Thursday, April 28, 2011

In the weeks since the [Inspector General]’s flawed and narrow vision of our diplomatic mission, people of good will in the middle ranks of our Department have seen it as their calling to strictly enforce it. As a consequence, my voice has been prevented from speaking; my pen has been enjoined from writing; and my actions have been confined to the ministerial. You deserve better, but until these rigid, and rigidly narrow, perspectives are overcome, you and the President are being deprived of the intelligent insight of much of your Embassy’s work.
– Douglas Kmiec, noted constitutional law scholar and former Catholic University law school dean, tendering his resignation as U.S. ambassador to Malta to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Above the law

Outcry over spy phones Start Another Fire and Watch It Slowly Die: The Aftermath of Regime Change
Adam Curtis , a documentary filmmaker, traces a loose history of the modern concept of humanitarian intervention in the West and its philosophical underpinnings - punctuated, unsurprisingly, with several compelling documentary film clips.

While historians may quibble with certain aspects of his rendition, there was one passage that stood out:
The movement had begun back in Biafra because a group of young idealists wanted to escape from the old corrupt power politics. To do this they had simplified the world into a moral struggle between good and evil.
They believed that if they could destroy the evil - by liberating victims from oppression by despots - then what would result would be, automatically, good. But the problem with this simple view was that it meant they had no critical framework by which to judge the "victims" they were helping. And the Baghdad bombing made it clear that some of the victims were very bad indeed - and that the humanitarians' actions might actually have helped unleash another kind of evil.

Might actually have helped unleash another kind of evil [ ; ; ]
• · Amid rising scrutiny of their practices, Google Inc. defended the way it collects location data from Android phones, while Apple Inc. remained silent for a third day Google Defends Way It Gathers Phone Data; I do not care if Apple and Google know where I am. The revelation that Apple's storing location data and keeping it for a year or more on my iPhone and my computer has shocked many, but not me. Hey, everybody, this is exactly where I am and what I'm doing right now Location Is Not a Four Letter Word ; Google (GOOG) Android phones also collect location information, although according to a report in github, those files are regularly pruned, leaving only the most recent data. Track your own iPhone; How Much Should You Freak Out About Apple and Google Tracking Your Location ; Google Links
• · · 14 favourite applications ; Mobile Madness Global mobile traffic nearly tripled for the third year in a row in 2010 ; This work should serve as the final salvo in the long battle between those who are still in denial regard ing KGB espionage in America in the 1930s and 40s and those who assert that this story must be told Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America
• · · · Above the Law – This blog refers to itself as a "legal tabloid" and offers amusing commentary on the latest in law.
Law blogs, also known as blawgs, are plentiful these days. In fact, there are probably thousands to choose from and more appear each week. For that reason, it may be difficult for you to narrow down which ones are worth a regular read. Whether you are a lawyer, law student, or merely interested in the subject, we’ve attempted to cut through the chaff and provide you with what we regard as the top 100 law and lawyer blogs listed below. It was very difficult to choose only 100 blogs from the myriad of successful law blogs. In an effort to remain fair, you will find a variety of subjects covered with the following blogs. Not only are high-profile general law blogs included, niche blawgs are also offered for your consideration. Since it would be impossible to rank them according to importance, they are categorized according to subject and then alphabetized. According to our research, here are what we consider to be the top 100 law and lawyer blogs ;
Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on April 4, 1968. I was five years and three days old. One can kill a person, but cannot kill an idea. Our present world is at a critical crossroads where many people stick their necks out for social justice and other social good (unfortunately including those causing severe social damage while seeking well-intentioned goals -- MADD comes to mind, for instance ), while too many others look out solely for number one, and while many others tread sometimes inconsistent paths somewhere in between. Everyone can improve. Nobody stays the same, just as a river constantly changes; the water molecule that is in front of us in the river at this moment will be miles away later today, and the riverbanks will continually be changed by the river. Few people are a**holes, even though most people sometimes or more often than that act like a**holes Compassion and kindness are a two-way-street ; It has been more than six months since I was forcibly removed from my old job as a deputy prosecutor. Since then, times have been extremely tough. Unemployment is not a way to survive; it is a way to suffer. I can only barely make ends meet at this point, and I grow ever more desperate each day. Everyone says that it is not my fault, and that I should blame the economy for my inability to find gainful employment. But I have no desire for excuses. I want to work again; I want to help people again. All that said, I feel it is time for me to make my own plea for help Facing Reality
• · · · · Home value chart updated 1890-2011
Case Shiller 100 Year Chart (2011 Update), By Barry Ritholtz - April 13, 2011: "In 2006, just as the Housing market was peaking, the NYT ran this graphic of the 100-year Case Shiller chart. It showed how radically overvalued Housing had become. Two years later, TBP [the Big Picture] reader Steve Barry updated that graphic, including the projected Home Price mean reversion ; A land value tax will solve the problems of escalating house prices. Property supply magic ; Kevin received a warm thank-you from Yvonne Adele, the inventor of a global overnight brainstorming service called Ideas While You Sleep While You Were Sleeping
• · · · · · The best tips for cleaning and organizing your home including garages, closets, kitchens, bathrooms, This Too Shall Pass ; at Real Simple

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How does that spark of creativity find its way to the canvas, the page, the dinner plate, or the movie screen? Inside the messy, maddening, and mysterious process of creating something new Great art begins with an idea

Monday, April 25, 2011

Why read? In the end, the answer to the question is as complex and compelling as "why live?"

Speaking as a former soldier and sole survivor, I know too well that stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But reading words inside the samizdat wikileaks at the Sydney Writers’ Festival is pure ecstasy … The Festival will look at power in its many incarnations … the power of the writer to shape the world with words, the awesome forces of nature under pressure, the power of the individual to effect global change and the constantly shifting nature of power itself: who’s got it, and why, and how technology is forcing a shift Poets like Jozef Imrich are now surfacing in bars, cafés, gypsy caravan tours, national events and even recognized within the Sydney Writers' Festival

The world might have forgotten the name of Mohamed Bouazizi. But when the history of the revolutions sweeping the Arab world is written, the 26-year-old Tunisian vegetable seller will be remembered as the rebel who lit the fuse that destroyed the Middle East’s old autocratic order. Today, as uprisings erupt across a region long resistant to change, every young Arab has become a Bouazizi, the frustrated youth who set himself on fire two months ago in a tragic protest against the ills afflicting Arab society, from corruption to unemployment, to a denial of dignity. Making history in the street: The Arab Youth - Mohamed Bouazizi Set himself on fire

In 1968, Czechoslovak people welcome the changes of the glorious Prague Spring and dream of everlasting freedom. But, the Mittle European history has a way of doubling back on its natives. One summer night the country is invaded by the Russian. In the winter of 1969 a young man called Jan Palach burns himself to death in front of the statue of St Vaclac in Wenceslaw Square. Making history in the street: The Bohemian Youth - Jan Palach burns himself to death in front of the statue

A high priest at the altar of fiction Divulging uncomfortable details: pushing the power of words
The war hero who inspired James Bond (and had a bizarre sex pact with Ava Gardner)

Brussels had just been liberated. In a bedroom on the second floor of a sumptuous mansion, Geoffrey Gordon-Creed, a handsome major in the British Army, and a pretty young Belgian girl were engaged in enthusiastic sexual athletics. Suddenly, there was a loud rapping on the door. It was the girl’s father, a rich Belgian baron, suspicious that his daughter might have company and determined to protect her honour.

Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing, “and wonder if, in some way, their reckless enthusiasm for art, conceived and nurtured in an increasingly money-driven age, represents their unconscious protest against the age... They turn to the power of their powerlessness, not unlike Vaclav Havel, Milan Kundera, [and] Ludvík Vaculík.” Havel, Kundera, and Vaculik lived in Soviet Eastern Europe, where everyone was expected to sacrifice their own individual desires for the greater good — a sea of faceless workers with no personal right to speak. They put themselves at great risk, facing jail and exile, to break through the anonymity. They led revolutions and then nations. They faced their time’s great evil with humor and an unwavering stare, and through that created works of great beauty.
• Read an eye-opening memoir All That Is Bitter and Sweet [A brutally frank tale of addiction This Is Gonna Hurt ; Since Shakespeare wrote so many years ago, scholars had had all this time to get it right, hadn't they All memoirs tell their own version of the truth; There's often little to distinguish victim and perpetrator in Africa's new hearts of darkness - Dancing in the Glory of Monsters The Triumph of Fear - Tales from between the sticks]
• · Growing up female is hard work; you have to be attractive, independent, smart, and funny, but not too challenging if you want to get a date. I am like a glass left on the bar, empty, a lipstick stain on the lip, a melted ice cube at the bottom ‘Bossypants’ and Other New Memoirs by Literary Ladies ; Make no bones about it Love and revolution
• · · Under-reported by the media, mercy killings by fathers and male siblings of Muslim women who are joining the movement are increasing Not Easily Washed Away ; Memoirs are often a literary bore. The world cared little about the hum-drum life of most folks, despite the writer’s conviction that the world really does care. Book serves as memoir of city ;While Charlie Sheen implodes in front of the world’s eyes, he could take comfort in the salutary tale of his old Brat Pack boozing buddy Rob Lowe Still in Hollywood, Lady Blue Eyes (Hutchinson) has Barbara Sinatra (nee Marx) divulging memories of her life; Publishing isn't dead. Smart publishing, well, that's a different story. The skeleton of the story burned itself into my brain, even if the details didn't. A Sea of Words: Drowning in Cold River
• · · · One of my favorite topics in novels and memoirs alike is the concept of fear. I always think of my writing as a relationship story. I hope they also tug at the emotions ; Lord, you are most irritating - self-serving memoirs Madness for “Memoirs In March”; >; By my count my mother has written three memoirs, six autobiographical novels and four memoirish explorations, and so I think it's safe to say that the Sharing Her Secrets
• · · · · He tells it like it was, living with a father who was a “mean drunk,” Schrader: Memoirs from growing up in county ;Ours is an era of scrupulously examined lives, which is another way of saying that ours also is an age of too many memoirs, often by writers with no public face or career Growing up in her father's shadow ; Julian Assange is a very dangerous man to those who want to suppress the truth," says Pilger. Assange's habit of spilling very big beans to millions Julian Assange: the most dangerous man in the world
• · · · · · Tragic Life Stories - ‎Writing in his memoirs -A rarefied group of leading literati convened recently to evaluate the writing genius of Barack Obama. They came to a surprising conclusion: Barack Obama may in fact be a greater writer than William Shakespeare.m It's important to note that none of these folks, absolutely none of them, are addled-brained liberal lunatics. Obama a Greater Writer than Shakespeare ; Hitch-22, of the numerous perils that he has faced as a reporter around the globe in places as various as Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and Beirut, Christopher Hitchens reflects that a little danger or discomfort can be a salutary thing: ''I still make sure to go, at least once every year, to a country where things cannot be taken for granted, and where there is either too much law and order or too little.'' Don't pray for me‎ ; A survivor's story is about man's desire for freedom during a time when none existed. Pray For Media Dragon

Friday, April 22, 2011

Once or twice in a century, Easter and Anzac Day share the same date – it last happened in 1943 and will occur again in 2038. But curiously, in the way we calculate Easter it cannot fall after Anzac Day, it must always be a forerunner, perhaps the template on which great tales of sacrifice and renewal are patterned.
The themes that run through both stories are rich and deep; of sacrifice, the death of innocence, companionship, compassion, =And the birth of a new reality
Ach Have an ethical Easter

When her daughter died, Edith Piaf slept with a man to pay for the burial. The melancholy grit of Piaf’s voice was hard-earned. From her father she learned an entertainer's sense of timing, techniques for tugging on the audience's heartstrings, and the sort of patter likely to produce a good take No Regrets

Heartstrings Morals vary dramatically across time and place
Each time I write something I promise myself I'll never do it again. The fallout goes on for months. Increasingly, like of late, it turns dangerous

In the wake of sedition threats by the Indian government, Arundhati Roy describes the stupidest question she gets asked, the cuss-word that made her respect the power of language, and the limits of preaching nonviolence.

The Un-Victim - I'm impatient to die [Sure, the future of publishing looks grim. But not entirely. A new literary culture is taking root in the digital world Do you love books?; Long-form journalism is the only homegrown American literary form ]
• · Are you forgetting how to remember? Here’s a tip: Try picturing Lady Gaga swimming in a giant tub of cottage cheese The lost art of total recall
Are you forgetting how to remember? ; In The Fugitive, Stanley Fish sees a story about liberalism's central tension: Society and responsibility on one side, absolute freedom on the other Save it for HBO
• · · Biological and cyberwars are stealth businesses. Fingerprints are rare; the perpetrators often unknown. Does retaliation have a future? The New Virology; We have neither money nor power, but cinema can make our voices heard - Sexual economics 101: Men represent demand, and women supply. It's a catchy formula, and perhaps obvious, but it little resembles reality The Meet Market
• · · · The current blueprint for political revolution blends Gandhi, Monty Python, and corporate-style marketing savvy... Revolution U
; Researchers in Siberia have managed to breed foxes as tame as dogs. It's a feat that might unlock the genetics of violent behaviour Only a handful of wild animal species have been successfully bred to get along with humans. The reason, scientists say, is found in their genes.
• · · · · The Internet isn't making you stupid or unhappy or less productive. But it might be subverting your creativity Smarter, Happier, More Productive; A senior traditional owner, Yvonne Margarula, says her Mirarr people are "deeply saddened" that for more than 30 years uranium that should never have been disturbed on their land at the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory has been exported to Japan to be used by nuclear power companies, including at the stricken Fukushima plant, which was heavily damaged by the tsunami last month and has been leaking radiation. a sacred dangerous power
• · · · · · Landshare, the process by which land owners allow fellow city dwellers to use their land without charge, seems to be catching on. It began about five years ago in north America and Europe Breaking ground;shift towards academic qualifications, and crafts skills have become devalued. The sorcerer apprentices

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We're all Keynesians now Soros: U.S. Dollar No Longer World Reserve Currency

What's especially bizarre about this premise is the notion that writer's block can be overcome by an increase in intelligence. (More plausibly, Eddie, once he gets really, really smart, decides to bail on writing books entirely.) It would be hard to find a blocked writer who thought that brains were exactly what he or she lacked. In her fascinating 2004 book, "The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain," neurologist Alice Weaver Flaherty explains that the impulse to create is rooted in the limbic brain, the seat of instinct, not in the cerebral cortex, which performs the analytical activities enhanced by Eddie's pills. Most cases of writer's block are not, however, the result of a biochemical imbalance

At first blush An annotated history of that most poetic instruction, “last name, first”- Dragon, Media
Neuroscience revolves around one big idea: You don’t control most of what you do, think, and feel. Your brain calls the shots. Therein lie the seeds of a legal revolution

The first lesson we learn from studying our own circuitry is shocking: most of what we do and think and feel is not under our conscious control. The vast jungles of neurons operate their own programs. The conscious you – the I that flickers to life when you wake up in the morning – is the smallest bit of what’s transpiring in your brain. Although we are dependent on the functioning of the brain for our inner lives, it runs its own show. Your consciousness is like a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot.

Much of what many of us know about science, politics and history of the region comes from Cold River [It’s official: we’ve found our new favorite blog. Bill Ryan, a New York based book lover, is collecting insults from his literary heroes. It all started around six years ago at a book signing at the excellent BookCourt, when on a whim, Ryan asked Maggie Pouncey to inscribe his book with an insult instead of a dedication. Now, in his wonderfully entertaining blog, Insulted By Authors, Ryan documents his adventures getting insulted by – or not getting insulted by, as the case may be – his favorite authors, and displays the creatively rude missives for our enjoyment. How to Get Insulted by Authors; BookCourt - We're all Keynesians now]
• · Well, a preternaturally self-assured scientist like Nicholas Humphrey can try Can science explain the soul? ; No bright line necessarily marks the moment when a person becomes a corpse. So how dead is dead enough to become an organ donor? Dead; Meghan O'Rourke wants to tell the story of her mother's death - to make sense of what happened, and perhaps change the ending Why We Write About Grief
• · · While you await the return of prosperity, consider a future in which the rules of capitalism are undermined by a parade of disasters. How worried should you be? parade of disasters; Some cultures endorse cannibalism, decapitation, infanticide. Morality, says Jesse Prinz, is relative. But objectivists shouldn’t despair: Self-destructive values rarely last. Conditions
• · · · New York in the 1970s was known for crime and drugs – and dance, which was for a terpsichorean moment the most vital performing art in America Dancing the Body Electric; Who owns yoga? Now that it’s a multibillion-dollar industry, everyone wants a piece of the action. But yoga’s history is a palimpsest. Malchkeon owns it - Yoga began before 2500 BC- Sikhs rock
• · · · · Happiness is not a right, it’s a duty: We owe it to ourselves. But the burden of obligatory well-being has transformed the pursuit into a source of unhappiness... Jozef Imrich is Condemned to Joy ; "We have a lot of so-called crap," Gildas Illien admits. No surprise there: He's spent the past five years archiving the Internet.. Media Dragon: A Memory of Webs Past
• · · · · · Hamada Ben Amor was an unknown Tunisian rapper. Then he uploaded a furious song to Facebook and helped start a revolution.. From fear to fury: how the Arab world found its voice ; If Ronald Dworkin were a hotel he would be the Savoy, but a Savoy open to all, with guests spilling into every room, talking, arguing, laughing Justice for Hedgehogs by Ronald Dworkin

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations...
-George Bernard Shaw

I like to see that they're speaking like an actual human being -- a lot of bloggers are afraid to be authentic because they don't want to get blacklisted by the places they want to cover. Fearlessness is one of my favorite qualities in a writer. Gabbie Take Note: How to make travel editors like your blog

It's easy to get the impression that blogging is lonely work. 'A Tunisian Girl' talks about blogging under repressive regimes

First there's the Czech President, Vaclas, Klaus, pocketing a pen in Chili not Mexico City Make no mistake: Smuggler, Forger, Writer, Spy
Czech President Vaclav Klaus may be in the middle of a government crisis, but he's bringing the laughs thanks to a video that's become a YouTube hit.

Watch as he grabs a pen and nonchalantly puts it in his pocket.

•All I have to say, it is not a pen but just a stylus Spiriting away a pen [ Generations, Mobile, Seniors - Generations and their gadgets ; Search User Interfaces by Marti A. Hearst [the author, with permission of Cambridge University Press, has placed the full text online free of charge. See the terms of service] This book focuses on the human users of search engines and the tool they use to interact with them: the search user interface; And with thousands of blogs and so many lawyers online, legal ethics experts say that collisions between the freewheeling ways of the Internet and the tight boundaries of legal discourse are inevitable — whether they result in damaged careers or simply raise eyebrows A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar ]
• · Use a catchy title. Make the title unique, consider using questions and lists 15 Blogging Best Practices ; The web, as we know, is a great place to market your business — but only if people can find you. Success in online marketing is contingent upon people being able to locate your web presence.
• · · For Andrew Sullivan, M.P.A. ’86, Ph.D. ’90, the editor of a blog called, the weekend is a time for rest, and having teed up on Friday afternoon a half-dozen evergreen posts for Saturday, he had turned off his communication devices and was sleeping in. World's Best Blogger? ;Are you voracious for video, but not fascinated by photos? Bonkers for blogs, but not titillated by Tweets? Fanatical about Facebook, but not emotional about email? You're not alone! From One Comes Many‎ Just as in offline politics, the well-off and well-educated are especially likely to participate in online activities that mirror offline forms of engagement. But there are hints that social media may alter this pattern ‎The Internet and Civic Engagement - PDF
• · · · "Librarians, information specialists, knowledge managers or whatever title a librarian might have -- their skills are in high demand. And, though you might not know it, they are everywhere...At a time where anyone can Google just about anything, librarians don't just find information, they find the correct information -- and fast. The American Library Association reports reference librarians in the nation's public and academic libraries answered nearly 5.7 million questions each week in 2010." [via the awesome librarian Kit Harahan] Librarians: Masters of the info universe ; Users increasingly rely on individual pages listed by search engines instead of finding better ways to tackle problems. Although some analysts questioned the finding of search dominance, it's a user behavior that gets stronger every year. Incompetent Research Skills Curb Users' Problem Solving
• · · · · Famous poet's writings as a Federal employee shed new light on his life and work: The National Archives today announced the identification of nearly 3,000 Walt Whitman documents written during his service as a Federal government employee. This trove of information--conclusively identified as Whitman's papers for the first time by University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) scholar Kenneth Price--sheds light on the legendary poet's post-war thinking, as well as Whitman's published reflections on the state of the nation that soon followed. Price discusses the significance of this discovery in the National Archives Inside the Vaults video short Walt Whitman ; Vaults video short
• · · · · · The Net, smartphones, and other technologies have added to the way people can engage with so much to local communities and wider communities of interest How Libraries Add Value to Communities (Video & Slides) ; REGARDLESS OF FRONTIERS: The International Right to Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age

Friday, April 15, 2011

In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love
-John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Proust Questionnaire From time to time I get spotted in public, occasionally with unpredictable results. Too much information

Topics for the post mortem on the poll and elsewhere Cheaters Win
They're the hardest words in the world to say: I Love You. Especially to Bankers and Pollies …

There could be no honor in a sure success, but much might be wrested from a sure defeat.
-T.E. Lawrence, Revolt in the Desert
The penalty of success is to be bored by people who used to snub you.
-Nancy Astor (quoted in Reno Evening Gazette, May 4, 1964)

Clever schemes to make bankers earn their bonuses look good on paper, but economics proves they won't work."

IF YOU feel a sense of injustice over bonuses paid to the bankers who all but collapsed the global economy in 2008, look away now. Wall Street is about to pay out around $20 billion in bonuses, barely changed from what it paid in the boom years. Why can't regulators insist that firms pay bonuses based on real long-term profits, rather than rewarding them for reckless short-term gambling?

Bankers are grinners[ Pathological sickness grips heart of Labor's NSW Right; Curing the NSW disease]
• · We need the spirit of Cavafy today John Azarias; Bob Carr; Gabbie has caught up with the blasts from the past in the Us links to princeston; For the early December training session, four racers arrived. There was Aidan Harding, 30, a mountain biker from Princes Risborough, England. Despite his lack of experience on snow, Harding was considered a serious racing prospect. There was George Azarias, a young Morgan Stanley banker from New York. A practiced hiker, Azarias had little cycling experience.Eleni ; george; George
• · · Labor lost in its first 10 years when Bob Carr neglected Sydney's transport links in favour of announcing national parks. It was Carr asleep at the wheel ; ON Tuesday night Paul Keating put in a memorable performance on ABC1's 7.30. In the course of a swingeing attack on NSW Labor, including Opposition Leader John Robertson and the Sussex Street machine men, he dismissed their chief spin-merchant, Bruce Hawker, for his "sicko populism". Keating tells it like it is for NSW Labor ;CHRISTOPHER Pearson's rather shrill commentary on both Bob Carr and me (Focus, April 2-3) really does deserve a reply. Hawker
• · · · Glen was with me on my first-ever visit to Colombia where I presented to Expomarketing, and announced the launch of Saatchi & Saatchi Colombia. Cool Colombia; Nothing is Impossible
• · · · · NSW Labor had spent almost all it's social capital, and the only thing left was change. Life of the Party;
In the next Queensland election independents may be at risk, as they were in New South Wales The lessons of Port Macquarie; Labor smeared NSW Greens candidate Fiona Byrne for instituting a policy that they had also supported. Smear campaign against Greens in Marrickville
• · · · · · ASIC LAUNCHES NEW MONEYSMART WEBSITE - COVERS ADVICE, TAX AND MORE ASIC's new Getting advice booklet ; It's time for negative gearing of investment housing as a tax deduction to go. A tax system that penalizes working & saving, and rewards borrowing & speculating

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I used to be an atheist until I realized I am God

Now he discovered that secret from which one never quite recovers, that even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other
-Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Precise in focus yet epic in scope and ambition , Mr. Bezmozgis’s novel takes place over the half-year the members of the Krasnansky family spend in limbo outside Rome, awaiting visas that will permit their passage to North America. The temporary Italian setting has been appropriately chosen, for it represents a passage between two worlds, much like the state of the Krasnanskys themselves, who have left their status as outsiders in one land to become outsiders in another. And in representing three generations of this family, Mr. Bezmozgis is able to condense more than a half-century of the pre-glasnost Jewish experience. an oasis of culture ;

Lives of Others We're all spies now: Life's voyeuristic twist
Surveillance is now a multibillion-dollar global industry, and an increasingly pervasive part of our daily lives.

IN THE late 1940s, George Orwell wrote his nightmarish novel 1984, depicting a future world where an all-seeing but unseen tyrant, Big Brother, ruled over his citizens by watching their every move. In this paranoid dystopia, surveillance was purely a ''top-down'' affair, a government tool for controlling the hapless masses: privacy was a crime, the Thought Police punished dissent and history was rewritten daily for political ends.
More than half a century later, it is worth considering how Orwell's fictional prediction weighs up against reality. If Big Brother's gaze dominated that imagined future, who's watching over us now?

Bezpecnost KGB and Stasi of the Modern Ages [ Bond Stories; Thesis ]
• · Readers Digest; Congratulations! Your richly imagined novel – or memoir, or vampire trilogy – is about to be published. But here’s some tough love: Don’t expect glory, or even respect. You’ll get none A Sea of Words - Cold River Words; Grief is a lonely yet enticing place. Burrow in too far, however, and sorrow becomes all you know. Write about it and risk being branded a solipsist The Solitude of Grief
• · · MOST STORIES ABOUT inequality in America miss an important point: rising disparities are not just about investment bankers versus auto workers. They’re about entire communities of “winners” and “losers.” And as these communities continue to diverge, the idea of “an American economy” looks more and more like an anachronism How income inequality is fracturing our economic landscape ; An ambitious study, detailed here for the first time, finds that the super-wealthy—of all people—are isolated, unhappy, and brimming with anxieties. Why Secret Fears of the Super-Rich
• · · · We know all the old arguments about the faults of the new media. But as coverage of the Egyptian uprising shows, the digital landscape is also alive with possibilities. We should make our peace with it now–while we have a choice. Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media ; Those who talked loudest about the ideals of the “new” organization, as it turned out, had the least love in their hearts. How many tons of pig iron bars can a worker load onto a rail car in the course of a working day?
• · · · · Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses." Hell is other people at breakfas ; Unhappiness, in other words, may be a bit like second-hand smoke The Poison of Unhappiness
• · · · · · But literary journals — a long-tail publishing phenomenon before the Internet made other niche offerings accessible — are thriving. Literary Journals Thrive, on Paper and Otherwise; Maybe a rising tide does lift all boats. Or maybe you’re a heartless crank for thinking so. Joseph Stiglitz v-v Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Monday, April 11, 2011

Looking at the long term picture of Real Estae Market in Sydney one is reminded of the stock market adage that share prices go up the stairs and down the elevator. Sydney's high anxiety - I've learned that new economic thinking means reading old books Old Economic Thinking Is New, or Is It that New Economic Thinking Is Old?

Kevin recently posted on how storytelling wins in the Oscars aftermath of The King's Speech. That ever-stimulating ideas probe Big Think recently zapped out a nice case. Peter Guber tells a story of How Nelson Mandela Leveraged the Power of Storytelling. Here’s the start of Guber’s story: “Nelson Mandela had just been released from Robben Island in South Africa. And suddenly out of nowhere I, as the then CEO of Sony, got a call in the big boardroom: How Nelson Mandela Leveraged the Power of Storytelling.

I never criticised Russia or SovietUnion‎ Cybercriminals Target Russian News and Online Blogging Sites
Websites are targeted to gain unauthorized access to confidential information, disrupt services or lodge protest against information provided on those sites. The attack was first directed on the blog of a well-known anti-corruption campaigner on LiveJournal

Both the sites offer platform for expression of alternative opinions on crucial issues. The attacks on these sites assume significance as the elections for 'State Duma', the Lower house of the Russian Parliament are scheduled to be held at the end of the year. DDoS attacks on business websites may severely impact their productivity and result in losses. Administrators must regularly monitor the traffic to identify unusual activity. They may also configure data traffic limits. Professionals qualified in IT masters degree may help in implementing proper monitoring mechanisms and regular evaluation of networks for threat vectors. Organizations must have robust IT security policy in place. Regulations only provide for the minimum security requirements. Therefore, IT security must not be viewed as only a compliance activity. Organizations must be proactive in identification and mitigation of security flaws. IT security apparatus must be regularly evaluated and modernized in tune with changes in threat scenario.

Blogging it off [ Google Cyber attack freezes paper ; Modern technology is often blamed for homogenising our ever-shrinking world, particularly when it comes to traditional local cultures and customs. Micro-blogging in a mother tongue on Slavic Twitter]
• · Tucson blogger Kevin Cotter - whose wife left him, leaving only her wedding dress behind - became an Internet celebrity by doing creative, sometimes sordid things with the dress at ; Chinese 'super blogger' thanks Australia for support
• · · Blogger Adds Customizable Views for Readers
; Bryan Wright hates Naked Lunch. So why did he read it? We told him to. The 32-year-old from Alberta, Canada probably has an entire catalog of vocabulary ... A Feat of Fiction: Blogger Reading All of TIME's 100 Best Novels
• · · · It seems some of the shine has been rubbed off blogging with all this talk of Twitter and Facebook. But is blogging still useful in terms of SEO and marketing: How to get Going as a Technology Blogger ; Is Blogging Still Useful for SEO? In Short – YES!
• · · · · A prosecutor once told me of D.C.’s Moultrie Courthouse, “there’s a Pulitzer to be won in these halls every day.” I believe him. Blogging on Murder: A Reporter's Story ; Gabriella uses her Facebook account even at Equador Live Blogging Facebook’s “Open Compute Project” — Opening Up Data Center, Server
• · · · · · Tales from Abroad: Ecuador ; The tremor was strong enough to shake buildings and restaurants hundreds of miles away in the capital Mexico City

Friday, April 01, 2011

Here's my other favorite quote, from Vaclav Havel, In the end, truth and love will prevail over lies and hate.

Revolution 2011: What comes next is not the end of the story. Some revolutions lead to a flowering of democracy. Some backslide into anarchy or dictatorship. But there's always another chapter to be written. George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” told the story of a stirring revolution dedicated to the proposition that all animals are created equal. One thing led to another, however, and tyranny by pigs replaced tyranny by humans. In the end, the farm’s one great commandment read: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Some backslide into anarchy or dictatorship.

Revolution 2011: The thing about history, though, is that the book never ends
There may be many bad decisions made after the ice of thaws. But there’s always another chapter after that – which means another opportunity to get it right.

US President Barack Obama is reluctant to intervene in the bloody civil war now underway in Libya. As a senior aide told The New York Times last week, "He keeps reminding us that the best revolutions are completely organic. One of the many unsung achievements of President Gerald Ford, the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, was history's biggest-ever poison pill. The document was the result of two years of haggling at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, originally a Soviet initiative to deal with security issues, but one that veered unexpectedly to address issues of human rights.

The thing about history, though, is that the book never ends. [President Václav Klaus has defended Ladislav Bátora, branded an extremist by both the media and politicians Extremism has no place at Prague Castle ; The Twilight of Tyranny? ]
• · Looks like they’ve finally recovered their time-honored inner Czechness, and given up on that bold, universalist, Vaclav-Havel era human-rights moralizing The contemporary Czech Republic ; Former socialist countries are struggling against the phantom of communism again. This time, the wave of struggle reached the most peaceful of former socialist states - the Czech Republic. It seemed that the Czechs were no longer preoccupied with the struggle against the Soviet legacy. However, reality proves the opposite. Communism again
• · · The Arab world has spoken truth to power in ways that question the celebration of western style democracies and the ‘end of history’ marked by the ‘1989 velvet revolutions’. The people of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya have spoken truth to power with fantastic spirit and solidarity (not to forget struggles in Madison and elsewhere) end of 1989? ; The election of the first Greens MP to the NSW Legislative Assembly is a historic breakthrough for the party, but if success for the Greens in NSW is to continue, we need a reality check and some soul searching. Greens won't get much further if we repeat poll blunders s
• · · · Tackling Pauline Hanson, Labor spin and media porkies
Greens decision not to recommend a preference to Labor in the Upper House has somehow helped Pauline Hanson ; THE weeks and months ahead will be consumed by bloodletting inside the NSW Labor Party following Saturday's thumping state election defeat. For new Premier Barry O'Farrell and his Coalition, time will be measured in years The political landscape has changed – The Irish Will Rule ;-)
• · · · · Voters will cure the NSW disease ; Anti-Mafia muscle on Premier's to-do list
• · · · · · The AAA to Z of running the NSW economy ; David Marr Barry O'Farrell of political wilderness ; Photios Story