Ingénieur Bancs de Tests et Instrumentation H/F - Alten - Toulouse        
Nous recherchons un ingénieur Bancs de Test et Instrumentation pour notre agence toulousaine. Vous serez responsable des bancs de test en termes d'exploitation. Vos responsabilités principales seront : Responsable de l'exploitation, maintenance et évolution des bancs de test de production des produits radio Mesure des performances des bancs, Analyse des produits testés : moyenne, écart type, dérives, dispersion, Proposition d'amélioration : être force de propositions,...
          Ingénieur Bancs de Tests et Instrumentation H/F - Alten - Toulouse        
Nous recherchons un ingénieur Bancs de Test et Instrumentation pour notre agence toulousaine. Vous serez responsable des bancs de test en termes d'exploitation. Vos responsabilités principales seront : Responsable de l'exploitation, maintenance et évolution des bancs de test de production des produits radio Mesure des performances des bancs, Analyse des produits testés : moyenne, écart type, dérives, dispersion, Proposition d'amélioration : être force de propositions,...
          La cultura delle destre        
Il libro che sto recensendo è: Gabriele Turi, La cultura delle destre. Alla ricerca dell'egemonia culturale in Italia, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 2013, pp. 175, Euro 14,00, ISBN 978-88-339-2429-8.

L'autore insegna storia contemporanea a Firenze e dirige la rivista "Passato e presente". Il libro, nonostante il titolo, non ha molto a che vedere col celebre saggio di Furio Jesi; ha un approccio decisamente meno teoretico, in compenso Ã¨ ricchissimo di dati.

Il presupposto da cui parte è molto semplice: la cosiddetta "egemonia culturale della sinistra" nell'Italia del dopoguerra è una leggenda metropolitana. In realtà l'ideologia dominante Ã¨ sempre stata di destra; Turi si spinge fino ad affermare una "centralità del fascismo nella storia culturale e civile del paese". Il berlusconismo Ã¨ l'erede e il continuatore di questa cultura.

La trattazione inizia con un ampio estratto del famigerato intervento di Luciano Violante alla Camera del 10 maggio 1996 (quello che invitava a "riflettere" sui "ragazzi" di Salò in nome dei "valori nazionali comunemente condivisi"). Turi dimostra come l'exploit di Violante sia stato preparato da decenni di "edulcoramento storiografico della dittatura di Mussolini"; tappe importanti di questa operazione di normalizzazione del fascismo, a livello massmediatico, furono due mostre sugli anni '30, una allestita a Milano nel 1982 e l'altra a Roma nel 1984 (quest'ultima con la consulenza di Renzo De Felice): "entrambe promosse da amministrazioni socialiste", ha cura di specificare Turi.

Turi menziona poi un altro "caso esemplare": la proposta, da parte dell'allora sindaco di Roma Francesco Rutelli, nel 1995, di dedicare una via a Giuseppe Bottai. L'iniziativa riscosse il plauso (fra gli altri) di Massimo Cacciari, e fu bloccata solo dalle proteste della comunità ebraica; ci si era dimenticati, fra l'altro, che Bottai era stato uno dei sostenitori più ferventi delle leggi razziali; l'immagine corrente di Bottai era infatti quella giustificazionista del "fascista critico" delineata da Giordano Bruno Guerri nella sua fortunata biografia del 1976.

Il patriottismo, la ricerca di valori nazionali, di una "memoria condivisa" e di una "pacificazione" sono il Leitmotiv che, nella ricostruzione di Turi, caratterizza la polemica anti-antifascista condotta negli anni '90 da intellettuali come Renzo De Felice, Roberto Vivarelli, Ernesto Galli Della Loggia, spesso con l'assenso e il plauso della sinistra istituzionale. Troviamo ancora il buon Francesco Rutelli in prima linea nell'operazione di riabilitazione di Giovanni Gentile, filosofo a cui il comune di Roma dedicò un convegno nel 1994 presentandolo come un patriota al di sopra delle parti e dimenticandone l'organicità al nazifascismo.

Interessante notare che, in questo frame revisionistico, chi ostacola la "pacificazione", chi alimenta la "divisività", è un potenziale terrorista. Turi cita Vivarelli, secondo il quale per colpa degli antifascisti nell'Italia del dopoguerra "si perpetuò un clima di strisciante guerra civile, che [...] produsse la tragica stagione del terrorismo".

Turi sottolinea il ruolo degli intellettuali craxiani nel diffondere in Italia durante gli anni '80 le idee del neoliberismo reaganiano e thatcheriano e nel promuovere l'anticomunismo. Questi intellettuali poi, assieme ad altri di estrazione neofascista o cattolico-reazionaria, divennero nel decennio '90 gli artefici principali dell'ideologia populista berlusconiana, la quale nell'ultimo quindicennio si è dotata di "una rete di think thank, laboratori di idee ispirati al modello statunitense, capaci di costruire e diffondere un comune sentire"; tutta una serie di riviste, fondazioni, case editrici, "poco conosciute presso l'opinione pubblica" ma efficaci come centri di "aggregazione di intellettuali e di elaborazione culturale" (e, di solito, ben finanziate dagli industriali).

Turi ricostruisce minuziosamente alcuni fra i principali momenti dell'offensiva culturale di destra: la battaglia a favore del mantenimento del crocifisso nelle aule scolastiche (una battaglia vinta dalla destra anche a causa dell'atteggiamento imbelle assunto al riguardo dal centrosinistra); la vicenda, davvero tragicomica, della censura proposta dal centrodestra sui manuali scolastici di storia, anche qui in nome della "memoria condivisa", della pacificazione, dell'imparzialità e contro la presunta "egemonia culturale" della sinistra.

Interessante il confronto, proposto da Turi, fra il modo in cui il novantesimo anniversario della fine della prima guerra mondiale è stato ricordato in Italia e in altri paesi europei. Turi mostra come nel 2008 in Gran Bretagna, in Francia, in Germania, le celebrazioni ufficiali siano state improntate alla pietà per le vittime, all'orrore per l'enormità del massacro e siano state accompagnate, a volte, da gesti ufficiali di riabilitazione dei soldati che furono condannati come disertori. Tutto il contrario in Italia, dove "la sostanza della commemorazione è rimasta affidata al tema dell'identità nazionale" e dove il ministero dell'Istruzione ha promosso una serie di conferenze nelle scuole affidate non agli storici ma agli ufficiali dell'esercito, in quella che è stata definita la "più imponente manifestazione di propaganda militare che l'Italia repubblicana abbia mai messo in piedi".

Nell'ultimo capitolo del suo libro Turi prova a tracciare una mappa del revisionismo storico su Internet, individuando "un network molto ampio di riviste e di istituzioni [...] una rete circolare in cui appaiono ripetutamente gli stessi nomi, specchio di una visione della storia che in breve tempo da antagonista è diventata governativa". Il capitolo Ã¨ un ricco dossier di nomi e di indicazioni bibliografiche, una minuziosa schedatura di cui in questa sede non posso dare un'idea.

La conclusione cui giunge Gabriele Turi è che la cultura di destra è saldamente egemone ed è destinata a sopravvivere alla fine politica di Silvio Berlusconi. Aggiungerei che l'attuale esperienza dei governi di “larghe intese” (Monti, Letta, Renzi) getta una luce retrospettiva su molte delle prese di posizione filorevisioniste, da parte di esponenti del centrosinistra, ricordate nel libro di Turi. Bisognerebbe scrivere un libro analogo a quell di Turi, dedicato alla "cultura di sinistra", nel quale si mostrerebbe come a partire da Togliatti il nazionalismo abbia infettato nei decenni la cultura politica del PCI - PDS - DS - PD fino a stravolgerla completamente. Ma questa è un'altra storia.
          '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

          Comment on Episode 195: Franchise Mashup Challenge!!!!!! by David Jay        
This ep was really cool. I know there's a stigma against "tell me about your campaign" stories, but I love them--especially when the teller is as passionate as Kev was here (PS: college is terrible, more Walking Eye please :P). I've always thought a world that mixed X-Men and Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Optic Blasts?) would be amazing--where a few powerful individual mutants made factions/houses around their own particular mindset. Of course, this would lead to a cold war of constant intrigues/politicking with the constant threat of all out mutant war breaking out. So, you’d have the Magneto faction of violent activists/freedom fighters, the Hellfire’s exploitative/millionaire club, Sinister’s science by any means faction, Bishop’s (maybe?) government-sponsored response team, and, not to mention, Xavier’s wanna-be superheroes all competing against each other for public opinion and new mutant recruits. After this episode, I’ve been thinking about actually doing something with that. Thanks!
          HTTP Verb Tampering Demo/Example/Tutorial         


What is HTTP Verb?

  •  According to Wiki "The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems.  HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web.

  • Verb is nothing but HTTP methods used to indicate the desired action to be performed on the identified resource.


-  List of some basic HTTP Verb or Methods
  • OPTIONS
  • GET
  • HEAD
  • POST 
  • PUT
  • DELETE
  • TRACE
  • CONNECT



What is HTTP Verb Tampering? 

It's a method to bypass a defense technique by tampering the verb. Some secret directories have restricted access by  basic authentication. This directories are protected by the .htaccess file which can be easily exploited. This attack is a result of a Apache  htaccess file misconfiguration .

An administrator, limits the access to the private resource or directory just via POST request method. See the vulnerable code below.















Here AuthUserFile is the directory to the .htpasswd file which contains the username & password in encrypted format.

<LIMIT GET POST>
require valid-user
</LIMIT>


It just limits the POST method & matches the credentials that saved in htpasswd file, if wrong error page shows up.


Here the administrator has limited POST method, but also not blacklisted other methods?. This means any requests via other method would lead the attacker having access to the protected  private resources or directory. Below i have provided a video DEMO of  successful exploitation of an HTTP Verb tampering vulnerability via Live HTTP Headers ( Firefox add-on) on AT&T sub domain (Reported & Fixed). In the next post i will be showing you various ways to fix or apply a patch to this vulnerability .





The most effective measure would be to improve trade or vocational education opportunities at the community college level, especially in smaller communities or rural areas.  He also mentions the value of paid family leave.

What I noticed after my forced “retirement” at the end of 2001 was the tendency for companies to resort to hucksterism to create jobs, and for the employment outplacement services and policy makers not to notice that this was happening so much. This has led to a culture clash:  aggressive attitudes in some communities about preserving telemarketing and door-to-door sales, versus resistance from consumers who see accelerating security problems. We need more manufacturing jobs to reverse this trend toward hucksterism.


          7 Tips - How to Choose a Great Blogger Blog Topic        
Have you chosen a blog topic that is right for you? Lots of people start their Blogger Blogspot blogs without giving much thought to their selection of blog topic. Or the angle on the topic they want to explore. If you want your blog to stand out from the crowd make sure you consider your blog topic carefully.

How to Choose A Good Blog Topic - 7 tips for Begniner and Newbie bloggers and anyone who wants to build a successful blogger blogA good blog topic can make or break a blog. Like some partners some blogs and their owners just don't fit no matter which way you look at it. Make sure before you spend 3 to 6 months of slog to develop your blog that you haven't placed your ladder against the wrong wall.

Here are a few tips that will get you thinking about your Blogger Blogspot blog topic and how important it is to choose the right one for you.

1. Choose a blog topic that you are passionate about
You are going to be writing content about this blog topic for 365 days of the year for at least 2-5 years. For that to work successfully you have to have some passion otherwise the tedium will wear you down.

Conversely if you are really passionate about a topic that passion will shine through in your blog and like a big magnet attract others.

2. Choose a blog topic that interests you not just interests others
Yes you can make money writing about making money but if you aren't interested in money you have a problem. The topic itself may be viable commercially but readers will soon figure out you are in it for the money not the fun. Make sure you are genuinely interested in your blog topic and not just choosing it because it seems to be a hot topic. Don't forget readers are going to want new and fresh content and will not stick around if you are not up to providing it.

Know Your Audience - Choose a Blog Topic that will have a global audience3. Choose a blog topic that has potential for readership
If you choose a more unusual blog topic then you may find you are the only one interested in it. However if you have very little competition you will be able to quickly carve out a niche for your blog. Research your market. Check out forums. Identify if there actually is a gap waiting to be filled. If there are a lot of others writing about the same topic can the market sustain another blog or will it be a hard slog to get traffic. Know your audience.

Attracting visitors and maintaining readership are important factors in ensuring that your blog will generate a steady income stream. If monetization is important to you check your blog's potential for adding relevant ads and affiliate marketing.

4. Know your subject area
How well do you know the subject matter of your chosen blog topic? Readers will quickly assess your knowledge of your blog topic and will expect you to deliver the goods.

If you are passionate but not very knowledgable how will you find the information you need to create new material? Creating content is time consuming and it requires good research skills. Have you got access to the kind of information you are going to need?

As a general rule don't choose a topic you know very little about or you may find yourself floundering once you have exhausted your own ideas.

5. What's your angle? Identify your angle when choosing a blog topic
Knowing your subject is one thing but finding a fresh angle is something else. If you want to create a blog in a subject area that is already heavily populated with other blogs you are likely to be more successful if you can find a good angle that has yet to be exploited. Most information isn't new it is just repackaged. How will you pitch your blog? Check out other blogs and identify what aspects might not be so well covered. Make a list of these and ask yourself if any of these areas has enough scope to sustain a blog by itself.

6. Choose a blog topic with a medium to long shelf life
Your blog topic might be great but will readers be interested in it a year or two down the track? This is particularly true for technology based blogs where products come and go and change happens at a rapid rate. Rethink your idea if your topic may not have long term sustainability. Ask yourself if there is a way to reframe it so that it will be more ongoing rather than of short duration.

7. Clearly define the parameters of your blog topic
Do you know what the parameters of your blog topic are? What you will cover and what you won't? If you don't know what the limits of your blog are others won't know either.

Think carefully about your blog topic and define the parametersIt pays to carefully define these or you run the risk of trying to cover everything and losing your audience because they have no idea what your blog is about. Often the most successful blogs are those that focus on a specialist subject and stick within those guidelines.

Jot down now what your blog actually covers. Include your material and your audience in this. For instance, is your blog for everyone or is it focussed on beginners only like this blog? Deciding this early on will make it easy to pitch your articles in a particular way. If you have no clarity you may find you write good material but it is not pitched to the right audience.

If you have lots of ideas for a blog topic you will need to crystallize these. Jotting down advantages and disadvantages will help you sort the wheat from the chaff. You may find you have several good ideas but select only one of these to concentrate on. Once things are up and running with your first venture you might decide to get cracking on the second idea but prioritize to start with.

Remember that laying the groundwork now will prevent disappointment further down the track. Your idea has a much greater chance of being successful if you spend some time getting clear about what you want from your blog and what you want to achieve. Even if your idea needs a lot of refining the exercise is a great opportunity to put some planning in place and planning your blog as in most things in life is one of the cornerstones of success.

Summary
This article has focused on how to choose a great blog topic for a Blogger Blogspot blog. I have discussed 7 tips to help Blogspot bloggers especially those new to blogging choose a blog topic that will fit with their knowledge base and interests. Finding a good fit with your blog topic is one of the keys to success and worth taking the time to consider carefully. Any thoughts or ideas about this article. Please share them.

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          Les dernières prouesses de Cairn Energy dans les eaux sénégalaises        
Les dernières prouesses de Cairn Energy dans les eaux sénégalaises Capricorn Senegal Limited, filiale de Cairn Energy PLC commence à forer le puits d’exploration FAN Sud-1 dans le périmètre appelé South Prospect Fan (Sangomar Offshore profond). Ce puits est le premier à être exploité au large du Sénégal depuis les puits de découverte de FAN-1 […]
          Patch notes: version 1.0.3.276 (October 27, 2014)        
A patch has been issued for Sid Meier's Civilization V. Here are the patch notes:

EXPLOITS
  • Fixed tech overflow bug that could allow a user to get free tech each turn for multiple turns. The size of the maximum allowable science overflow is now set at 5 turns of science (about the same as a unmodified research agreement) OR the unmodified cost of the last tech researched, whichever is larger. AI also understands this adjustment.
  • Fixed a multiplayer bug that would allow a player to steal everything from another player when trading.

GAMEPLAY
  • Allow Conquest of the New World achievements to be unlocked when playing the Deluxe version of the scenario.
  • Slight nerf to Tradition, and a boost to Piety (by adding one more prerequisite for Legalism and taking one away from Reformation).
  • Scale warmonger penalties by era (50% of normal strength in Ancient up to 90% in Industrial; 100% thereafter). Penalties for warmongering vs. City-States halved.
  • Added Cocoa and Bison resources from the Conquest Deluxe scenario into the main game.

MULTIPLAYER
  • The autoslotting of human players when loading a saved game in LAN multiplayer was broken when trying to play round-to-round. This has been fixed.
  • Players now properly exit LAN games when they encounter a version mismatch.
  • Players can now set their nick name in LAN games.
  • Fixed an issue where player would get stuck on the joining multiplayer game screen if they used an incomplete IP address while attempting to join by ip address.
  • Notifications are no longer considered “broadcast” unless the player is connected to the game. This will make it easier to communicate information to players who were not connected when the message was broadcast.
  • Players now unready themselves if the host changes the game settings before the game started.
  • The number of player slots available was not updating for connected remote clients when the host increased the map size on the staging room.
  • Fixed an issue causing AI civs that used to be players to still have the player's Steam name after the player leaves in Multiplayer.
  • A player's name in the staging room chat panel no longer swaps if they swapped player slots.
  • Some multiplayer notifications can now expire at the end of the next turn.
  • Some multiplayer notifications will not expire until the player has network connected to the game.
  • Multiple hot-joining bugs fixed in Pitboss.

MISC BUGS
  • The icon no longer changes to a spinning globe during diplomacy (this normally means the game is busy).
  • Don't show a third-party civ or City-State on the trade panel list to "Declare War" or "Make Peace" unless both players have met that civ or City-State.


          HMRC cuts are harming the economy        

Yesterday I posted about HMRC's new tax gap figure of £35bn and how, even that massive sum of missing tax, is believed to be grossly underestimated.

One of the key factors in the Department's inability to collect the revenue that's owed and properly investigate the tax avoiding and evading exploits of the wealthy is lack of resources.

HMRC has shed almost half of its staff since its formation in 2005 and is set to lose another 10,000 plus over the next three years. Only last week another announcement of office closures which will affect over 2,500 staff was made. Yet, days later Treasury Minister Danny Alexander had the nerve to stand up in front of Lib Dem conference and claim they were investing in HMRC to get tough on tax avoiders.

You can play your part in urging the government to stop cutting HMRC jobs until an independent review is made into the impact of the cuts by writing to your MP today.

          What have HMRC got to hide? About £90bn in lost tax.        
Why are HMRC so reluctant to tell us how they work out their 'official' figure for the tax gap?

The latest figure they released this week has it at £35bn. An astronomical figure I'm sure you'll agree - when you think that this is the amount that goes uncollected every year in taxes because of evasion, avoidance or HMRC just being too damned stretched to collect what's owed. However, if I was to tell you that tax experts at the tax justice network reckon this figure is grossly underestimated and that the real figure is actually ooh not just twice, not even just thrice but almost four times this figure then you get the picture.

It's a pretty ugly picture when you think of all the cuts being made to public services in the name of reducing the deficit. There is over £120bn out there that our economy is losing out on, largely because of wealthy individuals and multinationals companies are exploiting the system and are being allowed to get away without paying their fair share.

Bet who's right about the figure? Well, while the tax justice network have published how they arrived at their figure, it's difficult to say with any certainty how HMRC arrived at theirs' because they simply refuse to share their workings out. As any Maths teacher will tell you, it's important to show your workings to prove you haven't just arrived at your answer by mere chance or guess work.

Until HMRC share their methodology, I'm inclined to believe the independent experts who've set out why HMRC have got the tax gap wrong. But whatever the true figure, the scandal of massive tax dodging by the wealthy while the rest of us are expected to tighten our belts so much we've run out of notches continues.
          No One Gets Left Behind In The Battlefield 4 Single-Player Campaign Trailer        

Most of Battlefield 4's coverage has been focused on the game's multiplayer component, but there will be a single-player, story-driven campaign in the game.

The story follows the exploits of a small squad evacuating American VIPs from Shanghai as they try to make their way home. They also adamantly refuse to leave anyone behind, which will you learn in the trailer below.

Battlefield 4 is coming to PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on October 29. Next-gen versions of Battlefield 4 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be available when the consoles launch on November 15 and 22.

Fore more on Battlefield 4 and its recent beta, head here.

(Please visit the site to view this media)


          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.


          Severe labour exploitation – workers’ perspectives (SELEX II)        
Status: 
Ongoing
The project looks at the experiences and views of foreign workers in selected EU countries who have experienced criminal forms of labour exploitation. It fills an important gap by extending the evidence beyond the views of professionals who deal with labour exploitation; this was covered in an earlier project.
December 2016

          In the name of development        
Teaser: 
The indigenous community of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been systematically alienated from their land by the colonial and post-colonial policies. A new book chronicles the change.
The forests and the tribal communities of the islands are being decimated. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Pankaj Sekhsaria’s recent book Islands in flux--The Andaman and Nicobar Story is a collection of around 20 years of his writings on the environmental and conservation concerns faced by the indigenous tribal communities of the region. Unlike his previous book, The last wave, a factual fiction adventure story dealing with love, longing and loss, this one is a collection of contemporary developments in the islands. The book is divided into seven parts and several chapters each dealing with the societal and ecological facets of the islands. Issues related to the environment, wildlife conservation and development policies that threaten the island’s indigenous communities have been chronicled by the author who is a long-time member of the NGO, Kalpavriksh.

Alienation of islanders

The book begins with the section, Setting the context, in which he writes about the history of the alienation of the island communities living there for over 40,000 years. The author takes a dig at the history writers of the modern democratic Indian state who have left gaping holes in their writings by not sudying the ancient indigenous communities--the Great Andamanese, the Onge, the Jarawa and the Sentinelese. It is here that the author mentions “if the real and complete history of the islands is ever written, the British would not be more than a page and India could only be a paragraph”.

The indigenous people have been systematically alienated from their resources by the British colonial policies and the post-colonial development-oriented policies of India. The Britishers set up a penal colony in the islands in 1858, the Japanese occupied the islands during the World War II, and during the post colonial period, thousands of settlers from mainland India were brought to the island. Though the islanders put up a fierce fight to defend their territories, the social fabric of the island communities has been violently torn apart and their populations decimated while the settlers outnumbered the original inhabitants. The region is witness to nation building exercises, hinduisation of ‘uncivilized junglees’ and even an attempt to rename the islands. The author calls this as an attempt to “reclaim what was never yours”. No effort has been made by way of scholarship or historical studies to take the islanders’ point of view.

Forestry is the chief source of revenue in cash in the islands but the system of forestry did not suit the region. The author quotes an official report by the Department of Environment, Government of India that argues that “the forestry system was leading to a preponderance of deciduous elements in the evergreen system that would eventually destroy the whole island ecosystem”. The carrying capacity of the islands has been long exceeded, the author says. Ill-conceived schemes like cattle rearing were introduced for a community that does not consume milk. Tourism is a concern in the islands which have been declared as ‘global biodiversity hotspot’.

The pristine forests and the people living in the Jarawa tribal reserve that covers half the island is under threat because of the ill conceived Andaman Trunk Road that separates the reserve land from the rest of the island. The Jarawas for whom the forests have been a home for ages have been reduced to begging around the Trunk Road that runs through the reserve. The road has been controversial due to the negative fallouts on the island’s ecology and the indigenous people. The Supreme Court had in 2002 passed an order to close it; the island administration chose to ignore it. Its closure was absolutely critical to protect the Jarawa community, the author says.

Islands turn colonies

The author chronicles the colonising of the islands in a chapter of the same name and discusses how the settlers look down upon the indigenous communities. Tension continues between the tribal communities especially the ancient tribal community of Jarawas and the settlers over land rights and there is a lack of political will to ease this even as the population of the Jarawas has been reduced to a few hundreds. “There are opinions that the Jarawas should be assimilated into the modern world, but it is clear that it is exactly this contact with the outside world that is rapidly pushing them towards the brink,” the author states.

In the chapter, A brief history of logging, Sekhsaria provides an account of the timber operations in the Andamans. He notes how as a part of India’s colonisation scheme, mainlanders were settled here. This was done to strengthen India’s claim over the islands. Incentives were offered to settlers by way of land and royalty free timber. Timber-based industry was promoted and liberal subsidies offered. Forests were exploited to benefit settlers who had little stake in the islands or its natural resources. Timber offered for millions decreased after the 2002 Supreme Court order. The order was in response to a petition by three NGOs to stop logging. The Supreme Court order that banned the cutting of naturally grown trees in the Andamans and Nicobar islands were welcomed by the environmental rights groups. But logging continued within the tribal reserve.

In the section, Environment, ecology and development, the author stresses the need for evolving sensible conservation policies. The author discusses the consequences of introducing exotic species into the island systems. This has led to irretrievable loss of native species and ecosystems. “The Andaman and Nicobar islands are unsurpassed in their botanical wealth, and the ethnomedical knowledge of the tribals who live here is astounding,” he says.

In the section, December 2004 and its aftermath, the author discusses the turmoil caused by the tsunami of December 26, 2004 which killed around 3500 people in the fragile Andaman and Nicobar islands, the worst hit area in India. The tectonic activity due to the third deadliest earthquake of the world in the last 100 years caused a significant shift in the islands’ geography with a permanent average uplift of four to six feet while parts of Nicobar islands went significantly under, with the southernmost tip, Indira point on Great Nicobar island going 15 ft down. Apart from dealing with how the tsunami destroyed the island, the section also highlights how the people picked up the pieces and started all over again.

Leave them alone

The tsunami waters inundated large areas of the islands causing damage to its coastal and marine ecology. In the aftermath of this turmoil, ecologists have suggested ‘no intervention’ and that ‘leaving areas alone should be the preferred management option’. A disturbing facet of the islands in recent times is its water scarcity. The islands have been facing severe water shortages even during the pre-tsunami period but this got worse after 2004. Fresh water sources got hit by the tsunami.

Talking about the faulty development planning, the author discusses how the former president late Abdul Kalam in 2005 in the aftermath of the tsunami announced a grandiose vision for the development of the Andamans and Nicobar islands. This included ecologically perilous components like deep sea fishing, exploitation of bamboo, value-added coconut products and tourism.

A central thread of Sekhsaria’s book has been the neglect and acculturation of the Jarawas, and their losing scuffle with the outsiders. The book presented in a journalistic manner handles the issue very sensitively and the author exhibits a keen understanding of the history of the indigenous people and its ecology.

Languages: 
Don't Show In All Article: 

          Six of the Best 713        
Matthew Green offers a sober assessment of Liberal Democrat prospects under our new leader.

"The progressive alliance can only work when everyone is genuinely willing to work together. If they are all fighting over the same voters then it was always a fallacy." Neil Monnery draws a lesson from this year's general election campaign.

"Looking back at the time of the 1967 Act even those supporting decriminalisation called homosexuality ‘a disability’ and ‘a great weight of shame’. Bisexuals didn’t even occur to them. Goodness knows what they’d think of all the diversity of sexuality we share today! It shows us how far we’ve come, how hard that fight has been, and how much further we still have to go." Jennie Rigg marks an important anniversary.

Melanie Phillips is rightly critical of the way some exploited the plight of Charlie Gard and his parents.

Social workers and other professionals need to do more to help looked-after children achieve their potential, and to diminish the ‘stigma’ of being in care, research has found. Alex Turner on the findings of a new survey.

James Fitzgerald introduces us to the inhabitants of Eel Pie Island.
          attaque        
Tour Eiffel : l'homme au couteau voulait "attaquer un militaire" Samedi soir, un homme armé d'un couteau a tenté de forcer les contrôles de sécurité du monument. La section antiterroriste du parquet de Paris a été saisie.  Coup de frayeur samedi soir au pied de la tour Eiffel. Aux alentours de 23 h 30, un homme portant une arme blanche a été interpellé par la police alors qu'il essayait de forcer un des points de contrôle de sécurité de la Dame de fer, révèle dimanche la Société d'exploitation de la tour Eiffel dans un communiqué. L'homme était apparemment seul, et selon les précisions du communiqué, il a été "très rapidement maîtrisé et arrêté" par les forces de police présentes sur place.(...)  Placé en garde à vue, l'homme a affirmé qu'il "voulait commettre un attentat contre un militaire et était en lien avec un membre du groupe djihadiste État islamique, qui l'aurait encouragé à passer à l'acte", a précisé une source proche de l'enquête. Antécédent psychiatrique "(...) "Il s'agit du profil de quelqu'un qui a des antécédents psychiatriques", selon la source proche de l'enquête. Selon les premiers éléments, il s'agit d'un Français, né en août 1998 en Mauritanie. Il était hospitalisé dans un service psychiatrique depuis plusieurs mois et sa mesure d'hospitalisation avait été renouvelée le 27 juillet pour six mois, d'après la source proche de l'enquête. Il était en permission de sortie du 4 au 6 août, a-t-elle ajouté. Une perquisition à son domicile était toujours en cours dimanche après-midi. (...)
http://www.lepoint.fr/faits-divers/tour-eiffel-interpellation-d-un-homme-portant-une-arme-blanche-06-08-2017-2148312_2627.php
( Mamaye D. né le ? août 1998 en Mauritanie.)
=============
(la période anniversaire est une période pulsions liée à un  rythme semestriel - rythmes courts à voir pour le jour-même)
          January, 2012 Daring Baker Challenge: Back to Basics:Scones (Biscuits)        
Introduction:  Hi my name is Audax from Audax Artifex (yes this web site). Whenever I visit my sister and her family in S.E. Queensland Australia she always welcomes me with a fresh batch of my favourite baked treat which we devour gleefully with cups of tea while we chat and catch up with the events in our lives.

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The treat that I'm talking about is the basic scone (also know as baking powder biscuits in North America) my sister really knows how to make them, they are wondrously light with soft sides and a lovely airy crumb – superb with jam and cream. This month I want the Daring Bakers' to share my delight and I invite you to bake a batch of scones to enjoy with friends and family.

For our North American members I wish to clarify what this challenge is all about and try to avoid any confusions. Scones in North American are nearly always triangular in shape have a slightly crisp crust usually covered in sugar and have a soft interior crumb and sometimes are laced with dried fruit (these baked goods in Australia and England are called “rock cakes” since they are usually made to look like “rocky” cakes not wedges), meanwhile biscuits in North American are a round shaped buttery slightly flaky baked good usually eaten with meals (these items in Australia and England are called “scones” and are eaten with butter and jam usually with cups of tea or coffee as a sweet snack). So this challenge (using the North American name) is to make biscuits. Or using the Australian or English name this challenge is to make scones.

To further clarify for our North American bakers this month's challenge is to make biscuits (also called baking powder biscuits) if you choose to make your biscuits using buttermilk as the liquid you are making what are known as “Southern” Biscuits which are one of the most famous examples of home cooking in the Southern States of America (that is they are a baking powder biscuit made with buttermilk). In Australia and England “Southern” Biscuits would be called buttermilk scones. So restating the above, the challenge is to make scones (using the Australian/English name) or to make  biscuits (using the North American name). Incidentally if you use cream as your liquid in the challenge recipe the final baked good would be called a cream biscuit in North America or a cream scone in Australia and England.  

Scones (biscuits) contain only a small number of ingredients they are fast to make, quick to bake, only cost cents per batch and most importantly are super FUN to eat. In England and Australia scones are eaten with jam and butter usually with cups of tea or coffee mostly as a sweet snack, while in North America they are usually eaten with meals as a savoury side.

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Of course scones (biscuits) have a notorious reputation as being difficult for some people to make  comments like “hockey pucks”, “These made great door-stops ” and the like fill the comment sections of most recipe websites. You see scones (can be said as a rhyme with cone and also can be said as a rhyme with gone) are a type of quick bread that is a white flour dough that is raised using chemical agents usually baking powder and/or baking soda. Basic scones contain flour, raising agent(s), butter (or shortening or lard), salt, and milk (or buttermilk or soured milk or cream). Most recipes just say to “rub the fat into the flour” then combine the dry and wet ingredients until “gathered together” and then “lightly knead” the gathered mixture until a soft dough forms, then “roll or pat” out this dough and then “cut” out rounds and bake them in a hot oven. Well how hard could it really be I thought uh-mm as you can see below my first batch wasn't the greatest success … they didn't raise at all and the texture was barely OK I thought … I was left wondered what I had done wrong …   

My first attempt at scones (really pretty terrible I thought, no height no tenderness and no flakiness)

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So after studying many many (288 websites bookmarked) scone/biscuit recipes and the bakers' comments about these recipes and after doing 16 batches! myself I have acquired a lot of information to help you master the techniques involved I hope that at the end of this challenge that you will be able to make a good if not great scone (biscuit).

After much research and many attempts …  finally some scones (the 14th, 15th and 16th batches) that I wouldn't mind sharing with my sister.

The Classic Australian scone ring (Aussie Damper) – the crumb is very similar to bread
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Cheese and chives scones – a “sky-high” light and tender scone flavoured with cheese and chives
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The classic Southern Biscuit (buttermilk scone) – a superbly flaky scone made with buttermilk and laminated to form distinct layers when baked
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Fairy Ring
As I mentioned in the challenge posting in Australia and England scones are usually eaten as a sweet treat (with butter and jam) with cups of tea on that theme while doing my research for this challenge I thought I would do a variation on the sweet side of the scone. Here is one recipe that is suitable for kids and adults when you want something special and sweet yet can be made at a moment's notice.

In Australia one of the most popular children's party food item is fairy bread. This is a variation of fairy bread called Fairy Ring made with an Aussie Scone (Damper) ring laced with 100s and 1000s then iced (with some icing sugar and a touch of lemon juice made into a sticky paste) then sprinkled with more 100s and 1000s (coloured sprinkles). My 9 year old niece went crazy with delight and literally squealed with glee when I showed her this Fairy Ring and say I made it especially for her.

Normal (Damper) Scone Ring
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Fairy Ring straight from the oven
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Completed Fairy Ring
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Hot Dog Buns
Here is a savoury variation, I made hot dog buns using the basic scone recipe. They worked out great I couldn't believe the crumb and they tasted great with the hot dog and relishes and I made them in under 15 minutes (once the oven was hot enough). I was very surprised how well the basic scone dough complimented savoury food.  
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Touch of Grace Scones
(Click on the title to go to a great posting about this recipe)
Here is the answer to dry biscuits this recipe is called "touch of grace" biscuits which uses a few simple techniques to create a super moist crumb. These scones are all about tenderness everything is designed to obtain the softest and most tender crumb possible. These are very different from the normal bread-like scones that Australians like with jam and cream. These would be perfect with a savoury meal. They were so buttery with a soft creamy crumb that literally melts in your mouth, the mouth feel is like clouds. As one reviewer lovingly opined "They're squat little puffs you'll want to grab, steaming, from a basket passed over fried chicken or bacon and eggs". The way I make them is slightly adapted from the original recipe,  I use a lot of very large pieces of butter and all buttermilk with very low gluten cake flour and some resting time in the fridge. Resting the dough after the buttermilk is stirred into the dry ingredients is essential you would never be able to form the soft balls of dough coated in flour that are the "rounds" in this case and keeping everything cold helps the baking process. While baking the large pieces of butter melt into the flour causing large air holes to form in the baked dough and since we use soft flour (6%) which cannot form flaky layers we thus obtain a feather-light creamy tender crumb infused with the maximum amount of butter that the dough can hold.
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These scones are made entirely from cake flour (6% gluten), I used 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup very large-sized butter pieces, about 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. I rubbed in butter making sure most of the fat/flour where large pea sized pieces. I rested the dough after I mixed in the wet ingredients for 10 minutes until cold, during this time the dough "firms" up making it possible to turn it out in one cohesive dough ball onto a lightly floured board. I formed a rectangle of the soft dough floured the top lightly then I stamped out rounds. You could feel the pieces of butter in the formed round The rounds are very soft but can be picked up and placed into the baking dish. Then I place the baking dish with all the formed rounds back in the fridge for 10 minutes until cold then bake. (This procedure is much easier than the original recipe's method and it gives as good results I think). As you can see the crumb is saturated with butter and has masses of large airy pockets to trap your favourite topping. Absolutely delicious.
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Raisin Scones
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I wanted to make one batch of flavoured scones I went with sweet raisins and some molasses in the dough. I rubbed in the butter until it was like fine sand and I used "OO" cake flour about 7% protein and some cornflour (cornstarch), I was very happy with the look of the baked scones and the crumb was very tender very much like bread which is what I wanted. These were very cute looking but to be honest I like plain scones much better.
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The bread like crumb of the scone so so tasty and soft.
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As you can see scones (biscuits) are all about technique since the scones pictured above used the same basic recipe. 

Recipe Source:  The challenge scone (biscuit) recipe has been especially formulated by Audax Artifex after a large amount of research and experimentation. It is designed to help you master the techniques involved in making scones (biscuits) exactly the way you like them. 

Blog-checking lines: Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Posting Date:  January 27, 2012

Challenge Notes:
The Ingredients – since scones contain only a small number of ingredients each should be of the highest quality
Flour – lower gluten (i.e. soft) flours (about 9% or less protein) produce taller and lighter scones than normal plain (all-purpose) flour (about 10%+ protein). But to be honest it wasn't that great a difference so long you sifted the dry ingredients thoroughly at least three times. That is always triple sift the dry ingredients this will ensure that the flour is well aerated and the raising agents are evenly distributed so resulting in light scones. I found that finely milled soft “OO” flour gave the best results but don't worry you can get excellent results with sifted plain (all-purpose) flour. You can use self-raising flour if you wish (remember to leave out the raising agents and salt) in the recipe below it is important to triple sift the self-raising flour as well I like to add about ½ teaspoon of extra fresh baking powder per cup of self-raising flour to ensure a good lift in my scones. In the northern states of America and most of Canada all-purpose flour is generally very hard (high in protein) you can replace for each cup 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cake flour  OR for each cup replace 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cornflour (cornstarch). Or you can let the scones rest (20 mins) in the fridge before baking. 
Fat – unsalted butter gives the best flavour while lard gives the flakiest texture since it has a much higher melting point than butter so promoting a flaky texture in the final scones. The best compromise is to use a combination of the two in equal measure. I usually use all (unsalted) butter for flavour and health reasons. In most recipes the fat is rubbed into the flour using fingers or a pastry cutter (don't use two knives or forks since it takes too long to cut in the fat using this method). It is best to grate the butter using the coarse side of a box-grater and then freeze it until you need it. Freezing the butter prevents the fat from melting into the flour. The idea is to coat the fat particles with the flour. You are looking for a fat/flour combination that looks like very coarse bread crumbs with a few pieces of butter about the size of peas, the finer you make your fat pieces the more tender the crumb of your final scones. If you want very flaky scones then make the fat pieces large like Lima beans and only lightly coat them in the flour. If your kitchen is very hot you can refrigerate your flour so helping to keep the fat from melting. Don't freeze your flour as this will make it too difficult to rub the fat into the flour. (Typical usage about 1 to 8 tablespoons of fat per cup of flour).
Chemical raising agents – always use fresh raising agents, baking powder deteriorates within two months once the jar is opened, typical usage 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup. Baking powder nowadays is double action – there is an initial release of gas once the dry and wet ingredients are combined and there is another release of gas from the high heat of the oven. If you are using acidic ingredients (such as buttermilk, soured milk, honey, citrus juice, yoghurt, tomato sauce etc) then use an additional ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of liquid to help neutralise the acid and make the final baked product raise correctly. Baking soda is much stronger (x4) in raising power than baking powder. You can make you own single action baking powder by triple sifting together one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar store in an airtight container. To check if your double action baking powder is fresh place 1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of water it should bubble a lot, then microwave it for 30 secs it should bubble it again. To check your baking soda place 1/8 teaspoon into 1 tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) it should bubble a lot. 
Liquid – you can use milk (any sort), buttermilk, soured milk, yoghurt, half-and-half, cream, coconut cream, soda water, even lemon-flavoured soda pop (soft drink) or a combination of these as the liquid in your scones. You can sour regular milk with a tablespoon of cider vinegar or lemon juice for every cup. Just stir it in and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to curdle. Typical usage is 1/3 to 1/2 cup of liquid per cup of flour.
Salt – a small amount of salt (about ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour)  helps improve the action of the raising agents and enhances the flavour of the scones.

The Equipment
Baking pans – use dark coloured heavy weight baking pans as these have the best heat distribution and really give a great raise to your baked goods. Many people like to use cast iron skillets for best results.
Measuring cups and spoons – try to accurately measure all ingredients especially if this is your first attempt at making scones (biscuits) remember to scoop the ingredient into the measure and level with a knife. If you can weigh the flour using scales even better.
Scone (biscuit) cutters – use a cutter that is made of sharp thin metal with straight sides and is open at both ends this ensures that the scone will raise straight and evenly and ensures the cut scone is easy to remove from the cutter without compressing the dough. Try to avoid using cutters with wavy sides, thick walled cups, glasses, metal lids, small jars or any cutter with only one opening since it is difficult to remove the cut scones from these without compressing the dough therefore leading to 'tougher' scones. If you cannot get a good cutter you can cut out squares or wedges etc using a sharp knife if you wish.
Rolling pins – most scone doughs are very soft (and wet) so can be easily patted out using your fingers. For a large amount of dough you can use a rolling pin remember to use light pressure from the centre outwards to form an even thickness of dough ready to be cut into scones. Avoid rolling back and forth over the same area as this can overwork the dough.    

The Techniques
Triple sift the dry ingredients – sift your dry ingredients from a height this permits plenty of air to be incorporated into the mixture which allows for maximum lightness in your scones and ensures even distribution of all the raising agents and other ingredients.
Rubbing in the fat – this is the stage where you can control how tender or flaky your final scone crumb will be. The more you coat your fat with flour and the smaller the particles of the final mixture, the more tender the end product because you’re retarding gluten formation in the flour (unfortunately the price you pay for this tenderness is that the final dough will be soft and might not raise very well since the gluten isn't developed enough to form a stable structure to trap the gases that are released when the dough is baked). Conversely the larger you leave the pieces of fat (the infamous "pea-sized" direction you always see in scone/biscuit recipes), the flakier the final scones will be (that is the gluten in this case is more developed but you might find that the final baked product is dry and the mouth feel of crumb could be too firm i.e. tough). So summarising the tenderness/flakiness of your scone is achieved in this stage by manipulating the size of the fat particles and how much of the flour is used to coat the fat (the more flour used to coat the fat promotes more tenderness while larger fat pieces promote more flakiness).  Either way quickly rub in the grated frozen fat into the dry ingredients using
1)your finger tips – as you lightly rub and pinch the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back down into the bowl, this means that air is being incorporated all the time, and air is what makes scones light, continue this until you have the desired sized flour/fat particles in the mixture, or
2)a cold pastry cutter – begin by rocking the pastry cutter into the fat and flour mixture continue rocking until all the fat is coated in flour and the desired sized flour/fat particles are obtained.
Moistening and bringing the dough together -  add nearly all of the liquid at once to the rubbed-in dry ingredients.  When mixing the dough (I use a soft plastic spatula, my sister uses a knife), stir with some vigour from the bottom to the top and mix just until the dough is well-moistened and begins to just come together it will be wet (and sticky). And remember the old saying – the wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits)!  
Handling the dough – as most people know it is important not to overwork the dough but what isn't appreciated is that under-working is almost as common a mistake as overworking. Look at my first attempt (the first photo in this article) at making the challenge recipe it is crumbly and a bit leaden and the crumb isn't flaky at all this is due to under-working the dough and making the flour/fat particles too small, it took me about six batches to understand this and not be afraid to handle the dough so the scone (biscuit) would raise correctly. Under-working causes as many problems as overworking. Overworking leads to tough, dry and heavy scones while under-working leads to crumbly leaden ones. If you are not happy with your baked goods look carefully at your final scones (biscuits) and decide if you have under- or over-worked your dough.
Kneading or folding/turning the dough – this is the stage where you can control whether or not your scone has distinct layers by 1) only kneading the dough (for no layering effect) or 2) only turning and folding the dough (for a layering effect).  As mentioned above given the same amounts of flour and fat, leaving larger pieces of fat equals more gluten formation and, therefore, flakiness. Leaving smaller pieces of fat equals less gluten formation and, therefore, tenderness. Your dough at this stage of the recipe will be a mixture of different gluten strengths since it is almost impossible to make a totally homogeneous dough at home. The major idea at this stage of the process is to exploit these gluten differences to achieve a desired degree of lamination (layering) in the final baked good. That is at this stage your dough (after you have added the liquid and mixed it until it just holds together), will have different layers of relatively gluten-rich (tougher) dough (the more floury parts of the dough), and layers of relatively gluten-free (tender-er) dough with small pieces of fat (the more fatty parts of the dough). So at this point if we only lightly knead the dough these layers will become less distinct which means the dough will become more homogeneous so producing a more even and more tender crumb when baked. But if at this stage you only fold and turn the dough (as shown below in pictures) over itself, these different layers will remain intact but will get thinner and thinner with each fold and turn, so when the fat melts and the liquid turns to steam in the oven, this steam pushes the tougher layers apart, leading to an overall flakiness and a layering effect in the scone crumb (see picture of the buttermilk biscuit above). So if you want an even more tender crumb just lightly knead (much like you would knead bread but with a very very light touch) the turned-out dough a few times until it looks smooth. If you want to form layers (laminations) in your final baked goods do a few folds and turns until it looks smooth. Always do at least one light knead to make the final dough structurally strong enough to raise and hold its shape whether you are aiming for a smooth tender crumb or a flaky layered crumb.
Pat or roll out the dough – since most scone (biscuit) doughs are soft (and sticky) it is best to use your fingers to gently pat out the dough once it has been kneaded or folded and turned. Use a very light touch with little pressure while forming the dough rectangle to be cut into rounds for the scones. If you want tall scones then pat out the dough tall, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (2 cm to 2½ cm) thick is about right.
Cutting out your scones – use a well-floured scone (biscuit) cutter for each round that you stamp out from the dough. That is dip your cleaned cutter into fresh plain flour before each separate cut. Do not twist the cutter while stamping out the scone, push down firmly until you can feel the board then lift the cutter the round should stay inside the cutter then gently remove it from the cutter  and place the round onto the baking dish. You can use a sharp knife to cut out other shapes if you wish from the dough, also the knife should be floured before each cut as well. 
Baking your scones – always preheat your oven when baking scones. Place each scone almost touching onto the baking dish this encourages the scones to raise and also keeps the sides soft and moist. If you want crisp sides widely space your scones on the baking dish. Don’t over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the sides begin to turn brown and are set, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack—the hot pan will continue to dry the scones.
Extra comments about resting the dough – I found in my researches that a number of respected sources mentioned resting the dough in various stages in the recipe. Surprisingly this advice is sound. I found that if you rested the just mixed dough (in the fridge) for 20 minutes there was a huge improvement in the dough's handling qualities and the final scones height, lightness and crumb were outstanding. Also I found that if you rest your patted out dough covered in plastic for 10 minutes in the fridge that the rounds are easier to stamp out and the final baked goods raise higher and have a better crumb. Also you can rest your stamped out rounds in the fridge for a couple of hours without harm so you can make your scones place them into the fridge and then at your leisure bake them later great for dinner parties etc. This is possible because modern baking powder is double action, i.e. there is another release of gas when you bake the rounds in the heat of the oven.

Troubleshooting  
Problems with bitter after-taste or dry chalky mouth-feel

The biggest problem that scone/biscuits can sometimes have is an after-taste (sometimes described as metallic or a salty chemical taste) or the mouthfeel is dry and chalky (i.e. the crumb is tough and doesn't have enough moisture).

If the problem is the after-taste try these tips
  • use freshly opened raising agents, many people claim old baking powder has a stronger taste
  • look for a single action baking powder (that only uses baking soda and cream of tar tar with a little cornflour) or make your own, since some double action baking powders can have metallic salts in them which some people can taste even in small quantities. Also keep in mind that homemade baking powder works faster and at a lower temperature, so put your recipe together quickly
  • look for a double action baking powder that uses non-metallic ingredients in it, check the ingredients listing on the packet.
  • use less baking powder
  • if you used an acidic liquid (buttermilk etc) and did not use some baking soda with the normal baking powder then some of the acid in the liquid wouldn't have been neutralised so leaving some salts behind causing the salty aftertase, that is make sure you are using the correct combination of agents for the liquids that you use, see the link below for full details about this. 
  • use only baking soda and an acidic liquid (buttermilk) like in the famous Irish Soda bread which very few people complain about having an aftertaste
  • use bakers' ammonium (available from King Arthur's flour) it was one of the most common chemical raising agents in the old days before modern baking powder, it smells like ammonia when baking but the ammonia smell totally dissipates and this chemical leaves nothing behind. I use it a lot in my baking it really gives baked goods that old-fashioned taste that people really can pick up on also it gives cookies extra crispness when baked.   

See here for a comprehensive posting on baking powder/baking soda and how to use them in recipes.
See here for the most interesting discussion on the use of baking soda and baking powder

If the problem is the mouthfeel try these tips
  • try smaller sized scones and bake them quickly in a very hot oven and make the dough wetter since large sized scones using a drier dough baked in a moderate oven will give you a dryer crumb therefore a dry chalky mouthfeel
  • over-handled dough will lead to a dry mouth
  • eat them immediately fresh out of the oven, scones do really suffer (they become dry and tough) when stored for any length of time
  • try using more fat about 1/4 cup+ per cup of flour - more fat gives moister crumb. Also try using all shortening, since shortening contains no water or milk solids it gives a very tender crumb.
  • use this great recipe they are called "a touch of grace" biscuits they are the most tender and moist biscuits (scones) that I have had.
  • some people claim that a very hot oven is best to start the baking process then lower the temperature to moderate to finish baking the scones

The problem lopsided scones
About lop-sided scones this is usually caused by uneven cutting out of the scone. Some hints
1. Clean and flour the scone cutter (by rubbing off any wet dough and then dipping the cutter into fresh flour the entire height of the cutter) every time you stamp out each round. Remember not to twist when you are stamping out the scones. If you are using a knife remember to clean and flour it for each cut.
2. Try to pat out or roll out the dough as evenly as possible.
3. Did you sift the dry ingredients three times? (uneven distribution of ingredients can lead to uneven scones).
4. Try to get the scone out of the cutter by applying gentle even pressure on the entire scone circumference that way you do not compress just one place so making that area less tender so raising less when cooked.
5. Turn the cut scone upside down onto the baking dish, since this side will be flatter than the patted out top surface.
6. Only glaze the tops of the scone, a small amount of liquid on the sides will inhibit raise in that area.
7. Some people like to use a fork and prick some holes in the top of the unbaked scones supposedly this helps the scone raise evenly.
8. Also some people like to use their thumb and press a small hollow into the top of the scone supposedly this helps the scone raise evenly.
9. A good article about "making the perfect scone" see here it goes through a lot of the best scone recipes by master bakers.
10. Try this recipe and its method from Bakers' 911 which seems to make straight-sided scones even from wavy-sided cutters

How to test baking soda
1. Place a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into a tablespoon of vinegar it should bubble a lot.

How to test your single action baking powder
1. Place a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup, add 1/4 cup room temperature water it should bubble a lot.

How to test your double action baking powder
1. Place a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup, add 1/4 cup room temperature water it should bubble a lot.
2. Wait 30 secs and then place your cup into the microwave heat for about 30 secs until about 180F it should bubble again.
3. If it doesn't then discard and buy a new jar.

How to test your self-raising flour - add one tablespoon of S.R. flour into some hot water it should bubble a bit. Or try adding some vinegar and see if it bubbles. Usually SR flour is only good for about three months.

The problem an unreliable oven
1. Try and use heavy grade dark metal baking dishes which give the best heat distribution.
2. If your oven heating cycle is unreliable (varies the temperature a lot) lower the temperature to hot 220C (430F), preheat the oven along with a heavy metal baking dish for a good 20 mins then bake the scones on the baking dish which acts as a heat sink helping to bake the scones more evenly. Try to bake smaller sized scones which helps with a constantly varying temperature.
3. If your oven has hot spots which mine does just rotate the dish at about 3/4 of the total baking time.

The problem my dairy-free margarine doesn't do a good job of cutting in
1. Just melt the margarine and add it to the liquid and proceed as normal (this is the best you can do if the margarine is "bad for cutting-in or just bad for scones" in the first place).

Mandatory Items: You must make one batch of basic scones (i.e. basic biscuits using the North American name). The challenge recipe has been designed to be fast, very cheap and easy to follow so allowing for multiple attempts to be made until you can achieve your desired result. I encourage you to make a couple of batches to see how small changes in technique can obtain vastly different final baked products. I estimate all of my 16 experimental batches cost less than $4 and took about four hours, so please do take this opportunity to explore the possibilities of the different techniques and advice that have been presented here in this challenge. I have included a number of links to the most popular scone (biscuit) recipes (and variations) in a number of countries feel free to use these if you can make a good basic scone (biscuit) already.  

Variations allowed:  A number of variations (cheese and chives, herb, etc) on the basic challenge recipe are included use them if you wish.  

Preparation time: Scones: Preparation time less than 10 minutes. Baking time about 10 minutes.

Equipment required:
Large mixing bowl
Baking dish
Measuring cups and  spoons (optional)
Flour Sifter (optional)
Board (optional)
Scone (biscuit) cutter (optional) or knife (optional)
Dough scraper (optional)
Spatula (optional)
Weighing scale (optional)
Cooling rack (optional)
Pastry brush (optional)

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9. 
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough).  Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes  (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
Wholemeal –  follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.     
   
Pictorial guide to the challenge recipe
I was at my brother's house and we had a hankering for a baked treat so I decided to make the challenge recipe also I needed some photos of the challenge recipe being made for this posting. My brother isn't a cook, all he had to hand as equipment was concerned was a mixing bowl,a thin walled 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin and a knife, he didn't even have a cup measure only mugs so I improvised.

As you can see in the collage below I roughly chopped some butter (I eye-balled about 2 tablespoons) and froze it. Then I throw the frozen cubed butter onto one mug of cold self-raising flour I couldn't sift the flour since my brother doesn't own a sifter. Then I proceeded to rub in the butter with my fingers until I got pea-sized fat pieces coated in flour.
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I added the liquid (½ mug of cold lite-milk) to the rubbed-in fat/flour mixture until I got a sticky dough I turned this out onto a floured board, I lightly floured the top of the sticky dough then I kneaded it once  then I patted it out into a rectangular shape then I proceeded to fold and turn the dough. Notice that you fold 1/3 of the dough over itself then the other 1/3 over that and turn it 90° degrees. Notice the lines on the broad this will help you understand how to do the folding and the turning.
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I did a couple more folds and turns and used a well-floured knife to cut out squares of prepared dough.
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Here is a close-up of the finish patted-out dough notice how you can see the fat particles in the dough this is what causes flakiness in the final baked scone.
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I used the inverted cake tin as my baking dish and baked the scones in a very hot oven for 10 minutes they worked out really well I thought. Notice the nice central lamination in the scone and the great crumb and how well they rose in height.
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I placed two unbaked scones in the fridge to test whether resting them for 20 minutes helped improve the raise of the final baked product. As you can see the left scone and the middle scone are taller than the right scone which was baked immediately after it was cut out from the dough. So don't worry if you cannot bake the scones straight away they do better with a little resting time. 
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Videos of my sister making scones (baking powder biscuits) – using a very popular Australian recipe
(http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8163/basic+scones) 
Part 1 – my sister making the scones (baking powder biscuits)
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF9YJiHZ1K0)
Part 2 – my sister showing off her scones (baking powder biscuits)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GorStLKSoMo)
Pictures of my sister's scones
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Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Scones are best eaten warm. Scones (biscuits) are really easy to store – bag the cooked and cooled scones and freeze until needed then reheat in a moderate hot for a few minutes.


Additional Information: 
Australia’s most popular scone recipe uses lemon-flavoured soda pop and cream as the liquid
(http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2010/08/08/lemonade-scones/)
A great English scone recipe this uses more sugar and fat and has an egg
(http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-English-Scones/)
Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits recipe by Alton Brown
(http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html)
An index of North American recipes
(http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Bread/Biscuits-and-Scones/Biscuits/Top.aspx)
Another index of North American recipes
(http://www.breadexperience.com/biscuit-recipes.html)
Three great Australian recipes
(http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/homestyle/blogs/tried-and-tasted/how-to-bake-the-perfect-scone-20110504-1e7xn.html)
An index of Irish recipes
(http://www.littleshamrocks.com/Irish-Bread-Scone-Recipes.html)
An interesting discussion on “what makes a scone a scone”
(http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810928)  
Videos of Alton Brown making biscuits (scones) with his granny (super cute to watch)
Episode one ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3QuQSdjMVE)
Episode two (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcz4JQUwY9Q)
Links to advice about chemical raising agents
http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/06/what-is-the-difference-between-baking-powder-and-baking-soda-in-pancakes.html
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/quick-bread-primer.html 

Disclaimer:
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”.  If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it.  If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with.  Thank you! :)[/quote]
          GI+100: Long Term Preservation of Digital Geographic Information — 16 Fundamental Principles Agreed by National Mapping Agencies and State Archives        

This paper states 16 principles for the long term retention and preservation of digital geographic information. The paper is mainly aimed at public sector geographic information providers in Europe (particularly those involved in mapping and cadastre) with the intention of highlighting the significance of fundamental concepts for digital geographic data archiving. Geographic information providers are mainly mapping agencies, but also archives preserving geographic data among a wider range of digital information. A supplementary objective is that the paper may provide useful information for providers of all types of geographic information right around the world.

This paper states 16 principles for the long term retention and preservation of digital geographic information. The paper is mainly aimed at public sector geographic information providers in Europe (particularly those involved in mapping and cadastre) with the intention of highlighting the significance of fundamental concepts for digital geographic data archiving. Geographic information providers are mainly mapping agencies, but also archives preserving geographic data among a wider range of digital information. A supplementary objective is that the paper may provide useful information for providers of all types of geographic information right around the world.

There are many reasons why people wish to retain access to information, though the main drivers for archiving digital geographic information are meeting legislative requirements, the short and long term exploitation (re-use not only access) of archived data for analyzing social, environmental (e.g. global climate changes) and economic changes over time as well as efficiency savings in managing superseded datasets.  This paper sets out the path and describes what needs to be done now to future-proof the investment government agencies around the world have made in creating digital Geographic Data.

 


          Get inspired! Explore! in FEBRUARY        



After living in Berlin for a few years, my husband and I embarrassingly realised that we had visited very few of the museums in Berlin. So a year ago we bought a museum pass, enabling us to freely visit each museum. Now a year on,  regrettably we rarely utilised it. So with a month left I am choosing to make up for lost time by visiting every Staatliche (state) museum within the month of Febraury.  Consequently, February is now my month for the collection of inspiration.

Throughout February I will be sharing my museum inspirations and my subsequent fashion related creative output. 

I will be:

  • Visiting each museum
  • Taking photos of items which inspire me
  • Posting a selection of them on this blog
  • Selecting one particular item which could inspire a garment or outfit
  • Creating some of these outfits based on specific inspiration

Here we go!..............


Sunday 1st February Pergamon Museum & Bode Museum

1. Inspiration from the Pergamon Museum


I chose this textured stone wall as my Pergamon inspiration. Perhaps I will use the technique of quilting to achieve similar shapes in a skirt. 

Quilting does seem to be one of the "in things" at the moment. Here are some examples of quilted garments. 
Images from Sonia Rykie, 1800s Long  quilted skirt (MET), Just a Pretty Style



2. Inspiration from the Bode Museum 
Sculpture is not exactly my favourite type of art, especially if it is teamed with religious art. For this reason the Bode museum was not exuding with inspiration for me. But of course there were some nice pieces throughout the collection.  


For the Bode Museum I chose this painting by Giovanni Domenico Ticpolo (1754) with it's pinks, yellows, whites and greys.



Below are some possible fashion ideas
Images from cool chic style fashion, dailylookStylebop
I suppose that I will need to go fabric shopping to find the perfect shades of yellow, pink and grey

Next museum stop is the Kunstgewerbe Museum (Museum of Decorative Arts) which currently exhibits a history of fashion. 

*****

GET INSPIRED! and explore your neighbourhood.

Also to come this month, giveaways, information on mindfulness and more museums exploits!


          Comment on Microsoft Patches Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Against Wannacry by As WannaCrypt Recovery Continues, Analysts Back Microsoft's Leader - InfoSecHotSpot        
[…] Brokers released the attack vulnerability that ransom-ware hackers exploited.” In addition, Microsoft also took the very unique step of recently releasing security updates to address the vulnerability for Windows XP and Server 2003, even though they are both years past […]
          MEPs Call for an EU Strategy Beyond the Nuclear File        
The EU should exploit the current window of opportunity of nuclear talks and internal developments in Iran, which favour both domestic reform and better EU-Iran relations, says Parliament in a resolution passed on Thursday. It also calls on the EU to be more active in addressing the human rights situation and in supporting civil society in Iran. MEPs say that once a comprehensive agreement is reached that guarantees that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, the EU should ...
          Hip Hop and the "African Spring"        

Why didn’t the momentum and exuberance of last year’s “Arab Spring” extend to African countries south of the Sahel? Sub-Saharan populations, many immediate neighbors of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, followed the drama with fascination and some envy. When we spoke, I was surprised how few colleagues and friends in sub-Saharan Africa were optimistic about a counterpoint “African Spring.” They claimed their societies “weren’t ready” to rally widespread discontent towards a political tipping point.

Historically, my friends were wrong—SSA has much experience with successful opposition movements, from colonialism to apartheid. But I took their resignation to mean that social fragmentation had secured the upper hand, proof that poverty and cynical governance were not just misanthropic but bitterly divisive as well. The process of overcoming deep social, generational and political divisions, with their common denominator of skepticism and self-interest, cannot simply be ignited like the proverbial box of tinder.

Internet connectivity was clearly an enabler for the Arab Spring, and SSA still lacks reliable connectivity and familiarity with social media. But coastal North African countries are different from their southern neighbors in infinite other ways as well. Despite non-western culture, values and religious beliefs, North Africa’s Mediterranean exposure imposes a definite political and economic orientation towards Europe, for ill or good. Solidarity in any form—security, economic, ideological—is almost non-existent between countries divided by the Sahel. Few North African countries look south for constructive economic or political opportunity. Exploitation of less developed southern countries (human trafficking, resource predation) is more the norm.

I’ve written here before about the Nile Basin Initiative, an internationally-funded effort to negotiate equitable use rights for the countries of the great river, killed by mutual mistrust in 2010. The late Colonel Gaddafi led Pan-Africanism, the only other north-south unification effort. His utopianism managed to defy open ridicule thanks to his hefty wallet, but never commanded serious attention. In hindsight it proved far more effective at ensconcing the dinosaur club of out-of-touch leaders, like Gaddafi himself, for decades. This retrograde model of leadership, widely practiced among newcomers to power, is arguably the continent’s greatest impediment to modernity.

Continue reading "Hip Hop and the “African Spring”"


          How to Write about Congo        
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters. The Collapse of Congo and the Great War of Africa, Jason K. Stearns (Public Affairs: 380pp, 2011)

How best to make sense of Congo’s enduring crisis, a tale of daunting political complexity and extraordinary cruelty? Many writers have tried, for no other African country captivates the western literary imagination as much as Congo. This fascination long precedes Joseph Conrad, who indelibly described King Leopold’s Congo Free State over a century ago. But faithful subjects do not good art make, and most western writing on Congo is unreadable or, at best, unbearable.

The sheer complexity of Congo’s dramatic history is one contributing factor behind all the dreadful writing. Many an author sacrifices compelling narrative for rigorous scholarship, resulting in a turgid swamp of acronyms for all the armed groups, the Security Council Resolutions and the doomed peace deals. Epic chronicles like Africa’s World War (Gérard Prunier) may be valuable to scholars but are so microscopically detailed as to be opaque to non-specialists.

Adventure writing, the other main genre of Congo literature, is equally abundant and can carry a plot, but the stories glorify the exploits of the author and ignore the Congolese. “Watch me as I commune with gentle pygmies, wrestle crocodiles on the great Congo River, escape beheading by a throng of stoned child soldiers”— setting the bar for unbearable reading. Common to both schools is the absence of Congolese voice; for both, Congo is a neutral, muted stage for the author’s performance (scholarship, “survival”). Faced with such output, one thinks, the trampling of Congo just goes on and on.

Jason Stearns shares this lament. A recognized scholar and field analyst with years of human rights reporting from the country’s most remote zones of conflict , he tackles Congo’s complexity head-on, unpeeling the onion of its myriad wars within wars. But Stearns is after larger game than demystifying Congo’s “inscrutable chaos” for a western audience. By capturing the political rationales and individual motives as voiced by key players themselves, abhorrent though they may be, he personalizes Congo’s tumultuous ups and downs. Taming this wooly complexity with character-driven narrative and firsthand experience, the book is ultimately a challenge to the reigning stereotype of Congo as an inchoate mêlée of raw power devouring the meek and innocent. Recalling the reductive lens that framed colonialism’s “civilizing mission” (humanity over barbarism, reason vs. unreason), it’s not hard to discern an unbroken line between western perceptions of Congo in Conrad’s time and our own elitist, arguably racist, comprehension today.

Continue reading this review here.
          Inauguration du système anti-crue de l’AFD        
Les inondations sont fréquentes en France, c'est d'ailleurs selon le Ministère de l'Ecologie, de l'Energie, du Développement Durable et de l'Aménagement du territoire, le premier risque naturel sur le territoire : 8 000 communes, plus de 20 000 km² et près de 4,5 millions de français y sont exposés, comme nous l'a récemment rappelé la tragique tempête Xynthia
Comme de nombreuses villes, Paris est exposée aux crues du fleuve qui la traverse : la Seine. En 1910, la ville connait d'ailleurs l'une des plus importantes inondations de son histoire.


Paris, ville inondable

Le 28 janvier 1910, la Seine en crue, depuis une dizaine de jours, fait connaitre à Paris l'une des plus importantes inondations de son histoire. Le fleuve débite à 2 400 m3/s, l'eau atteint 8,62 mètres sur l'échelle hydrométrique du pont d'Austerlitz et le débordement est tel que la décrue prendra plus d'un mois.
Les dommages sont particulièrement importants : la moitié de la ville est inondée, 20 000 parisiens sont sinistrés, les dommages sont estimés pour le département de la Seine (Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis et Val-de-Marne) à 17 milliards d'euros et l'économie régionale est fortement perturbée en raison de la paralysie des usines, entreprises et commerces.
A l'époque déjà, la crue est qualifiée de centennale.

Une étude menée par la DIREN (Direction Régionale de l'Environnement), en 1998, a évalué qu'une crue semblable à celle de 1910 engendrerait désormais plus de 12 milliards d'Euros de dégâts en région Ile-de-France dans l'état actuel d'urbanisation du lit majeur de la Seine. Or, une telle crue aurait chaque hiver, 1 chance sur 100 de se reproduire…


Le siège de l'AFD : un batiment particulièrement exposé au risque innondation

L'AFD (Agence Française de Développement), en charge de financer, par des prêts à long terme et/ou des subventions, le développement économique et social de près de 80 pays en voie de développement et des Collectivités d'Outre Mer, dispose d'un siège situé 5 rue Roland Barthes dans le 12ème arrondissement de Paris. Situé entre la rue de Rambouillet, la rue Roland Barthes et la place Henry Frenay (bâtiment adossé à la Gare de Lyon), cet immeuble de bureaux est distant du lit de la Seine d'environ 400 mètres, et se trouve dans une zone où, selon le PPRI (Plan de Prévention du Risque Inondations) de Paris, la hauteur d'eau serait de 34,70 mètres en cas de crue centennale.

Occupant une surface au sol de 4 620 m², le bâtiment est composé de 7 étages et d'un sous-sol : un niveau de locaux techniques et 3 niveaux de parkings souterrains.
En cas d'inondation de type 1910, le rez-de-chaussée serait envahit par 58 cm d'eau et les sous sols noyés. Quant au point le plus bas de la voirie autour du bâtiment, situé à l'angle de la rue de Rambouillet et de la rue de Châlon, la hauteur d'eau maximum y atteindrait 1,64 m.

Pour préserver les équipements et faciliter la reprise d'exploitation suite à une crue, l'AFD a souhaité se doter d'une protection périmétrique amovible extérieure. Après étude, c'est le K-system d'ESTHI qui a été retenu.


Le K-System, une protection efficace et simple de mise en oeuvre

Pour protéger son bâtiment inondable sur 3 faces (la partie Sud - Ouest de l'édifice - rue de Châlon - n'est pas exposé aux crues en raison de l'existence d'un voile béton entre la Gare de Lyon et l'AFD), l'AFD et son AMOA (Assistance à Maitrise d'Ouvrage), EXAMO, ont retenu la solution proposée par la société ESTHI.

La protection périmétrique ESTHI est robuste (en aluminium extrudé) et réutilisable à chaque menace d'inondation.
Mais cette solution présente surtout l'avantage de ne nécessiter aucuns travaux de voirie (pas de travaux de génie civil, pas besoin de constructions et d'adaptations de sols au préalable, absence de rails au sol…). Il n'a donc pas été nécessaire de demander d'Instruction Technique de Voirie, obligatoire lorsque l'on creuse les trottoirs parisiens en raison de l'importance du réseau souterrain.

La solution ESTHI installée se décompose en 2 parties :
• La mise en place d'un système anti-crue démontable et mobile K-system pour le reste de la zone à protéger. Constitué de poutres horizontales et étanches en aluminium extrudé et de glissières inclinées, le K-system est autobloquant et évite le coulage de fondations. Le système forme un angle à 45° avec le sol : l'eau exerce une charge sur la surface inclinée, le poids de l'eau stabilise la barrière et l'immobilise au sol. D'une longueur de 300 mètres, le K-system mis en place devant l'AFD est d'ailleurs le plus grand jamais installé. Toutefois, ce type de protection inclinée est limité à une hauteur de protection d'1.30m.
• L'installation d'un mur de batardeaux aluminium ancrés par des poteaux en applique dans le sous bassement du bâtiment pour la zone où la hauteur d'eau attendue en cas de crue est la plus haute (rue de Rambouillet : 1,65 mètres). Les poteaux aluminium sont fixés, au moment de la crue, sur la façade de l'AFD à l'aide de chevilles pré-installées.

L'ensemble de cette protection démontable est facilement stockable et facile à mettre en place même dans l'urgence. L'AFD stocke sur racks spéciaux au 4ème sous-sol l'ensemble des éléments de la barrière qui en cas de crue de la Seine est monté en 1 journée par 6 personnes.

Une fois la protection montée, le bâtiment de l'AFD est complètement protégé des crues centennales éventuelles et de leurs dommages. L'édifice et ses équipements ne sont pas endommagés (pas de changement de moquette, de remplacement des installations électriques…) et la reprise de l'exploitation peut intervenir très rapidement après la crue.



ESTHI
3 rue Christine - 95160 Montmorency
Tel: 01.34.12.85.15 - www.esthifrance.com


--
Contact Presse:
TARA

01 49 30 10 70

Profil du diffuseur : http://www.categorynet.com/reseaucategorynet/profile?userid=7716


--

Communiqué envoyé le 17.05.2010 14:46:56 via le site Categorynet.com dans la rubrique Environnement

Diffuser votre communiqué de presse : http://www.diffuseruncommuniquedepresse.com/

          Volunteering: Capricorn Cetaceans Project!        

The Capricorn Cetaceans Project is currently accepting applications for volunteers,interns and research assistants for the Australian winter season from June to September 2010.

The Capricorn Cetacean Project started in 2006 as part of Cagnazzi Daniele PhD study. The primary aim of this project was to study inshore dolphin species primarily on two threatened species the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and the Australian snubfin dolphin in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, from Gladstone to Shoalwater Bay,
Queensland Australia. With the years this project evolved including studies more species.

Field work include daily coastal surveys, coastal expedition and reef expeditions. Coastal daily surveys will be conducted on a 6m center console vessel, due to the extension of the study area launching points vary depending on the weather and surveys needs. Costal expeditions will be organized to survey the most remote areas, several hundred km away from any human activity. These expeditions will last between 4 and 5 days, during which we will sleep in a camp set up on unexploited beaches where with some luck we will fish our dinner. Reef expedition (50 miles away from the coast) will be done with a 13m long 5 star powered catamaran with all the comforts.

Nights will be spent within the lagoons of breath taking coral islands (Lady Musgrove, Lady Elliot, Heron Island and Fitzroy Reef) that will be possible to explore during the afternoon at the end of the work day. Snorkeling is also possible and worthwhile,and as I am a diving instructor upon interes we can organize some dives too.

During field work we will applied standard technique normally used in cetaceans studies and we will also collect skin samples using a biopsy pole and a PAXARM biopsy system.

These are the major projects on which we will be working:

- Modelling habitat suitability of coastal dolphins along the QLD coast

- Population genetics and phylogeography of Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins in Australian waters: defining appropriate management units for conservation

- Taxonomic status and ecology of a undescribed form of spinner dolphin "pigmy spinner dolphin" (Stenella spp) from the Capricorn Bunker group, Southern Great Barrier Reef.

- Use of non-destructive toxicology biomarkers and residue analysis to assess the toxicology status of humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and snubfin dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni) in Australian coastal waters

- Estimating population size of inshore dolphins species in Central Queensland using DISTANCE techniques.

Furthermore we will continue with the collection of data from all cetaceans species sighted during our surveys, such as dugongs, offshore bottlenose dolphins, inshore bottlenose dolphins, spinners dolphins, humpback whale, Minke whales and False killer whales. We will also continue collecting photo-id data on humpback and snubfin
dolphins to increase accuracy of population estimates and to estimate population trend.

While on land the team will share a house in Yeppoon a nice costal town in Central Queensland, accommodation including internet and power is free,while we will share the shopping costs for the food.

The possibility of an internship will be evaluated directly with the interested person.

Volunteers are not required to have any previous experience except for a profound interest in cetaceans and a background in marine studies or similar. Application from volunteers for less than 2 months will not be considered.

One research assistant position is also available and potential candidates are required to stay for the full four months. Research Assistant need to have previous experience with boat handling and field work studies. The successful applicant will have the food costs plus a weekly reimbursement to discuss directly with me.

Interested applicants should forward a letter and their CV directly to me dcagna10@scu.edu.au

For more detailed information do not hesitate to contact me

Daniele Cagnazzi
PhD
Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre
Southern Cross University
2480 Lismore NSW Australia
PH: +61 0266203815
FAX: +61 0266212669


          Apple Issues Patch for Porn-browsing Safari Users Hit with Ransomware        

Many Apple users are not quite as technically savvy as most other gadget enthusiasts as their product’s ease of use is actually why many love it. This becomes a problem however, when malware and scammers focus on targeting those on Apple devices as they can much easily exploited. Ransomware scammers have been taking advantage of […]

The post Apple Issues Patch for Porn-browsing Safari Users Hit with Ransomware appeared first on eTeknix.


          Apple iOS Exploits Published By Wikileaks Already Fixed        

You may have noticed Wikileaks are in the news yet again, with more juicy documents about the CIA and their unhealthy obsession with monitoring people, illegally. However, Apple has since confirmed that the iOS exploits published by Wikileaks had already been fixed in the last iOS update. In the 8000+ documents released by Wikileaks, were details […]

The post Apple iOS Exploits Published By Wikileaks Already Fixed appeared first on eTeknix.


          iOS Mobile Device Management Protocol Can be Abused to Load Malware        

  Apple has worked hard to make it difficult to allow users to unwittingly install unauthorized and malicious apps onto their devices. Despite this, there is still one way in that attackers are still able to exploit: the mobile device management protocol. Researchers from Check Point Software Technologies will be demonstrating the hack as part […]

The post iOS Mobile Device Management Protocol Can be Abused to Load Malware appeared first on eTeknix.


          Comment on 15 Amazing Hidden Features Of Google Search You Probably Don’t Know by disqus_H65NwhJdV1        
Kiddie stuff. You want to learn the power of Google: https://www.exploit-db.com/google-hacking-database/
          Introducing the New Thing That We Do Now (and will promptly forget to do ever again): BLOGROULETTE!        
A kindred blogger introduced Rickey to the concept of the “next blog” button on the top of the website and recommended he click it. Apparently by doing so, you’re taken to a blog with similar interests as yours. Click a few more times and you’re taken further down the rabbit hole of randomness. It’s good wholesome fun that provides Rickey the opportunity to do what makes the internet such a special place: ridicule others. So we’re totally making a recurring practice out of this. The concept is similar to Chatroulette, but featuring even more self-aggrandizing pathos! The rules to this game are simple, you click on the “next blog” button thrice, see what comes up, and steep yourself in the awful blandness of it all. We kick off our inaugural installment with…
At first, we thought that with a name like this, the blog would written by bank robbers from East Baltimore cataloging their hilarious yet socioeconomically tragic hiijinks, but sadly we were wrong. So very wrong.

It’s a blog about two kids playing baseball (the sports element is what linked Rickey’s site to this one). For bonus internet awkwardness, the blog is written entirely by the DARRINGTON BOYZ’ proud mother and discussing their exploits on and off the baseball field. We’re pretty sure that the milk in Rickey’s coffee curdled while he was perusing this blog. Thank god Rickey’s exploits are a constant source of disappointment and embarrassment for his mother, otherwise he’d probably have to put up with a website very similar to this one…. But enough exposition, here’s what the bright future of America looks like! There are words to describe this photo. Rickey, however, is at a complete loss for them. You can practically see the one on the right just working things out in his head--figuring out the best place to open up a quiet little hotel with some nice stuffed animals on the walls and maybe moving his mom in there to live with him. Oh, and we’re pretty certain that the one on the left is Cthulhu hiding in corporeal form.

The best part is that the mother is completely oblivious to the bottomless pits of terrifying nothingness dwelling in the eyes of her sons. Naturally, in the face of such alarming vapidity, she’s turned to Jesus. For those sorely in need of a deeply motivational quote to put up next to your “hang in there kitty!” poster, you’ll find the following pearls of wisdom on the blog:

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

Well that’s all very touching and whatnot, but Rickey’s would prefer to file his own tax return next year rather than entrust it to the J-Man if that's copacetic with you, honey. It’s a little unsettling how much overt religiosity you’ll find on these family blogs. Rickey’s buddy similarly lamented that his site always leads directly to a never ending supply of Mormon blogs, (presumably because like most other Jews, he uses the phrase "Jesus Christ" a heckuva lot). But Rickey digresses... There are yet more inspirational quotes from Mater Darrington to guide you through your hectic modern life!

Work as if it was your first day.
Forgive as soon as possible.
Love without boundaries.
Laugh without control and never stop smiling.

First off, if Rickey “worked as if it was his first day” he’d be queued up on a breadline by now. After seven years on the job, you think Rickey’s superiors would respond well to him suddenly asking where the bathroom was and what kind of 401K plan they offered? And “laugh without control”? Isn’t that what the Joker did to the fair citizens of Gotham? People died from that shit, lady. Not cool.

But then Rickey saw a blog post entitled “First Snow and Cougar Hunting” we got much more excited. What sort of lurid mischief could the Darrington Boyz be getting up to, we wondered?

Ah crap, she meant "cougar hunting" literally. Well that’s just not right at all. Apparently that whole “love without boundaries” thing stops short at large mountain cats whose natural habitats encroach upon the Darlington Boyz’ hunting grounds. We guess Rickey missed the section in the new testament in which Woodland Hunter Jesus lectures his apostles (his BOYZ, if you will) on the merits of snuffing out majestic felines for recreational fun. It’s probably hidden somewhere in the back.

You know what, we’d love to see the Darrington Boyz go toe to toe with a more challenging critter. Rickey recommends THE HONEY BADGER, probably the most fearsome land mammal ever to roam the earth. Take a gander at nature’s version of Winnie the Pooh on crack cocaine:

[h/t to “Badass of the Week." for making Rickey aware of this relentless beast. The video is all Rickey's doing--enjoy it before Jay-Z shuts us down]

Honey badger don’t give a fuck. Honey badger will mess your shit up. Honey badger is all teeth, fur, and balls. Ain't no love in the heart of the jungle, baby. Now THAT’S your motivational quote of the day.

Anyhow, we’d go on to post more about this blog , but it’s pretty much an amalgam of religious poems, insipid birthday parties at P.F. Changs, and the Boyz standing over various carcasses of recently slain wildlife. As for their baseball careers, it’s pretty much a lock that you’ll be seeing them on the Colorado Rockies in the not too distant future. Tune in next week to see what fresh hell Rickey stumbles upon in Blogroulette!
          On Gardening and Its Discontents        
[In the spirit of full disclosure, we think it’s only fair that you be aware that you are now reading a blog penned by a man who becomes abnormally excited when discussing the topic of crown molding.]

Far pithier people than Rickey have said that the two most important items in any house are a library and a garden. And while Rickey’s “library” consists of a single svelte bookcase populated by the likes of Tom Wolfe (no big surprise there) and Kazuo Ishiguro (OK, maybe a slight surprise there), we’re fairly confident that this will quickly expand over time. But what of the garden? When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, will Rickey turn to his plowshare and till the earth? Well, that’s kind of what we’re thinking.

See, Rickey possesses a nice level back yard that receives excellent light and would he be greatly remiss in not exploiting it for agrarian purposes. The fundamentals of this garden have already been laid out in Rickey’s mind: an environmentally responsible compost bin in the backyard brimming with wriggling red worms, and several raised beds populated with heirloom tomatoes, sorrel, cucumbers, carrots, string beans, chard, and eggplants (for eggplants are truly the most playful of all the vegetables). There will be a rabbit pen in the back yard. Each night, Mrs. Henderson will wait patiently by the window for Rickey to come from work and she will cook rabbit for him upon his arrival. There will be bountiful harvests in the fall, bushels filled with produce, and tributes offered to the gods in the name of rain. A maypole may even be procured.

But before Rickey can break ground on this venture, one issue must first be addressed: the deer problem. In the area where Rickey grew up, deer were a systemic problem for Papa Henderson’s garden. A combination of the use of sonic devices and coyote urine as well of the introduction of a natural predator (an 80 pound clinically insane Samoyed) into the environment now seems to be successfully keeping them at bay. You think Rickey’s kidding about that natural predator part, but you weren’t present to witness the dog carrying a bloody dismembered deer leg home in his jaw. Did the deer die a natural death or did the dog actually take it down? We’re not sure, but either way, Rickey hasn’t been able to look his dog straight in the eyes since. That canine now has BLOODLUST in him.

The deer in Rickey’s area are much less willing to roll over and die. The Hendersons’ backyard fence was damaged by a deer that, according to a neighbor, actually ran headfirst into it. Driving home from work the other night, a deer sprang out of the woods and charged at Rickey’s driver side door before skidding to a halt—that's right, the animal almost t-boned Rickey. They’re not so much deer as they are crystal meth junkies with hooves and antlers.

How to best keep these marauding deer out of the garden? Scarecrows clearly aren’t going to work on these lunatic deer. A dog isn’t in the cards just yet, and Rickey certainly doesn’t want to venture down the slippery slope of attempting to procure coyote urine. (Where in the hell would one even look for something like that? Does anyone have a coyote urine guy?) In the meantime, Rickey has received multiple alternative suggestions. Irish Spring soap shavings placed at the base of the plants are rumored to keep deer at bay, but what of the inevitable leprechaun infestation that would be attracted by this Gaelic brand of soap? The last thing anyone wants is small mythological figures rooting about in their backyard for bottles of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

Hair sweepings from the local barbershop are another alleged home remedy, but Rickey’s not entirely certain that the ladies at the salon where Rickey receives his $30 haircuts would take kindly to him walking out the door with a garbage bag full of human hair. Rickey used to have a blow-dart gun (because when you’re 14 and working at the local library, a blow-dart gun seems like an entirely reasonable item to spend one's first paycheck on) but sadly it is nowhere to be found. Damn that blow-dart gun was awesome and it absolutely would’ve chased off the deer.

What remedies for this do you folks with deer problems have? Any gardening tips in general?
          Nouvelle rentrée...        

Nouvelle rentrée avec des espoirs...

Je sais bien qu'il faudra du temps avant que des réformes et des décisions lourdes de sens soient prises mais il est frustrant de constater que :

  • des élèves ayant besoin d'un AVS (assistant de vie scolaire) se retrouvent sans personne ou avec quelques heures seulement...
  • les effectifs sont toujours chargés (et on s'étonne ensuite que les élèves ne cartonnent pas à l'oral)
  • le nombre de surveillants ou d'assistants pédagogiques est toujours risible... Surveiller 400 gamins quand on est deux dans la cour... mais bien sûr...
  • pas assez de sous pour des dotations de TBI ou de vidéoprojecteurs...
  • des élèves avec des besoins particuliers qui se retrouvent noyés dans la masse du collège unique alors qu'ils auraient besoin d'une structure plus adaptée...
  • les zones sensibles n'ont toujours pas de conseiller d'orientation psychologue, d'assistante sociale ou d'infirmière à temps plein...

Il est de bon ton de dire que les profs râlent tout le temps... Mais pour qui râlent-ils exactement ?
Pour eux ? Je ne crois pas avoir réclamé à cor et à cri une hausse de salaire ou un équipement high-tech de fou... Certains diront même que je suis débile car avec mes propres deniers, j'ai investi dans un vidéoprojecteur afin de travailler comme je le souhaite, afin de rendre mes cours plus ludiques et variés, afin que les élèves reçoivent un enseignement de qualité qui les motive, que tous les moyens soient mis en oeuvre pour leur permettre de progresser vite et bien...
On râle parce qu'on se sent impuissant face à l'échec de certains élèves, face à leurs difficultés qui ne sont pas forcément dues à un manque de travail ou de la paresse... mais qui ont tout avoir avec leurs conditions d'apprentissage.

Parce que sous des dehors cyniques, caustiques, trash... vous, qui me lisez depuis longtemps, avez sans doute bien compris quelle frustration et quel écoeurement je ressens quand je vois beaucoup de mes élèves ne pas progresser aussi vite qu'ils le pourraient... Ce n'est ni ma faute, ni de la leur... La faute à un système poussiéreux qui depuis cinq ans commençait dangereusement à considérer l'école comme une entreprise à manager. Je garde espoir que les choses s'améliorent peu à peu... Naïveté ? Sans doute. Mais si je pars du principe que rien n'évoluera dans le bon sens... pfff... autant aller se recoucher ou se reconvertir.

En cette rentrée, j'ai pu voir les progrès d'élèves que je suis depuis un bon moment. Je suis fière de moi, je suis fière d'eux, de leur parcours. Et quand je croise un prof de lycée qui se dit épaté par les qualités d'expression écrite de tel ou tel élève, je bois du petit lait car je sais que je ne suis pas étrangère à cette réussite, que j'ai su les guider, les motiver pour qu'ils exploitent leurs capacités à fond les ballons. Plus le temps passe, plus je réalise à quel point on délaisse ces élèves pour consacrer un maximum d'énergie à ces élèves non-motivés qui ne se mettront jamais au travail. Les élèves choupi sont là, plus discrets souvent, plus autonomes... On a l'impression qu'ils ont moins besoin de nous... c'est un leurre qu'il est parfois difficile de surmonter et d'équilibrer.

Bon, histoire de râler et biatcher quand même, j'ai pas mal été interloquée en entendant au zapping de Canal, les propos d'une enseignante lors d'un reportage du JT de France 2 concernant le portable au collège dont l'usage lui paraît bénéfique en cour de récréation... Captivés par leurs SMS ou musique, ils en oublient de se battre...
Mouais. C'est quand même dommage de devoir trouver un palliatif technologique pour éviter les bastons et les insultes. Surtout que le portable est aussi source d'envie, de jalousie, de discorde en pleine cour de récré... Des SMS qui font circuler des rumeurs sur un élève... Des vols, de la casse... La question du portable reste très épineuse et délicate. Il n'est pas question de savoir s'il est judicieux qu'un ado de 12 ou 13 ans ait un Samsung Galaxy, c'est du cas par cas (même si dans la majorité des cas, je trouve ça bien trop tôt ou vite sujet à dérapage et abus...) mais après tout, ça regarde les familles... sauf que lorsque ça a des répercussions au bahut, ça devient également NOTRE problème. Si le portable était sagement rangé au fond du sac, éteint... utile uniquement sur la route du collège ou en cas de super-urgence... pas de souci... mais encore une fois, c'est l'abus qui crée l'interdiction ou la sanction. À quand l'harmonisation d'un vrai règlement concernant le téléphone portable à l'école ?

Je rebondis également sur des mails que j'ai reçus concernant le fait que je trouve particulièrement pas judicieux de laisser son mouflet seul à la maison le soir pour cause d'horaires de travail pas choupi.
Je persiste et signe. Laisser son môme de 5, 8 ou 13 ans constamment seul entre 17h et 21h voire plus tard... ben c'est effectivement pas youpi-youpi. Pour des raisons de sécurité tout d'abord, ça me paraît évident. Je repense à cette mère d'élève affolée car son mari, censé garder les enfants âgés de quelques mois à 5 ans, pendant qu'elle était à la réunion parents/profs avec ses deux aînés, s'était tiré boire un coup avec ses potes, laissant les gamins dans leurs lits... affolée quand elle a appelé pour dire qu'elle aurait du retard et que c'est le petit de 5 ans qui a répondu en disant que ses frère et soeur pleuraient à chaudes larmes...
Laisser un enfant de 10 ans seul du moment où il rentre de l'école au moment où il va se coucher doit, selon moi, être exceptionnel voire méga-temporaire parce qu'un enfant a besoin d'un cadre et de limites que sa nouvelle autonomie ne pourra pas lui donner. Il ne faut pas se leurrer, on parle d'un enfant et rares seront ceux qui agiront exactement comme ils le feraient si leurs parents étaient là... Les devoirs retardés ou expédiés... jouer tout son soûl à la console... manger des chips pour le goûter... boire deux grands verres de coca en surfant sur Facebook. La tentation est grande d'être moins rigoureux et je comprends facilement ces élèves qui bâclent leur travail ou qui n'ont pas envie d'approfondir leur travail. Alors, bien sûr, je ne suis pas débile, je sais bien que parfois on n'a pas le choix... mais dans la mesure du possible, il y a bien quelqu'un de la famille, un voisin, un ami, les parents d'un copain de classe qui peuvent régulièrement checker que le gamin va bien voire le prendre en charge quelques heures ou une nuit de temps en temps... Le laisser totalement seul doit être TEMPORAIRE et ne doit pas durer toute l'année scolaire... J'ai l'impression d'enfoncer des portes ouvertes en écrivant ça...

Je m'insurge enfin contre mes congénères qui, effectivement, ont des demandes de fournitures chelou, introuvables, voire hors de prix... Nous ne sommes pas tous comme ça malgré ce qu'en disent les médias qui donnent l'impression que tous les profs se frottent les mains à l'idée des sueurs froides qu'ils vont filer aux parents avec leur kit de pinceaux en poil de Kangourou de Guinée à 17.90 € pièce ou leur cahier 30x32 à grands carreaux, sans spirale, trouvable uniquement sur un site spécialisé qui livre sous trois semaines. Je me souviens des cours d'arts plastiques quand j'étais au collège avec des crayons de couleur obligatoirement de telle marque, des crayons HB, des crayons2B ou des tubes de gouache dont on ne servait quasiment pas... Mais rassurons-nous, la majorité des profs n'a pas des exigences de dingue qui donnent des envies d'acide chlorhydrique dans la gueule.

Bon courage aux profs ♥ Bon courage aux élèves choupi, accrochez-vous, ne cédez pas à la facilité de l'oisiveté ♥

Le Biatchounours continue sa pause en attendant de chouettes nouvelles concernant l'instruction des enfants.

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          Save "Tai Chi in the RP". Save "Tai Chi in the World"        
It seems not infrequent that I find myself as a charlatan (person supposed to have qualities that one actually lacks) in one way or another. This seems to be a human malady found in various endeavors and activities – from the political arena, to the medical field, to even the religious realm. Our children's idealism is quickly disillusioned by the scandals exposed. This is a sad state, where we unfortunately have contributed to create. Or at least, I myself know that I cannot cast the first stone of accusation because I am also at fault. But far from condemnation, this is simply a statement of fact and an earnest call to create an positive alternative vision.

The "Yin" in the State of Tai Chi

Starting under my very nose, it is ironic to for me to find uncomfortable contradictions between the principles of tai chi and the practice of tai chi, as much on the learners' side as on the institutions that promote its principles. It is difficult to discuss this issue without seeming to attack, but if it is any consolation, I put myself in the forefront of the target of this attack. Actually, I would rather focus on solutions and use the very tai chi principles we uphold as the method for solution generation.

The state of tai chi as an art both here in the Philippines and internationally, can be said to be at a critical crossroads. From its origin as a revered holistic practice that addresses the need for self-defense, health, longevity and spiritual enlightenment, it has now fragmented as separated pursuits. We see the differentiation as tai chi for health, for martial arts, for sports and for "new age" inclinations. Not that there is something wrong with them per se, just that they represent discreet perspectives that could water down the essence of tai chi, particularly if they become the mainstream practice.

Viewed from a detached perspective, we see that there are reasons for this phenomenon (observed situation). These are the present human tendencies which naturally extend to activities relating to tai chi. These human tendencies are:
  • to classify, as an intellectual tendency to dissect and analyze everything,
  • to "commodify" everything for marketable usefulness and function, and
  • to suit the trend to search for what is "convenient and fashionable".

These tendencies lead to unsettling questions:

  • How do they affect the idea of tai chi as being revered and holistic? Should we fragmentize tai chi to suit our fickle market?
  • What would happen if this trend continues - when the essence of the art is compromised to the wants of an unenlightened market while subscribing to the idea that "the market is god"?

Specifically, we see two main tendencies manifesting as the resultant trends:

  1. First, is a continuing fragmentation of "Traditional Styles" into marketable proprietary brands through:
    a. The development of Tai Chi for health to cater to a "market niche" of the aging "baby boomer generation", and
    b. The cashing in on the lucrative "New Age" market, on the one hand,
  2. And Second, is the powerful unifying global effort by the People's Republic of China to "crash into the exclusive Olympic club" effectively converting tai chi as into sports.

Aggravating the situation is the still pervasive ancient tradition of "keeping the family secrets within the clan" which causes this legacy of the Chinese civilization to be "getting lost in a disinterested generation within the clans".

The "Yang" in State of Tai Chi:

But there are positive tendencies and trends as well that prove the reality of the balancing "yin and yang" in life. We do see this in the access to global information through the internet on the one hand, and the ease in international travel on the other. This trend gives all learners an opportunity to have affordable access to many kept information and "secrets" and free them up for healthy circulation of chi in the body of a mutating art.. Through this, a new arena of communication offers a level playing field to positively alter the trend of events.

The opportunity exists as the impact we can exert on the thinking of the market. To help give rise to the emergence of an "enlightened" market that would demand the real thing – the original, pure idea of tai chi that was developed by "enlightened masters who created this art".

Practically, every learner is technologically empowered by the internet to exert an altering impact in the present trend towards a desirable outcome – to turn the situation from being a passive loser to being an active gainer. From being an exploited market to being "an enlightened market" who refuses to be manipulated and who effectively demands for the authentic tai chi.

The source of power of tai chi is in the mind: its ability to gather and mobilize a unified critical mass of our chi as a market and to leverage and neutralize an unenlightened force towards a win-win situation.

Using tai chi, non-confrontational approach, we know as learners that the soft approach of "using four ounces" is not to demolish but to effectively neutralize and eventually win the institutions into our side.

Our vision is a tai chi world that goes beyond forms and digs deep into the real substance of the art of tai chi chuan. Not just "fancy dancing" that is looked down by other martial artists. But a fighting art worthy of its name – "The Grand Ultimate Fist". A vision where practitioners becoming sages, not just a tendency to be bloated egos. We envision this subtle art to be moving as integral principle in our daily life, giving the tai chi practitioner a high degree of respect that can be gain from many disciplined hours and years of practicing the art.

Let's make it happen. Our individual and collective intention have impact. It moves chi. We can "deflect a thousand pounds with simply 4 ounces from our pure intention". Tai learners unite! Save "Tai Chi in the Philippines" save "Tai Chi in the World".

~ESS/Manila Philippines/Copyright Pending

Visit the Tai Chi Union of the Philippines Forum at Philippine Tai Chi Network


          Unduh Map Dota 6.79e Terbaru - 2014        
DotA 6.79e Map
IceFrog goes on a rampage and releases DotA 6.79e, the fifth map of its series. This update fixes major exploit with ArcWarden that allowed Linken Sphere item duplication. However, there's a bug left which lets you have infinite tango charges, so DotA 6.79f  may also release in near future.
Until then, you can download v6.79e and get rid of that annoying gold bug.



Dota v6.79e.w3x
Download DotA 6.79e Map:

Download the map (.w3x) in your PC then move themap file in "Warcraft III\Maps\Download" folder.

Before playing the new map, make sure your Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne has v1.24e or v1.26a patch pre-installed.

DotA 6.79e Patch Notes (Changelogs)

  • Fixed a gold exploit with Arc Warden
If you encounter any issues with the new map, report them directly to IceFrog so they can fixed in the next update.Also, drop your suggestions about upcoming DotA 6.80 using the comment form below.

          DotA v6.78b.w3x – File Download        
DotA 6.78b has just got released by the developer, IceFrog. It is the 2nd update of v6.78 series that addresses necessary bug and exploits to stabilize the gameplay. No new content has been added in this patch.
Description: Update primarily focused to counter bugs found in DotA 6.78.
Changelogs: Read Dota 6.78b Patch Notes.
Filesize: 7.8 MB
Release date: 3rd June, 2013
Language Multiple
For Warcraft v1.24e & v1.26a

DotA 6.78b Map Download:
DotA v6.78b.w3xEnglish
Русский (Russian)
大陆简体 (Chinese)
Filipino
Português (Portuguese)
Français (French)
Română (Romanian)
Note:
• DotA 6.78b AI will take couple of weeks to release.
• After downloading the w3x file, put the map in Warcraft III\Maps\Download folder.
• If you find any broken download link or any bugs, please report

          Britain's anti-Christian brave new world        
AD2000 REPORT

The head of the British Christian Legal Centre sees persecution of Christians in public life looming behind controversial recent remarks by the Equality and Human Rights Commissioner Trevor Phillips.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, who directs the legal centre, said that Phillips also sounded "naive," saying he "doesn't seem to be living in the same Britain that I'm living in."

Williams is not the only one who wondered where Phillips got some of the ideas he expressed in an interview on 19 June with the London Telegraph newspaper. The equality commissioner indicated that Muslim immigrants were integrating better into British society than many Christian populations, and said that Catholic adoption agencies were more clearly discriminatory than Sharia courts.

Phillips also said British Christians tended to imagine discrimination against them where none existed. And he indicated that believers should not expect exemptions from the 2010 Equality Act, with its controversial language on sexual orientation, once they stepped outside "the door of the church or mosque."

Williams, whose legal centre advocates for the rights of British Christians in the public square, said her country's Christian roots once made it "a land of great freedom," where "freedom of conscience" was respected.

"Those things we have seen eradicated under the Equalities agenda, which is Trevor Phillips' approach," she said in a 30 June interview. "Secularism, under the Equalities agenda, is not neutral. It punishes dissenters."

Williams said the system of equality laws, which began under Prime Minister Tony Blair and continued with his successor Gordon Brown, "sounds like utopia - but in fact, it leads to the beginnings of tyranny."

"If you enter into the public sphere, or a public sector job, you have to speak and act the prevailing Equalities agenda. If you do not do that, if you disagree, then you are punished. You lose your job. You become under investigation. You perhaps get accused of hate speech. These are our realities in the United Kingdom."

Phillips' most blatant criticism of traditional Christianity in the Telegraph interview came during a discussion of immigrant populations from Africa and the Carribean.

The commissioner acknowledged that there was "an awful lot of noise about the Church being persecuted," but said the "more real issue" for "conventional churches" was the influx of "people who ... believe in an old time religion which in my view is incompatible with a modern, multi-ethnic, multicultural society."

Williams explained that this perception of "incompatibility" came from a caricature of Christianity, not from the Gospel of Christ himself. "Everything that flows from him," she said, "leads to the recognition of the innate dignity of every human being."

"Because Christianity is not coercive - unlike secularism, and unlike Islam - it leads to true tolerance."

In his extensive interview with the Telegraph, Phillips said individual believers could expect the commission to stand up for their right to worship and believe as they pleased. He said it was "part of the settlement of a liberal democracy" for individuals not to be "penalised or treated in a discriminatory way" on account of "being an Anglican, being a Muslim, or being a Methodist, or being a Jew."

Discrimination

But Williams charged that the commission is not upholding even this limited interpretation of religious freedom.

"What Mr Phillips needs to do," she said, "is to come spend a day at the Christian Legal Centre, run through the cases, and see the discrimination that is out there."

"In the Sherry Chapman case, for instance - the nurse who was told to take off her cross after 38 years of wearing it in frontline nursing - exceptions were made for the Muslims, with the long flowing hijab and a big brooch."

"Down in a South London council, Muslims are allowed to pray five times a day, but Christians are not permitted to display Christian calendars on their desks. These are our realities."

She also pointed to the case of Eunice and Owen Johns, the elderly Pentecostal couple who were rejected as foster parents - despite their extensive experience - because they disapproved of homosexuality. "The Equality Commission intervened in that case. They intervened against the Christians," Williams noted.

"They've intervened in a number of other high-profile cases. They have not, ever, intervened against Muslims. They've only ever intervened in the Christian cases to stand against the Christians. This is not equality. This is inequality."

"There's a complete making-way for Islam, and yet Christianity is suppressed," Williams observed.

"This notion of accommodating Sharia, of accepting it - and then, of saying that Catholic adoption agencies, which believe a child needs a married mother and father, should be closed - is devastating for society."

Williams says Britain's aggressive pursuit of secularism was creating a "vacuum" that radical Muslims could seek to exploit. "Radical Islam has an agenda in this nation, and works hard," she noted.

But many English Christians fail to stand up for biblical truth in this context. "In many ways, the Church has herself to blame for the state we're in. What we've got to do is find our voice. Otherwise, there will be increased oppression and suppression."

Williams observed that Christianity has historically "survived much worse than attacks by Trevor Phillips." But she acknowledges that things look "very bleak" at the moment.

"We've currently got a government that's consulting on extending civil unions to religious premises," she noted. "They said they would never do that."

Williams and other English Christians want authentic religious freedom for themselves and others. But they understand the conflict with secularism is part of the cost of discipleship.

"Jesus suffered a false trial, was hated by the world, put on the cross," she recalled. "But there was his resurrection, and the great hope that flows from that."

With acknowledgement to Catholic News Agency.


          Defending the Catholic Church against ill-informed attacks        
Fr John Flynn LC

Anti-Catholicism might be the last acceptable prejudice in many Western societies today, but Canadian author and journalist Michael Coren isn't going to take this situation lying down.

In his recently published book, Why Catholics Are Right (McClelland and Stewart), he examines a number of common criticisms of the Church and provides telling rebuttals.

Coren, born into a secular family, with a Jewish father, became a Catholic in his mid-20s.

Being Jewish has helped him in his career, he says, but as he explains in the book's introduction, his Catholic beliefs have caused two job losses and many closed doors in the media.

Abuse scandal

He commences with a topic that he said he didn't want to write about and which he should not have had to write, namely the clergy abuse scandal. He acknowledges the immense damage caused to many people as a result of the abuses, but also argues that some of the criticism has gone beyond what was justified.

The abuse says nothing specific about Catholicism, Coren insists. Critics who are eager to prove that the abuse was linked to the structures or teachings of the Church ignore the fact that abuse by clergy occurs in other churches and religions at the same or even higher rates.

As a result of the lessons learned from the abuse scandal the Catholic Church is now one of the safest places for a young person to be according to Coren. These events should rightly lead to a condemnation of the abuses, but not to a condemnation of the Church.

Another chapter deals with historical events, such as the Crusades and the Inquisition. It's true that the Church did not always act in the best manner, he admits, but overall the Church was mostly ethically ahead of its time and a force for good.

On the matter of the Crusades, Coren points out that the Holy Land was Christian and subsequently invaded by Muslims. It is wrong to consider the Crusades as some kind of imperialism or colonialism. Far from being an exercise in exploitation and reaping profits, many noble families were bankrupted by the expense of arming a knight and maintaining him and his retinue.

Modern research has disproved the affirmation that many crusaders were the sons of poor families looking for plunder. In fact, they were often the cream of European chivalry. In the territories conquered by the Crusades the Muslim population could continue its normal life and there wasn't even any serious attempt to convert them to Christianity.

What can we conclude about the Crusades, Coren asks.

"They were not the proudest moment of Christian history but nor were they the childish caricature of modern Western guilt and certainly not that of contemporary Muslim paranoia."

Turning to the Inquisition he observes that the underlying premise is that Catholics are nastier than anyone else and that only the Church could organise something like the Inquisition.

This is simply ridiculous as for a start more men and women were slaughtered in a couple of weeks of the atheistic French Revolution than in a century of the Inquisition. There were also inquisitions in a number of Protestant nations, he notes, aimed particularly at those suspected of witchcraft.

The purpose of the Inquisition was to combat doctrinal errors and heresies, with the aim of bringing people back to the Church. Torture did exist, but it was carried out mainly by secular authorities. The Inquisition used it no more and usually less than other judicial bodies of the time.

Most of the criticism centres on the Spanish Inquisition. In an aside Coren wonders why so little attention is paid to the massacres and torture of many Catholics by Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I in England.

It is true that in the early days the popes did support the Spanish Inquisition but it soon became an organ of the state and monarchy. After the final defeat of the Muslims in Spain a large number converted from Islam or Judaism to Catholicism.

Many were genuine, but as it was politically and economically advantageous to be a Catholic some who converted were not genuine. This led to the investigations by the Inquisition about the situation of those who had converted.

There were certainly abuses committed, Coren says, but while Spain might have been a flawed society it did not experience the bloody civil wars of religion that affected many other European countries. The Inquisition went mainly unnoticed until the mid-19th century when anti-Catholic writers used and distorted it to attack the Church.

Wealth

Another frequent criticism of the Church is about its wealth. "We're hit with the old regular that the Church is dripping with money while the rest of the world starves," Coren comments.

Yes, there is a lot of wealth at the Vatican, in the museums that are open for all to visit. The Church has preserved these works of art for centuries and keeps them as a patrimony for humanity.

Selling the artwork and giving away the money would just be a one-off event whose benefits would soon be over. Instead, the artistic treasures are kept for the future, available to all, instead of being locked away in private collections.

Moreover, Coren adds, the Catholic Church builds and runs hospitals, schools and does an enormous amount of charitable work around the world.

One of the chapters is dedicated to the subject of life and sexuality. The Church is often under attack for its stand on matters ranging from abortion to condoms and contraceptives. The position the Catholic Church takes in this area is not only based on moral beliefs but is also supported by science and human rights, Coren argues.

The affirmation that a new life exists from the moment of conception has solid biological foundation with the fetus being a distinct human life and as such should having a right to exist. In spite of this, in recent years prolifers have often been depicted as extreme zealots.

Moreover, while contemporary society considers itself to be more progressive and tolerant than at any time in the past, the disabled or handicapped in the womb are now deliberately targeted and killed.

Stem cells

When it comes to the Church's opposition to the use of embryonic stem cells for research, this is used by opponents to accuse it of being an obstacle to a cure for sicknesses and diseases that could be overcome in the very near future.

The truth is, however, there have been no successful cures with embryonic stem cells, in contrast to the successes obtained with adult stem cells, which is supported by the Church, as Coren points out.

On the subject of condoms and contraceptives the Church warned decades ago that their availability would be harmful to society. In fact, Coren says, since that warning there has been a steady rise in sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, family breakdown and sexuality has been downgraded from what should be a loving act into a mere exchange of bodily fluids.

The vilification of the Church and Benedict XVI for being opposed to the use of condoms in the effort to control AIDS is yet another case of injustice, Coren notes. Relying on the use of condoms simply hasn't worked in Africa. Instead, programs based on abstinence and fidelity have had the greatest success.

Coren's book deals with many other topics and he pulls no punches in defending the Church against what he considers ill-informed attacks. It should prove a useful aid for those interested in replying to the all too frequent swipes against the Catholic Church.


          Insurance Leads How to Get Them Free        
The Establishment of an effective referral system is the best way of generating free insurance leads. With a referral system you can make the most and exploit the limits of the potentials of the exclusive telemarketed insurance leads you have purchased from outsource providers. This system allows you to have a continuous supply of leads […]
          About Jackie Robinson        

Who was Jackie Robinson?

 

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was the first black Major League Baseball. Robinson broke the baseball color barrier when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues, (aside from the 1880s, before the MLB was organized) he is most known for bringing social justice to baseball, which had seperate leagues for blacks (the Negro leagues) and whites for six decades. His character and skills are what helped him challenge the traditional basis of segregation, which was prevalent in all areas of American Life, and was a catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement. Robinson was not just any other baseball player, he strived for success and achieved it, as he helped the Dodgers get to six World Series' and win it all in 1955. He was Rookie of the Year in 1947, MVP in 1949 and a six time All-Star from 1949-1954. He was then inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1962 followed by all of MLB retiring the Jackie Robinson Jersey: number 42, in 1997, an honor reserved solely to Robinson. 

Pre Baseball Life

Jackie was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of farmers during a Spanish flu and smallpox epidemic. He was the youngest of five children, after his brothers Edgar, Frank, Matthew, and Willa Mae. He was named "Roosevelt" as a middle name, in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died earier that month. The Robinson's moved to 121 Pepper Street in Pasadena, California after their father left them in 1920. Their mother worked various jobs to support them as they grew up in relative poverty even though Pasadena was considered an affluent place. They attended Washington Junior High School followed by Muir Tech High School. The Robinsons were superb athletes. Matthew was a silver medalist in the 1936 Olympics and he and Frank inspired Jackie to seriously pursue a career in sports. Jackie played on the Muir Tech football team as quarterback, basketball team as a guard, track team as a jumper, tennis team and baseball team as both a catcher and shortstop. In 1936, he won a Tennis Tournament and played in the Pomona baseball tournament all star team with fellow future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bob Lemon. 

After High School, Jackie went on to Pasadena Junior College where he continued his involvement in sports. He also was elected to the Lancers, a local organization responsible for helping patrol school activities. In 1938, Jackie joined the All-Southland Junior College baseball team and was selected as that years MVP. He also received honors for his outstanding community service, even though he sometimes acted against those around him who seemed racist. While playing football for PJC, Jackie broke his ankle. A few days before Jackie's 19th birthday he was arrested for vocally disputing the arrest of a black friend of his. He quickly earned a reputation for being one who won't shy away from beligerrance in the face of racism.

After graduating from PJC, Jackie's brother, Frank, was killed in a motorcycle accident which helped Jackie make a decision to move to L.A. where he could console Frank's family. Jackie decided to attend UCLA where he met is future wife, Rachel Isum, and won varsity letters in all the major sports. He won the 1940 NCAA Mens Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the Long Jump,jumping a whopping 24 Feet 10.5 Inches. Ironically, in that year, robinson batted .097 for the UCLA baseball squad. In 1941, he took a job with the NYA as an assistant athletic director, as it would have been impossible for him to get a job as a proffesional athlete due to the color barrier. Later that year he traveled to Hawaii where he had an opportunity to play for the racially mixed semi-pro Honolulu Bears' football team. After that season he would move back to L.A. to play for a local football team, not realizing that the US involvement in World War 2 would sidetrack him for a little while and end his short football career.

Robinson was drafted to the Army in 1942 and was stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. Throughout his 3 plus years in the Army, he was always treated as a subordinate by the White controlled military. He still managed to become a second lieutenant in 1943, and joined the Black Panthers Tank Battallion, the first Black tank unit to see combat in WWII. However, jackie was never in combat. After getting engaged to his College sweetheart, Rachel, he was sidelined after injuring the same ankle he hurt back in high school. He would finish his army service as a coach for army athletes until 1944 when he was discharged. While in the Army, Robinson made close ties with boxer, Joe Louis, as they helped each other struggle in the white dominated Army.

In early 1945, after working some part time coaching jobs, Jackie received an offer from the Kansas City Monarchs to Play professional Baseball in the Negro Leagues. He signed a contract worth $400 a month as he played for the Monarchs for 1 Season. He played 47 games at shortstop batting .387. The Negro leagues were'nt for Jackie as he didn't like their unorganized style. Luckily he received a secret offer from the GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey, to come to NY and play for their Minor League team. They offered him $600 a month on the condition that he would be able to take abuse from other players for being the only black, but contain himself from fighting back. Jackie accepted, and immediately left the Monarchs for NYC where he would marry Rachel Isum, who was in NY studying to be a Nurse. Jackie would start with the Dodgers' AAA club in Daytona Beach, FL that next season.

Baseball Career

In 1946, Robinson arrived at Daytona Beach, Florida, for spring training with the Montreal Royals of the Class AAA International League (the designation of "AAA" for the highest level of minor league baseball was first used in the 1946 season). Robinson's presence was controversial in racially charged Florida. As he was not allowed to stay with his teammates at the team hotel, he lodged instead at the home of a local black politician. Since the Dodgers organization did not own a spring training facility (the Dodger-controlled spring training compound in Vero Beach known as "Dodgertown" did not open until spring 1948), scheduling was subject to the whim of area localities, several of which turned down any event involving Robinson or Johnny Wright, another black player whom Rickey had signed to the Dodgers' organization in January. In Sanford, Florida, the police chief threatened to cancel games if Robinson and Wright did not cease training activities there; as a result, Robinson was sent back to Daytona Beach. In Jacksonville, the stadium was padlocked shut without warning on game day, by order of the city's Parks and Public Property director. In DeLand, a scheduled day game was called off, ostensibly because of faulty electrical lighting.

After much lobbying of local officials by Rickey himself, the Royals were allowed to host a game involving Robinson in Daytona Beach. Robinson made his Royals debut at Daytona Beach's City Island Ballpark on March 17, 1946, in an exhibition game against the team's parent club, the Dodgers. Robinson thus simultaneously became the first black player to openly play for a minor league team and against a major league team since the de facto baseball color line had been implemented in the 1880s. Later in spring training, after some less-than-stellar performances, Robinson was shifted from shortstop to second base, allowing him to make shorter throws to first base. Robinson's performance soon rebounded. On April 18, 1946, Roosevelt Stadium hosted the Jersey City Giants' season opener against the Montreal Royals, marking the professional debut of the Royals' Jackie Robinson. In his five trips to the plate, Robinson had four hits, including a three-run home run. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals' 14–1 victory. Robinson proceeded to lead the International League that season with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage, and he was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Although he often faced hostility while on road trips (the Royals were forced to cancel a Southern exhibition tour, for example), the Montreal fan base enthusiastically supported Robinson. Whether fans supported or opposed it, Robinson's presence on the field was a boon to attendance; more than one million people went to games involving Robinson in 1946, an amazing figure by International League standards. In the fall of 1946, following the baseball season, Robinson returned home to California and briefly played professional basketball for the short-lived Los Angeles Red Devils.

The following year, six days before the start of the 1947 season, the Dodgers called Robinson up to the major leagues. With Eddie Stanky entrenched at second base for the Dodgers, Robinson played his initial major league season as a first baseman. On April 15, 1947, Robinson made his major league debut at Ebbets Field before a crowd of 26,623 spectators, including more than 14,000 black patrons. Although he failed to get a base hit, the Dodgers won 5–3. Robinson became the first player since 1880 to openly break the major league baseball color line. Black fans began flocking to see the Dodgers when they came to town, abandoning their Negro league teams.

Robinson's promotion met a generally positive, although mixed, reception among newspapers and white major league players. However, racial tension existed in the Dodger clubhouse. Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodgers management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocher informed the team, "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded."

Robinson was also derided by opposing teams. Some, notably the St. Louis Cardinals, threatened to strike if Robinson played. After the threat, National League President Ford Frick and Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler let it be known that any striking players would be suspended. Robinson nonetheless became the target of rough physical play by opponents (particularly the Cardinals). At one time, he received a seven-inch gash in his leg. On April 22, 1947, during a game between the Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies players called Robinson a "nigger" from their dugout and yelled that he should "go back to the cotton fields". Rickey later recalled that Phillies manager Ben Chapman "did more than anybody to unite the Dodgers. When he poured out that string of unconscionable abuse, he solidified and united thirty men."

Robinson received significant encouragement from several major league players. Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese once came to Robinson's defense with the famous line, "You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them." In 1948, Reese put his arm around Robinson in response to fans who shouted racial slurs at Robinson before a game in Cincinnati. A statue by sculptor William Behrends, unveiled at KeySpan Park on November 1, 2005, commemorates this event by representing Reese with his arm around Robinson. Jewish baseball star Hank Greenberg, who had to deal with racial epithets during his career, also encouraged Robinson. After colliding with Robinson at first base on one occasion, Greenberg whispered a few words into Robinson's ear, which Robinson later characterized as "words of encouragement." Greenberg had advised him that the best way to combat the slurs from the opposing players was to beat them on the field.

Robinson finished the season having played in 151 games for the Dodgers, with a batting average of .297, an on-base percentage of .383, and a .427 slugging percentage. He had 175 hits (scoring 125 runs) including 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, driving in 48 runs for the year. Robinson led the league in sacrifice hits, with 28, and in stolen bases, with 29. His cumulative performance earned him the inaugural Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award (separate National and American League Rookie of the Year honors were not awarded until 1949).

Following Stanky's trade to the Boston Braves in March 1948, Robinson took over second base, where he logged a .980 fielding percentage that year (second in the National League at the position, fractionally behind Stanky). Robinson had a batting average of .296 and 22 stolen bases for the season. In a 12–7 win against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 29, 1948, he hit for the cycle—a home run, a triple, a double, and a single in the same game. The Dodgers briefly moved into first place in the National League in late August 1948, but they ultimately finished third as the Braves went on to win the league title and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

Racial pressure on Robinson eased in 1948 as a number of other black players entered the major leagues. Larry Doby (who broke the color barrier in the American League on July 5, 1947) and Satchel Paige played for the Cleveland Indians, and the Dodgers had three other black players besides Robinson. In February 1948, he signed a $12,500 contract (equal to $120,914 today) with the Dodgers; while a significant amount, this was less than Robinson made in the off-season from a vaudeville tour, where he answered pre-set baseball questions, and a speaking tour of the South. Between the tours, he underwent surgery on his right ankle. Because of his off-season activities, Robinson reported to training camp 30 pounds (14 kg) overweight. He lost the weight during training camp, but dieting left him weak at the plate.

In the spring of 1949, Robinson turned to Hall of Famer George Sisler, working as an advisor to the Dodgers, for batting help. At Sisler's suggestion, Robinson spent hours at a batting tee, learning to hit the ball to right field. Sisler taught Robinson to anticipate a fastball, on the theory that it is easier to subsequently adjust to a slower curveball. Robinson also noted that "Sisler showed me how to stop lunging, how to check my swing until the last fraction of a second". The tutelage helped Robinson raise his batting average from .296 in 1948 to .342 in 1949. In addition to his improved batting average, Robinson stole 37 bases that season, was second place in the league for both doubles and triples, and registered 124 runs batted in with 122 runs scored. For the performance Robinson earned the Most Valuable Player award for the National League. Baseball fans also voted Robinson as the starting second baseman for the 1949 All-Star Game—the first All-Star Game to include black players.

That year, a song about Robinson by Buddy Johnson, "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?", reached number 13 on the charts; Count Basie recorded a famous version. Ultimately, the Dodgers won the National League pennant, but lost in five games to the New York Yankees in the 1949 World Series.

Summer 1949 brought an unwanted distraction for Robinson. In July, he was called to testify before the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) concerning statements made that April by black athlete and actor Paul Robeson. Robinson was reluctant to testify, but he eventually agreed to do so, fearing it might negatively affect his career if he declined.

In 1950, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman with 133. His salary that year was the highest any Dodger had been paid to that point: $35,000 ($338,091 in 2012 dollars). He finished the year with 99 runs scored, a .328 batting average, and 12 stolen bases. The year saw the release of a film biography of Robinson's life, The Jackie Robinson Story, in which Robinson played himself, and actress Ruby Dee played Rachael "Rae" (Isum) Robinson. The project had been previously delayed when the film's producers refused to accede to demands of two Hollywood studios that the movie include scenes of Robinson being tutored in baseball by a white man. The New York Times wrote that Robinson, "doing that rare thing of playing himself in the picture's leading role, displays a calm assurance and composure that might be envied by many a Hollywood star."

Robinson's Hollywood exploits, however, did not sit well with Dodgers co-owner Walter O'Malley, who referred to Robinson as "Rickey's prima donna". In late 1950, Rickey's contract as the Dodgers' team President expired. Weary of constant disagreements with O'Malley, and with no hope of being re-appointed as President of the Dodgers, Rickey cashed out his one-quarter financial interest in the team, leaving O'Malley in full control of the franchise. Rickey shortly thereafter became general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Robinson was disappointed at the turn of events and wrote a sympathetic letter to Rickey, whom he considered a father figure, stating, "Regardless of what happens to me in the future, it all can be placed on what you have done and, believe me, I appreciate it."

Before the 1951 season, O'Malley reportedly offered Robinson the job of manager of the Montreal Royals, effective at the end of Robinson's playing career. O'Malley was quoted in the Montreal Standard as saying, "Jackie told me that he would be both delighted and honored to tackle this managerial post"—although reports differed as to whether a position was ever formally offered.

During the 1951 season, Robinson led the National League in double plays made by a second baseman for the second year in a row, with 137. He also kept the Dodgers in contention for the 1951 pennant. During the last game of the season, in the 13th inning, he had a hit to tie the game, and then won the game with a home run in the 14th. This forced a playoff against the New York Giants, which the Dodgers lost.

Despite Robinson's regular-season heroics, the Dodgers lost the pennant on Bobby Thomson's famous home run, known as the Shot Heard 'Round the World, on October 3, 1951. Overcoming his dejection, Robinson dutifully observed Thomson's feet to ensure he touched all the bases. Dodgers sportscaster Vin Scully later noted that the incident showed "how much of a competitor Robinson was." He finished the season with 106 runs scored, a batting average of .335, and 25 stolen bases.

Robinson had what was an average year for him in 1952. He finished the year with 104 runs, a .308 batting average, and 24 stolen bases. He did, however, record a career-high on-base percentage of .436. The Dodgers improved on their performance from the year before, winning the National League pennant before losing the 1952 World Series to the New York Yankees in seven games. That year, on the television show Youth Wants to Know, Robinson challenged the Yankees' general manager, George Weiss, on the racial record of his team, which had yet to sign a black player. Sportswriter Dick Young, whom Robinson had described as a "bigot", said, "If there was one flaw in Jackie, it was the common one. He believed that everything unpleasant that happened to him happened because of his blackness." The 1952 season was the last year Robinson was an everyday starter at second base. Afterward, Robinson played variously at first, second, and third bases, shortstop, and in the outfield, with Jim Gilliam, another black player, taking over everyday second base duties. Robinson's interests began to shift toward the prospect of managing a major league team. He had hoped to gain experience by managing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but according to the New York Post, Commissioner Happy Chandler denied the request.

In 1953, Robinson had 109 runs, a .329 batting average, and 17 steals, leading the Dodgers to another National League pennant (and another World Series loss to the Yankees, this time in six games). Robinson's continued success spawned a string of death threats. He was not dissuaded, however, from addressing racial issues publicly. That year, he served as editor for Our Sports magazine, a periodical focusing on Negro sports issues; contributions to the magazine included an article on golf course segregation by Robinson's old friend Joe Louis. Robinson also openly criticized segregated hotels and restaurants that served the Dodger organization; a number of these establishments integrated as a result, including the five-star Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis.

In 1954, Robinson had 62 runs, a .311 batting average, and 7 steals. His best day at the plate was on June 17, when he hit two home runs and two doubles. The following autumn, Robinson won his only championship when the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. Although the team enjoyed ultimate success, 1955 was the worst year of Robinson's individual career. He hit .256 and stole only 12 bases. The Dodgers tried Robinson in the outfield and as a third baseman, both because of his diminishing abilities and because Gilliam was established at second base. Robinson, then 37 years old, missed 49 games and did not play in Game 7 of the World Series. Robinson missed the game because manager Walter Alston decided to play Gilliam at second and Don Hoak at third base. That season, the Dodgers' Don Newcombe became the first black major league pitcher to win twenty games in a year.

In 1956, Robinson had 61 runs, a .275 batting average, and 12 steals. By then, he had begun to exhibit the effects of diabetes, and to lose interest in the prospect of playing or managing professional baseball. After the season, Robinson was traded by the Dodgers to the arch-rival New York Giants for Dick Littlefield and $35,000 cash (equal to $299,192 today). The trade, however, was never completed; unbeknownst to the Dodgers, Robinson had already agreed with the president of Chock full o'Nuts to quit baseball and become an executive with the company. Since Robinson had sold exclusive rights to any retirement story to Look magazine two years previously,[165&91; his retirement decision was revealed through the magazine, instead of through the Dodgers organization.

Legacy

Robinson's major league debut brought an end to approximately sixty years of segregation in professional baseball, known as the baseball color line. After World War II, several other forces were also leading the country toward increased equality for blacks, including their accelerated migration of to the North, where their political clout grew, and President Harry Truman's desegregation of the military in 1948. Robinson's breaking of the baseball color line and his professional success symbolized these broader changes and demonstrated that the fight for equality was more than simply a political matter. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that he was "a legend and a symbol in his own time", and that he "challenged the dark skies of intolerance and frustration." According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Robinson's "efforts were a monumental step in the civil-rights revolution in America ... [His&91; accomplishments allowed black and white Americans to be more respectful and open to one another and more appreciative of everyone's abilities."

Beginning his major league career at the relatively advanced age of twenty-eight, he played only ten seasons, all of them for the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his career, the Dodgers played in six World Series, and Robinson himself played in six All-Star Games. In 1999, he was posthumously named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Robinson's career is generally considered to mark the beginning of the post–"long ball" era in baseball, in which a reliance on raw power-hitting gave way to balanced offensive strategies that used footspeed to create runs through aggressive baserunning. Robinson exhibited the combination of hitting ability and speed which exemplified the new era. He scored more than 100 runs in six of his ten seasons (averaging more than 110 runs from 1947 to 1953), had a .311 career batting average, a .409 career on-base percentage, a .474 slugging percentage, and substantially more walks than strikeouts (740 to 291). Robinson was one of only two players during the span of 1947–56 to accumulate at least 125 steals while registering a slugging percentage over .425 (Minnie Miñoso was the other). He accumulated 197 stolen bases in total, including 19 steals of home. None of the latter were double steals (in which a player stealing home is assisted by a player stealing another base at the same time). Robinson has been referred to by author David Falkner as "the father of modern base-stealing."

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." —Robinson, on his legacy

 

Historical statistical analysis indicates Robinson was an outstanding fielder throughout his ten years in the major leagues and at virtually every position he played. After playing his rookie season at first base, Robinson spent most of his career as a second baseman. He led the league in fielding among second basemen in 1950 and 1951. Toward the end of his career, he played about 2,000 innings at third base and about 1,175 innings in the outfield, excelling at both.

Assessing himself, Robinson said, "I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me ... all I ask is that you respect me as a human being." Regarding Robinson's qualities on the field, Leo Durocher said, "Ya want a guy that comes to play. This guy didn't just come to play. He come to beat ya. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."

Post-baseball life

Robinson as ABC sports announcer in 1965

Robinson retired from baseball on January 5, 1957. Later that year, after he complained of numerous physical ailments, his doctors diagnosed Robinson with diabetes, a disease that also affected his brothers. Although Robinson adopted an insulin injection regimen, the state of medicine at the time could not prevent continued deterioration of Robinson's physical condition from the disease.

In his first year of eligibility for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, Robinson encouraged voters to consider only his on-field qualifications, rather than his cultural impact on the game. He was elected on the first ballot, becoming the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown museum.

In 1965, Robinson served as an analyst for ABC's Major League Baseball Game of the Week telecasts, the first black person to do so. In 1966, Robinson was hired as general manager for the short-lived Brooklyn Dodgers of the Continental Football League. In 1972, he served as a part-time commentator on Montreal Expos telecasts.

On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired his uniform number, 42, alongside those of Roy Campanella (39) and Sandy Koufax (32). From 1957 to 1964, Robinson was the vice president for personnel at Chock full o'Nuts; he was the first black person to serve as vice president of a major American corporation. Robinson always considered his business career as advancing the cause of black people in commerce and industry. Robinson also chaired the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) million-dollar Freedom Fund Drive in 1957, and served on the organization's board until 1967. In 1964, he helped found, with Harlem businessman Dunbar McLaurin, Freedom National Bank—a black-owned and operated commercial bank based in Harlem. He also served as the bank's first Chairman of the Board. In 1970, Robinson established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to build housing for low-income families.

Robinson was active in politics throughout his post-baseball life. He identified himself as a political independent although he held conservative opinions on several issues, including the Vietnam War (he once wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. to defend the Johnson Administration's military policy). After supporting Richard Nixon in his 1960 presidential race against John F. Kennedy, Robinson later praised Kennedy effusively for his stance on civil rights. Robinson was angered by conservative Republican opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He became one of six national directors for Nelson Rockefeller's unsuccessful campaign to be nominated as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. After the party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona instead, Robinson left the party's convention commenting that he now had "a better understanding of how it must have felt to be a Jew in Hitler's Germany". He later became special assistant for community affairs when Rockefeller was re-elected governor of New York in 1966. Switching his allegiance to the Democrats, he subsequently supported Hubert Humphrey against Nixon in 1968.

Protesting the major leagues' ongoing lack of minority managers and central office personnel, Robinson turned down an invitation to appear in an old-timers' game at Yankee Stadium in 1969. He made his final public appearance on October 15, 1972, throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the World Series. He gratefully accepted a plaque honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of his MLB debut, but also commented, "I'm going to be tremendously more pleased and more proud when I look at that third base coaching line one day and see a black face managing in baseball." This wish was fulfilled only after Robinson's death: following the 1974 season, the Cleveland Indians gave their managerial post to Frank Robinson (no relation), a Hall of Fame-bound player who would go on to manage three other teams. Despite the success of these two Robinsons and other black players, the number of African-American players in Major League Baseball has declined since the 1970s.

Family life and death

After Robinson's retirement from baseball, his wife, Rachel Robinson, pursued a career in academic nursing—she became an assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing and director of nursing at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She also served on the board of the Freedom National Bank until it closed in 1990. She and Jackie had three children: Jackie Robinson Jr. (born November 18, 1946), Sharon Robinson (born January 13, 1950), and David Robinson (born May 14, 1952).

Robinson's eldest son, Jackie Robinson Jr., had emotional trouble during his childhood and entered special education at an early age. He enrolled in the Army in search of a disciplined environment, served in the Vietnam War, and was wounded in action on November 19, 1965. After his discharge, he struggled with drug problems. Robinson Jr. eventually completed the treatment program at Daytop Village in Seymour, Connecticut, and became a counselor at the institution. On June 17, 1971, at the age of 24, he was killed in an automobile accident. The experience with his son's drug addiction turned Robinson, Sr. into an avid anti-drug crusader toward the end of his life.

Robinson did not long outlive his son. Complications of heart disease and diabetes weakened Robinson and made him almost blind by middle age. On October 24, 1972, he died of a heart attack at home in Stamford, Connecticut, aged fifty-three. Robinson's funeral service on October 27, 1972, at New York City's Riverside Church attracted 2,500 admirers. Many of his former teammates and other famous black baseball players served as pallbearers, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy. Tens of thousands of people lined the subsequent procession route to Robinson's interment site at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where he is buried next to his son Jackie and mother-in-law Zellee Isum. Jackie Robinson Parkway also runs through the cemetery.

After Robinson's death, his widow founded the Jackie Robinson Foundation, of which she remains an officer as of 2009. On April 15, 2008, she announced that in 2010 the foundation will be opening a museum devoted to Jackie in Lower Manhattan. Robinson's daughter, Sharon, became a midwife, educator, director of educational programming for MLB, and the author of two books about her father. His youngest son, David, who has ten children, is a coffee grower and social activist in Tanzania.

Awards and recognition

According to a poll conducted in 1947, Robinson was the second most popular man in the country, behind Bing Crosby. In 1999, he was named by Time on its list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Also in 1999, he ranked number 44 on the Sporting News list of Baseball's 100 Greatest Players and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team as the top vote-getter among second basemen. Baseball writer Bill James, in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, ranked Robinson as the 32nd greatest player of all time strictly on the basis of his performance on the field, noting that he was one of the top players in the league throughout his career. Robinson was among the 25 charter members of UCLA’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984. In 2002, Molefi Kete Asante included Robinson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Robinson has also been honored by the United States Postal Service on three separate postage stamps, in 1982, 1999, and 2000.

The City of Pasadena has recognized Robinson in several ways. Brookside Park, situated next to the Rose Bowl, features a baseball diamond and stadium named Jackie Robinson Field. The city's Human Services Department operates the Jackie Robinson Center, a community outreach center that provides early diabetes detection and other services. In 1997, a $325,000 bronze sculpture (equal to $470,522 today) by artists Ralph Helmick, Stu Schecter, and John Outterbridge depicting oversized nine-foot busts of Robinson and his brother Mack was erected at Garfield Avenue, across from the main entrance of Pasadena City Hall; a granite footprint lists multiple donors to the commission project, which was organized by the Robinson Memorial Foundation and supported by members of the Robinson family.

Major League Baseball has honored Robinson many times since his death. In 1987, both the National and American League Rookie of the Year Awards were renamed the "Jackie Robinson Award" in honor of the first recipient (Robinson's Major League Rookie of the Year Award in 1947 encompassed both leagues). On April 15, 1997, Robinson's jersey number, 42, was retired throughout Major League Baseball, the first time any jersey number had been retired throughout one of the four major American sports leagues.

As an exception to the retired-number policy, MLB has recently begun honoring Robinson by allowing players to wear number 42 on April 15, Jackie Robinson Day. For the 60th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut, MLB invited players to wear the number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day in 2007. The gesture was originally the idea of outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., who sought Rachel Robinson's permission to wear the number. After receiving her permission, Commissioner Bud Selig not only allowed Griffey to wear the number, but also extended an invitation to all major league teams to do the same. Ultimately, more than 200 players wore number 42, including the entire rosters of the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. The tribute was continued in 2008, when, during games on April 15, all members of the Mets, Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Tampa Bay Rays wore Robinson's number 42. On June 25, 2008, MLB installed a new plaque for Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame commemorating his off-the-field impact on the game as well as his playing statistics. In 2009, all uniformed personnel (players, managers, coaches, and umpires) wore number 42 on April 15.

At the November 2006 groundbreaking for a new ballpark for the New York Mets, Citi Field, it was announced that the main entrance, modeled on the one in Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field, would be called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. The rotunda was dedicated at the opening of Citi Field on April 16, 2009. It honors Robinson with large quotations spanning the inner curve of the facade and features a large freestanding statue of his number, 42, which has become an attraction in itself. Mets owner Fred Wilpon announced that, in conjunction with Citigroup and the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Mets will create a Jackie Robinson Museum and Learning Center, located at the headquarters of the Jackie Robinson Foundation at One Hudson Square in lower Manhattan. The main purpose of the museum will be to fund scholarships for "young people who live by and embody Jackie's ideals."

Since 2004, the Aflac National High School Baseball Player of the Year has been presented the "Jackie Robinson Award".

Robinson has also been recognized outside of baseball. In December 1956, the NAACP recognized him with the Spingarn Medal, which it awards annually for the highest achievement by an African-American. President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Robinson the Presidential Medal of Freedom on March 26, 1984, and on March 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave Robinson's widow the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress; Robinson was only the second baseball player to receive the award, after Roberto Clemente. On August 20, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced that Robinson was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.

A number of buildings have been named in Robinson's honor. The UCLA Bruins baseball team plays in Jackie Robinson Stadium, which, because of the efforts of Jackie's brother Mack, features a memorial statue of Robinson by sculptor Richard H. Ellis. City Island Ballpark in Daytona Beach, Florida—the baseball field that became the Dodgers' de facto spring training site in 1947—was renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark in 1989. A number of facilities at Pasadena City College (successor to PJC) are named in Robinson's honor, including Robinson Field, a football/soccer/track facility named jointly for Robinson and his brother Mack. The New York Public School system has named a middle school after Robinson, and Dorsey High School plays at a Los Angeles football stadium named after him. In 1976, his home in Brooklyn, the Jackie Robinson House, was declared a National Historic Landmark. Robinson also has an asteroid named after him, 4319 Jackierobinson. In 1997, the United States Mint issued a Jackie Robinson commemorative silver dollar, and five dollar gold coin. That same year, New York City renamed the Interboro Parkway in his honor.

In 2011, the U.S. placed a plaque at Robinson's Montreal home to honor the ending of segregation in baseball. The home is located at 8232 avenue de Gaspe south of rue de Guizot Est and near Jarry Park and close to Delorimier Stadium, where Robinson played for the Montreal Royals during 1946. In a letter read during the ceremony, Rachel Robinson, Jackie's widow, wrote: "I remember Montreal and that house very well and have always had warm feeling for that great city. Before Jack and I moved to Montreal, we had just been through some very rough treatment in the racially biased South during spring training in Florida. In the end, Montreal was the perfect place for him to get his start. We never had a threatening or unpleasant experience there. The people were so welcoming and saw Jack as a player and as a man."

Career statistics

YearTeamGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGTBSHSFIBBHBPGDPE
1945 Kansas City 47 163 36 63 14 4 5 23 13       .387                  
1946 Montreal 124 444 113 155 25 8 3 66 40   92 27 .349                 10
1947 Brooklyn 151 590 125 175 31 5 12 48 29   74 36 .297 .383 .427 252 28     9 5 16
1948 Brooklyn 147 574 108 170 38 8 12 85 22   57 37 .296 .367 .453 260 8     7 7 15
1949 Brooklyn 156 593 122 203 38 12 16 124 37   86 27 .342 .432 .528 313 17     8 22 16
1950 Brooklyn 144 518 99 170 39 4 14 81 12   80 24 .328 .423 .500 259 10     5 11 11
1951 Brooklyn 153 548 106 185 33 7 19 88 25 8 79 27 .338 .429 .527 289 6     9 10 7
1952 Brooklyn 149 510 104 157 17 3 19 75 24 7 106 40 .308 .440 .465 237 6     14 16 20
1953 Brooklyn 136 484 109 159 34 7 12 95 17 4 74 30 .329 .425 .502 243 9     7 12 6
1954 Brooklyn 124 386 62 120 22 4 15 59 7 3 63 20 .311 .413 .505 195 5 4a   7 13 7
1955 Brooklyn 105 317 51 81 6 2 8 36 12 3 61 18 .256 .378 .363 115 6 3 5b 3 8 10
1956 Brooklyn 117 357 61 98 15 2 10 43 12 5 60 32 .275 .382 .412 147 9 2 2 3 9 9
TotalsBrooklyn13824877947151827354137734197 740291.311.409.47423101049772113107
 Career155354941096173634267161867248   .316    97   

a The sacrifice fly (SF) as a unique statistical category did not exist in Major League Baseball from 1940 through 1953. Any pre-1954 sacrifice flies by Robinson would be reflected in the sacrifice hit (SH) category.

b Likewise, the intentional walk (IBB) category only became a unique statistic beginning in 1955. Any intentional walks issued to Robinson before that year would be reflected in the walk (BB) category.

 


          RE: IBM compatible PC        
Even although they have now left the market, I argue that they have done better out of it than they ever would have had they kept the architecture closed. The open architecture stole market share, but it drove down prices, allowing the less well-off to buy machines and therefore increase the size of the market in total (99% of 100 is 99, but 58% of 200 is 116 - lower marketshare, but bigger numbers). Indeed, it seems that keeping technology closed is the best way of eventually pricing/driving your technology (or worse, your company) out of a market. All companies die eventually, but it happens even quicker with proprietary stuff. The list of companies that have made this mistake and been killed off (or had their technologies killed off) is legion. Apple (got *near* it several times, and was arguably saved only by buying more and more off-the-shelf parts) Commodore Atari Digital Data General IBM (yes, even using proprietary technology, IBM saw strong competition from clone-makers (Amdahl) and companies exploiting new markets (DEC, Digital) Apollo HP (with MPE and then PA-RISC) Note that in several cases, having a *better* technology (cf Amigas with 1990 PC-compatibles, or IRIX versus Windows) did nothing to save the company in the long run. Producing a *generic* product - that sells! The only things that will save you and/or your technology is (a) being open, intentionally or otherwise (IBM, AMD, AT&T (Unix)), (c) being massively entrenched (guess who), or (c) corporate welfare. Sooner or later the movers and shakers of the buyers' market move on, and if you don't compete with a compatible product, You're Dead.
          RE: Drop the politics...        
"All it seems to me that when I hear people scream about 'poor labour conditions' and 'poor pay' when it is nothing more than a veiled attempt to justify their hatred, bigotry and straight out xenophobia." Really? So my empathy for people who are getting exploited is not a reflection of the kindness of my soul, but some hard hearted impulse to justify depriving people of a lively hood. Just because I don't like see people exploited doesn't mean I hate them; it just means I know corporations know better.
          RE[2]: Drop the politics...        
We often call underpayment by US standards exploitation and bigotry. Often the low wages are the quite high in the country where the work is performed. We hear things like these poor workers are paid only $3 a day, however if the average salary in the area is $2 a day then the "exploited" people are not being harmed at all. I do not claim to know about the conditions that the manufacturing company that Apple uses for iPods is, but Apple investigated it and did not find bad conditions. Of course the question is do you trust Apple to perform this audit or not. To me, the deciding factor is if you as the worker, do they want the job to go away because they are being "exploited." If the answer is no, then they are not being "exploited." Often these charges are made by Americans that fear that these are potential American Jobs. They wish to have people say that they would rather pay more for an iPod built in America. However, part of what allows us to enjoy the low prices we want is the use of cheap foreign labor. In most cases it is a win-win as the workers can be paid above the norm of the area they live in, while we get inexpensive goods. I do not think that we can say it is bigotry as much as it is ignorance that makes people look for these statements.
          RE[3]: Drop the politics...        
Yes, there is a difference between being "exploited" where they are happily employed, I've been "exploited", and actually being exploited where they are close to slave labor. My original statement didn't have room for the above semantics.
          Comment on Fraud cases across three prefectures involving Apple Pay exploit loophole: Sources by Willam Hugh Murray, CISSP        
As best I can tell the issuer is sending a one time password to the phone of record of their customer. They are being duped into changing that number from that of their customer to that of the perpetrators. We have also seen cases in which telcos have been duped into changing the association between a phone number and a SIM or device. To the extent that we rely upon text to phone for a control, we better be very careful about enrolling and changing those phone numbers. Consumers can help by ensuring that the numbers in their profiles are correct and that they are receiving the traffic intended for them. Note that postal mail and e-mail may be vulnerable to the same kind of attack.
          [news/commentary] Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs - Part I        
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Dateline: China
 
New column on the AlwaysOn Network.  It's on the potential downside of offshoring (the downside for the States, that is).  For the next five days, see http://www.alwayson-network.com ; the permanent link is at http://tinyurl.com/4e4q4 .  It got the ire of a lot of readers and a lot of views (I'm projecting nearly 500 in less than one day).  The article which was the basis for my column is getting a lot of attention in the States.  Worth reading.
 
Building ISV Relationships: Targeting SMEs -- Part I
 
First, a bit of commentary.  One thing all smart SIs (systems integrators) do is develop partnerships and alliances with ISVs (independent software vendors, i.e., software publishers/software companies in a broad sense).  Of course, it's difficult to be the 1,000th entrant in the game and expect to get any traction/assistance from your ISV partner.
 
SIs in China ALWAYS use the approach of offering localization services and OFTEN offer to help push an ISV's product within the domestic market in China.  Frankly, this is what the (usually American) ISV wants, too.  Does this strategy work?  Well, sometimes.  However, even in the case of high profile alliances such as some of those Microsoft has in China (and I won't name names to protect the innocent), it's really nothing more than window dressing.  Everything looks good on paper, but the reality is something quite different.
 
Regardless, this does NOT address the need and desire for SIs in China to build their market in the States.  And when this issue becomes center stage, ISVs frequently respond with something bordering on contempt.  Some ISVs are getting clued that their American channel partners absolutely need partners in China and other low(er)-cost development areas in order to win bids.  Let's face it, it's all about closing deals.  And if an ISV's competitors have channel partners which can put together winning bids, perhaps in part (and perhaps in LARGE part) due to an offshoring component with their channel partner's SI partner(s) in China, then the ISV with an indirect link to China has a competitive advantage.  I don't view this as a sufficient condition to winning bids, but it's increasingly a necessary condition.
 
Clued ISVs want their American channel partners to have an offshoring option, but this requires that their channel partners have relationships with SIs in a country such as China.  But ISVs tend to focus their channel development efforts on their American partners and might develop a couple/few relationships in China, but usually NOT tied to their channel development efforts in the States.  Goofy and shortsighted, to say the least.
 
But how can SIs in China get traction with American ISVs, especially since they're almost always late to the game (in other words, the American ISV already has a well-developed channel)?  The answer (or, at least one answer):  Focus on servicing the needs of SMEs (small and medium enterprises, which is also referred to as "SMBs" -- small and medium businesses).
 
There's another reason this makes sense:  Most of the SIs in China are already focused on servicing SMEs/SMBs in China.  It might be nice to bag a large SOE (state-owned enterprise), but the reality is that most firms in China, especially the burgeoning number of privately-held firms, are SMEs by definition.  Hence, the experiences gained by SIs in China is already within the same market, although I'd be the first person to warn than company size and even similar domains does not necessarily equate to directly transferable skills.  Fact is, things in China are often quite different from the way they are in the States, especially in a "hot" ITO (IT outsourcing) market like financial services.  More about this in a forthcoming postingBottom line:  Give serious thought to targeting the SMB/SME market in the States.  (Part II of this commentary might be a while in coming.)
 
IT Tidbits
 
Lots of tidbits this week.
 
Controlling project costs.  My favorites:  Scope creep, not understanding project financing, "big-bang" projects, overtesting (although I'm not sure I agree with this one), poor estimating.  Good stuff, with recommended solutions.  See http://tinyurl.com/6rfkg .
 
Challenges for China's SIs.  Adapted from a Forrester report.   For starters, how about:  Improving account management (are there really any account managers in China, or at least any who can manage accounts with U.S. clients?   ), moving away from technology-centric messages that often alienate business buyers (better yet, moving away from messages in Chinglish), investing in vertical-specific skills (how many times have I said this?) and becoming more multicultural organizations (yes, and let's start with learning English!).  See http://tinyurl.com/4avfo .
 
"Yee Haw" as an outsourcing option.  Forget India.  Forget China.  Forget the Philippines.  Let's go to Arkansas!!  See http://tinyurl.com/7ya9p .
 
American start-ups go offshore.  Try Corio (is Corio really a start-up?), CollabNet, Aarohl, Infinera, and many others.  See http://tinyurl.com/3wm3o .  Another good article with a BPO spin in Venture Capital Journal, http://tinyurl.com/4rfsa .
 
Offshorings mixed results.  "Vietnam and Myanmar were also in demand ..."  Really?  See http://tinyurl.com/647ap .
 
Looking for SI partners?  Kennedy ranks the largest firms.  As I've said in the past, I like their reports.  (No, I don't get a cut.)  Satyam and TCS didn't make the grade, though.  See http://tinyurl.com/4s965 .
 
Another challenge to conventional outsourcing and offshoring "wisdom."   "Services-driven development models, such as the one at work in India, broaden the global competitive playing field.  As a result, new pressures are brought to bear on hiring and real wages in the developed world - pressures that are not inconsequential in shaping the jobless recoveries unfolding in high-cost wealthy nations.  For those in the developed world, successful services- and manufacturing-based development models in heavily populated countries such as India and China - pose the toughest question of all: what about us?"  For more, see http://tinyurl.com/4acm4 .
 
Forget the Golden Triangle.  How about China + India vs. the world (or, sans the world)?  "Newspaper headlines portray China as the world's manufacturing base for low-cost goods, like clothing and shoes, and India as the global IT monopoly-to-be.  Unfortunately, media outside Asia have failed to acknowledge the growing partnership between the two giants."  "Given the complementary nature of their economies and the size of their markets (nearly 2.2 billion people in total), the nascent cooperation between the two holds the potential to dramatically alter the world trade balance.  A perusal of the Shanghai technology corridor reveals a hint of the countries' industrial interconnectedness.  Walk through one of the main complexes in Shanghai's Pudong Software Park, and you will see a prominently displayed sign for Infosys, one of India's most respected IT firms.  The same complex also holds Satyam, the first of India's software service companies to set up offices in Shanghai.  Nearby are the headquarters of the largest software services company in Asia, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which currently runs an outsourcing center for GE in the town of Hangzhou.  TCS is owned by the Tatas, one of India's most prominent business families.  Across the river is NIIT, the principal software training center in India's private sector.  NIIT, operating in China since 1998, now runs an extensive two-year course in 25 provinces, training around 20,000 students to be software professionals.  There is widespread speculation that Wipro, India's only giant IT firm without a presence in the city, will establish a Shanghai office very soon.  It is no surprise that Indian software companies are setting up in China. They, like everyone else, sense great opportunity in one of the largest, fastest-growing economies in the world."  (Bold is my emphasis.)  All true, and they even forget MphasiS.  See one of my must-read sources, YaleGlobalhttp://tinyurl.com/6ltaz .
 
The partnering wave of the future.  I've talked about this many times in previous postings.  This time CTG dances with Polaris Software.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tbqd .
 
CMMi:  The key to success.  A little simplistic and uses incorrect definitions, but still worth reading.  See http://tinyurl.com/4gp9u .
 
 
 
 
 
How about Microsoft vs. China in an AO "Grudge Match"?  See a lengthy article in CFO titled, "Does Microsoft need China?"; link at http://tinyurl.com/476bo .  China: The champion of open source!!
 
 
Business creativity 101.  "A new book from Wharton School Publishing, The Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind and Colin Crook prompts you to rethink your mental models and transform them to help you achieve new levels of creativity. In this book, the authors give a set of guidelines on how to see differently."  Examples:  Listen to the radicals; embark on journeys of discovery; look across disciplines.  See http://tinyurl.com/6fvo8 .
 
The innovator's battle plan.  "Great firms can be undone by disruptors who analyze and exploit an incumbent's strengths and motivations.  From Clayton Christensen's new book Seeing What's Next."  GREAT stuff (although John Dvorak won't like it).  What about asymmetric warfare theories applied to the realm of corporate innovation and creativity?  Just a thought ...  See http://tinyurl.com/6mbcy .
 
Your next competitors?  Have you thought about Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, especially in the BPO space?  See http://tinyurl.com/5h93z .
 
Message to product companies: go sell services!!  Interesting take from a VMI perspective.  See http://tinyurl.com/5tqrt .
 
Don't know much about bloggin'?  Good take on the various types of corporate blogs.  See http://tinyurl.com/6my29 .
 
Urls as web services?  You have to read it to get it.  Might be a bit too much for the uninitiated ...  See http://tinyurl.com/563gm .
 
Joel is back and blogging!!  Joel takes on Jakob Nielsen in "it's not just usability."  See http://tinyurl.com/6msmm .
 
How about open source software for HPC?  See http://tinyurl.com/5qzleWARNING: Geek alert, geek alert!!
 
Saving the best for last: a piece on Woz.  See http://tinyurl.com/4szjf .
 
TTFN.  Expect a urls update before I go back to the States.
 
Cheers,
 
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
 
http://www.itestrategies.com (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x)
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          [news] "2004 State of Application Development"        
Friday, August 13, 2004
Dateline: China
 
Special issues of journals and magazines are often quite good -- if you're into the subject matter.  But the current issue of VARBusiness is absolutely SUPERB!!  EVERY SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR SHOULD READ IT ASAP -- STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND READ THIS ISSUE!!  (Or, at the very least, read the excerpts which follow.)  See http://tinyurl.com/6smzu .  They even have the survey results to 36 questions ranging from change in project scope to preferred verticals.  In this posting, I'm going to comment on excerpts from this issue.  My comments are in blue.  Bolded excerpted items are MY emphasis.
 
The lead article and cover story is titled, "The App-Dev Revolution."  "Of the solution providers we surveyed, 72 percent say they currently develop custom applications or tailor packaged software for their customers. Nearly half (45 percent) of their 2003 revenues came from these app-dev projects, and nearly two-thirds of them expect the app-dev portion of total revenue to increase during the next 12 months."  I view this as good news for China's SIs; from what I've observed, many SIs in China would be a good fit for SIs in the U.S. looking for partners to help lower their development costs.  "By necessity, today's solution providers are becoming nimbler in the software work they do, designing and developing targeted projects like those that solve regulatory compliance demands, such as HIPAA, or crafting wireless applications that let doctors and nurses stay connected while they roam hospital halls."  Have a niche; don't try to be everything to everyone.  "Nine in 10 of survey respondents said their average app-dev projects are completed in less than a year now, with the smallest companies (those with less than $1 million in revenue) finishing up in the quickest time, three months, on average."  Need for speed.  "The need to get the job done faster for quick ROI might explain the growing popularity of Microsoft's .Net framework and tools.  In our survey, 53 percent of VARs said they had developed a .Net application in the past 12 months, and 66 percent of them expect to do so in the coming 12 months."  My Microsoft build-to-their-stack strategy.  "Some of the hottest project areas they report this year include application integration, which 69 percent of VARs with between $10 million or more in revenue pinned as their busiest area.  Other top development projects center around e-commerce applications, CRM, business-intelligence solutions, enterprisewide portals and ERP, ..."  How many times have I said this?    "At the same time, VARs in significant numbers are tapping open-source tools and exploiting Web services and XML to help cut down on expensive software-integration work; in effect, acknowledging that application development needs to be more cost-conscious and, thus, take advantage of open standards and reusable components.  Our survey found that 32 percent of VARs had developed applications on Linux in the past six months, while 46 percent of them said they plan to do so in the next six months.  The other open-source technologies they are using today run the gamut from databases and development tools to application servers."  I guess there's really an open source strategy.  I come down hard on open source for one simple reason:  I believe that SIs in China could get more sub-contracting business from a build-to-a-stack strategy.  And building to the open source stack isn't building to a stack at all!!  "As a business, it has many points of entry and areas of specialization.  Our survey participants first arrived in the world of app dev in a variety of ways, from bidding on app-dev projects (45 percent) to partnering with more experienced developers and VARs (28 percent) to hiring more development personnel (31 percent)."  For SIs in China, simply responding to end-user RFQs is kind of silly.  Better to partner on a sub-contracting basis.  "According to our State of Application Development survey, health care (36 percent), retail (31 percent) and manufacturing (30 percent) ranked as the most popular vertical industries for which respondents are building custom applications.  Broken down further, among VARs with less than $1 million in total sales, retail scored highest, while health care topped the list of midrange to large solution providers."  Because of regulatory issues, I'm not so keen on health care.  I'd go with manufacturing followed by retail.  My $ .02.  "When it comes to partnering with the major platform vendors, Microsoft comes out the hands-on winner among ISVs and other development shops.  A whopping 76 percent of developers in our survey favored the Microsoft camp.  Their level of devotion was evenly divided among small, midsize and large VARs who partner with Microsoft to develop and deliver their application solutions.  By contrast, the next closest vendor is IBM, with whom one in four VARs said they partner.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the IBM percentages were higher among the large VAR category (those with sales of $10 million or more), with 42 percent of their partners coming from that corporate demographic.  Only 16 percent of smaller VARs partner with IBM, according to the survey.  The same goes for Oracle: One-quarter of survey respondents reported partnering with the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company, with 47 percent of them falling in the large VAR category.  On the deployment side, half of the developers surveyed picked Windows Server 2003/.Net as the primary platform to deliver their applications, while IBM's WebSphere application server was the choice for 7 percent of respondents.  BEA's WebLogic grabbed 4 percent, and Oracle's 9i application server 3 percent of those VARs who said they use these app servers as their primary deployment vehicle."  Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft.  Need I say more?  See http://tinyurl.com/45z94 .
 
The next article is on open source.  "Want a world-class database with all the bells and whistles for a fraction of what IBM or Oracle want?  There's MySQL.  How about a compelling alternative to WebSphere or WebLogic?  Think JBoss.  These are, obviously, the best-known examples of the second generation of open-source software companies following in the footsteps of Apache, Linux and other software initiatives, but there are far more alternatives than these.  Consider Zope, a content-management system downloaded tens of thousands of times per month free of charge, according to Zope CEO Rob Page.  Some believe Zope and applications built with Zope are better than the commercial alternative they threaten to put out of business, Documentum.  Zope is also often used to help build additional open-source applications.  One such example is Plone, an open-source information-management system.  What began as a fledgling movement at the end of the past decade and later became known as building around the "LAMP stack" (LAMP is an acronym that stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or Perl) has exploded to virtually all categories of software.  That includes security, where SpamAssassin is battling spam and Symantec, too.  Popular?  Well, it has now become an Apache Software Foundation official project.  The use of open source is so widespread that the percentage of solution providers who say they partner with MySQL nearly equals the percentage who say they partner with Oracle"23 percent to 25 percent, respectively.There are plenty of choices for those SIs willing to play the open source game.  See http://tinyurl.com/4e3c7 .
 
"It's all about integration" follows.  "There are many reasons for the surge in application-development projects (the recent slowdown in software spending notwithstanding).  For one, many projects that were put on hold when the downturn hit a few years ago are now back in play.  That includes enterprise-portal projects, supply-chain automation efforts, various e-commerce endeavors and the integration of disparate business systems."  Choose carefully, however.  Balance this data with other data.  Right now, I see a lot more play with portals and EAI.  "Indeed, the need for quality and timely information is a key driver of investments in application-integration initiatives and the implementation of database and business-intelligence software and portals.  A healthy majority of solution providers say application integration is a key component of the IT solutions they are deploying for customers.  According to our application-development survey, 60 percent say their projects involved integrating disparate applications and systems during the past 12 months."  "Some customers are moving beyond enterprise-application integration to more standards-based services-oriented architectures (SOAs).  SOAs are a key building block that CIOs are looking to build across their enterprises."  Anyone who regularly reads any one of my three IT-related blogs knows that I'm gung-ho on SOAs.  "Even if your customers are not looking for an SOA, integrating different systems is clearly the order of the day.  To wit, even those partners that say enterprise portals or e-business applications account for the bulk of their business note that the integration component is key."  Yes, integration, integration, integration.  I'll be saying this next year, too.  And the year after ...  "Another way to stay on top of the competition is to participate in beta programs."  Absolutely true -- and a good strategy, too.  See http://tinyurl.com/6x2gg .
 
The next article is on utility computing versus packaged softwareAgain, if you read what I write, you know that I'm also gung-ho on utility computing.  "According to VARBusiness' survey of application developers, more than 66 percent of the applications created currently reside with the customer, while 22 percent of applications deployed are hosted by the VAR.  And a little more than 12 percent of applications developed are being hosted by a third party.   Where services have made their biggest inroads as an alternative to software is in applications that help companies manage their customer and sales information.The article goes on to state that apps that are not mission-critical have the best chance in the utility computing space.  Time will tell.  Take note, however, that these are often the apps that will most likely be outsourced to partners in China.  "Simply creating services from scratch and then shopping them around isn't the only way to break into this area.  NewView Consulting is expanding its services business by starting with the client and working backward.  The Porter, Ind.-based security consultant takes whatever technology clients have and develops services for them based on need."   And focus on services businesses and .NET, too.  "Most application developers agree that services revenue will continue to climb for the next year or two before they plateau, resulting in a 50-50 or 60-40 services-to-software mix for the typical developer.  The reason for this is that while applications such as CRM are ideally suited to services-based delivery, there are still plenty of other applications that companies would prefer to keep in-house and that are often dependent on the whims of a particular company."  Still, such a split shows a phenomenal rise in the importance of utility computing offerings.  See http://tinyurl.com/54blv .
 
Next up:  Microsoft wants you!!  (Replace the image of Uncle Sam with the image of Bill Gates!!)  Actually, the article isn't specifically about Microsoft.  "Microsoft is rounding up as many partners as it can and is bolstering them with support to increase software sales.  The attitude is: Here's our platform; go write and prosper.  IBM's strategy, meanwhile, is strikingly different.  While it, too, has created relationships with tens of thousands of ISVs over recent years,  IBM prefers to handpick a relatively select group, numbering approximately 1,000, and develop a hand-holding sales and marketing approach with them in a follow-through, go-to-market strategy."  Both are viable strategies, but NOT both at the same time!!  "To be sure, the results of VARBusiness' 2004 State of Application Development survey indicates that Microsoft's strategy makes it the No. 1 go-to platform vendor among the 472 application developers participating in the survey.  In fact, more than seven out of 10 (76 percent) said they were partnering with Microsoft to deliver custom applications for their clients.  That number is nearly three times the percentage of application developers (26 percent) who said they were working with IBM ..."  Percentages as follows:  Microsoft, 76%; IBM, 26%; Oracle, 25%; MySQL, 23%; Red Hat, 17%; Sun, 16%; Novell, 11%; BEA, 9%.  I said BOTH, NOT ALL.  Think Microsoft and IBM.  However, a Java strategy could be BOTH a Sun AND IBM strategy (and even a BEA strategy).  See http://tinyurl.com/68grf .
 
There was another article I liked called, "How to Team With A Vendor," although it's not part of the app-dev special section per se.  This posting is too long, so I'll either save it for later or now note that it has been urled.  See http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=680282 .  Also a kind of funny article on turning an Xbox into a Linux PC.  See http://tinyurl.com/4mhn6 .  See also http://www.xbox-linux.org .
 
Quick note:  I'll be in SH and HZ most of next week, so I may not publish again until the week of the 23rd.
 
Cheers,
 
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China
 
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          Download iOS 4.3.5 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch        
Apple has just released iOS 4.3.5 iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You can download iOS 4.3.5 IPSW files from the direct download links we have given after the jump. A few weeks back, Apple patched the JailbreakMe 3.0 PDF exploit and released iOS 4.3.4 – and with this latest iOS 4.3.5 software update, Apple has […]
          JailbreakMe 3.0 iPad 2 Jailbreak Now Available, Leaked        
Everyone has been waiting for the iPad 2 jailbreak for a long time, and all we could know was the devs are working on the jailbreak iPad 2 exploit and it will be released ‘soon’, but time frame was given. Well, to our rejoice, JailbreakMe 3.0 has been leaked. You can now download Jailbreak 3.0 […]
          Administratrice - Administrateur SAP/Hana (H/F) - Orange Cloud for Business - Cesson-Sévigné        
Votre rôle Vous serez amené à déployer et à assurer l'exploitation des systèmes d'informations complexes et critiques de nos clients, dans un contexte de Cloud Privé ou Public. Vous assurez une qualité de service en adéquation avec les SLA (Services Level Agreement) vendus à votre client. Votre expertise vous donnera la possibilité d'évoluer, d'enrichir, et d'élargir vos compétences en fonction de la création ou de la vie de nos services. Vous serez intégré au sein d'une équipe...
          MANAGER SI BANCAIRE (H/F) - Décision RH - Bordeaux        
Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services est le partenaire technologique des Caisses régionales du Crédit Agricole. Fort d'un système d'information unique et commun, Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services assure la conception, la fabrication, la maintenance et l'exploitation du SI bancaire, en respectant les exigences et des niveaux de service définis par les Caisses régionales de Crédit Agricole. Notre ambition est de leur permettre de faire évoluer leur offre bancaire et de faciliter la...
          ADMINISTRATEUR SYSTÈME (H/F) - Décision RH - Nantes        
Présentation de l'entreprise : Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services est le partenaire technologique des Caisses régionales du Crédit Agricole. Fort d'un système d'information unique et commun, Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services assure la conception, la fabrication, la maintenance et l'exploitation du SI bancaire, en respectant les exigences et des niveaux de service définis par les Caisses régionales de Crédit Agricole. Notre ambition est de leur permettre de faire évoluer...
          ADMINISTRATEUR SYSTÈME (H/F) - Décision RH - Bordeaux        
Présentation de l'entreprise : Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services est le partenaire technologique des Caisses régionales du Crédit Agricole. Fort d'un système d'information unique et commun, Crédit Agricole Technologies et Services assure la conception, la fabrication, la maintenance et l'exploitation du SI bancaire, en respectant les exigences et des niveaux de service définis par les Caisses régionales de Crédit Agricole. Notre ambition est de leur permettre de faire évoluer...
          ingénieur système Windows/ Lunix (H/F) - Umantic - Saint Denis        
INGENIEUR SYSTEMES Windows/linux. Pour le compte d'un de nos clients, opérateur dans le domaine ferroviaire, vous aurez à mettre en place et maintenir des logiciels liés et leurs systèmes d'exploitations associés. L'Equipe dans laquelle vous intervenez intègre dans l'environnement de production les solutions logicielles et en assure le déploiement. Principales missions : Vous intervenez ou assistez le client dans la mise en Å"uvre des logiciels et des...
          Administrateur système UNIX / Linux (H/F) - ACENSI - Lille        
Dans le cadre du développement de l'agence de Lille et pour répondre aux besoins de l'un de nos clients nous recherchons un administrateur système et réseaux : Vous aurez pour missions : Administration et exploitation des systèmes Open sources (Redhat) Mise en oeuvre de nouvelles plateformes Linux et Windows, en charge du maintien en condition opérationnelle En charge du suivi et de la résolution des incidents de Niveau 2/3 sur l'ensemble des problématiques serveurs. ...
          Ingénieur Système Windows - Secteur Bancaire H/F - Alten - Paris        
ALTEN SI, Réseaux & Télécom réalise des projets de conception et d'études pour les Directions des Systèmes d'Information des grands acteurs du marché et recherche dans le cadre de son développement des Ingénieurs Système Windows (H/F). Les principales activités à mener sont : Administration avancée et MCO des serveurs Windows 2008 et 2012 du SI Exploitation des serveurs en mode cluster (VERITAS et MCS) Installation, paramétrage de nouveaux serveurs d'infra et/ou applicatif ...
          MS SharePoint et Office Consultant (H/F) - KA Resources - Région Parisienne         
MS SharePoint et Office Consultant (H/F) Nous cherchons pour notre client, une ESN à taille humaine certifiée Microsoft Partner située en région Parisienne, un Consultant MS SharePoint et Office 365. Notre client est une entreprise en pleine croissance et cherche à renforcer son équipe avec des compétences Office 365 et Microsoft SharePoint. Ses équipes interviennent notamment sur des projets de migration et d'exploitation pour le compte d'entreprises de renoms (y compris grands...
          Administrateur Système et Réseau (H/F) - Apside - Centre        
Poste et missions : Dans le cadre de nos activités production/exploitation, nous recherchons un administrateur systèmes et réseaux H/F pour nos activités en région Centre (Tours, Orléans, Chartres), au Mans et à Niort. Au sein du département production, vos activités seront les suivantes : Analyse et traitement des incidents en niveaux ; Traitement des demandes de travaux ; Administration des équipements ; Gestion des performances ; Gestion des droits d'accès aux serveurs et aux...
          Ingénieur Système Devops - Télécom (H/F) - Alten - Ile de France        
Descriptif du projet Nous recrutons en CDI un ingénieur DevOps pour un projet basé en Ile de France. Vous interviendrez au sein d'une équipe dynamique sur des projets innovant et à forte valeur ajoutée. En plus de vos compétences techniques, vous êtes un véritable ambassadeur de la culture DevOps auprès des parties prenantes du projet. L'ingénieur DevOps apporte son expertise aux équipes de développement et de production pour améliorer l'exploitation des applications. Vos...
          Ingénieur Réseau et Sécurité - Secteur Finance H/F - Alten - Paris        
ALTEN SI, Réseaux & Télécom réalise des projets de conception et d'études pour les Directions des Systèmes d'Information des grands acteurs du marché et recherche dans le cadre de son développement un Ingénieur Réseau et Sécurité (H/F) pour réaliser l'ensemble des opérations d'exploitation de niveau 3 sur les infrastructures. Au sein d'une équipe, vous gérerez : La gestion des incidents N3, des problèmes et des anomalies La gestion des changements non industriels Les actes de...
          The Scintilla Project: Day Eight        
The prompt: What are your simplest pleasures? Go beyond description and into showing the experience of each indulgence.

Words. 
Long ones, short ones, cliche and obscure
Modern, archaic, proper and all slang-like
I love them all
If I had my druthers, I'd piddle about with them all day; 
I'd pick 'em, spit 'em, drop 'em
I'd twist 'em, mince 'em, chop it up
I'd sing 'em, most loud, sweet cacophony
Oh, but occasionally
I eat 'em
I quote 'em, I give 'em, I take 'em
I live and breathe 'em 
I fear them 
"They can and will be used against you"...
They'll break you, maim you, cut you down to size;
A detail, minutiae, to an infinitesimal speck of who you thought you once were
They'll expose and exploit you
Pulchritude, power, horror, ugliness and shame
They are love and loathing, hope and despair
They incite riots and laughter and insight and change
They escape you, they fail you, but they come back...
Awestruck by love, writhing in pain, at desire's peak, on the brink of death
A final utterance, one last plea
For naught but their own posterity
Words.

          Christianity as Progress in Season 3 of Vikings?        
Big fans of television series available for binge-watching after the kids go to sleep, my husband and I recently worked through the first three seasons of the History Channel’s hit Vikings. So far, the series has followed the rise of Scandinavian Ragnar Lothbrok from farmer to earl to king and his growing interest in Western Europe and mostly successful exploits in England and France. Although roundly criticized for its historical inaccuracies, Vikings is loosely based on Scandinavian figures and events passed down through the oral tradition to writers who finally recorded them during the late Middle Ages. It includes the infamous Viking raid of the monastery at Lindisfarne, for instance, as well as the figure of Rollo, known in history as having founded the Scandinavian settlement of Normandy and as the great-great-great grandfather of William the Conqueror. The character of Ragnarhimself is based on a legendary king and hero, said to have battled Charlemagne and borne important warrior sons (the same sons whom he is shown to have fathered in the show as well). The accuracy of the legends of Ragnar are debated by historians, some saying that they are based in truth and others perceiving them as mostly fictional. Vikingsadmittedly plays fast and loose with history, combining legends from diverse regions of Scandinavia (by, for instance, depicting Rollo as Ragnar’s brother) and often flouting the chronology of historical occurrences (by placing Ragnar in the time of Charles II’s rule instead of Charlemagne’s, to name one example). Moreover, while many of the events depicted in the show might plausibly have happened within the Scandinavian cultures of the early Middle Ages, others seem unlikely. The intense (and often homoerotic) friendship that develops between Ragnar and Athelstan, a monk who Ragnar captures in the Lindisfarne raid, is one such fabrication, perhaps unrealistic but effectively used in the show to heighten one of the central tensions of the series—between the paganism of the Scandinavians and the Christianity of the Western Europeans.

Athelstan originally perceives the Vikings as heralds of Satan, sent from God as punishment for the sins of man, but he comes to respect and love Ragnar, teaching him the language of the English and sharing information about the cities and cultures of Western Europe. When he is first taken captive, Athelstan brings a religious text with him to Scandinavia, and he is shown as reading it faithfully during his first few months as a slave to Ragnar and his family. He also maintains his practice of tonsure, very painfully and bloodily using a dull blade to shave the top of his head. But, as he becomes more and more integrated into Ragnar’s family and community, Athelstan begins to doubt the existence and power of Christ. He calls out to God, saying that, for the first time in his life, he cannot feel His presence. Eventually, Athelstan’s holy book disintegrates, and he begins wearing his hair in the style of the Scandinavians. He accepts an arm ring from Ragnar when the latter becomes earl, thus pledging his allegiance to Ragnar and the ways of the Scandinavians. In Season 2, Athelstan returns to England to raid with Ragnar and, through a series of extraordinary events, becomes the prisoner—and confidant—of the intelligent but morally dubious King Ecbert of Wessex. At this point, Athelstan eagerly returns to the kind of writing that he once did at the monastery, this time transcribing Ecbert’s secret Roman scrolls. He is unable to resume priesthood, however, professing that he has strayed too far from his Christian beliefs. A dark beast—symbolic perhaps of his sin against God or maybe of the duty that he now owes to Odin—haunts him in waking dreams, and he seems to feel, at once, disloyal to Christ and to the belief system of the Scandinavians. Athelstan even admits to Ecbert that Scandinavian customs are, in some ways, superior to English customs. When given the opportunity, Athelstan leaves England, to reside again in Scandinavia with Ragnar, who offers him affection and protection—as well as a somewhat more consistent moral code than Ecbert’s.

In his interactions with both Ragnar and Ecbert, Athelstan acts—sometimes unwittingly—as an agent of what either king, and certainly the show’s viewers, might perceive as “progress.” As a former monk, he is a learned man, and he affirms Ecbert’s appreciation for Roman architecture, art, and literature. He agrees with Ecbert that the Christians have much to learn from pagans—presumably both Roman and Scandinavian—and encourages Ecbert’s curiosity in Scandinavian customs and his decision to allow the Scandinavians to settle in Wessex. Athelstan shares information with Ragnar about England and France that ultimately facilitates profitable Scandinavian raids, settlement in the fertile regions of Western Europe, and adoption of important technological advances in farming equipment (a plough in Season 2) and weaponry (a cross-bow in Season 3). On many occasions, Athelstan acts as translator between the Scandinavians and the Western Europeans, enabling that which we know to be the massive changes in the cultures and languages of Western Europe that the Viking settlements ultimately produced. Perhaps most importantly, Athelstan promotes the blending of traditions, teaching Ragnar to recite the Lord’s Prayer, for example, before taking up arms himself to fight in his now beloved friend’s battle for the kingship of Scandinavia. Indeed, Athelstan seems to embody cultural exchange, which both Ragnar and Ecbert value, at least in part, and certainly that many 21st-century viewers imagine as progressive in our age of globalization.

(As another example of how Vikings plays with history, we might note that Ecbert, Athelstan, and Athelstan’s son Alfred, borne of Athelstan’s affair with Ecbert’s daughter-in-law and so far fiercely protected by Ecbert despite the infant’s well-known status as a bastard, are all also based on historical figures. The historical Ecbert was a Christian king of Wessex who battled regularly with the pagan Vikings. Alfred the Great was Ecbert’s grandson, and he made peace with the Scandinavians after their king Gunthrum was baptized. Finally, the historical Athelstanwas the grandson of Alfred, and he ousted the sitting Scandinavian ruler from the Viking settlement of York. As with their counterparts in the show, the lives and times of these three figures were very much influenced by the conflicts—and blending—of English culture and Viking culture as well as Christianity and paganism.)

Late in Season 3, however, Athelstan’s symbology in the show shifts. No longer does he seem to promote the blending of traditions but, instead, advocates for a return to seeing Christianity as distinct from—and superior to—paganism. He experiences a sign from God and returns with fervor to his Christian faith. After a scene in which he seems to re-baptize himself in the waters off the coast of Scandinavia, he tosses his arm ring out to sea. Athelstan then announces to Ragnar that he has been born again and that he can no longer stay in Ragnar’s kingdom. Ragnar refuses to allow him to go, saying that Athelstan is the only person who he can truly trust, and the scene ends with Athelstan reaffirming his dedication to Ragnar’s planned attack on Paris. In some ways, this seems another example of Athelstan’s ability to blend belief systems: he is renewed in his Christianity but willing to facilitate a Viking raid of an important Christian city, indeed, the center of Western Christendom during much of the Middle Ages. But, when Athelstan is killed by a member of Ragnar’s inner circle who fears Athelstan’s growing Christian influence over the king, Ragnar remembers him as a Christian, first and foremost. Ragnar carries Athelstan’s dead body to the top of a tall hill and buries him there, intending to lay him to rest as close to Athelstan’s god as he can get him. He then places Athelstan’s cross necklace around his own neck and shaves his head in a bloody scene reminiscent of Athelstan’s shaving episode at the beginning of the series. As Vikings creator Michael Hirst has pointed out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, here, Ragnar adopts a version of the Christian practice of tonsure to signal the significant change that he has experienced as a result of his friend’s death.

Like Athelstan during his time in Wessex, Ragnar seems caught between Christianity and paganism at this point in the show. When he is injured in the raid on Paris and fears that he is dying, he imagines two competing visions of that which awaits him after death. One of these is the figure of Odin, pictured throughout the series as a black silhouette with a raven on his shoulder; the other is Athelstan, who seems to function, for Ragnar, as a stand-in for the Christian God. Ragnar reaches toward Athelstan, but the latter turns to walk away, and Ragnar is left with Odin. Fearing eternal separation from his friend, Ragnar bargains with the Parisians, agreeing to send his warriors back to Scandinavia in exchange for a large quantity of gold and, more importantly, his own baptism and Christian burial. When he is baptized in front of his shocked and angry kinsmen, Ragnar seems to have finally chosen, like Athelstan, Christianity over paganism. After he is carried inside the Parisian cathedral for his final rites, however, Ragnar jumps up from his casket and brutally slays the Christian priest who had previously expressed revulsion at the prospect of having to baptize him. Ragnar escapes the battle that ensues and, then, in the final scene of the season, is shown aboard a Viking longship bound for home in Scandinavia.

Given Althelstan’s and Ragnar’s conflicted thoughts and contradictory behaviors in Season 3, it is difficult to interpret the show’s message regarding Christian conversion. Throughout Season 1 and Season 2, Athelstan suffers with his conflicting feeling of duty toward Christ and his attraction to the Vikings gods, but he lives with both and seems to work toward an ethic of cultural exchange that perhaps most viewers in the 21st-century can get behind. For his part, Ragnar is presented as a visionary, a leader who imagines a better future for his people through raiding and settlement in Western Europe. His attachment to Athelstan is used to highlight the conflicts between Christianity and paganism in the Viking Age, but viewers are also able to see it as indicative of Ragnar’s willingness to embrace the kind of progress embodied in the priest-turned-Viking-warrior, the progress of economic and financial advancement for the Scandinavians as well as of the cultural blending that occurred between Scandinavians and Western Europeans during this historical period. Given their characterization throughout the series, what are we to make of Athelstan’s and Ragnar’s actions in Season 3? Is Athelstan still representative of progress? Is Ragnar still dedicated to progress? Maybe most importantly, is cultural blending still inherent to progress?

Since Athelstan is gone from the show by the end of the season, we are left to reckon most violently with Ragnar’s lingering dedication to his dead friend and his resulting baptism, as well as his decision in the last episode to kill the Christian priest and return to Scandinavia with his people. I would argue that there are ways to read Ragnar’s actions in the last few episodes as in keeping with his role as visionary. It is plausible, for example, that Ragnar is baptized only to ensure that he rejoin Athelstan in the afterlife but that he intends to remain loyal to Scandinavian traditions during his remaining time on Earth and, thus, that the baptism signals only the further blending of cultural systems that we have witnessed heretofore through Athelstan. Ragnar’s baptism might also serve as simply one more move toward the progress that he sees as essential for his people. Historically, of course, the adoption—or partial, or even feigned, adoption—of Christianity eased the way for Scandinavian groups’ acceptance in Western European trading and settlement. Renowned Viking historian Anders Winroth offers further clarification of the reasons for conversion, stating that the Scandinavians came to perceive Christianity as prestigious by associating it with the material wealth that they found in raiding monasteries and, ironically, that Scandinavian leaders sometimes used the practice of converting potential followers to Christianity as a way of convincing them to dedicate themselves to these leaders’ future raids in Western Europe. Whether to align their beliefs with those of new friends, to appease the Christian rulers of Western Europe, or to gain Scandinavian followers, masses of Scandinavians did eventually convert to Christianity throughout the Middle Ages. Ragnar’s baptism, therefore, seems at least somewhat historically plausible and, in that it foreshadows the future of conversion in store for his people, in keeping with his characterization as adept at navigating the tides of change in order advance the interests of his kinsmen.

Nonetheless, it is difficult (and disappointing) to imagine this show as depicting progress as simply a matter of conversion to Christianity instead of a process of cultural blending. My hope is that Ragnar and Ecbert, as well as other important figures in the show, will continue to contend, in complex and convincing ways, with the clashes between their two cultures and belief systems in Season 4, scheduled for release in early 2016—despite the show’s loss of Athelstan as a figurehead of cultural exchange.

Ready for a new show . . .
Until then, my husband I will have to find a new series. Any suggestions?




          The Wild Bachelor        

Flabbergasting K and I, my mother offered to keep the children for a week at my grandmother's home in Virginia last summer.

I was, of course, excited about the possibilities of a child-fee week, but I was equally excited about my children having the opportunity to spend a summer week in the small Virginia community where I spent so much time as a child.

The Mayor and I talked on the phone one night before bed and he told me all about his day.

"I met Charlie and Joey at the pool and we talked and talked. We talked about the things we have, what we like to do and where we like to go... it was so great, Mom."

Charlie and Joey are both cousins of his.

Everywhere we turn in this part of Virginia, relatives abound.

There is something tremendously comforting in having a sense of place like that, where everywhere you go, you are related to someone.

I drove back up to Virginia to collect The Mayor and The Rooster the next weekend.

While I was gone, I got a series of e-mails from K under the subject heading "wild bachelor."

----- Original Message -----
From: K
To: Jessica
Sent: Jul 11, 2009
Subject: wild bachelor

Yes, I’ve gone wild.

I will now regale you of my exploits:

  • Changed the HVAC Filters

  • Washed the new sheets

  • Took stuff to Goodwill

  • Bought laundry soap and toilet paper (24 rolls! – Wild!)

  • Got sunglass clip-ons at the Walmart

  • Sorted sock drawer

  • Watch out.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Jessica
    Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:45 PM
    To: K
    Subject: Re: wild bachelor

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    -----Original Message-----
    From: K
    To: Jessica
    Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 12:53
    Subject: RE wild bachelor

    The romp continues...

    • Replaced the kitchen fluorescent light fixture -Which revealed just how disgusting our refrigerator had become. Ew. Cleaned out bottom drawers and underneath bottom drawers (yuck - red strawberry something or other pooled and streaked and sticky).
    • cleaned the top of the refrigerator (also remarkably gross).
    • cleared out back porch, sorting hangers and beach toys.

      I can't be stopped.

    My mom says she'll keep them again this summer.

    I live in unbearable suspense, wondering what my husband will get up to this year.


              Options Strategy: Exploit the Correlation Crush        
    In a recent piece I discussed the use of a paired options trade strategy to capitalize on a decline in correlations in 2014. Correlation refers to assets sometimes in very different classes moving up and down at the same time. Today I want to look at the concept of dispersion. With paired trades we used options to reduce capital requirements and increase leverage provided to improve the risk/reward profile. Dispersion refers to how much more or less the individual components within a broader group (like an index) will move relative to the whole. Here the application of options is more ...
              Do you feel Capitalism dying?        
    SUBHEAD: We need to develop the fortitude and skills needed for the future that is coming at us.

    By Joe Brewer on 24 July 2017 for Medium -
    (https://medium.com/@joe_brewer/do-you-still-feel-capitalism-dying-c487b89c42ca)


    Image above: A sign about "Capitalism" in Westminister Square with the Tower of London at British Parlement in the background. From (https://medium.com/@discomfiting/kill-capitalism-before-it-kills-us-fe23d10f6243).

    Can you feel capitalism dying around you? There is a mental disease of late-stage capitalism causing deep worry and anxiety, prompting feelings of severe isolation and humiliation, combined with a profound sense of powerlessness for millions of people around the world.

    The question I ask today is What are YOU going to do about it?

    The feeling bubbles up when students graduate from college with mountains of debt and few prospects for meaningful work. It spreads across cities where housing prices are skyrocketing and a giant financial chasm exists between owners and renters of residential property. And it aches in the spiraling decay of exploited ecosystems as they unravel after decades (or centuries) of pillaging industries waging war on nature.

    There is a reason only 5 men have the same aggregate wealth as half the human population. And that the Earth’s climate is ramping up for a phase transition that threatens our entire civilization. It is because a Global Architecture of Wealth Extraction has been carefully built up in the last five hundred years to produce exactly these outcomes.

    And it is causing millions of people to feel a malaise of loneliness and quiet desperation that tickles at the edge of their tongues — yet they don’t quite know what to call it.

    I’ve called it late-stage capitalism and this resonated with hundreds of thousands when I wrote about it last year. The depth and tenor of this resonance revealed that these feelings are truly widespread and the currents run deep within our veins.

    So what are we going to do with these feelings? Some tens of millions of Americans decided to elect President Trump last year. They had fallen victim to a sophisticated information war that functions as a kind of political mind control.

    Too few among them were able to discern what is really going on and now they are emotionally manipulated pawns in the end game for a small cohort of super-elites.

    This is not an acceptable place to direct the feelings we have about the death of capitalism. It will only accelerate us on the path to planetary-scale collapse that we need to reckon with in our lifetimes.

    Instead — if we can develop the fortitude and skills — we need to direct these feelings toward the much more productive path of learning how to design cultural change.

    You see, it has been our inability to collectively set intentions that enabled elite groups to divide-and-conquer us in these times of mass confusion, hardship, and despair.

    We need to recognize that the real state of power is culture and learn how to wield this power the way our ancestors once did.

    Anthropologists who study hunter-gatherer societies have long known that they are all egalitarian.

    Bullies and dictators were not able to rise up and boss people around because the group sanctioned against it.

    They did this through a combination of shaming and ostracism, or in extreme cases they resorted to expulsion or execution. But they were able to keep the bullies in check becaus;
    1. everyone knew everyone else in these small bands of people and
    2. relationships of trust were robust enough to navigate conflicts and cooperate effectively against individuals who might be stronger or more skilled at hunting than any one person on their own.
    We now have a vast digital infrastructure — the internet plus cell phones and satellite communication systems — that make it possible for the first time since the birth of civilizations to coordinate with transparency and trust at larger scales of society.

    Yet we remain divided into political tribes, fighting amongst each other at the beckoning of those who set the terms of debate.

    Are you a Democrat or Republican? Socialist or Capitalist?

    A person of color or a beneficiary of white privilege? Categories of division such as these may have important realities embedded within them but none gets at the root issue that defines these times.

    We are in a deep crisis that is carrying us all on the path toward extinction. We must learn to rise above our labels of separation and remember that everything is connected. Only then can we be seeds of transformation in a world where most of our stories are breaking down.

    So I call upon you to name your feelings of angst and powerlessness.

    Recognize that you are living through the death of a capitalist system that has brought our entire civilization to the brink of ruin.

    Learn how to design for change in a world where only through a paradigm shift in values and behaviors will it be possible to navigate our way toward planetary resilience in the decades ahead.

    We can get to the future we all want but only when we realize that it is our power to create cultural mythologies that has blinded us to our place within a world barreling toward humanity’s end.

    This power must now be employed in service of life, compassion, humility, and care for the living world. These are dangerous times and our actions matter more than most of us are ready to realize.

    Take hold of your feelings and direct them toward life, healing, and regeneration of our broken world.

    We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children, born and unborn.

    And we owe it to the many other species whose very existence are now in jeopardy because an arrogant myth of human superiority has driven us to soil the beds we must sleep in as members of the natural world ourselves.

    Time is short and there is much work to be done.

    Onward, fellow humans.

    .

              Beautiful Barron The Whippet Needs Your Help!        

    I received an email this morning from Greytexploitations about a lovely little male whippet that is in urgent need of care. He was a rescue and was in a terrible state when he was picked up. He only has a few months left to live so if anyone out there can give him a comfortable home and the love he deserves during his last few months then please get in touch with Greyhound Gap at the number outlined below. Here is a little more information about Barron:

    Greyhound Gap - Barron only has a few months could you foster him? Bedlington x whippet boy.

    A couple of weeks ago we received a phonecall from Catherine a friend. She had heard about a 12 year old bedlington whippet boy who was currently in the care of another rescue. He had two huge growths one on his chest and one on his leg and their vets had stated they couldnt be operated on. Catherine wanted to see if Gap would be willing to take him on, get a second opinion and give him the back up needed. Of course we would. He moved to Catherine the next night.

    The lump on the leg was so huge that poor Barron couldnt get around properly or sit down comfortably but thankfully when he saw our vet they didnt feel there was any reason why it couldnt be removed especially as the boy was so uncomfortable. Barron had his operation and all was a success in fact the very next day he had to be stopped from bouncing around. However the vet felt that one of the lumps in particular looked decidedly nasty so was sent off for histology.

    Sadly the result wasnt what we wanted to hear and the beautiful Barron has Sarcoma and treatment isnt an option. We were all mortified as this little man so loves to play and enjoy his walks and is just so full of life.

    The vet feels at best that Barron has around 12mnths at the worst it could be as little as a few months. Catherine would love to keep him there but sadly although Barron is very tolerant of her male dogs they are not so tolerant of him especially the older yorkshire terrier boy. Barron is not cat friendly but is good with small dogs as you can tell.

    Catherine currently works so Barron is fine left during the day, greets you really enthusiastically on your return, he travels well in the car. He sleeps well over night, walks like a dream on the lead and has been off the lead also but is a little deaf bless him so can wonder too far. Once he realises this though he heads back to you.

    If you could find it in your heart to give Barron a special place to be for however long he has he will remain cared for medically by Greyhound Gap. We will continue to cover the cost of his veterinary treatment for the duration of his life.

    If you can help please email me or call me on 01782 544728

    Likewise if you feel you cant help Barron but would like to make a donation or help to sponsor his continued care please let me know or you can do it via the usual paypal chanel to greyhoundgap@yahoo.co.uk PLEASE MAKE A NOTE THAT ITS FOR BARRONS CARE. Thank you

    Barron

              Greyhound Industry Cover Up Live On TV!        
    Anyone who follows greyhound welfare issues will know that very little is ever revealed in the press about the cruel and disgusting treatment that some of these beautiful animals face. In actual fact, this may be why many of you read this blog in the first place and spread the word about it. However, the cover up that millions witnessed on a BBC program last week takes the biscuit.

    The BBC show "Inside Out London" did a ten minute piece from Romford Greyhound Stadium in the UK. The coverage was supposed to be unbiased, impartial, honest and independent but was in fact the opposite. Although they failed to speak to welfare groups and greyhound rescues, they completely ridiculed those of us seeking better treatment for greyhounds and an end to the needless slaughter many of them suffer every year. In fact, the host (Matthew Wright) actually said "there are those that are glad to see the closure of any greyhound stadium because they claim it’s a cruel sport and it’s the old dogs that suffer. They say that once they stop racing – it’s the knackers yard for them – but it appears this is far from the truth".

    The email I recieved pointed out the following:

    Clearly the BBC have failed to research and acknowledge the overwhelming evidence of ALL welfare issues such as over breeding, lack of welfare, injuries, destruction of healthy greyhounds, irresponsible re-homing practices and further exploitation of the racing greyhound in retirement.

    Had the Inside Out London team remained impartial, they would have addressed not only the concerns of greyhound protection groups but also the concerns contained in the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare Report, the industry’s commissioned Donoughue Report and those of the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports. All of the aforementioned organisations being highly critical of greyhound racing in its present day form.


    This is spot on the truth and exposes the coverage as propaganda rather than unbiased and factual news.

    The email also called for the greyhound lovers out there to protest. After all, this is why we are constantly drowned out when trying to create a better world for greyhounds to live and grow old in instead of being brutally killed when they can no longer make their owners money. Even responsible trainers that do treat their dogs well call for better regulation... which is really saying something! Coverage like this can only harm our cause so please take the time to copy and paste the email below and send it to the BBC about the shameless piece that will do greyhounds no good at all:

    Dear BBC

    I wish to complain regarding the Inside Out London programme broadcast on Wednesday October 15, promoting a night at the dogs at Romford Stadium.

    The BBC must surely be aware of the publication of the APGAW and the industry’s commissioned Donoughue reports which concluded there were many areas of grave concern regarding welfare within the industry.

    The BBC must also be aware of the further damming of these already highly critical reports by the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports who in response, demanded even more drastic welfare changes to ensure minimum welfare standards for greyhounds.

    More recently the Sunday Times, in exposing this ruthless industry, have published two investigative articles earlier this year, which could not have escaped your attention.

    Ironically, the first article exposed a veterinary clinic at an Ockendon greyhound complex, euthanasing healthy greyhounds and then selling their warm body parts to the Royal Veterinary College. This was the very same complex which is home to Romford Homefinders, who you featured in the programme.

    The second article exposed the largest greyhound breeder in the UK selling puppies who would not chase or too slow, to Liverpool University for research and dissection.

    You only have to read the online comments on both these articles to ascertain the public’s opinion and disgust of greyhound racing.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3466712.ece
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article3908388.ece

    Why, as a public service broadcaster, who is supposed to be ‘free from commercial influence and answer to its viewers and listeners’ has the BBC chosen to promote an industry which has failed to address very serious welfare concerns, an industry that is dependent on gambling and an industry that is in sharp decline, the promotion of such, being further fuelled by those interviewed on the programme and needless to say, who are financially dependent on the industry - without the airing of any welfare issues?

    Astonishingly, the presenter Mathew Wright, remained anything but impartial throughout and gave his firm stamp of approval on this exploitative industry with his closing statement - ‘A night at the dogs – always a good evening’

    I sincerely hope the BBC research the facts behind greyhound racing and you give the public, welfare organisations and greyhound protection groups the opportunity in the very near future to address this inaccurate piece of pro racing propaganda you have irresponsibly broadcast.

    In meantime, please be advised of the following facts and statements

    *For every greyhound puppy that makes it to the track, at least one other puppy will be culled or killed because they won’t chase or are too slow to make the grade – analysis made from APGAW report.
    *‘Dogs are generally kennelled for 23 hours a day for their entire racing life, usually two dogs per small kennel sharing one bed and to avoid fighting, dogs are muzzled as a long term solution’ – RSPCA
    *The National Greyhound Racing Club processed 18,861 greyhound Retirement Forms last year and refuse to disclose the fate or fortune of those greyhounds – NGRC
    *At least 20 greyhounds a day, either puppies which do not make it to the track or ‘retired’ dogs aged 3 or 4 simply disappear, presumed destroyed – RSPCA
    *‘Greyhounds suffer through the breeding and selection process, injury and inhumane destruction when they are no longer needed’ – League Against Cruel Sports

    Yours sincerely



    Please send your emails to :-

    dippy.chaudhary@bbc.co.uk – Editor of Inside Out London

    david.holdsworth@bbc.co.uk – BBC Deputy Controller English Regions

    pov@bbc.co.uk - Points of View (full name and telephone number required)

    You can also make a formal complaint to the BBC Trust on this automated complaints form
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml
              The Dubai Model and the new Arab world         

    Johann Hari’s article “The Dark Side of Dubai” in The Independent in 2009, crystallized the hyperbolic writing on the Gulf emirate in the recent past:

    “This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.”

    Of course, Dubai did not crash into history and Hari was dislodged from his perch due to a plagiarism scandal a few years later. Yet, for many commentators and journalists, any mention of Dubai still evokes a sense of moralistic derision – Dubai the land without culture filled with a people without history. For the youth of the region, however, Dubai represents something different: jobs, a relatively open society, and a government (in progress) that works. As countries in transition, like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt look to transform their own societies, Dubai is an enigmatic model in the distance.  


    What is the Dubai model? It is hard to fully capture the multi-faceted nature of it in just a few words, but there are several key dimensions. In addition, the unique (and transferable) aspects of the Dubai model, however, are less to do with its political system, and more about the policies pursued. In fact, too much time is spent in the region debating the political system rather than the impact of policies on the ground enacted by any ruling group or party.

    Fundamentally, Dubai made itself open to people flows from around the world, with all its associated risks. This has meant that its small population – today 90% of residents are non-citizens – has been able to build an economy depending on an externally generated labor and consumer market. In addition, to unskilled labor, Dubai has also been keen to open itself to the best talent from around the world.  Take Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL) as an example, founded n 1979 and predicated on leveraging international talent and expertise. In fact, in its initial year of operation, few of the 1,386 employees were Emiratis. Yet that has changed over time, as DUBAL has grown to become the world’s largest aluminum smelter. Understanding its own labor market and taking advantage of regional and international labors flows and talent has been critical to the Emirate’s success. 

    Despite being in conservative surroundings, Dubai has also ensured that it functions as an open society, in terms of social and religious practices. While this diversity can raise tension, like last summer’s #UAEdresscode campaign for example, there is an open coexistence, as can be witnessed while walking on JBR Walk, along the beachfront, with full-length niqabs side-by-side with what could well be described as the opposite of that! This openness has also contributed to Dubai becoming a global hub, and now the 7th most visited city in the world, with 10 million tourist arrivals annually. This did not occur overnight, and was linked to the gradual (and sometimes sudden) growth of the hospitality industry and expatriate population. Being an open society, however, does not just mean bottles and bars; the government has consistently emphasized gender empowerment in all fields as a matter of policy, including in key positions, political and economic.

    In addition to people flows, Dubai has ensured an inflow of capital, by building a financial sector and set of institutions to leverage the capital-rich environment around it. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has created a separate regulatory environment and court system to provide security to investors and companies alike. In addition, while still not perfect, it is relatively easy for any foreigner to set up a local free zone company, allowing him or her to deploy capital, which subsequently generates employment (albeit more for non-locals than Emiratis). The stability of Dubai and the strength of its soft and physical infrastructure has meant that in times of uncertainty, capital finds its way there; last year that included $8 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI), a 25% increase from 2011.

    In order to spur growth and absorb investment, Dubai borrowed a page from several economic models (Singapore & Hong Kong among them) and cluster-based theories (see Michael Porter). Take a look at the growth of the aviation sector in Dubai, which in 2011, directly or indirectly contributed $12 billion towards the GDP, and accounted for 125,000 jobs (in a city of 2 million people).  The same can be said for the logistics (e.g. Dubai Ports) and retail sectors (e.g. Majid al-Futtaim & City Centres), all of which have benefitted from an ecosystem approach that has included new regulation, government-driven investment, and infrastructure development. Emirates Airlines did not become one of the world’s leading airlines by accident or in isolation.

    Finally, on a consistent basis, Dubai has pushed excellence in public services, culminating in the Government Summit earlier this year, which convened public servants from across the country to “exchange best practices.” In Dubai, there are regular awards for government excellence given to high-performing departments. In fact if you go see the Director-General of the Dubai Courts, he will likely give you a PowerPoint presentation on their caseload, wait times, and improvements.

    Lest, anyone think that everything is ‘perfect’ in Dubai, it is not. There are a number of issues, ranging from political prisoners in the country (due in part to a stifling intellectual/political climate) to the lack of legislative oversight to continued labor exploitation (far less than before but still problematic, given there is still no minimum wage). Societally, there are also a number of challenges, including naturalization, obesity, and a growing culture of materialism, none of which should be taken lightly. And, for the local Emirati population, there is a high rate of unemployment due to a mismatch between expectations and skills and the needs of the labor market. None of these should be under-estimated for both the moral issues they pose as well obstacles they may present to the viability of Dubai's success, as is the case in many transformative development contexts. 

    The Dubai model works quite obviously, in Dubai. While other countries – especially those in transition – cannot copy-and-paste what Dubai has done, particularly on migration, cultural change, and government led-investment, they can still apply lessons from Dubai’s experience. Although it may seem that Dubai had the guarantee of Abu Dhabi behind it or capital flows in the Gulf to harness, every country has an advantage, which can be used as a foundation. Egypt has the largest consumer base in the entire Arab world that can drive industry. Tunisia has some of the highest literacy rates and education levels in the region, and an established tourist bridge with Europe. Libya has tremendous oil-wealth and a strong connection to the Sub-Saharan economy.

    The fragility of transitional countries means that everything must be done to improve.  What Dubai has demonstrated is that there can be positive momentum and development on areas that affect the quality of people’s lives and their livelihoods. There remain critical challenges in front of it, but there is also something that works in Dubai, and it’s about time that some of these lessons are transferred to the wider region. 

              In Egypt, is the only way forward out of the question?        
    It was clear that this would be no ordinary Friday (on July 5), given all the recent events the past week in Egypt. The holy Muslim day has served, for all sides, as a critical time to mobilize demonstrations. Yesterday was no different. Masses of supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, gathered outside the Rabaa al-Adawiyah Mosque in Nasr City, an area in Cairo just several kilometres from the famed Tahrir Square. Their chants grew louder throughout the day, with a series of speeches by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, culminating in the fiery (oral) missive by the Supreme Guide of the movement, Mohammed Badie. It was a day of "rejection," called for by supporters of Morsi, and the rejection was vociferous and real. That rejection and its swell of supporters, later in the evening, marched down the October 6 Bridge towards Tahrir Square. Already earlier in the day, unarmed demonstrators from the pro-Morsi camp had been shot dead (as seen in this graphic video here) when coming too close to military positions. By nightfall, the two camps - the pro-Tamarod (or rebellion) groups in Tahrir & the pro-Morsi demonstrators - were in full-fledged street battles, not just in Cairo but in Alexandria and other cities as well, leaving 30 people dead.

    If there's a lesson (for post-revolutionary contexts) to be taken from the past week  it is that 'impatience' is not a virtue. The military takeover of the Egyptian government - albeit fuelled by a legitimate and popular uprising - did not resolve anything but it definitely made things worse. Instead of hitting the reset button, Friday's clashes have shown that Pandora's Box is now wide open. In the midst of growing uncertainty, there would appear to be only one way forward and that is the immediate return to democratic legitimacy, whether through the re-running of a presidential election or a referendum on Mohammad Morsi. Everything else is a red herring, including discussion on whether what transpired in the last few days was a military coup.

    There is no question that the movement to oust President Morsi was a popular uprising. Driven by deep frustration from political overreach (by Morsi) starting in November 2012 and exacerbated by worsening living conditions, millions of people joined the Tamarod movement, culminating in the Tahrir protests that coincided with Morsi's one year mark in office (more on this is available in a previous post). Yet, two things should have been clear: 1) Removing an elected President, no matter how unpopular, is not easy; and 2) There was a popular base that still supported President Morsi. On Friday, the latter disenfranchised group, perhaps the same that saw "their" democratically elected parliament invalidated back in September 2012 by the courts, now saw "their" democratically elected President overthrown. Add to that, the Constitution that was passed with 64% support of the vote was essentially also declared null and void by the armed forces, to be re-drafted or amended by a select committee.

    To believe that an 85 year old movement - the Muslim Brotherhood - flanked by its supporters and with the winds of at least electoral legitimacy in their sails, would take these developments lying down, would have been naive. And if the face of this change for all intents and purposes was the very armed forces that have essentially dominated Egypt since 1952, than certainly it would raise the spectre of forceful if not violent resistance. Thus, what has unfolded so far in Egypt on Friday is completely expected and moreover, is a reaction that will only deepen and grow. Furthermore, there is an absence of a 'neutral' authority, as the military appears to have chosen one side in this clash of camps, especially as it is arresting leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the interim.

    And so we arrive at the inevitable question: How bad can it really get? Despite the fact that the Brotherhood was ruling 'non-inclusively' and without an effective plan for the government, there is no basis to argue that what has replaced it is anymore inclusive (in fact likely the opposite) and has any clearer plan or set of policies for the country. The country is divided and there is no broader political or democratic legitimacy for the military transition, beyond the assumption that it represented the popular will; but can the latter be proved? We hear numbers such as 33 million bandied about but not only are these figures not based on any tangible scientific analysis (see Wired for how to measure people in Tahrir Square) but they are assuredly less 'legitimate' than an actual vote.

    With both sides claiming popular support and the cringe-inducing word (thanks to Morsi's speech), 'legitimacy, the clashes that began Friday will not end and if anything, they will escalate (or become something even more dangerous if driven underground). There are 93 million people in Egypt, and each confrontation will lead to more deaths, more 'martyrs', and more outraged friends, supporters, and families. Each week that passes will only deepen the divide and the division, ultimately rooting out the basis for any coexistence in the near-term. Civil disobedience, will turn into civil strife, and civil strife could turn into, yes, civil war (a distant but real possibility). There are multiple videos emerging of salafi-jihadi style groups seeking to exploit this moment, and resort to outright violence against the governing authorities. While naysayers may be right that Egypt will not turn into Syria tomorrow, each day that passes without resolution, the disintegration of the state becomes an evermore possible scenario. And if that happens, the consequences will be unimaginable.

    There then appears to be only one way forward and that is the immediate (or urgent) return to a democratic process. While there are some who have cheerleaded the military takeover and the appointment of Adly Mansour, not only does this not have broad-based (mind universal) support within Egypt, but the continuation of this process in its current form, will only destabilize the country further. Given that the unquestioned return of Mohammed Morsi to the presidency would also only inflame tensions within the previous opposition, the only way forward is to hold a referendum with the following question:

    1) Do you support Mohammed Morsi finishing his full-term as President of Egypt?

    It is a direct question on the mood in Egypt, and the answer given, while not quelling all unrest, would provide the legitimacy to any transitional period that would follow (that is if the people answered no). With this referendum in tow, the country could move towards new presidential elections under a carefully managed process or continue with Morsi's presidency, with guarantees that he would govern much more inclusively (if the answer is yes). Yet, who will press for this type of solution, both internally and externally? On an international level, thus far, the U.S. has appeared "aloof", the Europeans "ineffective," and the Arab states mostly partisan. And while the African Union, which has dealt with such situations previously and has come out strongly on the current situation, likely has less influence in Egypt. Thus the reality should dawn on all Egyptians and all political forces within the country that there will be no basis for compromise or true salvation, if it does not emanate from within Egypt itself.

    There will be many analyses made in the coming days around definitions and comparisons. Yet, fundamentally, Egypt is not Iran in 1980 or Algeria in 1991 or Turkey in 1997. It is Egypt in 2013, as hollow as that sounds - but that is the truth through which everything flows. And any resolution that emerges, must come from within the forces of Egypt in 2013. With Nelson Mandela, appearing to be on his deathbed (and our prayers with him), it is worth heeding, in closing, some of his words of wisdom, in this crisis:

    "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."

              L’ aménagement intérieur et extérieur        
    Aménager un lieu c’est le rendre plus fonctionnel ou plus joli. Cela peut être une pièce intérieure comme un garage ou un coin bureau. Mais vous pouvez aussi faire des aménagements dans vos espaces extérieurs comme créer des coins de repos dans votre jardin. L’aménagement intérieur Ce type d’aménagement vous permet d’exploiter au maximum les […]
              The Miami Mess        

    When I first heard about the Yahoo! Sports report that a Miami booster provided cash, cars, jewelry, use of mansions and a yacht, prostitutes, bounties for taking out the opposition, and an abortion for Miami football players, I had three immediate thoughts: 1) Holy balls, Miami knows how to party, 2) This wouldn’t even be that big of a deal if the NCAA weren’t an unprecedented and corrupt cockblock that gets away with a  multibillion dollar scam year after year, and 3) Having said that, the rules are the rules and – if the allegations are true – I’m not sure there has ever been such a flagrant breaking of NCAA rules in the history of both the NCAA and their explicit rules against soliciting prostitution and boosters paying for abortions.

    Let’s start with what’s really important – the partying.  Now, thanks to depictions of Miami in all sorts of TV shows and movies (and at least one music video), I’ve always thought that I had a relatively good idea of just how much the city likes to party.  I mean, anyone who has seen Will Smith rocking a wifebeater while hollering at hoochies, Tony Montana burying his face in a heaping mound of blow, Ace Ventura talking out of his butthole, Horatio Caine smoothly putting on his sunglasses after pausing midsentence, and Dexter Morgan saran wrapping criminals to a table and driving a knife through their chest before dismembering their bodies, putting the remains in a bunch of garbage bags, and dumping the bags in the Atlantic Ocean should fully understand that the city of Miami is all about having a good time.  But even with all of these depictions of Miami being a zoo fully packed with party animals, I was still pretty surprised when the Yahoo! report came out and revealed that the average Miami football player apparently breaks the BYU Honor Code 14 times before they even eat breakfast.

    What made the report so surprising to me is that even though the fact that this all took place in Miami shouldn’t make it all that shocking, we’re still talking about 18-22 year old kids here.  Sure it seems like “18-22 year old kids” and “partying” are synonymous, but if you really think back on your days in college, I’m guessing “partying” just meant drinking a bunch of cheap beer, listening to music that was turned up way too loudly only because whoever was hosting the party wanted to show off their sound system, crossing your fingers that the girls you were hitting on were too drunk to notice how ugly you were, and drawing penises on the foreheads of your friends who passed out before you did.  Every now and then maybe there were people passing around a joint or two, but for the most part that is what a typical college party entails. 

    Nowhere in that description did I mention yachts, mansions, cash, jewelry, or – most importantly – prostitutes, which is why the Miami allegations are shockingly awesome to me.  According to US census data taken in 2010, less than 1% of American citizens have ever partied on a yacht or with prostitutes, so for a bunch of Miami football players to allegedly have done both before they were even old enough to legally rent a car  is truly a remarkable thing and is something I won’t hesitate to admit makes me jealous (hell, I’m sure a lot of them went to these parties before they were even old enough to legally drink).  Then again, I guess all of this shouldn’t have been much of a surprise considering the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about Miami emphasized how wild the Hurricanes were back in the 80s and 90s, and the 7th Floor Crew song in 2004 (very NSFW language) revealed that dorm room gangbangs are apparently as much of a current Miami football tradition as pissing and moaning about a pass interference call from almost a decade ago.

    Anyway, now that we got the important and fun part out of the way, let’s discuss what is rapidly becoming the bane of my existence – the NCAA’s steadfast refusal to let athletes profit from their own abilities even though those same athletes’ abilities are the reason the NCAA and the schools the athletes represent rake in billions every year.  As a guy who had to wear the NCAA handcuffs for four straight years (although, let’s be honest, since I was a walk-on my handcuffs weren’t that tight) and couldn’t even accept a free sandwich if I was offered one, I think it’s nothing short of ridiculous that the NCAA continues to cockblock their athletes. 

    As far as I’m concerned, the Miami football players getting cash, jewelry, cars, access to yachts, etc. shouldn’t even be an issue, just like the Ohio State football scandal should have never been an issue, because there’s no logical argument as to why the athletes shouldn’t be entitled to all those things (the OSU scandal especially shouldn’t have been a big deal since I’m of the opinion that the players technically earned the things they sold).  Now, the prostitutes and the bounties that were allegedly paid to Miami players to take out opposing players are obviously a big deal, but I’m focusing on the free cash and gifts right now.  As shady and corrupt as college sports may seem, at the end of the day the superstar athletes that generate millions for their schools have every right to accept all the cash and gifts they want because they aren’t anywhere close to being as fully compensated as they deserve to be.  That’s right, I said it – it’s criminally unfair that college athletes (read: football and men’s basketball players) aren’t paid.

    The prevalent argument against paying players is that the players are already getting paid in the form of a free education and a monthly stipend, but I have two issues with this argument. First, from experience I can tell you that the stipend is basically just enough money to survive on and typically isn’t a large enough sum of money to result in very much discretionary income for the players, so really it isn’t even worth mentioning (as I’m sure you all remember me infamously discussing in a certain earlier blog post). In all honesty, when you think about all the hours the players put into their respective sports, the stipend is probably just a little bit higher than minimum wage. Obviously there are many people in America who are living off of minimum wage (or in this economy, no income at all), but these people also aren’t bringing in millions upon millions of dollars for their schools and conferences like the star athletes are, so it’s not exactly fair to just say “if other people can make it work, college athletes should be able to also.”

    Secondly, while you and I might place a high value on a college education, many superstar athletes are in college solely because they want to prepare for the pros, so a free education doesn’t really mean much to them. I mean, if you really think about it, the fundamental purpose of college is to gather all the knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce in your desired field. Keeping that in mind, for a lot of these guys the sport they play is essentially their major and taking classes and graduating is really just their form of an extracurricular activity.  Much like how you wanted to be an accountant so you went to college and majored in accounting, these guys want to be NFL linebackers so they go to college to major in breaking spines and ripping the heads off of timid receivers coming across the middle.

    This notion is obviously a stereotype and doesn’t apply to everyone who is a shoo-in to make it to the NBA or NFL, but for the most part the All-American college athletes really only care about their education to a certain extent.  At the end of the day, their primary focus is making it to the big leagues, so while a free education would mean a great deal to people like you and me, for the superstar athletes who are likely going to leave college early anyway, a scholarship is the equivalent of being a paraplegic and being given a brand new motorcycle.

    People who are against paying college athletes and have a hard-on for protecting the concept of amateurism also often cite the fact that NCAA athletes know what they’re getting into because they sign all sorts of forms that explain how the system works, so they have no right to complain about anything.  But having gone through this form-signing process four times, I can assure you that it’s not nearly as simple as signing a contract with, say, a cable or gas company might be.

    When I was at OSU, we would have compliance meetings at the start of every academic year where we would be given a stack of papers to sign.  I specifically remember a handful of times when our compliance person would explain what the form we were about to sign meant and I would consequently think, “This is BS. I don’t want to sign this.”  On one occasion, I actually said this out loud to the compliance person and his response was, “Well, then you’ll be ineligible.”  So really, my hands were tied because my choices were to either sign the forms or essentially quit the team and miss out on the plethora of poon that comes with being an Ohio State athlete.  Negotiating was not an option so I had no choice but to sign the forms as they were.

    Now, I wasn’t really all that worked up and was mostly just trying to be a pain in the ass with the compliance people to screw with them a little bit because I knew that giving Ohio State and the NCAA the right to use my image and whatnot wasn’t really that big of a deal since, well, frankly I knew that they would never actually use my image to promote anything.  But at the same time I couldn’t help but think how pissed I’d be if I were someone who was a big time Ohio State athlete like, say, Terrelle Pryor.  Pryor was essentially forced to sign the same forms I had to, only when he was signing them, he was signing away thousands if not millions of dollars in potential earnings. 

    So for someone like him, the choices are either to not play or to let the school and NCAA profit boatloads of money off him while he gets essentially nothing in return.  In other words, for all intents and purposes, all college athletes are pretty much forced to sign these papers, especially since the fact that the NBA and NFL both require draft entrants to be a certain age leaves these guys with no viable alternative to playing in the NCAA (football in particular since high school kids can at least play professional basketball overseas instead of going to college while foreign football leagues versus big time college football is as laughable of a comparison as Qdoba versus Chipotle).  So the “they have no right to complain because they know what they’re getting into” argument holds no water from my perspective.

    I guess we could argue about whether or not college athletes should be paid until we’re blue in the face, but in the end it won’t really mean much because the NCAA isn’t going to change their ways anytime soon. The fact of the matter is that the only real way to get the rules changed seems to be for the players to essentially just go on strike and cause a lockout. But this will never happen because the players simply aren’t around long enough to make it happen.

    It can be assumed that the upperclassmen and the superstar freshmen and sophomores are the ones who are missing out on the most money (simply from the fact that they’re the ones who put butts in the seats at the games and would likely be the ones getting endorsements and whatnot), but by the time they realize that they’re getting screwed and they actually get upset enough to take action to stop the exploitation, they are already gone to the pros or have graduated and moved on to more important things in their lives. After those guys leave, the carousel continues to spin as a new crop of college athletes comes in and goes through the same cycle of sitting on the bench for a couple of years, finally playing toward the tail end of their careers, and not realizing that they’re getting exploited until it’s too late and they’ve got other things to worry about (and most importantly no longer have any motivation to see that college athletes are justly compensated).

    Because the athletes can never get enough traction to seriously challenge the NCAA, nothing gets changed and the exploitation continues. The NCAA knows that they will always have this advantage over the players, which is why I’m fairly certain they all sit in their offices and just cackle, rub their hands together with malevolent glee, and twirl their mustaches all day. I can’t decide if I think everyone involved with such a corrupt organization should be thrown in prison for eternity or if they should be congratulated and given some sort of award for successfully pulling off a multibillion dollar scam on unsuspecting kids year after year (the real irony here is that the NCAA – an organization that profits from screwing people out of money – is most likely going to punish the Miami kids for hanging out with a guy who screwed people out of money).

    But I digress.  The bottom line is that, if the allegations are true (it’s more fun to just assume they are, isn’t it?), the Miami players knew exactly what they were doing and knew that what they were doing was a blatant violation of NCAA rules, so it’s impossible to feel all that bad for them (especially if the stuff about the hookers and bounties is true – that really is indefensible).  Sure the rules are archaic and unjust, but ultimately they’re the rules and until they change, it’s probably best to just abide by them and not choose to break them in the most ridiculous and flagrant ways imaginable.  In the meantime, until the rules change, all us fans can really do is just sit back and hope that someday we can all look back on this era of college sports like we now look back on Prohibition (and will most likely look back on the illegality of marijuana and the concept of age of consent) and wonder, “What the hell were the people in charge thinking?”

    The world is a better place when yacht parties featuring hookers are plentiful and that is a fact.  The sooner the NCAA realizes this, the better off we’ll all be.


    It’s inevitable that at least one of you will think my hatred for the NCAA stems from the fact that I was forced to donate all the money from my shirt sales to charity when I was playing at Ohio State, so I thought I’d address that real quick.  First of all, let me say that the money went to a remarkable charity and was no doubt put to great use and I couldn’t be happier to have been somewhat responsible for that (I know it’s cliché to say that and you probably don’t believe me, but screw it – it’s the God honest truth).  At the same time, though, of course the selfish side of me would have loved to have had that $50,000 to spend on whatever I wanted.  You’re lying to yourself if you think for one second that some part of you wouldn’t feel the same way.  Who in their right mind wouldn’t want $50,ooo just handed to them while they were in college?

    But the reason I wasn’t all that upset that I couldn’t get that money and the reason I’m not necessarily pissed at the NCAA for that is because I knew that I wasn’t being exploited since I was a walk-on benchwarmer.  It’s not like Ohio State or the NCAA was making tons of money off of me, so I really didn’t have that big of a problem with me not being able to make money off of me either (I still thought it was dumb, but I wouldn’t say I was ever “pissed” about it). 

    No, my hatred for the NCAA comes from the fact that they use their athletes to gain a profit (which is completely understandable and fine) but won’t allow the athletes to use themselves to gain a profit (which is complete horseshit).  It sucks that I couldn’t make money from selling my shirts, sure, but the idea that Jared Sullinger won’t be paid a single dime for singlehandedly selling a bunch of tickets and jerseys this upcoming season is pretty disgusting to me.  I know this kind of thing goes on with corporations all over the world, but since I played college basketball and was around the NCAA’s exploitation on a daily basis, this particular instance is the one that I really get fired up over.  Pair my anger with the breaking story about Miami and the fact that I really don’t have anything better to do with my time and it explains my motivation behind this blog post.


    This is your last reminder that I’m writing a mailbag post on Friday, so don’t be a doucher and send me an email.

    Also, we’ve got a few more additions to my list of things that make people lame if they aren’t good but complete badass if they are good.  Here are a few more of my favorites that the Trillion Man March sent in:

    Drinking Beer

    From Laine:

    “Shotgunning a beer – if you've never done it before or if you're bad at it, it can squirt all over you (that's what she said) and make you soggy and smell like beer all night. If you're a pro, you take it down in one gulp and game over (again, that's what she said.)”

    From Evan:

    How is drinking in college not the gold standard for novices sucking and experts being amazing? Everyone wants to be like Frank the Tank and hammer that beer bong all night at the party. Depending on the size of your wood, you may or may not want to go streaking through the quad, but that's only a problem for those who can survive a night long of heavy chugging first anyway. But the kid who just got to the party, shotgunned 2 cold ones, and is already passed out puking in the bathroom? He's the biggest loser douche at the party and is going to wake up to shame and a lot of Sharpie dicks drawn all over his body.

    A related subject, beer pong. The guy at the party who always lets his partner shoot first because he never misses and will hit any cup is pretty awesome and can definitely keep that hot streak going all night right into some hot mama's bed. But the guy who can't hit a cup and then is running around the house naked showing off his tiny schlong because his team got shut out? Not so cool to be him.”

    Criminals (specifically thieves)

    From Trevor:

    “In real life, its fairly common to hear about people who try to rob a convenience store and end up getting held at gunpoint by the guy at the counter while the cops come. This is lame, even I could do better than that. On the other hand, real (ok, mostly fictional) hard core criminals are incredibly badass. Kaiser Soze? His nickname is the devil, pretty hardcore. Then there are all the other bankrobbing movies, The Oceans (11 through 13) Inside Job, etc. Then in real life you used to have Jesse James and all the wild west types. There just aren't cool robberies anymore really, its almost a pity.”

    I also thought about this one when I heard about the Miami football story and Nevin Shapiro’s Ponzi scheme and couldn’t help but think, “Even though that guy screwed a bunch of people out of a ton of money and should no doubt be locked up for a very long time, a small part of me is kind of impressed.”  I feel the same way about guys like Pablo Escobar, D.B. Cooper, Al Capone, etc.

    Cops

    Also from Trevor:

    “Now on the other side of the spectrum, we have cops. There's the stereotypical cop, drinking coffee and eating donuts, kinda pathetic. Then you have supercops, like in the movies. I assume that the CIA and FBI are pretty intense in real life too, but I don't really know what they actually do.”


    Proud to Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


              32e Coupe de France : Forbach - Lille, ils en parlent ...        

    Coupe de France: Forbach y croit mine de rien

    C'est le match des extrêmes. Les amateurs de CFA 2 défient Lille, leader de la Ligue 1, samedi. Malgré une préparation neigeuse, l'équipe du bassin houiller lorrain rêve d'un exploit.

     

    Photo : DR 

    Lille, attention au coup de grisou ! Le déplacement du champion d'automne dans le stade du Schlossberg bouillant comme une cocotte-minute n'est peut être pas la promenade de santé annoncée. Malgré les quatre divisions d'écart, un gouffre, et le redoux qui touche la Moselle après un mois de décembre polaire, les Dogues auront tout intérêt à enfiler le bleu de chauffe s'ils veulent survivre à l'appétit dévorant du petit poucet et de sa région.

    "L’équipe de Forbach sera survoltée. Elle évoluera probablement au dessus de son niveau habituel. Nous nous attendons à affronter une formation très engagée. Je sais qu'ils sont performants sur le plan offensif", Rudi Garcia, l'entraîneur de Lille

    "Ici c'est de la folie douce. On ne parle plus que de ça dans les bistrots et les commerces. Même les télés allemandes s'y sont mises", confirme Marcel Da Soler, le président du club forbachois. Dans cet ancien fief de la sidérurgie, l'impact d'une qualification dépasserait le simple cadre sportif. "On a un des taux de chômage les plus élevés de France", admet le maire Laurent Kalinowski. "Tous les moyens possibles ont été mis en place pour accueillir cette affiche. Un bon parcours en Coupe de France serait une récompense et un signe fort envoyé à l'extérieur".

    Pour préparer le "match de l'année", les joueurs de Salem El Foukhari n'ont pas ménagé leurs efforts. "On manque de rythme car on a galéré durant cinq semaines. La pelouse était impraticable à cause des chutes de neige. On a dû bricoler" explique l'entraîneur du club de CFA2 qui a déblayé à la pelle avec ses troupes durant trois jours un terrain en synthétique pour s'entraîner dans la ville de Patricia Kaas. Samedi, il s'appuiera sur cet état d'esprit pour créer la surprise.

    "Tous les joueurs sont issus du cru dans un rayon de 20 km. La plupart sont des enfants de mineurs et savent ce que la solidarité et l'abnégation veulent dire. C'est une force énorme" ajoute le technicien qui rêve de marcher sur les traces du voisin alsacien, Colmar, bourreau l'an passé au bout des tirs au buts des Lillois… en 32e de finale.

    Article Metro

     

    --

    Les fils de mineurs rêvent d'exploit

    Eden Hazard et ses co&eacute;quipiers lillois sont attendus de pied ferme samedi &agrave; Forbach.

    Eden Hazard et ses coéquipiers lillois sont attendus de pied ferme samedi à Forbach. M.Libert / 20 minutes

     

    football

    Coup de projecteur sur Forbach qui reçoit le Losc samedi en coupe de France

    Ça sent déjà le traquenard à plein nez. A deux jours de la réception du Losc, la pelouse du Schlossberg, le stade de Forbach, n'est pas encore prête. La faute à la neige qui s'est abattue depuis deux mois en Moselle. « Ici, on n'est pas la métropole de Martine Aubry, on n'a pas trop de moyens pour déblayer rapidement », balance d'emblée Marcel Da Soler, le président de l'US Forbach, actuel 7e de son groupe de CFA 2. Pourtant, au club, personne ne s'inquiète. Promis, juré, tout sera prêt samedi pour accueillir les Dogues, « même si le terrain ne sera pas de très grande qualité », reconnaît Salem El Foukhari, l'entraîneur forbachois. Pelouse pourrie, stade à guichets fermés (6 000 places), l'air de rien Lille devra se méfier en Lorraine. Surtout qu'en face, c'est quasiment l'honneur d'une ville qui va se jouer.

    L'honneur du bassin houiller
    Car à Forbach, les mercenaires ne sont pas légion. Ici, tout le monde est issu du cru et partage la même histoire, celle du bassin houiller « 70 % de l'équipe a des parents ou des grands parents qui étaient mineurs. Quand nos pères parlent de la mine, vous avez presque les larmes aux yeux. ça nous a donné des valeurs comme la solidarité, la générosité ou la fraternité. Français, Polonais, Italiens, Maghrébins, il y a un mélange très riche dans la ville et dans le groupe », dévoile Salem El Foukhari. Du coup, même si l'équipe, qui n'a joué qu'un match sur les deux derniers mois, est en manque de rythme, Forbach ne se fait pas une montagne du choc face au Losc « On a déjà reçu le Bordeaux de l'époque Zidane (1996), le Lens qui jouait la Ligue des champions (2003). On est habitué aux grands événements. Même si on sait que ça va être très compliqué face à des attaquants de qualité comme Hazard ou Gervinho », poursuit le coach mosellan. Marcel Da Soler est encore plus radical. « C'est du 50-50, ose affirmer un président forbachois très attaché au Losc. Au risque de faire vieux con, je me rappelle très bien du grand Lille des années 1950 avec Baratte et Sommerlynck. C'est mon premier club de cœur. » Et nul doute que ça le sera encore plus si le leader de Ligue 1 tombe samedi dans le traquenard du Schlossberg.

    françois launay
    Article 20 Minutes

     


              Fin d'année: rétrospective exclusive        

    Auto_______________________________

    Plus que quelques jours, et 2009 appartiendra au passé. Rétrospective des évènements marquants de l'automobile mondiale au cours de cette année 2009.

     

    I. MITSUBISHI LANCER GTS 2009

     

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    Cette année, le moteur est un 2,4 litres de 168 chevaux. On ne peut pas l’accuser de trop en faire mais ses performances sont tout à fait adéquates. La boîte manuelle à cinq rapports bénéficie d'un fonctionnement beaucoup plus précis et agréable, même si l’embrayage est un peu trop mou à mon goût.  Les amateurs de la technique du talon-pointe devront s'entraîner passablement avant de trouver une façon efficace de donner un coup d’accélérateur tout en freinant du même pied tant les pédales sont éloignées.  D’un autre côté, la marche arrière était souvent difficile à enclencher.  Même si les pneus sont des 19 pouces à taille basse (des Dunlop SP Sport P215/45R18) et les suspensions plus fermes que sur les modèles plus basiques, le confort n’est pas trop diminué. La GTS présente, comme toute traction, un comportement sous-vireur mais un peu de jugement vient régler ce problème.  Par contre, on ne retrouve aucun système de contrôle de la traction et de la stabilité latérale ce qui permettra aux plus courageux de se faire plaisirs.

    Outre le comportement équilibré de la voiture, nous avons pu remarquer que l’insonorisation, surtout à l’arrière, n’est pas terrible.  La finition extérieure de notre exemplaire était très réussie mais à l’intérieur, il y avait place à de l’amélioration.  Les différents panneaux formant le tableau de bord n’étaient pas parfaitement alignés et la bande de plastique imitant une espèce de fibre de carbone qui court sur toute la longueur ne faisait pas sérieux.  Parmi les autres points irritants, mentionnons que le tissu des sièges semble attirer toutes les poussières de l’Univers et que l’aileron arrière s’avère quelquefois juste assez élevé pour bien bloquer la visibilité.  Heureusement, le niveau de sécurité est élevé grâce à sept coussins gonflables (frontaux, latéraux, rideaux et genoux du conducteur).

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    II. AUDI Q5 V6 TDi 240

    g_532e

    Développant 240ch à 4000trs/mn, avec un couple de semi pointant le 50,9 à 1 500 (mkg à tr/min), muni d'une boîte à 7 rapports à transmission intégrale, l'Audi Q5 ne fait pas dans la demi mesure!

    Qualité des matériaux, sérieux d'assemblage, finition soignée, insonorisation de haut niveau, performances adéquates, Audi démontre une fois de plus son savoir faire et ce sur toute une gamme de voiture, de la compacte au 4x4 de luxe en passant par la berline.

    Et avec une vitesse de pointe de 225Km/h et 6,5sec pour atteindre la barre des 100Km/h, on ne se croirait vraiment pas dans un 4x4... vos poursuivants ne verront que vos beaux feux à LED arrières dans 90% des cas...

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    III. BMW Série 7 09'

    800px-Bmw-f01-wiki-paultan.org

     

    Les BMW F01 / F02 sont la cinquième génération des BMW Série 7. Les premiers modèles disponibles sont les 750i, 750li, 740i, 740li et 730d. Les 750i et 750li utilisent le nouveau V8 injection direct à Twin turbo (aussi utilisé pour le X6 5.0), développant 407ch/300kW. Les 740i et 740li troquent par rapport à l'ancienne version leur V8 pour un 6 cylindre en ligne lui aussi doté du Twin turbo, développant 326ch/240kW. La 730d a quant à elle droit à un nouveau 6 cylindres en ligne de 245ch/180kW.

    La nouvelle génération du système de commande iDrive qui équipe ce modèle comprend un écran de 10,2 pouces haute définition ainsi qu'une structure des menus améliorée, un nouveau bouton iDrive pour sélectionner et gérer les fonctions plus petit que l'ancien. Des touches d’accès direct aux menus ont aussi été ajoutées pour faciliter l'utilisation du système. De plus, le système audio dispose d'un disque dur pour pouvoir stocker de la musique. Enfin, le système ConnectedDrive disponible en option, donne accès à internet directement depuis l'écran de la voiture.

    Pour ce qui est des systèmes d'aides à la conduite, la nouvelle série 7 est dotée d'un équipement très vaste. Le système BMW Night Vision peut compléter la panoplie. Pour la première fois il est doté d'une fonction de reconnaissance des piétons et avertit lorsque cela est nécessaire le conducteur par des clignotements lumineux. Un système de reconnaissance des panneaux de limitation de vitesse est aussi disponible en complément du système d'aide à la tenue de cap.

    Par la suite, la série 7 nouvelle génération sera accompagnée d'un nouveau 12 cylindres essence ainsi que du 6 cylindres diesel bi-turbo de 306 ch.

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    IV. NOUVELLE FORD FIESTA

    fiesta

    La nouvelle Fiesta, conçue sur la plateforme de la récente Mazda 2, séduit de visu par ses lignes et sur le papier par ses caractéristiques.

    Afin de convaincre partout, elle adopte le "Kinetic Design" des S-Max et Kuga. Autant la ligne de sa devancière était conservatrice, voire insipide, autant la nouvelle petite à l’ovale attire l’attention et affiche une ligne dynamique, en trois comme en 5 portes. Tout comme la récente Mazda 2 commercialisée depuis un an et la nouvelle Seat Ibiza elle donne un coup de vieux à la plupart des autres berlines du segment B.

    En essence, la palette de motorisations va du 1.25 en 60 ch ou 82 ch au nouveau 1.6 Ti-VCT 120 ch, en passant par le 1.4 96 ch, cette dernière étant la seule à proposer l’alternative boîte automatique.

    Le 1.6 TDCi constitue toujours l’offre haute en Diesel. Il s’agit toujours du 16V de 90 ch issu de la collaboration Ford/PSA. D’un fonctionnement plutôt discret, volontaire à bas régime et assez performant avec un maximum de 212 Nm, il est disponible sans ou avec filtre à particules (supplément de 600 €).

    Si les tarifs gonflent d’une dizaine de pourcent par rapport à la Fiesta sortante, ils ne s’alignent pas pour autant sur le haut de la catégorie (les petites françaises). Ils se calquent plutôt sur ceux des Fiat Grande Punto, Opel Corsa et Toyota Yaris. Soit un peu plus cher que la Mazda 2. Bref, une petite qui mérite de figurer sur la shopping-list des cinq modèles les plus recommandable du segment.

     

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    V. NOUVELLE VOLKSWAGEN POLO

    2095_0

    C'est la petite citadine bourgeoise du moment. Le constructeur allemand propose sa 5ème génération dans une version plus technologique et un look très proche de la Golf.

    Ne l’appelez plus fourmi. Depuis la campagne de publicité des années 90, la citadine de Volkswagen a bien changé. De longue date, la Polo a laissé son look atypique de petit break trois portes, au bénéfice d’un style beaucoup plus conventionnel. Affichant clairement sa parenté avec la Golf6, cette nouvelle génération, lancée en septembre, affiche un design bon chic bon genre, rassurant et sobre – trop au goût de certains – est fait pour passer à travers les modes.

    La bonne nouvelle vient du prix, particulièrement compétitif, ce qui est inhabituel pour une Volkswagen. Le constructeur veut clairement concurrencer les Renault Clio et Peugeot 207 et du coup sa Polo s’affiche moins chère à équipement équivalent. Jusqu’à 10% dans le cas de la Peugeot. Dans sa version de base Trendline 3 portes avec le moteur 1,2 l essence 60 chevaux, elle s’affiche à 11.990 € pour culminer à 19.090 € en finition Sportline 5 portes avec le moteur diesel 1,6 l 90 chevaux. Au cœur de la gamme la 1,4 l 85 essayée en finition Confortline peut déjà faire valoir un équipement riche: climatisation semi-automatique, régulateur de vitesse (de série dès la première finition), radio CD, contrôle de la pression de pneus, ordinateur de bord... Elle a tout d'une grande, comme disait la Clio en 1992. Quand la Polo était encore une fourmi.

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    VI. VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO R'

    scirocco

    Après avoir frappé un grand coup avec le style de sa nouvelle Scirocco fin 2008, Volkswagen nous sort courant 2009 une version protéinée de sa Scirocco baptisée Scirocco R! (rrrrr....).

    Doté du quatre cylindres 2.0 TSI de 265 ch et 350 Nm, le Scirocco R aura des sensations à revendre : un 0 à 100 km/h en 6,5 secondes et une vitesse maximale de 250 km/h. Il n'y avait pas de complexe à avoir, pourtant Volkswagen a préféré décliner l'appellation R20 qui aurait paru logique après les Golf R32 ou Passat R36. C'est qu'il faut préserver l'ego de certains conducteurs...

    Ce coupé Volkswagen reprend le moteur de l'Audi S3, tout en lui laissant la transmission intégrale. Le Scirocco R bénéficiera en revanche d'un différentiel électronique baptisé XDS. Sur le plan esthétique, le style du Scirocco R est largement inspiré de la GT24, une version compétition du coupé de Wolfsburg.

    Au programme, une large prise d'air et des feux de jour à LED intégrés au bouclier avant. La proue bénéficie aussi de phares bixénon. Quant au bouclier arrière, il incorpore un diffuseur noir brillant ainsi qu'une double sortie d'échappement.

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    VII. FORD FOCUS RS'

    20090306PHOWWW00198

    Inspirée de la WRC de rallye, mais avec deux roues motrices seulement, la Focus RS établit une référence qu’il sera difficile de supplanter.

    Sa dernière création, magistrale, conduit à réviser les a priori sur la traction avant. Deux chiffres pour fixer d'entrée les idées : 305 chevaux et 33 650 €. 110 € le cheval-vapeur, faites le calcul avec votre propre voiture et vous mesurerez l'exploit signé par Ford sur cette Focus RS.

    La Focus RS transmet parfaitement bien sa puissance au sol. Bien sur, le fait d'écraser comme une brute l'accélérateur au feu rouge entraîne fatalement un patinage des roues, mais force est de constater que la motricité demeure bluffante.

    Cette maxi-GTI s'extrait en force des virages lents et repart comme un obus. Il faut qu'avec le cinq cylindres turbo d'origine Volvo, elle possède un drôle de moteur.
    Plein à tous les régimes et efficace dès 2.000 tr/min, son turbo assène ensuite un uppercut qui vous ébranle jusqu'à 7.000 tr/min. Un punch et un brio dignes d'une ambiance de Rallye, sans parler de la sonorité rauque à souhait... et des sifflements de la fameuse turbine !

    Difficile alors de ne pas se prendre au jeu d'autant plus que le châssis est au diapason. Bien aidée par une direction consistante, la Focus RS enfile les difficultés comme des perles. Profitant d'un bon freinage et d'un châssis remarquablement équilibré, la voiture se place idéalement dans les courbes rapides grâce à une poupe qui ne rechigne pas à enrouler lors d'une décélération appuyée, avant de ressortir en force grâce à un train avant très précis et au brio du 5-cylindres.

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    VIII. SEAT IBIZA "BOCANEGRA" 09'

    bocanegra

    Pour sa quatrième génération, la version sportive de l'Ibiza se dote d'un petit 1.4l doublement suralimenté de 180 chevaux accouplé à une boîte DSG à 7 rapports.
    Par ailleurs, la marque espagnole rend hommage à la 1200 Sport des années 70 avec une série spéciale « Bocanegra » limitée à 1 000 exemplaires par an et reconnaissable à sa face avant noire.

    Ce moteur joue parfaitement sa partition. Souple et silencieux à bas régime, il ne rechigne pas à la tâche à haut régime, même s'il n'y est pas aussi à l'aise qu'un V-TEC Honda. Il offre également ce petit plus qui attise la curiosité de ceux qui s'intéressent encore à la technique.
    On entend ainsi clairement le compresseur à bas régime et on peut s'amuser à "écouter" le passage de relais entre 2.400 et 3.500 tr/min lorsque le turbo s'enclenche.

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    IX. NOUVELLE MERCEDES CLASSE E

    classe e 2010

    Esthétiquement, la nouvelle Mercedes Classe E se démarque de sa devancière par des optiques rectangulaires séparés. On retrouve néanmoins la mythique calandre chromée et la fameuse étoile cerclée. Le style inspiré du concept Fascination se retrouve jusqu'aux antibrouillards à diodes.

    Gavée de systèmes électronique, la nouvelle Classe E veut maitriser la route comme jamais et garantir une sécurité sans faille à ses passagers. En effet, on trouvera sept airbags, un système de détection de somnolence (Attention Assist) de série, le système de protection Pre-Safe (qui anticipe les accidents et prépare certains équipements de sécurité à intervenir) et le capot actif (il se lève de 50 mm afin d’amortir l’impact avec piéton) en série. Selon Mercedes, la partie avant comprend quatre niveaux de déformation et la cellule centrale se compose de panneaux en acier 30% plus rigides.

    D'un point de vu technique, la marque allemande proposera également une suspension pneumatique avec des amortisseurs électrique adaptatifs (en option sur la E 500).

    Sous le capot, on trouvera de nouveaux moteurs à quatre cylindres diesel. La E 250 CDI développera 204 ch et un couple de 500 Nm (soit 25% de plus que l’ancien V6) et consommera 5,3 l aux 100km (soit 23% de moins que le V6) tout en émettant que 139g/km de CO2. La E 200 CDI développera 136 ch et la E 220 CDI 170 ch. Un système Stop/Start sera disponible sur la E200.

    Un seul bloc V6 diesel sera disponible et c'est la E350 CDI qui l'accueillera. Ce moteur développera 231 ch et économise 0,5 l aux 100km par rapport à la E 320 CDI. A l’automne, une version BlueTec de 211ch sera commercialisée, celle-ci respectera les normes Euro 6 qui entreront en vigueur en 2014 !

    En essence, la gamme débutera avec un 4 cylindres 1,8 l turbo à injection directe et distribution variable développant 184 ch accouplé à une boîte manuelle à six rapports. Il s'agira de la E 200 CGI. La consommation ne devrait pas dépasser 6,8 l aux 100 km en moyenne (soit 159 g/km de CO2).
    La E250 CGI développera 204 ch et un couple de 310 Nm (+26%) et sera accouplée à une boite automatique à 5 rapports. La consommation baisse de 20% pour s'établir à 7,4 l aux 100km (soit 175 g/km de CO2). Enfin, il y aura également les versions E350 CGI et E500 CGI développant respectivement 292ch et 388ch. Ces deux dernières devraient consommer 0,6 l de carburant en moins aux 100 km par rapport aux modèles qu'elles remplacent.

    La version E63 AMG devrait quant à elle développer la bagatelle de 525ch.

    Seuls les E350 CDI, E350 CGI et E500 CGI pourront être équipées de la transmission intégrale.

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    X. RENAULT MEGANE COUPE

     

    mégane

    La Mégane Coupé est plus encore que la simple version à trois portes de la Mégane Berline, même si les deux voitures partagent l’entièreté des composants techniques tant pour les moteurs que pour les organes du châssis. C’est donc essentiellement le style extérieur qui distingue ces deux versions de carrosserie qui n’ont, en matière de style, aucun point commun hormis le dessin du capot, les ailes et les projecteurs. La face avant de la Mégane Coupé est plus dynamique.

    Autre point fort de ce coupé, sa ligne plutôt réussie mais disons-le, pas aussi expressive que celle d'une Scirocco. Pour en arriver là, les designers de Renault ont du en revanche sacrifier la surface des vitres latérales arrière. Résultat, la visibilité latérale prend un sérieux coup et les passagers arrière devront voyager dans un espace très sombre, mais heureusement l’espace offert dans cette partie de l’habitacle est relativement confortable. Le volume du coffre est lui aussi généreux, une qualité héritée de la berline. On retrouve également la même finition, soignée, dégageant une bonne impression. Le nouveau compteur de vitesse analogique qu’on a pu apprécier lors de l’essai de la berline est bien là, il se montre clair et pratique grâce à son jeu de couleurs asservi au régulateur de vitesse.

    Homogène, sécurisante, cette nouvelle Renault Mégane Coupé propulsée par son deux litres turbo de 180 chevaux semble bien armée pour contrarier la concurrence allemande sur le segment en friche des coupés généralistes.

    On a aimé etoileetoileetoileetoileetoile

    Ecologiquement parlant etoileetoileetoileetoile

     

     

     

     


              2010-2011 College Basketball Preview (Part I)        
    Many of you have asked me how I feel about my beloved Vikings deciding to waive Randy Moss last week after trading for him a month earlier, so I thought I’d address it real quick. The truth is that I’m actually not that upset that Moss isn’t a Viking anymore, but I am upset that the Vikings front office (read: Brad Childress) ultimately threw away a draft pick because they couldn’t foresee Moss being a headache. This is like asking The Villain to be on your pick-up basketball team and then getting upset when he never passes you the ball. Or like letting The Villain borrow your car “for ten minutes” during your sophomore year at Ohio State and getting pissed when he returns it to you six hours later with less than a quarter tank of gas and a funky smell coming from the back seat. Sure it sucks that Moss was kind of a doucher, but ultimately it’s the Vikings’ fault for putting so much trust in him. That, more than anything else, is what is so frustrating. This whole ordeal is just another example of how other than murder, pedophilia, and rape, nothing in this world upsets me more than Brad Childress’ decision making, which is ironic because Childress looks like a guy who commits all three of those crimes on a regular basis. But enough about a mediocre NFL team. Let’s talk college basketball.

    If you know anything about me or my blog, you know that there are three things in the world of sports that my life revolves around – college basketball, FIFA, and professional wrestling. And if the handfuls of emails I regularly get from the Trillion Man March are any indication, most of you also care about at least two of those three things. So, keeping this in mind and acknowledging that college basketball officially started this week, I’ve decided to team up with Keller to get you pumped for the season by bringing you what will surely be both the best and most irrelevant college basketball preview you will ever read.

    For the preview, Keller and I intertwined our three favorite things about sports by likening different aspects of college basketball to aspects of both FIFA and professional wrestling. Keller knows more about wrestling than anyone I’ve ever met in my life, so he will be handling the wrestling section of the preview (warning – he wrote a ton). And since every time we play FIFA I beat Keller like he’s my ex-wife, I’ll be handling the FIFA section of the preview. Obviously, now that I’m writing college basketball pieces for ESPN and I’m therefore considered a college basketball expert, I’ll also be handing the basketball section. Finally, because the entire preview is longer than the list of people who wanted me to make a Greg Oden penis joke right here, I’ve decided to break it up into a bunch of parts and post a new part every couple of days (I would post a new one every day, but I can already anticipate Keller not getting his sections done).

    With all of that being said, here is Part I of your 2010-2011 Club Trillion College Basketball Preview. Boom baby.

    GUY THAT’S BEEN AROUND FOREVER
    This category is pretty self explanatory, but I’ll explain it a little bit anyway. These are the guys who you see either playing, wrestling, or on FIFA and think to yourself, “Wait, he’s still playing/wrestling? How old is that guy?” You know, guys like…

    FIFA: David Beckham (LA Galaxy)

    Beckham is kinda like the Brett Favre of soccer. Not only has he been playing seemingly forever, but he also has an immaculate stubble beard and there are pictures of his junk all over the internet (although, his junk is unfortunately covered by whatever underwear he is endorsing for that particular photo shoot – damn). Plus, the video game version of Beckham is also much better than the real version of him, just like Favre and his video game likeness. What’s more, Beckham and Favre both married women who are about one year older than them. In fact, the only difference I can see between these two is that Beckham didn’t cost the Vikings their first trip to the Super Bowl in my lifetime by throwing an inexcusable interception to Tracy Porter late in the NFC Championship. Not yet, anyway.

    Pro Wrestling: Ric Flair (The Nature Boy)

    As a man who currently has a 15-year unbeaten streak in Mercy, and who’s been shaving since the 7th grade, I’ve been conditioned never to cry under any circumstances. That being said, I stood helpless as my eyes welled up with tears while I watched Monday Night Raw on March 31, 2008. The night before, Ric Flair had lost his retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV, and this night’s Raw was dedicated as a farewell show to the Nature Boy, honoring his multiple-decade career. Prior to this moment, I think the last time that I cried was during a 5th grade AAU basketball game, where an opponent who was no less than 12 inches shorter than me bit me in the stomach as I dribbled up the court. After yelling at the top of my high-pitched 5th grade lungs “HE BIT ME!!!”, the combination of rage, shock, and pain led to me sobbing on the bench for the entire 3rd quarter before re-entering the game and fouling the kid in retribution.

    So imagine my surprise when I learned that watching the Four Horseman reuniting in the ring for the first time in 20 years caused the waterworks to start up. The sound of the greatest entrance music in wrestling history combined with the visual of Ric Flair sobbing in the ring was too much for me. This was the perfect send-off for arguably the greatest wrestler in history. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Flair wouldn't spend his final years toiling away in second rate promotions tarnishing his legacy for a few more paydays. Flair would be different. That is, until Flair would un-retire to toil away in a second rate promotion, tarnishing his legacy for a few more paydays. My tears were for nothing now.

    When you're a stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheeling and dealing son of a gun, you tend to acquire expensive tastes and multiple wives. Flair lived a lavish lifestyle (hell, even his famous robes cost upwards of $5,000 apiece) and let throngs of women ride Space Mountain (his awesome euphemism for sex). By giving out season passes to Space Mountain to not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different women, and continuing his free-spending ways to go along with those divorces, Flair essentially went broke after his retirement and was forced to come back. He signed a contract with TNA a year after his retirement ceremony, and sadly continues to wrestle to this day.

    It's truly a shame it ended up this way too, because there have been multiple points in Flair's career where he could have retired on top besides the post-Wrestlemania ceremony. There was the time he went crazy, stripped off his clothes in the middle of the ring, and started elbow dropping his suit jacket. Or after his match with Sting on the final episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro. Or every time he talked sh*t to a fan by calling them "fat boy" or telling them that their mother rode Space Mountain and that they'd ride it later that night. Or when Will Ferrell paid homage to him as Ashley Schaeffer. Through the years there were plenty of perfect times for Ric Flair to go out like the Nature Boy truly should have, and not have to languish in 2010 wrestling in TNA, looking like a droopier-breasted Randy the Ram while every fan who cheered for him during his heyday looked on embarrassed (I say looked on in the loosest sense of the word, because TNA sucks and nobody actually watches it). Much like the Nature Boy never has learned to stop going to the top rope (at this point I would link you to a montage of Flair getting slammed from the top rope, but for some stupid reason there is no video of it on YouTube, despite Flair never once landing a top rope move in any match I’ve seen even though he tries every time), he's never learned it's time to hang up his boots.

    College Basketball: David Lighty (Ohio State)

    The official Ohio State basketball website says that Dave Lighty is a 5th year senior this year, but this is also the same website that once said that The Villain’s hobbies include reading and playing golf, so forgive me for being a little skeptical. I’m fully convinced that he has somehow been in the program for at least ten years. This is mostly because Dave joined the Ohio State basketball team before I did, yet I played four full seasons with the team and graduated, and Dave is still going to play one more year. Those of you who have followed Big Ten basketball for awhile surely agree that Dave has been playing for the Buckeyes forever, but if for some reason you don’t, consider this: Dave was college teammates with Greg Oden and Greg Oden is at least 82-years-old. You do the math.

    BEST GUY IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
    This category is also self explanatory, but I won’t insult your intelligence like I did with the last one and explain it to you. Let’s just get to it.

    FIFA: Kaka (Real Madrid)
    (Note: I know Kaka has an accent mark somewhere in his name, but last time I checked, this is America and we don’t use accent marks in America. You can either love it or leave it.)

    Diehard soccer fans who follow real soccer being played by real people would tell you that Kaka is one of the best players in the world, which is something you would most likely respond to by saying that you “don’t give a s*** because soccer is gay.” The FIFA version of him is every bit as good as the real version, as Kaka would easily be the best player on just about every other team than the one he’s actually on. Unfortunately for him, he will have to settle with his role as sidekick because he’s teammates with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is without question the greatest player on a sports video game since Jeremy Roenick on NHL ‘94 (more on Ronaldo later on in the preview).

    Other than being the best sidekick on FIFA, I think Kaka is the most versatile player on the game as well. His default position is in the midfield, but I’ve literally played (and dominated) with him at every position except goalie. I’ve also discovered that he’s a master of finishing rebounds that come from Ronaldo rocketing shots off the goalie’s nuts. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but I swear if there was an attribute for “being in the right place at the right time to score the goal and get all the credit, even though your teammate did all the hard work,” Kaka’s rating in that particular attribute would be at least a 96.

    Pro Wrestling: Scott Hall (Razor Ramon)

    On paper, Scott Hall had it all: legit size, loads of charisma, awesome shirts that make you consider spending $200 to get on eBay, a finishing move that you could easily break someone’s neck with, the list goes on. The only thing he never had was a world title. For someone with arguably the greatest stubble beard of all-time and the ability to make a full denim outfit look cool, you’d think that Hall would have spent the better part of the 90s as the heavyweight champion. But due to unfortunate timing and his inability to not get drunk and party six nights a week, Hall would settle down into a role as the quintessential second banana.

    As Razor Ramon in the (then) WWF, Hall would consistently earn cheers like a main-eventer, despite the fact his only push to the main event scene came when the Ultimate Warrior did what the Ultimate Warrior did best (besides being insane and gay-bashing, which for him are mutually exclusive) and left the company without any advance notice, leaving Razor Ramon as an emergency replacement to lose to Bret Hart. Instead, Hall spent much of his time in the Intercontinental title scene, having matches that remain legendary to this day. He stole the show against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania X by defending his Intercontinental title in the very first ladder match, which both males and females will excitedly remember as “the match where you got to see HBK’s bare ass.” The Intercontinental title would be the peak of Hall’s run in the WWF, excluding the time he made a couple of young kids’ dreams come true on the Jerry Springer Show. In ’96, Hall signed with WCW and continued his career living a real-life version of “always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” albeit he was a bridesmaid with some pretty awesome chest hair.

    Despite being the first member of the New World Order to invade WCW’s shows, Hall was quickly pushed down the pecking order due to Hollywood Hogan’s heel turn and his own failure to power bomb announcers through the stage. For the second time in as many companies, Hall would win the second highest title (this time the WCW United States title), but never make it to the top. At first, Hall was stuck behind legendary WCW title moments like Hollywood Hogan and Sting’s feud that culminated at Starrcade 97 (a pay-per-view I’ll never forget, because for the first time in my life I convinced my mom to let me order a pay-per-view, only to have the signal be scrambled and the show ruined. Scrambled Spice channel I could deal with, scrambled Starrcade I could not.) and Goldberg’s 173 match win streak. Eventually though, Hall’s actions behind the scenes started costing him opportunities. His excessive drinking began spiraling out of control, with Hall even performing in the ring under the influence. At this point, you would have been more likely to find an attractive girl with a shrine to Jerry Orbach than a WCW executive who would ever have faith in Scott Hall being a main eventer. He would never again get past the midcard. Instead of trying to get Hall help, the brain trust at WCW decided to exploit Hall’s problems by incorporating them into an angle, as the last few memorable moments of Hall’s time in WCW revolved around him pretending to be drunk in the ring. While he never made it to the top in either company, Scott Hall is arguably the greatest wrestler ever in a supporting role.

    (Note: I choose to ignore Hall’s time after WCW, because I refuse to believe that he would end up looking like he did)

    hallbeforeafter_thumb2
    Suddenly the stubblebeard isn’t as cool as it used to be

    College Basketball: Nolan Smith (Duke)

    It is a well-documented fact that Duke sucks. Since they’ve won a ton of national championships, I obviously don’t mean this in a “Duke isn’t good at basketball” way, but more of a “Duke fans are insufferable and the white guys on the team who slap the floor on defense make me lose all hope in humanity” kind of way. Duke fans think that people hate them because we are jealous and secretly want to be just like them, which is the same ass-backwards philosophy that made LeBron say, “They boo you because they like the way you play basketball.” No. We boo Duke/Duke fans/LeBron because they act like entitled pricks and think that the game of basketball couldn’t exist without them. Why is it that there are college basketball programs all over the country that have historically had more success than Duke, yet Duke is really the only team that is the bane of America’s collective existence? The answer is simple – because Duke sucks.

    But despite the hatred we all have for Duke, there’s no denying that they historically are always a juggernaut, they have one of the greatest coaches of all-time, and they are probably the favorites to win back-to-back titles again this year. Now that Scheyer Face has graduated, Kyle Singler is the undisputed leader and best player on the team, but Nolan Smith is a senior NBA prospect in his own right who will be the Blue Devils’ leading scorer on many occasions this year. Like Kaka and Scott Hall, Smith is good enough to be the star on pretty much any other team, but he still embraces his role and knows that Duke wouldn’t be nearly as good without him. So, if you get the chance to watch him play this year, be prepared to be impressed with his skills. And if you do appreciate the way he plays, please remember to have the common courtesy to boo him as loudly as you possibly can. It’s the least you could do.

    EVENT THAT’S A WASTE OF TIME
    This category was developed in protest to the absurd number of tournaments and events that are held in the world of sports every year. The truth is that nobody cares about the non-BCS bowls (except when the MudDogs won the Bourbon Bowl), the non-majors in golf and tennis (or even the majors in golf and tennis), or any race of any kind that isn’t the Daytona 500 or Indy 500. These things are meant to wet our whistle while we’re waiting on the important tournaments, but in reality they pretty much just get in the way.

    FIFA: FA Cup (England)

    Wikipedia tells me that the FA Cup has been around since 1871 and is the oldest soccer competition in the world, which would be impressive except “nobody gives a s*** because soccer is gay.” In reality, this tournament is probably a very big deal to people in England, not so much because it’s really old and has a lot of history but more because England sucks in the World Cup and this tournament at least guarantees English people that a team from England will win the thing. All that’s fine and well, but I’m not concerned with real soccer. I only care about virtual soccer and on FIFA, this tournament does nothing but get in my way.

    When I play manager mode on FIFA, I play with Manchester United, only because the Premier League is the only competitive league and I kinda like Wayne Rooney’s game (I also like his soccer game). My only goal on manager mode is to win the Champions League or whatever they call it on the game. I have no interest in anything else. The only reason I even play regular season games is to finish in the top of the league so I can qualify for next season’s Champions League. At no point in time have I ever cared about winning the FA Cup, which is why I used to simulate those games. The only problem with this is that FIFA would sometimes screw me when I simulated the FA Cup games and I would get upset by a scrub team in the first round. When this would happen, my coach’s rating or whatever would plummet, I’d get fired, and I’d be stuck managing an MLS team the following season. Therefore, I have no choice but to play these FA Cup games and win some tournament that I literally could not care any less about.

    Pro Wrestling: Women’s Wrestling (WWE)

    Quick: can anybody name their favorite women's wrestling match of all time? I've been a fan of pro wrestling in some capacity since 1990, and I can still only remember four things about women wrestlers – that Alundra Blayze showed up on WCW Nitro and threw away the WWF women's title on live TV in a move that seemed extreme before the nWo showed up, that Mae Young gave birth to a hand, that Chyna has some not-so-womanly bodily features that the world saw in her sex tape with X-Pac (as has previously been mentioned in this blog before...Google at your own risk), and that I first learned how to clear my internet history to hide the Playboy pictures of Sable I had looked up. After scanning through my Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam anthologies, not a single women’s match listed on the cards brought back a memory, and I'm the same guy who can still tell you the home phone number of a girl I had a crush on in the 9th grade, despite never having the balls to actually call her. Even a Google search to help jog my brain instead produced results that were split between fetish female wrestling porn and sites completely dedicated to moments where a female wrestler's top came undone and their breasts were exposed on live TV.

    And that's what seems to be missing on Vince McMahon and other people who run wrestling companies. The only time a male fan is going to watch a women's wrestling match is in the hopes that a boob pops out during a suplex. The unfortunate reality is that there is no amount of technical proficiency that can take place in a women's match that will make it compare to a men's match. Many women’s matches are filled with hair tosses and kicks when the fans want to see finishers like this, much like many WNBA games are filled with set shots and missed lay-ups when the fans want to see, well, men's basketball (I'm only slamming the WNBA because they can't slam things themselves!!!). And since, according to a site that I cannot even think about linking to because of the content, there have not been that many nipple slips in women's matches, that they're even happening at all is a waste of time.

    College B-ball: Cancun Challenge (Preseason Tourney)
    Note: The teams playing in this year’s Cancun Challenge are LaSalle, Missouri, Providence, Wyoming, Morgan State, North Florida, Prairie View A&M, and Western Illinois.

    I can’t tell if these “preseason” tourneys (by the way, calling them preseason tournaments is both deceiving and dumb – kinda like calling this a college basketball preview although the season has actually already started) have been going on for awhile and I just recently started noticing how many there are or if they are a relatively new fad in college basketball. My guess is that the success of the Maui Invitational gave the higher-ups the idea to create more of these things than any one person could possibly keep track of. Either way, I’m pretty confident that when it comes to preseason college basketball tournaments, the Cancun Challenge is the cream of the crap.

    Cancun is one of the few places in Mexico that Americans can visit right now without being 100% sure that they will die (there’s only an 85% chance you’ll die), so the Cancun Challenge was probably created as a way to give these college athletes an opportunity to experience a different culture for a few days. Unfortunately, the organizers of the tournament failed to realize that the Cancun Challenge is really nothing more than a cocktease to the players. As cool as a free trip to Cancun seems, it’s not like these guys are going to be sipping margaritas and sexing senoritas the whole trip. For the most part, all of their time will be spent either practicing, playing, or falling asleep in film sessions, which means their trip to Cancun would essentially be the same as a team trip to Detroit in the middle of January.

    As for the fans who are crazy enough to travel to the tournament, it’s a similar story. They pay ridiculous amounts of money for a vacation to Cancun, only to get down there and realize that their vacation is being ruined by subpar basketball games that are being played in a hotel ballroom (yes, the games really are played in a hotel ballroom). Throw in the fact that absolutely zero neutral college basketball fans are going to pay attention to games like North Florida vs. Prairie View A&M and Wyoming vs. Western Illinois, and it’s easy to see why this will be the biggest waste of time event in college basketball this year. __________________________________________________

    Because it’s Movember and nothing else matters more in my life right now than growing my mustache, I’ve decided to substitute the awesome basketball YouTube video at the end of the blog posts this month for a little history lesson that I will be calling “Great Mustaches In American History.”

    Today’s Great Mustache In American History is brought to you by Teddy Roosevelt.

    image

    Teddy Roosevelt is without a doubt the most badass president (and quite possibly human being) in the history of America. I could honestly write 10,000 words about how awesome this man is, but I’ll just provide you with three bullet points that tell you all you need to know about the guy.

    • In 1912, former-president Roosevelt was the target of an assassination attempt and was shot in the chest shortly before he was scheduled to give a speech in Milwaukee. Instead of being rushed to the hospital like everyone suggested, Roosevelt kicked common sense in the balls and proceeded to give his 90 minute speech as planned. He even opened the speech by telling the crowd, “I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” After he gave the speech, Roosevelt finally went to the hospital, but the bullet was never removed and he lived with it in his chest for the rest of his life. What a badass.
    • Teddy Roosevelt was awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize. Try wrapping your mind around that for a second. The only possible explanation I can think of for this is that he was such a badass that people decided to play nice because they were so terrified of what he was capable of.
    • Roosevelt eventually died of a heart attack while sleeping when he was 60-years-old. The US vice president at the time, Thomas Marshall, had this to say about his death: “Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight.” Let it be known that I want that exact quote put on my headstone when I die, even if I don’t die in my sleep and even though my last name isn’t Roosevelt. If it weren’t for Nathan Hale, that would be the greatest quote in American history (by the way, I’m not going to explain the Nathan Hale reference to those of you who don’t know his quote – that’s something that should be common knowledge for anyone who loves their country).

    Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

    Mark Titus

    Club Trillion Founder


                       
    METZ, 15 nov 2007 (AFP) - 22h45
    L'épouse d'un disparu mise en examen pour assassinat 11 mois après les faits

    L'épouse d'un homme de 46 ans, disparu en décembre à son retour de Madagascar, où il résidait, a été mise en examen jeudi pour assassinat après avoir avoué avoir tué son mari il y a onze mois, a annoncé le procureur de Sarreguemines (Moselle) Michel Beaulier. Un des cinq enfants du couple, une fille mineure au moment des faits, présente dans le véhicule au moment du crime, a été mise en examen pour destruction d'éléments de preuve. Les deux femmes ont été placées sous mandat de dépôt, a déclaré le procureur Beaulier. Après cinq mois d'enquête, les gendarmes de Forbach ont interpellé l'épouse, âgée de 43 ans, qui a avoué au terme de sa garde à vue avoir tué son mari, Raphaël Lomoro, 46 ans, a expliqué M. Beaulier. Venue chercher son époux, qu'elle a décrit comme violent, à l'aéroport, Mme Lomoro a admis l'avoir tué après une discussion houleuse à l'aide d'un revolver alors que l'homme dormait à l'arrière de la voiture durant le trajet vers leur domicile de Folkling (Moselle), selon le magistrat. Elle aurait ensuite caché son cadavre, "réduit au niveau d'éléments fragmentaires", dans la propriété familiale, où des fouilles seront entreprises vendredi, a-t-on appris de même source. Un des cinq enfants du couple, une fille mineure au moment des faits, présente dans le véhicule au moment du crime, a été mise en examen pour destruction d'éléments de preuve. Les quatre autres ont été laissés "dans l'ignorance de ce qu'était devenu leur père", a dit M. Beaulier. Raphaël Lomoro, 46 ans, n'avait plus donné signe de vie depuis le 15 décembre dernier, alors qu'il revenait de Madagascar, où il résidait la plupart du temps depuis 2002. "On sait qu'il a débarqué à Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle. Depuis, il n'est pas réapparu", a indiqué M. Beaulier. La disparition de M. Lomoro, qui avait décidé de profiter de son "congé charbonnier" pour se lancer dans la culture et la récolte de la vanille dans l'océan Indien, n'avait été signalée qu'en juin par sa soeur, inquiète de ne pas avoir de ses nouvelles, a-t-il poursuivi. Sa femme, elle, "n'avait jamais manifesté d'inquiétude" et s'était au contraire comportée comme "quelqu'un plutôt assuré de ne jamais le revoir", en prélevant au besoin de l'argent sur les comptes de son mari, ce qu'elle ne faisait pas précédemment, a expliqué le procureur de Sarreguemines.

    © 2007 AFP. Tous droits de reproduction et de représentation réservés. Toutes les informations reproduites dans cette rubrique (dépêches, photos, logos) sont protégées par des droits de propriété intellectuelle détenus par l'AFP. Par conséquent, aucune de ces informations ne peut être reproduite, modifiée, transmise, rediffusée, traduite, vendue, exploitée commercialement ou réutilisée de quelque manière que ce soit sans l'accord préalable écrit de l'AFP.

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              The Bear Highway        

    As the boys spent more time preparing for their backcountry exploits it started to become apparent how real the threat of bears was.

    After weighing their options and loading up with bear mace and a slew of fire arms the boys headed deep in to bear country…

    Check out the full story in Find Snowboarding: ALEUTIANS Full Film vimeo.com/106297507

    Cast: Rome Snowboards

    Tags: Find Snowboarding, Rome SDS, Aleutians, Alaska, Travel, Adventure and Snowboarding


              What do we learn from debates on VLEs, PLEs and MOOCs for workplace learning?        
    Currently our EU-funded Learning Layers (LL) project is preparing itself for the Design Conference of the Year 2, which will take place in March in Espoo (next to Helsinki) in Finland. We will be discussing issues of Co-Design, Evaluation and Exploitation. Surely, our work with the Learning Toolbox will be high on the agenda. But, […]
              Charles Krauthammer ...What he Said        
    Charles Krauthammer has a piece up that says a lot of what I tried to say below about the rush to speak in the wake of the VA Tech tragedy. Only he says it with much more eloquence.

    He also mentions our failure to care for our mentally ill, something I've railed about it on this blog with no illusions that anything will ever be done.

    One point of departure with Krauthammer is that the problem he describes is not exclusively from the left. This has been an equal opportunity for exploitation.
              Where is Ukraine?        
    And how did it get here? Here is a decent analysis of the current situation in Ukraine, tracing back through the squandered opportunities to move the country into a positive direction. The only complaint I have it the title of the piece "Did West Pull Up Stakes Too Soon?" The title implies that the west is responsible but that really doesn't reflect the conclusion reached.

    Yushenko ultimately bears the blame for the fiasco since he clearly failed to exploit the massive outpouring of support, failed to use his political capital to push through needed legislation, failed to effectively build working coalitions and failed to maintain the appearance of a level of incorruptability that a person in his position has to have. He failed so completely that the comically corrupt Prime Minister Yanakovich has a piece in the Financial Times about the importance of the Rule of Law!

    I don't see how Yanukovich, attempted thief of the 2004 election, was able to pound out the words without destroying his keyboard from convulsions of laughter. Actually, from every impression I've ever gotten of Yanukovich, I don't understand how he was able to actually find the keyboard or the power switch to the computer. Maybe he consulted with his coalition. That's what coalitions are for!

    And of course, Yanukovich is demanding the President abide by the law in order that Yanukovich can continue his process of literally buying members of the Rada to create a super majority coalition.

    If I sound cynical, see if you can read this passage about protesters in Kiev without a twinge of it yourself:

    They pay 40 hryvna a day and 100 hryvna a night, - confesses an elder man
    from Zhytomyr camping in the Mariinsky Park next to the Parliament. - I can
    make my monthly salary here within a week".

    But a group of young people who observe the political show in the Maydan are
    divided in their opinion. "I wouldn't have ever accepted any money from
    these guys", - says Yurko, a student of Mohyla Academy. But his friend
    Alexander, who lives in a student dormitory, says: "Why not? They return
    back to the people the money they stole from them.

    Their recruiters offer 40 hryvna for just two hours to stay here with
    blue-and-white flag. I don't support Yanukovych but my stipend is 350 hryvna
    and I get no extra allowance from my parents. I feel it would be actually
    better if we take these money ourselves and pay them lip-service. Otherwise,
    they would bring their real supporters from Donbas who may make a lot of
    harm here".


    Unfortunately, this comes from an op-ed by Mykola Rjabtschuk in a German publication (Berliner Zeitung, No.86) that I don't have a link to. The English translation is available at the Action Ukraine Report, a nationalist oriented newsletter maintained by the ex-pat (or diaspora) community in the US. The opinion piece is very slanted in favor of Yushenko but I have known people that took payment for protesting. It is commonly known. If you are interested in receiving the newsletters, you can sign up at the link above.

    I've always enjoyed the Action Ukraine Report and actually had the opportunity to meet Morgan Williams, the publisher, who is a very nice man. I don't share his partisanship but I think his heart is in the right place. It just takes a careful reader to understand what is news and what is political opinion.

    Finally, no day is complete without visiting the always interesting Neeka's Backlog where Veronica mentions yet more talk of a potential split of Ukraine. I've always thought that kind of talk was silly and hope it still is...silly rather than frightening. Veronica seems to travel a lot and I think she is currently in Russia but she brings a passion and real anger to her posts that captures the heart of somebody who truly cares.
              A potentially very bad exploit for most languages/versions        

    @GregRobson wrote:

    Just saw this on Twitter:

    https://httpoxy.org/
    PHP, Phython, Go are affected in pretty much all versions and could exist in other languages. The exploit has existed for years, but nobody seems to have realised how wide the scope of the exploit is.

    Posts: 4

    Participants: 3

    Read full topic


              Why I eat a low fat raw vegan diet        
    For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a low fat raw vegan diet is a fruit-based diet. Almost all calories are derived from fruit, plus vegetables as a concentrated mineral source. Fruit for breakfast, lunch, dinner - plus salad. 

    Most people, when they observe my eating habits, are shocked and skeptical that anyone could tolerate such a "boring" diet, let alone thrive on it.

    Five years ago, I was not a vegan. I scoffed at vegan "hippies". I believed that humans were designed to eat meat, that too much fruit would make you fat, and that protein was the secret to health and well being. My diet consisted of oats, tuna fish, cottage cheese, yoghurt, tofu, chicken, shellfish, green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, and the occasional egg. I was working at a gym at the time, and I was thoroughly brainwashed by the high protein propaganda. I avoided potatoes, bananas, and rice, believing that they would make me fat and unhealthy. 

    I was eating ridiculous amounts of canned tuna fish, and others' comments about mercury poisoning and heavy metal toxicity sparked my curiosity about the health of my diet. I started gravitating away from seafood, eating more chicken. Red meat was only an occasional menu item, as the rest of my household did not eat it.

    I wasn't a huge fan of chicken, and I gradually began eliminating it. Before I knew it, I was eating a mostly vegetarian diet. I had gone off milk several years ago due to lactose sensitivity, but I was still eating large quantities of yogurt, cheese, and eggs (particularly egg whites). I wondered whether a vegetarian diet was actually healthy, and so I started reading in earnest. Then, I came across a documentary called "Earthlings" that ended up changing my life. From that day, I knew that I wouldn't in good conscience ingest another animal product or exploit another being in order to fulfill my needs. 

    Switching to veganism prompted more research and a radical shift in diet. Eliminating dairy products was difficult, which I later learned was due to the addictive properties of dairy (particularly cheese). What was more challenging were the hidden animal ingredients in almost every mainstream processed food product. Pasta sauce, crackers, seasoning packets, candy - even veggie burgers. I did make mistakes, where I unknowingly consumed animal products, but I learned from each experience. And quickly learned that a diet based on whole plant based food like beans, grains, and vegetables, was far easier on my sanity (not to mention healthier). I was still a little carb-phobic, so my diet consisted of oats for breakfast, with salads and beans for lunch and dinner, and low sugar fruits like apples and oranges for snacks. 

    After about six months on a vegan diet, I started reading about a "raw food" diet - which I immediately dismissed as impossible. Within a few months, however, I decided to give it a try. I started drinking green smoothies for breakfast, which consisted of half a banana, a teaspoon of flax seeds, and a few handfuls of spinach. A woefully inadequate breakfast of barely 100 calories. Lunch was a small salad of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, and an apple and an orange for snacks. Around this time I also eliminated coffee. Dinner was another small salad. After dinner, I would snack on nuts. And by snack, I mean several large handfuls. It's no wonder - I was barely eating 400 calories during the day.

    I didn't realize it at the time, but my under eating during the day was the reason for my gorging on nuts in the evening. I was inadvertently eating a very high fat diet - which led to a few extra pounds on my frame and skin breakouts.

    In late 2009, I stumbled upon a website called 30 bananas a day, which promoted a calorie-abundant, high carbohydrate, low fat raw vegan diet. It sounded bizarre to me, but seeing as a high fat raw diet was causing some unwanted side effects, I decided to try it. Or so I thought. My carbohydrate phobia was still in full force, and initially I could only stand to eat around 4 pieces of fruit a day. My half banana in the pitiful green smoothie (now minus flax seeds) along with a few apples and oranges. Gradually I added a couple of bananas to my daily intake. Then five. Then ten. Clearly, I didn't quite understand the concept of carbohydrate abundance to promote health, athletic recovery, strength, and weight loss. I was still under the illusion of "calories in versus calories out" as being the key to health, that thin = healthy.

    Eventually, I learned that our bodies are designed to live on carbohydrates. That under eating leads to cravings for undesirable foods that are high in salt, high in fat, or processed. That inadequate hydration leads to mixed body signals and cravings. That under consumption of greens leads to cravings for salt. 

    Most importantly, I learned that health isn't all about diet. Health must include enough movement, rest, hydration, sunshine, and positive relationships - and more. 

    I will never have the "perfect" diet, because I no longer believe there is such a thing. I do my best, though. I buy from markets when I can. I eat organic greens most of the time. I grow some of my own food. I eat a plant based, whole-food diet. I avoid certain things not because of dogma or because I'm trying to attain some level of "purity" - rather, I avoid things because I don't desire them and/or because I don't like the way they make me feel. 

    Once upon a time I wanted to identify as a "raw foodist" and I went to great lengths to sustain this diet. Even if it meant eating a fatty raw food dish over, say, a plate of rice and vegetables. I avoided EVERYTHING that wasn't raw, including minute amounts of dried herbs.

    These days, I'm less concerned about labels and "fitting" into a particular group. It's about doing and being the best I can be. 

    We might be lured into thinking that diet is everything, if the raw food/vegan Internet community is anything to go by. There's a lot of in-fighting between people who actually have more similarities than differences. Even the "Paleo" and "vegan" crowds agree on a number of points. And each is convinced that their diet is the right diet.

    I have more to say on the principles of health and a vegan vs non/vegan diet, which I will do another time. For now, I'll conclude with the idea that there is no perfection in life, and that we are all striving to better ourselves in all areas. Don't put all your focus on one aspect of health at the expense of others - your health can only be as good as your weakest link. I've lived the unbalanced life, and I can safely say that if you're mood is dictated by a number on the scale, or if you feel guilt for eating a possibly non-raw item, or if you repeatedly beg off social events to exercise, or you refuse to associate with people based on their diet .... You need to take a look at your priorities. 

    Peace 


              Standhouden Tussen Makaslang En Kapasi        

    Winston Jessurun, voorzitter van DA91 en van het presidium van Alternatief 1 (A1), likt zijn wonden na de ‘lafhartige' aanval door Nieuw Suriname. Maar de scheuring heeft A1 meer goed dan slecht gedaan, zegt hij. Het Front en Bouterse vormen een moeilijk te doorbreken ‘symbiose'. Toch wil A1 alles op alles zetten om het internationaal aangezicht van Suriname te herstellen. "Je moet in feite beginnen bij de basis: de mens."


    Tekst Iwan Brave/dWTFoto Hijn Bijnen - de Ware Tijd van 24 maart 2005


    Jessurun wil er niet te veel woorden meer aan vuil maken, aan de openlijke, persoonlijke aanval van de Radjen Nannan Panday. "Ik heb tegen mijn vrouw gezegd: als je de politiek ingaat, dan vertelt men altijd lelijke dingen over je, waar of onwaar. Wapen je ertegen. Maar om nu aan je privéleven te komen, je gezin te belasteren, waardoor het ook je vrouw en kinderen raakt, dan doet het .-.pijn. En als men liegt dan doet het nog meer pijn. Maar we hebben heel wat stormen overwonnen."
    Volgens Jessurun heeft het uittreden van Nieuw Suriname de A1 meer goed dan slecht gedaan. De partij van de gebroeders Nannan Panday zou altijd al een beetje moeilijk hebben gezeten bij bepaalde delen van de achterban van de andere partners. Jessurun kreeg regelmatig van mensen persoonlijk te horen dat ze om die reden niet op A1 zouden stemmen. "Alles komt nu weer terug", zegt hij. Hij kreeg ook steunbetuiging van politieke opponenten uit ‘alle hoeken'. Nieuw Suriname heeft zich politiek ‘compleet uitgeschakeld', weet hij. "Het komt vooral door de lafhartige wijze. Als men het uitsluitend over de boeg van de positionering van Nieuw Suriname had gegooid, dan had het de A1 nog enige schade kunnen berokkenen omdat zo'n argument nog enige oprechtheid uitstraalt."
    Maar dit is niet eerste wat ter tafel komt. Het is Jessurun die het gesprek direct op koers plaatst met een recente anekdote. Op straat vroeg een kennis hem: "Wat hebben we aan een eerlijke president die zijn kinderen geen eten geeft? Is het niet beter een president te hebben die steelt maar wel zijn kinderen te eten geeft?" Dit onderstreept volgens hem dat veel Surinaamse kiezers bitter zijn en het spoor bijster. "Ik heb anders geen andere verklaring voor dat de VVV en de NDP nog aanhang hebben, afgaand op de ervaring met deze mensen en de consequenties daarvan voor het land. Anders hebben we een probleem met de interpretatie van hun aanhang. Als we een goed bestaan hadden, dan was het nog te begrijpen. Maar gezien de chaos en financiële verdoemenis is het onbegrijpelijk."

    Idol hungry
    Zijn broer Rudy, die psycholoog is, verklaart dit fenomeen als ‘idol-hungry'. "Dat zou een verklaring kunnen zijn voor de aanhang van deze twee partijen", licht Jessurun toe. "Het gaat om mensen die zelf niet zo'n sterk ego hebben en daarom graag geleid willen worden." Maar dat er zo velen hunkeren naar een idool, wijt hij aan het ‘falend beleid' van het Nieuw Front. "We hebben binnen het Gestructureerd Samenwerkingverband – waarbij iedereen en alles aangesloten was – kans gezien in 1997-1998 ruim 100.000 mensen in verzet te brengen tegen het financiële wanbeleid van de regering-Wijdenbosch, met als lichtpunt het naar voren schuiven van een interim-regering met Telting als president en Jharap als vice-president.
    In die troebele situatie heeft Wijdenbosch de verkiezingen met een jaar vervroegd. Op het moment van bekendmaking daarvan, waren zij van de oude politiek niet meer te vinden voor het idee. Zo erg zelfs dat ze sindsdien geen enkele vergadering meer van het Gestructureerd Samenwerkingsverband hebben bezocht." Het woord ‘verraad' neemt hij niet in de mond, maar het spreekt voor zich. "Toen de kiezers het Nieuw Front weer een mandaat hadden gegeven, hebben ze het gezamenlijk uitgangspunt verlaten en zijn hun eigen dingen gaan doen. Een toonbeeld van de arrogantie van macht. Wie bleef achter? Het teleurgestelde volk, bitter en verpauperd."
    Jessurun wijst erop dat het Front in 1987 van de 51 zetels er 41 behaalde – een dikke absolute meerderheid – en 33 zetels in 2000 – op één na wederom een tweederde meerderheid. En nu vraagt het Front weer een mandaat om het karwei ‘af te maken'. "Hoeveel willen ze dan hebben om inderdaad uit te voeren van wat ze niet hebben afgemaakt?" vraagt Jessurun zich in gemoede af over de gemiste kansen met zo'n riante meerderheid het land naar je hand te zetten. "De kiezer gaat nu maar zijn heil elders zoeken. Dat een aanzienlijk deel van jongeren, die niet geconfronteerd zijn met de jaren '80 en eind jaren '90, naar andere politieke partijen of combinaties gaat van krachten die we steeds hebben afgewezen, is de schuld van het Front."
    Jessurun wil niets over horen dat het ook een financieel vraagstuk is.
    Volgens hem is er geen enkele regering geweest met ‘zoveel mogelijkheden' en ‘steun uit het buitenland'. Maar als je blijft vasthouden aan partijpolitiek en niet aan maatregelen die genomen moeten worden, dan kom je niet verder." De voorzitter van het A1-presidium, wijst op het verziekte investeringsklimaat dat in stand wordt gehouden. In 1994 werd de eerste Investeringswet geconcipieerd. Dat het daarbij bleef, lag volgens Jessurun destijds aan een ‘conflict' tussen de Ministeries van Financiën en van Handel en Industrie – "dus tussen NPS en VHP". Dan volgt in 2001-2002 weer een concept-Investeringswet die in ‘grote vaart' wordt besproken en een ‘hoop onduidelijkheden' bevatte. "Daarom heb ik me uit protest onthouden van stemming. Nu hoor je bij monde van de minister van Financiën dat de investeringswet niet deugt en worden dure consultants in de arm genomen om het werk dunnetjes over te doen. Hadden ze zich dat niet eerder kunnen bedenken." Volgens Jessurun rennen de meeste investeerders ‘gillend' weg. "Ik kan je verhalen en voorbeelden vertellen, maar dan praten we morgen nog. Je komt als investeerder geen stap verder door het bureaucratisch gedoe."

    Niet luisteren
    Jessurun stelt dat je overigens voor geld bestemd voor productiedoeleinden op de kapitaalmarkt terecht kan. Daarnaast moet er flink worden geïnvesteerd in infrastructuur, onderwijs en gezondheidszorg, want dat is de basis voor een gezond volk om te produceren. "Maar deze regering wil sparen, en is het een volgende regering die dan het geld weer opmaakt." Tegelijkertijd dient men te participeren door middel van aandelen in de exploitatie van de grondstoffen. Overigens is Jessurun van mening dat Suriname de goudsector zelfstandig tot ontwikkeling kan brengen. Het is voordeliger om buitenlandse deskundigen te betalen die een mijn voor je opzetten, waarvan de opbrengst geheel aan jou toekomt.
    Al deze zaken worden door DA91 aangekaart in de Nationale Assemblee. "Maar als iets van de oppositie komt, wil men niet luisteren", zegt Jessurun. Uit gesprekken met toppers uit de coalitie, blijkt dat het binnen het Front nogal aan wereldkundigheid schort. Ook bepaalde partijvoorzitters komen er niet genadig van af. Hij geeft tal van voorbeelden. Sommige liever ‘off the record'. "Bepaalde dingen wil je niet zo in pers gooien die je met elkaar in de wandelgangen bespreekt, dat kan pas als ze ook in de vergadering aan de orde komen. Sommige ministers hebben totaal geen idee om welke schaalverhoudingen het in de wereld gaat, omdat ze zo gefixeerd zijn op de enge partijbelangen."

    Staatsgarantie
    Regelmatig kloppen buitenlandse investeerders bij Jessurun aan omdat ze eenvoudig weg geen gewillig oor bij de regering vinden. Zoals die ene consultant uit Hong Kong, die ten tijde van herinlijving door China met 170 miljoen dollar te leen liep tegen een staatsgarantie, een looptijd van 20 jaar en een zeer milde rente van 5 procent. Het geld moest coute-que-coute weg uit Hong Kong. Via Jessurun werd het aan Suriname aangeboden. "Ik heb het aan Rodgers doorgespeeld; er is uiteindelijk niets mee gebeurd."
    En dan die miljardair uit Hong Kong die interesse had getoond om honorair consulair voor Suriname te zijn. Een investeerder met aanzien. "Als hij ergens investeerde, dan gingen anderen er achteraan", vertelt Jessurun. "Hij wilde elk feasable project in Suriname financieren tegen een 30-70-verhouding. Dit was ter sprake ten tijde van de regering-Venetiaan I en regering- Wijdenbosch. Bij deze regering is het weer ter sprake gekomen. Maar men heeft er geen oren naar. Een partijgenoot werd benoemd. En dat ‘killed' het land."
    Ook in het plan West-Suriname had er voor Suriname veel meer ingezeten. "De man komt met zijn private-jet uit Pittsburg", vertelt Jessurun over de president van Alcoa. "Dan blijkt de immigratiedienst van Zanderij hiervan niet op de hoogte. Er moet eerst een brief van BUZA komen dat ze binnen mogen. Hoewel ze lang moesten wachten, komen ze alsnog met een aanbieding om 4 miljard dollar in Suriname te investeren, want in de VS is een wet die geïnvesteerd geld vrij stelt van belasting. Terwijl onze regering talmt zijn de Amerikanen ook tegelijkertijd bezig in IJsland waar er wel beslissingen worden genomen. Dat heb ik toen in het parlement aangekaart. In 2004, twee jaren later, komt er eindelijk een MOU." Inmiddels is besloten door Alcoa een smelterij in IJsland op te zetten, ook komt er een smelterij in Trinidad. "Het is maar de vraag of smelterij in West-Suriname er nog komt, want veel zal afhangen van ontwikkelingen op de wereldmarkt", zegt Jessurun. "Die traineringen, bureaucratie en ondeskundigheid maken dat we keer op keer de boot missen."

    Twee uitersten
    Jessurun spreekt over het Nieuw Front en de NDP van een ‘symbiose', die moeilijk te doorbreken is. "Het Front houdt Bouterse in stand en gebruikt hem om de mensen te bewegen om op hun te stemmen, waarbij Bouterse wordt afgeschilderd als een gevaar. Zonder Bouterse zou er geen Front zijn." Jessurun haalt een andere broer aan – Arti van Trefpunt 2000 – die een vergelijking maakt met de ‘makkaslang en de kapassi' die samen in één hol leven, waarbij de kapassi het hol graaft. "Alternatieven die zich opmaken hebben het moeilijk zich daartussen overeind te houden, omdat we ons – ook de media – focussen op deze twee uitersten", aldus Jessurun.
    Intussen holt Suriname sociaal-economisch achteruit. In 1967 – volgens de ‘laatste officiële' cijfers – verdienden we 1 miljard Amerikaanse dollars. Nu, 37 jaar later, verdienen we met zijn allen 1,1 miljard dollar. Jessurun: "In al die jaren zijn we geen stap vooruit gekomen. Als we de geldontwaarding erop loslaten, dan verdienden we in 1967 zes miljard dollar. We zijn erop achteruitgegaan ondanks de verdragsmiddelen, de garantiemiddelen en alle andere donormiddelen die zijn opgegaan, alles bij elkaar zo'n vier miljard dollar."
    Maar hoe valt dit te doorbreken dan te door breken? Jessurun: "Je moet in feite beginnen bij de basis: de mens. Daarbij moeten we de vraag stellen: waar willen we naartoe. Ons onderwijs moet naar een topniveau op basis van de ontwikkelingsdoelen. Willen we aan landbouw doen, dan moet er op zijn minst een landbouwhogeschool zijn. We hebben niet eens lage landbouwschool. Willen we de dienstverlenende kant op, dan moeten we ons onderwijs daarop afstemmen en zorgen dat we qua landbouw zelfvoorzienend zijn."
    Maar ook het huidige politieke bestel moet op de helling. Op grond daarvan heeft A1 ook een concept-grondwet geschreven met ‘betere machtsverhouding' tussen wetgevende en uitvoerende macht, een ceremoniële president en een uitvoerende minister-president die verantwoording verschuldigd is aan het parlement. Nu hebben we een executieve president – naar het Amerikaans voorbeeld – maar zonder dat we onze president rechtstreeks kiezen. Ook het huidige aantal van zestien ministeries moet drastisch omlaag door middel van ‘clustering', waardoor je onder meer krijgt een ministerie van Welzijn (nu Volksgezondheid, Arbeid en Sociale Zaken), een ministerie van Productie (nu NH, HI en LVV) een ministerie van Opbouw, Verkeer en Waterstaat (nu OW en TCT). Ook Regionale Ontwikkelingen en Binnenlandse Zaken dienen te worden samengevoegd.

    Leven en dood
    Ondertussen is de NDP weer in opmars. Onbegrijpelijk voor Jessurun. "Bouterse had in 1980 tot 1987 absolute regeringmacht en kon beslissen over leven en dood, wat hij ook deed. Hij kreeg van de Nederlandse regering een half miljard tot zijn beschikking, meer dan welke regering ook. Wie geeft mij nu de garantie dat hij nu met weinig geld en een absolute oppositie iets zal kunnen betekenen. Je kan alleen slagen met leiderschap, visie en contacten in wereld."
    Dat laatste kan Bouterse in elk geval naar fluiten, nu de VS duidelijk hebben gemaakt geen banden te zullen onderhouden met regering ‘geleid door een veroordeelde drugscrimineel'.
    Wat vindt Jesserun van deze ‘inmenging' van binnenlandse aangelegenheden? "Als land mag ik zeggen met wie ik hand in hand wil lopen. We maken ons allemaal op als moraalverdediger. In een goede democratie zonder etnische en maatschappelijke kloven had zo'n Amerikaanse uitspraak niet gehoeven. Maar dat is bij ons niet het geval, met name als we kijken naar de rechtsstaat die nog steeds niet is hersteld. Je hoort mensen roepen: ‘Isolement of niet; Des for pres, neks no fout'. Maar de VS zeggen bij voorbaat dat álles fout is. Het is natuurlijk niet leuk voor Suriname, net als bij de 100-procentcontrole. Maar we hebben er zelf een puinhoop van gemaakt. We moeten het herstellen. Daarom is A1 er; voor het herstellen van het aangezicht van Suriname in de wereld."


              Dampak Buruk Wifi Gratis        
    Kafe, kampus, dan berbagai tempat publik kini sudah banyak yang dilengkapi dengan fasilitas WiFi. Menyenangkan memang bisa berinternet di tempat umum, terlebih gratis. Namun di sisi lain ada sejumlah ancaman yang menaungi.

    Berikut 4 Dampak Buruk di Balik WiFi Gratisan di antaranya yang dikutip dari detikINET berdasarkan laporan perusahaan keamanan ESET:

    1. Evil twin login interception 
    Ini merupakan jaringan yang diset-up oleh hacker untuk menyamar sebagai WiFi hot spot yang resmi. 

    2. 0-day OS/app attack attempts
    Disebut juga sebagai serangan threat melalui exploit yang tidak dikenal.

    3. Sniffing
    Upaya intercept untuk mencapai baik software maupun hardware komputer dan melakukan log terhadap lalu lintas dalam sebuah jaringan.

    4. Data leakage (man-in-the-middle attack)
    Pelaku kejahatan dunia maya mampu memodifikasi lalu lintas jaringan dan membuat user tidak menyadari seakan-akan ia sedang melakukan transaksi dengan bank. Padahal kenyataannya, data yang dikirim oleh user terkirim ke komputer pelaku kejahatan tersebut

    Terkait dengan tingkat keamanan di ruang publik yang menyediakan akses internet nirkabel, Yudhi Kukuh, Technical Director PT. Prosperita-ESET Indonesia menambahkan jika saat pengguna melakukan pembelanjaan secara online atau melakukan transaksi keuangan, pastikan web address diawali dengan 'https' bukan 'http'. Hal ini untuk memastikan bahwa lalu lintas data yang menggunakan alamat web tersebut akan dienkripsi.

    "Jadi perlu digarisbawahi bahwa kemudahan jangan dijadikan sebagai acuan utama jika berada di wilayah publik dengan fasilitas hotspot -- selalu gunakan mode peringatan dini dan perhatikan bentuk peringatan apapun yang diberikan," tukasnya, dalam keterangannya.

    Hingga saat ini akses WiFi diperkirakan telah digunakan oleh lebih dari 700 juta orang, dengan lebih dari 4 juta tempat hotspot di seluruh dunia. Sementara WiFi router setiap tahunnya diproduksi sebanyak 800 juta unit.

    Berdasar temuan global research project yang dilansir oleh Online Security Brand Tracker, yang disampaikan oleh InSites Consulting dan analisa dari United Consultants, menyebutkan hampir separuh pengguna internet di dunia melakukan koneksi internet paling sering dengan perangkat portabel. Dimana notebook menjadi perangkat yang paling populer (41%), diikuti netbooks (3%), smartphone (2%) dan komputer tablet (1%).


    sumber

              Sarah Thomas' Beamonesque Century Swim         

    Swimming Speed in km/hour on Sarah Thomas' Century Swim over 65 hours of swimming

    Courtesy of TRACK.RS, Marathon Swimmers Federation on Lake Champlain.

    Technology and the indomitable human spirit of Sarah Thomas have attracted and enabled thousands - perhaps tens of thousands on all the different social networks - of respectful fans and friends to witness online her ultra-marathon swim of 104.6 miles (168.3 km) on the island loop route in Lake Champlain, New York devised by Karl Kingery and crew.

    "People from around the world were logging into her online tracker [see here] and social media over the last three days, inspired - but not surprised given her track record of success - with her latest exploit," observed Steven Munatones.

    "Sarah is one of those Beamonesque once-in-a-generation athletes who not only sets the bar in her sport, but also goes after and achieves goals well beyond what her contemporaries originally thought possible."

    She has been pushing herself further and further, looking to see how far she can swim non-stop. "104.6 miles - 168.3 km of non-stop swimming - is unbelievable for all by a small handful of swimmers. But frankly it is - was - a realistic goal for someone like Thomas. She clearly has the three T's - tenacity, talent and team - in abundance to keep on pushing barriers and be able to swim the unprecedented, 67 hours 16 minutes in the water."

    Her Century Swim team included observers Evan Morrison and Elaine Howley, husband Ryan Willis, mother Becky, sister Melody, cousin Alex Thomas, kayaker Scott Olson, photographer Ken Classen, pilot Phil White, navigators Andrew Malinak and Craig Lenning, and chief encouragement officer Cathy Delneo, and course coordinator Karl Kingery - who similarly set a standard in caring for, guiding and feeding another one of Thomas' 24-hour swims.*

    Follow her course and swim data here. For updates, results, photos and videos, visit here.

    Additional articles on her swim include History's First Current-Neutral 100-Mile Swim, Swimming Through The Night With Vampires, and Dramatic Data On Sarah Thomas' Century Swim.

    * Members of the 24-Hour Club are posted here.

    Copyright © 2008-2017 by World Open Water Swimming Association

              The ‘Legend’ of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH        
    Shock Till You Drop
    The ‘Legend’ of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH

    LastMan1

    LastMan5

    SHOCK dissects the first and best adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I AM LEGEND, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH.

    Dr. Robert Morgan is not a well man. A mysterious airborne, plague-bearing dust storm has smothered the world, killing every man, woman and child and reviving them as sluggish, dull witted and eternally ravenous vampires. And yet, somehow, someway, Morgan has remained immune, completely unscathed…well, physically, anyway. He lives his life like a machine, by day rising early, clearing the streets of comatose, emaciated ghouls and throwing their barely living bodies into an eternally burning tar pit, tracking the sleeping stronger ones to their lairs and driving his specially made stakes through their hearts.

    But by night, when the sun sinks below the horizon, the fanged echoes of mankind come-a-crawling out of their hiding spots, stumbling towards Morgan’s garlic and mirror fortified bungalow, clawing at his windows, screaming for his flesh and his blood. Such nerve shredding conditions might drive a weaker man to madness but, though he skirts insanity often, Morgan instead opts to play his jazz records loud, pour scotch, crawl into bed, squish a pillow against his head and wait, always wait, for the break of day when he’ll get up and start the horrible cycle all over again. Unbeknownst to Morgan however, he’s being watched by something other than the monsters, something that views him as an even bigger threat than the red-eyed viral vampires themselves.

    LastMan2

    This is the story charted in directors Sidney Salkow and Ubaldo Ragona’s 1964 Vincent Price vehicle THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, the first (and to date, best) stab at adapting influential dark fantasy author Richard Matheson’s still blistering existential 1954 vampire novella I AM LEGEND to screen. Written, then disowned, by the notoriously cranky author, the low budget Robert Lippert (THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING) Italian/US co-production had often been dismissed as a failed attempt to capture the psyche-destroying , bloodsucker-staking exploits of Matheson’s eternally put upon virus survivor, Robert Neville. Thankfully, that perception has changed through the years. Because although it inexplicably changes its hero’s name from Neville to Morgan, and tweaks the ending somewhat, it otherwise seldom strays from the novella’s narrative and perfectly captures it’s bleaker than bleak tone, downbeat mood and broken heart.

    The history of I AM LEGEND and its checkered journey to screen is rather fascinating. Matheson’s gripping, intelligent and horrifying novella became a hit in sci-fi /dark fantasy/pulp fiction circles upon release, eventually landing squarely on the radar of fledgling UK studio Hammer Films. The lads at Hammer commissioned Matheson to self-adapt a screenplay, which he did, reportedly brilliantly and faithfully from a straightforward text that almost read like a script to begin with. But, when the British censor skimmed that script, they were disgusted, promising that the downbeat, violent and depressing film would never, ever get passed. Hammer, still in their relative infancy, were terrified of the all- powerful board and released Matheson from his contract, his screenplay left untouched and un-filmed.

    The property floated around for years before American born, British based B-movie producer Robert Lippert got his mitts on it, finally inking an Italian co-production deal, oddly altering the script, hiring a fresh from Roger Corman-ville Vincent Price to play the lead and shooting the whole affair on a shoestring in Rome. When Matheson heard of the changes and rewrites to his script, and the casting of the larger than life Price as his reluctant working class hero Robert Neville, he balked and demanded his name be removed from the credits, instead sticking his often used pseudonym Logan Swanson on the final print. The movie was dumped into drive-ins, dismissed by critics and almost completely forgotten.

    Title: LAST MAN ON EARTH, THE (1963) ¥ Pers: PRICE, VINCENT ¥ Year: 1963 ¥ Dir: SALKOW, SIDNEY ¥ Ref: LAS111AB ¥ Credit: [ THE KOBAL COLLECTION / AIP ]

    But what makes THE LAST MAN ON EARTH the superior cinematic vision of Matheson’s somber, frightening text is the profound way it handles Morgan/Neville’s search for grim purpose. His is a life pushed to the brink and beyond and yet, as his heroic, defiant nature dictates, he fights back; through his terrifying nights, his blood-drenched days and his bittersweet dawns, Morgan refuses to succumb to his hopeless situation, refuses to even abandon his ramshackle bungalow. He becomes a kind of lone wolf, a vigilante, and then a kind of prophet, finally a martyr but always he’s a caretaker, one whose life’s work is to dispose of the sub-human monsters that have insidiously infested what was once a bright and beautiful world and have so cruelly cannibalized any fond memories he may have once had anything resembling a happy life. And though they come to scrape at his windows like clockwork and though the rotting females pout and slink in a vulgar attempt to arouse him, he accepts the vampires, he adapts. To quote Matheson from an interview I conducted with him many years ago, it’s the ultimate “portrait of an everyday Joe confronted with the arcane and emerging somewhat triumphant.”

    LastMan6

    Even more resonant is the fact that THE LAST MAN ON EARTH retains the absolutely pivotal character of Ben Cortman (though Anthony Zerbe’s mentally unbalanced mutant albino cult leader Mathias in the second and strangest version of the story, THE OMEGA MAN, is certainly a loose variation on him). If you’ve read the novel, you’ll recall that Ben Cortman was a friend, neighbor and colleague to Robert Neville who, post plague, became his chief vampiric adversary. Along with his tireless pack of drooling undead, Cortman is really Neville’s perverted connection to his former humanity, a distorted nightmare logic vision of the man he once was. Over the span of time that the action in Matheson’s story unfolds in, the presence of Ben Cortman is both horrific and hopeful, distilling our hero’s misery and re-focusing it as anger, as a need, a divine mission to kill Cortman, a desire that almost single-handedly saves him from suicide. Cortman is in essence Neville’s ‘El Dorado’ his quest, his reason for waking, yet the kind of quest in which the searcher secretly pines to never complete, lest he be left with nothing to chase. LAST MAN keeps this disturbing dichotomy and mutually corrosive relationship wholly intact. In flashback, the film shows Ben Cortman (here played by Giacomo Rossi-Stuart from Mario Bava’s KILL BABY, KILL) and Morgan socializing at their children’s birthday parties, then trying to develop a cure for the plague, before finally emerging as otherworldly enemies, as a constantly reversing of the hunter/prey dynamic.

    It’s a crucial narrative element that’s deftly handled and is both appropriately unsettling and almost overwhelmingly tragic.

    LastMan7

    Just as beautifully rendered are the final days in the lives of Morgan’s wife and daughter. As the rapidly disintegrating government insists on incineration of the deceased plague victims remains, Morgan, in a temporary fit of unbearable grief and searing madness, goes after the federal body burners in a vain attempt to rescue his little girl’s corpse from the fire. When he returns home, morally beaten and empty handed to find his wife dead, he takes her corpse to a nearby field for a proper burial. Later that night, while Morgan reclines in a chair and waits for the inevitable, a la ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, his spouses’ now gurgled voice chants ‘Robert, Robert…”, her unseen dirty and bloodless hands twisting the door handle, as she grins and moves in to give her still living husband the kiss of death.

    And what of poor Vincent Price, the chief reason Richard Matheson turned up his nose at the film to begin with? How does this hammy, wonderfully theatrical icon of horror fare as the haunted, tortured last living man on the planet? In the context of the film, fucking great, I’d say. Price’s hangdog, wounded face and melancholy internal monologue voice-overs are amazing and, if not quite the blue collar Neville of the book, his Robert Morgan is never anything but believable and sympathetic.

    LastMan3

    Ultimately however, the three (four if you count Romero’s 1968 self-proclaimed LEGEND rip off NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) filmed versions of Matheson’s soul-destroying masterwork fail to translate his unpretentious majesty verbatim, but really why would you want them too? Movies are dreams. They should be visions of their inspirations, not duplicates. I love THE OMEGA MAN for its bombast, its 70’s action movie bravado, affecting Charlton Heston performance, its then topical sexual/racial politics and of course, that brilliant Ron Grainer score. I really like the 2007 Will Smith version for its haunting urban decay tableaux, its wrenching isolation and magnification of the heart sinking Neville/dog incident and relentlessly sad tone (though the film falls apart in the final reel). But thus far, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is the only one that has managed to exist as an aggressively depressing and lyrical nightmare, taking all that was profound and painful in the source text and re-presenting it as a low-budget but evocative and funereal slice of semi-cerebral pulp.

    Flawed but unforgettable, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH deserves multiple viewings and a secure place in the annals of classic horror cinema. The recent inclusion of the film in Scream Factory’s second Blu-ray Vincent Price Collection means you can see this once though lost to the public domain gem in glorious high-def and the commentary on that release by horror historian (and SHOCK scribe) David Del Valle is marvelous.

    If you haven’t seen it…see it. Soon. And to the late, great Richard Matheson, wherever you are….thanks man.

    The post The ‘Legend’ of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.


              Jimmy Fallon is Somehow Better at Throwing Footballs Than Matthew McConaughey        
    Is there anything Matthew McConaughey can't do? Or, more precisely, is there anything that he can't do excellently? Turns out, the Oscar winner just might have a weak spot, and although it's not a big one, it's one that 'Tonight Show' host Jimmy Fallon gleefully exploited for his own edification on last night's show. Continue reading…
              Dota 6.72c Map Download - Dota-Allstars 6.72c Official Map Released!        
    Akhirnya setelah beberapa bulan di rilis nya DotA 6.72b sekarang muncul versi terbaru yaitu 6.72c yang baru saja dirilis. Biasanya pada berubahan map a/b/c IceFrog hanya memperbaiki beberapa bugs, kali ini tampil beda. IceFrog banya memperbaikinya bukan hanya bugs tetapi skil dan gameplay yang lain. Langsung saja ini dia :



    Dota 6.72c Download Link
    Dota 6.72c Download - GameWebZ Mirror
    Dota 6.72c Download - GetDota Mirror



    Dota 6.72c Changelogs


    Heroes

    Bounty Hunter
    - Base intelligence increased from 16 to 19

    Broodmother
    - Base movement speed reduced from 310 to 295
    - Spin Web cooldown reduced from 90/70/50/30 to 30
    - Spin Web AoE increased from 500 to 650
    - Spin Web movement bonus increased from 20/23/26/29% to 20/25/30/35%
    - Spawn Spiderlings spawn count decreased from 1/2/3/4 to 1/2/3/3
    - Spawn Spiderlings Manacost rebalanced from 80/100/120/140 to 120
    - Spiderlings & Spiderites are now affected by Spin Web
    - Spiderlings Model size increase slightly
    - Spiderlings & Spiderites they now take more damage from towers (50%-125%)
    - Spiderlings now do more damage to heroes (75%->100%) and less damage to towers (70%-40%)

    Chaos Knight
    - Phantasm manacost reduced from 175/225/275 to 125/200/275
    - Phantasm cooldown reduced from 180/160/140 to 140

    Crystal Maiden
    - Freezing Field hotkey changed from Z to F

    Dirge
    - Tombstone no longer generates usable corpses

    Furion
    - Base strength increased by 2

    Grand Magus
    - Fade Bolt bounce AoE reduced from 600 to 500

    Huskar
    - Life Break cast range reduced to 550

    Jakiro
    - Macropyre damage interval is now smoother (same overall damage, more intervals)

    Naga Siren
    - Intelligence growth increased from 1.65 to 1.95

    Pandaren Brewmaster
    - Base HP regeneration increased to 0.75

    Phantom Lancer
    - Base HP regeneration increased to 0.75
    - Juxtapose rebalanced to have a 12% creation chance at all levels with a max of 2/3/4/5 illusions

    Pit Lord
    - Expulsion cooldown increased from 10 to 18 seconds
    - Expulsion manacost increased from 75 to 125
    - Expulsion corpse AoE and heal/damage AoE reduced from 600 to 575
    - Expulsion interval increased from 1 to 1.25 seconds

    Rooftrellen
    - Added a 2 second fade time to Nature's Guise
    - Overgrowth AOE reduced from 725 to 625
    - Living Armor regeneration reduced from 2/3/4/5 to 1/2/3/4

    Spectre
    - Haunt/Reality now only moves your camera if you are targeting an area away from where your screen is currently looking

    Spirit Breaker
    - Charge of Darkness indicator AoE increased from 2500 to 3000
    - Charge of Darkness manacost increased from 75 to 100

    Shadow Priest
    - Poison Touch is no longer blocked by damage block items like Vanguard

    Sven
    - Warcry AoE increased from 450 to 700

    Terrorblade
    - Metamorphosis illusion extra damage taken increased from 250% to 350%

    Troll Warlord
    - Ranged Whirling Axes now does 75 damage
    - Fervor AS bonus rebalanced

    Old:
    ====
    5/10/15/20 AS per attack with a max of 100

    New
    ====
    20 AS per attack max of 40/60/80/100

    Warlock
    - Shadow Word cooldown reduced from 24 to 20

    Zeus
    - Lightning Bolt/Thundergod's Wrath now reveals the same area at night as during the day (1000/750 to 1000/1000)

    Items

    Necronomicon
    - Cooldown reduced from 90 to 80

    Veil of Discord
    - Discord AoE increased by 25 and cast range by 75

    Vladmir's Offering
    - Aura AoE decreased from 1100 to the standard 900
    - Now includes the regeneration from its components in the final item

    Gameplay and Cosmetics

    • Melee hero collision size now reduced from 24 to 12
    • Added support for the Filipino language
    • Added a visual effect for Bloodstone's heal (469212)
    • Pitlord is now in CM restriction list
    • Wildkin's Tornado cooldown reduced from 120 to 70
    • Charge of Darkness now displays a minimap signal for allies when it is used (464281)
    • EMP is now an AoE targeting cursor (296622)
    • Added a new attack projectile for QoP (461897)
    • Changed Sniper's projectile arc (274494)
    • New attack projectile for Eredar (459608)
    • Added an Aghanim visual effect for Beastmaster (459402)
    • Added a new Phantom Strike visual effect (463160)
    • Added a new visual effect to Furion's Teleportation (450559)
    • Added a new Icon for Telekinesis (280720)
    • Added a new Icon for Spell Steal (280720)
    • Added a new test command -dummy that creates a level 10 enemy hero in the middle of the map
    • Improved Haunt visual effect (370706)
    • Infest allied only visual effects are now visible to observers

    Bugs

    • Fixed Icarus Dive sometimes affecting Magic Immune units for a short duration
    • Fixed a bug with how Warpath stack count works when it is at max power (new stacks don't count towards incrementing the timer)
    • Fixed a couple of areas that you could still get stuck in with Telekinesis
    • Fixed a bug with Neutral spawning and Goo
    • Fixed Remote Mines explosion to keep the vision while it is exploding (382646)
    • Fixed Hookshot having inconsistent behavior on magic immune units
    • Fixed some bugs with Infest
    • Fixed some bugs with Whirling Axes and Spell Steal
    • Fixed Echo Slam tooltip to make it more accurate
    • Fixed some exploits with Ravage, Thundergod's Wrath, Requiem of Souls, Slithereen Crush and Reverse Polarity
               One botnet to rull them all #BoteAR , the new tool that will rull us all from exploit pack        
    2012-10-04 16:17:16 - w3af : One botnet to rull them all #BoteAR , the new tool that will rull us all from exploit pack
               RT @atttechchannel: ThreatTraq covers new Blackhole Exploit Kit, ZeroAccess botnet and notable network activity - http://tco/603MBVNL #fb        
    2012-09-27 12:48:56 - jclausing : RT @atttechchannel: ThreatTraq covers new Blackhole Exploit Kit, ZeroAccess botnet and notable network activity - http://tco/603MBVNL #fb
               SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Micr http://tco/btDcU5Qx        
    2012-09-18 16:24:37 - EvilFingers : SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Micr http://tco/btDcU5Qx
               SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Microsoft http://tco/QxkeiTeQ        
    2012-09-18 15:29:49 - ITVulnerability : SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Microsoft http://tco/QxkeiTeQ
              ExploitedCollegeGirls presents Holly – 11.08.2016        
    Name: ExploitedCollegeGirls presents Holly – 11.08.2016 Video: MP4, HD, 1280×720 Time: 01:22:21 Size: 2.38 GB HOLLY Age: 20 Height: 5’5 Figure: 32B-22-32 Eye Color: Brown Likes: piercings, big tips, heels Keywords: Ass Play, Blowjob, Brunette, BTS, Cowgirl, Cum Swallowing, Deep … Continue reading
               SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Microsoft http://tco/wHf9RkY1        
    2012-09-18 12:15:26 - teksquisite : SSCC 98 - RSA key safety, Blackhole exploit kit updated, Nitol botnet takedown and Apache takes potshots at Microsoft http://tco/wHf9RkY1
               Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network -        
    2012-09-18 03:49:20 - helpnetsecurity : Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network -
               Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network http://tco/x4Wr90qO        
    2012-09-17 18:36:55 - ITVulnerability : Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network http://tco/x4Wr90qO
               Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network http://tco/jYx1eRko        
    2012-09-17 07:58:02 - DarkOperator : Week in review: Blackhole 20 is out, Windows 8 users open to Flash exploits, and botnet CCs hidden in the Tor network http://tco/jYx1eRko
              Exterminate the Brutes: Fighting Back Against the Right        
    by
    Robert Markley
    1996-04-01

    Michael Bérubé’s essay on the politics of selling out is an eloquent investigation of the dilemmas confronting left intellectuals seeking to survive the long dark night of irrelevance. My only concern is that I wish Bérubé had provided more advice about how to sell out, while, at the same time, winning political converts and influencing influential people. While there is much that is admirable in Bérubé’s piece (originally delivered in March 1995 at the Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State), particularly his discussion of the Right’s negation of the “public” in the name of the “people,” I would like to sketch briefly an alternative to the politics of selling out by putting pressure on the term “intellectual,” the blind spot in many romantic calls to action by left cultural critics.

    A crucial point: nobody cares about intellectuals, except other intellectuals. More to the point, unless intellectuals have another source of income, most of them wind up subordinating intellectual interests to the pursuit of livelihoods, or convincing the powers that be that intellectual activity can be profitable (see Bacon, Francis). Few people, for that matter, understand, care about, or are willing to spend the time and energy to follow the intricacies of rational discourse. Think of the sad history of presidential elections since World War II. The Democrats, admittedly a poor excuse for a left of far-right party, nominate Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize Winners, nuclear engineers, and so on for President; the dominant mode of communication for Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, Kennedy, and Stevenson has been explanation - a dubious strategy because the hegemonic rhetoric of multinational capitalism is the assurance that Life is Simple: advertising slogans, biblical homilies, capsule news summaries, crossword puzzles, billboards, true-false tests, and click on one of the following options all reinforce the belief that there are always “right” answers to be had, and that these answers can be summed up in a few words: “just say no”; “you deserve a break today”; “life is good.” Can you remember a Republican candidate for national office (since, say, John Lindsay) trying to explain anything to voters? Nixon, perhaps, but Nixon’s explanations were always corrosive and evasive.

    The most successful Democrat since Roosevelt was, significantly, the least intellectually gifted and, if you have read the first two volume’s of Robert Caro’s biography, the most vicious, brutal, and amoral. What Lyndon Johnson understood far better than most cultural critics is that intellect (not to mention morality) is a handicap in politics: the purpose of policy is not to achieve moral clarity or intellectual rigor but to perpetuate networks, connections, positions of power, influence, and of course to accumulate symbolic capital and cold hard cash. The most successful, in many ways, of the handful of Left political leaders (broadly defined) in the past half century, Martin Luther King, did not analyze the semiotics of race, despite his Ph.D., so much as he evoked a religious vision: “I have a dream.” Dreams may have their own semiotics, but they do not, for audiences glued to Sightings, require complex modes of intellectual elucidation.

    In my mind, then, our concern about the role of the public intellectual is misplaced. The arena in which the Left has to contest the Regime of the Right is not in the pages of The Nation or even The Village Voice but in the much devalued realm of cheap, anti-intellectual “entertainment”: tawdry talk shows, infomercials, trade shows for would-be entrepreneurs, tabloids, the Psychic Hot Line, etc. Bérubé reports that his editor at Harper’s suggested that a successful article renders the experience of reading almost non-cognitive; in any consumer culture, the separation between logic and rhetoric returns with a vengeance. In such a world, the Left needs to counter the vicious, mindless, kneecapping of the Right with vicious, mindless, kneecapping of its own: not nostalgia for JFK but a reinvigoration of the Realpolitik of LBJ.

    Who better to contribute to public policy than college and university professors who are paid to study rhetoric and semiotics? Think of all the energy that cultural critics have devoted to interrogating racist, homophobic, misogynist, and classist rhetoric, values, and assumptions during the last fifteen years. This knowledge can and should be used to counter racism, sexism, homophobia, and the politics of privilege, but such an undertaking requires precisely that “we,” left erstwhile intellectuals, relinquish our stubborn faith in rational argument. Rational argument is what we do on our jobs; it is not necessarily an essential, unchanging measure of our intrinsic worth as human beings. You cannot argue morality; you can successfully challenge prejudice only by exploiting a complex psycho-social matrix that is largely unresponsive to causal reasoning. All of us know that, to varying degrees, it is often an uphill struggle to get students to distinguish between reason and bias. The mush-headed right, at least since George Wallace, has accumulated political capital by tarring and feathering “pointy-headed intellectuals” - cashing in on a politics of resentment by redirecting economic anxieties away from the unequal distribution of wealth to the distribution of specialized knowledge. For many Americans, elitists read poetry, not The Wall Street Journal. The Left will be more successful, as it has been in the (dim) past, by counterattacking the Rush Limbaughs of the world, not by noting inconsistencies in their presentations.

    As Bérubé points out, the practice of left intellectuals attacking other left intellectuals for elitism, obscurity, and impracticality is old enough to have passed from history into the dark backward and abysm of myth. If the left seems doomed to repeat rituals of self-immolation, it is, in part, because we remain obsessed with the value of distinction, discrimination and purification rather than with the always impure strategies of success. What follows, then, are some suggestions to ensure that we sell out successfully:

    1 Coopt the rhetoric of values, and beat the Right over the head with it. No self-styled Leftist should be allowed to offer political pronouncements without chanting the following mantra: greed, hypocrisy, and sin. Pro-Lifers who refuse to demand that the government raise taxes to provide funds for education, medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and so on for each and every child who is “saved” are (repeat after me) hypocrites. Fundamentalists who ravage the environment to make money are sinners. Pat Buchanan has no values except greed.

    2 Deploy the language of prejudice and exclusion by (for example) insistently feminizing right-wing males. Elected stooges of multinational capitalism are “whores”; candidates who turn a blind eye when workers are “downsized” into lower paying jobs are “cowards”; men who harass women on the job are “wimps who can’t get a date.” Officials who claim they cannot or should not intervene to help the homeless, the sick, the dying are “impotent.” The NRA should be ridiculed for playing with phallic symbols to compenstae for their psychosexual dysfunctions. Obviously, reproducing such rhetoric tends to reinscribe the dynamic of prejudice and exclusion that many of us are dedicated to overcoming. But politics is not about purity: the squeamish need to ask themselves whether living through the jihad that President Buchanan would visit upon us is a price worth paying for claiming the supposed moral high ground.

    3 As Bérubé argues, the Left’s basic problem is that it lacks the financial resources of the Right; this unequal distribution of wealth and power is unlikely to change soon. Consequently, it becomes imperative for progressives, feminists, radicals, greens, pinkos, and reds to concentrate their financial resources in areas likely to have the most benefit. My suggestion, then, is that we scale back our commitments to worthy causes (ACT UP, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, battered women’s shelters, the United Negro College Fund, Ducks Unlimited, NPR, you name it), pool our resources, and…buy CBS. I wish I were kidding. But the ideology of corporate command, control, and communication renders us little choice if we want to sell out successfully enough to buy a fair share of political power and cultural capital. Left-Wing TV might bring back Gore Vidal to prime time as a Commentator on the CBS Evening News, offer variations on programs such as X-Files by hiring the best writers and producers to promote left-wing conspiracy theories: sexy agents combating corporate skullduggery; white supremacists in league with hostile aliens; mysterious conspiracies at the highest levels of telecommunications; and lonely forest rangers fighting off evil corporations intent on gutting the environment. There should be sympathetic portrayals of lesbian police officers, gay physicians, African-American labor organizers, and so on. If the Left is to counter the cultural dominance of right-wing talk shows, it needs the cultured voice of Gore Vidal intoning nightly that the political spectrum in the United States runs from the Right to the Far Right.

    4 Get our own house in order by taking back our universities. One example of effective collective action. Imagine the end of the Fall Semester 1996. Professors all over the country rise up and give every scholarship basketball player in the country a real set of finals: “Discuss the influence of Hegel on Kierkegaard.” “Analyze the significance of Walter Lippman’s concept of the stereotype on the image of the African-American athlete.” “What are the implications of Coase`s theorem for negotiations between professional athletes and franchise owners?” This may sound like a vicious case of harassing the pawns by asking scholarship athletes (a high percentage of whom are African-American) to do work that almost all of their peers would fail abjectly to do, but such collective action could be the springboard to insist that scholarship athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year be paid stipends (much like research assistants). Think, too, of network executives (spending a half billion dollars a year on college basketball) stuck with a Final Four tournament that consists of walk-ons and white guys shooting two-hand set shots on national TV. Most educated Americans - doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs - have little idea of the wages and working conditions of most college and university instructors, particularly part-timers. Instead of the disinformation campaigns presented at half-time of basketball and football games - half nostalgic images of ivy-strangled halls and half glitzy promos of hi-tech venture capitalism, show lines of students trying to get into closed out classes.

    5 The African-American athlete is sadly underused by the Left. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Grant Hill, and so on exist for most Americans in a depoliticized state of glamorous consumption, as though their multi-million dollar contracts and highly publicized lifestyles negate the economic and cultural disadvantages of millions of African-Americans. A trivia question for cultural critics: who is Kellen Winslow and why am I bringing up his name now?

    6 Finally, counter the Right’s simplistic slogans with simplistic slogans of our own. A general purpose campaign slogan to use against Republicans: “Your jobs going overseas.”

    Irving Howe? Russell Jacoby? Shana Alexander? Alexander Cockburn. Hunter Thompson. Molly Ivins. Left intellectuals need to resist the blandishments of a rationalistic politics that remain tied to models of cause and effect, to the siren song that we can reason our way into cultural and political significance. How’s this for a slogan for the resurrection of the Left? “There’s only one Party in this country, and you’re not invited.”


               RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy        
    2012-09-11 05:23:43 - 2gg : RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy
               RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy        
    2012-09-11 04:00:59 - gianlucaSB : RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy
              Don't tell people to turn off Windows Update, just don't        
    Troy Hunt hits some nails on their heads: If you had any version of Windows since Vista running the default Windows Update, you would have had the critical Microsoft Security Bulletin known as "MS17-010" pushed down to your PC and automatically installed. Without doing a thing, when WannaCry came along almost 2 months later, the machine was protected because the exploit it targeted had already been patched. It's because of this essential protection provided by automatic updates that those advocating for disabling the process are being labelled the IT equivalents of anti-vaxxers and whilst I don't fully agree with real world analogies like this, you can certainly see where they're coming from. As with vaccinations, patches protect the host from nasty things that the vast majority of people simply don't understand. Great article, which also goes into Windows Update itself for a bit.
               RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy        
    2012-09-11 03:23:07 - nicolasbrulez : RT @DrM_fr: Protecting web service from botnet exploitations http://tco/b2YXdSY1 #phd #thesis #botnets via @aszy
               nullcon Delhi: Relasing framework AEF for exploitation, malware and botnets research/testing on Android devices http://tco/muP6hn8X        
    2012-08-02 10:28:58 - nullcon : nullcon Delhi: Relasing framework AEF for exploitation, malware and botnets research/testing on Android devices http://tco/muP6hn8X
              100% libre, c'est possible?        
    J’en parlais ici et ici. Mon expérimentation concernant un système d’exploitation complètement libre. J’avais porté mon premier choix, puisque j’avais entendu parler de sa philosophie, sur Gnu/Debian. Ma principale appréhension était la qualité de ma navigation dans internet sans le fameux plug-in propriétaire Flash d’adobe. Après une semaine, et la découverte de Swfdec pour le […]
              Cut Shoot Kill: They’re Dying to Make a Horror Movie        
    This film must have had some awkward casting calls. Someone had to explain to applicants it is the story of a group of psychotic horror movie-makers who are killing off their cast-members for real. Don’t worry, it will be a perfectly safe shoot in remote Hill Country, PA. Yet, they obviously had no trouble getting thesps to sign on. Likewise, the scarcity of acting gigs causes Serena Brooks to overlook a lot of weirdness in screenwriter-director Michael Walker’s Cut Shoot Kill (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

    Brooks is not crazy about doing a grisly slasher movie, but at least she is the star. She will also appear opposite Blake Stone, a semi-famous former child-star. However, the rest of her co-stars seem to mysteriously vanish immediately after their final scenes. Stone assures her the producers are just extremely cost-conscious and the director Alabama Chapman is unusually intense, but Brooks soon suspects there is some involuntary method-acting going on.

    To its credit, CSK does not waste our time with fake metaness. We won’t have to sit through interminable it’s-all-just-a-fake-except-its-really-real switcheroos. No “buts” about it, Chapman and his crew are truly killing the supporting players. Fortunately, Brooks is the star, but her predecessor’s fate is not so reassuring.

    Walker offers some sly commentary on the actor’s myopically neurotic mindset, but in general, CSK is pretty standard stuff. As such, it is a rather dramatic departure from his issue-oriented thriller, The Maid’s Room. Although less ambitious, CSK is far more honest about what it is and what it means.

    As Brooks, Alexandra Socha makes a decent final girl. Phil Burke plays off her quite effectively as the unrepentantly cynical Stone. He easily gets the film’s best line and makes the most of it. Alex Hurt is appropriately intense as the murderously driven Chapman, but most of the rest of the homicidal crew are interchangeable stock characters.

    CSK has its merits, but they are not enough to boost the film to the next level up from exploitation programmer. Watchable but not special enough to recommend, Cut Shoot Kill releases today on VOD.
              Kew Gardens ’17: Persona Non Grata        
    Japanese diplomat Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara was forbidden entry by the Soviets, expelled by the Germans, and demoted by his own foreign ministry. Those events certainly buttress a favorable judgement from history, but they did not do his career any favors. Sugihara was ill-advisedly principled throughout his diplomatic tenure, but his decision to issue travel visas to Jewish refugees while serving as the Japanese consul in Lithuania earned him recognition as one of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem. Sugihara’s pre-war exploits and wartime heroics are chronicled in Cellin Gluck’s Persona Non Grata: The Chiune Sugihara Story (trailer here), which screens during the first ever Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema.

    Fluent in Russian and well educated in Russian history, Sugihara aspired to a Russian posting. However, his intelligence gathering in Manchuria, with respect to the disposition of the Northern Manchuria Railroad, bitterly antagonized the Soviets. As a result, he was declared persona non grata before he was even posted to Russia. Instead, Sugihara was dispatched to Lithuania, a convenient vantage-point for watching the Soviets.

    Initially, Kaunas is quite pleasant for Sugihara and his wife Yukiko. He quickly comes to an arrangement with Pesh, a maybe not-so-former Polish intelligence officer, who helps Sugihara keep tabs on the Russians and Germans, in exchange for the occasional travel document. By the time Jewish refugees, primarily but not exclusively from Poland start flooding Kaunas, Sugihara heads the only still functioning quasi-neutral consulate. Although the Tripartite Pact is an acknowledged inevitability, Sugihara starts issuing travel visas to the refugees, as quickly as he and his staff can stamp them.

    Not surprisingly, the Foreign Ministry is less than ecstatic over his actions, but they transfer him to a sensitive posting in Germany anyway. Obviously, saving thousands of lives is a big deal, but there is even more to his story. In fact, the Prussian section is unexpectedly fascinating, because it offers up a very different perspective on the War.

    Through Sugihara’s Cassandra-like warnings to his superiors, Gluck and co-screenwriters Tetsuro Kamata and Hiromichi Matsuo suggest Japan always considered Russia their natural enemy, which made the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact awkward, but ironically desirable. According to the film, they were counting on Germany’s help against the Americans and British in the Pacific, but when Hitler attacked Russia, it consigned them to facing the Yanks (and Brits) alone, thereby sealing their fate. Apparently, his analysis of German intentions did not sit well with the National Socialists, who also declared Sugihara persona non grata.

    Admittedly, a figure like Sugihara would be intimidating to portray, but Toshiaki Karasawa largely plays it safe (and rather stiffly). However, Koyuki is terrific as Yukiko, Sugihara’s wife and his conscience when he needs it. She perfectly delivers a pivotal exchange—too quiet and humanistic to be called a big speech—that could earn her award consideration if anyone picks up Gluck’s film. Borys Szyc is also compulsively watchable as the slightly roguish but deeply earnest Pesh.

    The fact that Persona Non Grata has not screened more widely at festivals is absolutely baffling. After all, it addresses the Holocaust, as well as a past refugee crisis, which offers the appeal of contemporary relevancy. It also happens to be a good film. Unfortunately, it might be too smart for its own good. Highly recommended for the heart and mind, Persona Non Grata screens this Wednesday afternoon (8/9) as part of the inaugural Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema.
              Fantasia ’17: Kodoku Meatball Machine        
    It is sort of like Stephen King’s Under the Doom, but with gallons more gore. The director claims he used four tons of fake blood, but that sounds like a conservative estimate based on what’s on the screen. Regardless, a neighborhood filled with some of the worst people in Tokyo is in for a mutated beatdown when a cosmic bell jar cuts them off from the rest of the city in mad man Yoshihiro Nishimura’s Kodoku Meatball Machine (trailer here), which screened during the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival.

    Job never knew how good he had it, compared to poor, put-upon Yuji. The would-be debt collector is a magnet for all the neighborhood’s bullies, grifters, and freeloaders. He was already deeply in debt when he received a terminal cancer diagnosis. He is about ready to just cash-in, but he still finds himself attracted to Kaoru, the pretty girl working at his local used bookstore. Unfortunately, she is involved in an exploitative cult.

    The hits just keep coming when an evil little boy in the cult frames Yuji for assaulting him. However, at least he will be safely tucked away in jail when the bell jar lands. The less “fortunate” will have embarrassing body parts sheared off by the impenetrable barrier. Once the neighborhood is cut off, some sort of space parasite starts infecting Yuji’s neighbors, turning them into rabid bio-mecha killing machines. They get to Yuji too, but he is able to maintain control of his new cyborg-like body, thanks to his cancerous blood. Old enemies become allies when the altered Yuji teams up with a dojo of ex-cops to save Kaoru from her infected guru.

    Believe it or not, Nishimura actually makes us care about Yuji and Kaoru. They deserve better than they’ve ever got or are likely to get. However, the reason to see a Nishimura movie is the wildly gory practical effects and maybe some bare breasts. He does not disappoint on either score, particularly the former. Four tons worth. However, the bizarre harlequin-witches who usher in the alien occupation are devilishly intriguing, especially since they are played by Eihi Shiina, best known as the femme fatale for the ages in Takashi Miike’s Audition.

    Right, at least four tons of fake blood. You can’t say you don’t know what you’re getting into with KMM. It should safely vault Nishimura past Noboru Iguchi to become the uncontested king of Japanese gore. Yet, the fact that he maintains a semblance of a human element amid all the berserk chaos is rather impressive. If you dig Nishimura, this Meatball is your huckleberry. Recommended accordingly, Kodoku Meatball Machine has another high-profile international festival screening coming up at Fright Fest UK, following its Canadian premiere at this year’s Fantasia.
              Crinkler secrets, 4k intro executable compressor at its best        
    (Edit 5 Jan 2011: New Compression results section and small crinkler x86 decompressor analysis)

    If you are not familiar with 4k intros, you may wonder how things are organized at the executable level to achieve this kind of packing-performance. Probably the most important and essential aspect of 4k-64k intros is the compressor, and surprisingly, 4k intros have been well equipped for the past five years, as Crinkler is the best compressor developed so far for this category. It has been created by Blueberry (Loonies) and Mentor (tbc), two of the greatest demomakers around.

    Last year, I started to learn a bit more about the compression technique used in Crinkler. It started from some pouet's comments that intrigued me, like "crinkler needs several hundred of mega-bytes to compress/decompress a 4k intros" (wow) or "when you want to compress an executable, It can take hours, depending on the compressor parameters"... I observed also bad comrpession result, while trying to convert some part of C++ code to asm code using crinkler... With this silly question, I realized that in order to achieve better compression ratio, you better need a code that is comrpession friendly but is not necessarily smaller. Or in other term, the smaller asm code is not always the best candidate for better compression under crinkler... so right, I needed to understand how crinkler was working in order to code crinkler-friendly code...

    I just had a basic knowledge about compression, probably the last book I bought about compression was more than 15 years ago to make a presentation about jpeg compression for a physics courses (that was a way to talk about computer related things in a non-computer course!)... I remember that I didn't go further in the book, and stopped just before arithmetic encoding. Too bad, that's exactly one part of crinkler's compression technique, and has been widely used for the past few years (and studied for the past 40 years!), especially in compressors like H.264!

    So wow, It took me a substantial amount of time to jump again on the compressor's train and to read all those complicated-statistical articles to understand how things are working... but that was worth it! In the same time, I spent a bit of my time to dissect crinkler's decompressor, extract the code decompressor in order to comment it and to compare its implementation with my little-own-test in this field... I had a great time to do this, although, in the end, I found that whatever I could do, under 4k, Crinkler is probably the best compressor ever.

    You will find here an attempt to explain a little bit more what's behind Crinkler. I'm far from being a compressor expert, so if you are familiar with context-modeling, this post may sounds a bit light, but I'm sure It could be of some interest for people like me, that are discovering things like this and want to understand how they make 4k intros possible!


    Crinkler main principles


    If you want a bit more information, you should have a look at the "manual.txt" file in the crinkler's archive. You will find here lots of valuable information ranging from why this project was created to what kind of options you can setup for crinkler. There is also an old but still accurate and worth to look at powerpoint presentation from the author themselves that is available here.

    First of all, you will find that crinkler is not strictly speaking an executable compressor but is rather an integrated linker-compressor. In fact, in the intro dev tool chain, It's used as part of the building process and is used inplace of your traditional linker.... while crinkler has the ability to compress its output. Why crinkler is better suited at this place? Most notably because at the linker level, crinkler has access to portions of your code, your data, and is able to move them around in order to achieve better compression. Though, for this choice, I'm not completely sure, but this could be also implemented as a standard exe compressor, relying on relocation tables in the PE sections of the executable and a good disassembler like beaengine in order to move the code around and update references... So, crinkler, cr-linker, compressor-linker, is a linker with an integrated compressor.

    Secondly, crinkler is using a compression method that is far more aggressive and efficient than any old dictionary-coder-LZ methods : it's called context modeling coupled with an arithmetic coder. As mentioned in the crinkler's manual, the best place I found to learn about this was Matt Mahoney resource website. This is definitely the place to start when you want to play with context modeling, as there are lots of sourcecode, previous version of PAQ program, from which you can learn gradually how to build such a compressor (more particularly in earlier version of the program, when the design was still simple to handle). Building a context-modelling based compressor/decompressor is almost accessible from any developer, but one of the strength of crinkler is its decompressor size : around 210-220 bytes, which makes it probably the most efficient and smaller context-modelling decompressor in the world. We will see also that crinkler made one of the simplest choice for a context-modelling compressor, using a semi-static model in order to achieve better compression for 4k of datas, resulting in a less complex decompressor code as well.

    Lastly, crinkler is optimizing the usage of the exe-PE file (which is the Windows Portable Executable format, the binary format of the a windows executable file, official description is available here). Mostly by removing the standard import table and dll loading in favor of a custom loader that exploit internal windows structure as well as storing function hashing in the header of the PE files to recover dll functions.

    Compression method


    Arithmetic coding


    The whole compression problem in crinkler can be summarized like this: what is the probability of the next bit to compress/decompress to be 1? The better is the probability (meaning by matching the expecting result bit), the better is the compression ratio. Hence, Crinkler needs to be a little bit psychic?!

    First of all, you probably wonder why probability is important here. This is mainly due to one compression technique called arithmetic coding. I won't go into the detail here and encourage the reader to read about the wikipedia article and related links. The main principle of arithmetic coding is its ability to encode into a single number a set of symbols for which you know their probability to occur. The higher the probability is for a known symbol, the lower the number of bits will be required to encode its compressed counterpart.

    At the bit level, things are getting even simpler, since the symbols are only 1 or 0. So if you can provide a probability for the next bit (even if this probability is completely wrong), you are able to encode it through an arithmetic coder.

    A simple binary arithmetic coder interface could look like this:
    /// Simple ArithmeticCoder interface
    class ArithmeticCoder {

    /// Decode a bit for a given probability.
    /// Decode returns the decoded bit 1 or 0
    int Decode(Bitstream inputStream, double probabilityForNextBit);

    /// Encode a bit (nextBit) with a given probability
    void Encode(Bitstream outputStream, int nextBit, double probabilityForNextBit);
    }

    And a simple usage of this ArithmeticCoder could look like this:
    // Initialize variables
    Bitstream inputCompressedStream = ...;
    Bitstream outputStream = ...;
    ArithmeticCoder coder;
    Context context = ...;

    // Simple decoder implem using an arithmetic coder
    for(int i = 0; i < numberOfBitsToDecode; i++) {
    // Made usage of our psychic alias Context class
    double nextProbability = context.ComputeProbability();

    // Decode the next bit from the compressed stream, based on this
    // probability
    int nextBit = coder.Decode( inputCompressedStream, nextProbability);

    // Update the psychic and tell him, how much wrong or right he was!
    context.UpdateModel( nextBit, nextProbability);

    // Output the decoded bit
    outputStream.Write(nextBit);
    }

    So a Binary Arithmetic Coder is able to compress a stream of bits, if you are able to tell him what's the probability for the next bit in the stream. Its usage is fairly simple, although their implementations are often really tricky and sometimes quite obscure (a real arithmetic implementation should face lots of small problems : renormalization, underflow, overflow...etc.).

    Working at the bit level here wouldn't have been possible 20 years ago, as It requires a tremendous amount of CPU (and memory for the psychic-context) in order to calculate/encode a single bit, but with nowadays computer power, It's less a problem... Lots of implem are working at the byte level for better performance, some of them can work at the bit level while still batching the decoding/encoding results at the byte level. Crinkler doesn't care about this and is working at the bit level, making the arithmetic decoder in less than 20 x86 ASM instructions.

    The C++ pseudo-code for an arithmetic decoder is like this:

    int ArithmeticCoder::Decode(Bitstream inputStream, double nextProbability) {
    int output = 0; // the decoded symbol

    // renormalization
    while (range < 0x80000000) {
    range <<= 1;
    value <<= 1;
    value += inputStream.GetNextBit();
    }

    unsigned int subRange = (range * nextProbability);
    range = range - subRange;
    if (value >= range) { // we have the symbol 1
    value = value - range;
    range = subRange;
    output++; // output = 1
    }

    return output;
    }

    This is almost exactly what is used in crinkler, but this done in only 18 asm instructions! The crinkler arithmetic coder is using a 33 bit precision. The decoder only needs to handle up to 0x80000000 limit renormalization while the encoder needs to work on 64 bit to handle the 33 bit precision. This is much more convenient to work at this precision for the decoder, as it is able to easily detect renormalization (0x80000000 is in fact a negative number. The loop could have been formulated like while (range >= 0), and this is how it is done in asm).

    So the arithmetic coder is the basic component used in crinkler. You will find plenty of arithmetic coder examples on Internet. Even if you don't fully understand the theory behind them, you can use them quite easily. I found for example an interesting project called flavor, which provides a tool to produce some arithmetic coders code based on a formal description (For example, a 32bit precision arithmetic coder description in flavor), pretty handy to understand how things are translated from different coder behaviors.

    But, ok, the real brain here is not the arithmetic coder... but the psychic-context (the Context class above) which is responsible to provide a probability and to update its model based on the previous expectation. This is where a compressor is making the difference.

    Context modeling - Context mixing


    This is one great point about using an arithmetic coder: they can be decoupled from the component responsible to provide the probability for the next symbol. This component is called a context-modeling.

    What is the context? It is whatever data can help your context-modeler to evaluate the probability for the next symbol to occur. Thus, the most obvious data for a compressor-decompressor is to use previous decoded data to update its internal probability table.

    Suppose you have the following sequence of 8 bytes 0x7FFFFFFF,0xFFFFFFFF that is already decoded. What will be the next bit? It is certainly to be a 1, and you could bet on it as high as 98% of probability.

    So this is not a surprise that using history of data is the key point for the context modeler to predict next bit (and well, we have to admit that our computer-psychic is not as good as he claims, as he needs to know the past to predict the future!).

    Now that we know that to produce a probability for the next bit, we need to use historic data, how crinkler is using them? Crinkler is in fact maintaining a table of probability, up to 8 bytes + the current bits already read before the next bit. In the context-modeling jargon, it's often called the order (before context modeling, there was technique developped like PPM  for Partial Predition Matching and DMC for dynamic markov compression). But crinkler is using not only the last x bytes (up to 8), but sparse mode (as it is mentioned in PAQ compressors), a combination of the last 8 bytes + the current bits already read. Crinkler calls this a model: It is stored into a single byte :
    • The 0x00 model says that It doesn't use any previous bytes other than the current bits being read.
    • The 0x80 model says that it is using the previous byte + the current bits being read.
    • The 0x81 model says that is is using the previous byte and the -8th byte + the current bits being read.
    • The 0xFF model says that all 8 previous bytes are used
    You probably don't see yet how this is used. We are going to take a simple case here: Use the previous byte to predict the next bit (called the model 0x80).

    Suppose the sequence of datas :

    0xFF, 0x80, 0xFF, 0x85, 0xFF, 0x88, 0xFF
    , ???nextBit???
    (0) (1) (2) (3) | => decoder position

    • At position 0, we know that 0xFF is followed by bit 1 (0x80 <=> 10000000b). So n0 = 0, n1 = 1 (n0 denotes the number of 0 that follows 0xFF, n1 denotes the number of 1 that usually follows 0xFF)
    • At position 1, we know that 0xFF is still followed by bit 1: n0 = 0, n1 = 2
    • At position 2, n0 = 0, n1 = 3
    • At position 3, we have n0 = 0, n1 = 3, making the probability for one p(1) = (n1 + eps) / ( n0+eps + n1+eps). eps for epsilon, lets take 0.01. We have p(1) = (2+0.01)/(0+0.01 + 2+0.01) = 99,50%

    So we have the probability of 99,50% at position (3) that the next bit is a 1.

    The principle here is simple: For each model and an historic value, we associate n0 and n1, the number of bits found for bit 0 (n0) and bit 1 (n1). Updating those n0/n1 counters needs to be done carefully : a naive approach would be to increment according values when a particular training bit is found... but there is more chance that recent values are more relevant than olders.... Matt Mahoney explained this in The PAQ1 Data Compression Program, 2002. (Describes PAQ1), and describes how to efficiently update those counters for a non-stationary source of data :
    • If the training bit is y (0 or 1) then increment ny (n0 or n1).
    • If n(1-y) > 2, then set n(1-y) = n(1-y) / 2 + 1 (rounding down if odd).

    Suppose for example that n0 = 3 and n1 = 4 and we have a new bit 1. Then n0 will be = n0/2 + 1 = 3/2+1=2 and n1 = n1 + 1 = 5

    Now, we know how to produce a single probability for a single model... but working with a single model (for exemple, only the previous byte) wouldn't be enough to evaluate correctly the next bit. Instead, we need a way to combine different models (different selection of historic data). This is called context-mixing, and this is the real power of context modeling: whatever is your method to collect and calculate a probability, you can, at some point, mix severals estimator to calculate a single probability.

    There are several ways to mix those probabilities. In the pure context-modeling jargon,  the model is the way you mix probabilities and for each model, you have a weight :
    • static: you determine the weights whatever the data are.
    • semi-static: you perform a 1st pass over the data to compress to determine the weights for each model, and them a 2nd pass with the best weights
    • adaptive: weights are updated dynamically as new bits are discovered.

    Crinkler is using a semi-static context-mixing but is somewhat also "semi-adaptive", because It is using different weights for the code of your exe, and the data of your exe, as they have a different binary layout.

    So how this is mixed-up? Crinkler needs to determine the best context-models (the combination of historic data) that It will use, assign for each of those context a weight. The weight is then used to calculate the final probability.


    For each selected historic model (i) with an associated model weight wi, and ni0/ni1 bit counters, the final probability p(1) is calculated like this :

    p(1) = Sum(  wi * ni1 / (ni0 + ni1))  / Sum ( wi )

    This is exactly what is done in the code above for context.ComputeProbability();, and this is exactly what crinkler is doing.

    In the end, crinkler is selecting a list of models for each type of section in your exe: a set of models for the code section, a set of models for the data section.

    How many models crinkler is selecting? It depends on your data. For example, for ergon intro,crinklers is selecting the following models:

    For the code section:
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    Model {0x00,0x20,0x60,0x40,0x80,0x90,0x58,0x4a,0xc0,0xa8,0xa2,0xc5,0x9e,0xed,}
    Weight { 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 6, 6,}

    For the data section:
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
    Model {0x40,0x60,0x44,0x22,0x08,0x84,0x07,0x00,0xa0,0x80,0x98,0x54,0xc0,0xe0,0x91,0xba,0xf0,0xad,0xc3,0xcd,}
    Weight { 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5,}
    (note that in crinkler, the final weight used to multiply n1/n0+n1 is by 2^w, and not wi itself).

    Wow, does it means that crinkler needs to store those datas in your exe. (14 bytes + 20 bytes) * 2 = 68 bytes? Well, crinkler authors are smarter than this! In fact the models are stored, but weights are only store in a single int (32 bits for each section). Yep, a single int to stored those weights? Indeed: if you look at those weights, they are increasing, sometimes they are equal... So they found a clever way to store a compact representation of those weights in a 32 bit form. Starting with a weight of 1, the 32bit weight is shifted by one bit to the left : If this is 0, than the currentWeight doesn't change, if bit is 1, than currentWeight is incremented by 1 : (in this pseudo-code, shift is done to the right)

    int currentWeight = 1;
    int compactWeight = ....;
    foreach (model in models) {
      if ( compactWeight & 1 )
        currentWeigh++;
      compactWeight =  compactWeight >> 1;

    //  ... used currentWeight for current model
    }

    This way, crinkler is able to store a compact form of pairs (model/weight) for each type of data in your executable (code or pure data).

    Model selection


    Model selection is one of the key process of crinkler. For a particular set of datas, what is the best selection of models? You start with 256 models (all the combinations of the 8 previous bytes) and you need to determine the best selection of models. You have to take into account that each time you are using a model, you need to use 1 byte in your final executable to store this model. Model selection is part of crinkler compressor but is not part of crinkler decompressor. The decompressor just need to know the list of the final models used to compress the data, but doesn't care about intermediate results. On the other hand, the compressor needs to test every combination of model, and find an appropriate weight for each model.

    I have tested several methods in my test code and try to recover the method used in crinkler, without achieving comparable compression ratio... I tried some brute force algo without any success... The selection algorithm is probably a bit clever than the one I have tested, and would probably require to layout mathematics/statistics formulas/combination to select an accurate method.

    Finally, blueberry has given their method (thanks!)

    "To answer your question about the model selection process, it is actually not very clever. We step through the models in bit-mirrored numerical order (i.e. 00, 80, 40, C0, 20 etc.) and for each step do the following:

    - Check if compression improves by adding the model to the current set of models (taking into account the one extra byte to store the model).

    - If so, add the model, and then step through every model in the current set and remove it if compression improves by doing so.

    The difference between FAST and SLOW compression is that SLOW optimizes the model weights for every comparison between model sets, whereas FAST uses a heuristic for the model weights (number of bits set in the model mask).
    "


    On the other hand, I tried a fully adaptive context modelling approach, using dynamic weight calculation explained by Matt Mahoney with neural networks and stretch/squash functions (look at PAQ on wikipedia). It was really promising, as I was able to achieve sometimes better compression ratio than crinkler... but at the cost of a decompressor 100 bytes heavier... and even I was able to save 30 to 60 bytes for the compressed data, I was still off by 40-70 bytes... so under 4k, this approach was definitely not as efficient as a semi-static approach chosen by crinkler.

    Storing probabilities


    If you have correctly followed the previous model selection, crinkler is now working with a set of models (selection of history data), for each bit that is found, each model probabilities must be updated...

    But think about it: for example, if to predict the following bit, we are using the probabilities for the 8 previous bytes, it means that for every combination of 8 bytes already found in the decoded data, we would have a pair of n0/n1 counters?

    That would mean that we could have the folowing probabilities to update for the context 0xFF (8 previous bytes):
    - "00 00 00 00 c0 00 00 50 00" => some n0/n1
    - "00 00 70 00 00 00 00 F2 01" => another n0/n1
    - "00 00 00 40 00 00 00 30 02" => another n0/n1
    ...etc.

    and if we have other models like 0x80 (previous byte), or 0xC0 (the last 2 previous bytes), we would have also different counters for them:

    // For model 0x80
    - "00" => some n0/n1
    - "01" => another n0/n1
    - "02" => yet another n0/n1
    ...

    // For model 0xC0
    - "50 00" => some bis n0/n1
    - "F2 01" => another bis n0/n1
    - "30 02" => yet another bis n0/n1
    ...

    From the previous model context, I have slightly over simplified the fact that not only the previous bytes is used, but also the current bits being read. In fact, when we are using for example the model 0x80 (using the previous byte), the context of the historic data is composed not only by the previous byte, but also by the bits being read on the current octet. This implies obviously that for every bit read, there is a different context. Suppose we have the sequence 0x75, 0x86 (in binary 10000110b), the position of the encoded bits is just after the 0x75 value and that we are using the previous byte + the bits currently read:

    First, we start on a byte boundary
    - 0x75 with 0 bit (we start with 0) is followed by bit 1 (the 8 of 0x85). The context is 0x75 + 0 bit read
    - We read one more bit, we have a new context :  0x75 + bit 1. This context is followed by a 0
    - We read one more bit, we have a new context :  0x75 + bit 10. This context is followed by a 0.
    ...
    - We read one more bit, we have a new context :  0x75 + bit 1000011, that is followed by a 0 (and we are ending on a byte boundary).

    Reading 0x75 followed by 0x86, with a model using only the previous byte, we finally have 8 context with their own n0/n1 to store in the probability table.

    As you can see, It is obvious that It's difficult to store all context found (.i.e for each single bit decoded, there is a different context of historic bytes) and their respective exact probability counters, without exploding the RAM. Moreover if you think about the number of models that are used by crinkler: 14 types of different historic previous bytes selection for ergon's code!

    This kind of problem is often handled using a hashtable while handling collisions. This is what is done in some of the PAQ compressors. Crinkler is also using an hashtable to store counter probabilities, with the association context_history_of_bytes = > (n0/n1), but It is not handling collision in order to keep minimal the size of the decompressor. As usual, the hash function used by crinkler is really tiny while still giving really good results.

    So instead of having the association between  context_history_of_bytes => n0/n1, we are using a hashing function, hash(context_history_of_bytes) => n0/n1. Then, the dictionary that is storing all those associations needs to be correctly dimensioned, large enough, to store as much as possible associations found while decoding/encoding the data.

    Like in PAQ compressors, crinkler is using one byte for each counter, meaning that n0 and n1 together are taking 16 bit, 2 bytes. So if you instruct crinkler to use a hashtable of 100Mo, It will be possible to store 50 millions of different keys, meaning different historic context of bytes and their respective probability counters. There is a little remark about crinkler and the byte counter: in PAQ compressors, limits are handled, meaning that if a counter is going above 255, It will stuck to 255... but crinkler made the choice to not test the limits in order to keep the code smaller (although, that would take less than 6 bytes to test the limit). What is the impact of this choice? Well, if you know crinkler, you are aware that crinkler doesn't handle large section of "zeros" or whatever empty initialized data. This is just because the probabilities are looping from 255 to 0, meaning that you jump from a 100% probability (probably accurate) to almost a 0% probability (probably wrong)  every 256 bytes. Is this really hurting the compression? Well, It would hurt a lot if crinkler was used for larger executable, but in a 4k, It's not hurting so much (although, It could hurt if you really have large portions of initialized data). Also, not all the context are reseted at the same time (a 8 byte context will not probably reset as often as a 1 byte context), so it means that final probability calculation is still accurate... while there is a probability that is reseted, other models with their own probabilities are still counting there... so this is not a huge issue.

    What happens also if the hash for a different context is giving the same value? Well, the model is then updating the wrong probability counters. If the hashtable is too small the probability counters may really be too much disturbed and they would provide a less accurate final probability. But if the hashtable is large enough, collisions are less likely to happen.

    Thus, it is quite common to use a hashtable as large as 256 to 512Mo if you want, although 256Mo is often enough, but the larger is your hashtable, the less are collisions, the more accurate is your probability. Recall from the beginning of this post, and you should understand now why "crinkler can take several hundreds of megabytes to decompress"... simply because of this hashtable that store all the probabilities for the next bit for all models combination used.

    If you are familiar with crinkler, you already know the option to find a best possible hashsize for an initial hashtable size and a number of tries (hashtries option). This part is responsible to test different size of hashtable (like starting from 100Mo, and reducing the size by 2 bytes 30 times, and test the final compression) and test final compression result. This is a way to empirically reduce collision effects by selecting the hashsize that is giving the better compression ratio (meaning less collisions in the hash). Although this option is only able to help you save a couple of bytes, no more.


    Data reordering and type of data


    Reordering or organizing differently the data to have a better compression is one of the common technique in compression methods. Sometimes for example, Its better to store deltas of values than to store values themselves...etc.

    Crinkler is using this principle to perform data reordering. At the linker level, crinkler has access to portion of datas and code, and is able to move those portions around in order to achieve a better compression ratio. This is really easy to understand : suppose that you have a series initialized zero values in your data section. If those values are interleaved with non zero values, the counter probabilities will switch from "there are plenty of zero there" to "ooops, there are some other datas"... and the final probability will balance between 90% to 20%. Grouping data that are similar is a way to improve the overall probability correctness.

    This part is the most time consuming, as It needs to move and arrange all portions of your executable around, and test which arrangement is giving the best compression result. But It's paying to use this option, as you may be able to save 100 bytes in the end just with this option.

    One thing that is also related to data reordering is the way crinkler is handling separately the binary code and the data of your executable. Why?, because their binary representation is different, leading to a completely different set of probabilities. If you look at the selected models for ergon, you will find that code and data models are quite different. Crinkler is using this to achieve better performance here. In fact, crinkler is compressing completely separately the code and the datas. Code has its own models and weights, Data another set of models and weights. What does it means internally? Crinkler is using a set of model and weights to decode the code section of your exectuable. Once finished, It will erase the probability counters stored in the hashtable-dictionary, and go to the data section, with new models and weights. Reseting all counters to 0 in the middle of decompressing is improving compression by a factor of 2-4%, which is quite impressive and valuable for a 4k (around 100 to 150 bytes).

    I found that even with an adaptive model (with a neural networks dynamically updating the weights), It is still worth to reset the probabilities between code and data decompression. In fact, reseting the probabilities is an empirical way to instruct the context modeling that datas are so different that It's better to start from scratch with new probability counters. If you think about it, an improved demo compressor (for larger exectuable, for example under 64k) could be clever to detect those portions of datas that are enough different that It would be better to reset the dictionary than to keep it as it is.

    There is just one last thing about weights handling in crinkler. When decoding/encoding, It seems that crinkler is artificially increasing the weights for the first discovered bit. This little trick is improving compression ratio by about 1 to 2% which is not bad. Having higher weights at the beginning enable to have a better response of the compressor/decompressor, even If it doesn't still have enough data to compute a correct probability. Increasing the weights is helping the compression ratio at cold start.

    Crinkler is also able to transform the x86 code for the executable part to improve compression ratio. This technique is widely used and consist of replacing relative jump (conditionnal, function calls...etc.) to absolute jump, leading to a better compression ratio.

    Custom DLL LoadLibrary and PE file optimization


    In order to strip down the size of an executable, It's necessary to exploit as much as possible the organization of a PE file.

    First thing that crinkler is using is that lots of part in a PE files are not used at all. If you want to know how a windows executable PE files can be reduced, I suggest you read Tiny PE article, which is a good way to understand what is actually used by a PE loader. Unlike the Tiny PE sample, where the author is moving the PE header to the dos header, crinkler made the choice to use this unused place to store hash values that are used to reference DLL functions used.

    This trick is called import by hashing and is quite common in intro's compressor. Probably what make crinkler a little bit more advanced is that to perform the "GetProcAddress" (which is responsible to get the pointer to a function from a function name), crinkler is navigating inside internal windows process structure in order to directly get the address of the functions from the in-memory import table. Indeed, you won't find any import section table in a crinklerized executable. Everything is re-discovered through internal windows structures. Those structures are not officially documented but you can find some valuable information around, most notably here.

    If you look at crinkler's code stored in the crinkler import section, which is the code injected just before the intros start, in order to load all dll functions, you will find those cryptics calls like this:
    //
    (0) MOV EAX, FS:[BX+0x30]
    (1) MOV EAX, [EAX+0xC]
    (2) MOV EAX, [EAX+0xC]
    (3) MOV EAX, [EAX]
    (4) MOV EAX, [EAX]
    (5) MOV EBP, [EAX+0x18]


    This is done by going through internal structures:
    • (0) first crinklers gets a pointer to the "PROCESS ENVIRONMENT BLOCK (PEB)" with the instruction  MOV EAX, FS:[BX+0x30]. EAX is now pointing to the PEB 
    Public Type PEB 
    InheritedAddressSpace As Byte
    ReadImageFileExecOptions As Byte
    BeingDebugged As Byte
    Spare As Byte
    Mutant As Long
    SectionBaseAddress As Long
    ProcessModuleInfo As Long ‘ // <---- PEB_LDR_DATA
    ProcessParameters As Long ‘ // RTL_USER_PROCESS_PARAMETERS
    SubSystemData As Long
    ProcessHeap As Long
    ... struct continue

    • (1) Then it gets a pointer to the "ProcessModuleInfo/PEB_LDR_DATA" MOV EAX, [EAX+0xC]
    Public Type _PEB_LDR_DATA
    Length As Integer
    Initialized As Long
    SsHandle As Long
    InLoadOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY // <---- LIST_ENTRY InLoadOrderModuleList
    InMemoryOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY
    InInitOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY
    EntryInProgress As Long
    End Type

    • (2) Then it gets a pointer to get a pointer to the next "InLoadOrderModuleList/LIST_ENTRY" MOV EAX, [EAX+0xC].
    Public Type LIST_ENTRY    Flink As LIST_ENTRY
    Blink As LIST_ENTRY
    End Type

    • (3) and (4) Then it navigates through the LIST_ENTRY linked list MOV EAX, [EAX]. This is done 2 times. First time, we get a pointer to the NTDLL.dll, second with get a pointer to the KERNEL.DLL. Each LIST_ENTRY is in fact followed by the structure LDR_MODULE :

    Public Type LDR_MODULE
    InLoadOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY
    InMemoryOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY
    InInitOrderModuleList As LIST_ENTRY
    BaseAddress As Long
    EntryPoint As Long
    SizeOfImage As Long
    FullDllName As UNICODE_STRING
    BaseDllName As UNICODE_STRING
    Flags As Long
    LoadCount As Integer
    TlsIndex As Integer
    HashTableEntry As LIST_ENTRY
    TimeDateStamp As Long
    LoadedImports As Long
    EntryActivationContext As Long ‘ // ACTIVATION_CONTEXT
    PatchInformation As Long
    End Type

    Then from the BaseAddress of the Kernel.dll module, crinkler is going to the section where functions are already loaded in memory. From there, the first hashed function that is stored by crinkler is LoadLibrary function. After this, crinkler is able to load all the depend dll and navigate through the import tables, recomputing the hash for all functions names for dependent dlls, and is trying to match the hash stored in the PE header. If a match is found, then the function entry point is stored.

    This way, crinkler is able to call some OS functions stored in the Kernel.DLL, without even linking explicitly to those DLL, as they are automatically loaded whenever a DLL is loaded. Thus achieving a way to import all functions used by an intro with a custom import loader.

    Compression results


    So finally, you may ask, how much crinkler is good at compressing? How does it compare to other compression method? How does look like the entropy in a crinklerized exe?

    I'll take the example of Ergon exe. You can already find a detailed analysis for this particular exe.

    Comparison with other compression methods


    In order to make a fair comparison between crinkler and other compressors, I have used the data that are actually compressed by crinkler after the reordering of code and data (This is done by unpacking a crinklerized ergon.exe and extracting only the compressed data). This comparison is accurate in that all compressors are using exactly the same data.

    In order also to be fair with crinkler, the size of 3652 is not taking into account the PE header + the crinkler decompressor code (which in total is 432 bytes for crinkler).

    To perform this comparison, I have only used 7z which has at least 3 interesting methods to test against :
    • Standard Deflate Zip
    • PPMd with 256Mo of dictionary
    • LZMA with 256Mo of dictionary
    I have also included a comparison with a more advanced packing method from Matt Mahoney resource, Paq8l which is one of the version of PAQ methods, using neural networks and several context modeling methods.

    Program Compression Method Size in bytes Ratio vs Crinkler
    none uncompressed 9796
    crinkler ctx-model 256Mo 3652 +0,00%
    7z deflate 32Ko 4526 +23,93%
    7z PPMd 256Mo 4334 +18,67%
    7z LZMA 256Mo 4380 +19,93%
    Paq8l dyn-ctx-model 256Mo 3521 -3,59%

    As you can see, crinkler is far more efficient than any of the "standard" compression method (Zip, PPMd, LZMA). I'm not even talking about the fact that a true comparison would be to include the decompressor size, so the ratio should certainly be worse for all standard methods!

    Paq8l is of course slightly better... but if you take into account that Paq8l decompressor is itself an exe of 37Ko... compare to the 220 byte of crinkler... you should understand now how much crinkler is highly efficient in its own domain! (remember? 4k!)

    Entropy


    In order to measure the entropy of crinkler, I have developed a very small program in C# that is displaying the entropy of an exe. From green color (low entropy, less bits necessary to encode this information) to red color (high entropy, more bits necessary to encode this information).

    I have done this on 3 different ergon executable :
    • The uncompressed ergon.exe (28Ko). It is the standard output of a binary exe with MSVC++ 2008.
    • The raw-crinklerized ergon.exe extracted code and data section, but not compressed (9796 bytes)
    • The final crinklerized ergon.exe file (4070 bytes)
    Ergon standard exe entropy
    Ergon code and data crinklerized, uncompressed reordered data
    Ergon executable crinklerized
    As expected, the entropy is fairly massive in a crinklerized exe. Compare with the waste of information in a standard windows executable. Also, you can appreciate how much is important the reordering and packing of data (no compression) that is perform by crinkler.

    Some notes about the x86 crinkler decompressor asm code


    I have often talked about how much crinkler decompressor is truly a piece of x86 art.  It is hard to describe the technique used here, there are lots of x86 standard optimization and some really nice trick. Most notably:
    1. using all the registers
    2. using intensively the stack to save/restore all the registers with pushad/popad x86. This is for example done (1 + number_of_model) per bit. If you have 15 models, there will be a total of 16 pushad/popad instructions for a single bit to be decoded! You may wonder why making so many pushes? Its the only way to efficiently use all the registers (rule #1) without having to store particular registers in a buffer. Of course, push/pop instruction is also used at several places in the code as well.
    3. As a result of 1) and 2), apart from the hash dictionnary, no intermediate structure are used to perform the context modeling calculation.
    4. Deferred conditional jump: Usually, when you perform some conditional testing with x86, this is often immediately followed by a conditional jump (like cmp eax, 0; jne go_for_bla). In crinkler, sometimes, a conditionnal test is done, and is used several instruction laters. (for example. cmp eax,0; push eax; mov eax, 5; jne go_for_bla <---- this is using the result of cmp eax,0 comparison). It makes the code to read a LOT harder. Sometimes, the conditional is even used after a direct jump! This is probably one part of crinkler's decompressor that impressed me the most. This is of course something quite common if you are programming heavily optimized-size x86 asm code... you need to know of course which instructions is not modifying CPU flags in order to achieve this kind of optimization!

    Final words


    I would like to apologize for the lack of charts, pictures to explain a little bit how things are working.  This article is probably still obscure for a casual reader, and should be considered as a draft version. This was a quick and dirty post. I wanted to write this for a long time, so here it is, not perfect as it should be, but this may be improved in future versions!

    As you can see, crinkler is really worth to look at. The effort to make it so efficient is impressive and there is almost no doubt that there won't be any other crinkler competitor for a long time! At least for a 4k executable. Above 4k, I'm quite confident that there are still lots of area that could be improved, and probably kkrunchy is far from being the ultimate packer under 64k... Still, if you want a packer, you need to code it, and that's not so trivial!
              Film Review: NATION AFLAME (1937, Victor Halperin)        


    Stars: 4 of 5.
    Running Time: 74 minutes.
    Notable Cast or Crew: Directed by Victor Halperin (WHITE ZOMBIE, PARTY GIRL). Story by Thomas Dixon, Jr. (THE BIRTH OF A NATION, MARK OF THE BEAST). Starring Noel Madison ('G' MEN), Lila Lee (BLOOD AND SAND, THE UNHOLY THREE), Harry Holman (MEET JOHN DOE, BARBARY COAST), and Douglas Walton (MURDER MY SWEET, BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN).
    Tag-lines: "Exposé of a Hooded Menace!"
    Best one-liner(s): "Boy, the suckers will eat it up!"

    In what's coming to be a regular feature of this blog, I find myself writing about American hate groups, fascists, and their cinematic depictions. Today's film happens to be written by Thomas Dixon, Jr., whose early novels celebrated hate and formed the basis for the racist, denialist 1915 epic THE BIRTH OF A NATION, which casts the Ku Klux Klan as the heroic saviors of the South during the "dark days" of Reconstruction.

    However, sometime in the 1930s (upon witnessing the revived Klan and the rise of European fascism) Dixon underwent an apparent evolution of character. In NATION AFLAME, his final work, he delivers a formidable condemnation of the Klan, American Nazism, xenophobia, and political hucksterism that's more than worthy of our attention in 2017. If Thomas Dixon's mind can be changed––a mind that was directly responsible for the second wave of the Klan in the 1920s––then truly the sky is the limit: NATION AFLAME is as remarkable in this aspect as it would be if Steve Bannon were suddenly to produce a film denouncing the white nationalist movement.

    Allow me to begin by offering a rundown of the plot, which unfolds with the simplicity of a fable across a slim, 74-minute runtime.

    Enter: Roland Adams, the political huckster. A rich, aging clown-prince who has a certain way with crowds, and rules them with the wave of his jester-faced scepter: he wears the absurdity of this persona as a badge of pride.

    With his eldest daughter reining in his more outrageous peccadillos, Adams once was Mayor of a typical middle-American city.

    Against his daughter's wishes, however, he has made some dangerous friends; career criminals who know that the the huckster's power over the uneducated mob can be exploited, a fast lane to power and riches. His new right hand man is an Italian immigrant named Sandino who has re-fashioned himself as "Sands," and, in a believably hypocritical path to personal agency, becomes a true master of the xenophobic rhetoric that was once leveled against his friends and family.

    He becomes Adams' brain, his attack-dog, his Richelieu. Adams' daughter has very little power over him now, though it pleases her to pretend. Sands and Adams make their xenophobic, "America First" pitch at a political cocktail party, and while it fails to impress the intelligentsia, the seeds are planted for a Populist campaign. The following clip is well worth watching:
    And so the Avenging Angels are formed; a "grassroots" organization subsidized by gangsters and protected by corrupt politicians, whose members wear black hoods (patterned after the Black Legion and the second-wave Klan) and commit acts of political, racial, and anti-intellectual violence.

     Sands lays out their mission in a manner that is straightforward and unfortunately prescient:
    "The only way that we can save the youth of our nation is to organize them in one single group, and through them, enforce the precepts of 100% Americanism! Corruption and politics must go! Civic virtue and patriotism must be our goals! We must enforce a reverence for our flag and our Constitution!  And what is more, protect our American womanhood, and guard the sanctity of our homes! We must guarantee that the wealth of America must be shared only by real Americans! To maintain and declare absolute boycott against foreigners is our only salvation!"
    We are treated to extensive scenes of Adams, Sands, and their cronies practicing their bluster as an acting exercise, repeating the same lines over and over again until they feel they've attained the proper patriotic fervency.


    "Boy, the suckers will eat it up!" says Adams. And they do. The gang is able to enrich themselves financially and politically, selling Avenging Angels memberships and apparel for $25 a pop.


    "For twenty-five dollars, be true Americans!"

    It should come as no surprise that Adams rides this wave of hate to ascend to a fresh political office: the Governorship. Under his rule, and amid a mosaic of domestic terrorism, the Avenging Angels beat to death reporters who dare to criticize them.

    Now Governor Adams has the Oval Office in his sights, an idea planted by Sands, who grows more power-hungry by the day. Sands doesn't care much about the scandals and inquiries piling up at the Governor's doorstep, because he operates in secrecy and will still wield the full power of the Avenging Angels no matter Adams' fate. Adams' daughter makes regular visits to his office in an attempt to save his soul:

    "Daddy, I'd rather see you resign than be impeached," she says...

    But Sands always visits afterward, and the Governor happens to be the kind of man to take the advice he's heard most recently.

    With political opponents closing in, Adams eventually decides to buck his gang and forge his own path. This, unfortunately, is short-lived as he is immediately assassinated by Avenging Angels who, at Sands' insistence, believe he has betrayed them.



    Governor Adams is dead, his jester-faced scepter smashed. And the power of the Angels lives on, vindicated by the destruction of those who were not pure enough; those who were less than "100% American."

    Adams' daughter aligns herself with the Angels' progressive foes and is burned in effigy amid growing misogynistic rhetoric.


    Fearing her reputation already ruined, she sacrifices her remaining stature to take out Sands, entrapping him in a sex scandal that, in 1937, proves to be enough to sink the Avenging Angels for good. The end.

    For me, NATION AFLAME film can only reframe Dixon's body of work, not rehabilitate it. However, like other films of the era such as BLACK LEGION and LEGION OF TERROR, it is very much the product of 1930s American Progressivism, fearful of fascist movements in Germany, Italy, and Spain worming their way into the American South and Midwest. That it comes to us courtesy of a man who never would have described himself as a progressive, and in fact publicly wore the mantle of "white supremacist," is staggering. I suppose this is evidence that even the harshest, most monstrous ideologue can have a breaking point: a crisis of conscience. This is something we must bear in mind.
               Population connectivity and the effectiveness of marine protected areas to protect vulnerable, exploited and endemic coral reef fishes at an endemic hotspot         
    van der Meer, M.H., Berumen, M.L., Hobbs, J.-P.A., and van Herwerden, L. (2015) Population connectivity and the effectiveness of marine protected areas to protect vulnerable, exploited and endemic coral reef fishes at an endemic hotspot. Coral Reefs, 34 (2). pp. 393-402.
              Role reversal gone wrong        
    Beth Mathison is a Tasmanian businesswoman and the new face of a domestic violence campaign here in Australia. She is being presented as a victim of "financial abuse" by her former partner:
    But for 20 years, she was financially trapped, controlled by her abusive partner. It was this relationship which ultimately led to her losing everything.

    But what are the details of her case? She admits that she grew up "in a bubble of private schooling and scholarships." So no financial abuse there. She then quickly became successful in business:
    I lived in a very beautiful castle, where I had staff working seven days a week looking after my personal needs while I also ran a game park business. I worked intensely seven days a week, had everything I wanted.

    
    Her Scottish castle


    She lost the castle when interest rates rose and her business collapsed. Looking back she believes she was a victim of abuse by her partner of the time:
    "My motivators were my natural entrepreneurial spirit and a driving desire to take on new challenges, and it was these motivators that Bob used to great effect to control me," she explained.

    "They always resulted in me being the only one who worked, often seven days a week.

    Bob, it seems, did not go out to work and so did not contribute to the finances. According to new guidelines on domestic violence, this makes him an abusive partner.
    The guide lays out what constitutes financial abuse -- a wide spectrum which includes refusing to help with household expenses

    (In the guide to "financial abuse" one of the indicators of abuse is "refuses to contribute financially to their partner".)

    Further blame is heaped on Bob because after Beth divorced him she had to pay him spousal maintenance:
    It took Beth five years to find a better job and divorce her ex-husband, which also cost her $150 a week in spousal maintenance because he refused to work.

    I hope readers know where I am going with this. If you are a man you will be scratching your head because usually it is men who are in Beth Mathison's position. Usually it is a wealthy husband who buys the grand home, has a so-called trophy wife who doesn't go out to work and who therefore doesn't contribute to the finances, and it is usually the husband who, on divorce, has to pay the wife large sums in alimony and child support.

    What Beth Mathison discovered is that the masculine role in life is not as privileged as she might have imagined it to be. A man can go out to work, earn the money and yet look back on a marriage or relationship feeling that he was the one who was exploited.

    The response to Beth Mathison's situation is confusing. How can "not contributing to the finances" be defined as domestic violence? This would put the traditional family outside the law. And why is there only sympathy when a woman like Beth Mathison is put in the same position as tens of thousands of men?

    In other words, if we are supposed to sympathise with Beth Mathison, shouldn't we then sympathise with what the majority of men go through when they are divorced by their wives?
              Monarchy in the age of New Labour        


    Peter Hitchens:


    "...Anyone who tries to discuss the political role of the monarchy is immediately banged over the head by tedious quotations from Walter Bagehot (it helps a lot if you know this is pronounced Badjot), who for some reason is believed to be the last word on the subject, thanks to some 19th-century scribblings that have become famous. He limited the functions of the monarch to muttering hesitant advice, and perhaps warnings, into the ears of ministers. This is taken as a sort of gospel on the subject.

    And this might have worked in the dead era when the British establishment was run by gentlemen. Though don't be so sure. George V exerted all his influence to obtain a peaceful settlement in Ireland in 1921, which few can object to, but was he entitled to do so? He may well have gone beyond his powers in helping set up the National Government of 1931. Edward VIII came close to causing complete constitutional catastrophe. George VI utterly disgraced himself when he publicly lauded Neville Chamberlain's catastrophic surrender at Munich in 1938, an error he atoned for later but which oughtn't to be overlooked, ever. It is not often enough remembered that George VI and his Queen (the future Queen Mother) invited Chamberlain on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to bathe in the cheers and admiration of a gigantic, deluded crowd, the whole embarrassing scene illuminated by the only anti-aircraft searchlights then available in London.

    There are a couple of interesting fictional reflections on this that are worth looking at. George Macdonald Fraser's 'Mr American', one of his few non-Flashman books, contains an well-observed and historically well-informed depiction of Edward VII and examines the cunning and shrewdness that monarch used to keep pre-1914 Britain from flying apart. Constantine Fitz Gibbon's enjoyable and bitter Cold War thriller 'When the Kissing Had to Stop’ has some cunningly-described scenes as various highly responsible and senior persons try to use the traditional safeguards of the British constitution to prevent a pretty obvious coup d'etat. In an entirely believable way, they all persuade themselves that they are powerless to act until it is too late, and the putsch, with all its terrible consequences, succeeds.

    Princecharles_1 Why does this matter? I think our obsession with 'democracy' as the only thing that makes government legitimate tends to blind us to the importance of other things. Why do we make such a fetish out of universal suffrage? If you had a choice between liberty and democracy - which are by no means the same thing, which would you pick? If you had a choice between the rule of public opinion and the rule of law, which would you pick? Are we safer with both Houses of Parliament 'elected' by party machines, or with at least one House whose members are immune from 'democratic' party pressure?

    Actually, pure democracy would be unbearable, since every politician, to survive or prosper, would have to be a crowd-pleasing Blair type (actually, this now seems to be more and more what we have got).

    Even assuming that we could reconstruct something like a decent education system, it is hard to see how a state governed purely by the popular will could be anything other than a corrupt anarchy, or a demagogic dictatorship. The purest product of mass democracy since it came into being was Adolf Hitler - whose National Socialists would have won an absolute majority in the Reichstag under our first-past-the post system, by the way. This isn't an argument against that system( which I favour) just a warning against being complacent.

    Mass opinion can prevent good actions, as well as stimulating bad ones. It was American democracy, and the fervent campaigns of the America Firsters, that prevented Franklin Roosevelt from aiding Britain against Hitler. US public opinion was dead against involvement in a European war, and it's still not clear what would have happened if Hitler hadn't declared war on the USA after Pearl Harbor.

    So most serious wielders of power in democratic states devise ways of frustrating, or getting round the 'people's will' which they praise in public. Mostly, these days, these anti-democrats are of the left. In the US, a largely liberal elite has for decades been using the unelected third chamber of Congress - the Supreme Court - to pass radical social legislation. In Canada, left-wingers who could never get anywhere in parliamentary politics have exploited the 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' to do the same sort of thing.

    And the European Convention on Human Rights gives liberal judges and the lawyers the same power to intervene here. The balance of our mixed constitution, partly as a result of this, has tipped heavily towards the Left. Parliament, especially the House of Commons, is now the servant of a left-wing governing party, not at all its master. So who or what can speak for tradition, for conservative opinions, for private life and family, for inheritance and continuity? Certainly not the Tory Party, which flatly refused to defend the hereditary principle against the attacks of Baroness Jay (who just happened to be the daughter of Jim Callaghan, and had no other visible qualification for her grand post as Leader of the Lords, in one of the best jokes of the 1990s).

    That Tory failure to defend heredity was a warning to the British people and the monarchy that worse was to come. We all actually value inheritance - we expect to leave, or be left our goods and wealth in legally enforceable wills. We all know that we inherit important characteristics and gifts from our parents, and hope to pass such things on. Our state, with its memory and experience stretching back a thousand years, inherits each generation the principles of law and justice and liberty wrought by centuries of experience and combat. So what is wrong with a Head of State who embodies this idea?

    Nothing, except that he or she gets in the way of the Left's desire for total control over the state, especially over the things previously regarded as politically neutral and so loyal to the crown - the civil service, the armed forces and the police. All these bodies are now increasingly politicised. I think that the moment is approaching when the monarchy has either to assert itself or be abolished. The danger is that, in asserting itself, it may get abolished as a punishment, while being slandered as unrepresentative, elitist etc. It will be a very difficult and risky moment..."


              Setting a Higher Standard        

    I’ll be the first to admit, I walked into Halo 4 fairly skeptical.  343 made a series of moves that made fans accuse the company of heresy, as customizable classes, the removal of the popular firefight mode, and the addition of an entirely new enemy class were all risky and potentially disastrous decisions that many thought would damage Halo’s sterling reputation.  Come the launch on November 6th, 343 proved the doubters wrong when it not only lived up to the high standards set by its predecessor, but it set new benchmarks for the series.

    After numerous sequels, most Halo fans began to know what to expect.  Most thought the  story’s main drive would focus on Master Chief relentless defense against the covenant.  Halo 4’s first few hours provide a more classic experience, as the Covenant inexplicably return after a previous truce.  The plot quickly changes gears when Master Chief arrives on a mysterious new world, and finally encounters the Forerunner race, who were hinted at since the earliest games of the series.  The Forerunners don’t take kindly to humanity’s sudden arrival, and Chief's motives shift from returning home to saving the human race.  Defeating the Forerunners also require a level of strategic planning, making each firefight multi layered and challenging.  Who do you take out first; The promethean knight or the watcher healing him?  These kinds of questions make Halo 4 a more challenging game than previous Halos, so players used to cruising through on Legendary difficulty should expect their skills to be tested.  

    Halo 4’s story was very emotionally compelling, a breath of fresh air for the shooter genre.  Master Chief and Cortana generate genuine chemistry as usual, but this time around, with the stakes higher than ever, their relationship goes beyond occasional banter.  I won’t spoil anything, but the aging Chief is forced to deal with loss and his own imperfection.

    Character animations look more lifelike than ever, making it easier for characters to convey their emotions, and emotional scenes more impactful.  From Cortana to Captain Del Rio, most characters look they could have been pulled out of a high quality CGI trailer.  As I was watching one of Halo 4’s cutscenes, a non-gamer friend walked in and asked what movie I was watching.  Yes, the graphics are that good.  The same can be said for Halo 4’s top notch voice acting.  The cast consists of quality actors like Jennifer Hale, so you won’t find many grating voices in the game.  

    Many gamers eagerly await the next generation of gaming, but I believe that Halo 4 gives us a preview of the of the future with the excellent audiovisual presentation of display.  The gorgeous environments of Requiem look great on their own, but the astounding lighting effects and sweeping score  truly bring it to life.  Halo 4 also sets precedents for sound design, as the sound effects are even more immersive than before.  Weapons sound powerful and weighty, grenades explode with great force, and engines roar like never before.  With its exceptional sound design, Halo 4 takes one step forward towards total immersion.  I was disappointed however, that the exceptional soundtrack was often tuned out by it’s stellar sound effects, and with no way to adjust music and FX volumes, this left music enthusiasts high and dry.  

    While Halo 4’s stellar campaign offers an entertaining experience, some are more interested in the retooled multiplayer.  Halo 4 doesn’t shake things up too drastically, adding a few new weapons, maps, game modes, and the ability to customize your classes.  The game seems to cater towards newcomers, as powerful weapons randomly drop around the map, and points have replaced kills as the primary stat.  New game modes such as Dominion and Regicide join mainstays like Slayer and Capture the Flag, and are supplemented by a strong set of maps.  Multiplayer is rounded out with the addition of the new Spartan Ops mode.  Spartan Ops is an episodic cooperative campaign set six months after Master Chief’s recent exploits.  This new mode delivers  five new episodes per week, each about twenty minutes long each.  I was however, disappointed with Spartan Ops, as I found most missions to be repetitive, and the overarching narrative was less than compelling.  Spartan Ops suffers from crippling bouts of lag, to the point that makes it unplayable with friends.  This can be attributed to its synchronous network model, which unfortunately causes the game to crash and burn, even if only one member on your team has bad connection.   To add insult to injury, the addition of Spartan Ops comes with a cost, as it replaces the popular firefight mode.  

    Another nagging issue I encountered during my time with Halo 4’s multiplayer also hampered my enjoyment of the game.  While most games were easy to join, the game struggled switching hosts, which has become a legacy issue.  This really isn’t a dealbreaker, but I have been bugged more than once due to these abrupt interruptions of the gameplay.

    Aside from the less than perfect online infrastructure, the new additions implemented by 343 are refreshing changes to the property.  Combining a mix of stunning graphics and precise gameplay, Halo sets a new standard for the FPS.  After putting down the game for the last time, I can’t wait to see what 343 has in store for Master Chief and Halo. 

    9.25/10

     


              Peak White Man        
    As published at OpEd News, Unz Review and Intrepid Report, 8/7/17:





    In a few hours, I'll fly to Europe, my favorite continent, and why not? Most of my intellectual and artistic heroes are Europeans, Kakfa, Beckmann, Kippenberger, Siebald, Rabelais, Rimbaud, Celine, Orwell, Kundera, Dostoievsky and Milosz, etc. I've spent significant time in Italy, England and Germany, and have fond memories of a least a dozen other European countries, all very distinctive from each other. Still.

    White culture has dominated much of the world for several centuries, but it is winding down through self hatred. The white left mostly hate whites, while most of the white right are contemptuous of everybody else. Half of whites, then, hate the other half, and contemporary white culture is a degraded mess. Think Katy Perry being breaded, kneaded, garnished then cooked. Free of war and colonialism, whites are doing a fine job of destroying themselves.

    Many are cheering. It's about time! Susan Sontag in 1967, "The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself."

    After white hegemony comes Chinese leadership, many whites themselves are hoping. When I was in Leipzig in 2015, a German friend insisted that the Chinese were lifting up the Third World. It was a constructive partnership, he said, unlike murderously exploitative white colonialism. Often citing Andre Vltchek, this man believed that a resurgent Communism would be led by Russia and China. He didn't care for my observation that the Russians and Chinese had regained their footing, confidence and compass thanks to nationalism. Nationalism is reactionary, he believed. He himself didn't feel German and could care less for the concept. Most tellingly, this man had never been outside Germany. He didn't know how grounded to Germany he was.

    No population anywhere needs a global ideology. Not only is global solidarity unachievable, but undesirable.

    Bereft of a homeland, many Jews dreamt of a international brotherhood, thus the nightmarish chimera of Communism, which is defended to this day by the most emotionally arrested, historically amnesiac or simply hypocritical. Many who extol the virtues of international Communism will also rabidly defend the ultra nationalist and racist state of Israel.

    In the popular mind, the evilness of white culture is epitomized by Nazi Germany, with Germans forever stigmatized as the worst of whites. Contemporary Germany, however, is one that supposedly allowed 500+ German women to be sexually assaulted by Muslims in Cologne during New Year's Eve of 2016. Germany is really that neutered, goes the narrative.

    Perhaps emboldened by such, Vietnam recently kidnapped a Vietnamese asylum seeker from the Tiergarten, right in the heart of Berlin, then smuggled him back to Hanoi to stand trial. A former head of the state-owned oil company, Trinh Xuan Thanh is accused of pinching $150 million. Maybe Turkey will follow suit and snatch a few of Edorgan's enemies?

    I'll be in Barcelona by morning. Emerging from the train onto the Placa de Catalunya in 2003, I encountered so many Africans and Chinese peddling goods, I thought I was in, well, Naples or Belleville in Paris. My mind has been in Spain for weeks. Reading Spanish newspapers, I learnt that a Senegalese had been beaten to death by four other Africans in Salou, just a 15 minute drive from Taragona, where I'll be staying with Jonathan Revusky.

    In Salou in 2015, a Senegalese peddler of pirated DVDs, counterfeit sunglasses and fake handbags jumped to his death from a third floor balcony as police raided his apartment. This led to two days of clashes between 100+ Senegalese and police.

    In Florence more than a decade ago, I often ran into Africans selling bogus goods made by Chinese, often in nearby Prato. With a population of 191,104, it has 45,000 Chinese.

    Taragona and Bacerlona Provinces are 10% Muslims, the highest in Spain. In Reus, a law was passed in 2014 banning burquas. When it was struck down by the Spanish Supreme Court, this code was revised to ban all full-face coverings, so you best not loiter in the Reus McDonald's while wearing a motorcycle helmet, baclava or facekini.

    I read that in Pizarra, population 8,990, a three-year-old girl was hit by a train. What's most remarkable is that as news of her disappearance spread around midnight, 300 locals immediately volunteered to search for her. That's the kind of small town Europe I remember, having spent two years in Certaldo, Italy, population 16,000.

    You see, where every stone tells a story, people are ardently loyal to their home turf. Shared history matters. Strip malls don't. Europe will only be saved if the American empire, with its corrosive ideologies and madnesses, collapses, and this will happen soon enough. There is hope.





    .
              Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER)        

    Fonds européen de développement régional (FEDER)

    Description :
    Créé en 1975, le Fonds européen de
    développement régional (FEDER) est un
    instrument financier de l'Union européenne qui
    favorise la réduction des disparités régionales
    et le développement équilibré des régions
    européennes en attribuant des subventions
    aux acteurs locaux de régions en difficulté,
    dans le cadre de programmes de
    développement établis en partenariat entre
    l'Union européenne, les Etats membres et les
    collectivités territoriales.

    br>

    Le FEDER concentre son action sur le soutien
    au développement des régions les moins
    prospères (objectif 1 des Fonds structurels) et
    la relance économique et social des zones en
    difficulté structurelle (objectif 2).



    ACTIONS FINANCÉES




    • - Actions principales :

      *
      l'Emploi et le développement économique
      Il s'agit de soutenir la création d'emplois,
      l'attractivité économique d'un territoire (dont
      le tourisme), le développement, la création et
      la reprise d'entreprises, la reconversion des
      activités, la formation des salariés... En
      moyenne, les mesures de ce type représentent
      environ 2/3 des fonds structurels dans les
      DOCUP.


      *l'Aménagement du territoire régional :
      Ce thème concerne, selon les régions, des
      zones rurales et des zones urbaines en
      difficulté, avec près d'un quart du total des
      crédits communautaires.
      Il vise le soutien aux démarches territoriales
      (Pays, parcs naturels régionaux...), le tourisme,
      l'environnement, la valorisation du patrimoine,
      l'ingénierie de projet territorial, les réseaux de
      transport, l'amélioration de la qualité de
      vie...


      * le Développement rural :
      Cela concerne le développement du secteur
      agricole (investissements dans les
      exploitations agricoles ou le secteur de la
      transformation des produits agricoles), la
      commercialisation des produits agricoles de
      qualité, la gestion des ressources en eau, les
      services de remplacement, le remembrement,
      les infrastructures rurales, la rénovation des
      villages et la protection du patrimoine rural, la
      protection de l'environnement dans le cadre de
      l'agriculture et de la sylviculture, ainsi que la
      gestion de l'espace naturel.
      Le développement rural prend une place non
      négligeable et peut représenter 15% du total
      des crédits communautaires dans des régions
      fortement dépendantes de l'activité agricole. br>


    • - Initiatives communautaires :


      Le FEDER finance également l'initiative
      communautaire INTERREG III (coopération
      entre régions de l'Union européenne) et
      l'initiative URBAN II (développement durable
      des villes et banlieues en crise).

      li>


    • - Actions innovatrices :


      Les actions innovatrices permettent d'explorer
      de nouvelles orientations pour la politique
      régionale, comme l'économie régionale fondée
      sur la connaissance et l'innovation
      technologique, la société de l'information au
      service du développement régional (eEurope-
      regio), ou l'identité régionale et le
      développement durable.




      THÈMES PRÉFÉRENTIELS br>

    • - Pour 2000-2006, priorité est donnée aux
      investissements productifs permettant la
      création ou le maintien d'emplois, aux
      infrastructures, aux initiatives de
      développement local et aux activités des
      petites et moyennes entreprises.
    • br>

    • - Les axes de développement sont les
      transports, les technologies de
      communication, l'énergie, l'environnement, la
      recherche et l'innovation, les infrastructures
      sociales, la formation, la réhabilitation urbaine
      et la reconversion industrielle, le
      développement rural, la pêche, ou encore le
      tourisme et la culture.




      FINANCEMENT


    • - budget : la France bénéficie, au titre du
      FEDER, de 17,2 milliards d'euros pour la
      période 2000-2006

    • - la participation financière communautaire
      s'élève à 75% au maximum des coûts pour les
      projets développés dans les zones d'objectif 1
      (80 à 85% dans certains cas), à 50% pour les
      projets développés en zone d'objectif 2 et à
      des taux réduits (maximum compris entre 15
      et 35%) pour les investissements en
      entreprise.

    • - dans chaque pays, les autorités nationales
      compétentes gèrent les crédits du FEDER. En
      France, la Délégation à l'aménagement du
      territoire et à l'action régionale (DATAR)
      coordonne l'intervention du FEDER. Sa gestion
      financière est assurée par la Direction générale
      des collectivités locales (DGCL) du ministère de
      l'Intérieur.

    Conditions :
    Les pays éligibles sont ceux de l'Union
    européenne: Allemagne, Autriche,
    Belgique, Chypre, Danemark, Espagne, Estonie,
    Finlande, France, Grèce, Hongrie, Irlande,
    Italie, Lettonie, Lituanie, Luxembourg, Malte,
    Pays-Bas, Pologne, Portugal, République
    tchèque, Royaume-Uni, Slovénie, Slovaquie,
    Suède.


      Peut participer :
    • - une collectivité locale, une chambre
      consulaire, un organisme de formation, une
      PME, un syndicat, une association...

    • - le projet doit concerner une zone
      éligible au
      titre de l'un des objectifs 1 ou 2 des Fonds
      structurels, d'INTERREG III ou de URBAN II. li>

    Nom du contact : Marc Gastambide - Conseiller de l'Equipe Europe et relations
    Email : info@datar.gouv.fr
    Site Internet : http://www.datar.gouv.fr

              Kanzleramtschef Altmaier (CDU): "Ich bin Feminist" – News vom 24. Juli 2017        
    1. Kanzleramtschef Peter Altmaier weiß offenkundig nicht, was das Wort "Gleichberechtigung" bedeutet, meint aber, dazu ein bizarres Statement abgeben zu müssen:

    "Ja, ich bin Feminist", sagte der Minister der "Bild am Sonntag". Frauen seien auch in Deutschland noch nicht komplett gleichberechtigt, beklagte er: "Im Parlament sitzen deutlich mehr Männer, in den Chefetagen der großen Firmen gibt es fast keine Frauen."




    2. Neue Blogbeiträge beschäftigen sich mit den Schwarzen Listen, die das grüne Genderlager über seine politischen Gegner angelegt hat. "Warum Grüne und SPD nicht wählbar sind" betitelt der Kommunikationsberater und Buchautor Thilo Baum seinen Beitrag darüber. In dessen Fazit erklärt Baum, wohin ihn persönlich derartige Entwicklungen führen:

    Tatsächlich wähle ich die FDP. (...) Die FDP ist in meinen Augen die einzige Partei, die sich tatsächlich für die Freiheit einsetzt – beispielsweise für die Freiheit, die politische Korrektheit kritisieren zu dürfen, ohne deswegen gleich diffamiert zu werden wie im Stalinismus. Und das gilt es derzeit zu verhindern – wir sind auf dem Weg in eine neue McCarthy-Ära, nur dieses Mal von links. Wer die Grünen oder die SPD wählt, bereitet diesem neuen Totalitarismus den Weg.


    Auch Malte Dahlgrün beschäftigt sich mit dem grünen Online-Pranger. Sein Beitrag wurde von der "Achse des Guten" übernommen.



    3. "Sind Frauen die besseren Rechtspopulisten?" fragt die Feministin Jana Hensel in der "Zeit".



    4. Hin zu einer maskulistischen Filmkritik: Christian Schmidt widmet sich heute "American Beauty".



    5. Man kann im Zeitalter der feministischen Korrektheit keine Satire mehr schreiben, die lange eine Satire bleibt. Jetzt beklagt die Zeitschrift "USA Today" tatsächlich, dass es in Christopher Nolans Filmepos "Dunkirk" zu wenige Frauen und Farbige gibt:

    The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.




    6. Der kanadische Professor Jordan Peterson, der sich gegen die feministische Korrektheit im akademischen Bereich engagiert, gründet eine Online-Universität.



    7. Das männerpolitische Blog Toy Soldiers berichtet von einer verurteilten Sextäterin, die ihr Opfer wegen Rufschädigung verklagt:

    Stumph got away with exploiting one of her students. She must only serve 180 days in jail, not prison, and does not have to register as a sex offender. She accepted a plea deal that granted her this ever so beneficial slap on the wrist. Yet because the victim decided to sue Stumph for her actions, Stumph filed a counter suit, stating "the victim’s statements damaged her reputation and career."




    8. Wir kommen voran: Die New York Times berichtet über sexuelle Gewalt im Sudan, ohne die Opfer dabei auf der Grundlage ihrer Geschlechtszugehörigkeit unterschiedlich zu gewichten.
              CARF Connection - Report suspicions of abuse: Protect young people and the organizations serving them - 2015        
    Although this article focuses on sexual abuse of minors, vulnerable populations are not only children and youths. Adults with disabilities and elderly persons can be at high risk for abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Protecting the rights of persons of any age or ability served by CARF-accredited programs is at the heart of the CARF accreditation process.
              FIFA World Cup Final        
    Fueled by the Shakira's performance the crowd was so pumped that reminded astronauts for FIFA World Cup final.
    "Aaaaand its a goal", its what the either team's fans were dying to listen in the  final . But at the end, i guess God was rooting for Germany. A sublime goal from Mario Gotze and Germany became the football champion. While the Argentina was trying to look normal from the defeat the germans were going insane as they earned that win.


    It was hell of a final. The win tip-toed around both the team's basket as neither of them scored till the 115' of the game. But the germans flipped the Argentinians world upside down in the 117th minute of the game by the Gotze's goal which was totally worthy of the win. Both team played well, but like every game only one side comes out to be a winner.

    Germany was full of totally awesome players. Those players who made Brazilian players look like they just came to play in the recess time of their high school. Muller, KloseSchürrle, Lahm and others who dusted the Argentina's dream to get a third star for their jersey. Its not like they were totally outplayed by the Germans. There were many chances in both the half of the game Argentina couldn't exploit which cost them the match. There were many hopes from the "so-called" next Maradonna Lionel Messi, but he couldn't deliver when it mattered. Though he scored 4 goals in the tournament but ironically he didn't score any of those in the knock-out stage. Clearly I'm not the only one to notice that as fans were going crazy over him. 

    But of all, it was a match worthy of a final. Both the teams totally showed that they didn't earned this in a single day. They earned this after a hell of a lot practice sessions and hard work they and after losing the match its not bad to pour some tears. After all, everyone works hard to even dream that moment. The next epic battle will be in Russia in 2018, i know its a lot of time but this battle is definitely worth the wait.
    Watch the epic goal from Mario Gotze -


    Nmap (“Network Mapper”) is a free and open source (license) utility for network discovery and security auditing. Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics.

    2.Wireshark



    Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer. It lets you capture and interactively browse the traffic running on a computer network.

    3.Metasploit Community edition



    Metasploit Community Edition simplifies network discovery and vulnerability verification for specific exploits, increasing the effectiveness of vulnerability scanners. This helps prioritize remediation and eliminate false positives, providing true security risk intelligence.

    4.Nikto2



    Nikto is an Open Source (
    GPL) web server scanner which performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 6400 potentially dangerous files/CGIs, checks for outdated versions of over 1200 servers, and version specific problems on over 270 servers. It also checks for server configuration items such as the presence of multiple index files, HTTP server options, and will attempt to identify installed web servers and software.

    5.John The ripper



    John the Ripper is a fast password cracker, currently available for many flavors of Unix, Windows, DOS, BeOS, and OpenVMS. Its primary purpose is to detect weak Unix passwords. Besides several crypt(3) password hash types most commonly found on various Unix systems, supported out of the box are Windows 
    LM hashes, plus lots of other hashes and ciphers in the community-enhanced version.

    6.ettercap



    Ettercap is a comprehensive suite for man in the middle attacks. It features sniffing of live connections, content filtering on the fly and many other interesting tricks. It supports active and passive dissection of many protocols and includes many features for network and host analysis.

    7.NexPose Community edition



    The Nexpose Community Edition is a free, single-user vulnerability management solution. Nexpose Community Edition is powered by the same scan engine as Nexpose Enterprise and offers many of the same features.

    8.Ncat



    Ncat is a feature-packed networking utility which reads and writes data across networks from the command line. Ncat was written for the Nmap Project as a much-improved reimplementation of the venerable Netcat. It uses both TCP and UDP for communication and is designed to be a reliable back-end tool to instantly provide network connectivity to other applications and users. Ncat will not only work with IPv4 and IPv6 but provides the user with a virtually limitless number of potential uses.

    9.Kismet



    Kismet is an 802.11 layer2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. Kismet will work with any wireless card which supports raw monitoring (rfmon) mode, and (with appropriate hardware) can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, and 802.11n traffic. Kismet also supports plugins which allow sniffing other media such as DECT.

    10.w3af



    w3af is a Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. The project’s goal is to create a framework to find and exploit web application vulnerabilities that is easy to use and extend.

              What Is Wrong With Modern Beekeeping?        

    The title of this talk - What Is Wrong With Modern Beekeeping? - begs a question: is there something wrong with modern beekeeping?

    My contention is that there is indeed much that is wrong with it, and that the root of the problem lies in the anthropocentric, pre-Darwinian belief that we are in charge: that humankind has a God-given right to dominion over all other forms of life, and that animals – including bees – were created purely to serve us.

    'Modern' beekeeping can be said to have begun in the year 1852 – the year that Langstroth patented his hive. He did so, it should be noted, with the express purpose of making the commercial exploitation of bees a practical possibility.

    1852 was also the year that Langstroth published his book, The Hive and the Honeybee, in which we find the following passage:

    “The Creator intended the bee for the comfort of man, as truly as he did the horse or the cow.

    The honey bee was... created not merely with the ability to store up its delicious nectar for its own use, but with certain properties which fitted it to be domesticated, and to labor for man, and without which, he would no more have been able to subject it to his control, than to make a useful beast of burden of a lion or a tiger.”i

    Which is to say that, according to this creed, not only were bees created in order to provide us with something sweet, but that they were allocated 'certain properties' that enable us to domesticate them. In those days, most people shared Langstroth's belief that 'The Creator intended the bee for the comfort of man' and that its purpose was to 'labor for man'.

    And yet, unbeknown to the Reverend Langstroth, some twenty years earlier, a little ship had set sail from Plymouth harbour on a five-year voyage that was to change our understanding of the world forever. That ship was The Beagle, and just seven years after Langstroth completed his book, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species.

    That was over 150 years ago. And yet, even today, despite Darwin's insights having been tested over and over by science; despite overwhelming evidence that all life is interdependent; despite irrefutable proof of the consequences of worldwide destruction of habitat and the poisoning of our life-giving soil by profit-driven corporations; despite all that, we see people still behaving as if they had God-given dominion over life on earth.

    And what of so-called 'modern beekeeping'? Has it fully embraced the post-Darwinian world? Or does it still operate from that old testament, fundamentalist paradigm? Are we – as appears to be the case - still teaching people how to 'manage' and 'control' bees, when we should be teaching them how to observe, listen to and work with the bees?


    The Guardian, 10th April 2011


              DO MOOCS EXPLOIT STUDENTS BY COLLECTING DATA FROM THEM?         
    At NeoAcademic, Professor Richard Landers  complains that MOOCs exploit students by using them to generate data (something that is standard in 'real courses' but also regulated by informed consent).

    I find the word "exploit" in this context offensive. Suppose the MOOC leaders say upfront: "We will be asking you some questions and hope to use the data in our research studying XYZ. We hope you will also learn from these exercises. Mooc participants will also collaborate on creating an online archive of games." And then ask you to check a box before participating in the MOOC. I think this is sufficient informed consent.

    The providers are offering something and I see no reason why they can't ask for something. No one (at least for now) has to take any MOOC. The university also offers something, and asks anywhere from $500 to $2500 per CREDIT. Most employers now mandate possession of a college degree even for jobs that do not require the capabilities acquired through college (and which can be gained in other ways). And in the U.S. the total student college debt exceeds $1 TRILLION. If we are looking around for something exploitive, why not start with university education.

              Enfants exploités par le travail        
    Extrait  de « HUGO Orateur »Â  (anthologie par Myriam Roman), Collection Folioplus Classique, page 21 : Victor HUGO s’adresse en ces termes à ses collègues de l’Assemblée Nationale française en juin 1847 : (…) « Remarquez ceci :   Vous faites des lois sur quoi et sur qui que ce soit, homme ou femme. Les réclamations s’élèvent, la […]
              The Virtuous Circle of Plain English MarCom        

    You vote with your subscription and I can't thank you enough. As of yesterday, Copywriting Tune-ups passed the 1,000 subscriber mark in fewer than 90 days.

    I take this as a sign plain English marketing communications for B2B marketers is an idea whose time has come. By not bombarding our readers with jargon and corporate-speak, we can't help but to come across as warmer, more human. Speak from the customer's point of view and explain what's in it for them and you have a recipe for sales, leads and loyalty.

    This is not only a matter of doing things right but doing the right thing and how the two form a virtuous circle.

    Consider a dysfunctional example first. In many states around the country, insurance companies are compelled by law to offer their customers contracts written in plain English. What required the state to get involved? Widespread customer dissatisfaction.

    Assaulted with phrases like, "Party of the second part waives its right to trial by jury in a court of competent jurisdiction provided the party of the first part...," how can a customer feel like a customer, let alone, "King?"

    By the way, what metric do they use to gauge this? Our erstwhile friend, the Flesch Reading Ease! To be considered plain English, the contract must score 40 - 50. When I see a technology company's marketing literature score a 30, I'm in awe.

    This may be over-simplifying, but high customer-satisfaction ultimately translates to shareholder satisfaction. By no means do I wish to elevate copy beyond its rightful place, but let's face it. B2B companies have access to the same offshore labor pools, the same technologies, the same capital sources, and comparable executive talent. And yes, any one of them can hire a top notch marketing writer, but how many of them do?

    So, copy beckons as your competitors' Achilles heel. Exploit this opening and your gain in market share will leave them wondering what's missing from their technology mix. By the time they catch on, it's too late.

    This new way of doing things right is the right thing to do because it's a win-win all around. Customers and prospects win because your copy treated them respectfully when no one else would - they understand your value proposition and follow your call-to-action thanks to your plain English literature free from jargon and corporate-speak. You win because your company strengthens its market position. Shareholders win because they earn a higher rate of return for practically no additional investment.

    Too facile an argument? Maybe. Plausible? Definitely.

    To your marketing success,

    Eric Rosen
    Strategic Marketing Writer
    Clear Crisp Communications
    Easier to Read Means More Sales and Leads

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    technorati tags: b2b marketing , plain English , MarCom , b2b copywriting

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              Yes Unlock and Jailbreak iPhone 4/3Gs 4.3.5/4.3.4/4.3.3 Using FastSn0w Jailbreak - Market Press Release (press release)        
    Contact Information
    David Andrews

    -

    Phone: 5774859585
    Email: michaeltryet@yahoo.com


    Market Press Release – August 5, 2011 9:52 pm – Yes you read that right ! The newly released unlock iphone 4/3gs 4.3.5/4.3.4/4.3.3 is FastSn0w 0.9.5b5. All you need is the latest iOS 4.3.5 firmware for iPhone4 and 3Gs or iPod (ipod touch firmware 3.1.3 download) touch 2G (non-MC Models) and you can jailbreak and unlock it using FastSn0w on Windows and Mac. Again, this is strictly for iPhone 4 3Gs and 3G and iPod (ipod touch firmware 3.1.3 download) touch 2G (non-MC models) only.

    To Unlock your iPhone Visit The Official website www.FastUnlockiPhone.com

    The iPhone FastUnlockiPhone.com has just released an updated version 0.9.6b2 of FastSn0w which is based on FastRa1n exploit and it can jailbreak and unlock iphone 4/3Gs iOS 4.3.5 on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPad and iPod (ipod touch firmware 3.1.3 download) touch 4G / 3G / 2G (Non MC Model only).

    Besides, this new version also offers custom boot land recovery logos for the older devices like

    iPhone 3GS iPod (ipod touch firmware 3.1.3 download) touch 2G (Non MC), and iPhone 3G, along with the ability to let Windows users restore to a custom IPSW files that are cooked using PwnageTool for Mac.

    For either Mac OS X or Windows, this build takes advantage of geohot’s recent limera1n exploit (the same used by greenpois0n and PwnageTool), leaving the SHAtter exploit to (hopefully) be saved for another day, according to the Dev-Team Blog.

    The instructions are exactly similar to the ones posted earlier for both Windows and Mac OS X users.

    One incentive to the development of jailbreaking is the opportunity for many more people to have an iPhone. A bigger incentive to this is that by having the ability to unlock iPhone 4 and 3gs, an owner does not have to be limited to using AT&T as their phone carrier. With an unlocked iPhone , a consumer can easily insert a new SIM card with their preferred carrier and be happy. This rising jailbreak movement will most likely continue to result in a loss of loyal customers for AT&T.
    Simply download FastSn0w 0.9.6b2 for Windows or Mac from the links given below, and then follow the complete step by step instructions posted here (for Mac OS X), and here (for Windows) to jailbreak iOS 4.3.5.
    For more information, visit: http://www.fastunlockiphone.com

    ipod touch firmware – Google News


              Apple Laptop Batteries Can Be Hacked, Infected With Malware - SecurityNewsDaily        

    Jul 25, 2011 | 12:15 PM ET | By Paul Wagenseil, SecurityNewsDaily Managing Editor

    apple macbook pro

    Apple laptop batteries can be hacked to infect the laptop with malware, or possibly even rigged to explode, a well-known security researcher has found.

    All modern laptop batteries have logic chips inside them that communicate with the computer they’re powering. That’s how you’re able to see how much charge is remaining. The chips also carry out regulatory tasks, such as shutting down the charging process when a battery’s at risk of overcharging.

    But any logic chip has operating software — “firmware” — and that software can usually be remotely updated.

    Charlie Miller, who’s famous for winning the annual Pwn2Own contest four times with his Mac OS X and iOS exploits, discovered that Apple puts the same password on all its laptop batteries in order to efficiently send out battery firmware updates.

    Unfortunately, a skilled malicious hacker armed with the password could alter the firmware, Miller says. Altered firmware could be used to store malware or tweaked to damage the computer.

    “These batteries just aren’t designed with the idea that people will mess with them,” Miller told Forbes tech blogger Andy Greenberg. “What I’m showing is that it’s possible to use them to do something really bad.”

    Miller will be presenting his finding at next week’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. He has already notified Apple of the vulnerability, and is not revealing the password.

    Digging into source code

    Miller, who formerly was with the National Security Agency and currently works for Denver security firm Accuvant Labs, was intrigued by a 2009 firmware update that Apple had sent out to fix a problem with MacBook batteries.

    He analyzed the code for the update, found an administrative password and then noticed it applied to all models of Apple battery. This isn’t unusual — the iPhone, iPad and iPod (ipod touch firmware 3.1.3 download) Touch also share a default, and easily Googled, administrative password.

    Miller reverse-engineered the Apple battery firmware (“bricking,” or permanently damaging, seven of the $ 130 batteries in the process) and discovered how to alter it to send false readings to the laptop user, to damage the battery or even to serve as a hidden repository for malware.

    “You could put a whole hard drive in, reinstall the software, flash the BIOS and every time it would re-attack and screw you over,” Miller told Greenberg. “There would be no way to eradicate or detect it other than removing the battery.”

    The greater problem

    Could the firmware be rigged to make the battery explode? Miller found that the Apple batteries had built-in fuses to prevent serious overheating, but there’s no guarantee counterfeit batteries would have such safeguards.

    Miller has written a patch — he’s calling it “Caulkgun” — for the Apple battery vulnerability and will release it at Black Hat.

    The downside is that Caulkgun will prevent future firmware updates. Nor will it do anything to solve the greater problem, because this vulnerability is not confined to Apple laptop batteries.

    Most computer accessories and parts — hard drives, optical drives, graphics cards and network cards, for example — use firmware-upgradable logic chips. Most have enough memory space to house a small piece of malware.

    It’s likely that most items in each category from a particular brand use the same administrative password.

    For malicious hackers, it’s just a matter of finding out what those passwords are.

    best mobile security software

    YOU MIGHT ALSO BE INTERESTED IN

    ipod touch firmware – Google News


              Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

    Strategic Change Issues Associated with Life Cycle Dynamics

    The genesis of life cycle dynamics in the strategy literature may be traced to early work in technology studies. Two counter-forces shape the development and diffusion of technological systems. One is a ‘law of progress’ (Adams, 1931) that points to an exponential growth in the development of a technological system after a relatively slower start. A second force is the ‘law of limits’ that represents the physical limits one invariably confronts with the performance of a technological system. Together, these two forces combine to prescribe an ‘S’ shaped curve in the development and diffusion of a technological system (Foster, 1986).

    Life cycle dynamics implicit in the ‘S’ shaped curve were productively employed in other disciplines as well. In the marketing literature, for instance, these dynamics are manifest in product life cycle issues (Kotler, 1994; Mahajan et al, 1990). In the economics literature, life cycle dynamics are apparent in the works of economists such as Vernon (1966). In the organizational field, life cycle dynamics can be found in conceptualizations of organizations progressing from one crisis to another as it grew in scale and scope (Greiner, 1972). They are also implicit in the contagion models that have been employed in diffusion studies and the creation of bandwagons in the development of fads and fashions (Abrahamson, 1991; Rogers, 1983). Clearly this is not an inclusive but an indicative list of those who have contributed to this way of thinking. However, as is apparent from even this short survey, life cycles unfold at various levels.

    Several issues confront practitioners associated with processes exhibiting life cycle dynamics. First, there is a need to determine the stage in the life cycle of the organizational entity that is undergoing change. Monitoring internal and external contexts is an approach that has been advocated for this purpose. Although monitoring might appear to be a routine task, cognitive biases may create many difficulties in accomplishing this task (Kahneman et al., 1982; Kiesler and Sproull, 1982; Dutton and Jackson, 1987). Despite these difficulties, some tell-tale signs that have been employed to determine what stage an industry might be in its development are product price, the level of commoditization, the number of new entrants and exits.

    In addition to correctly recognizing the stage of development of the entity being examined, another managerial challenge is determining the appropriate mode of operation in each stage of a life cycle. For instance, Utterback (1994) suggests that strategy implies competition based on functionalities during a ‘fluid’ stage of technology development whereas it implies competition based on reliability, quality and price during a ‘specific’ stage of development. Similar considerations have led others to suggest that a firm should be organized to ‘explore’ during early growth stages and organized to ‘exploit’ during later stages (March, 1991).

    The most difficult challenge in managing processes driven by life cycle dynamics is to make transitions in between stages. Transitions are difficult as they imply changing one set of competencies well suited for one stage of operation to a different set of competencies required for a different stage of operation. Indeed, appropriate forms of behavior at one stage of operation may be the very forces that prevent organizations from transiting to the next stage. In other words, transitions become difficult as competencies at one point become traps (Levitt and March, 1988; Leonard-Barton, 1992).

    While life cycle models are seductively simple to understand, they are easy for managers to misread. For instance, in the development of cochlear implants (a bio-medical prosthetic device), proponents of the single-channel device that gained early FDA approvals concluded to their peril that industry dynamics had switched to a growth and maturity stage (Garud and Van de Ven, 1992). This belief turned out to be misplaced when other firms continued developing their cochlear implants under the assumption that the industry was still at an introductory stage.

    In a similar vein, Henderson (1997) illustrates how beliefs about the limits of a technology based on its internal structure can be misleading. Using the development of optical photolithography as an example, Henderson shows how the ‘natural’ or ‘physical’ limits of the technology were relaxed by unanticipated progress on three fronts: significant changes in the needs and capabilities of users, advances in the performance of component technologies (lenses), and unexpected development in the performance of complementary technologies. These observations lead Henderson to caution against using a life cycle model to predict the limits of a technology. Such predictions must be tempered by a recognition that many other factors (beyond the immediate grasp of those forecasting) may play a role in extending the life of a technology.

    Life cycle dynamics are at play in a key field that drives change in contemporary times -semiconductors. For about three decades, Moore's law described progress that has been made with semiconductor chips - a doubling of the number of chips that might fit into a silicon chip every 18 months. Announcements by scientists at Intel suggest that the silicon substrate may be reaching its limit (Markoff, 1999). In Grove's terminology, these limits may represent the onset of a strategic inflexion point with the potential to create a ‘10X change’ (Grove, 1996). As this limit is reached, semiconductor firms will have to decide whether to continue with silicon chips, shift to a new architecture or to a new substrate. To ensure that Intel makes appropriate decision as it encounters this and other such inflexion points, Grove and his colleagues have put in place ‘dialectical processes’ that shape decision making at Intel. We explore issues associated with dialectical processes as they pertain to strategic change in the next sub-section.


              Source : Handbook of Strategy and Management        

    Implications for Strategic Change

    Each theory has important implications for strategic change in organizations. For instance, the notion of teleology has been central to the field of strategy as it offers a way of building theories that celebrate human agency (Child, 1972). In such theories, strategic choice is a key motor driving change with humans possessing an ability to plan and the power to shape economic, social and technological systems. Human agency becomes progressively circumscribed as we begin introducing other change motors. For instance, strategic initiatives may need to be conditioned by life cycle dynamics. Or, change processes could be circumscribed and shaped by a multitude of conflicting social forces that deny planners an ability to unambiguously navigate a stream of unfolding events. Or, change can unfold within an even larger evolutionary process of variation, selection and retention.

    Strategic change processes are fundamentally different within each of these theories. Change driven by teleology is planned and deliberate, based on an assessment of the possibilities involved. Change driven by life cycle dynamics represent transitions from one stage to another as an organization progresses along a prescribed sequence and adapts to forces. With dialectical theories, change as adaptation gives way to political processes of partisan conflicts and mutual adjustments among opposing parties. Finally, evolutionary theory examines processes of variation, selection, and retention of alternative organizational forms as generated by competition for scarce resources among competition for processes, adaptation and adoption occur as organizations cycle between periods of exploration and exploitation within an overall punctuated equilibrium process.

    We delve deeper into these motors in the rest of this section .

    Our objective is to provide readers with a way of thinking about strategic change based on the kinds of motors that one might encounter in different settings. In doing so, we also offer readers with an illustrative survey of the literature on strategic change.


              BANG BANG: Brian Darr        
    [BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]


    5 x 5 by Brian Darr

    2011 was a year filled with terrible and wonderful things for me. When it comes to film-watching, there was plenty that fell into the "wonderful" category. My relationship with the cinema, and especially the "new" cinema, is constantly changing, and finding a way to put together a coherent top ten list encapsulation was more of a struggle for me than ever this year. So in true obsessive fashion, I've made a "modular" top ten, exploiting various quirks of eligibility that diehard list-watchers and -makers may recognize, but that everyone else can just read as an excuse for a nice round top 25.


    Five magnificent films that had a week-long "commercial" release in San Francisco in 2011. Definitely on my top ten list, no matter how you slice it.
    • Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011) From the beautifully slo-mo opening sequence of Manhattanites in ritualized motion, reminiscent of James Benning's early collaborations with Bette Gordon, I suspected I was seeing something special. Drying my eyes during the closing credits, I knew for sure that I had. "You will weep and know why." If you've heard of this sprawling, 150-minute character drama about a teenager (Anna Paquin) struggling with every emotion under the sun in the wake of a traffic accident, you've probably also heard how it was given short shrift by a studio contractually obliged to release it but seemingly determined to take a loss on it. Though frustrations of the legal system is a sub-theme of the movie, (as are poetry, post-9/11 stress, burgeoning sexuality, opera, and a million other concerns) it's a shame that the story of Margaret's belated and shoddy distribution has overshadowed all other discussions about the film. To be expected when prints disappear from theatres after a week or two, and perhaps reversible now that the film is re-opening at a Greenwich Village theatre today; I hope a Frisco Bay venue tries the same gambit soon.
    • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Part Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) Into the cave.
    • The Tree of Life (Terence Malick, 2011) Into the light. Multiple viewings and much ruminating have made its evident flaws insignificant in the face of its visionary design.
    • A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg, 2011) Keira Knightley's polarizing performance in this impeccably composed, perfectly Cronenbergian film, led my way to a new understanding of my long-least favorite genre: the biopic. Historical figures perform specific functions for modern humans; why not allow actors to embody these functions by acting them out on screen?
    • Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010) It's a bit strange that the San Francisco Film Critics Circle picked a largely English-language film for their 2011 Foreign Language Film award. I'll approve and attribute it to the masterful illusionism practiced by its Iranian director, its French star (Juliette Binoche), and the Tuscan countryside setting. All three create a mesmerizing surface beneath which there is even more to see, and contemplate. English-language films just don't do that, do they? Except for the exceptions.


    Five superb films I saw in 2011 that screened in San Francisco for the first time this year. All had so-called "commercial" releases except the first one listed; it played for a week in New York but had only a handful of screenings at the San Francisco International Film Festival here.
    • The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu (Andrei Ujica, 2010) "Look in my eyes; what do you see?...I'm the smiling face on your TV..." The past months have seen the final days of two of the world's most reviled dictators. We can hope, but not really expect, that they won't be replaced by others equally heinous somewhere in the world. But how often does tyranny conform to the images we expect from it? Such a question is at the center of this three-hour compilation of naked newsreel footage taken from the archives of the 1965-1989 Romanian leader's personal photographers. Kim Jong-il's father Kim Il-sung makes an astonishing cameo appearance.
    • The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, 2009) Palestinian director Suleiman applies the darkly absurdist, somewhat Tati-esque style he perfected in his previous film Divine Intervention to even more overtly autobiographical material. If its predecessor is any indication, it should only grow in my estimation with repeated viewings in the coming years.
    • The Arbor (Clio Barnard, 2010) A strange and remarkable work. The documentary tradition in theatre is long but little-known, so bringing some of its techniques for merging non-fiction material with acted performance into a cinematic sphere feels like a real breath of fresh air. It's particularly inspired in the service of its subject: the life and legacy of Yorkshire playwright Andrea Dunbar.
    • The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar, 2011) I run hot and cold on Pedro's filmography, and had even skipped Broken Embraces after being disappointed by his previous two features. I'm back on board. Here, he forays into horror and science fiction without upsetting his delicate balance of telenovelistic melodrama and cinematic spectacle. To hint at why this film is something only Almodovar might have devised is to give too much of its plot away. I'll just say that maybe Bad Education could've been improved with a hint of Karl Freund's 1935 Mad Love in it.
    • Inni (Vincent Morisset, 2011) Is this monochromatic, visually experimental shadow box a new way forward for the concert film? If you prefer imagining the Icelandic band's sustains ricocheting against the back of a darkened concert hall rather than off beautiful mountains and lakes (as in 2007's Heima), then this is the Sigur Rós movie for you.


    Five beautiful films which I didn't see in 2011, but which were first publicly screened in San Francisco this year and were a big part of my conversations about cinema. Having seen them in 2010, I wish I'd made time to see them again when they played in local cinemas in 2011.
    • A Useful Life (Federico Veiroj, 2010) I never had to see a Uruguayan film before this one to fall in love with this neorealist-goes-expressionist oratorio for that tiny country's cinema culture and one average man's place in it. And out of it.
    • The Mysteries of Lisbon (Raul Ruiz, 2010) A fitting swan song for one of the most mysterious filmmakers I know. The impossible-to-peg Chilean died in August but not before gracing us with a beautiful, sprawling adaptation of a novel by 19th-century Romantic Camilo Castelo Branco. (No, I hadn't heard of hm before either.) Dig those digital split diopter shots!
    • Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010) The British misanthrope-or-is-he's most Ozu-esque film to date.
    • Meek's Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt, 2010) One of the American filmmakers best at portraying the so-called "outsiders" (or should I say the 99%?) of our modern society points her camera into history, showing us the stratifications found among a small community of pioneers heading West circa 1845.
    • Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski, 2010) Just as exciting as The Fugitive except far more ambiguous and ambivalent about its moral position. Pure cinema.


    Five terrific films that I saw at San Francisco festivals or other alternative venues in 2011, that have yet to secure "commercial" distribution in this country, as far as I am aware. In alphabetical, not preferential, order.
    • 28.IV.81 (Descending Figures) (Christopher Harris, 2011) A brightly-colored dual-projector comedy set amidst a Florida amusement park passion play where baseball caps mingle with Centurion helmets.
    • Chantrapas (Otar Iosseliani, 2010) Films about filmmaking are cinephile catnip, right? Well, this certainly trumps The Artist as an authentically moving tribute to a vanished mode of production left behind for a new life and search for meaning.
    • Disorder (Weikai Huang, 2009) Around Guangzhao in an hour. Dizzying in design, execution, imagery, editing style, and political audaciousness. Truly the closest thing to Dziga Vertov's vision for his kinoks the 21st Century has seen thus far in a single work.
    • HaHaHa (Hong Sangsoo, 2010) One of the funniest and most thought-provoking films from one of my favorite working directors. Need I say more?
    • Lethe (Lewis Klahr, 2009) Klahr's collage films can provide a closer look at vintage comic book art than even the most finicky collector is likely to take unless scrutinizing that line between "very fine" and "near mint". We see the visual DNA of colors and shading magnified, and at the same time we read between the panels, guided by the filmmaker's temporal and spatial dislocations. The standout of a strong set of new-ish work Klahr brought for local premieres this year, Lethe is a remix of a 1960s Doctor Solar story that becomes a noirish drama set to Gustav Mahler.


    Five amazing films I saw in 2011 that have yet to screen publicly anywhere in San Francisco. In alphabetical, not preferential, order.
    • Almayer's Folly (Chantal Akerman, 2011) Entrancingly old-fashioned adaptation of Joseph Conrad's first novel, transposed to stuck-in-time Cambodia.
    • the Day He Arrives (Hong Sangsoo, 2011) Is Hong's return to black-and-white cinematography, eleven years and as many films after Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, a sign that we should question the veracity of every scene, but this time around without a bifurcated structure to help guide us?
    • Ghost Dance (Mark Wilson, 2009) Named for the call to apocalyptic change performed by the Modoc (as beautifully described in Rebecca Solnit's book River of Shadows), this brief, but spectacularly ever-expanding animation recalls Eadweard Muybridge's own technological call for for a paradigm shift.
    • Longhorn Tremelo (Scott Stark, 2010) Begins and ends as a study of black shadows against mobile fields, but goes through a dazzling array of burnt-orange-and-white permutations in between. A version is viewable on vimeo, but I'd love to be able to see the full two-projector version somehow.
    • The Turin Horse (Bela Tarr, 2011) A Nietzche-inspired tour-de-force from one of the most forceful visions around.

    THE DAY HE ARRIVES


    ____________________________

    Brian Darr lives in San Francisco, where he watches movies, though he's been known to travel for cinema as well. He blogs here and twitters here.

              'The Sky's the Limit': Marcus Mariota Is Ready for Superstardom        

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chugging tallboy cans of working-class beer, holding a catfish overhead and removing their shirts, the five starting offensive linemen of the Tennessee Titans fired up the crowd at Bridgestone Arena before Game 3 of the NHL's Western Conference Final between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks.  

    The quarterback waved a rally towel.

    You might have assumed Marcus Mariota really wasn't one of the guys—that he was just there because the Predators wanted the sizzle from his big name. You might have remembered NFL scouts had concerns about his leadership ability when they were studying him prior to the 2015 draft. You might wonder how a soft-spoken teetotaler ever could be respected by those burly, tattooed, wild-eyed men.

    But if you saw Mariota at a Titans game instead of a Predators game, you would have a different impression.

    Down seven to the Raiders with less than two minutes to go in Nashville last September, the Titans were driving. A 19-yard pass from Mariota to Tajae Sharpe put the Titans on the Raiders' 3-yard line, but then left tackle Taylor Lewan was penalized for unnecessary roughness after diving on the pile. The ball was moved back to the 18, the drive petered out and the Titans lost the game.

    Fans jeered Lewan. He was savaged on social media. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit called Lewan "an absolute fraud" and a fake tough guy on Twitter.

    For Lewan, it felt like him against the world. He lost a game, the fans and the trust of his locker room. Then about an hour later, Mariota pulled him aside in a quiet hallway before the players dispersed.

    "Don't ever stop being yourself," he told him. "I'm with you."

    Now Lewan will follow Mariota anywhere. And he isn't the only one.

    "We'll do anything for Marcus," center Ben Jones says.

    The invitation to the Predators game was extended only to the offensive linemen. It was their idea to bring Mariota along. They also bring him to their Thursday night dinners every week, and he sometimes serves as designated driver.

    "He goes out with us and he doesn't drink, but he's one of the boys," Lewan says. "He doesn't act like he's above us. He's not on a high horse. That's awesome. I'm never going to pass judgment. It's the perfect yin and yang between us."

    And not just between him and the offensive line.

    In Mariota's third season, the Titans are his team.


    Anyone who has seen Mariota's golden eyes flash in a Titans huddle on game day knows.

    "He's demanding in the huddle," head coach Mike Mularkey says. "He's vocal in the huddle. He cusses a lot in the huddle. He's as competitive in the huddle as anybody I've been around."

    To sum it up, Mularkey declares him "our leader."

    Mariota is detailed, and he expects no less from his receivers. When one of them runs a sloppy route, they hear about it.

    "He will get on you if you aren't doing what you are supposed to do," Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews says. "But he does it in a respectful manner."

    If being demanding without being abrasive is an art, then Mariota is an artist.

    "There is a mindset you have to have when you get out there on Sunday," he says. "Guys understand it's out of love. It's not something where I'm trying to embarrass them. It's trying to get them to be the best they can be."

    Mariota has become a veteran and has grown as a leader.

    "Some of the best leaders in the world find they learn something every day to be a better leader," he says. "Whether it's developing a relationship, learning what someone likes or doesn't like, putting forth the extra effort so guys understand you do what you preach. The best leaders adapt and are flexible with their situations. I try to be the same."

    Mariota leads by knowing how to treat individuals differently. He leads by showing up every morning before his teammates—by 6 or shortly after—and by staying until the players' parking lot is nearly empty. He leads by volunteering to sign autographs every day after practice for a group of 25 kids chosen by team representatives.

    His personal goal this season? "To be the best teammate I can be," he says.

    Mariota was one of six Titans voted by teammates to be a captain last season. But Mariota and the other captains decided not to wear "Cs" on their jerseys so they didn't stand out from their teammates.

    New Titans receiver Eric Decker has found Mariota's demeanor similar to another quarterback he played with.

    "I love the even-keel, down to earth, humble approach," Decker says. "Being around Peyton [Manning], he had that as well. Both are guys' guys, and [they're] football junkies as far as the film, studying the game, knowing their craft."

    I love the even-keel, down to earth, humble approach. Being around Peyton [Manning], he had that as well. Both are guys' guys, and [they're] football junkies as far as the film, studying the game, knowing their craft. — Eric Decker on Marcus Mariota

    Marcus Ardel Taulauniu Mariota grew up on the island of Oahu, the son of a blond German mother and a thick Samoan father. They taught him Fa'asamoa—the ways of Samoa that stress humility and respect.

    "I would say that's probably the focal point of my leadership," Mariota says. "Our culture is all about we, never about yourself. I always try to make it a point when I'm talking to guys to say we. It's not you need to do this, it's what can we do better. It makes it more of a family culture."


    These Titans are ready to be led. They won nine games last season after winning three in Mariota's first year. They made a number of acclaimed moves last offseason and became the trendy pick to win the AFC South.

    Mariota, meanwhile, is in a good place. His 93.8 career passer rating is third-best in NFL history among quarterbacks who threw at least 600 passes in their first two years—behind only Dan Marino and Russell Wilson—according to Pro Football Reference. He has been his most menacing to defenses when the smell of blood is in the water. In the red zone, Mariota has thrown 33 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

    On Saturday, he is scheduled to play his first game since breaking his fibula on Christmas Eve. After an offseason season of rehab, Mariota is moving well.

    Mariota can become a much better quarterback this season.

    "The sky's the limit for him," Matthews says. "I'm expecting big things."

    If Mariota has proved anything in his first two seasons with the Titans, it's that he is capable of growth. When he came to the Titans after playing in Oregon's spread offense, he was determined to show he could be a pocket quarterback. He worked at disciplining himself to stay put, even when his instinct was telling him to run. Last season, the emphasis was on getting rid of the football and avoiding the big hit, even if it meant throwing it away.

    This year, Mularkey says he is giving Mariota more responsibility at the line of scrimmage. Mariota has been allowed to choose from two plays at the line in the past. Now he will be allowed to call whatever play he wants if he sees a defensive look that can be exploited.

    "He's ready for that," Mularkey says of Mariota, who scored a 33 on the Wonderlic prior to the 2015 draft, according to former NFL scout John Middlekauff. "He's pretty sharp, and he works at it. He can do it all the time. He understands everything, what defenses are trying to do. He is amazing with protections, gets us in the right protections."

    Empowering Mariota at the line of scrimmage wouldn't mean as much if the Titans had not acquired more players who can exploit advantageous matchups. They revamped their receiving corps, drafting Corey Davis with the fifth pick and Taywan Taylor with the 72nd, and signing free agent Eric Decker.

    He understands everything, what defenses are trying to do. He is amazing with protections, gets us in the right protections. — Mike Mularkey on Marcus Mariota

    These additions came a year after the team added running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Last season, when defenses ganged up on the run, Mariota didn't have many appealing options. This year, he should.

    "To be able to have a bunch of different guys to throw the ball to and get the ball in their hands and let them do their thing, it will really help our offense," Mariota says.

    Davis can take a short pass and turn it into a long gain, or snatch a ball over the top of a defender. Taylor's suddenness plays well in the slot. Decker is a veteran with a knack for getting open—and Mariota has acknowledged it with his throws.

    A natural chemistry between Mariota and Decker has been evident throughout training camp.

    "I feel we've had some plays where we just kind of connected," says Decker, who chose to sign with the Titans in part because of Mariota. "I hope we can keep progressing with that, getting comfortable with each other and trusting one another."

    After one sweaty practice ended recently, the large majority of the Titans retreated to the cool of the locker room or the arms of loved ones. Mariota, meanwhile, worked on his drops for nearly 30 minutes.

    By trying to improve his footwork, he is hoping for more accurate throws to Decker and the other receivers.

    "I got pretty inconsistent with my drops [late last season], and that led to some inaccuracy," he says.

    The result was noticeable. Over his first 12 games, Mariota had a completion percentage of 64.29 and a rating of 101.9. In his final three, his completion percentage was 45.21 and he had a 63.0 rating.

    "If I have my feet under me, I'm a much better passer," Mariota says. "It's getting to that same position every time and making sure I'm consistent."


    The second overall pick of the 2015 draft lives in a condominium overlooking the town that could be his. He has come to know what Music City is about, attending CMA Fest and concerts from Florida Georgia Line to Tim McGraw.

    But it's not like he's barhopping every night. In fact, don't expect a response if you text him after 9 p.m. Mariota usually turns out the lights by then.

    He is more comfortable on a beach than in a honky-tonk saloon. His idea of relaxing is bodyboarding off Oahu's South Shore.

    "When I'm at home, that's the first thing I do is get in the water," he says. "I love bodyboarding and bodysurfing. It's a special time for me, kind of my sanctuary when I get in the water."

    And what would he do in a saloon anyway?

    "For me, I've never been curious about it—drinking," Mariota says. "It's never been something I wanted to do."

    After NBCSN broadcast the scene of Mariota and his linemen at the Predators game, Mariota was asked repeatedly about not drinking beer with his teammates. At a banquet in June, he revealed he'd never had a sip of alcohol in his life.

    Things have changed since then.

    Ardel Deppe was a construction contractor from Kauai who loved to cast a line into the sea and sip a margarita. He passed away in April, and his family celebrated his life in Hawaii in July.

    "He was a great man," Mariota says of his grandfather. "So the least I could do was have one of his favorite drinks and pay a little tribute to him."

    It does not sound as if Mariota is hooked on margaritas, though.

    "Hated it," he says. "Tasted horrible."

    Mariota lives cleanly. He tries not to take painkillers, and he has no use for marijuana.

    "I've never done it and probably never will," he says.

    The worst thing he ingests is chocolate—especially Oreos. "My vice," he says.

    He dropped about eight pounds in the offseason to get to 218, so he couldn't have eaten too many.

    "I'm a big believer your body is capable of taking care of itself," Mariota says. "If you are putting the right foods in, doing the right things and taking care of it, your body will take care of you."

    Now, he feels his body is right. He has more command of his offense than ever. He has better players around him.

    The Titans are his team, and he could accomplish something special this season.

    Even he might grab one of those beers from his linemen and drink to that.

     

    Dan Pompei covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @danpompei.

    Read more NFL news on BleacherReport.com


              In this ordinal sector         
    Most smokers know that they are causing themselves damage by smoking because it is engrossed on both plurality of smokes they have. In this ordinal sector of my rotation into quit smoky benefits, I poverty to spear out a few much of the diseases that can be avoided by not smoky.A star give up smoking aim that most smokers know about is the minimized risk of malignant neoplastic disease. What umpteen smokers don't realise nevertheless is that nearby are galore more cancers that they are promising to transaction from smoking than meet lung malignant tumor.Smokers run a massive speculate compared to non-smokers of acquiring lung malignant tumor. Between 90% and 95% of all lung metastatic tumor is found in smokers. This is because coffin nail aerosol contains so many cancer (cancer exploit) chemicals, as well as radioactive metals such as polonium-210 and bismuth-210, along cross chemicals specified as benzene and nitrosamines.Post ads:classroom spy professional licence key / call recorder n73 / cell phone surveillance software iphone / elvis duran phone taps listen online / cell phone spy on / wireless surveillance technology / miniature spy microphoneThese carcinogens pool in the tar and atomic number 6 in the lungs (as good as on the walls of the mouth, throat, larynx, olfactory organ and gullet) where on earth they come with into contact with lung tissue and back up metastatic tumor. The lungs likewise hold your attention these chemicals into the bodily fluid waterway wherever they are after unrestricted to assail all environment of the article.
              Can do this most cannot         
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              Creating A 12 To 24-Month Policy Bridge For A New Afghanistan Strategy        

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/04/creating-a-12-to-24-month-policy-bridge-for-a-new-afghanistan-strategy/

    LAWRENCE SELLIN

    Retired Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve

    3:52 PM 08/04/2017

    Up until now his advisors have offered President Trump two choices for failure in Afghanistan, one quick, withdrawal, and one slow, a continuation of the failed strategy of the last sixteen years.

    By now it should be apparent to all knowledgeable people that U.S. objectives cannot be achieved in land-locked Afghanistan where Pakistan, whose Afghanistan objectives differ from ours, controls the supply of our troops and the battle tempo through its support of the Taliban and Haqqani network.

    An alternative is to provide the President with a 12 to 24-month plan that bridges the gap between the present untenable strategy to a longer term solution.

    That is, rather than tweak the current strategy, begin to address the core problem, a strategic environment that has made success of the current strategy impossible.

    Within the next two years, the Trump Administration should formulate a strategy that exploits Pakistan’s pain points, one which carves out roles for the Department of Defense, Department of State and Congress.

    While preventing a further deterioration in the security situation in Afghanistan, different permutations and degrees of the following actions should be pursued, both as short term leverage against Pakistan and, ideally, to create a regional strategic environment more conducive to U.S. interests.  That is, it is not the Taliban and the Haqqani network that need to be brought to the negotiating table, but Pakistan.

    Foreign aid to Pakistan – reduce it to a trickle. Even Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says that a tougher approach needs to be adopted toward his country: “The Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban.”Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status – cancel all or part of it. As a MNNA country, approved by President George W. Bush in 2004, Pakistan became “eligible for priority delivery of defense material, an expedited arms sale process, and a U.S. loan guarantee program, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile U.S. military hardware, participate in defense research and development programs, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.”Declaration of Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism – advance the House bill through Congress. On September 20, 2016, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), introduced H.R.6069, the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act. According to Chairman Poe: “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the United States for years.  From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror.”Durand Line – Pakistan depends on it – question its legitimacy. The Durand Line is the arbitrary 1896 border drawn between Afghanistan and Pakistan by British Diplomat Sir Mortimer Durand. Pashtun lands have been artificially divided and Pakistan is using its Pashtun population as Taliban cannon fodder.China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – undermine it. Pakistan has significant economic incentive to exclude western countries from maintaining any influence in Afghanistan. It is called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative that aims to connect Asia through land-based and maritime economic zones. CPEC is an infrastructure project, the backbone of which is a transportation network connecting China to the Pakistani seaports of Gwadar and Karachi located on the Arabian Sea. Gwadar is a potential Chinese naval base at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which will complement another Chinese naval base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea creating two critical strategic choke points.Ethnic separatism – encourage it – Pakistan is the Yugoslavia of South Asia. Probably the greatest of all potential Pakistani pain points is ethnic separatism. Pakistan was founded on the religion of Islam and is composed primarily of five ethnic groups that never coexisted, the Bengalis, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Baloch. Pakistan’s Islamic nationalism program was specifically designed to suppress ethnic separatism, an effort that eventually led to the proliferation of Islamic terrorist groups within its borders and their use as instruments of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Exploitation of ethnic separatism within Pakistan, such as in Balochistan, remains an option. That is, fight an insurgency with an insurgency.

    A longer term solution for Afghanistan was described previously in the Daily Caller, one based on counterterrorism rather than counterinsurgency, providing a cost-effective, flexible and “conditions-based” strategy advocated by retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely in a Diana West article.

    “Such a strategy, Vallely explained, relies on ‘the maximum use of unconventional forces,’ such as Navy SEALS and other special forces, who can be deployed as needed from what are known in military parlance as ‘lily pads’ — outposts or jumping-off points in friendly countries (Israel, Northern Kurdistan, India, Philippines, Italy, Djibouti … ) and from U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups. Such strike groups generally include eight to 10 vessels ‘with more fire power,’ the general noted, ‘than most nations.’ These lily pads become ‘bases we can launch from any time we want to,’ eliminating the need for massive land bases such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, by now a small city of 20,000 American personnel who continuously need to be supplied and secured at enormous expense.”

    In terms of Afghanistan strategy, it is time to build a bridge to somewhere.

    Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, an IT command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at lawrence.sellin@gmail.com.


              RUSSIA: Babushkas rule        

    Russia will be reshaped not by revolution but by urbanization and a life expectancy gap between men and women, writes Ekaterina Schulmann

    Historical parallels are a curse of our time because they prevent rational analysis of social and political processes. Once you hear that 2014 is 1914 all over again, or that a certain regime is heading towards a new Nazism, this is a clear signal to stop listening, as clear as when you are advised to read Dostoevsky to gain insight into the ‘Russian soul’.

    It is time to stop taking Karl Marx’s joke at face value: history does not repeat itself, either as tragedy, or as farce. Since there is an infinite supply of historical facts, it is likely that striking similarities between past and present events are based either on the magic of numbers – 1914/2014 – or on highlighting some facts while ignoring others.

    The main sin of parallelism is that it negates progress. It is stuck in the Middle Ages, when the wheel of fortune decreed that nothing changed.

    The same type of thinking that denies the passage of time, however, makes a fetish of space and turns geography into destiny.

    People who balk at a comparison between the Russian and Venezuelan political systems are happy to compare modern Russia with the Russia of Ivan the Terrible, Nicholas II or Stalin, periods that have nothing to do with our time economically, culturally or socially.

    So what are we to make of this year’s centenary of the revolutions that ended the Russian Empire, and the fashionable search for clues to the future of today’s Russia? To unpick the parallels, it is worth exploring the basic composition of Russian society then and now through demographic trends − while understanding that demography influences, but does not determine, political processes.

    Looking at the demographic data of Russia for 2016 and for the Russian regions of the Empire by 1917, we see two major trends that shaped the 20th century: ageing and urbanization.

    The median age of a Russian citizen of today is 39 years. In 1917, the average age of a resident of Petrograd was 19. In 1885, there were 11.6 million city dwellers in Russia, a figure that doubled within 30 years to 23.2 million in 1914. In 1940 the urban population of the USSR was 60.6 million people and in 1956, 87 million. Within 40 years, 54 million people had moved from village to town. By the late 1950s, the urban population equalled the peasantry.

    Urbanization was a feature of the era that transformed agrarian societies into modern industrial ones. The grimmer appendages of this process were global wars of the type unknown to previous ages, combining the genocidal intent of Genghis Khan with new weapons capable of wiping out millions of lives. The young people wanting to climb up the social ladder by moving from the countryside to the cities could play two roles: as the drivers of progress or the cogs in great totalitarian machines of repression, as happened in Russia and China.

    There are gaps in the Russian demographic pyramid that we see repeated roughly every 20 to 25 years. These are the traces of the horror that was the Russian 20th century – mostly the human loss of the Second World War, but also of the civil war, collectivization, numerous waves of genocide and organized hunger. If you compare the modern demographic pyramids of the former Soviet republics, you will see a picture resembling the Russian pyramid, but with the edges somewhat smoothed.

    Today 74.4 per cent of the citizens of Russia live in cities, according to Rosstat, the Russian statistics service. Agrarian Russia, the Russia of the peasantry, is now the stuff of folklore. Given the state of the transport and road infrastructure, it is reasonable to assert that Russia today consists of 15 cities and their agglomerations, with more or less empty space in between.

    There are two exceptions: the agricultural regions of Southern Russia and the national republics of the North Caucasus. Remarkably, these are also the regions with distinct political cultures and electoral behaviour differing from that of central, northern or Siberian Russia.

    Ethnically, if we compare the results of the censuses of 1991 in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, as the territory of the Russian Federation was defined in Soviet times, and the last census of 2010, we see a gradual consolidation of the ethnically Russian population. Non-Russian Judeo-Christian ethnic groups are declining or disappearing: Jews, Germans, even Ukrainians and Belarusians are markedly less numerous in 2010 than in 1991. The sole exception is the Armenians.

    At the same time, there is quite significant growth of those ethnic groups that can be described as Muslim: the Azeris, the Tartars, and the Caucasian nations. Very roughly put, in the Russia of today we see two groups of unequal size, but also with unequal demographic dynamics: the generalized Russian and the generalized Muslim nations.

    Having said this, it is important to remember that these are not actual ‘communities’ or even ‘ethnic groups’: there is not so much in common between the Kazan Tatars and the Chechens, while the ‘Russian’ Russians are extremely diverse.

    These statistics, of course, can be readily used for all kinds of political catastrophism. They can be turned to support nationalistic propaganda of the ‘let’s declare a mono-national state before it’s too late’ type, or the ‘Russians are all dying out and being replaced by people from the Caucasus’.

    In fact, Russia is not dying out in any perceivable way, the birth rates being moderately low, but on a par with the general level of countries of comparable economic status and social composition.

    Looking at the demographic pyramid of 2016, we see not just an old, but an ageing population, with the predominance of women growing with each rise up the age scale. This is due to the difference in average life expectancy between the genders: men die sooner, and the more pronounced gender inequality starts after 55 years. Life expectancy has been slowly growing for the past 15 years yet according to data for 2016 it is still a shockingly low 66.5 years for males and an almost decent 77 years for females.

    The real Russian demographic problem is not low birth rate, but early mortality, especially male mortality, which is almost totally due to preventable social causes: alcoholism, driving accidents, violent crime, high prison population and treatable diseases, most importantly cardiovascular.

    There is a total absence of what demographers call a ‘youth bulge’ − a disproportionately high number of 15 to 25-year-olds in the population pyramid. Such a youth bulge was very visible in the population pyramid of Germany in 1933, the year Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and − in a milder form − in Russia in 1927.

    Today we have instead what might be termed a youth gap − a visible failure below 25 to 29 years caused by the relatively small generation born during the first half of the 90s. The following 15 to 19 stratum is even smaller − a continuation of the low fertility of the second half of the 90s and early 2000s.

    Since 2002, the birth rate has been gradually increasing, and at the base of our pyramid we see two decent-sized ‘bricks’ −Russians aged 10 years or less. Their participation in the political process is yet to come.

    What does this demographic picture mean for a country’s political development? Always keeping in mind that demography affects but does not determine political processes, it is possible to discern some tendencies.

    With women aged 45 and older becoming the predominant social group in Russia, this creates the impetus to shift the policy agenda towards social issues − healthcare, education, a comfortable living environment. This is in marked contrast to official budget priorities, focused on security, the military and costly foreign adventures.

    The decision-makers of the ruling bureaucracy are largely males aged 60-plus, with military, secret service and law-enforcement backgrounds. Their values and interests may be not as aligned with those of the Russian majority as they would like to think.

    Demography is an important factor that affects a country’s likelihood of edging towards authoritarianism. Poor demography isn’t a death sentence; however, the existence of a ‘youth bulge’ correlates with a society’s proneness to violence.

    When the majority of the population in a country is over 40, protests are more likely to be peaceful and legal. At the same time, an older population has no effect on the probability of a military coup, the other bane of semi-autocracies that don’t have a politically valid mechanism for the transfer of power.

    While young people go to demonstrations, older people go to elections. By casting their ballots, the old deliver the results required by the authorities and also agree to accept them as legitimate.

    The latter is an important factor in a political system that relies heavily on falsifications and the use of the ‘administrative resource’ to boost turnout and achieve desirable voting outcomes. If younger Russians neither vote nor take an interest in election campaigns and their results, it erodes the election’s legitimacy, making protest activity a more attractive option.

    The next generation gap, stemming from the relatively small generation born in the 1990s and early 2000s which is now entering its fertility age, will ensure a continuing need to replace the shortfall with migrant workers. This, inevitably, will form the basis of continuing political tensions for the next 15 to 20 years.

    In a longer perspective, we have the continuing ultra-urbanization process that will draw Russia closer and closer to the picture of ‘15 great cities with empty spaces in between’. These are: Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, Perm, Voronezh and Volgograd. Close behind are Krasnodar, Saratov and Tyumen.

    The cities of industrial Siberia − Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk − and Southern Russia and the North Caucasus − Makhachkala, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don − demonstrate the most stable population growth in recent years, both due to natural birth increase and migration.

    These 15 to 18 cities and the surrounding territories serving them will inevitably strive to become both sources and centres of political power. This is in direct opposition to the current political system that has all-but abolished direct mayoral elections, crushed the freedoms and financial independence of municipalities and strives to uphold at least the appearance of a ‘vertical of power’ by heavy dependence on regional authorities − which, in their turn, are kept under control by a centralized budgeting system and the threat of criminal prosecution.

    Both varying demographic dynamics and migration rates will widen the differences in ethnic composition between different regions and between the smaller towns and the megapolises. The core Russian territories are growing more and more uniformly Russian (and its towns are experiencing population decline), while the bigger cities present a globally familiar picture of ethnic and religious diversity.

    Today even Moscow is, by international standards, almost a mono-ethnic and certainly a mono-racial city as compared with New York or London, but this will change in the coming decades. Already today the mayor of Moscow is from the Far North and the deputy mayor is from Tatarstan, a cause of some political discontent. In future we are likely to see people from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other parts of Central Asia who want administrative and political careers in the capital.

    Today’s social tensions are often created by the average Russian’s suspicious attitude towards both working migrants in the cities and non-Russians in the administration, the courts and the police.

    In the foreseeable future the ethnic shifts described above will dangerously increase those tensions, if they are not absorbed and co-opted by working political institutions, competitive public politics and pluralistic media − not exacerbated or exploited by the state-run media’s short-sighted propaganda and a monopolistic ruling elite which makes little room for the generations below them who are keen for their turn at power.

     

    AUTHOR:

    Ekaterina Schulmann is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration


              11: Victories against the porn industry, with Pat Trueman        

    Today I interview Patrick Trueman, the president and CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). In this episode we discuss around 10 significant victories we in the anti-porn movement have just had. Exciting stuff!

    Check out NCOSE's site - http://endsexualexploitation.org/

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    Visit our sites integrityrestored.com and theporneffect.com

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    Integrity Restored and The Porn Effect are ministries of Stewardship: A Mission of Faith, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We believe everything in our lives is a gift that has been entrusted to us by God to help others.


              Exploit di Volkswagen e-Golf in Norvegia        

    Gruppo Acquisto Auto elettriche GAA |

    Volkswagen e-Golf best seller nel mese record di vendite in Norvegia. Volkswagen e-Golf. Il mercato norvegese dei veicoli elettrici plug-in (ovvero veicoli completamente elettrici più veicoli ibridi ricaricabili) è cresciuto del 64% nel mese di giugno...

    L'articolo intitolato Exploit di Volkswagen e-Golf in Norvegia è stato pubblicato sul portale Gruppo Acquisto Auto elettriche G.A.A.. da Redazione


              1/22/07 - "Horror Movies 101: The Slut Gets it First."        
    I'm writing an English paper about the role of the classic theme of Death and the Maiden in Joyce Carol Oates' short story, 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" The premise of the argument (and, arguably, the theme) is that a loss of sexual purity equals death. That's right, folks: you give it up, and then you get your slutty ass murdered. Let this be a lesson to all you fornicators out there; don't say nobody warned you.

    In less absurd news, Beth, the other cashier/admin girl at work (who was our third replacement for me when I got promoted, and the only one who was both good with customers and understood the concept of alphanumeric filing), is leaving to go work at Red Robin. Which means we have to find a new girl, and I have to train her. Which means I'll have to be down there working with customers for more than just a few hours in the morning and her lunch break in the afternoon. Which means my allotted web-surfing hours during the day will be greatly reduced. Weaksauce. Hopefully whatever new girl we dredge up will be moderately competent, and I'll be able to leave her alone after a couple weeks. Hopefully she's cool and doesn't put pictures of cats and Bible quotes all over the front desk. Hopefully Beth takes her cat pictures and Bible quotes with her when she leaves.

    That's all for now. I need to get back to my paper, as it's due tonight at 6pm. We'll see if the prof buys it; I'm phrasing it very theoretically in a Judeo-Christian context, being sure not to capitalize my g's in "god," and setting it up as a scholarly interpretation based on the morals inherent in the theme, and not as a judgment from the author, as I don't think that's how she meant it. It's more pulpy, in the vein of a morality tale that only sells because of its exploitation of immorality.
              Comment on RageAgainstTheCage by Rishabh Dangwal        
    very nice and excellent explaination of the exploit. can I repost it on my website to your credit? stay gold..
              Comment on GREEN DAY @ TIMES UNION CENTER, 7/25/09 by paul wied        
    thats why IDIOT 2 must come out, before IDIOT 1 is melted. sept 11 has influenced are minds, greenday exploited THEM..............
              Mozambique establishes Africa's Largest Marine Reserve        
    Picture: 2oceansvibe

    The Primeiras and Segundas have been approved as a marine protected area in Mozambique making this diverse ten-island archipelago Africa’s largest coastal marine reserve.

    Comprising ten islands off the coast of northern Mozambique, and featuring abundant coral and marine turtle species, the protected area will cover more than 1,040,926 hectares. WWF has worked for eight years to secure this important marine reserve, which has been threatened by overfishing and unauthorised tourism.

    Located in the northern region of the country, between Nampula and Zambezia Provinces, the declaration of the Primeiras and Segundas environment protection area represents the second major conservation area to be declared within the last two years.

    The archipelago includes the most robust and diverse coral community in Mozambique. It is rich in mangroves, marine life, deep underwater canyons and large seagrass beds. Due to cold nutrient-rich upwellings, the archipelago is spared coral bleaching, a common problem in other coral-rich areas, making these some of the most globally productive and important reefs on the planet.

    The area is also of great economical importance. Artisanal, semi-industrial, and industrial fishermen have been carrying out their fishery activities in the same area. Thus, all fishing activity within the archipelago area shows signs of overexploitation, with some species on the brink of collapse.

    Read more: http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?206632/Mozambique-creates-Africas-largest-coa
     

              Updated — MocoSpace reveals private e-mail addresses        
    Vulnerabilities exist in social networking sites such as MocoSpace that, when exploited, can disclose the private e-mail address of targeted users. These vulnerabilities are caused by the interaction of the site's internal e-mail system, with the external e-mail system that hosts a user's private e-mail account.
              NHL Awards 2013/14 - meet the contenders