Faktor apa sajakah yang membantu kita dalam mempersepsi suatu ujaran? Jelaskan!
    2.      Jelaskan yang dimaksud tahap auditori ujaran!

              SCSI support and a big surprise        
    Last week I added SCSI disk support for the CD-i 60x extension board to CD-i Emulator. It took somewhat longer then I expected, though. This was mostly because the DP5380 SCSI controller chip exposes most low-level details of the SCSI protocol to the driver which means that all of these details have to be emulated.

    The emulation ended up to be a more-or-less complete software implementation of the parallel SCSI-2 protocol, including most of the low-level signaling on the BSY, SEL, ATN, MSG, C/D-, I/O-, REQ and ACK lines. This is all implemented by the new CScsiBus class representing the SCSI bus that connects up to 16 instances of the CScsiPort class that each represent a single SCSI-2 bus interface. I was able to mostly avoid per-byte signaling of REQ and ACK if the target device implementation supports block transfers, a big performance win.

    The new CCdiScsiDevice class emulates the DP5380 controller chip, working in conjunction with the CCdiScsiRamDevice and CCdiScsiDmaDevice classes that emulate the 32 KB of local extension SRAM and the discrete DMA logic around it that are included on the CD-i 60x extension board.

    The CD-i 182 extension uses a compatible SCSI controller chip but a different DMA controller and has no local extension SRAM. I have not yet emulated these because I have almost no software to test it.

    The new CScsiDevice class implements a generic SCSI device emulating minimal versions of the four SCSI commands that are mandatory for all SCSI device types: TEST UNIT READY, REQUEST SENSE, INQUIRY and SEND DIAGNOSTIC. It implements most of the boiler-plate of low-level SCSI signaling for target devices and the full command and status phases of SCSI command processing, allowing subclasses to focus on implementing the content aspects of the data transfer phase.

    The CScsiFile class emulates a SCSI device backed by a file on the host PC; it includes facilities for managing the SCSI block size and the transfer of block-sized data to and from the backing file.

    The CScsiDisk and CScsiTape classes emulate a SCSI disk and tape device, respectively, currently supporting a block size of 512 bytes only. Instances of these classes are connected to the SCSI bus by using the new
    -s[csi]d[isk][0-7] FILE and -s[csi]t[ape][0-7] FILE options of CD-i Emulator.

    The CD-i 60x extension board normally uses SCSI id 5; the built-in ROM device descriptors for SCSI disks use SCSI ids starting at zero (/h0 /h1 /h2) while the built-in device descriptor for a SCSI tape uses SCSI id 4 (/mt0). This means that the useful options with the 60x are -scsidisk0, -scsidisk1, -scsidisk2 and -scsitape 4.

    I've added the new dsk subdirectory to contain disk images; tape images have no standard location as they are mostly intended for bulk-transfer purposes (see below).

    Inside the CD-i player this leads to the following response to the built-in inquire command:
    $ inquire -i=0
    vendor identification:"CDIFAN CDIEMU SCSIDISK "

    $ inquire -i=4
    vendor identification:"CDIFAN CDIEMU SCSITAPE "
    where the "CDIFAN " part is the vendor name and the "CDIEMU SCSIXXXX " part is the product name.

    In the previous post I described a 450 MB OS-9 hard disk image that I found on the Internet. After mounting it with
    -scsidisk0 mw.dsk I got the following output:
    $ free /h0
    "MediaWorkshop" created on: Feb 17, 1994
    Capacity: 1015812 sectors (512-byte sectors, 32-sector clusters)
    674144 free sectors, largest block 655552 sectors
    345161728 of 520095744 bytes (329.17 of 496.00 Mb) free on media (66%)
    335642624 bytes (320.09 Mb) in largest free block

    $ dir -d /h0

    Directory of /h0 23:49:36
    ASU/ AUDIO/ CDI_BASECASE/ CINERGY/ CMDS/
    COPY/ CURSORS/ DEFS/ DEMOS/ ENET/
    ETC/ FDRAW/ FONTS/ FontExample/ ISP/
    LIB/ MAUI/ MAUIDEMO/ MENU/ MWOS/
    NFS/ README_CIN README_MWS SCRIPT/ SHARE/
    SHIP/ SYS/ T2D_RUNTIME/ TEMP/ TEMPMARK/
    TEST/ USR/ VIDEO/ abstract.txt bibliographic.txt
    bkgd.c8 bkgd.d cdb cdb1 cdb2
    cdi_opt_install chris_test cin copyright.mws copyright.txt
    csd_605 custominits_cin delme dos/ file
    font8x8 get globs.mod go go.mkfont
    inetdb ipstat kick1a_f.c8 kick2a_f.c8 mtitle
    mws net new_shell new_shell.stb scratch
    screen startup_cin thelist
    You can see why thought it was a MediaWorkshop disc, but on closer inspection this turned out to something quite different. Some basic scrutiny lead to the hypothesis that this is probably a disk backup of someone from Microware working on early development of the DAVID (Digital Audio Video Interactive Decoder) platform. There are various surprises on the disk which I will describe below.

    Anyway, I wanted to transfer the contents to the PC as a tar archive, similar to the procedure I used for my CD-i floppy collection. After starting CD-i Emulator with a -scsitape4 mw.tar option this was simply a matter of typing the following into the terminal window:
    tar cb 1/h0
    This command runs the "tape archiver" program to create a tape with the contents of the /h0 directory, using a tape blocking size of 1 (necessary because my SCSI tape emulation doesn't yet support larger block sizes). The resulting mw.tar file on the PC is only 130 MB, not 450 MB which indicates that the disk is mostly empty. At some point I might use an OS-9 "undelete" program to find out if there are additional surprises.

    Extracting the mw.tar file was now a simple matter of running the PC command
    tar xvf mv.tar
    This produced an exact copy of the OS-9 directory structure and files on the PC.

    Many of the directories on the hard disk are clearly copies of various distribution media (e.g. CDI_BASECASE, CINERGY, CURSORS, ENET, FONTS, ISP, MWOS, NFS). The contents of the ENET, ISP and NFS directories at first appear to match some of my floppies, including version numbers, but on closer inspection the binaries are different. Running some of them produces "Illegal instruction" errors so I suspect that these are 68020 binaries.

    The SHIP directory contains some prerelease RTNFM software; the readme talks about PES which is a type of MPEG-2 stream (Packetized Elementary Stream). Various asset directories contain versions of a "DAVID" logo.

    The CMDS directory contains working versions of the Microware C compiler, identical to the ones I already had and also many other programs. It also contains some "cdb" files (configuration database?) that mention the 68340 processor.

    The contents of the CMDS/BOOTOBJS directory produced a first surprise: it contains a subdirectory JNMS containing among others files named "rb1793" and "scsijnms". Could this be floppy and SCSI drivers for the CD-i 182 extension, as it contains with a 1793 floppy drive controller (the CD-i 60x uses a different one) and the player has a "JNMS" serial number?

    Well, yes and no. Disassembly of the scsijnms file proved it to be compiled C code using an interface different from OS-9 2.4 drivers, so I suspect this is an OS-9 3.x driver. In any case, I cannot use it with the stock CD-i 180 player ROMs. Bummer...

    And now for the big surprise: deeply hidden in a directory structure inside the innocently named COPY directory is the complete assembly source for the VMPEG video driver module "fmvdrv". At first glance it looked very familiar from my disassembly exercises on the identically-named Gate Array 2 MPEG driver module "fmvdrv", which is as expected because I had already noticed the large similarity between these two hardware generations.

    The source calls the VMPEG hardware the "IC3" implementation, which matches CD-i digital video history as I know it. The Gate Array MPEG hardware would be "IC2" and the original prototype hardware would be "IC1". Furthermore, the sources contain three source files named fmvbugs1.a to fmvbugs3.a whose source file titles are "FMV first silicon bugs routines" to "FMV third silicon bugs routines". The supplied makefile currently uses only fmvbugs3.a as is to be expected for a VMPEG driver.

    The fmvbugs1.a source contains some of the picture buffer manipulation logic that I've so far carefully avoided triggering because I couldn't understand it from my disassemblies, and this is now perfectly understandable: they are workarounds for hardware bugs!

    As of two hours ago, I have verified that with a little tweaking and reconstruction of a single missing constants library file these sources produce the exact "fmvdrv" driver module contained in the vmpega.rom file directly obtained from my VMPEG cartridge.

    In general these sources are very heavily commented, including numerous change management comments. They also include a full set of hardware register and bit names, although no comments directly describing the hardware. This should be of great help in finally getting the digital video emulation completely working.

    All of the comments are English, although a few stray words and developer initials lead me to believe that the programmers were either Dutch or Belgian.

    Disassembly comparisons lead me to the conclusion that careful undoing of numerous changes should result in exact sources for the GMPEGA2 driver module "fmvdrv" as well. I might even do it at some point, although this is not high priority for me.

    The disk image containing all of these surprises is publicly available on the Internet since at least 2009, which is probably someone's mistake but one for which I'm very grateful at this point!
              CD-i 180 adventures        
    Over the last week I have been playing with the CD-i 180 player set. There’s lots to tell about, so this will be a series of blog posts, this being the first installment.

    The CD-i 180 is the original CD-i player, manufactured jointly by Philips and Sony/Matsushita, and for a score of years it was the development and “reference” player. The newer CD-i 605 player provided a more modern development option but it did not become the “reference” player for quite some years after its introduction.

    The CD-i 180 set is quite bulky, as could be expected for first-generation hardware. I have added a picture of my set to the Hardware section of the CD-i Emulator website; more fotos can be found here on the DutchAudioClassics.nl website (it’s the same player, as evidenced by the serial numbers).

    The full set consists of the CDI 180 CD-i Player module, the CDI 181 Multimedia Controller or MMC module and the CDI 182 Expansion module. The modules are normally stacked on top of each other and have mechanical interlocks so they can be moved as a unit. Unfortunately, I do not have the CDI 182 Expansion module nor any user manuals; Philips brochures for the set can be found here on the ICDIA website.

    Why am I interested in this dinosaur? It’s the first mass-produced CD-i player (granted, for relatively small masses), although there were presumably some earlier prototype players. As such, it contains the “original” hardware of the CD-i platform, which is interesting from both a historical and an emulation point of view.

    For emulation purposes I have been trying to get hold of CD-i 180 ROMs for some years, there are several people that still have fully operational sets, but it hasn’t panned out yet. So when I saw a basic set for sale on the CD-Interactive forum I couldn’t resist the temptation. After some discussion and a little bartering with the seller I finally ordered the set about 10 days ago. Unfortunately, this set does not include a CDI 182 module or pointing device.

    I had some reservations about this being a fully working set, but I figured that at least the ROM chips would probably be okay, if nothing else that would allow me to add support for this player type to CD-i Emulator.

    In old hardware the mechanical parts are usually the first to fail, this being the CDI 180 CD-i Player module (which is really just a CD drive with a 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal). A workaround for this would be using an E1 or E2 Emulator unit; these are basically CD drive simulators that on one side read a CD-i disc image from a connected SCSI hard disk and on the other side output the 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal. Both the CDI 180 and E1/E2 units are controlled via a 1200 baud RS232 serial input “RS” signal.

    From my CD-i developer days I have two sets of both Emulator types so I started taking these out of storage. For practical reasons I decided to use an E1 unit because it has an internal SCSI hard disk and I did not have a spare one lying around. I also dug out an old Windows 98 PC, required because the Philips/OptImage emulation software doesn’t work under Windows XP and newer, and one of my 605 players (I also have two of those). Connecting everything took me a while but I had carefully stored all the required cables as well and after installing the software I had a working configuration after an hour or so. The entire configuration made quite a bit of mechanical and fan noise; I had forgotten this about older hardware!

    I had selected the 605 unit with the Gate Array AH02 board because I was having emulation problems with that board, and I proceeded to do some MPEG tests on it. It turns out the hardware allows for some things that my emulator currently does not, which means that I need to do some rethinking. Anyway, on with the 180 story.

    In preparation for the arrival of the 180 set I next prepared an disc image of the “OS-9 Disc” that I created in November 1993 while working as a CD-i developer. This disc contains all the OS-9 command-line programs from Professional OS-9, some OS-9 and CD-i utilities supplied by Philips and Microware and some homegrown ones as well. With this disc you can get a fully functional command-line prompt on any CD-i player with a serial port, which is very useful while researching a CD-i player’s internals.

    The Philips/Optimage emulation software requires the disc image files to include the 2-second gap before logical block zero of the CD-i track, which is not usually included in the .bin or .iso files produced by CD image tools. So I modified the CD-i File program to convert my existing os9disc.bin file by prepending the 2-second gap, in the process also adding support for scrambling and unscrambling the sector data.

    Scrambling is the process of XORing all data bytes in a CD-ROM or CD-i sector with a “scramble pattern” that is designed to avoid many contiguous identical data bytes which can supposedly confuse the tracking mechanism of CD drives (or so I’ve heard). It turned out that scrambling of the image data was not required but it did allow me to verify that the CD-I File converted image of a test disc is in fact identical to the one that the Philips/Optimage mastering tools produce, except for the ECC/EDC bytes of the gap sectors which CD-I File doesn’t know how to generate (yet). Fortunately this turned out not to be a problem, I could emulate the converted image just fine.

    Last Thursday the 180 set arrived and in the evening I eagerly unpacked it. Everything appeared to be in tip-top shape, although the set had evidently seen use.

    First disappointment: there is no serial port on the right side of 181 module. I remembered that this was actually an option on the module and I had not even bothered to ask the seller about it! This would make ROM extraction harder, but I was not completely without hope: the front has a Mini-DIN 8 connector marked “CONTROL” and I fully expected this to be a “standard” CD-i serial port because I seemed to remember that you could connect standard CD-i pointing devices to this port, especially a mouse. The built-in UART functions of the 68070 processor chip would have to be connected up somewhere, after all.

    Second disappointment: the modules require 120V power, not the 220V we have here in Holland. I did not have a voltage converter handy so after some phone discussion with a hardware-knowledgeable friend we determined that powering up was not yet a safe option. He gave me some possible options depending on the internal configuration so I proceeded to open up the CDI 181 module, of course also motivated by curiosity.

    The first thing I noticed was that there were some screws missing; obviously the module had been opened before and the person doing it had been somewhat careless. The internals also seemed somewhat familiar, especially the looks of the stickers on the ROM chips and the placement of some small yellow stickers on various other chips.

    Proceeding to the primary reason for opening up the module, I next checked the power supply configuration. Alas, nothing reconfigurable for 220V, it is a fully discrete unit with the transformer actually soldered to circuit board on both input and output side. There are also surprisingly many connections to the actual MMC processor board and on close inspection weird voltages like –9V and +9V are printed near the power supply outputs, apart from the expected +5V and +/–12V, so connecting a different power supply would be a major undertaking also.

    After some pondering of the internals I closed up the module again and proceeded to closely inspect the back side for serial numbers, notices, etc. They seemed somewhat familiar but that isn’t weird as numbers often do. Out of pure curiosity I surfed to the DutchAudioClassics.nl website to compare serial numbers, wanting to know the place of my set in the production runs.

    Surprise: the serial numbers are identical! It appears that this exact set was previously owned by the owner of that website or perhaps he got the photographs from someone else. This also explained why the internals had seemed familiar: I had actually seen them before!

    I verified with the seller of the set that he doesn’t know anything about the photographs; apparently my set has had at least four owners, assuming that the website owner wasn’t the original one.

    On Friday I obtained a 120V converter (they were unexpectedly cheap) and that evening I proceeded to power up the 180 set. I got a nice main menu picture immediately so I proceeded to attempt to start a CD-i disc. It did not start automatically when I inserted it, which on second thought makes perfect sense because the 181 MMC module has no way to know that you’ve just inserted a disc: this information is not communicated over 180/181 interconnections. So I would need to click on the “CD-I” button to start a disc.

    To click on a screen button you need a supported pointing device, so I proceeded to connect the trusty white professional CD-i mouse that belongs with my 605 players. It doesn’t work!

    There are some mechanical issues which make it doubtful that the MiniDIN connector plugs connect properly, so I tried an expansion cable that fit better. Still no dice.

    The next step was trying some other CD-i pointing devices, but none of them worked. No pointing devices came with the set, and the seller had advised me thus (they were presumable lost or sold separately by some previous owner). The only remaining option seemed to be the wireless remote control sensor which supposedly uses RC5.

    I tried every remote in my home, including the CD-i ones, but none of them give any reaction. After some research into the RC5 protocol this is not surprising, the 180 set probably has a distinct system address code. Not having a programmable remote handy nor a PC capable of generating infrared signals (none of my PCs have IrDA) I am again stuck!

    I spent some time surfing the Internet looking for RC5 remotes and PC interfaces that can generate RC5 signals. Programmable remotes requiring a learning stage are obviously not an option so it will have to be a fully PC-programmable remote which are somewhat expensive and I’m not convinced they would work. The PC interface seems the best option for now; I found some do-it-yourself circuits and kits but it is all quite involved. I’ve also given some thought to PIC kits which could in principle also support a standard CD-i or PC mouse or even a joystick, but I haven’t pursued these options much further yet.

    Next I went looking for ways to at least get the contents of the ROM chips as I had determined that these were socketed inside the MMC module and could easily be removed. There are four 27C100 chips inside the module, each of which contains 128Kb of data for a total of 512Kb which is the same as for the CD-i 605 player (ignoring expansion and full-motion video ROMs). The regular way to do this involves using a ROM reading device, but I haven’t gotten one handy that supports this chip type and neither does the hardware friend I mentioned earlier.

    I do have access to an old 8 bit Z80 hobbyist-built system capable of reading and writing up to 27512 chips which are 64Kb, it is possible to extend this to at least read the 27C100 chip type. This would require adapting the socket (the 27512 is 28 pins whereas the 27C100 has 32 pins) and adding one extra address bit, if nothing else with just a spare wire. But the Z80 system is not at my house and some hardware modifications to it would be required, for which I would have to inspect the system first and dig up the circuit diagrams; all quite disappointing.

    While researching the chip pinouts I suddenly had an idea: what if I used the CD-i 605 Expansion board which also has ROM sockets? This seemed an option but with two kids running around I did not want to open up the set. That evening however I took the board out of the 605 (this is easily done as both player and board were designed for it) and found that this Expansion board contains two 27C020 chips, each containing 256Kb of data. These are also 32 pins but the pinouts are a little different, so a socket adapter would also be needed. I checked the 605 technical manual and it did not mention anything about configurable ROM chip types (it did mention configurable RAM chip types, though) so an adapter seemed the way to go. I collected some spare 40 pin sockets from storage (boy have I got much of that) and proceeded to open up the 180 set and take out the ROM chips.

    When determining the mechanical fit of the two sockets for the adapter I noticed three jumpers adjacent to the ROM sockets of the expansion board and I wondered… Tracing of the board connections indicated that these jumpers were indeed connected to exactly the ROM socket pins differing between 27C100 and 27C020, and other connections indicated it at least plausible for these jumpers to be exactly made for the purpose.

    So I changed the jumpers and inserted one 180 ROM. This would avoid OS-9 inadvertently using data from the ROM because only half of each 16-bit word would be present, thus ensuring that no module headers would be detected, and in the event of disaster I would lose only a single ROM chip (not that I expected that to be very likely, but you never know).

    Powering up the player worked exactly as expected, no suspicious smoke or heat generation, so the next step was software. It turns out that CD-i Link already supports downloading of ROM data from specific memory addresses and I had already determined those addresses from the 605 technical manual. So I connected the CD-i 605 null-modem cable with my USB-to-Serial adapter between CD-i player and my laptop and fired off the command line:

    cdilink –p 3 –a 50000 –s 256K –u u21.rom

    (U21 being the socket number of the specific ROM I chose first).

    After a minute I aborted the upload and checked the result, and lo and behold the u21.rom file looked like an even-byte-only ROM dump:
    00000000  4a00 000b 0000 0000 0004 8000 0000 0000 J...............
    00000010 0000 0000 0000 003a 0000 705f 6d6c 2e6f .......:..p_ml.o
    00000020 7406 0c20 0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 t.. ............
    This was hopeful, so I restarted the upload again and waited some six minutes for it to complete. Just for sure I redid the upload from address 58000 and got an identical file, thus ruling out any flakey bits or timing problems (I had already checked that the access times on the 27C100 and 27C020 chips were identical, to say 150ns).

    In an attempt to speed up the procedure, I next attempted to try two ROMs at once, using ones that I thought not to be a matched even/odd set. The 605 would not boot! It later turned out that the socket numbering did not correspond to the even/odd pairing as I expected so this was probably caused by the two ROMs being exactly a matched set and OS-9 getting confused as the result. But using a single ROM it worked fine.

    I proceeded to repeat the following procedure for the next three ROMs: turn off the 605, remove the expansion board, unsocket the previous ROM chip, socket the next ROM chip, reinsert the expansion board, turn on the 605 and run CD-i Link twice. It took a while, all in all just under an hour.

    While these uploads were running I wrote two small programs rsplit and rjoin to manipulate the ROM files into a correct 512Kb 180 ROM image. Around 00:30 I had a final cdi180b.rom file that looked good and I ran it through cditype –mod to verify that it indeed looked like a CD-I player ROM:
      Addr     Size      Owner    Perm Type Revs  Ed #  Crc   Module name
    -------- -------- ----------- ---- ---- ---- ----- ------ ------------
    0000509a 192 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 fba055 copyright
    0000515a 26650 0.0 0555 Sys a000 83 090798 kernel
    0000b974 344 0.0 0555 Sys 8002 22 b20da9 init
    0000bacc 2848 0.0 0555 Fman a00b 35 28611f ucm
    0000c5ec 5592 0.0 0555 Fman a000 17 63023d nrf
    0000dbc4 2270 0.0 0555 Fman a000 35 d6a976 pipeman
    0000e4a2 774 0.0 0555 Driv a001 6 81a3e9 nvdrv
    0000e7a8 356 0.0 0555 Sys a01e 15 e69105 rp5c15
    0000e90c 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f25f23 tim070
    0000e994 420 0.0 0555 Driv a00c 6 7b3913 tim070driv
    0000eb38 172 0.0 0555 Driv a000 1 407f81 null
    0000ebe4 102 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 cf450e pipe
    0000ec4a 94 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f54010 nvr
    0000eca8 96 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 17ec68 icard
    0000ed08 1934 0.0 0555 Fman a000 31 b41f17 scf
    0000f496 120 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 61 dd8776 t2
    0000f50e 1578 0.0 0555 Driv a020 16 d0a854 u68070
    0000fb38 176 0.1 0777 5 8001 1 a519f6 csd_mmc
    0000fbe8 5026 0.0 0555 Sys a000 292 e33cc5 csdinit
    00010f8a 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 6 041e2b iic
    00011012 152 0.0 0555 Driv a02c 22 e29688 ceniic
    000110aa 166 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 c5b823 ptr
    00011150 196 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 a0e276 cdikeys
    00011214 168 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 439a33 ptr2
    000112bc 3134 0.0 0555 Driv a016 11 faf88d periic
    00011efa 4510 0.0 0555 Fman a003 96 a4d145 cdfm
    00013098 15222 0.0 0555 Driv a038 28 122c79 cdap18x
    00016c0e 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 35f12f cd
    00016c94 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 d2ce2f ap
    00016d1a 130 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 1586c2 vid
    00016d9c 18082 10.48 0555 Trap c00a 6 5f673d cio
    0001b43e 7798 1.0 0555 Trap c001 13 46c5dc math
    0001d2b4 2992 0.0 0555 Data 8020 1 191a59 FONT8X8
    0001de64 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 c5ed0e dd
    0001deea 66564 0.0 0555 Driv a012 48 660a91 video
    0002e2ee 62622 0.1 0555 Prog 8008 20 ec5459 ps
    0003d78c 4272 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 9f3982 ps_medium.font
    0003e83c 800 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c1ac25 ps_icons.clut
    00040000 2976 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 0a3b97 ps_small.font
    00040ba0 7456 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 764338 ps_icons.clu8
    000428c0 107600 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 7b9b4e ps_panel.dyuv
    0005cd10 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 2a8fcd ps_girl.dyuv
    00065730 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 e1bb6a ps_mesa.dyuv
    0006e150 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 8e394b ps_map.dyuv
    00076b70 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c60e5e ps_kids.dyuv

    File Size Type Description
    ------------ ------ ------------ ------------
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.rom Unknown CD-i system ROM
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.mdl Unknown CD-i player
    cdi180b.rom 512K unknown.brd Unknown board
    Of course cditype didn’t correctly detect the ROM, player and board type, but the list of modules looks exactly like a CD-i player system ROM. It is in fact very similar to the CD-i 605 system ROM, the major differences are the presence of the icard and *iic drivers, the absence of a slave module and the different player shell (ps module with separate ps_* data modules instead of a single play module).

    It being quite late already, I resocketed all the ROMs in the proper places and closed up both players, after testing that they were both fully functional (insofar as I could test the 180 set), fully intending to clean up and go to bed. As an afterthought, I took a picture of the running 180 set and posted it on the CD-Interactive forums as the definitive answer to the 50/60 Hz power question I’d asked there earlier.

    The CD-i Emulator urge started itching however, so I decided to give emulation of my new ROM file a quick go, fully intending to stop at any major problems. I didn’t encounter any of those, however, until I had a running CD-i 180 player three hours later. I reported the fact on the CDinteractive forum, noting that there was no pointing device or disc access yet, and went to a well-deserved sleep. Both of these issues are major ones and those I postponed for the next day.

    To get the new player type up and running inside CD-i Emulater, I started by using the CD-i 605 F1 system specification files cdi605a.mdl and minimmc.brd as templates to create the new CD-i 180 F2 system files cdi180b.mdl and maximmc.brd. Next I fired up the emulator and was rewarded with bus errors. Not unexpected and a good indicator of where the problems are. Using the debugger and disassembler I quickly determined that the problems were, as expected, the presence of the VSR instead of VSD and the replacement of the SLAVE by something else. Straightening these out took a bit of time but it was not hard work and very similar to work I had done before on other player types.

    This time at least the processor and most of the hardware was known and already emulated; for the Portable CD-i board (used by the CD-i 370, DVE200 and GDI700 players) both of these were not the case as they use the 68341 so-called integrated CD-i engine which in my opinion is sorely misnamed as there is nothing CD-i about the chip, it is just the Motorola version of an 68K processor with many on-chip peripherals in remarkably similar to the Philips 68070 in basic functionality.

    Saturday was spent doing household chores with ROM research in between, looking for the way to get the pointing device working. It turned out to be quite involved but at the end of the day I had it sort of flakily working in a kludgy way; I’ll report the details in a next blog post.

    Sunday I spent some time fixing the flakiness and thinking a lot about fixing the kludginess; this remains to be done. I also spent time making screenshots and writing this blog post.

    So to finish up, there is now a series of 180 screenshots here on the CD-i Emulator website as reported in the What's New section. A very nice player shell, actually, especially for a first generation machine.

    I will report some ROM and chip finds including new hopes for replacing the missing pointing device in a next blog post.
              MPEG decoding, state save/restore, NRF emulation, ...        
    It's been a while since I wrote anything here, but that doesn't mean that work on CD-i Emulator has stopped. On the contrary, a lot has happened in the last month and describing all of it will take a very long blog post. So here goes…

    Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. There were various reasons for this, but the most import one was a very busy period at my day job.

    After a well-earned vacation I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, the GNU C/C++ Compiler that I found in October of last year. Getting it working on a modern Cygwin installation was interesting and something very different from my usual line of work. The result could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler then the Microware OS-9 one and supports C++ as a bonus. I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day; see also below. The sources need to be released but I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

    After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. When the appropriate interrupt status bits are set the driver starts copying a bulk of status information to an array of device registers and it will sometimes also read from those registers. This is all controlled by several status and timing registers that are also referenced elsewhere and I previously could not get a handle on it.

    My first attempt this time was spending another few days staring at it and tracing it, but this did not gain me much new understanding. Finally I decided to just leave it for now and see how far I could get without understanding this part of the driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working.

    This CD-i was produced by Philips to give future Full Motion Video (as the new MPEG playback functions were called at the time) developers a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the new hardware, at a time when this hardware was still in the early beta phase. The CD-i actually contains the compiler libraries necessary for making FMV calls from CD-i applications, as these had not previously been widely distributed.

    It is not a very slick disc visually, being intended for developers, but it demonstrates a number of FMV techniques such as regular playback, playback control including pause, slow motion and single step, freeze frame and forward/backward scan, special effects like scrolling the FMV window, a seamless jump and a sample of overlay effects with the CD-i base case video planes.

    I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. This time I traced back the crash and it turned out to have nothing at all to do with FMV playback but was instead caused by an incorrect emulation of the 68000 instruction "move ea,ccr" which is supposed to set the condition code register (ccr) to the value specified by the effective address (ea). In the processor manual this is classified as a word instruction and I had emulated it as such, which turned out to be wrong as it caused a word write to the full status register which should have been a byte write to the lower eight bits of it which hold the condition codes.

    The problem manifested itself when the application calls the math trap handler for some mundane number calculations, which were naturally supposed to set the condition codes. The value written to the status register inadvertently changed the processor from user to system mode (and also scrambled the active interrupt masking level) which caused an instant stack switch that caused a bus error when the trap handler attempts to return to the application program (the cpu took the return address from the wrong stack and got garbage instead).

    Most CD-i applications probably don't use the math trap handler so the problem went undetected for a long time. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.

    After this, the FMV Technical Aspects application would get to its main menu screen, allowing me to start FMV playback operations. Regular playback worked fine until the end of the video clip, where there turned out to be status bit generation issues that prevented the application from properly detecting the end of video clip condition (the decoder is supposed to send a "buffer underflow" signal, among others, after the end of the MPEG data and my emulation didn't do that yet).

    This was not very easy to fix because of the way that MPEG data buffering and decoding is handled inside CD-i Emulator, which I'll get into below. So it took me some time.

    Regular play working fine, I started worrying about window control. This was the area where I feared the picture buffering stuff, but it turned out that this was easily bypassed. The horizontal / vertical scrolling functions were ideal to test this but it took me some time to get it working. There were bugs in several areas, including my integration of the MPEG video decoding code, which I took from the well-known mpeg2dec package. This code is written to decode a single video sequence and consequently did not handle image size changes without some re-initialization calls at the appropriate times. Failing that, it mostly just crashed (at the Windows application level) due to out-of-bounds video buffer accesses.

    Another issue was the timing of device register updates for image size changes; I turned out to have the basic mechanism wrong and consequently the driver would keep modifying the window parameters to incorrect values.

    Having all of the above fixed, I returned my attention to playback control. So far I can get the video playback properly paused, but I haven't been able to get it properly resumed. For some reason the application resumes the MPEG playback but it doesn't resume the disc playback. Since the driver waits for new data to arrive from disc before actually resuming MPEG playback nothing happens (this is documented as such). The application is presumably expecting some signal from the driver to get into the proper state for resuming disc playback, but I haven't found it yet.

    At this point, it seemed promising to look at other CD-i titles using playback control and the Philips Video CD application is an obvious candidate. Again, regular playback appears to work fine, but playback control (including pause/resume) does not. It turns out that this application uses a different driver call (it uses MV_ChSpeed instead of MV_Pause, probably in preparation for possible slow motion or single step), which never completes successfully, probably again because of device status signaling. Similar issues appear to block playback control in a few other titles I tried.

    I've given some thought to tracing driver calls and signals on an actual player to see what CD-i Emulator is doing wrong, and it appears to be relatively simple, there's just a bandwidth issue because all of the trace output will have to go out the serial port which can go no higher then 19200 baud. Some kind of data compression is obviously needed and I've determined a relatively simple scheme that should be enough (the CD-i player side will all need to be coded in 68000 machine language so simplicity is important!), but I haven't actually written any code for it yet.

    I know there are issues with the proper timing of some video status signals. Things like start-of-sequence, end-of-sequence and start-of-picture-group should be delayed until display of the corresponding picture, at present they are delivered at decoding time, which can be a few pictures early. But that does not really affect the titles I've tried so far, because they do not attempt picture-synced operations. An application like The Lost Ride might be sensitive to thinks like this, though, and it needs to be fixed at some time. Similar issues are probably present with time code delivery. In addition, the last-picture-displayed and buffer-underflow signals are not always properly sent; I'm fixing these as I go along.

    In the process, I decided that the magenta border was getting annoying and tried to fix it. That turned out to be harder then I thought. The MPEG chip has a special border color register that is written by the MV_BColor driver call and it seemed enough to just pass the color value to the MPEG window overlay routines. Well, not so. Again the issue turned out to be timing of decoder status signals, but of a different kind. The driver doesn't write the border color registers until it has seen some progress in certain timing registers related to the picture buffering thing, presumably to avoid visual flashes or something on the actual hardware. Fortunately, it turned out to be easy to simulate that progress, taking care not to trigger the complicated picture buffer code that I so far managed to keep dormant.

    At some point, possibly related to slow motion or freeze frame, I might need to actually tackle that code but I hope to by that time have gained more understanding of the supposed workings of the MPEG chip.

    Looking at the above, you might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. I did have to fix something in the MPEG audio decoding, related to the pause/resume problems, and that was the updating of the audio decoder clock. When audio and video playback are synchronized the MPEG video driver uses the MPEG audio clock as it's timing reference, which means that it has to be stopped and restarted when video playback control operations occur. Since I had never before seriously tested this, the audio clock wasn't stopped at all and the video driver obligingly continued decoding and displaying pictures until it ran out of buffered data.

    There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. There is also a problem with base case audio synchronization but that is hard to trigger and possibly even not audible in many titles so I'll worry about that much later.

    Above I promised to get into the MPEG data buffering and decoding issue. The basic problem is one of conceptual mismatch: the CD-i decoding hardware gets data "pushed" into it (by DMA or direct device I/O) at the behest of the driver, whereas the MPEG decoding code (based on the publicly available mpeg2dec and musicout programs from the MPEG Software Simulation Group) expects to "pull" the data it needs during decoding. Things get messy when the decoding runs out of data, as the code does not expect to ever do so (it was originally written to decode from a disc file which of course never runs out of data until the end of the sequence). Some obvious solutions include putting the decoding in a separate thread (which given multi-core processors might be a good idea anyway from a performance perspective) and modifying it to become restartable at some previous sync point (most easily this would be the start of an audio frame or a picture or picture slice). Both options are somewhat involved although they have obvious benefits, and it may turn out that I will need to do one of them anyway at some point. For now I've avoided the problems by carefully timing calls into the MPEG decoding code so that enough data to decode a single audio frame or video picture should always be available; the MPEG data stream at the system level contains enough timestamp and buffering information to make this possible (in particular, it specifies the exact decoding time of every audio frame or video picture in relation to the timing of the data stream, thus making it possible to make those calls into the decoding code at a time that a valid MPEG data stream will have already filled the buffers far enough).

    The approach depends on the timing of the MPEG data entering the decoder, which means that it does not handle buffer underflow conditions unless you add some kind of automatic decoding that continues even if no more MPEG data appears, and this is basically what I’ve done. In the end it was just relatively straightforward extension of the automatic decoding already there to handle the fact that MPEG audio streams do not have to explicitly timestamp every single audio frame (the CD-i Green Book does not even allow this unless you waste massive amounts of space in each MPEG audio data sector) and would have been needed anyway to correctly decode the last pictures of a sequence, but that had never been tested before.

    For performance and possible patent reasons I have taken care to edit the MPEG decoding code (placing appropriate #ifdef lines at the right places) so that only MPEG 1 video and audio layer I/II decoding code is compiled into the CD-i Emulator executable. This is all that is needed for CD-i anyway and MPEG 2 video and audio layer III greatly complicate the decoding and thus significantly enlarge the compiled code.

    Being somewhat stymied at the FMV front, I next decided to spend some time on another lingering issue. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. Input recording and playback are a partial solution to this but then you still have to wait while the application goes through it, which is also annoying and can sometimes take quite some time anyway. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though.

    During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do. The basic internal mechanism is quite similar in spirit to what I developed for CD-i Emulator, but it's the way the data is actually saved that makes compatibility very hard. Both approaches basically boil down to saving and restoring all the relevant emulation state variables, which includes easy things like the contents of cpu, memory and device registers but also internal device state variables. The latter are of course not identical between different emulators but they could probably be converted if some effort was thrown at it and for a typical device they aren't very complex anyway. The MESS implementation uses an initialization-time registration of all state variables; at save/restore time it just walks the registrations and saves or restores the binary contents of those variables. CD-i Emulator has a somewhat more flexible approach; at save/restore time it calls a device-specific serialize function to save or restore the contents of the state variables. The actual registration / serialization codes are structurally similar in the two emulators (a simple list of macro/function calls on the state variables) but the code runs at different times.

    The real problem is that MESS includes very little meta information in the save files: only a single checksum of all the names and types of registered state variables in registration order. This is enough to validate the save data at restore time if the state variables of the saving emulator exactly match those of the restoring emulator, because there is no information to implement skipping or conversions. This holds between different versions or in some case even configurations of MESS emulators, but it holds even more so between MESS and CD-i Emulator! The meta information could of course be obtained from the MESS source code (relatively simply macro modifications could cause it to be written out) but that would require exact tracking of MESS versions because every version could have its own checksum corresponding to different meta information (in this case CD-i Emulator would need meta information sets for every MESS checksum value it wants to support).

    I want CD-i Emulator to be more flexible, especially during development, so I decided to make full meta information an option in the save file. The saved state of every device is always versioned, which allows the save/restore code to implement explicit conversion where needed, but during development this isn't good enough. With full meta information turned on, the name and type of every state variable precedes the save data for that variable in the save file. This allows more-or-less automatic skipping of unknown state variables and when properly implemented the restore code can also handle variable reordering. At release time, I will fix the version numbers and save full metadata information sets for those version numbers so that the same automatic skipping and handling of reordering can be done even if the metadata isn't in the save file (it probably won't be because of file size considerations, although that may turn out to be a non-issue because save files need to include the full RAM contents anyway which is 1 MB of data in the simplest case without any compression, which is of course an option).

    In addition to all of the above, I made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers, because writing a replacement for the NRF file manager (NRF = Nonvolatile RAM File manager) seemed the logical next step. Actually writing it turned out not to be that hard, but there were of course bugs in the basic ROM emulation code. Most of them had to do with handlers not calling into the original ROM, which totally screwed up the tracing code. Some new functionality was also needed to properly read/write OS-9 data structures inside the emulated machine from the ROM emulation code; I wanted to implement this in such a way that compilation to "native" 68000 code remains a future option for ROM emulation modules. And of course the massive tracing described in the previous blog post had to be curtailed because it was impossible to see the relevant information in the morass of tracing output.

    The new emulated NRF stores its files in the PC file system and it currently works fine when you start it with no stored files (i.e., the player will boot). In that case it will write out a proper "csd" (Configuration Status Descriptor) file. However, if this file already exists, the player crashes, although I have so far not found any fault in the NRF code. The origin of the problem probably lies elsewhere; I suspect it has to do with the hidden "player_shell_settings.prf" file. This file is read and written by the ROM bootstrap even before OS-9 is running; it does this by directly accessing the NVRAM memory (the file never changes size and is always the first one in NVRAM). Since the bootstrap accesses of this file do not go through the NRF file manager or even the NVRAM driver they are not redirected by the OS-9 emulation. However, later accesses by the player shell *are* redirected and the player shell does not seem able to handle the file not existing in the PC file system in the case where a csd file already exists. Solutions include extending the emulated NRF to always access this particular file from the NVRAM instead of the PC file system or somehow synchronizing the two locations for the file. The latter is probably the easiest route given the fixed location and size of the file, but the former is also useful as it would provide a full reimplementation of the original NRF that could in principle be compiled to native 68000 code to replace the "original" NRF in ROM (this is where gcc comes in as alluded to earlier, since all emulation code is written in C++).

    In either case, I do not want the file manager to directly access emulated NVRAM although it could do so easily, as there is already an internal CNvramPort interface that provides just such access independent of the actual emulated NVRAM chip. The NRF file manager should instead call the NVRAM driver, which means that I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right (the most obvious implementation uses at least 66 bytes of emulated stack space on each such call which I find excessive and might not even work; smarter implementations require some finicky register mask management or a "magic cookie" stacking approach, the latter having the best performance in the emulation case but being impossible in the native 68000 compilation case). When cross-module calling is working, I can also have the file manager allocate emulated memory and separate out the filename parsing functions by using the OS-9 system calls that provide these functions (the current emulated NRF does not allocate emulated memory which is arguably an emulation error and has the filename parsing coded out explicitly).

    When everything works correctly with the emulated NRF, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options. Extending the CD-i File Extractor (cdifile) by incorporating (part of) the emulated NRF seems the obvious choice, which would also provide me with some impetus to finally integrate it with the CD-i File Viewer (wcdiview) program that's supposed to be a GUI version of cdifile but so far is just a very thin skeleton barely able to graphically display a single CD-i IFF image file passed on the command line (it doesn't even have a File Open menu) and will often crash. A proper implementation would look like Windows Explorer with a tree view on the left (CD-i file system, real-time channels and records, IFF chunk structure, etc) and a variable content display on the right (raw data view, decoded sector view, code disassembly view, graphical image view, audio playback, slideshow playback, decoded MPEG view, MPEG playback, etc).

    That touches on another area in which I did some work last month: the saving of CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible, as it would write only about 2 x (1024 + 280 x (384 + 32)) = 247 KB of raw CD-i video and DCP data per frame instead of 560 x 768 x 3 = 1260 KB of raw RGB. At least on my PC this has turned out not to be the case, however. The data is written out fine, which is not as easy as it sounds since video line data size can vary with each line because of pixel repeat and run-length encoding, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding implementation to actually decode this information. Some kind of compression could be an option, but that takes processor time and makes things even harder and possibly slower. Perhaps using another thread for this would be a solution, on a multi-core machine this should not greatly impact the basic emulation performance nor the debugging complexity as the compression code would be independent of the emulation itself.

    So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months.

              Housecleaning        
    Today I did some housecleaning for the upcoming beta, which I'm still hoping to release before the end of this month.

    I decided to keep the current somewhat buggy MPEG decoding stuff in the beta, which meant that I had to clean up the MPEG ROM detection logic so that it actually works (until now I always used the -dvc option to explicitly force the DVC model).

    The MPEG ROM detector will now only use the supplied "dummy" xmpeg.rom file if it cannot find another recognized ?mpeg*.rom file. If it does find such a file, the DVC type will now be displayed in the CD-i Emulator title bar (GMPEG, IMPEG, VMPEG). For GMPEG the AH0x number is also displayed, as the AH00/AH01 cartridges are very different from the AH02/AH03 ones.

    Some little-known DVC tidbits:
    - The Philips CD-i 370 uses VMPEG hardware but at a different memory address
    - The Philips CD-i 615 uses IMPEG hardware but the ROM also contains non-FMV software
    - The DVS VE-200 and LG GDI-700 use IMPEG hardware but at a different memory address

    More details on the state of the MPEG emulation will be available in the beta release notes.

    Earlier I had started using a manifest file to get a newer common controls DLL, thus modernizing the visual "look" of CD-i Emulator somewhat. However, this caused Windows Vista and Windows 7 to stop using "virtual store" redirection of the cdiemu.ini file which broke all settings stuff (including the recently used list).

    Today I figured out that leaving out the UAC "requested level" entry from the manifest restores the "virtual store" redirection. This is good enough for this beta.

    I also killed the "file registration" code because it would hijack any existing non-beta registration (this has nothing to do with licensing but with the way Windows finds executables to open certain files).

    Finally, I added video decode skip validation. This gets a bit technical...

    In CD-i players, video decoding steals bus cycles and thus slows down the machine. The amount of bus cycles stolen depends on the video mode, pixel repeat settings and, for run-length modes, on the actual data.

    If the emulation starts to lag behind, CD-i Emulator starts skipping the decoding of video frames. Previously, I used a "worse-case" estimate for the number of stolen bus cycles in this case. However, this introduces problems with input recording and playback: if frame skipping differs (which is almost guaranteed to be the case), the playback will start to "drift" from the recording. Over many frames this will result in an incorrect playback.

    I coded a "SkipLine" routine that does no actual video decoding like "DecodeLine" but it does decode just enough to accurately determine the number of stolen bus cycles. This routine is now used when the video frame is skipped.

    The validation consists of running both routines when the video frame is not being skipped and ensuring that both "steal" the same number of bus cycles.
              Fast machines, file writing and some bits        
    Today I used my work PC to examine CD-i Emulator on a fast machine.

    It turns out that cpu throttling was already there; titles run at the right speed. However, the frame skip detection logic is too sensitive: it will skip frames even on fast hardware, just because of a momentary slowness (I think). I added an option -noskip to turn off frame skipping altogether; beter autodetection is too much for this beta.

    Likewise, for people who always want to run full-speed, I've added an option -nowait to turn off cpu throttling. This can make your CD-i title unplayably fast and it will also cause the audio to lag behind if the title plays continuous audio (most games do).

    On the AVI writing front I was less lucky. I cannot get decent write performance and this is not caused by the AVI writing code; just writing the raw data to a file will already cause very "skippy" emulation. Perhaps using a separate thread would solve this (especially on a multicore machine).

    And what's worse, the resulting AVI files seem to have timecode problems because they are also skippy, which should not be the case. This is really weird as I've previously been able to write AVI files correctly. It needs more work, obviously.

    On the other hand, the AVI files contain the correct audio data: if I extract the audio stream with avidemux, it's identical to a separately written WAV file.

    In the process of testing all of this (with Burn:Cycle, what else?) I also fixed the audio crackling problem; it turns out that Burn:Cycle opens all four audio attenuators (L-R, L-L, R-L, R-R) and for this possibility I hadn't accounted in the mix scaling.

    I also added the two keyboard emulations that I mentioned yesterday: Backspace for button 2 and Esc for button 3 (buttons 1 and 2 together). This works well for The Apprentice and Dimo's Quest and these are my reference titles anyway :-) I will ultimately add a UI for changing the keyboard map, of course.
               Open political science, methodological nationalism and European Union studies         
    Rosamond, Ben. (2008) Open political science, methodological nationalism and European Union studies. Government and Opposition, Vol.43 (No.4). pp. 599-612. ISSN 0017-257X
               Disciplinarity and the political economy of transformation: the epistemological politics of globalization studies         
    Rosamond, Ben. (2006) Disciplinarity and the political economy of transformation: the epistemological politics of globalization studies. Review of International Political Economy, Vol.13 (No.3). pp. 516-532. ISSN 0969-2290
               Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices         
    Varró, Petra and Szigyártó, Imola and Gergely, A. and Kálmán, Erika and Világi, Ildikó (2013) Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices. Acta Biologica Hungarica, 64 (2). pp. 137-151. ISSN 0236-5383
               Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices         
    Varró, Petra and Szigyártó, Imola Csilla and Gergely, András and Kálmán, Erika and Világi, Ildikó (2013) Carbon nanotubes exert basic excitatory enhancement in rat brain slices. Acta Biologica Hungarica, 64 (2). pp. 137-151. ISSN 0236-5383 (print), 1588-256X (online)
               A kalpainok szerkezete, működése, élettani és kórtani szerepe = Structure and function of calpains, physiological and pathological roles         
    Friedrich, Péter and Ádám, Géza and Alexa, Anita Ildikó and Bozóky, Zoltán and Farkas, Bence and Farkas, Attila and Gausz, János and Némethné Szabó, Beáta and Tantos, Ágnes and Tompa, Péter and Világi, Ildikó (2009) A kalpainok szerkezete, működése, élettani és kórtani szerepe = Structure and function of calpains, physiological and pathological roles. Project Report. OTKA.
              Surprise, surprise - those Murray-Darling Basin water raiders have slithered over the horizon once more and are eyeing off the Clarence Valley river system yet again        

    With so little fanfare that much of  Northern Rivers region missed it, the NSW Berejiklian Government reopened the March 2016 inquiry into augmentation of water supply for rural and regional New South Wales on 28 May 2017, with Terms of Reference published in July 2017.

    This Upper House inquiry is chaired by Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and its reporting date has been extended to 30 March 2018. 

    Current committee membership is as follows:

    Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Chair
    Mick Veitch MLC, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Chair
    Jeremy Buckingham MLC, The Greens
    Rick Colless MLC, The Nationals
    Scot MacDonald MLC, Liberal Party
    Greg Pearce MLC, Liberal Party
    Penny Sharpe MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Daniel Mookhey MLC, Australian Labor Party
    Paul Green MLC, Christian Democratic Party
    * Jeremy Buckingham MLC (Greens)is substituting for Dr Mehreen Faruqui MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Matthew Mason-Cox MLC (Liberal)  is substituting for Hon Greg Pearce MLC for the duration of the inquiry.
    * Paul Green MLC and Penny Sharpe MLC will be participating for the duration of the inquiry.

    A poorly advertised public hearing scheduled for 1 August 2017 in Lismore (with details sent to media on 31 July 2017) excluded Northern Rivers residents from giving evidence unless they represented a small number of invited groups.

    It appears the committee had also determined that Clarence Valley Council was to be asked its view on diverting Clarence River system flood water.

    Given flood water is already diverted to the purpose built Shannon Creek side dam to ensure a sustainable water supply for the est. 125,103 residents (Census 2016) currently living in Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour local government areas, there are no prizes for guessing where any additional water diversion would be allocated.

    Yes, that paragon of sustainable water mismanagement - the cluster of councils, industries, irrigators and water traders within the Murray-Darling Basin.

    It will come as no surprise that Griffith Council is still pursuing a Clarence River dam and divert scheme. North Coast Voices reported on its obsession in August 2016.

    This is what the Griffith City Council Deputy mayor, Dino Zappacosta of Zappacosta Estate Wines in Hanwood, told the inquiry on 1 March 2017:

    The issue that my committee, Build More Dams, has looked at is that we need more water because farmers are crying out for more water. We need new water. By "new water", I mean water that is not currently being used at all. We looked at various options, including the Clarence Valley area, where millions and millions of megalitres of water flow out into the sea for what seems to be no real benefit at all for the community of the Clarence region, other than for the natural farming land and the fishery industry there.

    It soon became apparent that, appart from the notion of free water at the expense of Clarence Valley communities’ social, cultural, aesthetic, environmental and economic values, Griffith Council knew little about how this dam and divert scheme would work.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: You have been talking about the Clarence River diversion scheme. Is it correct that that is essentially restricted to the Mann River subcatchment?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: To the best of my knowledge, it covers most of the tributaries—for example, the Boyd River, the Mann River, the Nymboida River and the Timbarra River. They are highlighted on map 2, which was provided to the Committee.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: I am a little confused about the way the map reads. It appears as though the water is coming out of the Mann River catchment, which is a subcatchment of the Clarence. The divisions appear to be above the confluence of the Nymboida and the Mann. You recommend a 23 per cent Clarence River diversion, but the question is: What percentage of is that of the Mann River flow and what environmental impact will that have on the Mann River below where it is diverted? We should keep in mind the history of the Snowy River and what has happened there over the past 50 years. Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I will have to take on notice exactly how much comes from the Mann River itself.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: What is the reduction in flow from the sub-catchment rivers below where the water is diverted from them? What environmental impacts will that have on those rivers?

    Mr ZAPPACOSTA: I appreciate the question. I think what you are asking is something we should dig into a bit deeper; there should be a study of it, preferably a feasibility study.

    The Hon. RICK COLLESS: There needs to be a lot of work done on this, as you would appreciate.

    While the Director of Utilities at Griffith City Council stated:

    As an engineer I see the great benefits of supporting a scheme such as the Clarence River diversion scheme, not only from a water augmentation point of view. My directorate covers water supply as well as the flooding impacts caused by rainfall run-off. The Clarence River diversion scheme is not only a supply scheme but a flood mitigation solution, as the general manager mentioned. In my research I have referred to the document entitled Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 produced by BMT WBM consultants. They happen to be the same consultants who undertook our flood study and provided our flood mitigation options. They work across the State and they are well versed in flooding, from the Northern Rivers down to our area.

    The Clarence River catchment on the far North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest catchments on the east coast of Australia. It is approximately 20,000 square kilometres. It is above the towns of Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and it is home to more than 20,000 people. The lower Clarence Valley has a long history of flooding, since settlement in about 1850. Bear with me as I read out the dates of the flooding events. I was just going to say a number, but it has more of an impact when you follow the years of flooding that the area has endured due to the large catchment that sits above it. Floods were recorded in 1863 and 1864. There was a record flood in 1890 in which two people lost their lives and there was extensive damage to the rural area. Further floods occurred in 1921 and 1928. Since 1945 the incidence of major flooding has been much higher, with floods occurring in 1945, 1946, 1948, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1980, 1988, 1996, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

    There is a regular occurrence of extreme flooding in the Northern Rivers catchment, below the Clarence River. Section 4.4 of the Lower Clarence Flood Model—Update 2013 acknowledges that "the river flows originating from upstream of Grafton dominate flooding in the Lower Clarence Valley". Diversion of the Clarence River flows for that area towards the west, and the 25 per cent or 23.8 per cent that will be captured, diverted and controlled, will be of great benefit to flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers area. The document further says that it will maximise the investment from the Government not only to help solve water augmentation issues but to reduce the financial and human impacts flooding has in the northern coastal areas. The Clarence River diversion scheme was documented in 1981 by David Coffey and he estimated costings back then. We have done a projection to a present-day cost of approximately $10 billion. There are statistics on the map that I have provided to the Committee.

    The Snowy Mountains scheme would have cost $10 billion in present-day money, so there are similar costings in the schemes. The 1,100 gigalitres diverted per annum from the Clarence River has generated $1.82 billion in agriculture. The scheme means that 23.8 per cent of the flows that would be heading down to flood people can be diverted. When you equate the $550 million a year in flood damages with the cost of a diversion scheme, 1,100 gigalitres can generate $1.8 billion a year in agriculture growth. The additional water means that 118,000 hectares of viable open country can be farmed. The offset of diversion and flood protection is that it is beneficial to all. That is where I will leave it.

    The public hearing in Griffith was reported thus by The Area News on 2 March 2017:

    HIGH-profile Griffith water users and city officials enjoyed a rare opportunity to sit face-to-face with Members of the NSW Upper House on Wednesday to discuss their handling of water….

    The Honourable Rick Colless, The Honourable Paul Green, The Honourable Matthew Mason-Cox and The Honourable Penelope Sharpe were on hand to hear the concerns of the community….

    Along with wanting to fix the water sharing plans, the other hot topic was the Clarence River Scheme, initially conceptualised by David Coffey in the 1970s.

    The plan outlined diverting river flows westward from high rainfall catchments in the Northern Rivers.

    According to Griffith City Council, the scheme will benefit lands south of the Dumaresq River while also providing flows into the Murray River, reducing the reliance for Murray-Darling Basin allocations to fill the original allocation to the basin. 

    “We have looked at various options and we look at the Clarence Valley area where there are millions of millions of megalitres of water flowing out into the sea for what seems to be for no real benefit,” Councilor Dino Zappacosta said.

    Griffith City Council general manager, Brett Stonestreet said it’s time the scheme is looked at again.

    “It provides new water to give this state another shot in the arm,” he said.

    “It also looks at potentially reducing flooding impact of the coastal communities adjacent to the Clarence by 25 per cent.

    “There is a huge amount of money that can be generated and inland communities rediscovered and regenerated through new water.”

    Mayor Dal Broi was pleased with how the inquiry was conducted and the feedback from the Senators.

    “Some of the questions that were asked by the panel members, we know now what they are thinking,” he said.

    “They were very receptive to the concept of new water so whether it's the diversion of the Clarence or lifting the wall on Burrinjuck Dam ... they were very receptive to that because we tried to make the point that the limited resources at the moment.”

    “We need new water if our regions are to grow and have a better long-term sustainable allocation.”

    Not content with bringing down the largest river system in Australia in order to line their own pockets, these wanabee water raiders just keep on coming after what they see as more 'free' water for the rorting.

    Clarence Valley Council gave evidence at the re-opened inquiry on 1 August and the only question of interest to the water raiders came after a few minutes of questioning at Page 26 of the Lismore public hearing transcript:

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Thank you for your submission. In your submission you talk about this idea of diversion of the Clarence River to west of the Great Dividing Range. Could you give us a bit of a background on that proposal and what your council thinks about it?

    Mr ANDERSON: I will start but Mr Mashiah might finish. Our council has resolved six times that they do not support the diversion of the Clarence, and each time that has been unanimous in regard to council's position. That is based on the fact that damage to the environment and the ecological systems that work within the Clarence River emerge from there. 

    The CHAIR [Robert Brown MLC, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party]: You probably cannot answer this, but that is an all-encompassing position of council?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes.

    The CHAIR : I wonder what the council's position would be on the diversion of floodwaters only.

    Mr ANDERSON: Again, Mr Chair, like you said, I cannot answer that question.

    The CHAIR: What I am asking you is that I guess the council's resolutions were not burrowed down to that extent to be able to answer that question. We might ask Clarence council for an opinion on that.

    The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Are those decisions supported by an independent side to pick advice? How were they derived?

    Mr MASHIAH: There was a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry into the Clarence in I think it was 1999, from memory, and part of the outcome of that commission inquiry was the importance of regular flood events in terms of the fishing industry and also the cane industry. I believe you have representatives from the cane industry here with us later.

    The CHAIR: This afternoon, yes.

    Mr MASHIAH: And also in terms of fisheries, one of the aspects that Clarence Valley Council has been active in for the past 20 years is trying to manage the floodplain to address issues such as acid runoff.

    The CHAIR: Solid sulfate soils.

    Mr MASHIAH: As the sulfate soils and particular acids run off. So we have done things like open floodgates and—

    The CHAIR: And you should be congratulated.

    Mr MASHIAH: Thank you, Mr Chair, for that. I will pass that on to the relevant staff who have been coordinating that. The regular flushing of those areas, which are fish breeding grounds, by floodwaters is very important. So if floods were diverted there are significant concerns from the fishing industry about the ongoing viability of the industry because the grounds where fish breed, according to the studies that have been undertaken, would then be adversely impacted. So that is one of the reasons that the fishing industry has very strongly opposed, through our estuary management committee in particular and through the estuary management plan, any diversion of water and we have tried to ensure that the fish breeding grounds are protected.

    The CHAIR: I just made the observation that most of those fish breeding grounds would not be the same areas of land that are subject to high residential development or business or commercial or other aspects. In other words, you are not talking about the township of Grafton itself, you are talking river peripheries, flooded-out areas, for breeding concerns?

    Mr MASHIAH: The challenge is that the urban footprint on the lower Clarence floodplain is probably about 1 to 2 per cent of the total surface area and all the urban areas are surrounded by rural areas. So it is very hard to work out how you manage that 1 or 2 per cent without adversely impacting the other 98 per cent, or vice versa, how do you manage the 98 per cent without adversely impacting 1 or 2 per cent of urban area?

    The CHAIR: The 2013 flood, you have described it as a major flood, correct?

    Mr MASHIAH: It was the flood of record at Grafton.

    The CHAIR: I am wondering how the 2013 flood would have enhanced the fishery on the Clarence?

    Mr MASHIAH: The main issue with the 2013 flood—I guess with any flood in the Clarence the flood behaviour in the upper river is a lot different to the flood behaviour in the lower river because of the tidal influences in particular and also how wet the floodplain is already. The 2013 event was actually three floods.

    The CHAIR: And they rolled up on each other?

    Mr MASHIAH: Yes, within a three-week period—quite distinct flood events.

    The CHAIR: So it was a prolonged flood.

    Mr MASHIAH: It was a prolonged flood and that meant there was significant inundation of back swamp areas, and I understand that there were some areas that effectively were areas that were flushed that had not been flushed in floods probably since 2001, so it is probably 12 years. So from an ecological perspective, talking to our environmental scientists, I understand that it was actually quite beneficial because the bigger floods only get into those areas once every 10 to 20 years.

    The CHAIR: Were there any concurrent blackwater events for the fishery?

    Mr MASHIAH: Not that I can recall, and I think that is a result of the management measures that have been undertaken on the floodplain because most of the farmers now operate the floodgates and so only shut the floodgates when there is actually a flood coming and open them fairly soon afterwards.

    The CHAIR: So it is their responsibility to operate their own floodgates, is it?

    Mr MASHIAH: That has been passed on to them, yes.

    The CHAIR: Do you have any oversight of that?

    Mr ANDERSON: Yes, we do, and we work with those groups and undertake training et cetera . It is a two-way street of communication: they tell us what they need and, vice versa, we provide training associated with that and inductions and operate that through a number of committees et cetera as well.

    Evidence was also given by the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association (commencing Page 38) the NSW Canegrowers Association (commencing Page 45) and the Clarence Environment Centre (commencing Page 56).


    One has to wonder why the committee members of this reformed Water Augmentation Inquiry didn't seek the views of those holding Native Title (See Yaegl People #1 Yaegl People #2) over the Clarence River from the waters approximately half-way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove right down to the eastern extremities of the northern and southern breakwater walls at the mouth of the river.

    After all they are significant stakeholders in any discussion of water policy and water management in the Clarence River catchment area.

    The other matter of note, arising from North Coast Voices somewhat belated discovery that the water raiders were back on the scene, is the suggestion that not all Clarence Valley councillors had forewarning that council staff were appearing before the inquiry on 1 August.

    If true this would be a disturbing indication that council administration has retained some of the bad habits it acquired under the former general manager who was handed his hat in March this year.


              Memories of a Maryland forest        

    The forest patch in my Maryland backyard has always been a part of my life and is filled with fond memories. This patch is one of the last remaining outposts of nature amongst the rapid development in Frederick’s outskirts, cut off from its brethren.

    Yet this small patch has been thriving for decades.

    The forest undergoes wondrous transformations with the changing of the seasons. During spring every plant ardently strives to be the largest; every centimeter of their delicate foliage strains for the Sun. When summer arrives, schools of industrious minnows snatch insects off the surface of the gurgling creek. As summer wanes into autumn, the trees explode into a whirlwind of brilliant, dazzling color. Winter ushers in the end of the year as the slumbering forest is gently bundled into a fluffy white blanket. Birds of all species emerge from the trees and crowd my mother’s bird-feeders in a flock of color: cardinal red, junco gray, and sparrow brown..

    But this patch is a mere scrap compared to the magnificent National Forests, particularly the untouched Roadless areas. According to the Forest Service, the 58.5 million acres of roadless forests are indispensible to wildlife as they tend to have older and rarer trees than non-protected areas. These forests provide irreplaceable ecological services to both people and wildlife. They keep our waterways clean, provide unparalleled recreation, filter our air, preserve our soil, sequester carbon, and more.

    “Although roadless areas represent less than 1 percent of the American landmass, they serve as a reservoir of rare and vanishing values,” according to former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck. “They provide clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife, abundant hunting and fishing, recreation opportunities, reference areas for research, and barriers against noxious and invasive species.” Roadless areas are also highly productive economically. In 1984 alone, roadless areas in Colorado provided over $60 million in recreation revenue to the state.

    My great hope is that the U.S. continues to expand the roadless areas in light of their significant ecological and economic benefits. As a child, I took many creek walks with my mother and sister in our backyard forest. I can only imagine the splendor of hiking in a national forest.

    Learn more: See a chronology of the Roadless rule
     

    Photo: Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit in Maryland.

    Photo courtesy of: Sarah Peters

    Fallen tree gives snow a place to sit


              IDM 6.23 Build 12 Final Full Version        

    IDM 6.23 Bulid 12 Final Full Version

    Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a tool to increase download speeds, resume and schedule downloads. Comprehensive error recovery and resume capability will restart broken or interrupted downloads due to lost connections, network problems, computer shutdowns, or unexpected power outages. Simple graphic user interface makes IDM user friendly and easy to use. Internet Download Manager has a smart download logic accelerator that features intelligent dynamic file segmentation and safe multipart downloading technology to accelerate your downloads. Unlike other download managers and accelerators Internet Download Manager segments downloaded files dynamically during download process and reuses available connections without additional connect and login stages to achieve best acceleration performance.

    What's new in version 6.23 Build 12 :

    • Added support for Firefox 39
    • Improved video downloading for several types of web sites
    • Fixed bugs
    Download Files

              Internet Download Manager 6.18 build 2 Final Retail        
    Internet Download Manager 6.18 build 2
    Internet Download Manager 6.18 build 2 Final Retail | 5.7 MB

    Internet Download Manager has a smart download logic accelerator that features intelligent dynamic file segmentation and safe multipart downloading technology to accelerate your downloads. Unlike other download accelerators and managers that segment files before downloading starts, Internet Download Manager segments downloaded files dynamically during download process.

    Internet Download Manager reuses available connections without additional connect and login stages to achieve better acceleration performance. Internet Download Manager supports proxy servers, ftp and http protocols, firewalls, redirects, cookies, authorization, MP3 audio and MPEG video content processing. IDM integrates seamlessly into Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, MSN Explorer, AOL, Opera, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firebird, Avant Browser, MyIE2, and all other popular browsers to automatically handle your downloads. You can also drag and drop files, or use Internet Download Manager from command line. Internet Download Manager can dial your modem at the set time, download the files you want, then hang up or even shut down your computer when it's done.

    Main Features:
    - All popular browsers and applications are supported! Internet Download Manager has been tested with the following browsers: Internet Explorer, MSN Explorer, AOL, Netscape Communicator, Netscape 6, Netscape 7, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firebird, Opera, NetCaptor, UltraBrowser, Slim Browser, Avant Browser, MyIE2, Optimal Desktop, Ace Explorer, Advanced Browser, 27 Tools-in-1 Wichio Browser, WindowSurfer, 550 Access Browser, FineBrowser Freeware, Kopassa Browser, Fast Browser Pro, Enigma Browser, GoSuRF, K-Meleon, Smart Explorer, The Off By One Web Browser, Smartalec Voyager, CrystalPort AppCapture, The Family Browser, XANA Web Browser, Bluto, AutoSurf, 32bit Web Browser, BrowseMan, WrestlingBrowser, Eminem Browser, UltraBrowser, Cygsoft LDAP Browser, and Net M@nager. Internet Download Manager supports all versions of popular browsers, and can be integrated into any 3rd party Internet applications.
    - Easy downloading with one click. When you click on a download link in a browser, IDM will take over the download and accelerate it. IDM supports HTTP, FTP, HTTPS and MMS protocols.
    - Download Speed Acceleration. Internet Download Manager can accelerate downloads by up to 5 times due to its intelligent dynamic file segmentation technology. Unlike other download managers and accelerators Internet Download Manager segments downloaded files dynamically during download process and reuses available connections without additional connect and login stages to achieve best acceleration performance.
    - Download Resume. Internet Download Manager will resume unfinished download from the place where they left off.
    - YouTube grabber. Internet Download Manager can grab FLV videos from popular sites like YouTube, MySpaceTV, and Google Video.
    - Simple installation wizard. Quick and easy installation program will make necessary settings for you, and check your connection at the end to ensure trouble free installation of Internet Download Manager
    - Drag and Drop. You may simply drag and drop links to IDM, and drag and drop downloaded files out of Internet Download Manager.
    - Automatic Antivirus checking. Antivirus checking makes your downloads free from viruses and trojans.
    - Advanced Browser Integration. When enabled, the feature can be used to catch any download from any application. None of download managers have this feature.
    - Built-in Scheduler. Internet Download Manager can connect to the Internet at a set time, download the files you want, disconnect, or shut down your computer when it's done.
    - IDM includes web site spider and grabber. IDM downloads all required files that are specified with filters from web sites, for example all pictures from a web site, or subsets of web sites, or complete web sites for offline browsing. It's possible to schedule multiple grabber projects to run them once at a specified time, stop them at a specified time, or run periodically to synchronize changes.
    - IDM supports many types of proxy servers. For example, IDM works with Microsoft ISA, and FTP proxy servers.
    - IDM supports main authentication protocols: Basic, Negotiate, NTLM, and Keberos. Thus IDM can access many Internet and proxy servers using login name and password.
    - Download All feature. IDM can add all downloads linked to the current page. It's easy to download multiple files with this feature.
    - Customizable Interface. You may choose the order, and what buttons and columns appear on the main IDM window.
    - Download Categories. Internet Download Manager can be used to organize downloads automatically using defined download categories.
    - Quick Update Feature. Quick update may check for new versions of IDM and update IDM once per week.
    - Download limits. Progressive downloading with quotas feature. The feature is useful for connections that use some kind of fair access policy (or FAP) like Direcway, Direct PC, Hughes, etc.

    What's new in version 6.18 Build 2 ? (Released: October 9, 2013)
    - Resolved compatibility issues with Google Chrome 30
    - Fixed downloading of groups of links for several file sharing sites

    Download Link
              Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition 3.4 + Keygen        
    Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition
    Lazesoft Data Recovery Unlimited Edition 3.4 + Keygen | 112 MB

    Lazesoft Data Recovery offers home users and businesses complete solutions to recover deleted files or lost due to the format or corruption of a hard drive, virus or Trojan infection, unexpected system shutdown or software failure.

    With easy to use interfaces and the most powerful data recovery software engine, you can using Lazesoft Data Recovery recover data by yourself, preview recovered files while the search is in progress.

    Easy recovery in all major data loss cases.
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              No post conference boost for Ostrich-like Lib Dems        
    Usually political parties receive a bounce in the opinion polls after their party conference. Mass media coverage should give them the platform to impress the voting public with their key messages. However, it appears that the limelight has done nothing to revive the Lib Dems' flaccid popularity.

    The latest YouGov poll sees their approval rating remain at 10%. Having been at their conference earlier this week, I can't say I'm surprised.

    Another Lib Dem delegate leaves conference
    Walking from Birmingham's Paradise Circus shopping parade towards the conference centre, there is a stall selling Ostrich meat. I have to say it was appropriate. The party certainly seem to have their head in the sand.

    I expected to find the Party leaders in bullish mood but what really did surprise me was the attitude of most of the grass root members I encountered. Despite their disastrous May election results they seem intent on putting their fingers in their ears and just carrying on regardless.

    It's as if they've bought into the notion that we're in this coalition government for the duration, we might as well bend over and take whatever it is the Tories want to give us. The odd snigger about Osborne's coke use aside, they're acting like they've got no choice other than to their bidding. What's the point arguing about the things we once cared about like tuition fees, we might as well just accept it and get on with it.

    The party seem very inward looking. They honestly don't seem to recognise there is vindication for the anger directed towards them. In their minds it's more a case of mindless resentment of them being in power rather than any sense of justifiable anger because they're allowing the Conservatives to carry out ideological cuts they have no mandate for.

    It's a shame because I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would like to vote Lib Dem again but on this week's performance they've been given little reason to rediscover any belief in them.


              Internet Download Manager IDM 6.17 Build 2 Final        
    IDM 6.17 Build 2 Final
    Internet Download Manager IDM 6.17 Build 2 Final | 5.09 MB

    Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a tool to increase download speeds by up to 5 times, resume and schedule downloads. Comprehensive error recovery and resume capability will restart broken or interrupted downloads due to lost connections, network problems, computer shutdowns, or unexpected power outages. Simple graphic user interface makes IDM user friendly and easy to use.Internet Download Manager has a smart download logic accelerator that features intelligent dynamic file segmentation and safe multipart downloading technology to accelerate your downloads. Unlike other download managers and accelerators Internet Download Manager segments downloaded files dynamically during download process and reuses available connections without additional connect and login stages to achieve best acceleration performance.

    Internet Download Manager supports proxy servers, ftp and http protocols, firewalls, redirects, cookies, authorization, MP3 audio and MPEG video content processing. IDM integrates seamlessly into Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, MSN Explorer, AOL, Opera, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firebird, Avant Browser, MyIE2, and all other popular browsers to automatically handle your downloads. You can also drag and drop files, or use Internet Download Manager from command line. Internet Download Manager can dial your modem at the set time, download the files you want, then hang up or even shut down your computer when it's done.

    Other features include multilingual support, zip preview, download categories, scheduler pro, sounds on different events, HTTPS support, queue processor, html help and tutorial, enhanced virus protection on download completion, progressive downloading with quotas (useful for connections that use some kind of fair access policy or FAP like Direcway, Direct PC, Hughes, etc.), built-in download accelerator, and many others.

    Version 6.17 adds Windows 8.1 compatibility, adds IDM download panel for web-players that can be used to download flash videos from sites like YouTube, MySpaceTV, and Google Videos. It also features complete Windows 7 and Vista support, YouTube grabber, redeveloped scheduler, and MMS protocol support. The new version also adds improved integration for IE 10 and IE based browsers, redesigned and enhanced download engine, the unique advanced integration into all latest browsers, improved toolbar, and a wealth of other improvements and new features.

    What's new in version 6.17 Build 2
    (Released: July 12, 2013)
    >Improved IE 11 integration (Windows 8.1)
    >Added support for new youtube changes
    >Fixed bugs

    Download Link
              ç´å“ã—たよ        

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    Logic納品分↓

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    ART HOUSE納品分↓
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    夏に関ジャニ∞のコンサートがあるらしくて、その時に友達とお揃いで着ける好きなメンバーのカラーでイヤリングを作ってほしい〜とか、エイトカラーの髪留めを作ってほしいとか…
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    いろんな場所で作品の紹介をしています。良かったら見てね。
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              House Rural Broadband Caucus Urges FCC to Support TV White Space Broadband        

    Recently, the economic disparity of the urban-rural divide has garnered substantial attention, especially as it relates to Internet and technological expansion. Rural economies suffer from a lack of Internet connectivity relative to urban areas, with rural adults being 10 percent less likely to have broadband or smartphones than urban adults.

    The House Rural Broadband Caucus (HRBC), a group of legislators seeking solutions for the digital divide between rural and urban America, believe that TV white space broadband could help close this gap.

    The HRBC announced its support for TV white space broadband in a bipartisan letter signed by 43 members of the caucus sent today to the Federal Communications Commission. Among these members were conservative stalwarts, Reps. Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Tom Garrett (R-Va.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Mark Meadows (R-S.C.). The HRBC sees TV white space as a solution for the lack of Internet service providers and expensive or non-existent cable deployment in rural communities.

    TV white space is unused high propagation radio frequency spectrum that, if allowed, could provide devices with Internet connectivity at low infrastructure costs. Technology companies believe that it could provide Internet connectivity through TV white space at 20 percent of the cost for cable broadband. The technology is proven, as hospitals, mega-churches, and schools already legally use white space spectrum for unlicensed devices.

    To create a private market for TV white space broadband, providers would need three available channels totaling at least 18 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum. The HRBC letter requests the FCC to set aside a third channel in addition to the two white space channels already authorized for unlicensed use. If the FCC were to accept such a proposal, rural Americans could see the cost of broadband access plummet.

    FreedomWorks Foundation has already filed comments with the FCC and wrote about the benefits of TV white space. In accordance with the HRBC, FreedomWorks believes that TV white space is a formidable market solution for expanding competition, lowering prices, and closing the urban-rural divide in connectivity.

    FreedomWorks supports the HRBC’s endorsement of TV white space broadband and urges the FCC to consider allocating an additional channel for unlicensed white space use.


              Support the CREATES Act, S. 974 and H.R. 2212        

    On behalf of FreedomWorks’ activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Creating and Restoring Equal Access To Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, S. 974 and H.R. 2212. This bill would lower prescription drug prices by crushing illegal, anti-competitive, and monopolistic practices by the biggest pharmaceutical companies.

    Prescription drug prices have soared above general inflation rates for years, a telltale sign of lacking producer competition. Large moneyed pharmaceutical companies abuse a loophole in the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 that allows them to bar potential competitors from entering the market. They do this by refusing to provide drug samples and safety information that new producers need for medical research required in the FDA approval process of generic drugs.

    Without these samples and safety procedures, new producers never earn FDA approval. Meanwhile, existing producers establish monopolies and hike prices.

    This especially harms the emerging market for “biosimilars,” innovative remakes of biologic drugs. Biosimilars are often much cheaper to produce than name-brand biologics, reducing costs for millions of Americans.

    The CREATES Act would grant relief in court for generic and biosimilar competitors seeking FDA approval. This would clear the pathway for new drugs to enter the market, drastically reducing prices through increased competition. The cost savings stemming from this legislation could reach between 15 percent and 50 percent of current prices for impacted drugs.

    Such legislation would reduce both the federal deficit and national debt. Decreasing prescription drug costs would lessen the financial burden on Medicare, saving taxpayers up to $5 billion annually.

    As you know, FreedomWorks fights for free markets and smaller government. The CREATES Act would lead to a freer market, less cronyism, and cheaper medication. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the CREATES, S. 974 and H.R. 2212.

    Sincerely,

    Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks


              Congress Should Lower Ridiculous Drug Prices by Passing CREATES Act        

    Perpetually increasing prescription drug prices ravage everyday Americans. Specifically, name-brand prices outpace inflation by about 50%, largely due to government-protected market power. A beacon of hope for reducing drug prices are the generic and biosimilar drug industries, which produces existing brand drugs and biologics drugs through distinctly cheaper methods. But big Pharma doesn’t want competition, so it does everything it can to block generic and biosimilar innovation. The CREATES Act, H.R. 2212, solves a loophole commonly abused by big pharmaceutical companies for unlawful market advantages in the emerging generics and biosimilars markets.

    Existing drug companies exploit the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) requirements for FDA approval of competitive generic and biosimilar products. This is an unlawful tactic to increase market-power. Biosimilars are a type of biologic drug – drugs manufactured from living cells – that mimic both the composition and the function of an existing biologic drug but employ cheaper production processes. Tragically, established producers prevent aspiring competitors from completing ANDA.

    To complete a generic or biosimilar approval process, applicants must acquire sample drugs from existing producers. This allows medical researchers to demonstrate that the functions and properties of the original brand drug and the new generic or biosimilar are, in fact, equivalent. Sadly, many brand companies refuse to provide samples to potential competitors, preventing them from gaining approval. Thus, innovative generics and biosimilars hit the market less frequently, trapping consumers with fewer options and higher prices. While this practice of abusing distribution networks is illegal, there are no enforcement mechanisms preventing it.

    Remember the damnable pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, who raised the price of a biologic AIDS drug Daraprim by over 5000% in one night? One of his profit-protection methods was to deny competitor applicants the samples they need to earn FDA approval. Competing with losers like Shkreli would be easy it if weren’t for this loophole. High school chemistry students reproduced Daraprim for less than $2 a pill compared to Shkreli’s $750.

    A similar monopolistic scam employed by entrenched pharmaceutical companies involves exploiting shared Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) procedures. Producers of existing brand drugs are sometimes required by the FDA to establish safety protocols that protect consumers from safety risks. The FDA encourages companies to share, or streamline, their REMS procedures for maximum safety and congruency among user experiences. If a person taking biologic drug X switches to biosimilar drug X, the shared procedure is supposed to ensure that there are no major differences in how this person safely consumes the drug. In a similar fashion to denying samples, big pharma often refuses to share REMS procedures. When a REMS program has previously been required, FDA cannot approve a generic or biosimilar until a shared REMS has been negotiated or the agency has been given sufficient evidence to waive the requirement. This imposes redundant and costly burdens on biosimilar producers, and ultimately delays market entry for far less expensive but equally safe drugs.

    Both of these tactics, refusal to share samples and failure to fairly negotiate shared REMS programs, establish de facto monopolies for original drug producers, but they’re easily fixed by the CREATES Act. Under the CREATES Act, generics and biosimilar manufacturers will be able to seek injunctive relief in court against companies that withhold samples or REMS information. This will improve competition with new generics and biosimilars, reducing prescription drug costs possibly as much as 40%. It will also help sustain Medicare Part D, the national deficit, and debt, by reducing government drug expenses by up to $5 billion per year.

    Congress should end illegal monopolies and help Americans afford their medications by passing the CREATES Act, all without increasing the size of government.


              MERCADO MOTOCICLÍSTICO        
    Nº262 ANECRA Maio 2007
    Nº67 MOTO REPORT Julho 2007 (com autorização)
    O mercado dos motociclos, quando encarado sobre uma perspectiva global, surge como um aliado natural de toda a indústria automóvel e não como um concorrente desse mesmo sector. Veja-se o caso dos fabricantes que constroem, simultaneamente, carros e motos. O exemplo é auto-explicativo. Do ponto de vista do consumidor, estes dois produtos finais (o automóvel e o motociclo) são, na maioria das vezes, bens complementares. Hoje em dia, as necessidades profissionais, familiares e recreativas podem, perfeitamente, apelar à coexistência pacífica destes dois tipos de veículos. O que nos confirma de sobremaneira a conclusão antecipada de início. Perante esta constatação de facto, optámos por efectuar uma análise ao mercado desde 1999 (o ano do “boom” nas vendas) até ao ano transacto. Convidamo-lo, então, a tomar o pulso a este ramo de actividade, que já conheceu melhores dias, mas que, com uma aposta consciente de todos os seus intervenientes (directos e indirectos), poderá recuperar o ritmo outrora alcançado. Assim todos saibam investir, promover, gerir, legislar, fiscalizar e apoiar.

    Situação Económica Nacional
    A Economia Internacional lida, actualmente, com a escalada do preço do petróleo nos mercados internacionais. Uma situação que vem sendo recorrente desde a década passada. Em rigor, questões por resolver, como sejam a do Iraque ou a da ameaça – algo dissimulada, porém omnipresente – do Irão ou, até mesmo, da Coreia, continuam a ter repercussões nefastas na economia global. Os barões da indústria de extracção e transformação do crude encontram nestes pretextos - mais até do que na própria escassez do produto - excelentes formas de exercer especulação, com consequências a nível mundial e que todos nós percepcionamos diariamente. Por outro lado, a concorrência de economias em crescimento, como sejam a chinesa ou a dos países do leste europeu, faz-se sentir veementemente. Estes países são – devido a conjunturas várias – altamente competitivos e, nos últimos anos, têm penetrado com eficácia e também com eficiência nos domínios da cultura, da sociedade e, principalmente, da economia europeia. A União Europeia (UE) apresenta uma subida constante do PIB, com excepção feita a 2005, e esta tendência de crescimento cimentou-se num efectivo aumento do consumo privado, coadjuvado pela redução drástica da despesa pública. A taxa de inflação ficou-se pelos 2,2%, em 2005, e, no mesmo ano, o desemprego atingiu os 8,6%. Por contraponto, os EUA apresentam 3,4% e 5,1%, respectivamente. O PIB americano manifesta tendência análoga à europeia, ocorrendo, inclusivamente, o mesmo fenómeno de redução da despesa pública e reforço do consumo privado. A Economia Nacional tem demonstrado grande dificuldade em resistir à negativa conjuntura internacional. Por ser pequena e aberta, torna-se naturalmente permeável ao contexto externo. Deste modo, o PIB, no período em análise, apresentou um crescimento global de cerca de 20%. Contudo, o investimento exibiu um decréscimo significativo (a rondar os 5%). O consumo, esse sim, aumentou avidamente, sendo que a taxa de crescimento se cifrou nos 25% para o sector privado e nos 30% para o sector público. Perante estes indicadores, é possível inferir que o recurso à banca foi o agente eleito para acelerar o consumo, já que o investimento decresceu e o PIB não acompanhou a evolução da despesa. Portugal continua também com as importações a terem um peso superior ao das exportações, sendo que 2003 foi o ano onde a diferença mais se esbateu. Já o Investimento no Estrangeiro conheceu uma drástica diminuição (para menos de metade). Igual tendência para o desinvestimento tem acontecido em relação às decisões do estrangeiro em investir em Portugal. Todavia, a taxa de decréscimo ficou-se pelos 10% O saldo da Balança Corrente é negativo, com agravamento desde 2003. A Dívida Pública apresenta um crescimento sustentado, a par da Taxa de Desemprego. E o mercado de trabalho é precisamente um reflexo de tudo o que para trás foi enunciado. Para clarificar este ponto, refira-se que o número de desempregados, em 2005, era o dobro do que havia em 2000. Evidentemente que este fenómeno, para além do flagelo social que dissemina, gera também uma sobrecarga ao nível da despesa pública por via do dispêndio de verbas por parte da Segurança Social. O que, em abono da verdade, contribui negativamente para cumprir o Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento. Já a Inflação apresenta oscilações entre o crescimento e o seu inverso. Até 2002 a tendência foi para o aumento do indicador, e daí para cá veio paulatinamente a reduzir, estimando-se que para 2006 o valor a apurar comute a orientação. Conclui-se, portanto, que as reformas levadas a cabo pelo Governo com o intuito de conter os custos, e que passam por uma racionalização da despesa pública, levarão o seu tempo a produzir os efeitos esperados. Até lá, Portugal é um país deprimido, envolto num pessimismo generalizado, e profundamente descrente da tão desejada retoma.

    Evolução das Vendas de MOTOCICLOS em Portugal
    O ano de 1999 permanece, até à data, como um marco muito positivo em termos de vendas de motos. Desde então, o número de matrículas novas tem vindo a decrescer. Esta tendência manteve-se até 2003, sendo que, no ano seguinte, ocorreu uma tímida recuperação. Os anos de 2006 e 2005 foram sinónimo de altos e baixos, respectivamente, sendo que, e em suma, os últimos três anos apresentam valores muito próximos. O mês de Janeiro de 2007 destaca-se o do seu homólogo do ano anterior, com vendas totais superiores em 50%. A KEEWAY é o construtor que mais cresceu. Analisando os recordistas de vendas em Portugal, constatamos que, de entre os 10 primeiros, quatro fabricantes são europeus, outros tantos são nipónicos (historicamente as marcas mais comercializadas), um é norte-americano e outro é coreano. Neste ponto, surge um dos sinais mais evidentes: o emergente mercado de exportações do eixo Coreia - China. De um ano para o outro, a KEEWAY passou de nove para 490 motos, e, só em Janeiro de 2007, vendeu quase 25% do volume atingido em 2006. Esta categoria está relacionada com as motos, ainda que tangencialmente. Vejamos o que nos diz o n.º4 do artigo 107º do Código da Estrada: «Quadriciclo é o veículo dotado de quatro rodas, classificando-se em: Ligeiro: veículo com velocidade máxima, em patamar e por construção, não superior a 45 km/h, cuja massa sem carga não exceda 350 Kg, excluída a massa das baterias no veículo eléctrico e com motor de cilindrada não superior a 50 cm3, no caso de motor de ignição comandada, ou cuja potência máxima não seja superior a 4 KW, no caso de outros motores de combustão interna ou de motor eléctrico; Pesado: veículo com motor de potência não superior a 15 KW e cuja massa sem carga, excluída a massa das baterias no caso de veículos eléctricos, não exceda 400 kg ou 550 kg, consoante se destine, respectivamente, ao transporte de passageiros ou de mercadorias.» Nesta classificação cabem os veículos de quatro rodas, que em tudo se assemelham a um automóvel, mas que podem ser conduzidos sem carta de condução – os “microcars” –, mas também os “moto4” que são parte integrante do catálogo de construtores de motos. Com esse fito, ao analisarmos a evolução de matrículas novas constatamos que a evolução é positiva até 2001, voltando-o novamente a ser depois de 2004. Aliás, note-se bem que de 2005 para 2006 o salto é de quase 36%. Indo de encontro ao detalhe dos registos, deparamo-nos com duas realidades que se aproximam. Se por um lado, os sete principais fornecedores de quadricilos são construtores de motos (logo são os “quads” a dominar esta categoria), quem, de facto, tem incrementado a taxa de crescimento das vendas é a indústria de quadriciclos “com capota”. O que desvirtua, em parte, este estudo, já que, em última instância, são viaturas com naturezas completamente distintas. Todavia, é claramente uma pista a ser seguida com toda a atenção.

    Distribuição do parque Segurado de MOTOCICLOS por Distritos
    Segundo os valores reportados pelas Seguradoras ao Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (Ministério das Finanças), esta contabilização manifesta tendência crescente, ainda que ligeira. Esta análise não manifesta, pois, correlação directa com as anteriormente apresentadas uma vez que:
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com matrícula;
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com seguro (código da empresa de seguro correcto);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data válida (AAAA-MM-DD);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data de início de seguro;
    • Nas circunstâncias em que existe mais do que um registo da mesma matrícula, apenas é considerado aquele cuja data de início é a mais recente (desde que inferior à data a que a informação se reporta);
    • Um registo apenas é considerado se a respectiva apólice se encontra em vigor na data a que diz respeito;
    • Todos os registos que se encontrem nas condições descritas, mas que não tenham devidamente preenchido o código de concelho e/ou o código de categoria. O ISP optou por considerá-los nas categorias “Desconhecido” e “Outros” respectivamente.

    Com a tabela seguinte podemos aquilatar a dispersão geográfica dos motociclos em Portugal. Há, logicamente, uma forte concentração junto dos grandes perímetros urbanos, sendo mais reduzida à medida que nos aproximamos de zonas eminentemente rurais. Porém, uma curiosidade: Faro é o distrito com mais motos por cada cem mil habitantes. O que lhe confere autoridade moral/nacional para realizar a maior concentração de motos da Europa. O distrito com menos motos per capita é Castelo Branco, logo seguido do Porto. Lisboa apresenta uma correspondência com a média verificada.

    Evolução do Mercado Europeu
    Na União Europeia (Europa dos 15), em sete anos, venderam-se perto de 8,5 milhões de motos, sendo que 2000 foi o melhor ano comercial. Em 2002, os valores bateram no fundo da tabela (tal como em Portugal), e daí para cá a evolução tem sido positiva. Ainda não estão disponíveis os dados 2006, mas crê-se que a tendência se terá mantido. Para a República Checa, Estónia e Lituânia, as taxas de crescimento são de três dígitos. Para os restantes países, os dados são esparsos e, por isso mesmo, inconclusivos. Refira-se, no entanto, que o primeiro deles aplica aos motociclos as menores cargas fiscais de toda a Europa, tendo inclusive, prémios de seguros com custos extremamente reduzidos (cerca de 10€). Não admira, pois, que se assista ao despontar da democratização deste produto naquele mercado. Em termos absolutos, a UE apresenta um conjunto de seis países que, por razões demográficas, mas também sócio-culturais, lideram o ranking de vendas de motociclos na região: Itália, Alemanha, França, Reino Unido, Espanha e Grécia. Excepção feita à Alemanha e à vizinha Espanha, todos os outros apresentaram evolução positiva entre o início e o fim do período em análise. Comparando a tendência da UE com Portugal, o auge das vendas ocorreu em 2000 (e não em 1999 como cá), tendo o volume global decrescido continuamente até 2002. A inversão de tendências acontece precisamente neste ponto. A partir de 2003, a UE inicia a recuperação e Portugal permanece em queda, abandonando a orientação do conjunto; circunstância que se deverá verificar até 2006 (apesar de, como já mencionado, os dados oficiais ainda não estarem disponíveis). A extinção da nossa indústria de motociclos, a própria mutação dos interesses pessoais dos consumidores, a falta de incentivos fiscais para aquisição e obtenção de licença de condução, e os sucessivos aumentos do IVA serão, genericamente, as razões que conduziram Portugal a este cenário marginal, quando comparado com o que acontece no restante continente europeu. Refira-se igualmente como causas as restrições legislativas, o desacompanhamento e despromoção do conceito e seus benefícios a nível institucional (poder político) e a insensibilidade das seguradoras, a par com as políticas comerciais brandas e pouco efectivas de fabricantes e importadores.

    Conclusão
    Perante a realidade em apreço, dois aspectos se nos afiguram evidentes: o sector está em crise e a China está a conquistar quota de mercado. A aposta chinesa não é na inovação nem na qualidade, mas, antes, na melhor relação qualidade/preço. Os seus produtos destinam-se ao segmento das motos de baixa cilindrada, onde a simplicidade mecânica e a estética parcimoniosa, aliadas a uma economia de escala com mão-de-obra barata, permitem reduzir drasticamente os custos de produção a favor de um preço final muito competitivo. Por outro lado, estes dados mostram-nos que no nosso país há uma vastíssima carteira de clientes interessada em motos com baixo custo de aquisição e manutenção. São as pessoas que necessitam de moto para, diariamente, se deslocarem dentro das cidades (onde o aumento da mobilidade e a poupança financeira são benefícios efectivos e imediatos). Ou que, a ser na província, as pessoas mais não precisam do que um veículo com motor até 250cc, para pequenos trajectos ao longo desse “Portugal Rural”. No fundo, esse é o nosso mercado tradicional.
    Sempre existiu, desde a época das fábricas de motorizadas no norte do país até aos nossos dias a adopção de medidas de incentivo – como aquela preconizada na directiva comunitária 125cc/Carta B, onde condutores de automóveis ligeiros estariam habilitados a conduzir motociclos até 125cc – poderiam deflagrar uma definitiva retoma do sector. Até porque, uma observação mais atenta do quotidiano revela-nos que não está a acontecer uma renovação da classe motociclista. Na prática, este grupo está, todos os anos, um ano mais velho. Não há uma nova geração a entrar no meio. Com a crise que se alastra no ramo, não são só os departamentos comerciais de revendedores e concessionários de motos que acabam por ser afectados. É-o toda uma indústria, desde os fabricantes de acessórios, vestuário e componentes mecânicos até aos serviços técnicos – quase sempre dependentes de um concessionário oficial ou revendedor. Quanto menor o número de unidades comercializadas, menor será o número de intervenções de reparação e manutenção a serem requisitadas. Pelo que, a não inversão da tendência de queda, irá deixar lentamente uma marca incómoda nos tecidos económico e social, pois não é só o plano macro-económico que perde o contributo deste sector, mas a própria micro-economia é posta à prova, seja através de mão-de-obra excedentária, ou de crédito malparado, ou até mesmo de processos de falência e contencioso. Sob um outro prisma, com a escalada do preço do petróleo, e com a necessidade de reduzir as emissões poluentes para a atmosfera, a utilização de motos como meio de transporte, sobretudo em centros urbanos, seria – à semelhança do que acontece pela Europa fora – uma opção natural com benefícios colectivos, longe de serem, de todo, despiciendos.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para REVISTA ANECRA, uma publicação da ANECRA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 392 90 30.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              A VERDADEIRA ESCOLA - TUNING DAS "CINQUENTAS"        
    Nº64 MOTO REPORT Abril 2007

    O tuning das motos, tal como o dos carros, cativa quem o faz e quem o vê. Nos automóveis, os modelos sofrem “restylings”, grosso modo, a cada três anos, mas nos ciclomotores os intervalos de tempo são mais espaçados. As pessoas vão-se cansando de ver os mesmos modelos, durante anos a fio, sem alterações. Esse cansaço acumulado – de ver sempre a mesma coisa – começa então a disseminar-se um pouco por toda a parte e os utilizadores resolvem, eles próprios, iniciar um qualquer processo de transformação da sua moto. Se, por um lado, existe algum constrangimento financeiro, por outro acaba por ser ele, muitas vezes, o impulsionador para se tomar a decisão de “quitar” a motinha actual ao invés de comprar uma nova mais potente. Perde um sector do mercado mas ganha outro, o dedicado ao fornecimento de componentes de tuning. Como desafio até se torna interessante fazer com que uma “cinquenta” pareça tão bem decorada e tão desenvolta quanto uma “125”. Saiba este sector adaptar-se às novas realidades e nunca há-de morrer.

    Desde finais dos anos 90 que há um declínio geral do mercado, qualquer que seja a cilindrada. A legislação não ajudou, os incentivos desapareceram, os seguros agravaram-se e a sociedade adquiriu novos hábitos. Hoje, até as bicicletas estão em declínio. As que circulam por aí são modelos de topo de gama, compradas por gente adulta que as usa ao fim-de-semana para passear calmamente ou fazer BTT. Já não vemos crianças a andar de bicicleta naturalmente. É-lhes simplesmente vedada a oportunidade de se iniciarem nesse mundo das duas rodas. Há 30 atrás, a primeira bicicleta na vida das crianças surgia por volta dos três ou quatro anos de idade. Hoje em dia, se uma criança recebe a primeira bicicleta, na melhor das hipóteses, aos 11 ou 12 anos, dificilmente irá desenvolver daí o hobby, porque já teve um percurso anterior que a impede de apreciar e dedicar atenção àquele veículo, muito menos às motos e ao seu tuning. Quando tentámos aquilatar a faixa etária dos entusiastas deste tipo muito específico de actividade, Jorge Custódio, da Motoclasse, é peremptório na sua resposta: “Infelizmente são só pessoas a partir dos 17 anos.” Explica: “Aquela faixa etária dos 13 aos 17 anos, que dantes tinha muita «pica» pelas motos, que tantas vezes se iniciava nas scooters e evoluía mais tarde para uma moto com mudanças, está a desaparecer. Por razões sociais, que vão desde a gestão das prioridades familiares, ao mito de que as motos são perigosas, etc. Muitas vezes os adolescentes estão trancados em casa
    com outro tipo de actividades. Já os jovens a partir dos 18 anos, como alguns trabalham, têm mais disponibilidade financeira para desenvolverem o seu gosto pelo tuning.” E de facto esta conclusão é reveladora da importância que esta actividade tem para o sector, como, aliás, mais adiante desenvolve: “O tuning das cinquentas promove todo o sector, porque é um gosto que se cria, se desenvolve e se desmultiplica para os outros segmentos do mercado das motos, acompanhando a evolução desde a fase da adolescência até à vida adulta dos motociclistas. O que move o nosso ramo, a nível geral, são as 50cc e as 125cc. São o embrião de um gosto pessoal q