Thursday, January 31, 2013

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Install Android 4.1.2 XXDMA6 Jelly Bean Official Firmware on Galaxy Note 2 N7100 [Manual Method]

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Source: --- Thursday, January 31, 2013
Galaxy Note 2 N7100 users in the UK and select European countries can now install the latest official firmware Android 4.1.2 XXDMA6. ...

Source: http://www.ibtimes.comhttp:0//

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Argentina-Iran truth body angers Jewish community and Israel

  • Merco Press - Wednesday 30th January, 2013

    The Argentine government rejected Israel?s decision to summon the Argentine ambassador in Tel Aviv to discuss recent agreement between Argentina and Iran, saying it considered it an ...

  • Good and bad news for Argentina disputes at World Trade Organization

    Merco Press - Wednesday 30th January, 2013

    The World Trade Organization decided to implement two dispute resolution panels, one to probe accusations of unfair trade practices against Argentina by the US, the EU and Japan and another ...

  • Kingmaker of Argentine soccer stepping down in 2015 after 36 years

    Merco Press - Wednesday 30th January, 2013

    Argentine Football Association (AFA) chief Julio Grondona will step down in 2015 after 36 years in the job, he said on Tuesday. The 81-year-old senior FIFA vice-president, widely criticised for the ...

  • Argentina on hedgie ?ship? list

    New York Post - Wednesday 30th January, 2013

    Billionaire hedge-fund honcho Paul Singer is still riled about losing control of Argentina?s naval training vessel, the Libertad, after a UN court told Ghana to release the ship in December. ...

  • Argentina Energy Stocks Gain YPF Surges 11

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    BUENOS AIRES--Shares of Argentina's state-run oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) surged Tuesday, posting sharp gains both here and in New York, on a day in which the South American ...

  • Argentine woman becomes first to give birth after heart transplant

    The Telegraph - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    In what doctors Tuesday said was a medical first, an Argentine woman with a transplanted heart has given birth to a baby girl following an in vitro ...

  • Israel to Reprimand Argentina in AMIA Bombing

    Hispanic Business Magazine - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Israel will summon Argentina's ambassador to issue an official reprimand over a decision to establish a "truth commission" with Iran over a 1994 bombing. The bombing of the AMIA ...

  • Argentina-Iran truth body angers Jewish community and Israel

    Irish Times - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    TOM HENNIGAN in Sao Paulo and MARK WEISS in JerusalemArgentina?s Jewish community and Israel have both reacted with anger to a decision by Argentina to set up with Iran a so-called ...

  • Israel slates Argentine bomb probe deal with Iran

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Israel has called an agreement between Iran and Argentina to investigate jointly the bombing 19 years ago of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people ';like inviting a murderer to ...

  • Argentina ambassador to Israel faces reprimand over truth commission with Iran

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Two countries set up commission to investigate 1994 bombing of Jewish center in Buenos Aires; Deputy FM Ayalon: Inviting Tehran is like inviting the murderer to a murder ...

  • Israel summons Argentina?s envoy over deal with Iran

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    January 29, 2013 JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's Foreign Ministry summoned the Argentinian ambassador over his country's agreement with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 bombing of the ...

  • IHT Rendezvous Argentina Celebrates Its First Queen ...

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    stepping down in favor of her eldest son , Prince Willem-Alexander, has generated a flurry of excitement in faraway Argentina, the homeland of his popular and charismatic wife, the former Mxima ...

  • Argentina mulls shame of naval decay

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Argentina is weighing options after a prized old warship sank in port, apparently due to poor upkeep of the vessel. Although senior aides said sabotage couldn't be discounted, Argentine ...

  • Argentina-Iran bomb deal angers Israel

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Israel is furious over an agreement between Iran and Argentina to jointly investigate a terror bombing of a Jewish centre that killed 85 people, almost two decades ago.Israel's Deputy Foreign ...

  • Argentina?s shameful pact with Iran

    General Sources - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Ever since I left my country, Argentina, 10 years ago, I have remained silent and made no statements to the press regarding Argentinian internal affairs. But what has just happened in relationship ...

  • Vale Rift Could Drag Argentina ETF Lower

    Nasdaq - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Argentina is in real danger of losing frontier market status . Since 2011, President Cristina Kirchner has made it nearly impossible for foreign mining firms operating in Argentina, of which ...

  • Israel Angry Over Argentina-Iran Accord on 1994 Bombing Inquiry

    International Herald Tribune - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    JERUSALEM - Israel on Tuesday strongly criticized Argentina, summoning its ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to explain Argentina's agreement with Iran to establish a joint commission ...

  • CELAC leaders support Argentine claims

    Buenos Aires Herald - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    The 6th CELAC summit of Latin American and Caribbean states ended yesterday in Santiago, Chile, with the approval of various statements proposed by member states, including support for ...

  • Thousands in Buenos Aires Without Electricity

    Argentina Independent - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    have been without electricity since last night and in a few cases without water in Buenos Aires City and Buenos Aires Province. Those who have announced that they are without electricity live ...

  • Grondona to Quit Argentine FA Presidency in 2015

    New York Times - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    (Reuters) - Argentine Football Association (AFA) chief Julio Grondona will step down in 2015 after 36 years in the job, he said on Tuesday. The 81-year-old senior FIFA vice-president, widely ...

  • UK wants to control South Atlantic access and resources claims Argentina

    Merco Press - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    Argentina claimed at the CELAC summit in Chile that the UK has converted the Falkland Islands into one of the "most militarized territories in the world" with the sole purpose of ...

  • Israel angered over Argentina-Iran bombing probe

    Miami Herald - Tuesday 29th January, 2013

    In this March 17, 1992 file photo, firemen and rescue workers walk through the debris of Israel's Embassy after a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Israel summoned the Argentinian ...

  • Source:

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    South Africa hope to retain No 1 Test spot

    If the South Africa-Pakistan series is drawn level at 0-0, it would be enough for the Proteas to guarantee themselves the No.1 spot at the April 1 cut-off date for retaining the ICC Test Championship mace and prize money for the top-ranked team.

    South Africa is currently placed at

    the top of the table with 124 ratings points, six ratings ahead of England.

    South Africa would thus have an opportunity to not only become richer by $450,000 (`2.4cr) but also to retain the Reliance ICC Test Championship mace, irrespective of how the other series before the cut-off date pan out.

    There are three more series lined up before the April 1 cut-off date. India hosts Australia for a four-match series from Feb 22, NZ plays the first of a three-match series against England on March 6 in Dunedin, and West Indies plays Zimbabwe in the first of a two-match series on March 16.

    Only a 3-0 series win for Pakistan could see South Africa slip to third position with 117 ratings points, pushing England to the top with Australia in second place.

    India are placed fifth in the table with 105 rating points behind arch-rivals Pakistan (109 points). A total of $3.8 million (`20.2cr) in prize money will be shared among the top four sides on April 1, 2013, 2014 and 2015, after the ICC Board approved a proposal earlier this year to substantially increase incentives in the form of prize money to promote Test cricket in the period leading up to the ICC Test Championship event in 2017.

    Previously, the top team in the ICC Test rankings received a cheque for $175,000.

    Amla?s time

    SA batsman Hashim Amla has an opportunity to claim the No.1 ranking on the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen for the first time in his career when he takes to the field against Pakistan in the first Test of the three-match series in Johannesburg from February 1. On the bowlers? chart, Dale Steyn is just five points away from breaking the 900 points barrier for the second time in his career.


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    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Vision and learning - Kids Vision Vancouver

    Vancouver children's optometrist, Dr. M.K. Randhawa, developmental optometrist at Vision Source, on children's vision, eye health and vision development. We have one of the largest pediatric optometry practices in Vancouver, British Columbia where we treat myopia, strabismus, amblyopia, convergence insufficiency, dry eye, eye allergies, visual skills deficits, brain injuries, learning and attention disorders and more.


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    Alien Solar System May Exist in Nearby Star Cluster

    At 150 light-years from Earth, the Hyades cluster is the nearest star cluster to Earth's solar system and scientists have long wondered if some of those stars are home to alien planets.

    Now, that particular mystery might be solved.

    Astronomer Ben Zuckerman, ?a physics and astronomy professor at UCLA, and his team have discovered evidence that the atmosphere of a white dwarf star in the Hyades cluster is "polluted" with rocky material from pulverized asteroids pulled into orbit around the dying, super-dense star.

    The presence of asteroid dust, Zuckerman said, suggests that larger objects like exoplanets, or possibly an entire solar system, may ?also be orbiting the white dwarf.

    Measuring the atmosphere

    Zuckerman told the scientists at the American Astronomical Society earlier this month that he and his team found traces of asteroid dust pollution in 50 to 100 of the white dwarfs they observed. The new discovery is the first of its kind seen in the Hyades system. Because this particular star cluster is relatively near Earth, the white dwarf is a great candidate for study, Zuckerman said. [The Nearest Stars to Earth (Infographic)]

    Usually, white dwarf atmospheres are relatively "clean," Zuckerman said in the Jan. 8 presentation. Because the heavier elements in a dying star clump in the core, only light elements like helium and hydrogen are left swirling in the atmosphere.

    By using a very sensitive spectrometer at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the team detected hints of calcium in the atmosphere of the star in its death throes.

    "We looked at calcium because it?s the easiest element to detect in these stars," Zuckerman said.

    John Debes of the Space Telescope Science Institute was able to confirm that the dust came from asteroids and not from another source by matching the team's new observations with earlier ones.

    Signs of planets

    Zuckerman described how the star would have become polluted by asteroid dust: "The gravity of the major planets perturbs the orbit of some of the asteroids in towards the white dwarf," he said. "They don't actually have to hit the white dwarf, but they have to get within the tidal radius of the white dwarf, and if that happens, then they get torn apart, torn asunder into little dust grains."

    Once the asteroids are pulverized, they will start a new orbit, crafting a new planetary system around the white dwarf.

    Of the 50 to 100 polluted white dwarfs Zuckerman's team has studied, it has detected more than 10 heavy elements in the atmospheres of many of the stars, he said.

    The most abundant elements detected in these accretion discs ? oxygen, silicon, magnesium and iron ? are also the most abundant elements found in the Earth. The team also found some less common elements circling the distant stars.

    "I didn?t even know that scandium was an element until we discovered it in the atmosphere of a white dwarf," Zuckerman said.

    Based on observation and statistical analysis, Zuckerman thinks that at least one quarter of white dwarfs could be polluted with accreted dust, giving researchers the chance to study the insides of asteroids outside of the solar system.

    You can follow staff writer Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer.?Follow on Twitter?@Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook?&?Google+.

    Copyright 2013, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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    40% Traffic Increase: Law Firm Case Study | Legal Marketing Tips ...

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    LawInfo recently introduced the Local+ 2.0 product and many clients are seeing great results. Local+ 2.0 helps increase your firm web visibility through comprehensive Google optimization techniques that help get your found online.

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    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    COMPUTER CHESS ? Hammer to Nail

    (Computer Chess world premiered in the NEXT Section of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Its next stop is the Berlin International Film Festival. Visit the film?s totally awesome official website to learn more.)

    In 1984 Barry Salt, a rather obscure British film theorist, published a book called Film Style And Technology. In the book, Salt did statistical analysis of key films from each major period of film style history. His basic thesis is that film technology shapes style and aesthetics. The most obvious example is how film grammar changed once sound was introduced. The camera became less mobile due to the early microphones and mixers being bulky, which also prevented location shoots. Stories also became dialogue driven and acting became more voice dependent. So each period has a distinctive feel stylistically due to the particular technological advances of that time. Thus, if you want to make a true period film, one that really feels it is of the past, you would have to draw inspiration from more than just the props, haircuts and wardrobe of that period. Recently, watching a film print of Three Days of the Condor, I realized it felt so uniquely ?seventies? because the lenses, film stock, ratio of wide shots to tight, and general editing pace were all unusual compared to modern films. It succeeded as a total immersion into the distant past in a way that modern period films rarely do.

    Andrew Bujaski?s Computer Chess was my favorite of the 28 films I saw at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It is a complete and utter cinematic experience, in large part due to it being shot on the Sony AVC 3260, a ?70s-era tethered video tube camera. The camera first hit the market in the late ?60s and was designed as a lightweight portable camera for both professionals and amateurs. Its shallow focus, low contrast black-and-white image looks at first like modern security camera footage, but the Sony has a zoom lens that allows for a wide variety of framings, which provides a varied depth of field from shot to shot and this is in part what defines its most unique trait. Computer Chess features both tightly composed shots of heads bent over computer screens in a crowded room and long empty shots of a man dancing down a long hotel hallway. The camera itself is tethered to a recording box and then the film?s tech team was also simultaneously digitizing the image. This made the camera extremely bulky and immobile. Consequently, inside crowded rooms, the camera does not glide or dance with the actors like it does in modern films. The shots are often static and frames are often angled in such a way that it feels as if we don?t have unlimited access to these strange characters and their often obtuse arguments. The quality of the image could be called crude by comparison to today?s high resolution, high contrast, hypersensitive focus control cameras, but nevertheless, its unique vibe is both disorientating and transporting.

    Bujalski?s film tells the story of a group of cutting edge computer geeks who gather in a Texas hotel for a computer chess tournament in the early 1980s. The team whose computer wins will face off in the final match for the ultimate man vs computer challenge, reminiscent of the actual Garry Kasparov chess challenges. There are an assortment of computer types with weird haircuts and unhip period clothes verbally sparring with each other about tech problems as well as larger esoteric questions regarding their own individual computers idiosyncrasies. Also in the hotel for the weekend is a marriage encounter couples therapy group who sit in a circle attempting to better understand their partners? and their own frustrations.

    The couples? open eagerness to engage each other verbally about feelings is in stark contrast to the computer dweebs, who seem to each be stuck in some state of pre-adolescent, pre-verbal bubble. The contrast between these two groups is often mined for hilarious laughs, such as when one of the couples tries to seduce the youngest member of the computer tribe by getting him to ?open up? about his feelings and urges while rubbing his neck.

    The dislocation caused by the physical aspects of the production, the weird haircuts, lingo, clothes and the black-and-white imagery transport you to a world that for sure existed but has never really been explored on the big screen with such texture. Unlike other films of this period, Computer Chess doesn?t attempt to evoke warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings of a bygone era; instead, it uses the dislocation generated by the video image to cause us to be hyper-aware of how different the world was in the past from how it is now. Bujalski depicts an innocent computer age when the excitement of technology was driven by a pure pursuit of exploration, rather than the pursuit of application value. At one point a programmer says the future of computers is in dating and we are reminded that there was a time when computer science had yet to be fully co-opted by the corporate consumer driven mentality that currently fuels the dreams of young tech geniuses.

    The theme of Man versus Computer is in itself a quaint concept because it was driven by a now dated fear of technology. There were initially fears that computers could be used to create mass destruction or that man?s basic humanity would be somehow compromised by a HAL type computer logic. The film has a sad eve of destruction vibe to it; at times, it reminded me of another Texas indie film, Eagle Pennell?s Last Night At The Alamo, which was also about a group of people getting together for one last night before their world was changed (in this case, the closing of an old tavern). Likewise, Computer Chess depicts life on the cusp before the computers won. Today there are barely any skeptical voices who speak out against the evils of technology. Jaron Lanier?s book You Are Not A Gadget as well as J?rgen Habermas?s screeds against the internet are the lone articulations of this position. Computer Chess, though, is a comedy and it can be simply enjoyed as a nostalgic romp. But if you start to really explore your own insecurities about some of the conflicts that arise throughout the film?s weekend, you may be surprised how deep its tech themes really run. It?s an extremely entertaining low-tech cinematic breakdown of our modern high-tech world.

    ? Mike S. Ryan


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    Foursquare gives business owners their own app to manage specials, track customer visits

    Foursquare gives business owners their own app to manage specials, track customer visits

    Foursquare just recently tweaked its privacy policy to share more user information with local businesses, and it looks like it's already putting some of that data to use in a new app now that the policy has gone into effect. Launched today for the iPhone and iPod touch, Foursquare for Business is just that -- an app designed for business owners instead of customers. In addition to letting managers upload new photos and refresh their specials regularly, it'll also give them a peek into customer activity at their business (or businesses), including information on check-ins and the ability to keep an eye on their top customers. As Foursquare notes in its privacy policy, though, you can opt out of having that check-in information visible to businesses in the app's privacy settings.

    Filed under: ,


    Via: About Foursquare

    Source: iTunes, Foursquare Blog


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    Come What May: The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook

    Come What May: The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook

    The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook

    The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook

    Fans of the 1964 movie musical The Sound of Music, the film that made big names of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and had audiences singing along to some of Roger and Hammerstein?s classic songs including `My Favourite Things`, `Do Re Mi`, `Sixteen going on Seventeen` and title song `The Sound of Music` will certainly want to get their hands on the beautiful piece of memorabilia that is The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook.

    Featuring never before seen photos and collectables from cast members Charmian Carr(Liesl), Nicholas Hammond(Friedrich), Heather Menzies(Louisa), Duane Chase(Kurt), Angela Cartwright(Brigitta), Debbie Turner(Marta) and Kim Karath(Gretl) as well as a DVD of unseen home footage while filming in Salzburg, a page of the shooting script, original poster from The Fox Movie, Extracts from an autograph book made by two of the children and letters from the children to their families.

    This colourful, beautifully presented scrapbook gives you a real insight into what it was like for the cast and crew in the summer of 1964 filming one of the most loved films of all time. From the children?s auditions, to filming in Salzburg, the release of the film to their 35th anniversary of the film and beyond, a real treasure of memorabilia to keep forever.

    To celebrate the release of `The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook` there will be a sing along night at the Prince Charles cinema in London on 21st September 2012. More information can be found at

    The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook is available from all good book stores and Amazon from 21st September 2012.


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    Monday, January 28, 2013

    NASA celebrates its fallen astronauts

    NASA presents a video tribute to the astronauts of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia tragedies.

    By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News

    This should be the saddest week of the year for NASA ??which is marking the anniversaries of three fatal tragedies, including the 10th anniversary of the shuttle Columbia's catastrophic breakup. But the way NASA Administrator Charles Bolden sees it, this week is not just about mourning 17 dead astronauts.

    "I think this is not a memorial. It's a celebration, because of what they made possible," he told NBC News this month during a visit to Seattle. "We're commemorating them, and we're thanking them by continuing to move forward ??and not dropping back and dwelling on the pain. They'd be pretty angry, I think, if they saw that."

    The week of celebration?? and, yes, of commemoration?? begins on Sunday with the 46th anniversary of the 1967 Apollo 1 launch-pad fire. The 27th anniversary of the 1986 Challenger explosion follows on Monday. This year, NASA is focusing the most on Friday, the 10th anniversary of the Columbia tragedy, which has been set aside as the agency's "Day of Remembrance" for all of its fallen astronauts.

    Ever since the loss of Columbia and its crew of seven, NASA has organized solemn commemorations during the last week of January.

    "We honor the memory of all three crews that were lost over the history of human spaceflight," Bolden explained. "We thought it was fitting that it be somewhere around the dates of those three losses. We think about this every day, to be quite honest. But we take these particular times and set them aside, when we can let everyone else around the world join us and help celebrate."

    There's that word again.

    "I use the term 'celebrate' because we have to remember that, yeah, we lost some valiant people?? but what their sacrifice brought is what we should really be thinking about: the fact that they dared to challenge and do things differently," Bolden said. "Because of what they did, we're well on the cusp of going deeper into space than we've ever gone before."

    Each tragedy?took a terrible?toll ? and in each case, NASA learned from its mistakes:

    Apollo 1's three astronauts were Gus Grissom, one of the Mercury 7 pioneers; Ed White, the first American to do a spacewalk; and rookie spaceflier Roger Chaffee. They died during a pre-launch test at the launch pad when bad wiring sparked a blaze in the pure-oxygen environment inside their sealed capsule. After the fire, engineers overhauled the wiring system, switched over to a less flammable oxygen-nitrogen mix and redesigned the hatch to open outward instead of inward. Years later, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong observed that the accident provided "the gift of time" ? a chance to change a lot of things for the better. "We got that added benefit, but we regret the price we had to pay," Armstrong said.

    January 27, 1967:?The crew of Apollo 1, Command Pilot Virgil 'Gus' Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee were killed when a fire ripped through the spacecraft's cabin during a launch pad test. NBC's Bill Ryan reports.? ?

    Challenger's crew of seven was led by commander Dick Scobee, but the best-known flier was Christa McAuliffe, who was tapped to be the first teacher in space. The other astronauts were Michael Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Ron McNair and Greg Jarvis. Their space shuttle blew up 73 seconds after launch, due to a bad seal on one of the solid rocket boosters. The investigation led to a redesign of the boosters, which worked without fail ever since. It also pointed up the problem of "go fever," which led NASA to give the go-ahead for launch amid dangerously low temperatures. Reforms in management procedures gave astronauts, engineers and contractors more of a role in ensuring launch safety.?

    January 28, 1986: NBC's Dan Molina reports on the loss of the space shuttle Challenger and its crew of seven.

    Columbia's crew included Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, as well as commander Rick Husband, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Michael Anderson,?Kalpana Chawla and William McCool. The shuttle broke up over Texas during its descent at the end of a 16-day science mission. Investigators concluded that flying foam insulation from the external fuel tank damaged the left wing during launch, setting the stage for the Feb. 1 tragedy. The fuel tank was redesigned, emergency rescue plans were updated, and an array of cameras was added to the shuttle to watch for damage. The investigators also pointed to lapses in NASA's "safety culture." The George W. Bush administration followed up on the investigative panel's recommendations and decided to close down the space shuttle program once construction of the International Space Station was complete. That day finally came on July 21, 2011, with the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis.

    Dec. 31, 2008: NASA released new information about what the astronauts went through in their final moments on board the space shuttle Columbia in 2003. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

    Bolden said the successful operation of the space station and the rise of a new generation of commercial space vehicles would not have been possible if it weren't for the sacrifices made by the fallen astronauts. Rather than shutting down America's space program, political leaders gave the go-ahead for more ambitious plans to go beyond Earth orbit, and ultimately to Mars.

    "If we didn't have that coming along, then what would have been the point of losing them?" Bolden said.?

    To recognize those sacrifices, Bolden will attend a space conference being conducted in Ramon's honor this week in Israel, and then will return to Washington in time for Friday's?wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. NASA's space centers are planning commemorations as well: Officials at Johnson Space Center will participate in memorial events in Texas on Thursday and Friday. Kennedy Space Center's ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET Friday at the visitor center's Space Mirror Memorial. That Florida observance is open to the public and will be broadcast on NASA TV.

    Stay tuned for more about NASA's week of sad celebration in the days ahead ? and feel free to add your own reminiscences and tributes as comments below.

    More about NASA's space tragedies:

    Alan Boyle is's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's?Facebook page, following?@b0yle on Twitter?and adding the?Cosmic Log page?to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out?"The Case for Pluto,"?my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.


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    Why Your Business Must Embrace Customer Service on Twitter ...

    Did you know that when Twitter users see your business on Twitter they expect you to be responsive to their needs when they tweet you?

    It?s true. Large companies like?Netflix, Barnes & Noble, and The University of Phoenix manage dedicated Twitter accounts to handle customer service queries. ?You might not have the staff or resources to run a separate customer service account for your business, but it?s critical for all businesses on Twitter ? including yours ? to respond to every customer query.

    If You Snooze, You Lose ? Big Time

    In the context of this article, this near-clich? bears repeating: social media is a two-way conversation. It?s not about ?blasting your message.? It?s about listening and responding accordingly.

    For example, I follow a beverage company that is ?distributed by Whole Foods Market nationwide. This summer, I tweeted the company something along the lines of ?I?m always put on hold when I call your customer service line. Can someone help me with a nutrition question?? They replied ? 19 days later.

    Most people would not wait nineteen days for a call back or a return email. (Would you?) And most people on Twitter won?t even wait 19?hours for a response. According to recent research from The Social Habit,?42 percent of respondents expect a response from a brand?within 60 minutes.

    If your business waits 19 days, you run the risk of the user sending agitated follow ups, tweeting negative comments about your company, and in the end, choosing a competing company that offers the information that s/he originally requested.

    Give It Your Best Shot

    Here?s another example of a company that might benefit from more attention to customer service on Twitter. A few months ago, I purchased a certain candy bar that encouraged me to enter a code on its website for more information. It seemed like a cool way to drive people to the website ? I even wrote to some friends about this seemingly great online/offline technique.

    I should have tested the site before telling others about this ? because once I ?entered my code online, I got an error message over and over again. I tweeted the company about it. They replied with ?Email us at our customer service team will get back to you!??

    This response sparked a flurry of questions in my mind:

    • Why isn?t the customer service team also on Twitter?
    • If I?m on Twitter and they?re on Twitter, why do I have to leave Twitter to write an email?
    • If I asked this question on a phone hotline, would the operator also ask me to write an email??

    Remember the last time you had good customer service on the phone?
    Apply that experience in your Twitter interactions.

    I?m not going to leave Twitter after the first tweet to email a company about a general Website issue. And you know what else? I most likely won?t go back to the Website. And I probably won?t spread the word about the ?cool idea? I thought the company had.

    If you come up with a great idea for your product or service, you don?t want it to die on Twitter like that.

    Admittedly, not every customer service problem can be solved in exchanging 140-character messages. But your company should at least give a dang good try to answer a customer question. Your SMS-sized efforts will go a long way.

    This idea of responding quickly and with care might seem daunting to businesses which are just learning how to reply to others on Twitter. If you fall into that category, stick around for my next post. In it, I will address how to easily incorporate customer service in your business? Twitter strategy. Subscribe to my blog to have these tips and real-world examples sent to your inbox.

    Headline Photo Credit: Flickr CC/garryknight

    Want to read my next article once it's published?
    Subscribe to my blog and get the latest delivered to you via email. (I don't spam or share addresses.)


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    Republican spelunkers for comprehensive immigration reform - Le ...

    Illegal is the new legal, but way cooler and more hip

    They?re going to cave.

    You know it, it?s just a matter of when.

    Via Washington Free Beacon, McCain: Immigration Bill ?Not That Much Different? from 2007:

    Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said Sunday a group of bipartisan senators will propose a comprehensive immigration bill in the next week ?not much different? from the failed effort of 2007.

    ?What?s changed is, honestly, there is a new appreciation on both sides of the aisle? including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle?that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration bill,? McCain said in an interview with ?This Week





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    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Identity Theft: Coming to Screens Near You (and Not Just the Movies)

    posted by Danielle Citron

    Identity theft, now so common, we can joke about it.

    Or as Alan Alda?s character in Woody Allen?s Crimes and Misdemeanors says, ?comedy is tragedy plus time.? ?Time to transform tragedy into comedy, indeed. ?Scanning the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse database demonstrates that reported data breaches are a daily occurrence. ?Since January 1, 2013, private and public entities have reported over 20 major data breaches. ?Included on the list were hospitals, universities, and businesses. ?Sometimes, the most vulnerable are targeted. ?For instance, on January 8, 2013, a dishonest employee of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services was arrested on suspicion?on misusing client information to apply for credit cards and to receive medical care under their names. ?Bad enough that automated systems erroneously take recipients of public benefits off the rolls, as my work on Technological Due Process explores. ?Those designed to help them are destroying their medical and credit histories as well.

    We have had over 600 million records breached since 2005, from approximately 3,500 reported data breaches. ?Of course, those figures represented those officially reported, likely due to state data breach laws, whose requirements vary and leave lots of discretion with regard to reporting up to the entities who have little incentive to err on the side of reporting if they are not legally required to do so. ?So the bad news is that identity theft is prevalent, but at least we can laugh about it.

    ?January 27, 2013 at 7:43 am ? Posted?in:?Humor, Privacy, Privacy (Consumer Privacy) ??Print This Post?Print This Post


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    International Entertainment News: Toonz Animation Partners with ...

    Toonz Animation Partners with US-Based Friends of Bark Buddies to 'Spark a Nature-Child Reunion' with New Animated Series

    TRIVANDRUM, India and LOS ANGELES, January 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

    The Technopark-based animation major, Toonz Animation has signed up with Los
    Angeles-based Friends of Bark Buddies(R) for the development, production, financing and
    worldwide distribution of a 3D animated children's series titled Bark Buddies(R), based on
    the cool Bark Buddies(R) Trees.

    (Logo: )

    Developed by former radio talk show host and nature educator, Constance Nelson, Bark
    Buddies(R) is an animated multimedia series that motivates kids to discover the great
    outdoors. Zymr Inc. and Planting Tomorrows - both US-based companies now grafted together
    as "Friends of Bark Buddies(R)", is dedicated to growing better global communities through
    engaging, nature-based entertainment.

    "We're excited about 'Sparking a Nature-Child Reunion' and guiding kids to an
    interactive new 'fun-tier' - the great outdoors! The Bark Buddies(R) multimedia TV series
    is not just 'sit back and watch' TV, it's hands-on engagement with the best teacher of
    all: nature!" says P. Jayakumar, CEO Toonz Group.

    We're focused on creating social media platforms that enable young children to
    appreciate the diversity of nature and society," said Ashok Desai, CRO & Founder of Zymr

    The Bark Buddies(R) series also promises to offer parents and educators a natural,
    integrated, cross curriculum approach on which earth sciences, nutrition, fitness, arts
    and sustainable life patterns can be taught through the power of play and direct

    "Kids are born with an innate sense of wonder for nature and instinct to play - that's
    how they learn, so we're tapping into those natural senses and planting seeds of
    'fun-by-nature' learning in every 'episeed' storyline," says creator Constance Nelson.

    With eco-friendly merchandise based on the show's characters already making waves in
    McDonalds, Walmart, parades, classrooms, and events, the series is slated to branch out
    into books and games as well.

    About Toonz Animation

    Established in the year 1999, Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd is the animation
    production division of Toonz group. As the flag-bearer of the Indian animation industry,
    Toonz Animation has emerged as one of the biggest and the most admired animation
    production houses in South Asia. Toonz Animation offers its worldwide clientele end-to-end
    animation services including 3D animation, 2D animation (digital and traditional), Flash,
    Stop Motion and VFX on a full spectrum of media platforms.

    Media Contact

    Vinitta Mathew
    Manager - Corporate Communications


    Toonz Animation India Pvt.Ltd.

    Profile: intent


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    China could prove ultimate winner in Afghanistan

    KABUL (AP) ? China, long a bystander to the conflict in Afghanistan, is stepping up its involvement as U.S.-led forces prepare to withdraw, attracted by the country's vast mineral resources but concerned that any post-2014 chaos could embolden Islamist insurgents in its own territory.

    Cheered on by the U.S. and other Western governments, which see Asia's giant as a potentially stabilizing force, China could prove the ultimate winner in Afghanistan ? having shed no blood and not much aid.

    Security ? or the lack of it ? remains the key challenge: Chinese enterprises have already bagged three multibillion dollar investment projects, but they won't be able to go forward unless conditions get safer. While the Chinese do not appear ready to rush into any vacuum left by the withdrawal of foreign troops, a definite shift toward a more hands-on approach to Afghanistan is under way.


    EDITOR'S NOTE ? This story is part of "China's Reach," a project tracking China's influence on its trading partners over the past three decades and exploring how that is changing business, politics and daily life. Keep up with AP's reporting on China's Reach, and join the conversation about it, using the hashtag (hash)APChinaReach on Twitter.


    Beijing signed a strategic partnership last summer with the war-torn country. This was followed in September with a trip to Kabul by its top security official, the first by a leading Chinese government figure in 46 years, and the announcement that China would train 300 Afghan police officers. China is also showing signs of willingness to help negotiate a peace agreement as NATO prepares to pull out in two years.

    It's a new role for China, as its growing economic might gives it a bigger stake in global affairs. Success, though far from guaranteed, could mean a big payoff for a country hungry for resources to sustain its economic growth and eager to maintain stability in Xinjiang.

    "If you are able to see a more or less stable situation in Afghanistan, if it becomes another relatively normal Central Asian state, China will be the natural beneficiary," says Andrew Small, a China expert at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, an American research institute. "If you look across Central Asia, that is what has already happened. ... China is the only actor who can foot the level of investment needed in Afghanistan to make it succeed and stick it out."

    Over the past decade, China's trade has boomed with Afghanistan's resource-rich neighbors in Central Asia. For Turkmenistan, China trade reached 21 percent of GDP in 2011, up from 1 percent five years earlier, according to an Associated Press analysis of International Monetary Fund data. The equivalent figure for Tajikistan is 32 percent of GDP, versus 12 percent in 2006. China's trade with Afghanistan stood at a modest 1.3 percent of GDP in 2011.

    Eyeing Afghanistan's estimated $1 trillion worth of unexploited minerals, Chinese companies have acquired rights to extract vast quantities of copper and coal and snapped up the first oil exploration concessions granted to foreigners in decades. China is also eyeing extensive deposits of lithium, uses of which range from batteries to nuclear components.

    The Chinese are also showing interest in investing in hydropower, agriculture and construction. Preliminary talks have been held about a direct road link to China across the remote 76-kilometer (47-mile) border between the two countries, according to Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry.

    Wang Lian, a Central Asia expert at Beijing University, notes that superpowers have historically been involved in Afghanistan because it is an Asian crossroads ? and China would be no exception.

    "It's unquestionable that China bears the responsibility to participate in the political and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan," he says. "A stable Afghanistan is of vital importance to (China). China can't afford to stand aside following the U.S. troop withdrawal and in the process of political transition."

    A stable Afghanistan, Wang says, is vital to the security of Xinjiang, China's far west where Islamic militants are seeking independence. Some have gained sanctuary and training in Pakistan and along the Pakistan-Afghan border. Beijing fears chaos, or victory by the Taliban, would allow these groups greater leeway.

    The U.S. is encouraging Beijing to boost its investment and aid in Afghanistan and backs its participation in various peace-seeking initiatives, including a Pakistan-Afghanistan-China forum that met last month for the second time.

    Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai says there has been a greater sharing of intelligence between his country and China, and a joint U.S.-Chinese program to mentor junior Afghan diplomats. In one of the only cases of such cooperation in the world, the U.S. brought 15 diplomats to Washington, D.C., last month, after they had received similar training in China. Similar three-way programs are being developed in health and agriculture.

    "Recently, China has taken a keener interest in the security situation and the transition process, and we are more than happy that this is increasing," Mosazai says. "It's certainly a change, a welcome change."

    He adds that Beijing could play a crucial role in forging peace in Afghanistan because of its close relations to Pakistan, which has long-standing links to the Taliban, whose leadership is widely believed to operate from the country.

    Davood Moradian, who heads the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies in Kabul, says the Chinese are treading carefully, realizing they lack expertise in a complex political landscape that has tripped up other great powers.

    "The Chinese are ambiguous. They don't want the Taliban to return to power and are concerned about a vacuum after 2014 that the Taliban could fill, but they also don't like having U.S. troops in their neighborhood," he says.

    Should the Chinese step into the peace process, either as a principal intermediary or through Pakistan, they could carry considerable weight.

    "They are rare among the actors in Afghanistan in that they are not seen as having been too close to any side of the conflict. All sides are happy to see China's expanded role," Small says.

    Though China doesn't want a Taliban takeover, Beijing regards the group as a "legitimate political force," says Small. Beijing was on its way to recognizing the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks that led to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

    The Afghan government has backed off from earlier criticism that the Chinese were not contributing their share to security and reconstruction of the country.

    "There was an attitude that the Chinese were just interested in profiting from other people's loss, the blood and sweat of American and other troops," says Moradian. "But that is changing."


    Associated Press reporters Yu Bing in Beijing and Amir Shah in Kabul contributed to this story.

    EDITOR'S NOTE _ This story is part of "China's Reach," a project tracking China's influence on its trading partners over three decades and exploring how that is changing business, politics and daily life. Keep up with AP's reporting on China's Reach, and join the conversation about it, using the hashtag (hash)APChinaReach on Twitter.


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    'Nanotubes on a chip' may simplify optical power measurements

    Jan. 25, 2013 ? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has demonstrated a novel chip-scale instrument made of carbon nanotubes that may simplify absolute measurements of laser power, especially the light signals transmitted by optical fibers in telecommunications networks.

    The prototype device, a miniature version of an instrument called a cryogenic radiometer, is a silicon chip topped with circular mats of carbon nanotubes standing on end. The mini-radiometer builds on NIST's previous work using nanotubes, the world's darkest known substance, to make an ultraefficient, highly accurate optical power detector, and advances NIST's ability to measure laser power delivered through fiber for calibration customers.

    "This is our play for leadership in laser power measurements," project leader John Lehman says. "This is arguably the coolest thing we've done with carbon nanotubes. They're not just black, but they also have the temperature properties needed to make components like electrical heaters truly multifunctional."

    NIST and other national metrology institutes around the world measure laser power by tracing it to fundamental electrical units. Radiometers absorb energy from light and convert it to heat. Then the electrical power needed to cause the same temperature increase is measured. NIST researchers found that the mini-radiometer accurately measures both laser power (brought to it by an optical fiber) and the equivalent electrical power within the limitations of the imperfect experimental setup. The tests were performed at a temperature of 3.9 K, using light at the telecom wavelength of 1550 nanometers.

    The tiny circular forests of tall, thin nanotubes called VANTAs ("vertically aligned nanotube arrays") have several desirable properties. Most importantly, they uniformly absorb light over a broad range of wavelengths and their electrical resistance depends on temperature. The versatile nanotubes perform three different functions in the radiometer. One VANTA mat serves as both a light absorber and an electrical heater, and a second VANTA mat serves as a thermistor (a component whose electrical resistance varies with temperature). The VANTA mats are grown on the micro-machined silicon chip, an instrument design that is easy to modify and duplicate. In this application, the individual nanotubes are about 10 nanometers in diameter and 150 micrometers long.

    By contrast, ordinary cryogenic radiometers use more types of materials and are more difficult to make. They are typically hand assembled using a cavity painted with carbon as the light absorber, an electrical wire as the heater, and a semiconductor as the thermistor. Furthermore, these instruments need to be modeled and characterized extensively to adjust their sensitivity, whereas the equivalent capability in NIST's mini-radiometer is easily patterned in the silicon.

    NIST plans to apply for a patent on the chip-scale radiometer. Simple changes such as improved temperature stability are expected to greatly improve device performance. Future research may also address extending the laser power range into the far infrared, and integration of the radiometer into a potential multipurpose "NIST on a chip" device.

    Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

    Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:

    Story Source:

    The above story is reprinted from materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

    Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

    Journal Reference:

    1. N. A. Tomlin, J. H. Lehman. Carbon nanotube electrical-substitution cryogenic radiometer: initial results. Optics Letters, 2013; 38 (2): 175 DOI: 10.1364/OL.38.000175

    Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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    Saturday, January 26, 2013

    McDonald's fish to get 'sustainable' tag

    10 hrs.

    McDonald's says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices.?

    The blue "ecolabel" from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollack used in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.?

    Major retail chains including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods already use the council's label. The nonprofit group is paid a royalty fee from companies that use its label. For McDonald's, that means the fee would be based on sales of its fish offerings, such as the Filet-O-Fish and the Fish McBites that will be launched as a limited-time offer next month.?

    The Marine Stewardship Council, based in Seattle, isn't the only group that offers consumer labeling for seafood. Last year, for example, Whole Foods also stopped carrying wild-caught seafood that's "red-rated," which indicates it's either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species.?

    The move reflects the growing concerns among consumers about the sources of their seafood. Major supermarket chains, including BJ's Wholesale Club, have also moved recently to try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.?

    The Marine Stewardship Council has about 300 fisheries in its program, representing between 12 to 14 percent of the world's fisheries, said Kerry Coughlin, the group's regional director for the Americas. Fisheries can go through a confidential pre-assessment phase to get guidance on whether they're ready for certification. Coughlin said about 30 to 40 percent of fisheries aren't ready when they start the pre-assessment phase, but that more than 90 percent obtain certification after beginning the full, official assessment process.?

    McDonald's gets all its fish in the U.S. from a single Alaskan Pollack fishery, Coughlin said. The chain's restaurants in Europe already use the council's label.?

    A spokeswoman for McDonald's, Christina Tyler, said the all U.S. stores should have the labeling by early February. McDonald's will promote the certification on packaging for other products, including Happy Meals and drinks.?

    The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., stopped using Eastern Baltic Cod in 2007 because of sustainability concerns. Since then, Tyler said the company has sourced Alaskan Pollock and New Zealand Hoki exclusively from fisheries with the Marine Stewardship Council's label. Now the chain uses only Alaskan Pollock for its fish items in the U.S.?


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    Friday, January 25, 2013

    Beyonce lets others do talking on lip-synch drama

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Beyonce's lips remained sealed on Wednesday over her headline-making rendition of the U.S. national anthem at President Barack Obama's inauguration, leaving others to do the talking over whether she lip-synched to a pre-recorded track.

    Celebrity magazine Us Weekly quoted a source saying the Grammy-winning artist was disappointed by the controversy she stirred by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Monday's solemn ceremony using a backing track - and drew a comparison to late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti.

    As some of America's singing stars offered sympathy and understanding, an inaugural official, who declined to be identified, told CNN that Beyonce "did not sing live."

    "Because she didn't have time to rehearse with the U.S. Marine Band, she decided to use her recording with the Marine Band," the official told CNN on Wednesday.

    The U.S. Marine band said in a statement on Tuesday that no one in the band "is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded."

    Us Weekly meanwhile quoted a different, also unidentified source, as saying "She did sing, but used a track."

    "She didn't think there was anything wrong with it," the source told the celebrity magazine's website on Wednesday.

    "Pavarotti has done it! It was freezing out, and if she messed up just one note, that would have been the story ... Everybody uses these tracks, and the music director advised it," the Us Weekly source added.

    Pavarotti lip-synched his last performance, at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, because of the bitter weather and his failing health, according to orchestra conductor Leone Magiera in a 2008 book. The Italian tenor died in 2007 of pancreatic cancer at age 71.

    Beyonce's publicist has declined to comment on the furor, but Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Lopez chimed in with their support.

    "When I heard the news ... that she was pre-recorded I really laughed," Franklin, 70, who sang live at Obama's first inauguration in 2009, told ABC News.

    "I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather ... she did a beautiful job with the pre-record ... next time I'll probably do the same."

    Lopez told Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" on Tuesday that many performers resort to using pre-recorded tracks.

    "You know, sometimes it happens," Lopez said. "When you're in certain stadiums and in certain venues, they do pre-record things because you're going to have that terrible slapback."

    Beyonce, 31, was giving her first major public performance since giving birth to a baby in January 2012. On Sunday, she had posted on Instagram photo of herself in a recording studio holding the sheet music for "The Star-Spangled Banner."

    She is due to take the spotlight again next month by performing, live, at the February 3 Super Bowl halftime show.

    (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


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    8th Avenue South: a taste for fine literature...

    1. How can I choose good books and know that this book is valuable enough to be studied?

    I think the key words here are "valuable enough to be studied." They imply that somebody with authority (a degree) has found value (intellectual value I hope and not marketing value) in a book and based upon that judgement hopes to pass that value on to future generations.

    You can start with the classics. The Great Books Foundation is a good reference although it is biased toward European writers. You can also subscribe to JSTOR and browse the latest journals for critiques of contemporary literature. Another more covert way to discover new texts is to visit university bookstores and see what texts are required for courses.

    2. How can I know that a novel has something to say and is valuable in its style?"

    You will know that a novel has something to say to you personally if it says more to you that what it literarily or explicitly states. If the literature generates more questions as you read, it is speaking to you and you are speaking to it. If the book doesn't do this than it is not mature enough for you or it simply might be just bad. As for style, mechanics isn't as important as it once was so I remain open-minded in regard to vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, tone, symbolism, logic. As long as the?narrative is believeable and it presents a plot or invites me to create a plot, I can read it. However, if you cannot distinguish the voice of the writer anywhere in the dialogue of the characters, the descriptions of the settings, or the theme, no matter how believeable or how stylistic the writing is, I suspect that it will be just plain boring, almost like reading a technical manual on how to assemble a bicycle. Now that doesn't mean that technical writing is bad. It too performs a function. When I need directions on assembling a bicycle, I don't need the writer's point-of-view, just the facts; but I must ask for more from fiction.


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    Parents, Don't Let Beyonc?, Let's Move! Spokeswoman, Tell Your ...

    Beyonc??literally pushing soda to kids.

    Sign the Petition Asking Beyonc??to Ditch Pepsi/Resign from Let?s Move!

    In a sickening development involving the First Lady?s?Let?s Move!?initiative to improve the nutrition, fitness and health of the nation?s children, the initiative?s celebrity spokeswoman,?Beyonc?, accepted a?$50 million deal to sell Pepsi. She?ll be hawking soda to kids on TV, at grocery stores, on Pepsi cans, during the Super Bowl halftime and in other marketing formats for the foreseeable future.

    What was she thinking? ?Back in 2011,?Beyonc? and the First Lady teamed up for Let?s Move?s! campaign against childhood obesity with this kid?s workout?video. But now,?Beyonc? is playing for the opposing team as well, promoting a drink that dozens of studies have identified as the main driver of America?s current childhood obesity epidemic.

    Never mind that:

    - ?For each additional 12 ounce soda children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60%.

    - ?Pepsi, Coca-Cola and other soft drink manufacturers specifically target children, teens, African-American youth and Hispanic youth through their marketing.

    - ?Soda consumption has also been linked to increased rates of?heart disease, diabetes and dental decay.

    None of those depressing statistics seemed to phase?Beyonc?, mother to a one-year old daughter. ?And she certainly didn?t pause to question whether she would be sending a dangerous mixed message to America?s youth, when many view her as a dazzling role model.

    But?Beyonc??s massive insensitivity and cognitive dissonance could actually be a watershed moment in the debate about food marketing to children ? if only America?s parents stand up and protest her ill-advised deal to market soda to their kids.??Celebrity endorsements are a fact of life in the food marketing world and a noisy grass roots uprising against?Beyonc? could get other celebrities to back off from endorsing soda, sugary drinks, chips, candy and other non-nutritious foods to impressionable kids. Remember, once upon a time, celebrities regularly hawked tobacco products. ?Now they wouldn?t be caught dead having any association with cigarettes.

    If enough parents?signed this petition, both?Beyonc? and the White House would take notice. While?Beyonc? may not be able to extricate herself from her Pepsi contract, the least she could do is resign from Let?s Move! and donate her fee to childhood obesity prevention efforts. And the First Lady, who has done so much to promote healthy eating, physical activity and awareness about childhood obesity, needs to ensure that her partners/celebrity spokespersons walk the talk.

    The White House knows that Beyonc??s Pepsi deal is an embarrassment to Let?s Move! and Michelle Obama, but has remained mum on the topic. Just last week, the?White House actually removed a?petition?from its ?We the People? website, posted by environmental activist Laurie David, asking that?Beyonc??be ousted from the inauguration lineup?because of her damaging deal with Pepsi. ?I can?t help but find it telling that the White House posted a detailed response to a ?We the People? petition asking the administration to construct a?Death Star,?but censored the?Beyonc? petition.

    Well, the White House can?t censor this petition:

    Sign the Petition Asking?Beyonc??to Ditch Pepsi/Resign from Let?s Move!

    Please sign and share this petition link with your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. ?If we don?t stand up to Big Soda and?Beyonc? pushing soda on our kids, no one will.

    This post originally appeared on the Nancy Huehnergarth Consulting Blog.

    ?Follow Nancy Huehnergarth on Twitter: @nyshepa

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


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    Thursday, January 24, 2013

    N. Korea's propaganda poets stay true to their muse

    KCNA via Reuters, file

    A banner reading "Accomplish task suggested by Workers Party Central Committee and Central Army Committee" appears at a rally commemorating the 65th anniversary of North Korean Workers Party in Pyongyang on Feb. 13, 2010.

    By Ian Johnston, Staff Writer, NBC News

    North Korea?s leaders are ?peerlessly great? and capable of ?immortal feats,? Americans are ?imperialists? who use ?brigandish logic? and critics are just ?rats? scurrying about in a ditch.

    And not to forget the gushing ode to the ?threadbare and discolored? parka worn by the late ?dear leader? Kim Jong Il or the discovery of a unicorn lair.

    Official pronouncements from North Korea?s state-controlled media have always had a certain poetic quality -- although the poet in question would appear to be extremely angry, somewhat paranoid and possessed by an overly active imagination.

    And more than a year after Kim Jong Un, son of Kim Jong Il, came to power, it is clear that the planet's only hereditary communist state is still pleased with its flowery rhetoric, despite mocking laughter from the rest of the world.

    After all, foreign journalists who dare to criticize can be easily dismissed as ?a sordid hackwork of rubbish media,? according to one release Wednesday from the KCNA news agency.

    Kcna / AFP - Getty Images

    A pictorial look at the North Korean leader through the years

    And not to worry. ?The sun will always give off its light even though rats make nonsensical remarks moving around ditch, while finding it hard to raise their heads to the bright human world.? So there.

    On Thursday, KCNA's latest statement hailed its recent satellite launch as a demonstration of its ?space science and technology and its overall national power.? This ?stark fact? was ?favored by the world.?

    No matter that the United Nations Security Council had agreed to a resolution to sanction North Korea over the launch, which is feared was actually a test of long-range missile technology.

    This claim was simply the ?brigandish logic? of the U.S. and the Security Council was nothing more than ?a marionette.?

    But, again, there is really no need for North Koreans to worry, given their country is ?a political, ideological and military giant? run by ?peerlessly great persons of [the sacred] Mt. Paektu.?

    However, occasionally there are hints that not everyone is quite so on-message.

    At a meeting of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League and Central Committee of the General Federation of Trade unions of Korea Wednesday, KCNA said that ?reporters and speakers? had ?underscored the need to dynamically conduct ideological education to firmly defend and glorify the sacred revolutionary careers and immortal feats? of said peerlessly great leaders.

    Elizabeth Dalziel / AP

    From work to play, see pictures from inside the secretive country.

    Among Kim Jong Il?s accomplishments were: Shooting 11 holes-in-one during the first round of golf he ever played, writing operas, producing movies, and flying jet fighters.

    His death, of course, was due to ?physical and mental over-work? on behalf of the nation.

    Another reason why he was so great was that he wore an old jacket, which was the subject of a radio essay last month called the ?Parka of Kim Jong Il during his field guidance? on North Korean broadcasting service, Voice of Korea.

    "His parka was that of a great father, with which he kept all the people on this land from snow, rain and cold,? the Voice of Korea report said.

    Kim ? a "peerless sage of mankind, possessed with warm humanity, broad magnanimity and noble sense of moral obligation? ? had apparently worn the parka as a reminder of his country?s grim history after the death of his father Kim Il Sung.

    'Outlandish superlatives'
    Seoul-based North Korea expert Daniel Pinkston, North East Asia deputy project director for the International Crisis Group, said stories about unbelievable golfing prowess and the like were not really meant to be taken literally.

    ?The whole point is not that people necessarily believe it,? he said, noting there was also a degree of mythologizing about revered figures from the past in the West.

    And Pinkston said what often sounds ?comical? or ?bizarre? in English ?doesn?t come off as the kind of stilted, strange language? in Korean.

    But he said North Korea perhaps suffered from its isolation and the lack of feedback on its writing style.

    ?They do have a tendency to use outlandish superlatives? to emphasize a point, he added.

    The main message, however, of many of the statements is seldom lost in translation, Pinkston said.

    ?It?s just very harsh and militant,? he said.


    North Korea: Rocket launches, nuclear tests will 'target' US

    Cigars, cognac and mass starvation: 10 facts that divide North Korea from world

    ANALYSIS: 'Spoiled child' North Korea snubs key ally China with rocket test


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    New way to identify 'smoked' grapes and wines

    New way to identify 'smoked' grapes and wines [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 23-Jan-2013
    [ | E-mail | Share Share ]

    Contact: Michael Bernstein
    American Chemical Society

    With climate change sparking concern about an increased risk of wildfires, scientists are reporting development of a way to detect grapes exposed to smoke from those fires, which otherwise could be vented into bad-tasting wine. Their report on the method for detecting smoke taint in both grapes and wine appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Yoji Hayasaka and colleagues point out that Australia and other areas of the world are experiencing an increase in bush and wildfires, which may continue and intensify with global climate change. Smoke from those fires can travel long distances and poses a special threat for wine grapes. Grapes exposed to smoke yield wines with unpalatable aromas and tastes, sometimes described as resembling "smoked meat," "disinfectant" or a "dirty ashtray."

    In an effort to manage or avoid production of smoke-tainted wines, they developed a test for the substances formed in grapes after exposure to smoke. They describe its development and laboratory tests demonstrating that the method can determine whether grapes have been smoke-tainted before they were crushed and pressed into wine. The test also can identify smoked wines.


    The authors acknowledge funding from Australia's grape growers and winemakers through their investment body, the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation, with matching funds from the Australian government.

    The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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    New way to identify 'smoked' grapes and wines [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 23-Jan-2013
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    Contact: Michael Bernstein
    American Chemical Society

    With climate change sparking concern about an increased risk of wildfires, scientists are reporting development of a way to detect grapes exposed to smoke from those fires, which otherwise could be vented into bad-tasting wine. Their report on the method for detecting smoke taint in both grapes and wine appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

    Yoji Hayasaka and colleagues point out that Australia and other areas of the world are experiencing an increase in bush and wildfires, which may continue and intensify with global climate change. Smoke from those fires can travel long distances and poses a special threat for wine grapes. Grapes exposed to smoke yield wines with unpalatable aromas and tastes, sometimes described as resembling "smoked meat," "disinfectant" or a "dirty ashtray."

    In an effort to manage or avoid production of smoke-tainted wines, they developed a test for the substances formed in grapes after exposure to smoke. They describe its development and laboratory tests demonstrating that the method can determine whether grapes have been smoke-tainted before they were crushed and pressed into wine. The test also can identify smoked wines.


    The authors acknowledge funding from Australia's grape growers and winemakers through their investment body, the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation, with matching funds from the Australian government.

    The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

    To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact

    Follow us: Twitter Facebook

    [ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail | Share Share ]


    AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.


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