Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Classics Professor Battles Internet Attacks

Sad but true--

Mary Beard, Classics Professor, Battles Internet Attacks - " . . . But little could have prepared her for the furor she faced after she appeared on a weekly BBC debate show last month and, while discussing immigration, expressed the unpopular view that Britain’s social services would not be overburdened when restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian movement around Europe are lifted next year. Her remarks, made on Jan. 17, unleashed a torrent of vicious, crude and personal online attacks, many targeting her unadorned style and her long, unkempt gray hair. Anonymous attackers also superimposed a picture of her face on a pornographic image. But rather than retire to her fainting couch (it is in her Newnham office, should she need it), or accept what happened as the cost of being a public figure in the Internet age, Ms. Beard decided to fight back. Adopting what she said was a “high-risk strategy,” Ms. Beard reproduced on her blog some of the most unsavory remarks and the mocked-up image, which she has since removed. “I wanted people to see how bad it is,” she said in an interview at Cambridge’s Newnham College, which she attended and where she has taught for nearly 30 years. “You never know what it’s like, because no mainstream paper will print it, nobody on the radio will let you say it, and so it came to look as if I was worried that they said I hadn’t done my hair. “What was said was pornographic, violent, sexist, misogynist and also frightfully silly,” she said. The comments would prove fatal for Don’t Start Me Off, an off-color online forum that became a bulletin board for her worst abusers. The site was eventually shuttered by its moderator, Richard White, who, in an about-face unexpected from an online provocateur, sent Ms. Beard a lengthy apology. . . ."

Best tactic is to usually ignore trolls--they are desperate for attention--don't give it to them. Just ignore them.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Understanding Nothing

I like this--

A Guide to Understanding Nothing | Think Tank | Big Think: " . ... As Krauss points out, "once you apply the laws of quantum mechanics to gravity itself, then space itself becomes a quantum mechanical variable and fluctuates in and out of existence and you can literally, by the laws of quantum mechanics, create universes." What about the laws of physics? The laws of nature? These laws themselves are somehow something. "That is not at all obvious or clear or necessary, says Krauss. In fact, "we now have good reason to believe that even the laws of physics themselves are kind of arbitrary." For instance, there may be an infinite number of universes, and in each universe that has been created, the laws of physics are different. "The laws themselves come into existence when the universe comes into existence," Krauss says. In other words, there is no pre-existing fundamental law. Anything that can happen, does happen. So what are we left with? No laws, no space, no time, no particles, no radiation. That’s a pretty good definition of nothing. . . . "

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ireland admits involvement in Catholic laundry slavery

Sad--but sunshine is a disinfectant--

Ireland admits involvement in Catholic laundry slavery - CBS News: " . . . Ireland has admitted some responsibility for workhouses run by Catholic nuns that once kept thousands of women and teenage girls against their will in unpaid, forced labor. The apology comes after an expert panel found that Ireland should be legally responsible for the defunct Magdalene Laundries because authorities committed about one-quarter of the 10,012 women to the workhouses from 1922 to 1996, often in response to school truancy or homelessness. "To those residents who went through the Magdalene Laundries in a variety of ways, 26 percent of the time from state involvement, I am sorry for those people that they lived in that kind of environment," said Prime Minister Enda Kenny on behalf of the Irish government, according to Reuters. Survivors said they were unsatisfied with the prime minister's response. Steven O'Riordan, spokesperson for Magdalene Survivors Together, told Irish paper The Journal the apology was a "cop out.". . . "

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Michigan Union Tell-All

Review & Outlook: Michigan Union Tell-All - " . . . The pattern in new right-to-work states is that union membership plunges when it is voluntary. That's what happened in Wisconsin and Indiana, and it will probably happen in Michigan too. Yet the most revealing news in the Cook memo is how little the union discusses assisting workers so more will voluntarily join unions. Instead the focus is how to continue coercing workers to keep paying dues. No wonder that the percentage of government workers who belong to unions fell last year. The Cook memo is damning proof that the main goal of union leaders is to enhance the power of union leaders, not of workers. . . ."

That's the problem with unions in the US--the priority is keeping the union leaders in power.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chinese Cyberattacks — Signs of a Pathetic System

China’s Cyberattacks — At What Cost? | ChinaFile: "China so desperately wants to be “loved,” and so lacks confidence that its current system is capable of winning such affections, that it hopes it can contrive soft power power by controlling what people say and think, and then paying for a massive ad and media campaign to go along with it."

The problem for China is no one can control what people say and think. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Obama wants another Era of Big Government

Bill Clinton said the Era of Big Government was over. Looks like Obama is trying to revive the Era of Big Government--

RealClearMarkets - Obama Lays Out the Case for Big Government: "Mr. Obama reprised his "You didn't build that" theme by saying that "no single person can train all the math and science teachers...or build the roads and networks and research labs." This does not mean that it has to be a government function. America has private companies for scientific research and private colleges and universities to train teachers. With new tolling technology, private companies can even build roads, formerly only the province of government. Raising federal government spending from its historical average of 20 percent of GDP to 24 percent of GDP in 2012 has not been enough for Mr. Obama. His inaugural address is a manifesto for an even bigger share."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Google to build £1bn UK headquarters at London's King's Cross

Google's London move shows its global intentions--

Google to build £1bn UK headquarters at London's King's Cross | Technology | "Google has completed a £1bn property deal to move its UK headquarters to a brownfield site in London's King's Cross area. The US technology giant has purchased a 2.4 acre site between King's Cross and St Pancras stations and plans to build a seven and 11 storey complex due to be complete in 2016. Google already has two central London offices – one in Victoria and one on St Giles High Street – from where staff are expected to be relocated. The move forms part of the regeneration of the King's Cross area following the opening of the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras in 2007. Organisations that have moved into the area since then include Guardian News & Media, publisher of MediaGuardian, and art college Central St Martin's."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lance Armstrong and psychopathic tendencies

Lance isn't alone--

Lance Armstrong: American Psychopath | Think Tank | Big Think: "How could Armstrong's dignified public persona be so at odds with the patterns of behavior described in the report? The disturbing truth is actually how consistent his public and private behavior appears to be. According to Kevin Dutton, author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, people with high psychopathic tendencies often appear outwardly normal. In fact, they are often quite charming. But psychopaths are also looking to use that charm to deceive people, as they have the tendency to be ruthless competitors who aim to win at all cost."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wonder What Steve Ballmer Thinks of Mega

Microsoft CEO Ballmer interview: Dropbox dismissed as ‘little startup’ | BGR: "It’s too bad that Dropbox isn’t a publicly traded company, because it would be a great time to buy its shares now that Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer has given it his patented reverse-kiss-of-death. Ballmer, who previously predicted the iPhone would flop because it lacked a physical keyboard and that Android would fail because Google wasn’t slapping OEMs with any licensing fees to use it, told BusinessWeek on Tuesday that the cloud storage company was just a “little startup” that posed no threat to Microsoft’s own SkyDrive cloud service."

We know what Steve Ballmer thinks of DropBox, but what about Mega?-- enters top 150 sites, bigger than DropBox, Rapidshare | KitGuru: "Kim Dotcom’s recently launched Mega file locker website has been climbing the ranks of the world’s biggest sites very quickly indeed. Just yesterday it had become the biggest site in New Zealand and today it’s managed to eclipse not only Rapidshare, but DropBox as well. This was announced by Kim Dotcom on his regularly updated twitter account, with the simple message “141.” This is because while’s three month ranking is still somewhere in the low thousands, in-fact the site’s daily rank has show to 141, ranking it in the top 150 websites in the world. Considering it was only launched on Friday, that’s a tremendous achievement."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kim Dotcom turns lemons into lemonades

And in the process makes fools of the FBI and DOJ--and their masters, Hollywood and Obama--(a/k/a "HO" for short):

Well done, FBI, for helping Kim Dotcom achieve global fame | ZDNet: "Summary: Kim Dotcom turned the launch of a small, buggy, not-very-original New Zealand website into a huge global media event, but he couldn't have done it without the help of the US justice system and the FBI."

Kim Dotcom publicity analysis: US government bears responsibility | BGR: " . . . Dotcom knows how amuse people and make headlines. But none of these stunts would garner such attention if the FBI hadn’t helped New Zealand’s elite counterterrorism unit plan a raid Dotcom’s mansion while simultaneously making bizarre accusations that Dotcom had a “doomsday device” that was capable of wiping out all evidence of Internet piracy with the flick of a switch. These excessive actions have now become major publicity headaches for New Zealand’s government, Schofield writes, especially since “New Zealand judge Helen Winkelmann ruled that the police had acted illegally because its warrants — presumably constructed at the behest of the FBI agents — were too broad to be considered reasonable.”. . . it seems as though American officials’ decision to make an example of Dotcom has backfired spectacularly, making him into a folk hero for Internet activists who believe that our current copyright laws are overly favorable copyright holders and restrict creative freedom. . . ."

Overzealous, overbroad--will government EVER learn? Unfortunately, history tells us "no." That is why the wise have always maintained that government is best which governs least, and we, and government, need to continually remind ourselves of this timeless wisdom.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Briton finds valuable (rare whale vomit) ambergris

 Briton finds valuable, rare 'whale vomit' | "Ken Wilman was walking his dog Madge in the coastal town of Morecambe in northwest England when she began "poking at a rather large stone" with a waxy texture and yellowish colour. At first he left it on the beach but later retrieved the object, which he believes is a piece of ambergris, a substance found in the digestive systems of sperm whales. Whales sometimes spew up ambergris, which floats on water and has been highly prized for centuries. It is used in perfume-making for the musky fragrance it acquires as it ages - but newer ambergris is foul-smelling."

Friday, February 1, 2013

How wolves evolved into man's best friend

How wolves evolved into man's best friend - The Week: " . . . . Combing through the genomes of 60 domestic breeds — including golden retrievers and cockerspaniels — Swedish researchers discovered that dogs have a much easier time converting starches into glucose than modern wolves. This means that at some point in dogs' evolutionary history, packs of wild canids struck up a mutually beneficial relationship with early humans, and learned to subsist on people food — stuff like wheat, barley, corn, rice, and potatoes. In exchange, man earned himself a loyal friend and fierce protector.  "I think it is a striking case of co-evolution," Erik Axelsson, a geneticist at Uppsala University, tells the Washington Post. "The fact that we shared a similar environment in the last 10,000 years caused a similar adaptation. And the big change in the environment was the development of agriculture.". . . "

Reuters: World News

Top Stories - Google (UK) News

Reuters: Technology News

The Register articles by Kieren McCarthy

Altucher Confidential

BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis


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